Milwaukee Chamber Theatre presents GREAT EXPECTATIONS

Milwaukee Chamber Theatre presents

GREAT EXPECTATIONS

by Charles Dickens

adapted by Gale Childs Daly

April 13-30

Broadway Theatre Center’s Cabot Theatre

 

Milwaukee, WI. … One act of kindness for a stranger on the moors: That’s all it takes to change a life in GREAT EXPECTATIONS, the bold adaptation of Charles Dickens’ classic novel by local playwright Gale Childs Daly, running April 13-30. Uncommonly tight and suspenseful, and utilizing only six actors to portray dozens of roles, Daly’s reinvented text is a fast-paced theatrical treat, and a perfect conclusion to MCT’s season of “Misfits”! Milwaukee director Molly Rhode will helm the production, performed at the Broadway Theatre Center’s Cabot Theatre in the Historic Third Ward.

 

As in Dickens’ original, GREAT EXPECTATIONS begins with Pip, an orphan boy, and the life-altering encounter he has with an escaped convict named Magwitch. Shortly after, Pip starts on a mysterious and disturbing journey to manhood that is full of twists and turns, miraculously allowing him to advance in society while all of his great expectations seem to be coming true.

 

While the story of GREAT EXPECTATIONS requires more than 30 characters to tell, MCT’s production will feature six actors and one live musician. Josh Krause, making his MCT debut as Pip, is the only actor in the cast who will portray a single role. The remaining five actors – Jonathan Gillard Daly, Zach Thomas Woods, Deborah Staples, Karen Estrada and Chiké Johnson – will each play multiple roles, including the pivotal characters Magwitch, Herbert Pocket, Miss Havisham, Estella and Joe, while also narrating the play’s events.

 

Joining them will be multi-instrumentalist Andrew Crowe. Crowe, last seen in Milwaukee in First Stage’s world premiere THE SNOW, will play onstage alongside the actors, adding an integral element to the production.

 

Gale Childs Daly’s adaptation of GREAT EXPECTATIONS was first produced in 1993 at PCPA Theaterfest in California. Since then, it has been produced across the country, including at Chicago’s Strawdog Theatre, but never in her home state. MCT is the first professional theatre in Wisconsin to stage this adaptation. In addition to playwriting, Daly is also a freelance director, actor, teacher and text coach in the Midwest.

 

During the rehearsal and performance period for GREAT EXPECTATIONS, Milwaukee Chamber Theatre will partner with First Stage’s Young Company on the GREAT EXPECTATIONS Understudy Project. According to MCT associate artistic director Marcella Kearns, “This project will allow young performers to observe an adult professional cast production and build an oft-underrated skill in the theatre.” The six young actors chosen for the project, working with assistant director Josh Pohja, will learn from the principal actors of GREAT EXPECTATIONS and subsequently complete their own understudy presentation in the Cabot Theatre.

 

Charles Dickens wrote Great Expectations, his penultimate completed novel, as a weekly serial between 1860 and 1861. The story was almost immediately dubbed one of his finest, and it remains one of his most popular narratives to this day. In his life, Dickens would write 15 novels (all initially published as serials), several novellas and hundreds of short stories, each evoking the world of Victorian London he lived in. His most famous stories, in addition to Great Expectations, include Oliver Twist, A Tale of Two Cities, A Christmas Carol, Nicholas Nickleby, David Copperfield and the famously unfinished The Mystery of Edwin Drood. All of his books have been adapted numerous times for stage and screen, and his works share the honor of having never gone out of print.

 

GREAT EXPECTATIONS performances will take place April 13 to 30, 2017 (Opening Night: Friday, April 14), in the Broadway Theatre Center’s Cabot Theatre, 158 N. Broadway in Milwaukee’s Historic Third Ward. Tickets are available Monday through Saturday from noon-6:00 p.m. at the Broadway Theatre Center Box Office, 158 N. Broadway, or by phone at (414) 291-7800. Tickets can be purchased online 24 hours a day at milwaukeechambertheatre.com. Group, student and senior discounts are also available. For more information, visit milwaukeechambertheatre.com. GREAT EXPECTATIONS is co-sponsored by Donald A. Cress, The Gerlach Family and the Marianne & Sheldon Lubar Charitable Fund.

 

[ CAST ]

Pip …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. Josh Krause

Narrator One ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. Jonathan Gillard Daly

Narrator Two ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. Zach Thomas Woods

Narrator Three ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… Deborah Staples

Narrator Four ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. Karen Estrada

Narrator Five ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. Chiké Johnson

Musician ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. Andrew Crowe

 

[ PRODUCTION STAFF ]

Director………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. Molly Rhode

Stage Manager…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. Judy Martel

Scenic Designer………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. Lisa Schlenker

Costume Designer……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. Jason Orlenko

Lighting Designer…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. Jason Fassl

Properties Master………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. Madelyn Yee

Composer…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… Andrew Crowe

Dialect Coach…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. Tyne Turner

Fight Choreographer…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. Ryan Schabach

Assistant Director/Understudy Project Director………………………………………………………………………………………… Josh Pohja

 

[ PERFORMANCE INFORMATION ]

April 13–30, 2017
Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
        

 

13

7:30 p.m. P

14

8:00 p.m. O

15          

8:00 p.m.

16

2:00 p.m.

19    1:00 p.m.*

7:30 p.m. V

20

7:30 p.m. T

21

8:00 p.m.

22      4:00 p.m.

8:00 p.m.

23

2:00 p.m.

26    1:00 p.m.*

 

27           

7:30 p.m. T

28

8:00 p.m.

29      4:00 p.m.

8:00 p.m.

30

2:00 p.m.

PWYC = Pay What You Can preview; P = Preview; O = Opening;

T = Talkback; V = ViewPoints; *= Talk Theatre

 

[ SPECIAL EVENTS ]

 

–Pre-performance ViewPoints: Join us for an insightful pre-show with Mary Ann Tobin, a Chicago-based scholar specializing in Dickens’ work. Her presentation, Dickens in Theatre: Theatre in Dickens, will focus on the writer’s dramatic passions, and how his novels – frequently adapted for the stage – have theatrical elements at their very cores. This free presentation is on Wednesday, April 19 at 6:30 p.m. in the Skylight Bar & Bistro on the second floor of the BTC.

 

–Pre-performance Talk Theatre: MCT producing artistic director C. Michael Wright will lead lively and informative chats with director Molly Rhode at 12:00 noon on Wednesday, April 19 and scenic designer Lisa Schlenker at 12:00 noon on Wednesday, April 26 in the Skylight Bar & Bistro.

 

–Post-performance Talkbacks: Post-show discussions with the artists will take place following performances on Thursday, April 20 and Thursday, April 26.

 

[ BIOGRAPHIES ]

ANDREW CROWE – Musician

Andrew Crowe is honored to be part of this re-imagining of a Dickens classic. He was last seen in Milwaukee in First Stage’s world premiere production of THE SNOW. Before that, he appeared onstage at the Cabot in Skylight’s PUMP BOYS AND DINETTES. Favorite credits include the national tours of SWEENEY TODD, CABARET, and STAND BY YOUR MAN, as well as the Public Theatre’s production of TWELFTH NIGHT (NYC). Andrew is an actor, musician, and songwriter who lives in North Carolina.

 

JONATHAN GILLARD DALY – Narrator One

Jonathan’s last appearance at Milwaukee Chamber Theatre was in THE DALY NEWS, a musical memoir written by him and developed as part of MCT’s Montgomery Davis Play Development Program. He is a former member of the Milwaukee Repertory Theatre’s resident company and has appeared in more than 60 productions since returning to Milwaukee in 1998. Other local credits: BIG FISH at First Stage, ONE TIME at Next Act Theatre, and THE ROAD TO MECCA and WOMAN IN BLACK at Renaissance Theaterworks. Regional credits include Repertory Theatre of Saint Louis, Illinois Shakespeare Festival, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Arizona Theatre Company, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Clarence Brown Theater, American Players Theatre, Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, and PCPA Theaterfest. Jonathan’s other plays include TO THE PROMISED LAND, which received its world premiere at First Stage, and SANDBURG, a developing one-man play about the poet Carl Sandburg, which has benefitted from staged readings at MCT and at Next Act. He is a native Milwaukeean and a graduate of Marquette University High School and UW-Madison. Jon has been married for 35 years to GREAT EXPECTATIONS author Gale Childs Daly; MCT’s production is the first time he has appeared in this play.

 

KAREN ESTRADA – Narrator Four

Karen Estrada has had the privilege of having previously worked with Milwaukee Chamber Theatre in CRIMES OF THE HEART, JEEVES IN BLOOM and A LOVELY SUNDAY FOR CREVE COUER. She has also had the pleasure of performing at Skylight Music Theatre, In Tandem Theatre, Renaissance Theaterworks, First Stage, Milwaukee Opera Theatre, Splinter Group, numerous shows with Sunset Playhouse’s Bug in a Rug children’s theatre Musical Mainstage, with Bunny Gumbo’s Combat Theatre, and a collaboration with her sketch comedy troupe The Show and Danceworks Performance Company.  Karen is a proud two-time alumna of Disney on Classic in Japan.  She has taught at many schools of theater including First Stage, MITY, Waukesha Civic and Next Act Theatre’s Next Actors program.

 

CHIKÉ JOHNSON – Narrator Five

Chiké last appeared at Milwaukee Chamber Theatre in TAKE ME OUT, during the 2004-2005 season. He recently appeared as the Ghost of Christmas Present in the 2016 production of A CHRISTMAS CAROL at Milwaukee Repertory Theatre. Other recent productions include Crooks in OF MICE AND MEN and Marley in A CHRISTMAS CAROL at the Milwaukee Rep and Othello, Winston and Pistol at American Players Theatre. His Broadway credits: A TIME TO KILL and Manhattan Theatre Club’s WIT. Off Broadway: LOST IN THE STARS, New York City Center’s ENCORES! and RUINED, co-produced by the Manhattan Theatre Club. Chicago credits include: MEET VERA STARK at the Goodman Theatre; SIZWE BANZI IS DEAD and THE CRUCIBLE at Court Theatre; THE UNMENTIONABLES and HUCK FINN at Steppenwolf Theatre. Other regional credits include a revival of THE UNMENTIONABLES at Yale Repertory Theatre; Lincoln in TOPDOG/UNDERDOG at Renaissance Theaterworks; Duke of Cornwall in KING LEAR at the Milwaukee Rep; Cephus Miles in HOME at In Tandem Theatre; Willie in ‘MASTER HAROLD’… AND THE BOYS at Next Act Theatre; and Martin Luther King, Jr. in SMOLDERING FIRES at First Stage. Some of Chiké’s film credits include Friends with Benefits, Sleep Walk with Me, The Machinist and his television credits include: Law & Order, Girls, Veep and Prison Break.

 

JOSH KRAUSE – Pip

Josh Krause is ecstatic to be working with Milwaukee Chamber Theatre for the first time. Josh most recently appeared in Children’s Theater of Madison’s production of A CHRISTMAS CAROL (Fred).  Other regional credits include JACK OF HEARTS (Jack) for Milwaukee Entertainment Group; VISITING MR. GREEN (Ross) and JEEVES AT SEA (Crumpet) for Artists’ Ensemble Theatre; GOODNIGHT MOON for Children’s Theater of Madison; MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING (Verges) and THE MATCHMAKER (Ambrose) for Indiana Festival Theatre. Josh received his Master of Fine Arts in Acting from Indiana University, where he performed in ROMEO AND JULIET (Romeo) and PRIDE AND PREJUDICE (Mr. Darcy), among others. He performed internationally in Germany and Poland in COMING TO SEE AUNT SOPHIE (Young Karski). In addition to acting, Josh is a teaching artist for the Milwaukee Repertory Theater and Sunset Playhouse.

 

DEBORAH STAPLES – Narrator Three

Deborah is absolutely thrilled to make her Milwaukee Chamber Theatre production debut, after performing in three readings for the Montgomery Davis Play Development Series (including the upcoming CHRISTMAS IN BABYLON on March 20). Deborah just finished THE OTHER PLACE at Next Act Theatre, where she has also appeared in MOTHERHOOD: OUT LOUD, TEN QUESTIONS TO ASK YOUR BIOLOGY TEACHER ABOUT EVOLUTION, and directed WELCOME HOME, JENNY SUTTER.  Previous credits include playing Hamlet (HAMLET), Olivia (TWELFTH NIGHT), Elizabeth (ELIZABETH REX) and Cleopatra (ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA) at Illinois Shakespeare, as well as long associations with the Milwaukee Rep (60+ shows/Associate Artist) and American Players Theatre (27 shows).  She is also a voiceover artist, is currently working on a screenplay and is the mother of two fabulous girls.

 

ZACH THOMAS WOODS – Narrator Two

Zach Thomas Woods is thrilled to be making his debut at Milwaukee Chamber Theatre. He holds a BFA in acting from the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point. Recent Milwaukee credits include HOLIDAY HELL: THE CURSE OF PERRY WILLIAMS and ERNEST IN LOVE with In Tandem Theatre, BONNY ANNE BONNY with Theater Red, HOLES, SPOOKLEY THE SQUARE PUMPKIN, BIG FISH, and ANATOLE with First Stage, and LES MISERABLES and HAIR with the Skylight Music Theatre. When not onstage, Woods works behind the scenes as a director and writer. He is annually commissioned to write for Hawaiian Mission Houses’ living history program, Cemetery Pupu Theatre, in Honolulu, and recently wrote the book for the children’s musical ALDO LEOPOLD AND THE GHOST OF SAND COUNTY which will tour southeastern Wisconsin through May with Kohl’s Wild Theatre. Recent directing credits include EVITA, THE MISS FIRECRACKER CONTEST, DEATH BY DESIGN, MOON OVER BUFFALO, and FOOTLOOSE.

 

MOLLY RHODE – Director

Molly returns to Chamber as a director after previously directing MAIN-TRAVELLED ROADS. She appeared on stage earlier this season as Helena in A LOVELY SUNDAY FOR CREVE COEUR. Other work as an actor at MCT includes FALLEN ANGELS, A THOUSAND WORDS and TRYING. Molly is proud to make her entire artistic living in Wisconsin. She has worked on stages all over Milwaukee, as well as in Madison, Spring Green and Door County, and she serves as the associate artistic director of Northern Sky Theater in Peninsula State Park.

 

#####

 

MILWAUKEE CHAMBER THEATRE

Founded in 1975, Milwaukee Chamber Theatre (MCT) produces intimate and accessible theatrical works that engage and challenge the audience, while employing and nurturing principally local theatre artists. Under the leadership of Producing Artistic Director C. Michael Wright and Managing Director Kirsten Mulvey, Milwaukee Chamber Theatre performs at the Broadway Theatre Center in Milwaukee’s Historic Third Ward.

 

 

Matthew Reddin

Marketing Director

(414) 276-8842

milwaukeechambertheatre.com

 

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