By Mary Boyle
Most people know of Robin Hood, the English outlaw/hero who robs from the rich and gives to the poor. Countless ballads, tales, books, plays, and movies tell the story of this nobleman who left his wealthy life to live with the Merry Men in Sherwood Forest; now, First Stage is taking a stab at it, with hilarious results, in their World Premiere of Robin Hood.
Written by Joe Foust and John Maclay, who also act in the production, this new version of a celebrated classic stays very true to its roots, while being entirely engaging to today's audience. Fight scenes, non-stop humor, and a brilliant cast makes for a perfect play that the entire family can enjoy.
In this version, Robin Hood (Dominique Worsley/Domonique Champion) and his Merry Men, led by Little John (James Fletcher) and Friar Tuck (Tommy Novak), are training a band of kids who wish to become Merry Men, themselves: Geoffrey (Jack Burns/Ben Kindler), Kate (Grace Berendt/Zora Allison), Joan (Taylor Loomans/Camara Stampley), Much (Nicholas Doermann/Jonathan Neustifter), and Elizabet(Anna Fitzsimmons/Jennie Babisch). Far from being a damsel in distress, Maid Marion (Allie Babich) is just as much of a match as Robin against the evil Archbishop of York (Joe Foust) and the Sherrif of Nottingham (John Maclay), who are quite possibly the most brilliant and entertaining evil duo ever to cross Todd Wehr's stage.
There are two odd characters who manage to steal the show with the few lines they have: the Deputy to the Sherrif (Elliot Brotherhood/Jacob Badovski), and Sir Thomas, the Silent (Teddy Esten/Benjamin Sturcyz). As you might imagine, Sir Thomas really doesn't have much to say, and so his part requires a lot of body language. Teddy Esten, a senior at Cedarburg High School, plays Sir Thomas in the Sherwood Cast, and Robin Hood will be his final performance with First Stage.
"Robin Hood has been very different from most of the other productions I've been in, and I think most of it has to do with the maturity and experience level of my cast," Esten explained. Many shows I've done have a large mix of younger and older performers, so you get a large skill gap within the group, where many of the younger kids don't understand exactly what the director wants. With this cast, there was a lot of immediate response from people. They all worked very hard and were very focused while rehearsing, but still knew how to have fun when on breaks; not to mention, having the playwrights in the cast with us was certainly interesting -- we would never know if lines were going to stay, because we kept adding and cutting different pieces as we went along, which is normally against copyright laws."
"Bittersweet" was the word Esten used to describe his last production with First Stage. "It's amazing to think that I've been a very large part in this amazing community that is First Stage, but also really sad I won't be returning as a Young Performer at the Todd Wehr. I have absolutely loved every moment of working with this company, to the point where 'company' is a much less fitting word than 'family' is. The people there are absolutely one of a kind, and I doubt I will run into another group so dedicated to changing lives through theatre. I'm very proud of all the work I've done at First Stage, and I hope to return in a number of years as a part of the adult cast."
While Esten intends to pursue a career in theater because of his experience in First Stage, he said that he learned so much more than acting. "Life skills through stage skills is more than just a motto or catch phrase at First Stage, it's a guarantee," Esten said. "The amount of things I have learned through my many classes that are applicable to my life is astounding; perhaps the most important being a skill many people my age don't have: the ability to be myself. I never have to put on a mask to go in public, or to school, or anywhere; I'm just me. [Furthermore], I find myself using more intelligent English than many other people, due to my experience with Shakespeare. I find myself raising my hand and not being afraid to offer a counter opinion to something I don't agree with. I find myself able to stand up to someone who is harassing or mistreating another person. These things all come from what I do in theatre, which is to feel for other people."
First Stage, like most theater, hopes to bring current events and important discussions to people in the way only theater can. Director Jeff Frank explains that, underneath the grand adventure of Robin Hood, there are important questions asked within the play about what actions we take in the face of corrupt authority, whether it is acceptable to break a law to right a wrong, and what makes a leader. "[We've created] something quite wonderful that speaks to days of yore, but also reflects the issues that still plague us today."
Robin Hood will have you laughing out loud while you simultaneously discover profound truths. As Robin says, "We must always strive for kindness...kindness can change the world."
Robin Hood runs through March 12th at the Marcus Center's Todd Wehr Theater in Milwaukee (929 N. Water St.). Tickets can be purchased in person at the Marcus Center Box Office, by calling (414) 273-7206, or online at www.firststage.org.
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).
Cedarburg Friends of the Library (CFoL), along with the Cedarburg Public Library (CPL), and Cedarburg Fire Department (CFD), have come together to launch the Cedarburg Reads 2017 community-wide reading-and-discussion program. DeWayna Cherrington, CFoL President; Robert Vasholtz, CFD Fire Chief; and Linda Prischalla, CPL Head Librarian, are inviting all citizens to participate in meeting your neighbor one conversation at a time by reading the same book: Population 485, by Wisconsin author Michael Perry.
“We considered many books for this year's Cedarburg Reads program,” says CFoL President DeWayna Cherrington, “but we couldn’t pass up on the charm, humor, and sense of place that we found in Population 485. We know that our neighbors will enjoy reading it just as much as we did, and will find much to talk about in its slices of small-
In life, we can go for days at a time without connecting with others outside of our circle; by reading the same book, we hope to enrich everyone’s life. Local residents are invited to join Cedarburg Reads Population: 485, and attend group book discussions to “meet your neighbors one conversation at a time.”
Throughout the month of March, local businesses and organizations will host book discussions throughout the community that will be moderated by CFoL members and volunteers. Community members are invited to host their own private discussions and post pictures with the hashtag #CedarburgReads to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. A calendar of discussions will be available at the CPL, CFoL page on the CPL website, and the CFoL Facebook page.
"There is something powerful in the shared experience of reading the same book,” says CPL Head Librarian Linda Prischalla. “Discussions are an important — though often overlooked — part of reading. These community conversations create points of connection, which form the context for richer relationships and the ability to understand each other’s view points better.”
On Thursday, March 16, author Michael Perry will make a special appearance in Cedarburg for two special events. The first event will be a private meet-and-greet for members of the CFoL. Shortly after, the author will appear at the Cedarburg Cultural Center to talk about the book and small-town life.
Of all his experiences, Perry says the single most meaningful thing he has ever done is serving 12 years beside his neighbors on the New Auburn Area Fire Department. CFD Fire Chief Vasholtz agrees with the author, saying, “We serve the community, but we are also made up of the community. Every volunteer in the CFD joins out of love and commitment for our friends, our neighbors, and our relatives. In turn, the fire department is a second family for many of us — a family of community.”
ABOUT THE BOOK
After a twelve-year absence, a real-life prodigal son returns to his hometown — New Auburn, Wisconsin, population: 485 — and joins the volunteer fire and rescue department. In this memoir, writer Michael Perry sets out “to meet my neighbors at the invitation of the fire siren.” The emergencies are real, the settings are surreal, and with each foray into the boondocks, we piece together the history of a people and a place. By turns fiery and funny, violent and gentle, Population: 485 is the true account of a search for rootedness in a place from the past.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Michael Perry is a New York Times bestselling author, humorist, and radio show host from New Auburn, Wisconsin. Perry's bestselling memoirs include Population 485, Truck: A Love Story, Coop, and Visiting Tom. He lives with his wife and two daughters in rural Wisconsin, where he serves on the local volunteer fire and rescue service and is an intermittent pig farmer. Additional information about Michael Perry can be found online at www.sneezingcow.com.
ABOUT CEDARBURG READS
Cedarburg Reads is a community-wide program with the singular goal of helping Cedarburg residents in meeting your neighbors one conversation at a time. Designed to bring people together through the reading and discussion of a common book, programs like this one have been implemented throughout the country to create a shared experience of civic unity through the reading of literature.
ABOUT CEDARBURG FRIENDS OF THE LIBRARY
The Cedarburg Reads program is sponsored by the Cedarburg Friends of the Library, a vibrant, active group of citizens who are dedicated to supporting the Cedarburg Public Library (CPL) through fundraising, volunteer support, and community events. The Friends organize several major book sales, including the library’s permanent Book Nook installation, southeastern Wisconsin’s largest used-book sale (the Summer Book Sale), and the Winter Fiction Sale. These sales raise funds for enhancements and programs including the 3D printer, the CPL website, the children’s summer reading program, additional bestseller novels, genealogy materials, Great Decisions programs, and more. More information about the Friends can be found online at http://www.cedarburglibrary.org/connect/cedarburg-friends-of-the-library/ or
The 2017 Winter Festival promises to be a warm one, which can be a bit of a problem when it comes to such traditional events as ice carving along main street and bed races on a frozen creek, but it certainly won't be the first time warm temperatures have foiled some of the Festival's best laid plans; luckily, there is so much to do, the event is successful each year, regardless of what Mother Nature throws at it.
This year's theme is Mardi Gras, so masks and beads will abound. The event kicks off at 8 a.m. on Saturday, February 18th, when the ice carvers will begin work on their blocks of ice, located along Washington Avenue, in front of participating businesses. Stroll main street, where local businesses often have their own events and specials, and a host of artisans, food vendors, and other attractions, such as wagon and camel rides, are scattered from Cedar Creek Park to Cedar Creek Settlement. Follow the Parade at 1 p.m. to the Bed and Barrel Races. Make sure to stop in the Community Center for the Chili Contest from 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. and, while you're there, make and take a project with the Wisconsin Museum of Quilts & Fiber Arts and check out the Upstairs Marketplace. If live music is your thing, stop into the Cedarburg Cultural Center for their Cool Notes Musical Talent Competition from 1:30-5 p.m.
New this year is the grand opening of the Cedarburg History Museum, Cedarburg Chamber of Commerce & The Cedarburg Visitors Center during Winter Festival! Doors will be open Saturday from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. and Sunday from 12- 4 p.m. Cedarburg’s newest treasure houses the former General Store Museum, the Rappold-Dobberpuhl historic photograph collection, as well as a current exhibit on historic toys. During Winter Festival, guests can enjoy complimentary, local Cedar Crest ice cream in the old-fashioned ice cream parlor.
On Saturday night, Cool Brew & Tunes returns from 7-9 p.m. at the Community Center with the Dueling Pianos, Craft Beer Tasting, and Appetizers from local restaurants. Tickets are $30 per person, and you must be 21 to attend.
On Sunday, start the festival with a Pancake Breakfast from 8-11:30 at the Community Center, and then head off to the Egg Hunt at 10:30, Dog Weight Pull between 10 and 4, and the 2nd Annual Dodgeball Tournament in the Community Center from 2-4 p.m.
This will be the Winter Festival's 43rd year, and each year it seems to grow a little bit bigger; whether it's your first time to the Festival, or your 43rd, you're sure to experience something new. For more information, call 262-377-9620 or 888-894-4001, or visit the Festivals of Cedarburg website at http://www.cedarburgfestival.org/winter-festival or their facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/FestivalsOfCedarburg/.
The Milwaukee Repertory Theater just announced their 2017/18 Season, and it promises an amazing mix of classic theater hits, as well as some new, World Premiere productions. If you've never been a Rep Subscriber, this may be the season to become one!
A Fantasia On the Life of Florence Foster Jenkins
By Stephen Temperley
Directed by Laura Braza
September 8 – November 5, 2017 • Stackner Cabaret
Eccentric Manhattan socialite Florence Foster Jenkins once declared, “People may say I can’t sing, but no one can ever say I didn’t sing.” And, oh, did she sing – often and loudly, but rarely on key. Her recitals brought her a legion of die-hard fans, and she capped her improbable career with a Carnegie Hall concert that famously sold out in two hours. Time Out calls Souvenir “a memorable illustration of the purely theatrical magic that can turn the tinniest ear to gold.” Her story was recently told in an Oscar-nominated film starring Meryl Streep. Souvenir is a charming and hilarious musical comedy that reminds us that you can achieve anything when you set your mind to it.
GUYS AND DOLLS
A Musical Fable of Broadway,
based on a story and characters of Damon Runyon
Music and Lyrics by Frank Loesser
Book by Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows
Directed by Mark Clements
September 19- October 29, 2017 • Quadracci Powerhouse
After sold-out productions of Ragtime and Dreamgirls, Mark Clements reunites with Olivier Award-winning choreographer Stephen Mear for a dazzling new production of the Tony Award-winning Guys and Dolls. This celebrated musical comedy follows two small-time gamblers as they pursue love and luck, from the heart of Times Square to the cafes of Havana, Cuba. It’s no surprise that it tops Entertainment Weekly’s list of “Greatest Musicals of All Time,” as this granddaddy of American musicals has it all – show-stopping numbers, a timeless story, and some of the best show tunes ever, including “Luck Be a Lady,” “A Bushel and a Peck,” and “Sit Down, You’re Rockin’ the Boat.” It’s a sure bet you’ll leave the theater with a smile on your face.
THE WHO & THE WHAT
By Ayad Akhtar
Directed by May Adrales
September 27 – November 5, 2017 • Stiemke Studio
From Milwaukee native Ayad Akhtar, the Pulitzer Prize-winning writer of Disgraced and The Invisible Hand, comes a thrillingly fierce and funny new play about identity, religion, and the contradictions that make us who we are. Growing up Muslim with her close knit family in Atlanta, Zarina is writing about women and Islam when she meets Eli, a young convert who bridges the gap between her modern life and traditional heritage. When her conservative father and sister discover her controversial manuscript, they all must confront the beliefs that define them. Called “a play not be missed” by the Chicago Tribune, The Who & The What is a passionate and searing look at a family divided by faith, bonded by love, and searching for truth in contemporary America.
MURDER FOR TWO
Book and Music by Joe Kinosian
Book and Lyrics by Kellen Blair
November 10, 2017 - January 14, 2018 • Stackner Cabaret
Directed by JC Clementz
Co-written by Milwaukee High School of the Arts graduate Joe Kinosian, Murder for Two is the perfect blend of music, mayhem and murder that has played to sold-out audiences all over the country! In this hilarious 90-minute show, 2 performers play 13 roles – not to mention the piano – in a witty and winking homage to old-fashioned murder mysteries. Called “ingenious” by The New York Times, this fast-paced whodunit is a highly theatrical duet loaded with killer laughs.
HOLMES AND WATSON
By Jeffrey Hatcher
Directed by Joseph Hanreddy
November 14 – December 17, 2017 • Quadracci Powerhouse
Dr. Watson is called upon to disprove the many frauds, fakes, and charlatans who have popped up all over the world claiming to be Sherlock Holmes following his “death” at Reichenbach Falls. Watson travels to a remote mental asylum where three men have recently been admitted, each claiming to be the late detective and matching his physical description. Watson must confront the men and figure out which one is the real Holmes. This thrilling new drama, by the celebrated writer of the movies Mr. Holmes and Stage Beauty, is next up in our series of popular mysteries like The Mousetrap and The 39 Steps.
GEORGE ORWELL’S ANIMAL FARM
Adapted by Ian Wooldridge
Directed by May Adrales
January 9 – February 11, 2018 • Quadracci Powerhouse
A co-production with Baltimore Center Stage
Among the most famous political novels of all time, Animal Farm is a timeless and devastating allegory of idealism betrayed by the desire for personal power. When the animals of Manor Farm drive out their abusive farmer, they take over running the farm for themselves. Their experiment in collective leadership succeeds—until the pigs step into the vacuum of power created by the farmer’s expulsion, and betray the ideals of freedom and equality for all animals. This vibrant and moving production will breathe fresh life into a literary classic as resonant today as when it was first published.
BLACK PEARL SINGS!
By Frank Higgins
January 19 – March 18, 2018 • Stackner Cabaret
Directed by Leda Hoffmann
Music unites strangers and bridges racial divisions in this powerful story based on real life events. It’s 1933, and an ambitious song collector for the Library of Congress visits a Texas prison where she meets Pearl, an African-American woman with a soulful voice and steely spirit. Featuring more than a dozen beautiful a cappella renditions of spirituals and American folk songs, Black Pearl Sings! explores what it means to be a woman in a man’s world, being black in a white world, and fighting for one’s soul in a world where anyone can be a commodity. BroadwayWorld describes the play as “…a vivid reminder that the things that connect us are often stronger than the things which divide us.”
ONE HOUSE OVER
By Catherine Trieschmann
Directed by Mark Clements
February 27 – March 25, 2018 • Quadracci Powerhouse
When Rafael and Camila Hernandez move in downstairs to help Joanne with her elderly father, Joanne breathes a little easier. She needs their help, and they need jobs. But she can't anticipate the complications that arise when "the help" starts to feel like family...and act like it. A brilliant new comedy by one of today’s hottest playwrights, it’s an empathetic but searing examination of boundaries, power, privilege, and fear in a single backyard.
UNTIL THE FLOOD
Written and performed by Dael Orlandersmith
Directed by Neel Keller
March 13 – April 22, 2018 • Stiemke Studio
From Pulitzer Prize finalist and celebrated performer Dael Orlandersmith (Yellowman), comes an extraordinary theatrical event that explores the reactions of the St. Louis region to the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. After conducting hundreds of interviews, Orlandersmith crafted a stunning play featuring eight real-life characters, all with unique and interesting perspectives. These stories reflect a range of human experiences – the drive to forward one’s prospects with education, the innate need to protect our loved ones from the harsh realities of the world and the urge to seek answers to life’s biggest questions. The result is a theatrical mosaic of diverse voices that explores how a community heals and grows together.
MARK TWAIN’S RIVER OF SONG
By Randal Myler and Dan Wheetman
Directed by Randal Myler
March 23 – May 20, 2018 • Stackner Cabaret
From the creators of The Rep’s hit productions Low Down Dirty Blues and Back Home Again: On The Road With John Denver, comes this exploration of the music and culture of America’s first superhighway, the Mississippi River. From the iron red water in Minnesota to the deep, dark Southern Delta, the river carries the stories and songs of the people. Come take a ride on the Mississippi – guided by the voices of the men and women who lived and worked on the river, tied together with the observations and insights of the Mississippi’s most famous traveler, Mark Twain. Performed by three world-class musicians, including David Lutken (Woody Sez, John Denver), River of Song is a journey through America’s Heartland and features traditional songs like “Dance Boatmen Dance,” “Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child,” and “Deep River Blues.”
By Thornton Wilder
Directed by Brent Hazleton
April 10 – May 13, 2018 • Quadracci Powerhouse
Wisconsin native Thornton Wilder’s Pulitzer Prize-winning drama is one of the greatest American plays ever written. With poetic beauty and simplicity, Our Town illuminates the powerful bonds that hold communities together through everyday life and moments of crisis, as it follows the lives of the Gibbs, Webbs, and their friends and neighbors. With humor, wit, and exceptionally powerful storytelling, Wilder delivers universal truths about what it means to be human and encourages us to live life to its fullest.
To purchase tickets, call (414) 224-9490, or visit The Rep's website at http://www.milwaukeerep.com
By Kathy Lanser
The much anticipated Cedarburg History Museum will celebrate its grand opening on Saturday, Feb. 18, as it opens its doors to the public at 10 a.m. Located in the heart of historic downtown Cedarburg at N58 W6194 Columbia Road, the Museum is the culmination of the efforts of the Cedarburg Cultural Center, The Cedarburg Landmark Preservation Society, local benefactors, and donor collections.
“The new history museum will be a key destination for tourists and local residents to entertain, educate and engage people interested in the history of our community,” said Sarah Titus, curator of the CHM. “Not only will visitors see historic photographs and artifacts, but they will also experience history by hearing the stories of our ancestors through interactive technology.”
The beloved General Store Museum has been re-located to the CHM and will be one of four main galleries. There will also be a working ice cream parlor and penny candy store, as well as a rotating exhibit gallery that will display objects from a number of local collections, as well as a gallery to showcase the celebrated Harold Dobberpuhl and Edward Rappold photography collections. A highlight of the historic photography gallery is the large interactive touch screen which allows visitors to travel back in time to enjoy the experiences of Cedarburgers past and present. Two additional interactive screens are located throughout the museum.
The grand opening coincides with Cedarburg’s 43rd Annual Winter Festival on Saturday Feb. 18 and Sunday Feb. 19. This year is a “Mardi Gras” theme, complete with an ice carving contest, hay rides, a parade, Chili Cook-Off, pancake breakfast, music, refreshments, and much more.
The Cedarburg History Museum, curated and managed by the Cedarburg Cultural Center, is free and open to the public Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and noon to 4 p.m. on Sundays. For more information, please visit:
https://www.Facebook.com/TheCedarburgHistoryMuseum or call (262) 375-3676
The CHM is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) Center to showcase the history of Ozaukee County. All galleries and restrooms are wheelchair accessible. Open Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Sundays Noon to 4 p.m.