Delightful Dr. Seuss classic THE CAT IN THE HAT
returns to First Stage
Based on the book by Dr. Seuss
Play originally produced by the National Theatre of Great Britain
Adapted and originally directed by Katie Mitchell
Directed by Jill Anna Ponasik
Milwaukee, WI – December 21, 2017 – First Stage’s First Steps Series proudly presents the return of Dr. Seuss’s THE CAT IN THE HAT to the Milwaukee Youth Arts Center, 325 W. Walnut Street in Milwaukee, from January 21 – February 25, 2018. This interactive performance is part of First Stage’s First Steps Series, designed to introduce children ages 3 to 6 to live theater in an engaging and lively environment. Tickets can be purchased at the First Stage box office by phone at (414) 267-2961 or online at www.firststage.org. Several performances have sold out, so patrons are encouraged to buy tickets early.
The Cat in the Hat is everyone’s favorite feline in the red and white hat. She turns a rainy afternoon upside down with his madcap mischief and wacky adventures. Speaking only in rhyme, the Cat in the Hat shows Sally and her brother that “it’s fun to have fun, but you have to know how,” despite the misgivings of their well-mannered Fish. What will Mother think of all the antics when she returns home? Audiences will find out when all of their favorite moments from this Dr. Seuss classic come to life before their very eyes. Suggested for families with young people ages 3 – 7+.
Originally produced by the National Theatre of Great Britain, the stage adaptation of The Cat in the Hat is a thrilling glimpse into the colorful world of Dr. Seuss. First Stage’s cast and crew have imaginatively recreated the illustrations from the book. “It is just a joy to watch this iconic book come to life on stage, and to see what we can accomplish together, by embracing Dr. Seuss’s unbridled imagination,” said Director Jill Anna Ponasik. Many Milwaukee theatergoers will know of Jill Anna through her work with the critically acclaimed Milwaukee Opera Theatre. “One of the valuable lessons baked into The Cat in the Hat, is the power our imaginations have to create whole new worlds – where fish dream, and cats ride bicycles indoors – and transform rainy afternoons into adventures!”
Jill Anna Ponasik (Director) A fan of First Stage for many years, Jill Anna is thrilled to be directing The Cat in the Hat. As Artistic Director of Milwaukee Opera Theatre, Jill Anna works throughout each season to connect audiences and artists in unconventional ways. The 2017-18 season alone includes, a concept reading of A Chorus Line, an original adaptation of Tales of Hoffmann with MOT and Skylight Music Theatre, Svadba – Wedding, a six-woman, a cappella opera with MOT and Wild Space Dance Company and the reading of a new Jason Powell musical, Doc Danger and the Danger Squad! Jill Anna is also spending the 2017-18 season teaching the opera students at UWM and working with the wonderful staff at Skylight Music Theatre as an Artistic Associate. Since moving to Milwaukee, Jill Anna has had the pleasure of working with Skylight Music Theatre, Milwaukee Chamber Theatre, Renaissance Theaterworks, In Tandem Theatre, Present Music, Danceworks Performance Company, Wild Space Dance Company, Quasimondo Milwaukee Physical Theatre, Sunset Playhouse and The Alchemist. She holds degrees from The University of Minnesota and Rice University.
The adult actor cast of Dr. Seuss’s THE CAT IN THE HAT includes: Sara Zientek (Member of Actors’ Equity Association) as Cat in the Hat and Justin Lee as Fish. Becky Cofta is the understudy for Ms. Zientek and Mr. Lee.
Young performer roles are double cast. Young performers in the Nerkles Cast include: Arlo Sturrock (as Boy) from Milwaukee; Grace Fischer (as Girl) from Menomonee Falls; Greta Dane (as Kitten 1) from Cedarburg; Isabel Williams (as Kitten 2) from Milwaukee; Niya Iniguez (as Thing 2) from Cudahy and Nolan Zellermayer (as Thing 1) from Milwaukee.
Young performers in the Wockets Cast include: Ben Stull (as Kitten 2) from Mequon; Ben Usatinsky (as Boy) from Mequon; Gauri Laroyla (as Thing 1) from Shorewood; Josephine VanSlyke (as Girl) from Milwaukee; Lucia Santana (as Thing 2) from Milwaukee and Marika Marklin (as Kitten 1) from Wauwatosa.
The Artistic Staff for Dr. Seuss’s THE CAT IN THE HAT includes: Chris Feiereisen (Choreographer); Lisa Schlenker (Scenic Designer); Nick Belley (Lighting Designer); Michelle Pendzich (Costume Designer); Greg Hoffmann (Associate Lighting Designer); Matt Whitmore (Sound Designer); Jane Heer (Stage Manager and Member of Actors’ Equity Association) and Emily Wright (Assistant Stage Manager).
Tickets are $14 – Tickets may be purchased at www.firststage.org or through the First Stage box office by phone at (414) 267-2961.
Special event for Dr. Seuss’s THE CAT IN THE HAT
Sensory Friendly Performance: Saturday, February 3 at 3:30 p.m.
A Sensory Friendly Performance with accommodations for families with children on the autism spectrum will take place on Saturday, February 3 at 3:30 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 differences, and more. Contact the First Stage Box Office at (414) 267-2961 to reserve your tickets.
About: Dr. Seuss’s THE CAT IN THE HAT
Location: Milwaukee Youth Arts Center, Main Stage Hall, 325 W. Walnut Street, Milwaukee
Dates: January 21 – February 25, 2018
Description: Leave it to the Cat in the Hat! Everyone’s favorite feline in the red and white hat turns a rainy afternoon upside down with his madcap mischief and wacky adventures. Speaking only in rhyme, the Cat in the Hat shows Sally and her brother that “it’s fun to have fun, but you have to know how,” despite the misgivings of their well-mannered Fish. But what will Mother think of all the antics when she returns home? Find out when all of your favorite moments from this Dr. Seuss classic come to life before your eyes. Suggested for families with young people ages 3 – 7+.
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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