Milwaukee Repertory Theater's 2013-14 Season to Feature Ragtime, Venus in Fur, End of the Rainbow, An Iliad and More
By Carey Purcell
August 14, 2013
Milwaukee Repertory Theater has announced its 2013-14 season.
The lineup includes a collection of classics and newer works, including the politically charged musical Ragtime, David Ives' Venus in Fur and tributes to Tony Bennett and Judy Garland.
The Quadracci Powerhouse stage will present Ragtime, End of the Rainbow, An Iliad and The History of Invulnerability. Venus in Fur and The Whipping Man will be staged in the Stiemke Studio, and the Rep’s Stackner Cabaret 2013-14 season will present I Left My Heart: A Salute to the Music of Tony Bennett, Forever Plaid, Woody Sez: The Life & Music of Woody Guthrie and Ain’t Misbehavin’.
“As I enter my fourth year as artistic director, I cannot help but feel proud of the work that The Rep has presented over the last three seasons,” artistic director Mark Clements said in a statement. “I hope that our 2013-14 season will continue to deliver the brave, challenging, entertaining, stimulating and vital works that our audiences have come to expect. It is our mission to continue producing the work that has made us an essential theatre in Milwaukee, the Midwest and throughout the country.”
The season at a glance follows:
I Left My Heart
A Salute to the Music of Tony Bennett
Created by David Grapes and Todd Olson
Arrangements by Vince di Mura
Aug. 23–Oct. 20
"Called 'the greatest singer in the world' by Frank Sinatra, the always-charming, classy and debonair Tony Bennett crooned his way into the heart of America. In this sexy, new musical revue, three superb male singers perform an anthology of Bennett's best work — from 'Rags to Riches' to 'Put On a Happy Face' to the title track and many more — celebrating more than six decades of remarkable music in this swingin' walk down memory lane."
Book by Terrence McNally
Music by Stephen Flaherty
Lyrics by Lynn Ahrens
Based on the novel "Ragtime" by E.L. Doctorow
Directed by Mark Clements
Sept. 17–Oct. 27
"Adapted from E.L. Doctorow's novel (voted by Time Magazine as among the Top 100 Best Novels of the 20th century), this sweeping musical portrait of early 20th century America tells the powerful tale of a white, upper-middle class family, an African-American couple and an Eastern European immigrant escaping to America with his daughter, as they all confront the timeless contradictions of wealth, poverty, freedom, prejudice, hope and despair in pursuit of the American Dream. Unfolding through the fiery rhythms of Harlem and Tin Pan Alley, delicate waltzes and the vibrant klezmer of the Lower East Side, this vivid and unforgettable Tony-winning score bursts onto the Quadracci Powerhouse stage 'on the wheels of a dream' in what will be the largest and most epic production ever staged at The Rep."
Venus in Fur
By David Ives
Sept. 25–Nov. 3
"Meet Thomas — a demanding playwright and director desperate for the perfect actress for his new stage adaptation of a classic erotic novel. Meet Vanda — an unusually talented young actress lusting after the leading role in the show. Through the comic genius of playwright David Ives, their late-night encounter in a deserted audition studio evolves from banal routine into a sizzling battle of the sexes blending love, libido and literature that will keep you wondering to the very end just who, exactly, is on top."
Written by Stuart Ross
Arrangements by James Raitt
Oct. 25–Dec. 29
"On a stormy night in the 1960s, four eager singers known as 'The Plaids' — Sparky, Jinx, Frankie and Smudge — are killed in a car crash on the way to their first big gig. In 2013, they get one chance to return from the afterlife and bop-shoo-bop their way through classic hits like 'Love is a Many Splendored Thing,' 'Three Coins in the Fountain,' 'Sixteen Tons' and many more. They pay an affectionate homage to the close-harmony male singing groups of the 1950s and fulfill their dreams by performing the show that never was."
By Michael Frayn
Nov. 19–Dec. 22
"Called 'the funniest farce ever written' by the New York Post, Michael Frayn's uproarious play-within-a-play follows the on- and off-stage antics of the members of a mediocre touring company as they blunder from an ominously bad dress rehearsal to a spectacularly disastrous closing performance. The perfect show for the holiday season, Noises Off is a hysterical romp packed full of a side-splitting collection of forgotten cues, missed connections and backstage hilarity."
The Life and Music of Woody Guthrie
Devised by David M. Lutken with Nick Corley, Darcie Deaville, Helen Jean Russell and Andy Teirstein
Jan. 3, 2014–March 9
"The original folk hero, Woody Guthrie and his energetic, moving and infectious melodies defined an American era of political expression, and transformed the folk ballad into a vehicle of social commentary and unity. With more than 25 songs including classics like 'This Land is Your Land,' 'Pastures of Plenty' and 'The Ballad of Tom Joad' — this joyous, toe-tapping and moving theatrical concert event celebrates the colorful life and rich musical legacy of America's greatest troubadour."
End of the Rainbow
By Peter Quilter
Jan. 7–Feb. 9
"Explosive acting and classic songs bring down the house in this critically-acclaimed exploration of Judy Garland's infamous 1968 London comeback. Named in Time Magazine's 'Top Ten' List and called 'electrifying' by The New York Times, this savagely funny and emotionally searing play finds the once-glittering starlet sparring with her new fiancé, her devoted accompanist — and her personal demons. Filled with Garland's legendary tenacity, razor-sharp wit and once-in-a-generation voice, this is a piece of theater truly befitting the late, great songstress who took us 'over the rainbow.'"
The Whipping Man
By Matthew Lopez
Feb. 5–March 16
"The Civil War has ended, but for some, the struggle has just begun. A Jewish Confederate soldier, wounded in war, has returned from the battlefield to find that his family has fled. The only remaining household members are two former slaves, who have been raised by his family as Jews. Over a celebratory feast, family history is uncovered and dark secrets are revealed, forcing the men to come to terms with the sordid legacies of slavery and war that threaten each of their future freedoms."
Adapted from Homer
By Lisa Peterson and Denis O'Hare
Translation by Robert Fagles
Feb. 25–March 23
"'It's a good story,' says the lone figure, just emerged from the darkness, as he launches into this modern, enthralling adaptation of Homer's epic poem that relives the glory and brutality of the Trojan War. Wisconsin favorite actor, James DeVita, shares the stage with a virtuoso cellist in this lean, muscular, tour-de-force performance filled with wit and wisdom that conjures the rage of the gods as it delves deep into mankind's attraction to violence and destruction."
Conceived by Murray Horwitz and Richard Maltby, Jr.
Musical adaptations by Luther Henderson
Vocal and musical concepts by Jeffrey Gutcheon
Vocal arrangements by Jeffrey Gutcheon and William Elliot
March 14–May 18
"Get ready for two spirited hours of rowdy, rollicking music straight out of the height of the Harlem Renaissance! This Tony Award-winning tour through the legendary Fats Waller songbook will have you jumpin' and jivin' with the infectious energy and the cheeky humor of classic Waller hits like 'Loungin' At The Waldorf' and 'I Can't Give You Anything But Love.' One of the most popular, well-crafted musical revues of all time, Ain't Misbehavin' is simply unforgettable and will be performed in the now-signature Rep style, with a group of five 'Quadruple Threat' actor/singer/dancer/musicians."
The History of Invulnerability
By David Bar Katz
Directed by Mark Clements
April 8–May 4
"For every Superman, there must be a Jerry Siegel — the creative brains behind the fantasy brawn. Siegel, a Jewish writer creating comics on the brink of World War II, is torn by the atrocities taking place in Europe as he struggles to retain control of his most famous creation. Filled with real-life heroes and villains every bit as boldly drawn as the panels from the Golden Age comics that they echo, The History of Invulnerability will forever change the way we see our superheroes."
A Christmas Carol
By Charles Dickens
Adapted by Joseph Hanreddy and Edward Morgan
Directed by Aaron Posner
Nov. 27–Dec. 24
"Tiny Tim, Bob Cratchit and Ebenezer Scrooge make their 38th annual appearance at the Pabst Theater in the fantastical holiday family favorite."
"The Rep's annual short-play festival, Rep Lab, will celebrate its 4th season of showcasing The Rep's highly-lauded Intern Ensemble."