Milwaukee Rep's The One That Got Away Pays Funny, Folky Homage to Late Fred Alley

News   Milwaukee Rep's The One That Got Away Pays Funny, Folky Homage to Late Fred Alley Fred Alley, the late lyricist and librettist with a taste for folk music and a knack for comedy, is heard anew in the Milwaukee Repertory Theatre's The One That Got Away, premiering Jan. 9 in the Rep's Stackner Cabaret.
Whitney Allen in The One That Got Away
Whitney Allen in The One That Got Away Photo by Jay Westhauser

The piece borrows songs and scenes from Alley's popular Midwest-centric shows, Guys On Ice, Lumberjacks in Love and The Bachelors (all huge hits for the Rep and seen regionally), plus other theatre songs and several of Alley's original folk songs. There are 23 musical numbers in the show — 18 written by James Kaplan and Alley, and five with music and lyrics by Alley.

The One That Got Away is "collected" and "adapted" by Jeffrey Herbst (artistic director of American Folklore Theatre) and James Kaplan, with Kaplan serving as pianist-musical director.

The cast includes Michael Daly, Whitney Allen and Scott Wakefield.

Alley's highest-profile work might be Off-Broadway's The Spitfire Grill musical, which has also been seen around the country. The 38-year-old writer died while jogging in Door County in May 2001. A heart ailment was to blame.

Alley was born in Mount Horeb, WI. After working with a West Virginia theater group, Alley joined Heritage Ensemble, a musical theatre company centered around storytelling and folklore. When he left Heritage Ensemble, he spent 10 years working on the craft of musical storytelling and co-founded the American Folklore Theatre in Door County, WI. With American Folklore Theatre, Alley authored his first stage musical, Tongue and Cheek, and went on to write and collaborate on more than 20 shows, including Lumberjacks in Love, The Bachelors and (with composer and co-librettist James Valcq) The Spitfire Grill (for which he received the Rodgers Award). A different Fred Alley tribute-revue called Beneath the Northern Sky played at AFT in the summer of 2002.

The One That Got Away continues to March 7.

The creative team includes designers Jim Maronek (scenic), Alex Tecoma (costume), Jason Fassl (lighting), David Alley (Sound Design), choreographer Pam Kriger.

For ticket information, call (414) 224-9490 or visit www.milwaukeerep.com.