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Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Milwaukee Hosts ‘Our Town,’ ‘Radio Golf’ and Two Debuts

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Over the decades, Thornton Wilder’s Our Town has almost become a U.S. theater cliché. So while it’s nice that UW-Milwaukee’stheater department will be staging this classic bit of Americana on its main stage in a production directed by the talented Bill Watson, it’s also good to see that the department will be presenting two untested shows prior to the March 9 opening of Our Town (through March 14).

Two new plays find their way to UWM’s Black Box Theatre this Saturday, as works by students Amanda J. Hull and Liz Shipe materialize on the intimate basement stage. It’s a senior capstone presentation for the two actresses/playwrights. Hull, who recently appeared in Milwaukee Chamber Theatre’s Moon Over the Brewery, presents Letters to No One, a drama about a female postal worker who lives vicariously through the lost letters that find their way to her. The cast consists of Hull and Lisa Bultman. Shipe, who has also appeared in local productions (most recently as the Little Drummer Girl in Who Killed Santa?), presents Purple Hearts: Women of the American Wartime. The show celebrates the history of women serving in the U.S. military, from the Revolutionary War to the present. The show stars Shipe, Ryan Cappleman and Chris MacGregor.

Letters to No One and Purple Hearts will be performed at 7 p.m. March 6 in UWM’s Black Box Theatre. Admission is free.

Also opening this weekend is the Milwaukee Rep presentation of Radio Golf.Timothy Douglas returns to the Rep to direct the contemporary drama by August Wilson. Radio Golf is the latest in a series of Rep shows directed by Douglas, including last year’s Trouble in Mind and 2008’s world premiere of The Night Is a Child. With RadioGolf,Douglas is working on something of a contemporary classic. The last in Wilson’s “Century Cycle,” Radio Golf is set in 1997. Guest talent Tyrone Mitchell Henderson plays a real-estate developer struggling to become Pittsburgh’s first black mayor. Henderson is an acclaimed actor blessed with the right blend of talent and luck to keep him busy all over the country. An ensemble of similarly talented guest actors will join Henderson for this production.

The Milwaukee Rep’s Radio Golf runs through March 28 at the Stiemke Theater.