Feb 23 – March 26, 2017
Directed by: Mark Bucher & David Flores
Milwaukee’s Boulevard Theatre continued its’ 31st season with John Murrell’s Taking Shakespeare. Fresh off the theatre’s smash October hit of Where the Streetcar Bends the Corner, which wowed hundreds of patrons at Milwaukee’s Plymouth Church, Boulevard staged this Wisconsin premiere in the cozy confines of Plymouth Church’s second-floor Graham Chapel Hall. This Wisconsin premiere relays a tale of soured academia and scores high grades for amusing banter and affecting characters.
TAKING SHAKESPEARE is a shrewdly written theatrical tutorial that revolves around the unlikely pairing of a disillusioned literary professor (“Prof”) and a slacker student (“Murph”), who is obsessed with video games. Murph is the son of the dean of humanities at a small unnamed university. Despite being highly intelligent and having his own set of fresh ideas, the young man is barely passing his courses and shows little interest in his studies. In an attempt to motivate him, his mother sends him to be tutored by her former mentor, the “Prof,” at the burned-out instructor’s apartment. However, “Prof” has come to her own dramatic crossroads. Depressed and disillusioned with her life, she barely functions and has little interest in teaching the cocky young man — or any other student.
But when Murph reveals that in order to pass his English Lit class, he must demonstrate a thorough understanding of Shakespeare’s classic Othello, his reluctant tutor appears strangely thunderstruck by the assignment of this literary portrait of jealousy and regret. The cause for her intellectual paralysis only becomes apparent later in Murrell’s affecting narrative. “Prof” is Murph’s last chance at passing the course and staying in school and he is her last opportunity to retain her position, and her tenure. This unlikely pair begin an uneasy emotional journey together as–together–they work through the famous tragedy of Othello. Along the way, they timorously begin to understand the tragedies in their own lives as they deal with university politics, parental manipulation, regrets from the past, and the uncertainty of the future. The playwright dovetails Shakespeare’s tale of treachery, ambition, and betrayal alongside our modern issues of anti-intellectualism, academic oppression, and cultural malaise with an adroit humor and piercing wit. The artistic result is emotionally affecting, socially troubling and very entertaining.
Milwaukee artists Amy Callahan and Jake Konrath appeared as “Prof” and Murph respectively. Ms. Callahan has appeared previously with the Boulevard in Edward Albee’s thorny matrimonial delight, Counting the Ways. She has also appeared with other local companies in such varied pieces as Conor McPherson’s The Weir and John Murphy’s The Country Boy. Mr. Konrath has appeared with Voices Found Repertory Theatre (Coriolanus) and the Sunset Theatre (How to Succeed in Business, Without Really Trying).
Noted local actor, director, and playwright David Flores co-directed Taking Shakespeare. Flores, a powerhouse of talent, lent his classical finesse to staging Murrell’s “classy comedy.” Mr. Flores is well-known to both Milwaukee audiences and local theatrical media, having performed with a majority of Milwaukee’s cornucopia of theatre companies (Skylight Music Theatre, Off The Wall, Windfall Theatre, etc.) as well as portraying leading and key roles in Shakespeare (“Shylock” in The Merchant of Venice, the title role in Richard III, “Parolles” in All’s Well That Ends Well, etc.).
Boulevard Theatre’s Artistic Director and founder Mark Bucher contributed his directing skill set as well.
Boulevard stalwart Jaime Jastrab provided technical support. Boulevard Social Media Director Troy Freund and graphic designer Jason Krukowski contributed to the success of both productions. The comedy showcased new and returning actors and was staged in a clean, simple style that illuminates the play’s luxurious language and concentrates on the author’s delicious dialogue.
Sep 21 – Oct 8, 2017
Directed by: Mark Bucher
Milwaukee’s Boulevard Theatre opens its 32nd season with the NATIONAL PREMIERE of acclaimed Canadian playwright Daniel MacIvor’s affecting comedy “SMALL THINGS.”
With A Stellar Cast Showcasing Nicole Gorski, Christine Horgen, & Donna Lobacz.
Stage Manager: Jessica Principali
Fresh off its acclaimed March, 2017 staging of John Murrell’s dramatic comedy TAKING SHAKESPEARE, Milwaukee’s Boulevard Theatre (www.milwaukeeboulevardtheatre.com) begins its 32nd season by staging the NATIONAL PREMIERE of acclaimed Canadian playwright Daniel MacIvor’s tender, affecting 90-minute comedy SMALL THINGS.
Three worlds collide in a small (unnamed) town in this NATIONAL premiere of a new play by acclaimed Canadian playwright Daniel MacIvor. This trifecta of delight tells of three women who have each built a wall around themselves and who also each desire to overcome these self-imposed barriers.
THE PLOT: A well-off, retired educator (“Patricia,” played by Christine Horgen) moves to a grand house in a small town and hires a local housekeeper and companion (“Birdy,” played by Donna Lobacz). “Birdy” is a widow from the poor end of the same street. Polar opposites in personality and circumstances, their uneasy relationship becomes strained when Patricia takes an interest in Birdy’s daughter (“Dell,” played by Nicole Gorski), even as her own health declines. Dell is a single mother of two small boys, one of whom now wants to be addressed as a girl (“Alice”). To add to Dell’s challenges, circumstances have forced her to move back in with her opinionated mother. SMALL THINGS is a daffy, delightful, and delicate exploration of how it’s really just small things that can keep us from understanding and accepting each other.
Nov 18-26, 2017
Directed by: David Flores
Boulevard Theatre presents a concert reading of the cherished musical fable DEAR WORLD by Jerry Herman (HELLO, DOLLY!, MAME). This musical adaptation of Jean Giraudoux’s comedy THE MADWOMAN OF CHAILLOT is presented at Plymouth Church. This melodic masterpiece tells of three colorful Parisian “madwomen”(the Countess Aurelia and her friends Constance and Gabrielle) who cross paths with an oil conglomerate who plans to blow up Paris, as oil has been discovered beneath its streets! Countess Aurelia went mad in her youth (because of a broken heart) and is now known as “The Madwoman of Chaillot.” Aurelia strives to eliminate the evil corporation – and its executives! Will the corporation be defeated? Will idealism and love triumph over greed and materialism? Attend and fnd out!
Director/actor David Flores will stage the DEAR WORLD concert reading and Donna Kummer will serve as music director. Flores and Kummer shared these duties for Boulevard’s acclaimed 2014 staging of Rodgers & Hart’s musical PAL JOEY and the 2016 SMASH hit tribute to Milwaukee, WHERE THE STREETCAR BENDS THE CORNER, DOWN BY THE ZOO! These shows enjoyed overfowing houses and won notable critical acclaim. And both showcased LOCAL artists. A concert reading of a musical means a modern dress, script-in-hand but fully acted performance (accompanied by piano and staged efficiently) and is an excellent way to experience the best, rarely- produced works of the American musical theater. This “stripping-down” can result in a new, exciting vision of a neglected, older work.
Appearing in the leading role of “Countess Aurelia” (a role that was played by Angela Lansbury) is esteemed actress, singer, and cabaret artist Liz Norton, who won notice for her witty portrayal of “Melba” in the Boulevard’s concert staging of PAL JOEY. Some of Milwaukee’s most talented and appealing performers complete the cast, including: Julie Alonzo-Calteaux, Zachary Dean, David Ferrie, Julianne Frey, Joseph Gallo, Paula Garcia, and Chad Larget.