SAY GOODNIGHT, GRACIE
Jan 16 – Feb 3, 2008
Directed by: Jon Beidelschies
The Milwaukee premiere of neglected playwright Ralph Pape’s comedy “SAY GOODNIGHT, GRACIE” tells of five friends meeting in a New York City cold-water flat and of their foiled attempts to attend their high school reunion. The motley crew of a failed actor, a frustrated receptionist, a rock musician, a cynical writer and a “mother earth” stewardess traverse both physical and emotional hurdles in their attempts to arrive at the reunion on time, including marijuana, a surplus of snack cakes, snarled emotional pasts and, yes, even more dope.
The production is directed by Jon Beidelschies, who previously directed a well-received Boulevard production of Machiavelli’s classic comedy of cunning THE MANDRAKE (Spring, 2005) as well as a critically-applauded production of Doug Wright’s off-Broadway dark comedy Unwrap Your Candy: Baby Talk (Fall, 2004).
Boulevard’s youthful cast includes many emerging local actors, including : Wauwatosan natives Ericka Wade & Tom Dillon, as well as Bay View resident Keith Tamsett, Germantown native Jason Will, and Rachael Lau. The cast is a mix of Boulevard “regulars” and a few “irregulars” and viably demonstrates Boulevard’s mission to provide opportunities for new, emerging artists from all artistic disciplines. Young artists at Boulevard receive training, media exposure and opportunity while working on important new and rediscovered works.
CATHOLIC SCHOOL GIRLS
Feb 20 – Mar 16, 2008
Directed by: Mark Bucher
Kurtti’s funny, yet touching script traces four young women through their eight years at St. George’s Catholic grade school and showcases the girls’ setbacks and triumphs while simultaneously challenging the notions of friendship and faith. The mercurial balance between comedy and drama is achieved through Kurtti’s able comedic recollections of adolescence and her dramatic finesse at capturing the universal confusion of transitioning from girlhood to adulthood. The characters also include four Roman Catholic Nuns who tutor or torment the girls — depending upon the audiences viewpoint! (The truth is both, of course).
The CATHOLIC SCHOOL GIRLS’ cast includes: Karen Ambrosh (Sister Mary Lucille), Marion Araujo (Maria Theresa Russo), Mary Buchel (Sister Mary Agnes), Maureen Dornemann (Sister Mary Thomasina), Caitlin Kujawski (Wanda Sluska), Anne Miller (Elizabeth McHugh), Liz Mistele (Colleen Dockery), and Kathleen Williams (Sister Mary Germaine).
The cast exemplifies the Boulevard’s mission of providing opportunity, training and networking for emerging and returning artists from all theatrical disciplines. Some of the actresses are returning Boulevard favorites from past seasons: Ms. Dornemann from INDIAN BLOOD & PYRETOWN, Ms. Miller from A SHOT IN THE DARK & TWELFTH NIGHT, Ms. Mistele from ALMOST, MAINE & LOUISIANA PURCHASE, and Ms. Williams from THE MERCHANT OF VENICE & THE BOOK OF LIZ. A few of the other actresses are new or emerging talent” Ms. Araujo from THE INTERNATIONALIST, Ms. Buchel from THOM PAIN (based on nothing), and Ms. Kujawski from INDIAN BLOOD. Ms. Ambrosh makes her Boulevard debut. The Boulevard’s CATHOLIC SCHOOL GIRLS give full voice and opportunity to Milwaukee’s burgeoning bevy of female artists!
APRIL 9 – 27, 2008
Directed by: Mark Bucher
The Boulevard Ensemble Studio Theatre will greet the close of its triumphant 22nd season by producing the Milwaukee premiere of local Milwaukee playwright Chad M. Rossi’s randy comedy of “fourplay” “EUREKA! Rossi, a Milwaukee native and emerging playwright, creates a comic romp whose action takes place in modern-day Milwaukee and features a foursome that includes two male roommates (the irresponsible dreamer Clyde & the ambitious Wayne) who fall under the wiles of two female friends (the slightly stuffy Nancy & the wild irrepressible Teri). Complications ensue as Nancy & Wayne become engaged and past relationships become unveiled. And let’s not forget Clyde’s connection with aliens from outer space!
The cast of EUREKA! exemplifies the Boulevard’s mission of providing opportunity, training and networking for emerging and returning artists from all theatrical disciplines, especially younger writers, actors & actresses.
Rachael Lau (Nancy) returns to the Boulevard after winning critical notice in the Boulevard’s January production of Ralph Pape’s charming comedy SAY GOODNIGHT, GRACIE. Ms. Lau also garnered high marks for her work in the Ensemble’s staging of lauded author Ian McEwan’s tender novel ON CHESIL BEACH. This rare staging was commissioned in June, 2007 by Milwaukee’s own Schwartz Books as part of a national campaign (OUT OF THE BOOK) to promote the prize-winning author’s stark indictment of marriage.
Rachel Lewandowski (Teri) has previously worked at the Boulevard in supporting roles, such as the student in A. R. Gurney’s political farce MRS. FARNSWORTH and as the “sweet audience member” in last August’s Milwaukee premiere of Will Eno’s dark comic puzzler THOM PAIN (based on nothing). EUREKA! marks Ms. Lewandowski’s emergence as a comic actress to be noted.
César Gamiño (Wayne) is familiar to both Boulevard and Milwaukee audiences as the Apostle Simon the Zealot in the Milwaukee premiere of Stephen Adly Guirgis’ shocker THE LAST DAYS OF JUDAS ISCARIOT. Mr. Gamiño also appeared as the ill-fated lover “Miguel” in Boulevard’s May, 2007 production of Marcel Archard’s comic romp A SHOT IN THE DARK. He won greater acclaim with his lead role in last October’s production of Anne Washburn’s mysterious romance THE INTERNATIONALIST as the beleaguered businessman Lowell.
Jason Krukowski (Clyde) seems comfortable in comedy as Mr. Krukowski previously appeared in the Boulevard’s past productions of both modern and classical comedies, including Shakespeare’s A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM (Demetrius) and Christopher Durang’s psycho-babble spoof BEYOND THERAPY (Dr. Stuart Framingham).
Playwright Chad M. Rossi is an emerging writer whose work has been featured in other emerging theatre companies, including Pink Banana and Carte Blanche Studios. This is Mr. Rossi’s first production at the Ensemble.
The Boulevard’s EUREKA! give full voice and opportunity to Milwaukee’s burgeoning bounty of young theatre artists!
Aug 12-24, 2008
Directed by: Mark Bucher
Artistic Director Mark Bucher resets Moliere’s sly satire of sexual hypocrisy and social maneuvering from a 17th century French chateau to a modern-day art gallery in Quebec, Ontario (or “Queerbec,” if you like!). And Bucher puts the “gay” back into “gay comedy” by changing some previously straight relationships to same-sex couplings. Both the characters and the audience will need comic scorecards to keep track of both the “straight” and the “not so narrow.” This sassy, saucy concept expands the vision of the story, heightens the relevance of Moliere’s social themes, and increases audiences’ awareness of gay/lesbian romance. And the Boulevard production will feature actual art on loan from prominent local Milwaukee artists and galleries.
Noted local Milwaukee actor David Flores bests his previous theatrical trifecta by bringing Moliere’s cranky curmudgeon “Alceste” (the misanthrope of the title) to life. Flores has won accolades for his previous leading man portrayals in past Boulevard productions of Moliere comedies (THE SCHOOL FOR WIVES, TARTUFFE, THE BUNGLER).
Seems the cranky Alceste abhors the double-dealings of society and only pines for truth, art and, oh yes, a “sweet young thing” named “Celimene,” who is more than a few years his junior.
The object of his May-December affection is hot-blooded heartthrob César Gamiño, who portrays the cocky coquette “Celimene,” a role usually covered by an actress. Gamiño, who is investigating becoming a personal trainer, made some theatrical patrons “sit up and notice” with his semi-nude scampering in Boulevard’s previous shows (THE INTERNATIONALIST, EUREKA!) and is no stranger to charming the pants off people (‘Nuff said!).
And Flores is reunited with talented actress Beth Monhollen as his sidekick and sage counselor “Philinte,” who is usually played by a man. Monhollen and Flores created theatrical thunder appearing as “Portia” and “Shylock” several seasons back in Boulevard’s fast-paced staging of Shakespeare’s THE MERCHANT OF VENICE.
Other notable talents on this classical “lazy susan” of sexual orientation include: Marion Araujo, Juan Blasquez, Joe Fransee, Mark Hagen, Rachel Lewandowski, Kirsten Mulvey and Jason Will.
THE CONSTANT WIFE
Sep 17 – Oct 5, 2008
Directed by: Mark Bucher
Just as every marriage enjoys a wedding “rehearsal,” Boulevard’s approach to this sparkling 1927 matrimonial romp is to strip away clunky scenery and dusty costumes in favor of rehearsal furniture and evening dress. Bucher’s production sets the action in a rehearsal hall of a large repertory theatre during a understudy rehearsal by the rep company’s interns.
The talented Boulevard cast play both the interns and Maugham’s characters and skillfully create a swank New York city apartment out of several rehearsal chairs while the door-slamming action is handled by the production stage manager who calls out the various entrances and exits of the large cast. This “straight-up” style and imaginative approach allows Maugham’s intoxicating wit and sparkling characterizations to bubble forth with a crisp clarity that is both engaging and entertaining.
The cast showcases some of Milwaukee’s most creative theatrical talent, including Maureen Dornemann in the title role of “Constance,” who must choose between her philandering husband (“John,” played by Michael Chobanoff) and her long-lost love of many years ago (“Bernard,” played by Jaime Jastrab). Complicating Maugham’s marital machinations are Constance’s mother (“Mrs. Culver,” played by Christine Horgen) and sister (“Martha,” played by Jamie Ansley), who both are unduly interested in discovering whether Constance understands the depths of John’s wandering eye. The object of John’s roving affection is Constance’s best friend (“Marie-Louise,” played by Katie Merriman, who is married to the older and very suspicious “Mortimer” (played by Bill DeLind).
Rounding out the cast are Constance’s best friend “Barbara” (played by Enid Barnes) and Constance’s maid “Mrs. Bentley” (played by Jane Wood). The production is stage-managed by Paul Madden.
Oct 22 – NOV 9, 2008
Directed by: Mark Bucher
DARK PONY, THE DUCK VARIATIONS, REUNION
Nov 19 – Dec 7, 2008
Directed by: Jamie Jastrab
DARK PONY opens the program with a charming tale of a father entrancing his young daughter with his ability to spin tales of Indian folklore. THE DUCK VARIATIONS charms and entertains audiences as it reveals the small details of the immense lives of two older men in a park discussing the mating lives of ducks. REUNION revisits the father/daughter bond with a dramatic delicacy not immediately associated with Mamet.
Mr. Jastrab makes his Milwaukee directing debut but has appeared many times with the Boulevard as an actor, appearing most recently in this September’s production of THE CONSTANT WIFE. Other past productions with the Ensemble include A.R. Gurney’s memory play INDIAN BLOOD, William Shakespeare’s bawdy romp A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM, Richard Kramer’s tender tribute THEATRE DISTRICT, and Moliere’s classic comedy THE SCHOOL FOR WIVES.
Ericka Wade (DARK PONY, REUNION) won critical notice as a motherly yet sexy stewardess “Katherine” in Boulevard’s production of SAY GOODNIGHT, GRACIE. Joya Wade (DUCK VARIATIONS, sister to Ericka) makes her Boulevard debut and currently attends Nicolet High School, Ms. Wade has worked with Next Act Theatre’s “Next Actors” performance/training group and Bunny Gumbo Combat Theatre.
Mark Ninneman (DUCK VARIATIONS) made his Boulevard debut with last season’s hilarious familial comedy INDIAN BLOOD, simultaneously appearing as the sage grandfather and scoring huge house laughs. Don Devona (DUCK VARIATIONS) has appeared in Boulevard productions of Moliere’s rare comedy THE BUNGLER and Robert Anderson’s tremendously affecting I NEVER SANG FOR MY FATHER, but he won Milwaukee audiences over with his delightful turn as former President Harry S. Truman in Samuel Gallu’s one-man tribute “GIVE ‘EM HELL, HARRY. Michael Weber (DARK PONY, REUNION) charmed audiences with his previous Boulevard appearances in such productions as Moliere’s THE LEARNED LADIES, Stephen Adly Guirgis’ triumphant spectacle THE LAST DAYS OF JUDAS ISCARIOT and Terrence McNally’s FRANKIE AND JOHNNY IN THE CLAIR DE LUNE.
The production is stage-managed by Marion Araujo.