First Stage
Press Release

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical returns to First Stage this holiday season!

November 25 – December 31, 2016 at the The Marcus Center’s Todd Wehr Theater

By - Oct 24th, 2016 10:43 am

Milwaukee, WI – The “most famous reindeer of all” from the longest running and highest rated holiday television special returns to First Stage with the critically acclaimed Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical at the Marcus Center’s Todd Wehr Theater from November 25 – December 31, 2016.

Tickets are available at the Marcus Center box office at 929 N. Water Street, by phone at (414) 273-7206 or online at

In 1964, the beloved stop-motion animated television classic, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, made its network television debut delighting audiences across the country. Our version of Rudolph, conceived at First Stage and designed by Brandon Kirkham, has since spawned numerous regional productions and multiple national tours. “It’s something we’re incredibly proud of,” said First Stage Artistic Director Jeff Frank. “This season’s production will combine all we’ve learned from our past productions and what has happened all around the country. It promises to be the best Rudolph ever!”

From the larger-than-life Abominable Snow Monster to the misfit toys, the loveable puppets designed by Brandon Kirkham capture the charming “roughness” from the television show’s stop-motion effects. The set and costumes, also designed by Kirkham immediately give way to a sense of wonder and nostalgia for audiences of all ages. In addition to heart-warming favorites “Holly Jolly Christmas” and “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” this year’s production will include two new songs, “When Santa Claus Gets Your Letter” and “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree.”

First Stage’s production of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical is sponsored by Associated Bank and Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren.

Jeff Frank (Director) has been First Stage’s artistic director since February 2003.  Previously he had served as education director/associate artistic director beginning in 1996.  Jeff is a native Wisconsinite who earned a B.F.A. in Theater from UW–Whitewater and went on to the University of Utah, earning an M.F.A. in Child Drama. This fall Jeff was welcomed back to the University of Utah where he was recognized as a Distinguished Alumnus in the theatre department. Over the past 20 seasons Jeff has directed over 50 First Stage productions. Among his favorites are:  THE SNOW, LUCHADORA!, PETER PAN AND WENDY, U: BUG: ME, THE NEVERENDING STORY, A MIDNIGHT CRY, PERSEUS BAYOU, TOM SAWYER and NANCY DREW AND HER BIGGEST CASE EVER.

The adult actor cast of RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER: THE MUSICAL includes Drew Brhel* as Coach Comet/Yukon/Ensemble; Matt Daniels* as Boss Elf/Ensemble; Robert Spencer* as Sam the Snowman; Todd Denning* as Santa Claus/Ensemble; Allie Babich as Mrs. Donner/Ensemble; Karen Estrada as Mrs. Claus/Ensemble; LaDareon Copeland as Donner/Ensemble and Tim Linn as Bumble/Ensemble. Understudies include Jeff Frank as Boss Elf Understudy; Zack Simonini as Coach Comet/Yukon Understudy; Andrew Stachurski as Santa/Donner Understudy and Hannah Shepherd as Mrs. Donner/Mrs. Claus Understudy.
*Member of Actor’s Equity Association.

Young performer roles are double cast.  Young performers in the SILVER CAST are Jack Trettin (Rudolph); Zach Duckler (Hermey); Terynn Erby-Walker (Clarice); Anthony Bagely (Fireball); Sawyer Esten (Elf/Young Buck/Ensemble); Aidan Bagley (Elf/Ensemble); Elliott Lehman (Elf/Ensemble); Julia Cyganiak (Elf/Ensemble); Mia Hartounian (Elf/Ensemble); Asha Metcalfe(Elf/Ensemble); Avana Kelly (Elf/Ensemble); Jacob Badovski (Ostrich Cowboy/Ensemble); Reese Parish (Dolly/Ensemble); Selena Esten (Spotted Elephant/Ensemble); Megan Grizzle(Birdfish/Ensemble); Holden Glass (Train/Ensemble); Greta Dane (Plane/Ensemble) and Adelaide Schaetzke (Young Doe/Ensemble).

Young performers in the GOLD CAST are Andrew Kindler (Rudolph); Nolan Van Haren (Hermey); Paige Landrum (Clarice); Costello Mylott (Fireball); Austin Bock (Elf/Ensemble); Thatcher Jacobs (Elf/Ensemble); Nathan Desing (Elf/Ensemble); Hannah Lipscomb (Elf/Ensemble); Maya Oday-Biddle (Elf/Ensemble); Ryann Schulz (Elf/Ensemble); Olivia Hennes (Elf/Ensemble); Tikvah Schlissel (Ostrich Cowboy/Ensemble); Marika Marklin (Dolly/Ensemble); Summer Kleppek (Spotted Elephant/Ensemble); Avery Holmes (Birdfish/Ensemble); Lawrence Hapeman(Train/Ensemble); Carmela Suozzi (Plane/Ensemble) and Lilly Frank (Young Doe/Ensemble).

The Artistic Staff for RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER: THE MUSICAL includes: Jeff Schaetzke (Music Director); Chris Feiereisen (Choreographer); Brandon Kirkham (Scenic/ Costume/Puppet Designer); Jason Fassl, USAA (Lighting Designer); Aaron Siegmann (Assistant Lighting Designer); Matt Whitmore (Sound Designer); Melissa L. Wanke Member of Actor’s Equity Association (Stage Manager) and Marissa Raby (Assistant Stage Manager).

Tickets start at $15 and are available at or through the Marcus Center box office at 929 N. Water Street, or by phone (414) 273-7206 or toll free at (888) 612-3500. The TDD number (for deaf and hard of hearing patrons) is (414) 273-3080.

Group Sales – Groups of 10 or more receive 15% off main floor, regular single ticket prices on most First Stage performances at the Marcus Center’s Todd Wehr Theater. Call (414) 267-2964 or email for information, or reserve online at


Friday, November 25: Opening Night Reception – Mix and mingle with the cast of Rudolph while enjoying refreshments, courtesy of First Stage. Reception takes place immediately following the opening night performance at the Milwaukee Youth Arts Center at 325 W. Walnut Street, Milwaukee.

Sunday, December 18: Grandparent Holiday Brunch – Grandparents, parents and children are invited to enjoy a special holiday brunch at the InterContinental Hotel, followed by a performance of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical. Brunch begins at 11:30 a.m. and includes a special visit from the cast, activities for the kids and more! Make your family’s holiday celebration one to remember for years to come. Tickets and information at


About:  Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical

Location:  The Marcus Center’s Todd Wehr Theater, 929 N. Water Street, downtown Milwaukee

Dates:  November 25 – December 31, 2016

Description:  And if you ever saw it, you would even say it glows! The beloved TV classic Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer soars off the screen and returns to our stage this holiday season. From fleeing the Abominable Snow Monster to saving Christmas, join Rudolph and his friends, Hermey the Elf and Yukon Cornelius, as their adventures teach us that what makes you different can be what makes you special. Don’t miss this wonderful holiday tradition that speaks to the little misfit in all of us! For families with young people ages 4 – 14 and up.


  • Friday, November 25 at 7:00 p.m. (Opening night)
  • Saturday, November 26 at 1, 3:30 & 7:00 p.m.
  • Sunday, November 27 at 1 & 3:30 p.m.
  • Tuesday, November 29 at 7:00 p.m. (Pay What You Choose)
  • Friday, December 2 at 7:00 p.m.
  • Saturday, December 3 at 1, 3:30 & 7:00 p.m.
  • Sunday, December 4 at 1:00 & 3:30 p.m.
  • Friday, December 9 at 7:00 p.m.
  • Saturday, December 10 at 1, 3:30 & 7:00 p.m.
  • Sunday, December 11 at 1:00 & 3:30 p.m.
  • Thursday, December 15 at 7:00 p.m.
  • Friday, December 16 at 7:00 p.m.
  • Saturday, December 17 at 1, 3:30 & 7:00 p.m.
  • Sunday, December 18 at 1 & *3:30 p.m.
  • Wednesday, December 21 at 7:00 p.m.
  • Thursday, December 22 at 7:00 p.m.
  • Friday, December 23 at 3:30 & 7:00 p.m.
  • Saturday, December 24 at 1:00 p.m.
  • Tuesday, December 27 at 1:00 & 3:30 p.m.
  • Wednesday, December 28 at 1:00 & 3:30 p.m.
  • Thursday, December 29 at 1:00 & 3:30 p.m.
  • Friday, December 30 at 3:30 & 7:00 p.m.
  • Saturday, December 31 at 1:00 & 3:30 p.m.

*ASL performance

Tickets and information:  Tickets start at $15. Call (414) 273-7206 or purchase online at

ASL Interpreted Performance: Sunday, December 18 at 3:30 p.m. – this performance will be sign language interpreted for patrons who are deaf or hard of hearing. Assistive listening devices are also available at the Todd Wehr Theater.

About Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

The beloved TV classic RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER soars off the screen and onto the stage this holiday season. Come see all of your favorite characters from the special including Santa and Mrs. Claus, Hermey the Elf, Bumble the Abominable Snow Monster, Clarice, Yukon Cornelius and, of course, Rudolph, as they come to life in RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER: THE MUSICAL. It’s an adventure that teaches us that what makes you different can be what makes you special. Don’t miss this wonderful holiday tradition that speaks to the misfit in all of us. Based on the animated television special “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” and the stage production directed and conceived by Jeff Frank and First Stage. Script adaptation by Robert Penola. Arrangements and orchestrations by Timothy Splain.

About First Stage
Celebrating its 30th anniversary in the 2016-2017 season, First Stage is one of the nation’s leading theaters for young audiences and families. First Stage touches hearts, engages minds, and transforms lives by creating extraordinary theater experiences for young people and families 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 use theater to promote active learning throughout the curriculum, serving over 20,000 students throughout southeastern Wisconsin each year.  In 2012, First Stage was selected to participate in the Partners in Education program of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. First Stage is the recipient of the Milwaukee Business Journal’s Eureka Award in 2013 and 2015, recognizing creativity and innovation in business, education, and the arts. First Stage is a member of TYA/USA, the American Alliance for Theatre and Education, the Wisconsin Alliance for Arts Education, Theatre Wisconsin, and Milwaukee Arts Partners, and is a cornerstone member of the United Performing Arts Fund (UPAF).

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