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Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Youngblood Infuses Theater Scene With Fresh Blood

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As financial challenges present themselves to established theater groups, new and emerging talent struggles to make it to the stage. A number of aspiring professionals have taken matters into their own hands this summer by forming their own companies. One of these is Youngblood, a group originating from people who met at UW-Milwaukee.

Not long ago, a group of UWM theater grads were sitting around in a café, talking about starting their own theater company. Now they're following through on the idea in a big way. Youngblood's inaugural summer season consists of no less than three shows, all of which open this month. Youngblood co-founder Michael Cotey is wasting no time in establishing the company and looking toward the future. "In five years I'd like to see us grow to be…one of the top theater companies in town," Cotey says.

Youngblood's first show is a production of the 1991 drama David's Redhaired Death. Laura Sedlak directs the story of two women who fall in love with each other in a situation complicated by the death of a brother. The production runs Friday, July 10, through Sunday, July 19, at the UWM Studio Theatre.

Just days after opening its first show, Youngblood opens its second, a production of John Patrick Shanley's Savage In Limbo, in the cozy confines of Landmark Lanes' Side Bar. Audience members can drink beer in a real bar as they watch a group of losers hanging out in a bar set in the Bronx in the mid-'80s. The show runs July 13-29.

Youngblood's season concludes with the premiere of God Bridge, a new play by Benjamin Wilson in which a couple's search for a lost boy finds them encountering a pair of homeless people in front of a bridge over the Milwaukee River. God Bridge runs July 24-Aug. 2 at Studio 508 in Kenilworth Square East.

Tickets for Youngblood's inaugural season are handled through the box office of UWM's Peck School of the Arts. For tickets or more information, call 414-229-4308.

Elsewhere, Milwaukee Rep resident actor Lee Ernst joins select actors from regional theaters across the nation in a series of private classes with Lynn Redgrave at Ten Chimneys as part of the inaugural Lunt-Fontanne Fellowship Program July 13-18. A week of private classes closes with a pair of public presentations hosted by Redgrave at Ten Chimneys at 8 p.m.

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