Renaissance Theaterworks Uplifts Unsung Woman Scientist, Rosalind Franklin

If young, Jewish scientist Rosalind Franklin played a crucial role in discovering the DNA double helix, then why is her name left out of our history books? This is her story.

PHOTOGRAPH 51 by Anna Ziegler runs January 18 – February 10, 2019 at Renaissance Theaterworks

Milwaukee, Wis. (December 18, 2018) Renaissance Theaterworks (RTW) will continue its 26th Season themed, “She Blinded Me With Science,” in January 2019 with Anna Ziegler’s compelling play PHOTOGRAPH 51. Directed by RTW Co-Founder and Artistic Director, Suzan Fete, PHOTOGRAPH 51 will feature Cassandra Bissell, Neil Brookshire, Nick Narcisi, Trevor Rees, Joe Picchetti, and Josh Krause. Renaissance Theaterworks’ production of PHOTOGRAPH 51 runs January 18 – February 10, 2019 in the Studio Theatre at the Broadway Theatre Center (158 N. Broadway, Milwaukee, Wis.).



London, 1953. Scientists are on the verge of discovering the secret of life: the DNA double helix.  At the center of this scientific breakthrough is the work of a driven young chemist named Rosalind Franklin. But if the double helix was the achievement of the 20th century, what kept Franklin out of the history books? A play about ambition, isolation, and the race for greatness. Backstage calls PHOTOGRAPH 51 “A remarkable balance of scientific subject matter and theatrical storytelling…in a play that glows with intelligence and humanity.” (Critic’s Pick)

Tickets for PHOTOGRAPH 51 are currently on sale through the Broadway Theatre Center Box Office (158 N. Broadway, Milwaukee, Wis., 414-291-7800 or For more information, visit


Rosalind Franklin was a brilliant young scientist who fought discrimination in her field because of her womanhood and Jewish beliefs. RTW is honored to share Franklin’s story following the 2019 New Year. To help celebrate her life and legacy, RTW partners with Jewish Family Services, Inc. (JFS) and the Harry & Rose Samson Family Jewish Community Center (JCC) for the play. Fete shares, “We feel it is important to acknowledge Rosalind Franklin not only as a brilliant scientist, but as a woman and a Jew, who excelled in her field despite the odds, and paved the way for other women to follow in her footsteps.”

Throughout the run of PHOTOGRAPH 51, RTW will share information about JFS & JCC and the work they do for the Milwaukee community. RTW will also be conducting a care drive during the run of PHOTOGRAPH 51 to collect donated paper goods (paper cups, paper towels, paper plates, toilet paper, etc.) that will benefit JSF.

To learn more about PHOTOGRAPH 51, Community Partners, and Renaissance Theaterworks, visit


Anna Ziegler’s play PHOTOGRAPH 51, produced on the West End starring Nicole Kidman and directed by Michael Grandage, won London’s 2016 WhatsOnStage award for Best New Play. It has been produced around the country and the world, most recently in Hamburg, Rome, and Stockholm. Her play THE LAST MATCH premiered at The Old Globe Theatre and was nominated for the 2016 San Diego Theatre Critics Circle Outstanding New Play award. BOY, which premiered off-Broadway in a Keen Company/Ensemble Studio Theatre co-production, was nominated for the 2016 Outer Critics Circle John Gassner Award. A DELICATE SHIP was produced at Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park and the Playwrights Realm and was a New York Times and Time Out Critic’s Pick. Anna holds commissions from Second Stage Theatre, The Geffen Playhouse and Seattle Rep. Oberon Books has published a collection of her work entitled “Anna Ziegler: Plays One.” She holds a BA from Yale and an MFA from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts.



DIRECTOR – Suzan Fete


STAGE MANAGER – Bailey Wegner



LIGHTING DESIGN – Noele Stollmack^

PROPS MASTER – Heidi Salter

SOUND DESIGN – Matthew Whitmore

COSTUME DESIGN – Jason Orlenko^

DIALECT COACH – Rick Pendzich

ROSALIND FRANKLIN – Cassandra Bissell*

MAURICE WILKINS – Neil Brookshire*

JAMES WATSON – Nick Narcisi


DON CASPAR – Joe Picchetti

RAY GOSLING – Josh Krause

* Member of Actors’ Equity Association

^ Member of United Scenic Artists of America and International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees



Renaissance Theaterworks is Milwaukee’s only professional, nonprofit theater company centered on improving gender parity. The mission of RTW is to create moving theater that connects with our shared sense of being human. We are dedicated to promoting the work of women onstage and off. Renaissance Theaterworks produces thought-provoking, intimate theater in the Studio Theatre at the Broadway Theatre Center. For more information, please visit

Renaissance Theaterworks is a member of the National New Play Network, Theater Wisconsin, Playwrights Welcome, and the Historic Third Ward Association. We receive support from the United Performing Arts Fund, 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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