A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS
returns to First Stage this holiday season
November 24, 2017 – December 31, 2017
Todd Wehr Theater, Marcus Center for the Performing Arts
By Charles M. Schulz
Based on the television special by Bill Melendez and Lee Mendelson
Stage adaptation by Eric Schaeffer
By special arrangement with Arthur Whitelaw and Ruby Persson
Directed by Jeff Frank
This play is for everyone ages 3 and up.
Sponsored by Associated Bank and Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren
Milwaukee, WI – Ring in the holiday season with Charlie Brown, Linus, Lucy and the rest of the Peanuts gang as A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS makes its way back to First Stage November 24 – December 31, 2017. Performances take place at the Marcus Center’s Todd Wehr Theater, located at 929 N. Water Street, downtown Milwaukee. Tickets can be purchased in person at the Marcus Center box office at 929 N. Water Street, by phone at (414) 273-7206 or online at www.firststage.org.
Based on the heart-warming television special, A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS follows Charlie Brown as he navigates the Yuletide blues, searching for the true spirit of the holiday season. First Stage Artistic Director Jeff Frank directs as First Stage welcomes back A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS to the Todd Wehr stage. “With an iconic score played live by the incomparable Jack Forbes Wilson and laughs aplenty courtesy of the brilliance of Charles Schulz, this a perfect holiday show for families to celebrate the season together,” said Frank.
The physically adept Matt Daniels once again brings Snoopy and his clown like antics to life. He is joined by two alternating casts of 13 young performers. Music Director and pianist Jack Forbes Wilson will be on stage, playing the iconic and well-loved Peanuts music live at each performance.
First Stage’s production of A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS is sponsored by Associated Bank and Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren. Media sponsors include FOX6, MetroParent Magazine, and 95.7 BIG FM.
Jeff Frank (Director) Jeff has been First Stage’s artistic director since February 2003. Previously he had served as education director/associate artistic director beginning in 1996. Jeff is a native Wisconsinite who earned a B.F.A. in Theater from UW–Whitewater and went on to the University of Utah, earning an M.F.A. in Child Drama. Over the past 21 seasons Jeff has directed over 50 First Stage productions. Among his favorites are: THE SNOW, LUCHADORA!, PETER PAN AND WENDY, U: BUG: ME, THE NEVERENDING STORY, A MIDNIGHT CRY, PERSEUS BAYOU, TOM SAWYER and NANCY DREW AND HER BIGGEST CASE EVER.
Matt Daniels (Snoopy) Matt is a frequent collaborator at First Stage, as an actor (SHREK THE MUSICAL, A MIDNIGHT CRY, A WRINKLE IN TIME, AESOP’S FABLES, FIVE LITTLE MONKEYS and NANCY DREW AND HER BIGGEST CASE EVER), director (JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH, RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER™: THE MUSICAL, TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA, AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE, CYMBELINE, ROSENCRANTZ AND GUILDENSTERN ARE DEAD and THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD), and teacher for the Theater Academy. He has numerous credits with Milwaukee Chamber Theatre, In Tandem Theater, and the late Milwaukee Shakespeare, and has also performed with Forward Theater, Kentucky Rep., Lake Geneva Theater Co., several regional Shakespeare Festivals, and on many independent stages in New York. Matt’s directing work has been seen locally at First Stage, MCT’s New Play Development series, Sunset Playhouse, and goats & monkeys. An avid ukulelist, he enjoys time spent with Il Bazzone’s Jumping Flea Circus. He is the director of First Stage’s Young Company and a graduate of the Juilliard Drama Division.
Jack Forbes Wilson (Music Director/Pianist) Born and raised in Lincoln, Nebraska, Jack came to Wisconsin to attend the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he received a Master of Music Degree before moving out to Spring Green. After working at American Players Theatre for three seasons, he moved to Milwaukee, where he has worked as a pianist, singer, and actor for three decades. For twenty years he has been a musical director at the First Unitarian Society of Milwaukee. He has appeared in many shows at the Milwaukee Rep’s Stackner Cabaret, and has also performed with Madison Rep, Skylight Opera Theatre and Next Act Theatre. Jack teaches piano lessons when he is not practicing and performing.
The adult actor cast of A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS includes Matt Daniels (Member of Actor’s Equity Association) as Snoopy. First Stage fellow Justin Lee will understudy the role of Snoopy.
Young performer roles are double cast. Young performers in the Schulz Cast are Zach Church (as Charlie) from West Bend; Austin Bock (as Schroeder) from Muskego; John Aebly (as Linus) from Germantown; Deyki Miller (as Shermy), Ivy Broder (as Lucy), and Sydney Johnson (as Violet/ Feat. Skater) from Waukesha; J. Jackson Vining (as Pig Pen) and Faye Muma (Ensemble) from Wauwatosa; Ellie Boyce (as Sally) from Nashotah; Grace Drabot (as Frieda) from Cedarburg; Madison Jones (as Patty) and Cole Sison (Ensemble) from Milwaukee; and Lulu Sammarco (Ensemble).
Young performers in the Sparky Cast include Zack Duckler (as Charlie) from Mequon; Zachary Nowacek (as Schroeder) from Wauwatosa; Sawyer Esten (as Linus) from Cedarburg; Carson Pressley (as Shermy), Selma Rivera (as Lucy), Asha Metcalfe (as Violets/ Feat. Skater), Alice Rivera (as Sally), Erianna Ashmore-Purifoy (as Patty) from Milwaukee; Elliot Oquist (as Pig Pen) from Wauwatosa; Molly Domski (as Frieda) from Glendale; William Swoboda (Ensemble) from Whitefish Bay; Evie Evans (Ensemble) from Hartland and Reese Albert (Ensemble).
The Artistic Staff for A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS includes: Jack Forbes Wilson (Music Director/Pianist); Chris Feiereisen (Choreographer); Martin McClendon (Scenic Designer); Noele Stollmack (Lighting Designer); Jason Orlenko (Costume Designer); Matt Whitmore (Sound Designer); Carrie Taylor (Rehearsal Stage Manager); Melissa L. Wanke, Member of Actor’s Equity Association (Stage Manager) and Julia Xiong (Assistant Stage Manager).
Tickets start at $15. Tickets may be purchased at www.firststage.org or through the Marcus Center box office, in person at 929 N. Water Street in downtown Milwaukee or by phone (414) 273-7206 or toll free at (888) 612-3500. The number for TDD (for deaf and hard of hearing patrons) is (414) 273-3080.
Group Sales – Groups of 10 or more receive 15% off main floor, regular single ticket prices on most First Stage performances at the Marcus Center’s Todd Wehr Theater. Call (414) 267-2964 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
First Stage Family Packages – any combination of tickets for three or more plays in our 2017-18 season – are on sale now. Family package prices are available at up to 30% off the cost of regular single ticket prices. Benefits include unlimited ticket exchanges, free family workshops, backstage tours and more.
Special events for A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS
Grandparent Holiday Brunch: Sunday, December 17 – Celebrate the season with SNOOPY and the gang with a festive holiday brunch at the InterContinental Hotel, followed by a performance of A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS at 1:00 p.m. Along with brunch, families will enjoy a special visit from some of our cast, fun activities for the kids and more! Tickets and information are available at www.FirstStage.org/Grandparents.
Sensory Friendly Performance: Thursday, December 21- A Sensory Friendly Performance with accommodations for families with children on the autism spectrum will take place on Thursday, Dec. 21, 2017 at 7 p.m. Sensory accommodations include lower sound, house lights up, a quiet area staffed by an educator experienced with the care of students with autism and other developmental disabilities, and more. Contact the First Stage Box Office at (414) 267-2961 to reserve your tickets.
About: A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS
Location: The Marcus Center’s Todd Wehr Theater, 929 N. Water Street, Milwaukee
Dates: November 24, 2017 – December 31, 2017
Description: Back by popular demand, this treasured classic comes to life on stage this holiday season. Everyone is giddy with Christmas cheer, but Charlie Brown has the Yuletide blues. Will directing the Christmas play help him get in the spirit of the season? Join Charlie Brown, Snoopy, and the rest of the Peanuts gang as they learn the true meaning of Christmas. This is one holiday gift the entire family will adore. Suggested for families with young people ages 4 – 14+
Ticket and information: Tickets start at $15. Call (414) 273-7206 or online at www.firststage.org
About First Stage
First Stage is one of the nation’s leading theaters for young people and families. First Stage touches hearts, engages minds, and transforms lives by creating extraordinary theater experiences 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 promote literacy, character building, and experiential learning throughout the curriculum, serving over 20,000 students each year. First Stage was selected to participate in the Partners in Education program of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (2012), and was the recipient of the Milwaukee Business Journal’s Eureka Award, recognizing creativity and innovation in business, education, and the arts for its Next Steps program for students with autism (2013, 2015). First Stage is a member of TYA/USA, the American Alliance for Theatre and Education, the Wisconsin Alliance for Arts Education, Theatre Wisconsin, Milwaukee Arts Partners, and is a cornerstone member of the United Performing Arts Fund (UPAF).
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