Friday, May 27, 2016

MCT BOARD MEMBER PROFILE: Rachel Borens

by Max Seigle
 
1. WHERE ARE YOU FROM? HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN IN MILWAUKEE?

I’m originally from the Wausau area in Central Wisconsin. I moved to Milwaukee to attend Marquette University and fell in love with the area. I went on to graduate school at the University of Wisconsin-Madison but moved back to Milwaukee in 2008 and have been here ever since. I continue to enjoy all of the things about Milwaukee that I fell in love with while at Marquette; great restaurants and theatre, festivals, events and many opportunities for outdoor activities.

Rachel Borens

2. HOW DID YOU LEARN ABOUT THE MILWAUKEE CHAMBER THEATRE?


Fellow board member Mickey Ripp, father of a good friend of mine, invited me to the final show of the 2014-2015 MCT season. We saw JEEVES TAKES A BOW as part of a group coming from the Wisconsin Club. We had dinner first and then took a shuttle over to the theatre. It was such a fun show and a great experience to go with the group. I remember the show was in the Cabot Theatre. I thought the venue was really spectacular because you wouldn’t expect what it looks like from the outside. It has a little bit of an “old world feel” to it. We sat up in the dress circle balcony and had a unique view of the performance. I’ve even kept my subscription seats in the same spot. This past season, I hosted my own group outings to BOEING BOEING and FALLEN ANGELS. I invited friends to meet at the Milwaukee Athletic Club for drinks and appetizers and then go see the show together. It has been really nice to share the kind of experience I had with Mickey Ripp. I try to take care of the logistics for people, make it an event, and let them enjoy the night. My guests have really enjoyed this, and they are already excited for next season’s theme of “Misfits.”


3. FAVORITE PLAY OR PLAYS?


My first play as a board member was BOEING BOEING. It was such fun show with great characters, bright colors, and a real “crowd-pleaser.” The whole group of friends that I brought for an after-work event on a Thursday evening thoroughly enjoyed it.


4. FAVORITE ACTOR/ACTORS?


I liked the real-life married couple Tami Workentin and James Pickering in LOVE STORIES this past season I thought that it was such a neat premise that they were acting together and injected their own life into the performance. I also liked the two women in FALLEN ANGELS. All the dialogue back-and-forth between them was terrific.


5. YOU ARE A NEW BOARD MEMBER AT MCT. WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO JOIN THE BOARD?


I’ve enjoyed all different kinds of performances and theatre in Milwaukee since moving back here. When I was invited to join the board, I thought it would be a great chance to get involved in the city’s artistic culture from the inside and contribute more personally to the arts in Milwaukee. My hope is to help keep the theatre scene vibrant here and bring new people to MCT who might not otherwise come. Personally, this is the first board that I’ve sat on. I’m enjoying the interaction with a diverse group of people and getting the chance to meet the actors on occasion. This is something outside of my work and existing circles, kind of a “branching out” experience for me and getting to know more of Milwaukee. As a new board member, I am also enjoying the chance to read the plays before the performances. Often, what comes to mind while you’re reading is so different from how the story comes to life onstage.


6. WHAT DO YOU DO PROFESSIONALLY?


I’m a pharmacist for Aurora Healthcare. I have been working for Aurora since 2008. I’m based at a retail pharmacy that is part of a clinic in Glendale and have managed the location for the past five years. I enjoy the interaction with patients and the relationships I form with them. I’ll typically see patients once a month when they come to pick up their prescriptions, much more frequently than they see their doctors. It’s a nice opportunity to make a difference on a pretty regular basis. I have actually worked in pharmacies since high school. I always liked math and science, and knew that this was a track I wanted to stay with for my career. I have a Pharm.D degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.


7. WHAT YOU DO FOR FUN? ANY HOBBIES?


I love being out and about in Milwaukee and trying new restaurants. I enjoy running and biking in the summer along the Oak Leaf Trail. I also love to travel. I try to go on an international trip every year. Argentina has been on my list for a while now, and I am planning to go to this fall. I have enjoyed trips to Barcelona, France, Mexico and Italy in recent years. This past May, I was able to travel to Italy with my parents, brother and sister-in-law and my boyfriend. I had been there before but it was a great experience to travel as a family, and take my parents who have always wanted to go to Italy. Rome is one of my favorite cities. I just love the old next to the new, history everywhere you look, always a gelato stand in striking distance and amazing food. It’s beautiful and walkable, and lovely to do the stroll in the evening past all the iconic fountains and monuments. I also enjoy visiting friends and family in the United States, including a cousin in Seattle. Pike Place Market, with the amazing seafood, is a favorite spot


8. FAVORITE WISCONSIN SPOT THAT NEVER GETS OLD?


Door County has always been a special place for my family. We grew up going there every weekend in the summer and had a permanent spot at a campground. We had our bikes, our campground had a pool, tennis court and we explored all around. The Eagle Trail at Peninsula State Park was one of our favorite hiking spots, wrapping right along the limestone bluffs around the edge of the peninsula. During holidays in the summer, our extended family often joined us. Now, I try to go at least once a year, and sometimes in the off season in the winter when it’s a little less crowded. It’s a nice getaway experience and still a favorite place to go. My aunt and uncle just finished building a home there and are going to retire in Door County, so we’ll be able to continue the tradition of going up there as a big family group.


9. FAVORITE SUMMER FESTIVAL IN MILWAUKEE?


Polish Fest. I’m a closet polka dancer. We grew up polka dancing in my family. Although I’m not Polish, I’m 100 percent German, we would have polka bands at my aunt and uncle’s weddings when I was growing up. We liked it and everybody had fun dancing. There are not too many polka weddings anymore, so it is fun having the chance to dance at Polish Fest. Polka is faced-paced and lively with a lot of hopping and spinning. Watching other talented dancers is almost as much fun as dancing yourself. I remember at a recent Polish Fest, there was a band with mother, father and six or seven kids performing together. Everyone was playing an instrument, they were really good and all having a good time performing. The dancing and music, with good food and beer, makes a good time for all.


10. FAVORITE PLACE TO HAVE DINNER BEFORE AN MCT SHOW?


I enjoy Hinterland on Erie Street. They have the option of doing the full restaurant or having a smaller bite in the lounge. They are friendly when you walk in and always coming up with something new on the menu. They also have a great bed and breakfast, the Whistling Swan in Door County, which I highly recommend.


11. ANY OTHER ORGANIZATIONS THAT YOU’RE A PART OF THAT YOU ENJOY AND WHAT WANT PEOPLE TO KNOW ABOUT?


I am a member at Saints Peter and Paul Parish on the East Side. We do some great things for the community, like our collaboration with the Riverwest Food Pantry. We collect donations weekly and offer fresh produce grown at our community garden in the summer and fall. I am also a member of the Evening Mass Choir. We sing at the 7 p.m. mass on Sundays. I enjoyed singing in the Liturgical Choir while I was at Marquette University, and am now enjoying the musical outlet of our casual, small group choir on Sunday evenings at Saints Peter and Paul.


12. BACK TO MCT: WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE PEOPLE IN THE AREA TO KNOW ABOUT THIS THEATRE COMPANY WHO MAY NOT BE FAMILIAR WITH IT?


I think a lot of people have seen shows at some of the bigger theatres in the city, like the Marcus Center, and may not know about us. I feel our smaller size makes MCT more accessible and offers more interaction with the audience, especially with the Studio Theatre. It’s a more intimate experience there. There is also a broad range of shows each season featuring local actors. I like that we have a theme that ties all of the shows together.


Monday, May 9, 2016

MCT BOARD MEMBER PROFILE: Keith Anderson

by Max Seigle

1. WHERE ARE YOU FROM? HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN IN MILWAUKEE?
I was born and raised in Milwaukee on the Northwest side. I’ve been here all my life other than my college years spent at the University of Illinois in Champaign. I came back in 1966, landed a job here and spent my professional career working in architecture. My wife and I currently live in Whitefish Bay.

Board Member Keith Anderson
2. WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST EXPERIENCE AT THE MILWAUKEE CHAMBER THEATRE?
My first connection to MCT was actually through my job in the 1980’s. I was working with Clair Richardson. He was the founder of Skylight and a prominent member of the Milwaukee theatre community at the time. I helped him redesign a theatre space across from Cathedral Square where MCT was also performing shows in its early days, and that’s how I first became acquainted with the company. I have been an MCT subscriber ever since.

3. FAVORITE PLAY OR PLAYS?
I loved THE TRAIN DRIVER last season. I also loved LEND ME A TENOR. As a board member, I really enjoy when Michael Wright, our Artistic Director, brings in models of the show sets; that appeals to my mindset as an architect. I remember when he came in with the set for LEND ME A TENOR and his line was, “This is not shtick but is has six doors.” I loved that line! Anyone who knows comedy knows there are usually a lot of doors involved, people coming and going.

4. FAVORITE ACTOR?
I love James Ridge. He’s a marvelous actor. I remember seeing him playing a librarian in a one-man show. It was called UNDERNEATH THE LINTEL back in 2013. I’m also a fan of Jim Pickering, who was in LOVE STORIES this past fall. He is one of those actors in play after play after play, and I don’t remember a clinker. He’s just a good actor.

5. WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO JOIN THE BOARD?

The first reason was George Mosher. He’s a former MCT board member and someone I worked with professionally. When I met George, we hit it off immediately and not too long afterwards, he asked me to join the board. I then had the chance to meet with MCT’s Artistic Director Michael Wright and Managing Director Kirsten Mulvey. When we met in a sort of interview process for the board, that just fanned the fire. I knew I really wanted to be involved in this theatre. I so appreciate Michael’s vision of promoting “quality literature” in theatre; it appeals to me. I think one of the advantages we’ve had at MCT is that we really do good plays all the time.

I also joined as a way to give back to my hometown. Many people feel very fortunate in where they are in life and what they’ve accomplished and I am one of those people. I never thought that I’d run an architecture firm for 25 years. For me internally, that makes it imperative to look at the community of which I’m a part and see what I can do to give back. It can be something that you truly enjoy at a gut level and MCT has been that for me. I’ve been on the board since 2008.

6. YOU ARE A FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE MCT BOARD. ANY ACCOMPLISHMENTS YOU’RE ESPECIALLY PROUD OF UNDER YOUR LEADERSHIP?
The thing that I’m most proud of is that we were able to maintain a high quality of literary plays, while also enhancing the budget. Theatre can be a tough business, especially when people don’t have as much discretionary income. But I do think we’re in a decent financial place and it’s getting better.

7. WHAT DO YOU DO PROFESSIONALLY?
I spent my career as an architect and ran a firm in Milwaukee for 25 years called Engberg Anderson Architects. I retired in 2013.

8. WHAT YOU DO FOR FUN? ANY HOBBIES?
When I was young, I was into all kinds of sports, like golf and basketball. I still play a lot of golf but no more basketball. At one time, I was known as the city’s leading authority on croquet because I founded the Milwaukee Croquet Club in the mid-90s. I still play today. Since I retired, I love spending time outdoors doing almost anything you can possibly think of, biking, cross-country skiing in the winter, taking hikes, anywhere you can get out in nature. My wife and I have also started to travel more in retirement. We’ve been to the Galapagos Islands and Machu Picchu. I’ve been to Churchill Manitoba on Tundra Buggies to observe the polar bear fall migration. This spring we went on a Mediterranean cruise from Barcelona around the boot of Italy and back up to Venice. This fall, we’re planning a bicycle tour overseas in Slovenia, Austria and Italy.

One of my favorite places in the world is Alaska. I just think it’s exquisitely beautiful. I drove out there 37 years ago with my eight-year-old son and spent a month camping in the back country. I remember coming across a black bear cub and then the mother appeared and started running after us. Luckily, our van wasn’t too far away. I don’t think the slide door of a Volkswagen Camper Van has ever been opened and closed so quickly!


9. FAVORITE WISCONSIN SPOT THAT NEVER GETS OLD?
Anything along the water. I used to spend time in my single days at places like Harrington Beach and Lyons Den Park near Grafton. I’m fortunate enough to own a lake cottage on Upper Lake Nashotah near Oconomowoc. On weekends in the summer, we just send a message out to our friends to join us for a float boat tour and cook out. We call it “Open Sunday” at the lake.

10. FAVORITE SUMMER FESTIVAL IN MILWAUKEE?

Summerfest. My son and his family, who live in Portland, Oregon, are coming this summer to visit that week and see the festival.

11. ANY OTHER ORGANIZATIONS THAT YOU’RE A PART OF THAT YOU ENJOY AND  WANT PEOPLE TO KNOW ABOUT?
I am President of the Board at “Impact” in Milwaukee. They run the “211 program.” People can call that number when they are “down and out” and don’t know where to turn. The counselors recommend places to go and appropriate services. They work with everyone from the homeless to a family worried about their child’s addiction problem. The testimonials that we get back are enough to tear your heart out.

12. BACK TO MCT: WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE PEOPLE IN THE AREA TO KNOW ABOUT THIS THEATRE COMPANY WHO MAY NOT BE FAMILIAR WITH IT?

Come and see us, because I believe if you do, you will come again. You will almost assuredly enjoy yourself and realize on the way home that it was worth your time to come and see a Chamber Theatre performance. It’s entertainment, for sure; sometimes it’s humorous and just for some fun and sometimes it’s a more serious production. I know from personal experience that people my wife and I have invited to a show have returned on a regular basis, even some folks who were hesitant at first. I think that’s a big part of our success, inviting friends and colleagues who eventually get hooked!

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Meet the Cast of FALLEN ANGELS




















KAY ALLMAND
(Julia Sterroll)
Kay is grateful and thrilled to be back at MCT after appearing in JEEVES TAKES A BOW last season. Recent Wisconsin credits include Truvy in STEEL MAGNOLIAS, Laura in THE GLASS MENAGERIE and the female track in THE 39 STEPS at Third Avenue Playhouse in Door County. She also spent three seasons with Door Shakespeare 2009-2011. She has also worked extensively in Houston, most recently in PANTO SNOW QUEEN: UNFROZEN at Stages Repertory Theatre, ALMOST, MAINE with Unity Theatre and as Annette in GOD OF CARNAGE with Stark Naked Theatre. Next up is ISAAC’S EYE at Third Avenue Playhouse and A LOVELY SUNDAY FOR CREVE COUER here at MCT! Kay has a BFA from Midwestern State University and an MFA from the University of South Carolina and was an acting intern at Milwaukee Repertory Theater. Love is the answer.

MATT KOESTER
(Maurice Duclos)
Matt returns to MCT after playing Gussie Fink-Nottle in JEEVES IN BLOOM. He has previously worked with Skylight Music Theatre, Milwaukee Shakespeare, Youngblood Theatre and The Alchemist Theatre among others. When Matt isn't acting, he is working full time as a second grade teacher at Cross Trainers Academy. He would like to thank God for his abundant grace and many blessings!

BETH MULKERRON
(Jane Banbury)
Beth is thrilled to be back with Milwaukee Chamber Theatre where you may have caught her as Sandra in A THOUSAND CLOWNS. Stage highlights include the Off-Broadway musical, REDHOOK and performing in concert with Davis Gaines. Regional highlights include A CHRISTMAS CAROL (Belle, Katherine) at Milwaukee Repertory Theater, THE WINTER'S TALE (Hermione/Autolycus) at Optimist Theatre, BIG (Susan) at First Stage, THE SIZZLIN' 60's at The Fireside, PACKER FANS FROM OUTER SPACE (Peggy) at The Marcus Center, and SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE (Dot) Windfall Theatre. Television and voiceover credits include Miller, GE, the Wisconsin Lottery and NBC’s Ed. Beth has also appeared in independent films and has enjoyed recording extensively for Hal Leonard. She studied musical theatre at Cincinnati’s CCM and received her BFA from FSU.

RICK PENDZICH
(Fred Sterroll)
A graduate of UW-Whitewater, Rick has performed in six Milwaukee Chamber Theatre mainstage shows: Max in LEND ME A TENOR, Eustace in JEEVES INTERVENES, Floyd in THE FOURTH WALL, Stanley in BRIGHTON BEACH MEMOIRS, Sandy Tyrell in HAY FEVER, and (most recently) joined fellow Whitewater Mafiosos  in THE COMPLETE WORKS OF WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE (ABRIDGED) [REVISED.] Other favorite roles include Centipede in JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH at First Stage, Goss in BUG at Splinter Group, The Gentleman Caller in THE GLASS MENAGERIE at In Tandem Theatre and Mark Cohen in RENT at Skylight Music Theatre.  “Enjoy the show!”

MOLLY RHODE
(Saunders)

Molly first appeared as Saunders in FALLEN ANGELS in 2001 at Next Act Theatre under Michael Wright's direction. It was her professional debut in Milwaukee, and she is honored to revisit this delightful piece again with good friends. Molly's prior work at MCT includes acting in A THOUSAND WORDS and TRYING and directing MAIN-TRAVELLED ROADS. Molly has been an Actors’ Equity member since 2003 and has worked on stages all over Milwaukee, as well as in Madison, Spring Green, and Door County. She serves as the associate artistic director of Northern Sky Theater in Peninsula State Park, and is proud to make her entire artistic living in Wisconsin. Upcoming projects include directing the world premiere of DOCTOR! DOCTOR! at Northern Sky this summer, acting in UNSILENT NIGHT at Next Act in the autumn, and two works here at MCT next season. She'll be playing Helena in A LOVELY SUNDAY FOR CREVE COEUR and directing GREAT EXPECTATIONS. Thank you to Michael Wright for fiercely supporting new talent in Milwaukee. You've been both a rock and a beacon for so many in our community.

CHASE STOEGER
(Willy Banbury)
Chase couldn’t be more excited to be back on the Cabot Stage with Milwaukee Chamber Theatre! Last season he played Binky in JEEVES TAKES A BOW and himself in THE COMPLETE WORKS OF WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE (ABRIDGED) [REVISED]. He also just finished the world premiere of JUST A LITTLE CRITTER MUSICAL at First Stage. This coming summer he will celebrate his tenth season under the stars in Door County with Northern Sky Theater! In his spare time he takes direction and casting choices from his daughter Silvia, and might have a little time to crochet her another hat to wear. Check out his headwear at realmencrochet.com!

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

MCT BOARD MEMBER PROFILE: JULIE ANDING

by Max Seigle

MEET THE MCT BOARD! We're excited to introduce you to our Board of Directors! This is a great way to learn more about the
people who make up the MCT family.


MCT Board President Julie Anding
WHERE ARE YOU FROM? HOW LONG HAVE BEEN IN MILWAUKEE?

I grew up in Arena, Wisconsin, near Spring Green. Being close to the American Players Theatre, I go back all the time and see shows in the summer. I have lived in the Milwaukee area for 18 years and my home is in the Historic Third Ward

WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST EXPERIENCE AT THE MILWAUKEE CHAMBER THEATRE?

My partner directed a play for MCT in 2012 called BUS STOP. It was in the big theatre, the Cabot, it’s such a great space. The play was a collaboration with UW-Parkside, and students and staff joined Milwaukee actors to put on the show. I like those kinds of university partnerships and have enjoyed seeing MCT do more of them over the years. Also, we moved into the Third Ward and it became our neighborhood theatre and that encouraged us to get more involved in going to the MCT shows.

FAVORITE PLAY?

Last season’s THE TRAIN DRIVER and THE GOOD FATHER. I thought both were really spectacular. I tend to like plays that deal with more meaty subjects, have more of an intellectual bent and hit on prevalent conversations going on across the country. 

WHAT MADE YOU DECIDE TO JOIN THE MCT BOARD?

I wanted to be a part of an organization that was supporting the arts and helping make Milwaukee more vibrant. If we didn’t have live music, if we didn’t have live theater, life would be pretty dry and boring. And with so much emphasis on technology these days, there is something about seeing a live performance of music or theatre that’s very different from seeing it on your computer or on your TV.

My daughter and five nieces have also been very involved in theater, both in school and at First Stage. It has been a really important part of their development and they’ve grown immensely with those experiences. There is more than just sports to help with building stronger kids, so it’s really important for me to find ways to support the arts. 

YOU RECENTLY BECAME PRESIDENT OF THE BOARD. WHAT ENCOURAGED YOU TO TAKE ON THAT KIND OF LEADERSHIP ROLE?

I tend to be naturally drawn to leadership roles and I think we are at a really unique time right now. We have a really strong board with great, talented people. We are well-positioned to take MCT to the next level and I just want to help be a part of that.

WHAT DO YOU DO PROFESSIONALLY?

I have worked at Harley-Davidson for 18 years. I currently serve as the Senior Director of Talent and Learning in the Human Resources Department. I help the company attract and retain strong talent.

WHAT DO YOU DO FOR FUN?

I love motorcycles. I learned to ride one as a kid but didn’t buy one until I started working at Harley-Davidson. I think riding a motorcycle is one of the only things that I’m aware of where you can shut the rest of the world out. You can’t get distracted with technology. It’s kind of a “Zen” experience just being really focused on riding  the bike and watching the beautiful scenery around you. It is very freeing to have the wind in your face and just to be out there on a ride. Locally, I love to ride out by Holy Hill and by the Kettle Moraine area. One of my best rides I did was from Milwaukee to Kingston, Ontario, more than two thousand miles, it was absolutely fantastic. It was part of a special motorcycle rally for Harley-Davidson. We did the trip in two days there and two days back. We touched all five Great Lakes, which  was a personal goal we had on that trip.

If you don’t find me on my motorcycle, I’ll be at my family’s property just outside Spring Green. It’s a quiet, peaceful place along the Wisconsin River. It’s been in my family for four generations. I am also an avid reader and love to travel.

FAVORITE PLACE IN MILWAUKEE TO EAT BEFORE AN MCT SHOW?

In my neighborhood, I would say Bavette is a favorite as is Onesto and Kasana. If you are a carnivore, you will be happy at Bavette. At Onesto, it’s just good comfort food and Kasana has awesome tapas. All are  easy and close to MCT.

FAVORITE MILWAUKEE SPOT THAT NEVER GETS OLD?

THE LAKEFRONT! We don’t even know how lucky we are with that lakefront we have.

FAVORITE SUMMER FESTIVAL IN MILWAUKEE?

IRISH FEST. I have a bit of Irish in my heritage and I love to go and listen to Celtic music.

ANY OTHER ORGANIZATIONS THAT YOU ARE A PART OF?

I serve on the board of WRTP/BIG STEP. They focus on workforce development in the manufacturing and construction fields. I like how they develop  people and give them a chance at a family-sustaining job.

BACK TO MCT: WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE PEOPLE TO KNOW ABOUT MCT WHO ARE NOT FAMILIAR WITH THE COMPANY?

I think of MCT as kind of this hidden gem in the Third Ward that is doing unique shows. It’s the combination of leveraging local talent and not choosing the “same-old, same-old” kind of plays every season. Our Producing Artistic Director, C. Michael Wright, really tries to select first-time shows that you won’t see anywhere else. And right now, the company is trying to bring more diversity into the talent and in the productions they are choosing and I think that’s really important. 

Thanks Julie! Stay tuned for more Board Member Profiles!

Getting to Know Peter Reeves



Peter Reeves is playing the role of Sterling in our production of “Slowgirl”. Read on to learn a little bit about him and his character.  

Tell us a bit about your character, Sterling.
Sterling is a damaged soul. Thoughtful, introspective and very much alone in his jungle retreat, Sterling believes he is making a 'radical change' in his life; in reality, he is escaping. When his niece Becky arrives, it is an invasion. It's as if a wild animal has entered his space. It forces Sterling to face particular truths: Did he give up on his former life? Can he find peace? Sterling is a challenge to play (as all characters are) in that he often speaks in non sequiturs and fragments. He has lost some of his ability to communicate.

Peter Reeves in "Slowgirl"
Is this a relatable play for you as far as Sterling & Becky’s relationship goes? (Are you an uncle yourself?)
I am indeed an uncle several times over. As far as the Becky/Sterling relationship goes, it is a very different than anything I've ever experienced with my family. They haven't seen each other in nine years. That's a long separation. What happens during the week they spend together is incredibly intense and probably shapes each of their lives for a long time. So yes, I can relate in terms of the type of things that families share, both the beautiful and the ugly. But what these two wonderful characters go through is unique and a little foreign to me.

What is your favorite scene / moment in the show?
There are so many! I love meeting Becky again-right at the top of the play. She is such a tidal wave of energy and naughtiness. It's fun to watch, to be around, to play off of. Sara is a delight!

This is your last show before moving to Pennsylvania, does that put more pressure or less pressure on your performance? Any other thoughts to share about moving? Do you hope to continue acting in Pennsylvania?
No. Acting is always pressure filled! I am always nervous no matter what show it is. I am looking forward to our move east. Kathy (my wife) and I love Lancaster. We've bought this 1880's row house with three floors. It's outrageous, impractical and so much fun. I cannot wait. I will miss Milwaukee and most of all Pius XI High School, where I have found a home and a family. I hope to act some but I really want to work less and be with family more. Does that make me lazy?

Have you ever walked a labyrinth? (If not, would you consider it? If yes, would you recommend it?)
I have walked a labyrinth at Pius XI in the chapel and also one in China! The Chinese labyrinth was carved from these bushes and located in Beijing. I would suggest everyone try it at least once. As Sterling says, "See how it hits you."

Be sure to see Peter’s final Milwaukee performance in “Slowgirl” playing now through March 20th

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

SLOWGIRL: One Week Until Preview!

By Alexander Coddington

This past Sunday, we had our designer run.  For those who might not know, a designer run is the first time that all of the show’s designers come for the first time to watch the actors perform the play in the rehearsal hall.  At around the halfway point in the rehearsal process (the end of week two), the designers, who’ve been working hard from home and production builds, come to see what the actors are doing onstage.  The lighting designer can get a better sense of where the actors are moving onstage to focus his lighting instruments and the scenic designer can suss out what parts of the set might need to be more fortified to support the actors and make them feel safe.  We're getting excited for folks to finally see this moving play a week from today at our Pay-What-You-Can Preview performance on Wednesday Feb. 24!

Props designer Melissa Centgraf has been hard at work on something we all love: FOOD!!  In the play, Sterling makes Becky a special dish called Chicken Los Angeles for her last meal in Costa Rica, and Melissa has tracked down a special ingredient for us.  A thin, light brown sauce, Lizano is a common condiment in Costa Rica, and found on restaurant tables as often as ketchup is “in the States.”  We put some Lizano on noodles, and thought it was pretty tasty!  The ingredients include water, sugar, salt, vegetables (onions, carrots, cauliflower, cucumbers), spices, pepper, mustard, and turmeric.  In the United States, Lizano can be purchased online and at specialty food stores.  Give it a try!

As soon as Renaissance Theaterworks’ beautiful production of AGNES OF GOD closed in the Studio Theatre on Sunday, our crew and designers started loading in the set for SLOWGIRL.  We’ll continue exploring the play in the rehearsal hall until Friday when the set will be fully constructed, painted, and decorated.  And then we’ll head downstairs for tech rehearsals!  You’ll hear from me again then…


But in the meantime, here’s a fun piece of trivia!  In the production of SLOWGIRL co-produced by Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre Company and Los Angeles’ Geffen Playhouse, Sterling was played by William Peterson, who you’ll recognize from his many years on CSI!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

In Rehearsals for SLOWGIRL!

By Alexander Coddington

We’ve just begun work on our second week of rehearsal for SLOWGIRL.  As Michael Wright’s assistant director (and friendly neighborhood MCT Audience Development Coordinator), I will be providing eager Chamber-holics, as some of our biggest fans like to call themselves, at home with a glimpse into the magic that goes on inside Rehearsal Hall 5B.

Our first week kicked off with a meet-and-greet reception where many of you had the opportunity to mingle with the artists involved with the show.  (First rehearsal meet-and-greets are just one of the many perks of being a member of the MCT Friends – contact me for more information about joining the Friends at alex@milwaukeechambertheatre.com!!)

Scenic Designer Keith Pitts' model of Sterling's Costa Rican hut
We got to hear some insights into Michael Wright’s directorial vision for the play, which follows a girl and her uncle through an emotionally tumultuous week in the Costa Rican jungle, look at beautiful preliminary design renderings by costume designer Kimberly O’Callaghan (COLLECTED STORIES, CRIMES OF THE HEART) and an intricate miniature model of the set made by scenic designer Keith Pitts (‘ART’, AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS), and heard actors Peter Reeves and Sara Zientek read Greg Pierce’s play aloud.

Peter returns to MCT after appearing in THE SWEETEST SWING IN BASEBALL in 2010 and A WALK IN THE WOODS in 2007. He is currently the Communications Director for Pius XI Catholic High School in Milwaukee. However, after SLOWGIRL closes he will be moving to Pennsylvania – so this may be his last appearance on stage in Milwaukee. He has appeared in numerous films and commercials and has performed with Next Act Theatre, Renaissance Theaterworks, First Stage, American Inside Theatre and Next Generation Theatre.

Sara made her MCT debut in MAURITIUS in 2011. She was part of the Milwaukee Repertory Theater Emerging Professional Residency. She has also worked with First Stage, InTandem Theatre, Splinter Group, Umbrella Group and Optimist Theatre.  She has been a teacher for First Stage, Waukesha Civic Theatre and Next Act Theatre, and was also a part of an educational tour of ROMEO AND JULIET with Utah Shakespeare Festival. She received her BA in acting from UW-Milwaukee.

Peter Reeves and Sara Zientek rehearse a scene from SLOWGIRL

So far, it’s been smooth sailing down to Costa Rica, but that doesn’t mean we’re not hard at work!  It’s an emotionally challenging and structurally interesting play that has been a thrill to experience in the rehearsal room.  Salud!