First Stage presents TINKER BELL, A Family-Friendly Adventure to Neverland!

Journey to Neverland for a Family-Friendly Adventure in


-Featuring enchanting puppets, original music and a little fairy dust-


Based on the works of Sir J. M. Barrie, 1stBaronet, OM
Adapted for the stage by Patrick Flynn


Directed by Jeff Frank


Milwaukee, WI – April 11, 2019 – First Stage concludes its 2018/19 mainstage season with a sparkling new adaptation of TINKER BELL, written by playwright Patrick Flynn and based on the works of Sir J.M. Barrie. This family-friendly adventure brings to the stage characters audiences know and love – Peter Pan, Wendy, the Lost Boys and Captain Hook – but told all from the unique perspective of the feisty fairy, Tinker Bell. With over a dozen different puppets, original music and even some potent fairy dust, Milwaukee families will get to experience theater magic at its best. The world of Neverland will come to life in the Todd Wehr Theater like it has never been seen before! Audience members young and old won’t want to miss taking this fantastic voyage in TINKER BELL.


TINKER BELL runs April 26 – June 2, 2019 at the Marcus Center’s Todd Wehr Theater, located at 929 N. Water Street in 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.orgPerformance runtime is approximately 90 minutes, including intermission. Suggested for families with young people ages 6 – 17+.


Director/Artistic Director Jeff Frank had this to say about TINKER BELL: “In the fall of 2010, First Stage premiered the Theater for Young Audiences (TYA) adaptation of Doug Rand’s PETER PAN AND WENDY – a production not without risk. Could we tell that story in the Todd Wehr Theater? How were we going to have Peter and the others fly in a theater with no flyspace? We took inspiration from Japanese theater techniques, using kokens to lift our actors and create not just the illusion of flight – but a magical life to the entire show and were so gratified when our audiences embraced our efforts. Taking this leap launched a journey into the world of physical theater that continues to this day. . . .  And now, nine years later, TINKER BELL has provided us an opportunity to put all of our skills together to illuminate Tink’s take on this classic story – with puppetry, koken work and transformative set elements. We remain dedicated to reaching for new heights. Here’s to believing in fairies, magic, hope, light, friendship and the power of a well-crafted story, which reminds us of the limitless possibilities of ourselves and our world.”



Patrick Flynn (Playwright) is a playwright and filmmaker based in Washington, D.C. Produced stage works include THE FERBERIZING OF CORAL (winner, Samuel French Off-Off Broadway Short Play Festival), TINKER BELL (Helen Hayes Recommended, Adventure Theatre MTC) and WHERE IN NORTH DAKOTA IS CARMEN SANDIEGO? (Awesome Con 2018). His work has been produced by Contemporary Stage Company, D.C. Source Festival, Kennedy Center Page-to-Stage Festival, Bethesda Play-in-a-Day, D.C. One-Minute Play Festival and New York Fringe. He is a 10-year veteran of the 48 Hour Film Project and has won six best-of-city awards, three writing awards and best film for his short FOR WHOM THE WHISTLE BLOWS. He is a professor at American University and Catholic University and a member of the Dramatists Guild.


Sir James Matthew Barrie (Author) was a Scottish dramatist, best known for writing the play Peter Pan. Born on May 9, 1860, in Scotland, J.M. Barrie was a Scottish dramatist, best known for writing Peter Pan in 1904, or The Boy Who Would Never Grow Up. The son of Scottish weavers, he moved to London to pursue his interest in becoming a playwright. There he met the Llewelyn Davies boys who inspired his masterpiece. Based on Barrie’s enchanting characters, Disney created the animated classic, Peter Pan, in 1953.




Chris Klopatek (Mr. Smee) was recently seen playing the role of the Duke in BIG RIVER: THE ADVENTURES OF HUCKLEBERRY FINN. Last summer, Chris played Orlando in AS YOU LIKE IT at American Players Theatre. A Milwaukee native, Chris has performed on stages across the country including Milwaukee Repertory Theater, Indiana Repertory Theatre, Great Lakes Theater, Lake Tahoe Shakespeare, Texas Shakespeare, Utah Shakespeare Festival and more. Coming up, Chris will be reprising his role as Bertie Wooster in Milwaukee Chamber Theatre’s production of JEEVES AT SEA. He has a MFA from the University of California-Irvine and a BFA from UW-Whitewater.


Ryan Schabach (Capt. Jas. Hook) will be making his First Stage debut with this production. Wisconsin performance credits include Children’s Theater of Madison, Forward Theatre Company, Milwaukee Repertory Theater, In Tandem Theatre, Next Act Theatre, Milwaukee Chamber Theatre, TAP and Door Shakespeare. Regionally, Ryan has performed three seasons at the Utah Shakespeare Festival, 11 seasons with Unity Theatre in Brenham, TX and 11 seasons with Stages Repertory Theatre in Houston. He holds a Psych/Philosophy degree from UW-Oshkosh and a MFA in acting from UW-Madison. 

Austin Winter (Pirate/Ensemble) returns to First Stage with TINKER BELL. Past credits include Roald Dahl’s MATILDA The Musical, A MIDNIGHT CRY, PINKALICIOUS and MY SON PINNOCHIO. He is a recent graduate of Carthage College and The Open Jar Residency in New York. Austin is also a costume designer, whose recent work includes the world premiere of DRAGON PACK SNACK ATTACK at Hope Summer Repertory Theatre. His portfolio and more can be seen on


Solana Ramirez-Garcia (Pirate/Ensemble) is happy to return to First Stage after recently performing the role of Mrs. Phelps in Roald Dahl’s MATILDA The Musical. She received her BFA in Musical Theatre at UW-Milwaukee and has been seen on multiple Wisconsin stages, including Forward Theater’s FUN HOME, The Constructivists’ GRUESOME PLAYGROUND INJURIES and Renaissance Theaterworks’ LUNA GALE. She is also working on her first EP alongside rapper Twan Mack, which will be coming out soon.


Joey Chelius (Understudy for Mr. Klopatek and Mr. Schabach) holds a BFA in Acting from the UW-Stevens Point. Aside from his work as both an actor and a guitarist, Joey spends much of his time teaching for First Stage’s Academy at both the Milwaukee Youth Arts Center and various classrooms around the Milwaukee area. Some of Joey’s favorite credits include INTO THE WOODS (The Baker), A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM (Peter Quince), RABBIT HOLE (Jason) and HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH (Guitarist).


Katarina Vandlik (Understudy for Ms.Ramirez-Garcia/Mr. Winter Understudy) is thrilled to return to First Stage as a recent graduate of Viterbo University, where she earned a BFA in Music Theatre. First Stage has always had a special place in her heart, as a former Young Company Member and performer on the mainstage. Some of her recent credits include Jean Brodie in THE PRIME OF MISS JEAN BRODIE, Roz in 9 TO 5: THE MUSICAL and Goneril in KING LEAR. She has recently returned to the Milwaukee area after living in Sydney, Australia, where she worked with Bard on the Beach, an outdoor Shakespeare company.


The adult cast for TINKER BELL at First Stage includes: Chris Klopatek, Member of Actor’s Equity Association, as Mr. Smee; Ryan Schabach, Member of Actor’s Equity Association, as Capt. Jas. Hook; Austin Winter as Pirate/Ensemble; Solana Ramirez-Garcia as Pirate/Ensemble, Joey Chelius as Understudy for Mr. Klopatek and Mr. Schabach and Katarina Vandlik as Understudy for Ms.Ramirez-Garcia/Mr. Winter Understudy.



Young Performer roles are double cast. Young Performers in the Dream Cast include: 

Meguire Hennes (from Hubertus) as Tinker Bell; Elisheva Scheuer (from Bayside) as Wendy; Anna Fitzsimmons (from Mequon) as Peter; Carson Pressley (from Germantown) as John; Jack Cooney (from Milwaukee) as Michael; Molly Domski (from Glendale) as Tootles/Ensemble; Maverick Johnstone (from Bayside) as Slightly/Ensemble; Casey Westphal (from Waukesha) as Nibs/Ensemble; Kevin O’Donoghue (from Fox Point) as Bustle/Ensemble; Aleya Perera (from Greenfield) as Curly/Ensemble; Phinlee Clarkin (from Milwaukee) as Winnie/Ensemble; Stephanie Santoyo-Bustos (from Milwaukee) as Wobbles/Ensemble; Alexa Crump (from Wauwatosa) as Jumper/Ensemble; Lucy Kuhnen-Grooms (from Shorewood) as Moby/Ensemble; Riley Halpern (from Whitefish Bay) as Pirate/Ensemble; Malik Clark (from Milwaukee) as Pirate/Ensemble; Ella Frank (from New Berlin) as Pirate/Ensemble and Ben Sturycz (from Milwaukee) as Pirate/Ensemble.


Young Performers in the Adventure Cast include: Chantae Miller (from Waukesha) as Tinker Bell; Paige Landrum (from Grafton) as Wendy; Luca Batory (from Milwaukee) as Peter; Rohan Singh (from Oak Creek) as John; Liam Eddy (from Hartland) as Michael; Ellie Boyce (from Nashotah) as Tootles/Ensemble; Joshua Willenson (from Bayside) as Slightly/Ensemble; Kian Green (from Greendale) as Nibs/Ensemble; Charlie Wronski (from Bayside) as Bustle/Ensemble; Madeline Dixon (from Hartland) as Curly/Ensemble; Paxton Haley (from Milwaukee) as Winnie/Ensemble; Elena Harms (from Whitefish Bay) as Wobbles/Ensemble; Avana Kelly (from Milwaukee) as Jumper/Ensemble; Kate Ketelhohn (from Cedarburg) as Moby/Ensemble; Isabel Bastardo (from St. Francis) as Pirate/Ensemble; Abigail Wallace (from Milwaukee) as Pirate/Ensemble; Mary Jensik (from Greenfield) as Pirate/Ensemble and Austin Bock (from Muskego) as Pirate/Ensemble.


The Artistic Staff for TINKER BELL includes: Jeff Frank (Director/Artistic Director); Sarah Hunt-Frank, (Scenic Designer); Jason Fassl, USAA, (Lighting Designer);Theresa Ham, USAA, (Costume Designer); Erin Paige (Sound Designer); Christopher Elst (Fight Choreographer); Melissa L. Wanke, Member of Actor’s Equity Association, (Stage Manager) and Lauren Gingold (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.


Special events for TINKER BELL


TECH TALKS – Saturday, May 11 and Sunday, May 19, following the 3:30 p.m. performance

Following select performances, learn more about the behind-the-scenes magic at this extended talkback with our creative team.


Pay What You Choose Performance: Tuesday, April 30, 2019 at 7:00 p.m.

Pay What You Choose tickets are available on a first come, first served basis with a minimum suggested donation of $5 per person. Doors open at 6:00 p.m. on the day of the performance. Patrons are encouraged to arrive early.


ASL Interpreted Performance: Sunday, June 2, 2019 at 3:30 p.m.

This performance will be sign language interpreted for patrons who are deaf or hard of hearing. Assistive listening devices are also available at the Todd Wehr Theater.


Sensory Friendly Performance: Saturday, May 4 at 3:30 p.m. 

A Sensory Friendly Performance with accommodations for families with children on the autism spectrum will take place on Saturday, May 4 at 3:30 p.mSensory accommodations include lower sound, house lights up, a quiet area staffed by an educator experienced with the care of students on the autism spectrum and other developmental differences, and more. Contact the First Stage Box Office at (414) 267-2961 to reserve your tickets.

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 nearly 2,000 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’sEureka Award, recognizing creativity and innovation in business, education and the arts for its Next Steps program for students on the autism spectrum (2013, 2015). First Stage is a member of TYA/USA, the American Alliance for Theatre and Education, the Wisconsin Alliance for Arts Education, Milwaukee Arts Partners and is a cornerstone member of the United Performing Arts Fund (UPAF).

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