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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Free, Outdoor Shakespeare Returns to Alverno College

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After a successful debut last year, Optimist Theatre returns to the campus of Alverno College this week to open a free, outdoor production of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night. Longtime Milwaukee Rep resident actress Laura Gordon directs a cast that mixes talent from a variety of the city's theater communities.

Emerging talent Georgina McKee stars as Viola, a shipwrecked castaway on the shores of Illyria who disguises herself as a boy in the service of the man she loves, Duke Orsino (Robb Smith). But Orsino's affections lie with another woman, Olivia (Alison Forbes). As happens in shows like this, things get confusing when Olivia falls for Viola disguised as a male. The dynamic between Forbes and McKee should be great fun to watch. Forbes has a brilliant talent for comedy that should play well against McKee's knack for serious romantic drama.

The rest of the ensemble is a clever mix. Frequent Carte Blanche Shakespearean talent Clayton Hamburg plays Viola's twin brother, Sebastian. There are faint hints of the old Milwaukee Shakespeare with Marcella Kearns playing Maria. Equity talent includes Dan Katula as Toby Belch, Todd Denning as Malvolio and Tom Reed as Feste. Youngblood co-founder Andrew Voss plays Antonio.

Optimist Theatre's production of Twelfth Night runs June 16-26 at Alverno College. All shows start at 8 p.m., except for a 10 a.m. matinee on June 23.T

Theater Happenings


  • American Players Theatre in Spring Green continues its season this week with Richard Brinsley Sheridan's 18th-century satire The Critic. The witty show runs June 17-Sept. 10 at the Up-the-Hill Theatre. To reserve tickets, call 608-588-2361.
  • The fiercely intelligent, all-woman sketch comedy group Broadminded hits the stage this weekend with a program of family-related comedy in Blood Is Thicker Than Liquor. The contemporary show runs June 16-26 at the Alchemist Theatre, 2569 S. Kinnickinnic Ave. To reserve tickets, visit www.alchemisttheatre.com.
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