First Stage
Press Release

Rudolph Soars from Screen to Stage in Family-Friendly Adaptation of Highest Rated Christmas Special of All Time

November 28 – December 28, 2014 at The Marcus Center’s Todd Wehr Theater

By - Oct 22nd, 2014 03:37 pm


Milwaukee, WI – In 1964, the beloved stop-motion animated television classic, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, made its network television debut delighting audiences across the country. Fifty years later, the longest running and highest rated television special comes to life, live on stage with Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical (, featuring the world’s most famous reindeer and a holly jolly cast of iconic characters. Rudolph and friends, including Hermey the Elf, Yukon Cornelius and the Abominable Snow Monster, help Santa save Christmas this holiday season.

Rudolph and friends will return to First Stage at the Marcus Center’s Todd Wehr Theater, 929 N. Water Street, downtown Milwaukee, from November 28 – December 28, 2014. Tickets are available at the Marcus Center box office at 929 N. Water Street, by phone at (414) 273-7206 or online at

“Rudolph has quickly become a First Stage holiday classic – and one of the best-selling shows in our history,” said Jeff Frank, First Stage artistic director.  “After taking the show to Chicago last year, we’re bringing it back home to Milwaukee with new surprises including brand new orchestrations by Timothy Splain and a new and improved Bumble.”

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical is so faithful to the original show that it practically transports audience members into the television special. The songs drive the plot while familiar and nostalgic set designs, costumes and characters are brought to stage. The cast brings new energy to the classic songs and dialogue, while puppets help showcase the charming “roughness” from the television show’s stop-motion effects.

The story tells the tale of a young Rudolph who, because of the appearance of his bright, shining nose, is ousted from the reindeer games in Christmas-town. He flees town, meets up with new friends Hermey and Yukon, and a series of funny and endearing adventures ensue including a visit to The Island of Misfit Toys. Rudolph journeys home, where a snowstorm of epic proportions is threatening Christmas. Can Rudolph save his family and friends and help Santa save the holiday?

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical also ties in with the #ShineBright social media campaign which is a celebration of uniqueness that will be championed by PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center.  Workshops, lesson plans and special performances will use the story as a platform for teaching important lessons about diversity and tolerance.

Matt Daniels (Director)
Matt has appearing in many First Stage productions including A MIDNIGHT CRY, SHREK THE MUSICAL, RUDOLPH THE RED NOSED REINDEER: THE MUSICAL, FIVE LITTLE MONKEYS, A WRINKLE IN TIME and AESOP’S FABLES.  He has numerous credits with Milwaukee Chamber Theatre and In Tandem Theatre, and has also performed with Forward Theater, Kentucky Rep., Lake Geneva Theater Co., Milwaukee Shakespeare, the Notre Dame, Illinois, and North Carolina Shakespeare Festivals, and on many independent stages in New York. Matt is the Associate Director of First Stage’s Young Company and his directing work has been seen locally at First Stage Theater Academy, MCT’s New Play Development series, Sunset Playhouse, and goats & monkeys. Matt is a graduate of the Juilliard Drama Division.

The adult actor cast of RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER: THE MUSICAL includes Robert Spencer (Member of Actor’s Equity Association) as Sam/Ensemble; Todd Denning (Member of Actor’s Equity Association) as Santa Claus/Ensemble;Lee Becker (Member of Actor’s Equity Association) as Coach Comet/Yukon/Ensemble; Alison Mary Forbes as Mrs. Donner/Ensemble; Karen Estrada as Mrs. Claus/Ensemble; James Carrington as Donner/Ensemble; Tim Linn Ensemble; Anna Lewein as Female understudy/Ensemble; and J.T. Backes as Male Understudy.

Young performer roles are double cast.  Young performers in the HOLLY CAST are Luke Brotherhood (as Rudolph); Jake Koch (as Hermey); Abby Hanna (as Clarice); Tighe Leszczynski (as Fireball); Jack Burns (as Elf/Ensemble); Ben Usatinsky (as Elf/Ensemble); Mara Hoffman (as Elf/Ensemble); Michalene McQuide (as Elf/Ensemble); Ashley Nord (as Elf/Ensemble); Natalie Alteri (as Elf/Ensemble); Lilian Jochman (as Elf/Ensemble); TJ Echols (as Ostrich Cowboy/Ensemble); Amira Elsafy (as Plane/Ensemble); Avery Mitchell (as Spotted Elephant/Ensemble); Marion Frank (as Bird Fish/Ensemble); Deja Evans (as Train/Ensemble); Reese Parish (as Young Doe/Ensemble); and Abby Barbeau (Ensemble).

Young performers in the JOLLY CAST are Collin Woldt (as Rudolph); Jimmy Mullooly (as Hermey); Lyndsey Nelsen (as Clarice); Andrew Mazza (as Fireball); Andrew Kindler (as Elf/Ensemble); Zach Duckler (as Elf/Ensemble); Harper Navin (as Elf/Ensemble); Sailor Ames (as Elf/Ensemble); Malia Westlake (as Elf/Ensemble); Lily Maclean (as Elf/Ensemble); Alyssa Proell (as Elf/Ensemble); Noah Chartrand (as Ostrich Cowboy/Ensemble); Hailey Kapenga (as Plane/Ensemble); Natalia Haworth (as Spotted Elephant/Ensemble); Meg Mazza (as Bird Fish/Ensemble); Anna Pahl (as Train/Ensemble); Grace Brown (as Young Doe/Ensemble); and Morgan Dobersek (Ensemble).

The Artistic Staff for RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER: THE MUSICAL includes: Jessica Redish (Choreographer); Brandon Kirkham (Scenic & Costume Designer); Jason Fassl, USAA (Lighting Designer); Timothy Splain (Music Director); Jeff Schaetzke (Assistant Music Director); Matt Whitmore (Sound Designer); Melissa L. Wanke (Stage Manager); and Cara Cook (Assistant Stage Manager).


Opening Night Reception – Friday, November 28
Following the opening night performance, First Stage invites all patrons to attend the Opening Night Reception at the Milwaukee Youth Arts Center, located one mile from the Marcus Center at 325 W. Walnut Street.  Patrons can mix and mingle with the cast of RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER: THE MUSICAL while enjoying music and refreshments, courtesy of First Stage.

Mentioned in This Press Release

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