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Wednesday, Feb. 29, 2012

Milwaukee Rep Finds Humor 'In the Next Room'

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The Milwaukee Rep closes its Stiemke Studio season with a production of a historical comedy by popular contemporary playwright Sarah Ruhl, In the Next Room (or The Vibrator Play).

Set in a wealthy Victorian home, the play explores changes in upper-class culture at the dawn of a new age. Two women who are sexually frustrated with their husbands engage in sexual encounters with an awkward-looking Victorian vibrator. Thus awakened, one of the women looks to have the same kind of satisfaction with her husband that she experienced with the rather large and ponderous machine. In the Next Room covers a part of history largely ignored; its shrewd novelty has made it a hit.

The comedy met with favorable reviews when it opened in New York after debuting in Berkeley, Calif., in '09. It makes it to the stage of the Stiemke Studio in a joint production between the Rep and the Actors Theatre of Louisville. This is the latest in a series of joint productions with the Actor's Theatre—last season saw the production of Ma Rainey's Black Bottom. Directing the play is Milwaukee Rep Resident actress Laura Gordon, who has shown solid directorial instincts in previous productions.

The Milwaukee Rep's In the Next Room (or The Vibrator Play) runs March 7-April 22 at the Stiemke Studio. For ticket reservations, call 414-224-9490.

Theater Happenings

  • This week, In Tandem Theatre produces an adaptation of Chaim Potok's classic novel about two Jewish boys growing up in 1940s Brooklyn. The Chosen runs March 2-25 at the Tenth Street Theatre. For ticket reservations, call 414-271-1371.
  • Also this week, UWM Theatre launches a two-weekend run of Stephen Sondheim's Into the Woods. The delightfully mutated retelling of classic fairy tales is brought to the stage of Kenilworth Studio 508 March 2-11. For ticket reservations, call 414-229-4308.