The attempted assassination of Theodore Roosevelt in Milwaukee has prompted a unique world premiere play, Teddykins: An American Hero, continuing to Feb. 6 in a staging by Milwaukee Chamber Theatre in Wisconsin. Wayne Frank's docudrama, which began performances Jan. 15, tells the story of Roosevelt, from sickly child to "Rough Rider" to President and Nobel Peace Prize-winner, in a script that is 90 percent Roosevelt's words.
The play's focal point is the 1912 assassination attempt that took place at the Gilpatrick Hotel in Milwaukee (located at what is now Third and State). The bullet apparently penetrated Roosevelt's chest, but he delivered a speech as planned, according to production notes.
Frank, a Milwaukee playwright, has seen his The Bridge at Mo Duc staged by Milwaukee Chamber Theatre and War Stories From the 20th Century produced by Milwaukee Repertory Theatre.
James Tasse directs a Wisconsin cast, including Brian Robert Mani as Roosevelt, and Tony Clements and Mary MacDonald Kerr as some 20 others.
Designers are John Devlin (scenic/props), Ellen Kozak (costume), Chester Loeffler-Bell (lighting) and John Egan (sound).
Milwaukee Chamber Theatre produces new and classic works "of literate and philosophical merit" using resident talent.
Tickets are $14.50-$29. Talkbacks are scheduled for certain performances. The company performs in the Studio Theatre and the Cabot Theatre of the Broadway Theatre Center, 158 N. Broadway, in Milwaukee (Skylight Opera Theatre is housed in the Cabot as well and Theatre X stages works in the Studio, too).
Call (414) 291-7800 for information.
-- By Kenneth Jones