Milwaukee Chamber Theatre presents THE FEW

by Samuel D. Hunter

February 22 – March 19

Broadway Theatre Center’s Studio Theatre

 

Milwaukee, WI. … Wisconsin theatregoers will get their first chance to sample the work of acclaimed playwright Samuel D. Hunter with THE FEW, a tale of three lonely souls seeking renewed faith in humanity, running February 22 – March 19. Set in the year 1999, in a disheveled office space in northern Idaho, Hunter’s play is a compassionate, gently hued drama about “emotional and spiritual misfits” struggling to find a purpose for their lives. MCT producing artistic director C. Michael Wright will direct the Wisconsin premiere, performed at the Broadway Theatre Center’s Studio Theatre in Milwaukee’s Historic Third Ward.

 

Four years before the play begins, Bryan walked out on his labor of love, a newspaper for truckers (also titled The Few). Now, without warning or word of where he’s been, he’s returned to find things have changed. His ex, QZ, is filled with rage. His new coworker, Matthew, is filled with incessant adoration. And his paper is filled with personal ads.

 

THE FEW features two longtime collaborators of both Wright and MCT. Mary MacDonald Kerr makes her first appearance since THE DETECTIVE’S WIFE (2013). This production is her 23rd with as an actor with the company; Wright last directed her here in THE SWEETEST SWING IN BASEBALL (2010). James Ridge, best known as an actor at American Players Theatre in Spring Green for 19 seasons, has collaborated with Wright on two shows at MCT – UNDERNEATH THE LINTEL (2013) and DICKENS IN AMERICA (2006) – as well as multiple shows when Wright was associate artistic director at Next Act Theatre.

 

THE FEW is the first of Samuel D. Hunter’s works to be produced in Milwaukee, and originally premiered at the Old Globe Theater in San Diego in 2013. The next year, Hunter was named one of the 21 recipients of that year’s MacArthur “Genius” Grants. His citation for the award, granted annually as an investment in some of America’s most unique and creative artists, describes him as “a playwright who crafts moving portraits of unlikely protagonists and explores the human capacity for empathy through the prism of his characters’ struggles. … Eschewing irony and judgment of his characters’ decisions, Hunter’s quietly captivating dramas confront the polarizing and socially isolating aspects of contemporary life across the American landscape.”

 

All of Hunter’s major works are set in rural Idaho and center on protagonists whose lives are rarely presented on stage at all, much less with such sympathy and importance. THE WHALE, one of his most-produced works to date, spends a week with a morbidly obese online writing instructor trying to reconnect with his estranged daughter before he dies. A BRIGHT NEW BOISE takes place in the breakroom of a Hobby Lobby, where a disgraced Evangelical tries to build a relationship with the teenage son given up for adoption years before. What Hunter’s plays all share is a collection of misfits who (in the words of dramaturg John M. Baker) “find themselves in simultaneously ordinary and extraordinary circumstances, navigating messy, difficult and big questions of modern life.”

 

Milwaukee Chamber Theatre will once again partner with the theatre department at UW-Milwaukee with this production, having successfully collaborated on LOVE STORIES (2015), THE DETECTIVE’S WIFE (2013) and PICNIC (2009). UWM professor and voice coach Raeleen McMillion and sound designer Chris Guse worked with Wright to assemble a roster of UWM instructors, students and alumni that play the chorus of voices leaving personal ads to be printed in The Few. “I relish any opportunity to collaborate with an area university on a production,” Wright says, “and this was a perfect fit. Working with UWM in this capacity was a totally unique and fulfilling venture!”

 

THE FEW performances will take place February 22 to March 19, 2017 (Opening Night: Friday, February 24), in the Broadway Theatre Center’s Studio 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. THE FEW is co-sponsored by Jamshed & Deborah Patel and John Shannon & Jan Serr.

 

 

[ CAST ]

Matthew ……………………………………………………………………………………………………. Mitch Bultman

QZ …………………………………………………………………………………………………. Mary MacDonald Kerr

Bryan …………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. James Ridge

 

[ PRODUCTION STAFF ]

Director………………………………………………………………………………………………….. C. Michael Wright

Scenic Designer…………………………………………………………………………………………………… Jody Sekas

Costume Designer……………………………………………………………………………………….. Kim O’Callaghan

Lighting Designer………………………………………………………………………………………………. Phil Warren

Properties Master………………………………………………………………………………………. Kayleigh Kitzman

Sound Designer…………………………………………………………………………………………………… Chris Guse

Voice Casting & Coach……………………………………………………………………………… Raeleen McMillion

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

 

[ PERFORMANCE INFORMATION ]

February 22 – March 19, 2017
Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
22        

7:30 p.m. PWYC

23

7:30 p.m. P

24

8:00 p.m. O

25           4:00 p.m.

8:00 p.m.

26

2:00 p.m.

Mar 1  1:00 p.m.*

7:30 p.m. V

2

7:30 p.m. T

3

8:00 p.m.

4             4:00 p.m.

8:00 p.m.

5

2:00 p.m.

8           1:00 p.m.*

 

9           

7:30 p.m. T

10

8:00 p.m.

12           4:00 p.m.

8:00 p.m.

12

2:00 p.m.

15

7:30 p.m.

16           

7:30 p.m. T

17

8:00 p.m.

18           4:00 p.m.

8:00 p.m.

19

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 presentation on topics relating to THE FEW. This free presentation is on Wednesday, March 1 at 6:30 p.m. in the Studio Theatre.

 

–Pre-performance Talk Theatre: MCT producing artistic director C. Michael Wright will lead lively and informative chats with sound designer Chris Guse and voice casting/coach Raeleen McMillion at 12:00 noon on Wednesday, March 1 and costume designer Kimberly O’Callaghan at 12:00 noon on Wednesday, March 8 in the Skylight Bar & Bistro.

 

–Post-performance Talkbacks: Post-show discussions with the artists following performances on Thursday, March 2, Thursday, March 9, and Thursday, March 16.

 

[ BIOGRAPHIES ]

MITCH BULTMAN – Matthew

Mitch Bultman is from Wauwatosa and is thrilled to be making his Milwaukee Chamber Theatre debut. Mitch was most recently seen in Forward Theater’s production of 4000 MILES directed by Jen Uphoff Gray. Mitch is currently a resident teaching artist with First Stage Children’s Theater in Milwaukee and has worked locally on stage with First Stage, Bunny Gumbo, and others. Mitch spent a year studying classical text at Shakespeare’s Globe Theater in London and performed as Henry in HENRY V at the Globe. Mitch has had the privilege of working with and been directed by Moritz von Stuelpnagel, Tim Carroll, Michael Sexton, William Carden and others. Mitch holds a BFA in theater from Rutgers University Mason Gross School of the Arts.

 

MARY MACDONALD KERR – QZ

Mary is thrilled to be acting at Milwaukee Chamber Theatre again. Her last show here was THE DETECTIVE’S WIFE. Other favorite Chamber shows include THE SWEETEST SWING IN BASEBALL, JOE EGG, THREE DAYS OF RAIN, VOICE OF THE TURTLE and BEAST ON THE MOON. Mary has also acted in productions at Renaissance Theatreworks, Milwaukee Rep, First Stage, Milwaukee Shakespeare and Next Act Theatre. Mary is also a director, whose most recent project was LUNA GALE for Renaissance Theatreworks. Her other directing credits include CRIMES OF THE HEART at MCT, THE GLASS MENAGERIE at In Tandem and GOING TO ST. IVES at Next Act, among others.

 

JAMES RIDGE – Bryan

James first performed with MCT in the Shaw Festival, where he appeared in TOO TRUE TO BE GOOD and WAITING FOR GODOT. He and director C. Michael Wright have collaborated on the projects UNDERNEATH THE LINTEL and DICKENS IN AMERICA, as well as A NIGHT IN NOVEMBER and STONES IN HIS POCKETS for Next Act Theatre. James is a core company member of American Players Theatre in Spring Green, WI where he recently completed his 19th season with the repertory company. Past roles at APT include Iago, Teach, Richard III, Puck, Shylock, Petruchio, Tartuffe, Didi, Malvolio, Col. Pickering and Lickcheese. He now directs the CTM (Madison) production of A CHRISTMAS CAROL in which he played Scrooge for 4 seasons.

 

  1. MICHAEL WRIGHT – Director

Since joining the staff here in 2005, Michael has directed quite a number of MCT productions including FALLEN ANGELS, SLOWGIRL, THE TRAIN DRIVER, THE GOOD FATHER, UNDERNEATH THE LINTEL, HEROES, DRIVING MISS DAISY and PICNIC, as well as three original works: OCTOBER, BEFORE I WAS BORN, THE DALY NEWS and DICKENS IN AMERICA (which he also directed at American Players Theatre). Before MCT, he served as Associate Artistic Director of Next Act Theatre for eight years. Since moving to Wisconsin in 1988, Michael has directed well over 75 productions. Some favorites have been THE STORY OF MY LIFE for Milwaukee Opera Theatre, VISITING MR. GREEN for Next Act, THE SYRINGA TREE for American Players Theatre, Renaissance Theaterworks and Delaware Theatre Company, LOBBY HERO for Madison Repertory Theatre and A NIGHT IN NOVEMBER for Next Act, Madison Rep and Riverside Theatre in Vero Beach, Florida. Michael has been acting professionally for 40 years and has appeared on Broadway, in Israel and in regional theatres all across the country. His most recent performances have been as Vanya in VANYA AND SONIA AND MASHA AND SPIKE, Serge in ‘ART’, Philip in MAURITIUS and Dr. Alfred Feldmann in DUET FOR ONE, all here at MCT. In 2009, Michael was honored with an “Artist of the Year” award by the City of Milwaukee Arts Board.

 

#####

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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