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Friday, June 6, 2014

Shakespeare in the Park is Back

Optimist’s extended run in Kadish Park

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For Optimist Theatre’s fifth season of Shakespeare in the Park (SITP), the company presents a three-weekend long run of the famous playwright’s lesser-performed comedy, The Winter’s Tale. The work is typically recognized for having one of the most famous stage directions in history: “Exit, pursued by a bear.” Optimist’s Managing Director Susan Scot Fry describes the show as being “a fairy tale at heart and a kind of reverse Romeo & Juliet in that it starts ugly and ends happily.” She adds, “The characters are wonderful and full of depth and feelings in this story of overcoming obstacles, redemption and reunion. People will be surprised by the intensity of this deep, well-constructed story.”

Directing a SITP show for the first time is M.L. Cogar, who helped co-found SITP, has been assistant director the past four seasons and is also Optimist’s dramaturg. Scot Fry adds about Optimist, “We are about the people here in Milwaukee as much as we are about theater, about those who have never experienced anything like this before—seeing theater in the outdoors, in a public park. And this tradition of SITP is largely supported by donations from this great community.”

The Winter’s Tale runs June 13-15, 19-22 and 26-29 at the Alice Bertschy Kadish Park in Milwaukee (adjacent to COA Youth and Family Center, 909 E. North Ave.). Admission and parking are free. For more information, call 262-498-5777 or visit optimisttheatre.org.

 

Theatre Happenings

Splinter Group Theatre’s fourth show of its inaugural season is Bert V. Royal’s Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead, a play that imagines “Peanuts” comic strip characters as teenagers and addresses drug use, sexuality and sexual identity, rebellion, teen violence and eating disorders. Show runs June 13-29 at 3211 S. Lake Drive. For tickets, visit splinter-group.org.

 

Carroll University is introducing “The First Summer Repertory Series,” featuring two free, family friendly shows, June 5-21. Anton in Show Business by Jane Martin is a madcap comedy that follows three actresses through a performance; Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest follows Jack and Algernon in a story of love, deception and wit. Shows take place at Otteson Theatre, 238 N. East Ave. For tickets, call 262-524-7633; for more information, visit carrollu.edu.

 

SummerStage of Delafield presents Don’t Drink the Water by Woody Allen. Set at the height of the Cold War with America behind the Iron Curtain, this comedy follows a family of suspected spies trying to escape the embassy. The show runs June 12-28 at Lapham Peak Unit, Kettle Moraine State Forest, W329 N846 County Highway C in Delafield. For tickets, call 262-337-1560 or visit summerstageofdelafield.org.

 

American Folklore Theatre opens three shows in June. The world premiere Strings Attached (book and lyrics by Dave Hudson; opens June 11) is the story of twins separated at childbirth and their musical reunion; Packer Fans from Outer Space (by Frederick Heide and Lee Becker; opens June 18) is a musical comedy inspired by UFO sightings over Door County in 1952 and the 1953 tie game between the Packers and the Bears; and Guys on Ice (by Fred Alley; opens June 12) is a comedy about fishing buddies and home-grown philosophers Marvin and Lloyd. For tickets, call 920-854-6117 or visit folkloretheatre.com. This will be the company’s final season under its original name. AFT becomes Northern Sky Theater next year.

 

Village Playhouse of Wauwatosa presents its One Act Play Festival—Part 1, June 6-22, at Inspiration Studios (1500 S. 73rd St.). Featured are eight different shorts. For tickets call 414-207-4879 or visit villageplayhouse.org.