Milwaukee Chamber Theatre presents FIRES IN THE MIRROR: Crown Heights, Brooklyn and Other Identities

Milwaukee, WI. (August 26, 2019) – Milwaukee Chamber Theatre’s 2019-2020 season continues with FIRES IN THE MIRROR: Crown Heights, Brooklyn and Other Identities by Anna Deavere Smith. This illuminating exploration of identities in conflict runs September 20 – October 13, 2019 at the Broadway Theatre Center’s Studio Theatre in the Historic Third Ward.

 

In 1991, in Brooklyn’s Crown Heights neighborhood, a Hasidic man’s car jumped a curb, killing a seven-year-old black child. Shortly after, a Hasidic rabbinical student was killed in what appeared to be an act of retaliation, sparking riots that made national headlines. But behind those headlines, there are people – politicians, religious leaders, victims, and perpetrators alike – who each have their own story to tell.

 

Playwright Anna Deavere Smith interviewed more than 50 people to create this landmark work of documentary theatre, which was a runner-up for the Pulitzer Prize. The play is composed of 29 monologues, taken directly from her interview transcripts, which explore the viewpoints of 26 Black and Jewish people directly or indirectly connected to the Crown Heights riots.

 

Milwaukee Chamber Theatre’s production of FIRES IN THE MIRROR will feature two actors – Elyse Edelman and Marti Gobel – playing all 26 roles. It will be co-directed by Marcella Kearns, Associate Artistic Director at MCT, and C. Michael Wright, MCT’s Producing Artistic Director.

 

“The question of how to coexist with neighbors whose values or even simple daily practices radically contrast has no easy answer, especially now,” Kearns says. “This piece, a tour de force for the excellent actresses undertaking multiple roles, throws us in a room to weep and laugh together. To throw ourselves—together—at the question.”

Wright says, “When I originally chose this piece for MCT, it was a few years ago. I wanted to produce it because of its unique approach to storytelling and the provocative nature of the issues presented. Little did I suspect how frighteningly timely it would also be!”

 

In partnership with the Jewish Museum Milwaukee, MCT will also feature a traveling portion of the museum’s exhibition Allied in the Fight: Jews, Blacks and the Struggle for Civil Rights in the Studio Theatre lobby during the run of the production. Patrons will have a chance to view the exhibit before each performance.

 

FIRES IN THE MIRROR performances will take place September 20 – October 13, 2019 (Opening Night: Saturday, September 21), in the Broadway Theatre Center’s Studio Theatre, 158 N. Broadway. Tickets are available to purchase Monday through Saturday from noon-6:00 p.m. at the Broadway Theatre Center Box Office, 158 N. Broadway, or by phone at (414) 291-7800. Tickets can be purchased online 24 hours a day at milwaukeechambertheatre.com. Group, student and senior discounts are also available. For more information, visit milwaukeechambertheatre.com. FIRES IN THE MIRROR is co-sponsored by Marianne and Sheldon B. Lubar, Mickey and Casey Ripp, and Harley-Davidson Motor Company. Additional support provided by the City of Milwaukee Arts Board.

 

[ CAST ]

Actor One…………………………………………………………………………………………………….. Marti Gobel*

Actor Two………………………………………………………………………………………………… Elyse Edelman*

 

[ PRODUCTION STAFF ]

Co-Directors………………………………………………………. Marcella Kearns & C. Michael Wright***

Stage Manager………………………………………………………………………………………….. Veronica Zahn*

Scenic Designer……………………………………………………………………………………….. Lisa Schlenker**

Costume Designer………………………………………………………………………………………… Leslie Vaglica

Lighting Designer………………………………………………………………………………………… Marisa Abbott

Sound Designer……………………………………………………………………………………………… Sarah Ramos

Propmaster…………………………………………………………………………………………….. Melissa Centgraf

Dialect Coaches…………………………………………………………. Raeleen McMillion & Rick Pendzich

 *AEA  **USA ***SDC

[ PERFORMANCE INFORMATION ]

September 20 – October 13, 2019
Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
 

 

  20

7:30 p.m. P

21         

8:00 p.m. O

22

2:00 p.m.

25    1:00 p.m.*

7:30 p.m. V

26

7:30 p.m. T

27

7:30 p.m.

28      4:00 p.m.     

          8:00 p.m.

29

2:00 p.m.

Oct 2  

    1:00 p.m.

7:30 p.m. pwyc

3          

7:30 p.m. T

4

7:30 p.m.

5        4:00 p.m.

8:00 p.m.

6

2:00 p.m. T

9 10

7:30 p.m. T

11

7:30 p.m.

12      4:00 p.m.

8:00 p.m.

13

2:00 p.m.

P = Preview; O = Opening; T = Talkback; V = ViewPoints; *= Talk Theatre; PWYC = Pay what you choose

 

[ SPECIAL EVENTS ]

 

–Pre-performance ViewPoints: Join Marcella Kearns and special guests, including Reggie Jackson, Consultant for Nurturing Diversity Partners, Columnist for The Milwaukee Independent, and Head Griot of America’s Black Holocaust Museum, for a conversation about American identity in FIRES IN THE MIRROR. How do questions about social justice, loss, and alliance in Brooklyn in 1991 inform Milwaukee in 2019? ViewPoints will take place on Wednesday, September 25 at 6:30 p.m. in the Studio Theatre. This presentation and Q&A is free and open to the public; you do not need a ticket to that evening’s performance to attend.

 

–Pre-performance Talk Theatre: MCT Producing Artistic Director C. Michael Wright will lead this informative chat with co-director and MCT Associate Artistic Director Marcella Kearns. Talk Theatre will take place on Wednesday, September 25 beginning at 12:00 noon in the Skylight Bar & Bistro.

 

–Post-performance Talkbacks: Post-show discussions with the artists will take place following performances on Thursday, September 26; Thursday, October 3; Sunday, October 6; and Thursday, October 10.

 

 

[ BIOGRAPHIES ]

 

MARTI GOBEL

A San Diego, California native, Marti Gobel is an actor, director, and teaching artist and proud member of AEA and SAG-AFTRA.  A 2008 graduate of University of Wisconsin-Whitewater with a BA in Performance Theatre and Philosophy (with an emphasis in Religious Studies), Ms. Gobel also studied at The J. F. Kennedy Center to complete her training in Effective Residency and Lesson Planning.  Upon graduation, Ms. Gobel was Producing Artistic Director of UPROOTED theatre, a company she co-founded, from 2009-2015.  An accomplished actress with a body of work that spans over a decade, Ms. Gobel has performed routinely for every Equity house in Milwaukee in a variety of roles from Shakespeare to Morisseau. She is thrilled to return to the Milwaukee Chamber Theatre stage for this most important piece of work…  “Free your mind and the rest will follow” (En Vogue).

 

ELYSE EDELMAN

Elyse is thrilled to be working at Milwaukee Chamber Theatre for the first time. Wisconsin theatre credits as an actor include multiple productions with First Stage, American Players Theatre, Renaissance Theaterworks, Door Shakespeare, Forward Theater Company, In Tandem Theatre, and Milwaukee Repertory Theater. Other regional theatre credits as an actor include The Guthrie, Park Square Theatre, People’s Centre Theatre (Minneapolis/St. Paul), Utah Shakespeare Festival (Cedar City), Chicago Children’s Theatre, The Accidents (Chicago), and Riverside Theatre in the Park (Iowa City). She is also a teaching artist and develops curriculum for many of the professional theatres in the state. She is a proud graduate of the University of Minnesota/Guthrie Theater BFA Actor’s Training Program. Website: www.elyseedelman.com.

 

MARCELLA KEARNS – Co-Director

Marcy returns to MCT mainstage work after directing SHERLOCK HOLMES AND THE CASE OF THE JERSEY LILY and VANYA AND SONIA AND MASHA AND SPIKE and most recently appearing as Frankie in FRANKIE AND JOHNNY IN THE CLAIR DE LUNE and Berthe in BOEING BOEING. A Milwaukee-based actor, director, and teaching artist, Marcy also serves as MCT’s Associate Artistic Director and as an instructor with Carthage College and First Stage. Marcy holds an MFA in Acting from the University of South Carolina. She is a proud member of Actors’ Equity Association and a former Fulbright Fellow (Austria).

 

  1. MICHAEL WRIGHT – Co-Director

Currently celebrating his 15th anniversary at MCT, Michael has directed quite a number of productions here over the years. The list includes STRANGE SNOW, DOUBT, MIRACLE ON SOUTH DIVISION STREET, THE FEW, LOBBY HERO, SLOWGIRL, DRIVING MISS DAISY, and THE TRAIN DRIVER, as well as four original works: CHRISTMAS IN BABYLON, OCTOBER, BEFORE I WAS BORN, THE DALY NEWS, and DICKENS IN AMERICA (which he also directed at American Players Theatre). Before MCT, he served as Associate Artistic Director of Next Act Theatre for eight years. Since moving to Wisconsin in 1988, Michael has directed well over 100 productions. Some favorites have been THE STORY OF MY LIFE for Milwaukee Opera Theatre, THE RETREAT FROM MOSCOW for Next Act, THE SYRINGA TREE for American Players Theatre, Renaissance Theaterworks, and Delaware Theatre Company, and A NIGHT IN NOVEMBER for Next Act, Madison Rep, and Riverside Theatre in Vero Beach, Florida. Michael has been acting professionally for over forty years, having appeared in regional theatres all across the country, as well as in Athol Fugard’s “MASTER HAROLD”…and the boys on Broadway, in Israel, and in the national tour. His most recent performances include Vanya in VANYA AND SONIA AND MASHA AND SPIKE here at MCT. In 2009, Michael was honored with an “Artist of the Year” award by the City of Milwaukee Arts Board.

 

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MILWAUKEE CHAMBER THEATRE

Founded in 1975, Milwaukee Chamber Theatre (MCT) produces intimate and accessible theatrical works that engage and challenge the audience, while employing and nurturing principally local theatre artists. Under the leadership of Producing Artistic Director C. Michael Wright and Managing Director Kirsten Finn, Milwaukee Chamber Theatre performs at the Broadway Theatre Center in Milwaukee’s Historic Third Ward.

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