First Stage Opens Season with “Goosebumps the Musical: Phantom of the Auditorium”

Contact Erica Davis (414) 267-2931 or

First Stage opens 30th Anniversary Season with World Premiere

October 14 – November 13, 2016

Todd Wehr Theater, Marcus Center for the Performing Arts

Book and Lyrics by John Maclay, Music and Lyrics by Danny Abosch

Produced by special arrangement with GURMAN AGENCY, LLC, New York, NY

Orchestrations and Arrangements by Danny Abosch

Based on Goosebumps: Phantom of the Auditorium,
from the bestselling Goosebumps book series by R.L. Stine

Directed by Niffer Clarke


Suggested for families with young people ages 7 – 16 and up.


Milwaukee, WI – First Stage kicks off its exciting 2016-2017 season with GOOSEBUMPS THE MUSCIAL: PHANTOM OF THE AUDITORIUM, October 14 – November 13, 2016 at the Marcus Center’s Todd Wehr Theater, located at 929 N. Water Street, Milwaukee, based on a book from the bestselling Goosebumps  series by R.L. Stine. Tickets can be purchased in person at the Marcus Center box office, by phone at (414) 273-7206 or online at

This world premiere is the first in a season of both family favorites and new premieres commemorating First Stage’s 30th anniversary season of Theater You Never Outgrow. “R.L. Stine grabs readers and takes them on a roller coaster ride that is equal parts scary and funny,” commented First Stage Artistic Director Jeff Frank. “You don’t sell 400 million books by accident. He knows what he is doing, and we are thrilled to bring one of his adventures to our stage – and thankful to once again be working with our friends at Oregon Children’s Theatre, with whom we are collaborating on this world premiere play.” With book and lyrics by First Stage Associate Artistic Director John Maclay, along with music and lyrics by Danny Abosch, this production promises a silly, spooky adventure that will keep the whole family at the edge of their seats.

First Stage’s production of GOOSEBUMPS THE MUSICAL: PHANTOM OF THE AUDITORIUM is sponsored by Actuant.

Niffer Clarke (Director/Choreographer)
is delighted to be a part of First Stage, as a teacher, actor (including ELLA ENCHANTED; BIG FISH; PINKALICIOUS THE MUSICAL; BIG, THE MUSICAL; THE BEST CHRISTMAS PAGEANT EVER; HONK! and NANCY DREW AND HER BIGGEST CASE EVER) and, this season, as director of GOOSEBUMPS™ THE MUSICAL: THE PHANTOM OF THE AUDITORIUM. As a professional actor, she has appeared Off-Broadway and in regional theatres across the country. In Milwaukee, Niffer has been seen in numerous productions with Splinter Group, Skylight Music Theatre, Off The Wall, Milwaukee Opera Theatre, and Renaissance Theaterworks. Her directing and teaching career is just as extensive and wide-ranging. She co-founded the Conservatory of Performing Arts in Florida, where she taught Acting, Musical Theatre, Music Theory and maintained a private voice and coaching studio. In New York, Niffer directed and choreographed productions in both the public and private school arenas. She has taught and directed numerous summer theatre programs in Florida as well as here in Milwaukee. In Milwaukee, she’s directed COMPANY and IVY AND BEAN at Marquette University and SHIPWRECKED: AN ENTERTAINMENT… and STAR EYES AND LIFEGUARD at Splinter Group. Next year, in addition to directing at First Stage, she is directing JACK AND THE BEANSTALK at Cardinal Stritch University.

The adult actor cast of GOOSEBUMPS THE MUSICAL: PHANTOM OF THE AUDITORIUM features veteran Milwaukee actors Carrie Hitchcock (Member of Actor’s Equity Association) as Ms. Walker; and Chris Klopatek (Member of Actor’s Equity Association) as Emile. Understudies include Marques Causey and Lachrisa Grandberry.

Young performer roles are double cast. Young performers in the Chills Cast are Chantae Miller (as Brooke Rogers) from Waukesha; Jake Koch (as Zeke Matthews) from Pewaukee; Mallorey Wallace (as Tina) from Nashotah; Cole Winston (as Brian) from Hartland; Bradley Nowacek (as Steve) from Wauwatosa; Charles Kelley (as Corey) from Germantown; Marie Charles (as Camille) and Georgina Pink (as Anna) from Milwaukee.

Young performers in the Thrills Cast are Madeline McNichols (as Brooke Rogers) and Riley Halpern (as Camille) from Whitefish Bay; Matthias Wong (as Zeke Matthews) from Mequon; Gaby Musickant (as Tina) and Sam Gist (as Steve) from Glendale; Max Pink (as Brian) from Milwaukee; Gabe Smith (as Corey) from Fox Point; and Heaven Lucas (as Anna) from Muskego.

The Artistic Staff for GOOSEBUMPSTHE MUSICAL: PHANTOM OF THE AUDITORIUM includes Niffer Clarke (Director/Choreographer); Danny Abosch (Composer/Music Director); Martin McClendon (Scenic Designer); Nick Belley (Lighting Designer); Misti Bradford (Costume Designer); Matt Whitmore (Sound Designer); Melissa L. Wanke, Member of Actor’s Equity Association (Rehearsal Stage Manager); Carrie Taylor, Member of Actor’s Equity Association (Calling Stage Manager); and Cassidy Williams (Assistant Stage Manager).

Tickets start at $15. Tickets may be purchased at 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 for more information, or reserve online at

Friday, October 14: Opening Night Reception – Following the opening night performance, First Stage invites all patrons to attend the Opening Night Reception at the Milwaukee Youth Arts Center, located one mile from the Marcus Center at 325 W. Walnut Street, Milwaukee. Patrons can mix and mingle with the cast and crew of GOOSEBUMPS THE MUSICAL: PHANTOM OF THE AUDITOIRIUM while enjoying refreshments, courtesy of First Stage.



Location:  The Marcus Center’s Todd Wehr Theater, 929 N. Water Street, Milwaukee

Dates:  October 14 – November 13, 2016

Description:  Brooke and Zeke have been cast as the leads in the school’s new production of an old play about a…Phantom. Strange things start disrupting rehearsals and they have to wonder: is this someone’s idea of a joke? Or is the Phantom real? A silly and spooky adventure ensues that will keep the whole family in suspense until the final curtain! Suggested for families with young people ages 7 – 16 and up.


  • Friday, October 14 at 7:00 p.m. – Opening Night
  • Saturday, October 15 at 3:30 & 7:00 p.m.
  • Sunday, October 16 at 1:00 & 3:30 p.m.
  • Tuesday, October 18 at 7:00 p.m. – Pay What You Choose Performance
  • Saturday, October 22 at 1:00 & 3:30 p.m.
  • Sunday, October 23 at 1:00 & 3:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, October 29 at 1:00, 3:30 & 7:00 p.m.
  • Saturday, November 5 at 3:30 & 7:00 p.m.
  • Sunday, November 6 at 1:00 & 3:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, November 12 at 3:30 & 7:00 p.m.
  • Sunday, November 13 at 1:00 & 3:30 p.m.


Ticket and information: Tickets start at $15. Call (414) 273-7206 or online at


ASL Interpreted Performance: Sunday, November 13, 2016 at 3:30 p.m. – this performance will be sign language interpreted for patrons who are deaf or have low hearing. Assistive listening devices are also available at the Todd Wehr Theater.

About First Stage
Celebrating its 30th anniversary in the 2016-2017 season, First Stage is one of the nation’s leading theaters for young audiences and families. First Stage touches hearts, engages minds, and transforms lives by creating extraordinary theater experiences for young people and families 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 use theater to promote active learning throughout the curriculum, serving over 20,000 students throughout southeastern Wisconsin each year.  In 2012, First Stage was selected to participate in the Partners in Education program of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. First Stage is the recipient of the Milwaukee Business Journal’s Eureka Award in 2013 and 2015, recognizing creativity and innovation in business, education, and the arts. First Stage is a member of TYA/USA, the American Alliance for Theatre and Education, the Wisconsin Alliance for Arts Education, Theatre Wisconsin, and Milwaukee Arts Partners, and is a cornerstone member of the United Performing Arts Fund (UPAF).

In July 1992, Scholastic introduced a monthly book series by R.L. Stine called Goosebumps with Goosebumps: Welcome to the Dead House. Nearly Twenty-five years later, Goosebumps is now one of the best-selling children’s series of all-time—with more than 350 million English language books in print, plus an additional 50+ million international copies in print in 22 languages.  The Goosebumps series made R.L. Stine a worldwide publishing celebrity (and Jeopardy answer). Goosebumps, a feature film starring Jack Black, based on the book series by R.L. Stine, was released in theaters on October 16, 2015, and opened at #1 at the box office

™ & © Scholastic Inc. SCHOLASTIC, GOOSEBUMPS and associated logos are trademarks and/or registered marks of Scholastic Inc. Based on Goosebumps® Phantom of the Auditorium.

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