Theatre Season 2022-23

The Mystery of Edwin Drood

The Mystery of Edwin Drood
Based on the unfinished Charles Dickens’ novel, this detective story of murder, love, and sleepy town opium dens has tantalized readers for ages. This musical version, written by Rupert Holmes (who also had a #1 pop hit with Escape-The Piña Colada Song), won Tony awards for Best Book of a Musical and Best Musical Score.

Mainstage Theatre Dates/Time:
October 19 – 22, 2022          7:30 p.m. CT
October 23, 2022               2:00 p.m. CT

Tickets Coming Soon! 

Ticket Pricing:
General – $20
Senior/ UWM Faculty and Staff – $12
Youth under 18  – $7
UWM Student w/ID – $4
fees/tax added at checkout

The Sparrow

The Sparrow
Emily Book, orphan, and high school senior must come to terms with the consequences of using her supernatural powers.

KSE 508 Theatre Dates/Time:
November 2 – 5, 2022         7:30 p.m. CT
November 6, 2023               2:00 p.m. CT

Tickets Coming Soon! 

Ticket Pricing:
General – $11
Senior/ UWM Faculty and Staff – $9
Youth under 18  – $7
UWM Student w/ID – $5
fees/tax added at checkout

Piggsville

Piggsville is a Hamlet inspired story centering around a man’s challenges in running the family brewery after the sudden and suspicious death of his father. A new play, written by UWM Theatre’s own Alvaro Saar Rios, Piggsville takes place in Milwaukee’s Menomonee Valley.

Mainstage Theatre Dates/Time:
December 7 – 10, 2022         7:30 p.m. CT
December 11, 2023               2:00 p.m. CT

Tickets Coming Soon! 

Ticket Pricing:
General – $20
Senior/ UWM Faculty and Staff – $12
Youth under 18  – $7
UWM Student w/ID – $4
fees/tax added at checkout

All Night Strut

All Night Strut
This musical weaves together popular swing, jazz, blues, and bebop of the 1930’s and 40’s in a review that moves from the Great Depression into the post-World War II boom. Filled with standards from The American Songbook, the Gershwins, Hoagy Carmichael, and Duke Ellington (amongst many others) are featured.

Mainstage Theatre Dates/Time:
March 8 – 11, 2023          7:30 p.m. CT
March 12, 2023               2:00 p.m. CT

Tickets Coming Soon! 

Ticket Pricing:
General – $20
Senior/ UWM Faculty and Staff – $12
Youth under 18  – $7
UWM Student w/ID – $4
fees/tax added at checkout

Sweat

Sweat
Lynn Nottage’s play enters the heart of working-class America, exploring the effects the loss of heavy industry and the changing ethnic composition of Reading, PA has on two friends. This deep examination of race, economics, and the human condition during the 2016 presidential election ramp up was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 2017.

KSE 508 Theatre Dates/Time:
April 19 – 22, 2023          7:30 p.m. CT
April 23, 2023                2:00 p.m. CT

Tickets Coming Soon! 

Ticket Pricing:
General – $11
Senior/ UWM Faculty and Staff – $9
Youth under 18  – $7
UWM Student w/ID – $5
fees/tax added at checkout

The Rivals

The Rivals
The classic romantic comedy of manners about the lengths people will go to obtain true love closes out the 2022-23’ UWM Theatre season. Filled with comic characters, The Rivals features deep emotional resonances to augment its sharp wit.

UWM Mainstage Theatre Dates/Time:
May 3 – 6, 2023          7:30 p.m. CT
May 7, 2023               2:00 p.m. CT

Tickets Coming Soon! 

Ticket Pricing:
General – $20
Senior/ UWM Faculty and Staff – $12
Youth under 18  – $7
UWM Student w/ID – $4
fees/tax added at checkout

Past Performances

2021-22 Theatre Season

The 2021-22 season celebrated our return to live theatre by presenting new and classic works through a diverse and unconventional lens. The season began with Street Signs, an original collaborative musical by Sheri Pannell, Steven Decker and our students. Hamlet followed with a twist, casting multiple actors to share the lead role in an exploration of Hamlet’s turbulent identity. In the spring, we presented This is Modern Art, Prince of Denmark, and The Laramie Project. The iconic musical Into the Woods served as the finale to our distinctive and compelling season. 

Street Signs

Written and Directed by Steven Decker and Sheri Williams Pannell 

October 20 – 24 and 29 – 30, 2021 | Mainstage Theatre
Presenting an original jukebox musical featuring familiar songs of the paths we all travel. Join us on a journey to iconic places such as Oz, Broadway, Beale Street, Penny Lane and Thunder Road. The UW-Milwaukee Theatre Department and the College of General Studies present an energizing performance of stories following the intersections of humanity.

Hamlet

Written by William Shakespeare
Directed by Bill Watson

November 17 – 21, 2022 | Mainstage Theatre
The UWM Theatre Department puts a one-of-a-kind spin on Shakespeare’s Hamlet, the ultimate story of loyalty, love, betrayal, murder and madness. The Prince of Denmark seeks vengeance after his father is murdered and his mother marries the murderer.

This is Modern Art

Written by Kevin Coval & Idris Goodwin
Directed by Katie Avila Loughmiller

March 9 – 13, 2022 | Kenilworth Five-0-Eight
This Is Modern Art takes you racing over the rooftops, through the history of graffiti art, and face-to-face with the question: where does art belong?

Prince of Denmark

Written by Michael Lesslie
Directed by Ralph Janes

April 6 – 10, 2022 | Kenilworth Five-0-Eight
An imagined prequel to Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Michael Lesslie’s play explores the world of a younger Hamlet and gives us answers to many of the questions that Shakespeare left us to ponder. 

The Laramie Project

By Moisés Kaufman and the members of Tectonic Theater Project
Directed by Jim Tasse

April 20 – 24, 2022 | Kenilworth Five-0-Eight
One of the most-performed theater pieces in America, The Laramie Project is a breathtaking portrait of a town following the murder of a young gay man. Based on the true story of Matthew Shepard’s death in 1998, this powerful narrative chronicles how a national symbol of intolerance became deeply personal for the town of Laramie. 

Into the Woods

Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
Book by James Lapine
Directed by Sheri Williams Pannell

May 4 – 8, 2022 | Mainstage Theatre
James Lapine and Stephen Sondheim take everyone’s favorite storybook characters and bring them together for a timeless, musically sophisticated event. This Tony Award-winning book and score are both enchanting and touching.

2020-21 Theatre Season

The 2020-21 season celebrated our collective workaday lives and delved into contemporary issues such as gender-plasticity, resistance vs. compliance, fact vs. fiction, social hazing, and the responsibilities we face in this free, pluralistic, and democratic society.

Twelfth Night

Written by William Shakespeare
Directed by Bill Watson

May 5 – 19, 2021 | Streaming
A shipwreck, lost siblings, twins who conceal their identities and unrequited love are just the start of this wild comedy. In our zany transformation of Shakespeare’s classic story, we recreate the world of Jazz Age youth culture in 1920s London. Here, the aristocracy and their ‘below stairs’ counterparts pull out all the stops in a powerfully funny gender-bending exposé of social bullying, elitism, lust and personal desire.

Playboy of the Western World

Written by J.M. Synge
Directed by Jim Tasse

April 28 – May 19, 2021 | Streaming
We have reimagined this classic as an old-time radio drama.  Our Playboy is a tour de force of sound engineering and voice-acting. Listen as we dive into J.M. Synge’s dark, deeply humorous 1907 masterpiece and follow the rise and fall of Christy Mahon, who earns the adoration—then scorn—of a village when he recites the wild and scandalous tale of his father’s murder.

Songs of Work & Protest

Directed by Sheri Williams Pannell

April 7 – 13, 2021 | Streaming
Songs of Work & Protest is an ensemble piece combining song, dance, and story. The presentation is crafted by students, and explores how work and song connect and express the class struggle.

WORKING: A Musical

From the book by Studs Terkel | Adapted by Stephen Schwartz and Nina Faso
Songs by Craig Carnelia, Micki Grant, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Mary Rodgers & Susan Birkenhead, Stephen Schwartz, and James Taylor
Directed by Raeleen McMillion

April 21 – 27, 2021 | Streaming
Working is a celebration of our workaday lives and an homage to the American working class, featuring songs by Lin-Manuel Miranda, James Taylor and Micki Grant. Working is also a testament to the strength, tenacity and pride of the people who keep America running.

The Day the Music Came Back

Written by Alvaro Saar Rios
Directed by Katie Avila Loughmiller

April 7 – 13, 2021 | Streaming
The Day the Music Came Backwritten by our resident playwright Associate Professor Alvaro Saar Rios, imagines a dystopian world where a group of teens must decide whether to risk their lives to listen to music.

The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui

Written by Bertolt Brecht
Translated and Adapted by Bruce Norris
Directed by Ralph Janes

October 14 – 18, 2020 | Mainstage Theatre
Experience what happens when a small-time mobster with ruthless ambition takes control of the gangster underworld in 1930s Chicago. Witness how Arturo Ui’s arrogance and self-importance have a savage effect—matching the rise of Nazism in Germany during the 1920s. This potent and timely satire, is, according to Brecht, not a play about Hitler, but rather a cautionary tale of “the complacency of the people who were able to resist him, but didn’t.”

2019-20 Theatre Season

Our 2019-2020 theatre season examined the devastation that war and gender politics has on our desire for connection and intimacy. From the Trojan War and the Battle of Toro to Vietnam—from the gangster culture of the Prohibition to our current humanitarian crisis of refugees and human trafficking, we explore what it takes to stay alive—to survive—and challenge authority.

We offered a range of plays that portray the rich diversity of playwriting throughout the centuries including dramas by Churchill, Ruhl, Lauro and Gooch, as well as a devised piece that echoes and explores de Vega’s Fuenteovejuna. Here on our stages is desire, rage, motherhood, grief, shame, intimacy, love, and joy.”

Fen

Written by Caryl Churchill, 1983
Directed by Ralph Janes

October 23 – 27, 2019 | Kenilworth 508
Residents of England’s bleak coastal fens are cramped by grinding labor and economic oppression. Brief, fiercely resonant scenes depict – with powerful humanity – the desolate lives of these men and women.

In the Next Room

Written by Sarah Ruhl, 2009
Directed by Rebecca Holderness

November 6 – 10, 2019 | Mainstage Theatre
A marvelously moving story about a young couple, Dr. and Mrs. Givings. Givings is obsessed with new electrical technology and what it can do for his patients. Meanwhile, his wife listens through a door as he treats his mostly female patients. “Room” becomes a journey of new connections between spouses, mother and child, artist and mode.

A Piece of My Heart

Written by Shirley Lauro, 1991
Directed by Jim Tasse

December 4 – 8, 2019 | Kenilworth 508
The true stories of six courageous women deployed to Vietnam and their struggle to make sense of a war that irrevocably changed them and a nation that shunned them. A work with the music and soul of a tumultuous era in our history.

Female Transport

Written by Steve Gooch, 1972
Directed by Bill Watson

February 26 – March 1, 2020 | Kenilworth 508
This stark, hard hitting drama is an account of the political education of six women convicted of petty crimes in nineteenth century London and then sentenced to hard labor in Britain’s penal colony (present day Australia).

Trojan Women

Written by Euripides, 415 BC
Translated by Nicholas Rudall
Directed by Marti Gobel

March 4 – 8, 2020 | Mainstage Theatre
A harrowing look at war through the loss and suffering experienced by women captured and enslaved during conflict, Trojan Women is a stark reminder that the devastation of war continues long after the battles end. This Greek tragedy remains one of the best anti-war plays ever written.

Bonnie & Clyde

Music by Wildhorn, Lyrics by Black, Book by Menchell, 2009
Directed by Sheri Williams Pannell

April 29 – May 3, 2020 | Mainstage Theatre
Bonnie and Clyde went from small-town nobodies to Depression-era folk heroes and Texas law enforcement’s worst nightmare. Fearless, shameless and alluring, Tony-nominated Bonnie & Clyde documents the love story/crime spree of two home grown terrorists who captured America’s attention.

2018-19 Theatre Season

Red Velvet

Written by Lolita Chakrabarti
Directed by Bill Watson

October 17–21, 2018 | Kenilworth 508
Amidst the social uproar of England’s debate to end slavery, an African-American actor performed Shakespeare’s Othello on the professional stage for the first time, sending shock waves through 19th century Britain. The true story of Ira Aldridge, Red Velvet is an exciting journey exploring issues of racism, sexism and the responsibility of art in the face of social change.

Cymbeline

Written by William Shakespeare
Directed by Rebecca Holderness

November 7–11, 2018 | Kenilworth 508
A new take on this rarely performed Shakespearean romance and comedy puts women in the seats of power and takes an unflinching look at the things people do for love, dominance and forgiveness when facing the threat of war.

The Tempest

Written by William Shakespeare
Directed by Michael Cotey

November 14–18, 2018 | Mainstage Theatre
The players are all met, the stage is set, and Prospero is being cued for his grand entrance to meet his enemies who have been washed ashore on the strange and fantastical island he rules over. Now, with power beyond imagination at his fingertips, Prospero must choose which story will truly set him free: one that ends in revenge he craves or one that ends in forgiveness.

Broken Hallelujah

Written by Sharman Macdonald
Directed by Ralph Janes

February 27–March 3, 2019 | Kenilworth 508
Originally commissioned by ACT’s Young Conservatory New Plays Program, Macdonald’s one act in 2 settings reflects what happens when young people in the process of creating themselves, are simultaneously tasked with the creation of their country.

All My Sons

Written by Arthur Miller
Directed by Jim Tasse

March 6–10, 2019 | Mainstage Theatre
Winner of the Drama Critics’ Award for Best New Play in 1947, All My Sons established Arthur Miller as a leading voice in the American theater. All My Sons introduced themes that thread through Miller’s work as a whole: the relationships between fathers and sons, the conflict between business and personal ethics, and the haunting reminder that the past is not dead. It’s not even past.

INVADER? I Hardly Know Her!

Book, Music, & Lyrics by Jason Powell
Directed by Malkia Stampley with Choreography by Darci Wutz

April 24–28, 2019 | Kenilworth 508
Take one clueless groom, an alien disguised as his bride, a few secret agents, and throw in more aliens (and a few surprises) and you end up with an incredibly funny musical romp! This comic space-pop-opera had it’s world premiere in Milwaukee (2009) and subsequently a successful run at the New York Fringe Festival (2010).

The Children’s Hour

Written by Lillian Hellman
Directed by Raeleen McMillion

May 1–5, 2019 | Mainstage Theatre
What is the price of a lie? Set in a prestigious boarding school for girls, a disgruntled and privileged student accuses the two headmistresses of having an affair, setting in motion a careening path of total destruction.

2017-18 Theatre Season

26 Miles

Written by Quiara Alegria Hudes
Directed by Nabra Nelson

Nov 8–12 | Kenilworth 508
Estranged for eight years following a custody battle, Beatriz and her daughter Olivia head west on a cross-country road trip.

Major Barbara

Written by George Bernard Shaw
Directed by Rebecca Holderness

Dec 6–10 | Arts Center Gallery
An opinionated and political daughter is at heads with her pragmatic, traditionalist father in this satirical drama.

Stupid F**king Bird

Written by Aaron Posner
Directed by Jim Tasse

Feb 28–Mar 4 | Kenilworth 508
A very funny, irreverent retelling of Chekhov’s “The Seagull,” by award-winning playwright Aaron Posner.

12 Ophelias

Written by Caridad Svich
Directed by Bill Watson

Mar 7–11 | Mainstage Theatre
Ophelia rises from her watery grave and finds herself reunited with Hamlet in a hard-knocks Appalachian community.

Book of Days

Written by Lanford Wilson
Directed by Raeleen McMillion

Apr 18–22 | Kenilworth 508
Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Lanford Wilson compels us to examine the cultural ideals of small town life.

9 to 5 the Musical

Book by Patricia Resnick, Music & Lyrics by Dolly Parton
Directed by Tony Horne

May 2–6 | Mainstage
Three female office workers plot revenge against their “sexist-egotistical-lying-hypocritical-bigot” boss.