First Stage
Press Release

First Stage presents World Premiere production of GIRLS IN THE BOAT

Featuring the award-winning Young Company. By Alice Austen. Directed by Marcella Kearns

By - Nov 28th, 2018 02:54 pm

Milwaukee, WI November 28, 2018 – First Stage is delighted to present the world premiere production of GIRLS IN THE BOAT by award-winning, international playwright Alice Austen. Austen has written a beautiful, lyrical play inspired by the true stories of the U.S. Women’s Olympic Rowing team. Starting in the year 1975, a group of smart, fiery young women fight discrimination and prejudice to compete in the male-dominated sport of rowing, finding an unlikely ally in the taciturn Harvard men’s coach. Together, they confront ridicule and overcome obstacles in a battle that takes this first U.S. Women’s Rowing team all the way to the world championships. This play was written specifically for First Stage’s Young Company, the Theater Academy’s award-winning advanced theater training program for high school students. This production is sponsored in part by the United Performing Arts Fund.

GIRLS IN THE BOAT runs December 7 – 16, 2018 at the Milwaukee Youth Arts Center, located at 325 W. Walnut Street in downtown Milwaukee. Tickets are $14. Tickets are available are availableonline at www.firststage.org or through the First Stage Box Office at (414) 267-2961. Performance runtime is approximately 80 minutes with no intermission. Suggested for families with young people ages 13+.

Director Marcella Kearns had this to say about the play, “Alice Austen has written a play that is both a race through and a love letter to the history of U.S. women’s rowing. Of greater weight to me in this story, however, are the sometimes thorny, sometimes bracing relationships and indomitable personalities of a crew striving at any cost to win the ultimate prize. Each radically different individual, from every corner of the U.S., this crew battles family, school, government, one another, and themselves for the chance to do what they love most. For these women, unity is their best hope for victory. What E Pluribus Unum, out of many one, may cost them, and how it may reward them, is the greatest legacy of a noble sport.”
Added Artistic Director Jeff Frank, “We are very excited to have GIRLS IN THE BOAT premiere at First Stage. The play was written specifically with the teens in our Young Company in mind. It shares a great American story that many people probably haven’t heard about before. For this production the Milwaukee Rowing Club have been wonderful collaborators and advisors – our cast had the opportunity to meet with them to learn more about the sport of rowing, its ideals and values. It was a very meaningful experience for the them.”

BIOGRAPHIES

Alice Austen (Playwright) is a noted playwright and producer.Recent credits include the critically acclaimed hit show ANIMAL FARM (co-adaptor/Steppenwolf Theatre) and her adaptation and translation of Duras’ LA MUSICA (Timeout Critic’s pick). Alice has received Residencies and Commissions from the Royal Court (London), the Goodman Theatre, Steppenwolf and Chicago Dramatists. Alice’s work has been honored as a Terrence McNally Award Premiere Five Finalist, Eugene O’Neill Semi-Finalist, Women at the Door Winner, Joseph Jefferson Award Nominee for Best New Work, Blue Ink Award Finalist and on Kilroy’s “The List.” Alice is a graduate of Harvard University, where she studied law and creative writing. www.givemelibertyproductions.com/alice>.

Marcella Kearns (Director) is a Milwaukee-based director, actor and theatre educator. Marcy serves presently as the Associate Artistic Director of Milwaukee Chamber Theatre and as an adjunct instructor of theatre at Carthage College and Marquette University. She is both proud and humbled to work with First Stage’s Young Company as faculty and director of GIRLS IN THE BOAT. Previous directing credits at First Stage include ALL’S WELL THAT ENDS WELL, MOCKINGBIRD and LILLY’S PURPLE PLASTIC PURSE.

The Young Company cast for GIRLS IN THE BOAT includes: Kayla Salter (from Germantown) as Bow; Emily Fedewa (from Hales Corners) as Girl 2;Mary Jensik (from Greenfield) as Girl 3; Molly Boyle (from Port Washington) as Girl 4;Ila Koch(from Wauwatosa) as Girl 5; Mathilde Prosen-Oldani (from Shorewood) as Girl 6; Reese Parish (from Glendale) as Girl 7; Selma Rivera (from Milwaukee) as Coxswain; Sylvie Arnold (from Hubertus) as Stroke; Jennie Babisch (from Milwaukee) as Coach/Dad and Kate Lepianka (from Grafton) as Boy/Journalist/Rower.

The Artistic Staff for GIRLS IN THE BOAT includes: Kristin Ellert (Scenic & Props Designer); Caitlyn de Araujo (Costume Designer); Marisa Abbott (Lighting Designer); Erin Paige (Sound Designer); Emily Wright(Stage Manager) and Elliott Brotherhood (Assistant Stage Manager).

Tickets are $14 – Tickets may be purchased at www.firststage.org or by phone (414) 267-2961.

Group Sales – Groups of 10 or more receive discounts off regular single ticket prices on most First Stage performances at the Milwaukee Youth Arts Center. Call (414) 267-2964 or email groups@firststage.orgfor more information.

First Stage Family Packages – any combination of tickets for three or more plays in the 2018/19 season – are on sale now. Family package prices are available at up to 30% off the cost of regular single ticket prices. Benefits include unlimited ticket exchanges, backstage tours and more.

FACT SHEET

What: First Stage Young Company presents: GIRLS IN THE BOAT

Location: The Milwaukee Youth Arts Center, 325 W. Walnut Street, Milwaukee

Dates: December 7 – 16, 2018

Description: The year is 1975. A group of smart, fiery young women fight discrimination and prejudice to compete in the male-dominated sport of rowing, finding an unlikely ally in the taciturn Harvard men’s coach. Together, they confront ridicule and overcome obstacles in a battle that takes this first U.S. Women’s Rowing team all the way to the world championships. Performance runtime is approximately 80 minutes with no intermission. Suggested for families with young people ages 13+.

Performances:

  • Friday, December 7 at 7:00 p.m. – OPENING NIGHT
  • Saturday, December 8 at 3:30 p.m. & 7:00 p.m.
  • Sunday, December 9 at 3:30 p.m. – SOLD OUT
  • Friday, December 14 at 7:00 p.m.
  • Saturday, December 15 at 3:30 p.m. & 7:00 p.m.
  • Sunday, December 16 at 3:30 p.m.

Ticket and information: Tickets are $14. Call (414) 267-2961 or online at www.firststage.org.

About First Stage

First Stage is one of the nation’s leading theaters for young people and families. First Stage touches hearts, engages minds and transforms lives by creating extraordinary theater experiences through professional theater productions that inspire, enlighten and entertain. Its Theater Academy, the nation’s largest high-impact theater training program for young people, fosters life skills through stage skills and serves over 2,100 students each year. As Wisconsin’s leader in arts-integrated education in schools, First Stage’s dynamic Theater in Education programs promote literacy, character building and experiential learning throughout the curriculum, serving over 20,000 students each year. First Stage was selected to participate in the Partners in Education program of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (2012), and was the recipient of the Milwaukee Business Journal’sEureka Award, recognizing creativity and innovation in business, education and the arts for its Next Steps program for students on the autism spectrum (2013, 2015). First Stage is a member of TYA/USA, the American Alliance for Theatre and Education, the Wisconsin Alliance for Arts Education, Milwaukee Arts Partners and is a cornerstone member of the United Performing Arts Fund (UPAF).

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