Renaissance Theaterworks Presents its 2nd Annual “Groundworks” Production


Fostering young, Milwaukee talent with edgy theater hosted at a local Brewery

RTW celebrates 25 years of “theater by women, for everyone”

Milwaukee, Wis. (November 9, 2017) – Renaissance Theaterworks (RTW) presents the second annual Groundworks production with the Wisconsin premiere of BLISS (OR EMILY POST IS DEAD!) by Jami Brandli this December. Groundworks launched in December 2016 as a way for RTW to work with Milwaukee’s promising young talent, while expanding programming to include edgier stories that speak to the 25 year mission of RTW. Director Nabra Nelson, along with 4 of the 5 cast members make their RTW debut. For three days in December, Groundworks will be presented at the Urban Harvest Brewing Company (1024 S 5th St, Milwaukee, WI 53204) at 7:00 PM on Sunday, December 10, Monday, December 11, and Tuesday, December 12, 2017.



Renaissance Theaterworks is proud to foster the growing talent of up-and-coming women theater artists in Milwaukee through Groundworks. Nabra Nelson makes her directorial debut at Renaissance Theaterworks with BLISS (OR EMILY POST IS DEAD!), having served as our Dramaturg for the Br!NK New Play Festival in 2016 & 2017.


Nabra Nelson is a director, dramaturg and community organizer from Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, and Cairo and is the Community Engagement Associate at Milwaukee Rep. She is thrilled to be directing for Renaissance Theaterworks after being a dramaturg for the Br!NK Festival for the past two summers. Local directing credits include 26 MILES at UW-Milwaukee, EXILE FROM THE LAND OF GOLD at The Tessellate Festival, REP LAB 2016 & 2017 at Milwaukee Repertory Theater, DEATH AND THE KINGS HORSEMAN (reading) at American Player’s Theater, and CLARENCE (reading) at Ten Chimneys. Assistant directing credits include AMERICAN SONG, OF MICE AND MEN, A CHRISTMAS CAROL, and BACK HOME AGAIN at Milwaukee Repertory Theater, THE LIAR at Santa Cruz Shakespeare, and APPOGGIATURA at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts.



It’s 1960 in North Orange, NJ. Clytemnestra and Medea are now housewives with a pill addiction, and Antigone is the teenage girl next door who is in love with a black boy. On the surface, they’re seemingly blissful to follow the “rules” of Emily Post, the American author famous for writing on etiquette. But that’s just the surface. Then Cassandra, a black working girl, moves into their neighborhood and all routines are interrupted. Cassandra is determined to finally break the curse of Apollo, the gorgeous and egotistical god who gave her this “gift” of prophecy but made it so no one would ever believe her. He makes it clear his curse is practically indestructible: all she has to do is convince someone to believe her. Can Cassandra convince them they now have a choice in this modern era? That they don’t have to live a doomed existence? Can all four women escape their ongoing fate?



All productions will be performed at the Urban Harvest Brewing Company in Milwaukee’s Walker’s Point, December 10-12, 2017 at 7:00 PM. Tickets are available online ONLY at for $15 and include a free beer for patrons 21 and older. Seating is limited. More information online.




DIRECTOR  –  Nabra Nelson

CLEMENTINE – Victoria Hudziak

CASSANDRA – Reese Parish

MADDY – Mary Jo Perez

APOLLO/DOCTOR – Keegan Siebken

ANTONIA – Jordyn Stewart


Scenic, Lighting, Props, Costume, and Sound Design will be minimal and provided by Renaissance Theaterworks and/or the Groundworks Artists





2017-2018 marks 25 years of debt-free operation for Renaissance Theaterworks, a milestone worth celebrating. For 25 years, Renaissance Theaterworks has been an advocate for women theater artists; providing roles for women both onstage and off and keeping women’s stories and perspectives center stage.


Since its inception in 1993, 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 connects with our shared sense of being human; dedicated to promoting the work of 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 with co-founders Marie Kohler, Jennifer Rupp, Raeleen McMillion, & Michele Traband] remain vibrant and vital 25 years later. We are determined to make our next quarter century as spectacular as our first.”

This season, we’re proud to produce 3 compelling, mainstage shows that highlight fierce, ambitious and complex stories about women. In addition to our mainstage shows, we’ve helped develop the work of 9 Midwestern women playwrights through our Fourth Annual Br!NK New Play Festival, featured in September, and sharing an additional woman’s story through RTW’s 2nd Groundworks’s production that will perform in December 2017. A season truly dedicated to women, focused on improving gender parity in the arts. For more information about RTW’s 25th Anniversary Season, 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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