First Stage’s opens 31st season with “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang”

First Stage’s opens 31st season of theater for young audiences with


October 6 – November 5, 2017

Todd Wehr Theater, Marcus Center for the Performing Arts

Music and Lyrics by Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman
Music by Special Arrangement with Sony/ATV publishing
Adapted for the Stage by Jeremy Sams
Based on the MGM Motion Picture
Licensed Script Adapted by Ray Roderick

Is presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre International (MTI)
All authorized performance materials are also supplied by MTI.

Directed by Jeff Frank


Suggested for families with young people ages 6 – 16+


Milwaukee, WI – CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG makes its First Stage debut October 6 – November 5, 2017 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


Based on the beloved MGM motion picture from 1968, this is a fantastic musical adventure you and your family won’t want to miss. “Chitty is a celebration of family that will burst to life on our stage with live music, physical humor, amazing dancing and a pinch or two of danger,” said First Stage Artistic Director Jeff Frank. “In addition, innovative puppetry will bring everything from the Zeppelin to Chitty herself to life.”

The 32 young actors in this production (split between two alternating casts) are in good hands. From Milwaukee stage veterans including Robert Spencer (Grandpa), Drew Brhel (Baron), and Malkia Stampley (Truly Scrumptious) to Chicago actor Jackson Evans (BIG, the Musical) and choreography by Milwaukee Ballet’s Michael Pink and Jayne Pink – an all-star cast and crew have been assembled to bring CHITTY to life as only First Stage can.

Jeff Frank (Director)
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. Last fall Jeff was welcomed back to the University of Utah where he was recognized as a Distinguished Alumnus in the theatre department. Over the past 20 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.
The professional actor cast of CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG includes Drew Brhel* as Baron; Jackson Evans* as Potts; Robert Spencer* as Grampa; Malkia Stampley* as Truly Scrumptious; Teddy Warren* as Childcatcher/Ensemble; Nathan Wesselowski* as Goran; Sara Zientek* as Boris; Elyse Edelman as Baroness; Rick Pendzich as Toymaker/Ensemble; and First Stage Fellow Justin Lee as Ensemble/Understudy. Peyton Oseth will be the female understudy for this production. *Member of Actor’s Equity Association.

Young performer roles are double cast. Young performers in the Fantabulous Cast include Jack Trettin (as Jeremy) from Whitefish Bay and Paige Landrum (as Jemima) from Grafton. Members of the ensemble include: Derrick Sanders (from Milwaukee); Tikvah Schlissel, Katie McCaskey and Casey Westphal (from Waukesha);  Isabella Hansen, Andrew Kindler and Michael Long (from Brookfield), Emily Newmark (from Janesville); Ella Frank (from Milwaukee); Maya Kalush (from Oconomowoc), Natalie Rhodes (from Nashotah); Zaela Schlissel (from Waukesha); Ava Wartgow (from Menomonee Falls) and Kate Ketelhohn (from Cedarburg).

Young performers in the Miraculous Cast include Seth Hoffman (as Jeremy) from Milwaukee and Michalene McQuide (as Jemima) from Elm Grove. The ensemble cast includes: Jake Koch and Lucas Wenger (from Pewaukee); Travis Cheever and Lindsay Gleason (from Oak Creek); Mackenzie Ross (from Sheboygan); Lindsay Nelsen and Zoah Hirano (from Shorewood); Kaela Branch (from Milwaukee); Nathan Desing and John Dorsey (from Whitefish Bay); Nafia Johnson and Reiley Anne Fitzsimmons (from Milwaukee); Margo Meyer (from Bayside); Mara Hoffmann (from Thiensville).

The Artistic Staff for CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG includes: Paul Helm (Music Director); Michael Pink (Co-choreographer); Jayne Pink (Co-choreographer/Dialect Coach); Martin McClendon (Scenic Designer); Jason Fassl, USAA (Lighting Designer); Lyndsey Kuhlmann (Costume Designer); Matt Whitmore (Sound Designer); Melissa L. Wanke* (Stage Manager) and Lauren Gingold (Assistant Stage Manager).
*Member of Actors’ Equity Association




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


Dates: October 6 – November 5, 2017


Description: Take a fantastic musical adventure with an out-of-this-world car that flies through the air and sails the seas. Cheer on the devoted father and eccentric inventor, Caractacus Potts, and his children, Jemima and Jeremy, as they plot to rescue Grandpa Potts and the children of Vulgaria from the dastardly Baron Bomburst. Based on the beloved 1968 film based on Ian Fleming’s children’s book and featuring an unforgettable score, this is one family-friendly blockbuster that audiences will find “Truly Scrumptious.” Suggested for families with young people ages 6 – 16+


  • Friday, October 6 at 7:00 p.m. – OPENING NIGHT
  • Saturday, October 7 at 1:00 & 3:30 p.m.
  • Sunday, October 8 at 1:00 & 3:30 p.m.
  • Tuesday, October 10 at 7:00 p.m.  – PAY WHAT YOU CHOOSE
  • Saturday, October 14 at 1:00, 3:30 & 7:00 p.m.
  • Sunday, October 15 at 1:00 & 3:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, October 21 at 1:00 & 3:30 p.m.
  • Sunday, October 22 at 1:00 & 3:30 p.m.
  • Friday, October 27 at 7:00 p.m.
  • Saturday, October 28 at 1:00, 3:30 & 7:00 p.m.
  • Saturday, November 4 at 1:00 & 3:30 p.m.
  • Sunday, November 5 at 1:00 & 3:30 p.m.

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

Opening Night Reception: Friday, October 6, 2017
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. Patrons can mix and mingle with the cast and crew of CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG while enjoying refreshments, courtesy of First Stage.

ASL Interpreted Performance:
Sunday, November 5 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.

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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