Madison Rep 1998-99 Season
- Little Shop of Horrors - July 24 - August 29
- Three Viewings - September 4 - 27
- How I Learned to Drive - October 30 - November 22
- The Man Who Came to Dinner - December 11-13
- Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill - January 8-31, 1999
- The Cripple of Inishmaan - March 12 - April 4, 1999
- Sherlock's Last Case. - April 16 - May 9, 1999
Madison Rep 1997-98 Season
- Dames at Sea - July 25 - August 31, 1997
- Beast on the Moon - September 12-28, 1997
- Blues for an Alabama Sky - November 7-23, 1997
- Triple Espresso - December 12-31, 1997
- Sylvia - January 9- February 1, 1998
- Long Day's Journey Into Night - March 13 - April 5, 1998
- Master Class - April 17 - May 10, 1998
Dames at Sea
Book and Lyrics by George Haimsohn and Robin Miller, Music by Jim Wise
Directed by Pam Kriger
Produced by The Rep
Set Sail for a Musical Summer with Dames at Sea
The New York Times called Dames at Sea, "a real winner, a little gem of a musical." Reminiscent of the 1930s musical extravaganzas, this musical comedy with its delightful melodies, toe tapping rhythms, and a story of love and Broadway dreams, takes us back to a time when song-and-dance people gave it their all, talent was discovered overnight, stage vampires twisted men around their fingers and endings were always happy.
Dames at Sea, a hit of the 1968 off-Broadway season, pays a special tribute to the 1930s musical films of famed director/choreographer Busby Berkeley. Berkeley's films were born out of America's need to be distracted from the realities of the depression. In his movies, loners always found each other, all problems could be solved with enthusiasm and cleverness, and a spunky person could always rise and succeed. Mostly, they were stories of hope.
Berkeley's movies were noted for large casts of beautiful chorus girls, leading characters dripping with charm and personality, and extravagant dance numbers. The creators of Dames at Sea decided to recreate a 1930s film experience "on a postage stamp" using only six characters (our production has seven). Dames at Sea specifically spoofs 42nd Street with its lead characters having the same names as the stars of the film -- RUBY Keeler and DICK Powell.
In Dames at Sea, we are introduced to Ruby, just off the bus with only a suitcase and dreams of stardom. She meets Joan, the wise-cracking showgirl with a heart as big as the Bronx who convinces the dubious manager/producer Hennesey to give Ruby a chance in his upcoming show. Soon, Ruby finds herself sharing the stage with the temperamental Broadway star, Mona Kent.
While they rehearse the play, Mona makes her move on Ruby's true love, Dick, the good looking, song-writing sailor. When Hennesey loses the theater right before opening night, it's Dick's heroic idea that saves the show. The cast is complete as Dick's sailor sidekick Lucky enters the scene, along with Ginger, the gum-smacking showgirl.
The Rep is thrilled to have Pam Kriger return as director and choreographer. Joining her is Richard L. Carsey as musical director. The cast of seven include Tonya Kay (playing Ruby), Tony Clements (Dick), Carolynne Warren (Mona), Becky Spice (Joan), John Staniunas (Lucky), Norman Moses (Hennesey/The Captain) and Kelli Clement (Ginger).
The design team includes set designer Frank Schneeberger, costume designer Sharon Sobel, lighting designer John Frautschy, sound designer Caleb Pourchot. Production stage manager is Sara Young.
Dames at Sea opens on Friday, July 25 and runs through August 31 in the Isthmus Playhouse of the Madison Civic Center, 211 State Street.
There will be post-performance discussions held after the Sunday, July 27, and the Wednesday, August 6, performances. Audience discussions are free and open to the public. The Sunday, August 17, performance at 7:30 pm will be interpreted in American Sign Language. TDD: 267-2674.
Single ticket prices are $18 for Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday performances and $22 for Friday and Saturday performances. Discounted rush tickets are available by request on the day of the show at the Civic Center Ticket Office. Discounts are available for groups of 15 or more. Group information is available by calling the Rep offices at 608-256-0029. Tickets are available through the Madison Civic Center Ticket Office at 211 State Street or by calling 608-266-9055.
Presented at the Madison Civic Center in the Isthmus Playhouse.
Kelli Clement (Ginger) is pleased to return to Madison Rep after playing Sister Mary Hubert in Nunsense II last summer. She has performed off-Broadway, in regional theaters around the country, and locally with CTM, Strollers Theatre, and The Fireside. Favorite roles include Sharon in Finian's Rainbow, Dr. Gorgeous in The Sisters Rosenweig, Trinculo in The Tempest, and Minnie Pearl for the Fireside's Legends of Country Music. Kelli is a graduate of the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York City. In addition to her life in the theater, Kelli is a professional travel agent. Following the run of Dames at Sea, Kelli and her husband Mike will be moving to Minneapolis.
Tony Clements (Dick) was last seen at the Rep as Frankie in Forever Plaid. Other recent credits include Anthony Hope in Sweeney Todd and Billy in Wings (both at the Skylight Opera Theater), Erskine in Smash and Pliny in The Apple Cart (both at the Milwaukee Chamber Theatre), and Tom/Phyllis/Leslie in Sylvia (Next Act Theater). He has also been seen in Madison as Wintergreen in Of Thee I Sing (Madison Opera). Tony lives in Milwaukee with Reg (a feisty Airedale).
Tonya Kay (Ruby) The part of Ruby is not far from home for 20 year-old Tonya Kay. Like Ruby, she grew up in a small town. Having tapped since age four, Tonya recently relocated from that small town (Hillsdale, Michigan) to Chicago in hopes of making it big on stage. Recently, Tonya was seen as Susan in Theatre at the Center's Finian's Rainbow and Patsy in Crazy for You with Peninsula Players. Other credits include The Elephant Man at the Theatre Building and the first ever national tour of The Tap Dance Kid.
Norman Moses (Hennesey/The Captain) has been seen at Madison Repertory Theatre in The Mystery of Irma Vep and All in the Timing. Both were performed during the dead of winter so he is happy to finally get to spend the summer in Madison. He has performed with The Skylight Opera Theatre, Next Act Theatre, The Milwaukee Rep, The Milwaukee Chamber Theatre, The Goodman Theatre, and is a frequent guest soloist and director with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. The feature film, The Unearthling, in which he stars, is available on video. He lives in Milwaukee with his wife, actress Carrie Hitchcock, and daughter Kelsey Moses.
Becky Spice (Joan) is pleased to be making her Madison debut. A Milwaukee native, she has performed primarily with the Skylight Opera Theatre in productions of West Side Story, Cabaret, Girl Crazy, A Little Night Music, Falsettos, and most recently as Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady. Other favorites include Bonnie in Anything Goes with Music Under the Stars and Guenevere in Camelot with The Milwaukee Players.
John Staniunas (Lucky) was last seen at the Rep as Romeo/Iago in Goodnight Desdemona. He is very happy to be working again with Forever Plaid alums Tony Clements and Pam Kriger. Thanks to the Rep and D. Scott Glasser for keeping food on his table and opportunity at his door. He would also like to thank the Madison community and critics for being supportive all these many years. After Dames, John will be directing Just for a Song at Milwaukee Rep, which will open this September. In the fall, he will be joining the faculty at the University of Kansas, Department of Theatre and Film.
Carolynne Warren (Mona) is a native Bostonian who has been laughing her way across Midwestern stages for quite some time. For the past three years, her main focus has been her one-woman musical character revue called The Carolin' Carolynne Show. The show has played to enthusiastic audiences in Milwaukee, Michigan, Boston, and Chicago, where Carolynne received an After Dark Award for Outstanding Cabaret Artist of the Year. Carolynne has been employed as a Mistress of Ceremonies for many fundraising and special events in Chicago and Milwaukee, and as the producer and on-camera talent for a closed-circuit television network at Children's Memorial Hospital in Chicago.
Pam Kriger (Director/choreographer) is thrilled to be back at Madison Rep after directing Forever Plaid in '95. Since then her directing credits include Zombies from the Beyond (off-Broadway), Cabaret for the Milwaukee Jewish Community Theater, and Little Shop of Horrors at Cardinal Stritch College. Next season she will be directing Into the Woods and Brighton Beach Memoirs for Milwaukee schools. She is particularly thrilled to be directing Once on this Island for the Skylight Opera Theatre.
Richard L. Carsey (Musical Director) has been associated with the Skylight Opera Theatre for seven seasons, first as Music Director, and for the last two seasons as Artistic Director. During his tenure with the Skylight he has conducted hundreds of performances of such diverse works as Eugene Onegin, The Marriage of Figaro, Oklahoma!, and Sweeney Todd. He was the founder of the Skylight Music Series, a chamber music concert series featuring instrumentalists and singers active with the Skylight. He was the co-author of Broadway Cabaret which toured South and Central America as well as the Near East under the auspices of the USIA. He has also worked with the Lyric Opera Cleveland, Opera Omaha, the Perry-Mansfield School of the Arts, and the Milwaukee Chamber Theatre.
John Frautschy (Lighting Designer) is the production manager for the Performing Arts department at Rockford College, as well as a freelance lighting and sound designer. Local designs include A Raisin in the Sun and Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet) for the Rep; The Servant of Two Masters and A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court for New American Theater; The Nutcracker, Cinderella, and Romeo and Juliet for Rockford Dance Company; and The Merry Widow, The Magic Flute and Hansel and Gretel for the Mendelssohn Club in Rockford. In his free time (!) he assists lighting designer Tom Hase. Recent assistant credits include Playboy of the Western World and The Tavern at Milwaukee Rep; Forever Plaid, All in the Timing, and Hauptmann at Madison Rep; and Lucia di Lammermoor and Carmen at Cincinnati Opera. John is also associated with Ping Chong and Company in New York. He was assistant designer on the tours of Deshima at Singapore International Art Festival, Chinoiserie at the Brooklyn Academy of Music; and tour designer for Interfacing Joan in El Salvador and After Sorrow which goes to Seoul, Korea, this September.
Caleb Pourchot (Sound Designer) is happy to be returning to Madison Rep again this season. His past Rep credits include Forever Plaid, Season's Greetings, and Nunsense II. By day he runs the Madison based audio production company Larger Mars and does freelance audio engineering around town.
Sharon Sobel (Costume Designer) has designed costumes for over 50 productions. Theaters include the Asolo Center for the Performing Arts, Brooklyn Academy of Music, The Juilliard School, Long Island Stage, Connecticut Repertory Theatre, North Shore Music Theatre, and Nebraska Shakespeare Festival. She is an Assistant Professor at the University of Nebraska at Omaha and holds a Master of Fine Arts degree from Carnegie-Mellon University.
Frank Schneeberger (Set Designer) has designed Rep sets for 19 seasons. They include George and Martha's living room (Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?), the Delta (From the Mississippi Delta), the Keller's backyard (All my Sons), a magical penthouse (I Hate Hamlet), an English manor house (Sleuth), and, on a budget of $100, a Chicago junk shop (American Buffalo). Other highlights include The Crucible, Our Country's Good, A Streetcar Named Desire, and Dancing at Lughnasa.
Beast on the Moon
By Richard Kalinoski
Settled in Milwaukee in 1920, Aram has established himself as a photographer and has sent for Seta, his 'picture bride' from his native land. Survivors of the Turkish persecutions, these Armenian immigrants each strive to define their role in this uneasy marriage. Called "one of the most beautiful, sensitive, and emotionally complete dramas," by The Louisville Courier-Journal, Beast on the Moon is about two very real people who have endured great tragedy. Kalinoski's finely etched characters make this love story both original and hopeful.
Presented at the Madison Civic Center in the Isthmus Playhouse.
September 12 - 28, 1997
Blues for an Alabama Sky
By Pearl Cleage
Framed between the Harlem Renaissance and the beginning of the Great Depression, Blues for an Alabama Sky is a compassionate, engaging story of two dreamers and two results. The intertwined lives and disparate lifestyles of fast-talking cabaret singer Angel Allen, her friends and neighbors provide a rich collage of comic turns, heated confrontations, and impassioned romantic twists. Cleage's characters are so original and authentic that everyone can relate to their joys, jealousies, passions and triumphs.
The setting couldn't be more dramatic. It is the summer of 1930 in Harlem, New York. The creative euphoria of the Harlem Renaissance has given way to the harsher realities of the Great Depression. Young Reverend Adam Clayton Powell is feeding the hungry and preaching an activist gospel. Birth control pioneer Margaret Sanger is opening a new family planning clinic on 126th Street, and the doctors at Harlem Hospital are scrambling to care for a population whose most deadly disease is poverty. But, far from Harlam, African-American expatriate extraordinaire, Josephine Baker, sips champagne in her dressing room at the Follies Bergere.
In this unique moment of American history, Cleage brings together five African-American characters, resilient hopefuls who create a family of friends in New York. Former Cotton Club singer Angel Allen is down on her luck. She is taken in by her best friend, Guy Jacobs, a self-described "notorious" homosexual who dreams of sewing costumes for Josephine Baker and moving to Paris. Their neighbor, Delia Patterson, works at Margaret Sanger's family clinic and has befriended Sam Thomas, a dedicated doctor. Despite the talent and ambition of these four friends, it is Leland Cunningham, a wide-eyed "country boy" from Alabama, who arrives in Harlem and changes their lives forever.
Called "brilliant -- a hot new American play" by The Boston Globe, the play presents a view of a time rarely depicted. "Most of what I had seen about the Renaissance focused on its heyday, 1925-26," notes the playwright. "I became more interested in the end of the Renaissance. It's a very different situation when the patrons have lost their money in the stock market and are no longer able to support the artists."
Two years ago Edward G. Smith made his Madison Rep debut as director of A Raisin in the Sun, and the Rep is happy to welcome him back as guest director. Currently on the faculty of Florida State University in the Department of Theatre, Smith is the former associate artistic director for the Alabama Shakespeare Festival. There he directed DIARY OF ANNE FRANK, JOE TURNER'S COME AND GONE, A RAISIN IN THE SUN and Pearl Cleage's FLYIN' WEST. His credits include work at many regional and professional theaters in the US, Canada and the West Indies.
Presented at the Madison Civic Center in the Isthmus Playhouse.
November 7 - 23, 1997
Tickets are $18 on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays, $22 on Fridays and Saturdays. To purchase tickets, call the Civic Center box office, (608) 266-9055. For information on group rates, call the Rep at (608) 256-0029.
By Bill Arnold, Michael Pearce Donley and Bob Stromberg
A wildly funny tale of an unlucky trio whose partnership finally broke up after a series of hilarously ill-conceived plans and absurdly inept performances led them right past the door marked "Success" and into the funniest territory you can imagine. this is "new vaudeville" at its best with singing, dancing, magic and laugh-out-loud silliness. Drama-Logue called it "totally beguiling entertainment...a hilarious evening." The happy result is a light-hearted, high-energy show that appeals to everyone from your grandma to your ten-year-old nephew.
Please note: Triple Espresso is performed in the Mitchell Theatre, located in Vilas Hall on the UW Campus.
December 12 - 31, 1997
By A.R. Gurney
Directed by D. Scott Glasser
It's an affair to remember. Quite without warning, Greg finds himself tumbling head over heels down the slippery slope of middle age. His career has peaked; the kids are grown; his wife Kate is finally pursuing her own professional dreams. His inner compass has gone haywire, and Greg drifts into the murky sea of discontent. The one day, she appears. She's young. She's exciting. She's a little bit bad. Her name is Sylvia and Greg likes the way she makes him feel. They bond, recognizing with a single glance that they were meant for each other. Greg is a man and Sylvia is a dog!
Appropriately dubbed "howlingly funny," this delightful romantic comedy will warm the hearts of dog lovers and theater-goers alike. Poignant, funny and wildly entertaining, Sylvia &endash; the dog and the play &endash; teaches us about love, about sharing, and about what it means to spend a life together. The New York Times writes, "if you've ever loved a pet, you'll fall head over heels for Sylvia."
The production features Darla Max as the irascible pup Sylvia. Max made her Rep debut earlier this season as Seta, the Armenian picture bride in Beast on the Moon. Also in the cast is Paul Bentzen as Greg and Iris Lieberman as Kate. Bentzen is well-known to area audiences for his fifteen seasons at American Players Theater, as well as his Rep appearances in The Voice of the Prairie, Ten November and Holy Ghosts. Iris Lieberman has a distinguished career in both plays and musicals in the Chicago area, where she won a Joseph Jefferson Award for best supporting actress in the Forum Theatre's production of Robert and Elizabeth. Mark Corkins plays the multiple roles of Tom, a macho male dog owner; Phyllis, a college pal of Kate's who hates dogs, and Leslie, an androgynous marriage counselor. Corkins appeared in the Rep's productions of Blood Knot, The Recruiting Officer and Our Country's Good. He is also a member of the company of American Players Theater. The design team of Sylvia includes set designer Nayna Ramey, lighting designer Michael Klaers and costume designer Sharon Sobel.
Sylvia opens Friday, January 9, 1998, at 8:00 pm and runs through Sunday, February 1. Post-performance discussions are open to the public and will be held on Sunday, January 11 and Wednesday, January 21. The performance on Sunday, February 1, will be interpreted in American Sign Language. Performances are in the Isthmus Playhouse of the Madison Civic center. Ticket prices are $18 for Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays and $22 for Fridays and Saturdays. Tickets are available at the Madison Civic Center Ticket Office, 211 State St. or by calling (608)266-9055, TTY (608)267-2674.
Please note: Sylvia contains some strong language, but probably nothing your dog hasn't heard before.
Doggie Dedications at the Rep
In conjunction with Sylvia, Madison Rep is giving dog lovers an opportunity to show their favorite pooches just how much they care. For a $25 donation to the Rep, one can dedicate a performance of Sylvia to one's favorite dog, an honor that will be announced from the stage! Posted on a display board in the lobby will be Fido's biography and photo. Here's the scoop (so to speak). There are 23 performances of Sylvia. It's first come, first served, so call the Rep at (608) 256-0029. The Rep will also have a canine "wall of fame" in the lobby with snapshots of patrons' dogs on display during the run of the show. Photos, with owner and dog's names on the back, can be sent to Madison Rep, 122 State St., Suite 201, Madison, WI 53703. Sorry, photo cannot be returned.
Long Day's Journey Into Night
By Eugene O'Neill
In his most personal work, O'Neill has created a haunting play that digs deep into the psyche of an American family. By fictionalizing his own family and the events of one summer day, he evokes a poetic tale of the search for truth and the cohesive effect of family love. His masterful use of language produces a powerful play that reaches out to the heart and soul of the audience. According to The New York Times, the play is "O'Neill's greatest drama...a masterpiece."
For O'Neill, the work exorcised the demons of his immediate family that had haunted his life. The "Tyrone" family of the play is a thinly disguised portrait of his own. The character of James Tyrone is his actor father, James O'Neill, a matinee idol who forever regretted abandoning the classics to keep poverty at bay. Mary Tyrone is the playwright's delicate and sensitive mother Ella. Her addiction to morphine, prescribed after Eugene's difficult birth, was a well-kept secret that took an enormous toll on the entire family. James, Jr. (Jamie) is the playwright's elder brother of the same name, an alcoholic and failed actor. The character of Edmund is the young Eugene. With some poetic license, O'Neill distills his family's tragedy into a single summer's day in 1912. The quartet of characters advances from a morning's surface jocularity to the evening's soul-shaking revelations of self-truth.
Although the play is about specific people, it has universal relevance. What household does not put up with some unreasonable behavior from its dominant figure? What brothers or sisters don't experience a pinch of jealousy for one another? What family isn't faced with a member's compulsive behavior which it must ignore or excuse to avoid a rupture?
O'Neill considered the play so truthful that he had a sealed copy of the script deposited in a safe with instructions that it be neither published nor performed until 25 years after his death. In 1956, only three years after he died, his wife Carlotta nonetheless gave permission for the play to be produced first in Sweden and then in the United States. That same year, it won the Pulitzer Prize for Literature.
Under the direction of the Rep's artistic director, D. Scott Glasser, the production features Tom Lee as Edmund Tyrone, the young Eugene O'Neill. Lee has performed internationally with the New York-based Yara Arts Group, including tours to the Ukraine and Russia.
Jamie, the elder son, is played by Chicago actor Mark Ulrich, who has appeared at Milwaukee's Next Act Theatre and American Inside Theatre and the Milwaukee Theatre Festival. Ulrich first performed with the Madison Rep as Elyot in Private Lives.
Paul Boesing is cast as the parsimonious father, James Tyrone. Boesing has performed in many Twin Cities theaters as well as in Los Angeles, Dallas, Columbus and St. Louis. At Madison Rep, he has played the roles of Jack in Dancing at Lughnasa and George in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Mary Ann Thebus plays the delicate and troubled mother, Mary Tyrone. Thebus has performed extensively in Chicago at Court Theatre, Goodman Theatre, Shakespeare Rep and Apple Tree. Her film credits include Rudy, Blink, My Life, Straight Talk and the soon-to-be-released Chicago Cab. She last appeared at the Rep as Grandma Kurnitz in Lost in Yonkers.
Making her Madison Rep debut, Molly Weyers will join the cast playing the role of Cathleen. She has worked locally with the UW-Madison's open-stage productions and the Shorewood Summer Drama Program.
The design team for Long Day's Journey Into Night includes Mary Waldhart, costume designer; John Tees, lighting designer; Frank Schneeberger, set designer; and Jennifer Janoviak, stage manager.
Performances are in the Isthmus Playhouse of the Madison Civic Center, 211 State Street in Madison. Ticket prices are $18 for Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday and $22 for Friday and Saturday. Tickets are available at the Madison Civic Center Ticket Office, (608)266-9055, TDD (608)267-2674.
The Rep's production of Long Day's Journey into Night is funded in part by corporate sponsor WISC-TV, the Wisconsin Arts Board, the Shubert Foundation and the Madison Civic Center Foundation.
Wed Thur Fri Sat Sun March 13
By Terrence McNally
At center stage is La Divina Maria Callas, the last of the "romantic" divas, called by many the greatest soprano of the 20th Century. This is Callas, not as singer but as instructor, working with three young students. Inspired by the master classes she taught at Juilliard, the play is a forthright and often funny exploration of Callas' life and the nature of her art. At times, the classroom and students dissolve as Callas reminisces about her rise from poverty, her scandalous affair with Aristotle Onassis and her fierce devotion to her work.
Corporate Sponsor: Firstar Bank
Presented at the Madison Civic Center in the Isthmus Playhouse.
Wed Thur Fri Sat Sun April 17
Madison Rep 1996-97 Season
Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet)
By Ann-Marie MacDonald
In a comic theatrical romp, we follow English professor Constance Ledbelly as she attempts to decode an unknown Shakespeare manuscript. When she literally falls into the worlds of Othello and Romeo and Juliet, she wreaks havoc while changing the fates of two of the Bard's most celebrated heroines.
January 10-26, 1997.
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
By Tennessee Williams
Described as a "stunning drama" and "superb" by The New York Times, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof portrays a Mississippi Delta family as they celebrate the 65th birthday of their cherished patriarch, Big Daddy. Conflicting personalities and inner demons set the tone as the family gathers at their plantation home for the festivities. Maggie and her husband, Brick, combat sins of the past and a thirst for the bottle. Brick's brother Gooper and his wife, Mae, horde scheming plans for their future as well as for their five children. All the while Big Daddy, Big Mama, and the rest of the cast choose to ignore the truths that ensnare them all.
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof made its debut on Broadway in the Morosco Theatre in March 1955. The same year, Tennessee Williams collected both a Pulitzer Prize and the New York Critics Circle Award for the play. Three years later, the film version hit the big screen starring Elizabeth Taylor as maggie, Burl Ives as Big Daddy and Paul Newman as Brick. In 1974, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof received a Broadway revival which included some of its original cast.
Presented at the Madison Civic Center in the Isthmus Playhouse
Wednesday through Sunday, March 7-30, 1997
The Rep has gathered a talented ensemble to take on the roles of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Bernie Landis leads the cast with his portrayal of Big Daddy. Landis is a veteran of the stage and preeminent figure on the Chicago theater scene. He appeared off-Broadway for two years in James Sherman's Beau Jest. His extensive theater credits include work with Victory Gardens, Steppenwolf, and the Goodman Theatre. Margaret Ingraham is happy to return to her native Madison. A UW alum, she will take on the role of Big Mama. Ingraham's numerous credits include work with the Goodman Theatre, Candlelight, marriott Lincolnshire and the Royal George in Chicago. She currently teaches acting and private voice lessons in Madison.
Adding to the drama is Brenda Bedard as Maggie and James Ridge as Brick. Bedard portrayed Stella in Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire for the Rep in 1992. She most recently was seen here in Awake and Sing!. Ridge returns to the Rep stage where he appeared in A Month in the Country, The Miser, and Dancing at Lughnasa. He has performed in several shows at First Stage Milwaukee and most recently as Boo in To Kill A Mockingbird. Ridge also teaches and choreographs stage violence as a member of the SAFD.
Veteran actor Mark Lazar will be returning to Madison Rep as Gooper from his current home in North Carolina. A Madison-based actor for ten years, Lazar was seen at the Rep in Terra Nova, The Foreigner, The Norman Conquests and Death of a Salesman. Since leaving Madison, he has performed in over 25 productions for the North Carolina Shakespeare Festival and the Charlotte Repertory Theatre. The role of Mae is played by the Rep's company manager, Celia Klehr. Klehr has appeared in several productions at the Rep including A Month in the Country, Dancing at Lughnasa and A Streetcar Named Desire.
Two of Madison's busiest non-equity actors, Patrick Fernan and Jeff Knupp, will join the cast as Reverend Tooker and Doctor Baugh, respectively. Fernan is the co-founder of MCM Grand Dinner Theatre (formerly Madcap Dinner Theatre) and Millenium Theatre. He has also worked with the Madison Theatre Guild, Middleton Players, Strollers and Broom Street. Knupp has appeared at the Rep during every season dating back to 1982. Credits at the Rep include A Raisin in the Sun, A Month in the Country and Six Degrees of Separation. He most recently appeared in Buried Child for Strollers Theatre.
Rounding out the cast, playing Gooper and Mae's little "no-neck monsters" are Tyler Heilman, Colin Koffel, Kate Lubarsky, Elizabeth White and Katherine White. Heilman is a student at the Hawthorne School. Koffel is a fifth grader at Randall Elementary whose interests range from Star Trek to computer art. Lubarsky is a thirteen-year old soccer player and attends Velma Hamilton Middle School. Ten-year old Elizabeth White goes to the Hawthorne School where she is a member of the swing choir and plays the violin in the string orchestra. Katherine White attends the Hawthorne School with her sister, Elizabeth. She swims for Ridgewood and leads her class in Tai-Gee dance. This production offers Elizabeth and Katherine the opportunity to appear on stage with their mother, Celia Klehr.
Timid Charlie has a problem. He's caught in a lie. Everyone thinks that he doesn't speak or understand a word of English. Before long, he's become privy to all kinds of problems and secrets. The hilarious escapades of Charlie and his fellow cast of curious characters will delight audiences attending Madison Repertory Theatre's production of Larry Shue's The Foreigner. Directed by J.R. Sullivan, the production will run from April 11 through May 4 in the Isthmus Playhouse of the Madison Civic Center, 211 State Street.
By Larry Shue
Directed by J.R. Sullivan
Produced by The Rep
Shue first premiered The Foreigner in Milwaukee in 1983 where it enjoyed a sold-out run and went on to become an off-Broadway smash. The play was such a hit with audiences everywhere that, before his death in 1985, Shue was working on a screenplay for Disney studios. Michael Feingold of the Village Voice commented that The Foreigner is "a constant invitation to relax and laugh at the foolishness of life."
Based on a "devilishly clever idea," according to the New York Post, this high-spirited comedy features Charlie Baker, a meek and mild-mannered little fellow. Charlie has been persuaded by his friend Froggy to take a brief holiday from the bedside of his ailing wife, a nasty shrew who has been viciously unfaithful to him. They travel to the backwoods of Georgia where Froggy must make his annual visit to a military camp. While he's off on maneuvers, he plans to leave Charlie at Betty Meeks' Fishing Lodge, an old inn that is every bit as friendly and rundown as Betty herself.
The only hitch in the plans is Charlie. Desparately shy, afraid of conversation, and fearing he lacks a personality, he begs not to be abandoned in this strange place. Froggy simply informs Betty that his friend is a foreigner who can neither speak nor understand a word of English. It doesn't take long before Charlie is unwittingly made privy to all sorts of secrets kept by Betty and other local yokels. In between the many laughs, Shue has filled the play with some lovely observations on the importance of friendship and trust.
Ten years ago, the Rep presented The Foreigner. At that time, it was the most successful production in Rep history. This production features the return of three actors who appeared in the Rep's 1987 production. Michael Herold returns as Charlie, the foreigner, while Jeff Knupp and Mark Lazar return as Froggy and Owen. Joining these talented performers are Margaret Ingraham, Valeri Lantz-Gefroh, Jeff Christian, and Royden Mills.
The Rep's resident design team will be working on The Foreigner. Set designer Frank Schneeberger will be joined by lighting designer Thomas C. Hase and costume designer Mary Waldhart.
The Foreigner opens on Friday, April 11 at 8:00 p.m. and runs through Sunday, May 4.
Presented at the Madison Civic Center in the Isthmus Playhouse.
Jeff Christian (Rev. David Marshall Lee) is thrilled to return home to Madison and make his Rep debut. He looks forward to his fourth collaboration with director Jim Sullivan and his third stab at this play (he has played Froggy and David previously). Other acting credits include Shakespeare Rep, Milwaukee Rep, New American, Bailiwick, Michigan Ensemble, Shakespeare's Motley Crew, ARK Rep and CT20 Ensemble (Jefferson nomination for The Fair Maid of the West). He recently co-wrote and directed the Chicago productions of Crate Expectations and Singer & Saw and has worked on the films Hoffa, The Fence and Obstructed View. He now divides his time between Los Angeles and Chicago.
Michael Herold (Charlie Baker) moved to Wisconsin ten years ago and his first production with the Rep was The Foreigner. It was a thoroughly enjoyable experience that initiated a wonderful relationship with this theater company. It was also the first of many shows in which Michael would perform with his dear friends Mark Lazar and Jeff Knupp. He has since performed with such theaters as Next Act, Milwaukee Rep, New American and the Briar Street Theatre in Chicago. Favorite roles include Norman Dewars in The Norman Conquests, Haskell Harelik in The Immigrant and his roles in Consumer Affairs. Michael would like to thank all of his friends at the Rep for inviting him back to reprise his favorite role, and he would also like to dedicate this performance to his loving family and to his most beautiful friend and wife, Tracy.
Margaret Ingraham (Betty Meeks) was last seen as Big Mama in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. A Madison native who received her first degree in theater from UW, Margaret has worked across the country. In Michigan, where she raised three great sons, she performed at the BoarsHead Theatre, Meadow Brook, Hilberry, Barn, and Tibbits Opera House. She received her MFA in Acting from Wayne State University in Detroit. Her Chicago credits include the Jeff Award-winning Passion Play at the Goodman, the Jeff Award Follies and Into the Woods at Candlelight, Into the Woods and 70 Girls 70 at Marriott Lincolnshire, Jacques Brel... at the Royal George and The Marriage of Bette & Boo at the Apple Tree. Favorite roles in Michigan and Colorado Theaters: Arkadina in The Sea Gull, Ranyevskya in The Cherry Orchard, Amanda in Private Lives, Caitlin Thomas in Dylan, Hedda in Hedda Gabler, Hanna in Night of the Iguana, Amanda in The Glass Menagerie, Gertrude in Hamlet and Desiree in A Little Night Music. Since relocating to Madison two years ago, she has been teaching acting and private voice lessons with Wisconsin Union mini-courses and the Madison School of Music. After starting her career at UW, it is great to return to Madison and the wonderful Rep.
Jeffrey Knupp (Froggy LeSueur) is very pleased to reprise the role of Froggy which he played in the Rep's 1987 version of The Foreigner. It's a great feeling to be reunited with Mark Lazar and Mike Herold who were also in the Rep's original production. My thanks to Joan Brooks, Joe Hanreddy and D. Scott Glasser for the guidance, patience and creativity given to me over the past 16 seasons at the Rep.
Valeri Lantz-Gefroh (Catherine Simms) is thrilled to return to the Rep for another comedy with J.R. Sullivan. She was last seen here as Deirdre in I Hate Hamlet and prior to that as Anne in All My Sons and Karen in Speed the Plow. She has worked in the Midwest with American Players Theatre, Milwaukee Rep, American Inside Theatre, The Court and The Body Politic. She currently resides in New York City with her wonderful husband Steven where she is pursuing both her acting and photography careers.
Mark Lazar (Owen Musser) Previous Rep roles: (1982-1992) Prosecutor, Cromwell, Reg, Chulkaturin, Milo, Off-Stage-Spear-Carrier, Abelard, John Landis, Beverley Carleton, Amundsson, Biff, Orsini-Rosenberg, Slim, Austin, Bruce, Owen, Shannon, Mr. Stewart, David, Tom, Axel, Norman Bulanski, Mark, Milton, Rev. Paris and Gooper. Since 1991 Mark has been busy at the North Carolina Shakespeare Festival playing various villainous and virtuous dukes, kings, gentlemen and vulgar villagers in over 25 productions. A few favorites include Mayor Richard J. Daly in an updated version of The Front Page, Kent (starring Earl Hyman in the title role) in King Lear, Bottom, Dogberry, Caesar, Creon and six seasons as Ebenezer Scrooge in A Christmas Carol. Mark has also spent as much off-season time as possible performing with the Charlotte Repertory Theatre, that city's largest professional theater. Memorable projects there include Speed of Darkness, Inherit the Wind, Prelude to a Kiss, world premieres of Boca!, Darwin, Three in the Back-Two in the Head (winner of Canada's most prestigious drama award), and most recently, The Tempest, a joint production of the Charlotte Rep and the Charlotte Symphony. Mr. Lazar has twice been named Charlotte's Best Actor in a Comedy for Darwin (1995) and for Max Prince in Laughter on the 23rd Floor (1996).
Royden Mills (Ellard Simms) has appeared as Al in The Grapes of Wrath with the Cleveland Play House and as Claudio and Paris last season with American Players Theatre. In Milwaukee, he appeared as Buttons in Northern Stage Company's Cinderella, and as Morgan in Treasure Island and Lyle in Lyle, Lyle Crocodile, both with First Stage. He has also worked many seasons with the Colorado Shakespeare Festival. He dedicates this performance to the innocence and humor of his 14-month old niece, Chloe Sinclair Mills.
Larry Shue (Playwright) was born in New Orleans in 1946 where his father taught Drama at Tulane University. Immersed in the world of theater since childhood, Shue enrolled in the Theater Arts program at Illinois Wesleyan University where he studied design, directing and stage history while performing in several college productions. In 1972, Shue performed for over 1,300 audiences with the Harlequin Dinner Theaters of Washington, D.C. and Atlanta. Four years later, Shue joined the Milwaukee Rep as an actor with an invitation from director John Dillon. While acting in productions such as High Time, Fighting Bob and David Mamet's Lakeboat and The Frog Prince, Shue began to work on his playwright skills. Milwaukee Rep produced the premieres of The Nerd, Wenceslas Square, The Foreigner and his autobiographical comedy Grandma Duck is Dead. Tragically, Shue died at the age of 39 in a commuter plane crash. At the time, he was preparing for his debut Broadway role in The Mystery of Edwin Drood and had finished his screenplay of The Foreigner for Disney Studios.
J.R. Sullivan (Director) last worked with the Rep as the director of 1993's I Hate Hamlet. Jim comes to this production of The Foreigner from a busy free-lance career in Chicago, where in 1997 he has already staged productions of King John for Shakespeare's Motley Crew and the premiere of a new play, 1001 Afternoons in Chicago, adapted from the newspaper writing of Ben Hecht. Jim is the founder and former producing director of Rockford's New American Theater, a company he began in 1972 immediately after his graduation from Beloit College. Jim led N.A.T. for 22 seasons, taking the company from its loft and storefront days to the capital campaign effort that resulted in the New New American Theater home on Rockford's downtown mall in 1986. Since leaving N.A.T. in 1994, Jim has staged two highly regarded Chicago productions of plays by Brian Friel, Faith Healer (Jeff Award winner) and Wonderful Tennessee, as well as two acclaimed comedies for Joe Hanreddy's Milaukee Repertory Theatre company, All in the Timing, and last December's Inspecting Carol. Last summer, Jim staged The Country Wife for American Players Theatre and followed that comedy success with Strindberg's drama Miss Julie for the PTTP program at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and Camping with Henry and Tom for N.A.T. in Rockford. His coming projects include four Public Broadcasting specials, one for each season of the year, that he will write and produce for Northern Public Radio in Illinois. Jim's next stage venture is Cyrano de Bergerac which he directs this summer in a return engagement for American Players Theatre.