Renaissance Theaterworks Announces 25th Anniversary Season



A season that recognizes women at the top of their art and profession

Celebrating 25 years of providing roles for women both onstage and off

The Fourth Annual Br!NK NEW PLAY FESTIVAL has more in store than ever before


Milwaukee, WI. (March 28, 2017) – Renaissance Theaterworks (RTW) celebrates 25 years of providing roles for women both onstage and off with its 2017-2018 season lineup. Highlighting women at the top of their artistic and professional game, Renaissance Theaterworks announces “A Season of Top Girls”, featuring 3 mainstage productions in the Studio Theater at the Broadway Theatre Center (158 N. Broadway, Milwaukee, Wis.). The season was announced to the public on Monday, March 27, 2017 at Renaissance Theaterworks’ first iteration of S.W.A.N. (Support Women Artists Now) Day.


The season begins in October with SEX WITH STRANGERS, an intoxicatingly sexy love story, by Laura Eason, running October 20-November 12, 2017. In the winter slot, a funny and passionate family drama that slyly transforms into a topical heart-pounding thriller, RUSSIAN TRANSPORT by Erika Sheffer, running January 19-February 11, 2018. RTW will close its 25th season with TOP GIRLS by Caryl Churchill, her  seminal magnum opus about rising to the top as a female professional, running April 6-29, 2018. All productions will be performed in the Studio Theatre at the Broadway Theatre Center in the Historic Third Ward of Milwaukee. Season subscriptions are currently available and single tickets will go on sale in early September. For more information, visit





By Laura Eason

October 20- November 12, 2017

Directed by Mallory Metoxen


When frustrated forty-ish novelist, Olivia, meets fast-talking, twenty-something, blogger Ethan – known more for his sexual prowess than his prose –

she worries that she will become just another chapter in his little black book.

Their funny and passionate union blurs the lines between rewrites, romance and royalties – proving you can’t judge a book by its author.

SEX WITH STRANGERS was one of America’s top ten most produced plays in ’14-’15 AND ‘15-‘16.

Laura Eason is a screenwriter and playwright.  She is a producer/writer for the Emmy Award-winning Netflix series House of Cards.

“[An] incisive look at the double-edged quest for artistic validation in the digital era.” Newsweek



By Erika Sheffer

January 19-Frebruary 11, 2018

Directed by Laura Gordon


A rowdy Russian immigrant family living and hustling in Brooklyn’s underbelly, scrambles to get by.

Dark family secrets emerge when their dangerously charming Uncle Boris arrives from Russia.

Just after bear hugs and shots of vodka are exchanged, Boris begins exerting a sinister influence on the whole family.

How far are they willing to go to achieve the “American Dream?”

“Raw, strong and disturbingly funny.”  —Chicago Reader.



By Caryl Churchill

April 6-29, 2018

Directed by Suzan Fete


When Marlene is promoted, over her more experienced colleagues,

she celebrates by hosting a dinner party at a posh restaurant for five legendary women from history, literature and art.

Subsequently through a theatrical time warp, these ladies become Marlene’s co-workers,

clients, and relatives -all of whom rejoice in the success and lament the sacrifices required to “have-it-all.”

Winner of the Obie Award for Best Play, this seminal play of contemporary theatre,

TOP GIRLS, is a sharp, imaginative and profound examination of the choices women continue to face.

“A blistering yet sympathetic look at women who achieve success by adopting the worst traits of self-made men […] Truly original.” – The New York Times



2017-2018 marks 25 years of debt-free operation for Renaissance Theaterworks, a milestone worth celebrating. To commemorate the company’s success for providing roles for women both onstage and off, throughout the season, RTW will highlight its past, look towards its future, and celebrate its present.

In 1993, five women sat around a kitchen table and imagined a new theater company; A theater company committed to excellence with meaty, “beyond ingénue” roles for women and many other professional opportunities for women, too – on stage and off. Twenty-five years later, their creation, Renaissance Theaterworks, has done all of that…and so much more.

Since its inception, RTW has mounted 66 full productions and 40 staged-readings. Among these are nine original works by Wisconsin playwrights, seven World Premieres and one North American Premiere. RTW has shared many women’s stories and provided opportunities for over 700 theater professionals, 75% of these have been women.

Today RTW remains Milwaukee’s only women-founded, women-run professional theater company. The Mission of Renaissance Theaterworks is to create moving theater that awakens our recognition of what it is to be human — from classics to world premieres — with attention to roles for women onstage and off.

Suzan Fete, Artistic Director and Co-Founder of Renaissance Theaterworks shares, “Renaissance Theaterworks has come a long way since 1993, but the mission and vision born at that kitchen table remain vibrant and vital 25 years later. We are determined to make our next quarter century as spectacular as our first.”



The Renaissance Theaterworks’ Br!NK Award is presented annually to Midwestern women playwrights to develop and advance their work. Now in its fourth year, Br!NK continues to expand opportunities for women playwrights in week-long workshops and public staged readings.

Renaissance Theaterworks’ 2017 Br!NK  NEW PLAY FESTIVAL weekend will take place September 9-10, 2017 at the Broadway Theatre Center with touring dates September 7-8, 11-12 at various greater Milwaukee area locations. The Festival will showcase two new full-length plays.


Annie Jump is a 13-year-old science genius. Althea is an intergalactic supercomputer with perfect hair. Can they take humanity from Kansas to the stars? A play for all audiences about finding you place in the universe and intelligent life in your neighborhood.


THE ENDURANCE OF LIGHT by Amanda Petefish-Schrag.

Post-miscarriage, Sophie refuses to abandon her bed.  Instead, she navigates this perilous new terrain of faith and science with an imagined Ernest Shackleton, Einstein, and Hildegard Von Bingen.


The 2017 Br!NK Award recipients will be in attendance for structured talkbacks following each staged reading. Audience members are encouraged to give constructive feedback on their experience and learn more about what the workshop process was like for the playwrights involved.

Soaring to new heights, the 2017 Br!NK NEW PLAY FESTIVAL will introduce the new Br!NK Br!efs – a collection of never before seen 10-minute plays, also written by Midwestern women playwrights. Under the prompts, “Fortune Favors the Bold” and “Fools Rush In,” the Br!efs will also be performed over the Br!NK NEW PLAY FESTIVAL Weekend, September 9-10, 2017 (Broadway Theatre Center (158 N. Broadway, Milwaukee, Wis.) For more information, visit


Renaissance Theaterworks is a member of Theater Wisconsin and the Third Ward Arts District. We receive support from the United Performing Arts Fund, The Brico Fund, CAMPAC, the Evinrude Foundation, The Greater Milwaukee Foundation, the Richard & Ethel Herzfeld Foundation, Jane Bradley Pettit Foundation, Milwaukee Arts Board, Sempercor Foundation, the Shubert Foundation, the Steigleder Charitable Trust, Wisconsin Arts Board, and private donors and foundations.


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