Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Stephan Roselin as Chuckles the Chippermonk!

Hope everyone who came to opening weekend enjoyed the show! A THOUSAND CLOWNS is running through August 26.  We cannot forget about our wonderful Stephan Roselin who plays "Chuckles the Chippermonk" aka Leo Herman on stage. Here is an inside look about Stephan and his hilarious role.

What are some of your favorite moments in theatre that made you who you are today?
Growing up, my parents felt it was important to bring the family to the theater, all 6 of us.  Being in New York City, I was fortunate to see a lot of great shows.  As a kid, I knew that I either wanted to be an actor or a cowboy (looking back, I’m not sure I made the right choice).

Stephan Roselin
I was in a production of BLOOD KNOT by Athol Fugard in grad school.  The play is about two brothers (one black / one white) in the midst of apartheid in South Africa.  It was an extremely powerful theatrical experience that made me “feel” how a society’s prejudices and racial injustice can poison even the most beautiful relationship.  I remember getting physically ill during the rehearsal process because of all of the disturbing fear, hatred and pain of the piece, and I felt like I came out a different person because of my experience. 

In 1996, I had the distinct pleasure of being in Martin Sherman’s play BENT.  Not only was it a great production, it was also the seed that planted the Bialystock & Bloom Theatre Company.   Who knew that the late-night show would pave the way for an eleven-year run that would change Milwaukee Theatre forever??!!   

During the B&B years, I did the title role of THE ELEPHANT MAN (John Merrick).  To have the opportunity to step inside Mr. Merrick’s shoes and see the world through his eyes (if only through make-believe) was such an extraordinary moment in my actor life that shall be with me for a very long time.  It is never right to judge another person by their appearance, for there is much more to a human being than meets the eye.  Mr. Merrick, as I came to found out through research and performance, was an unbelievable man – full of knowledge, spirituality, depth, knowledge, sexual drive, compassion, sincerity, artistic abilities, religious association, wit, and gentleness.   You never know what lies beneath the surface of another unless you are willing to peel the onion and disregard the prejudices and negative pre-conceived notions.  That play taught me about much humanity.

Tell us about your first reactions upon reading A THOUSAND CLOWNS? 
Fu-nny!  I was on an airplane from Milwaukee to New York City and read the play from take-off to landing and couldn’t stop laughing.  Never saw the movie, never saw the play … so I came at it with fresh eyes.  What also drew me to the script when I read it was how poignant the piece is.  This play absolutely stands the test of time.  I especially love all of the animal imagery and references interwoven throughout the play.

From left to right: Thomas Kindler, Stephan Roselin, Tom Klubertanz
Photo by Mark Frohna
What’s it like playing an instrument (ukulele) you’ve never played before in front of an audience?
Well … I was put in the “special” group (of one) and instead of playing a ukulele, I am playing a … (come see the show).  

From your perspective, how would you best describe your character?   
Leo Herman is the “hardest working person in show business”.  He is a man who is full of passion that tends to wear his heart on his sleeve.  Talented, great sense of humor, charming and very good looking.  He’s a guy you’d want to have lunch with at the 2nd Avenue Deli.  He’ll buy!! Leo is a generous man who takes care those who take care of him.  

If your character could spend a day in Milwaukee, where would they go and what would they do?
Leo Herman’s itinerary in Milwaukee:
7am: Arrive MKE Airport.  Check in at the Pfister Hotel.
8-9am: Breakfast at Benji’s for the Super Hopple Popple (no mushrooms) with Uncle Alvin and Aunt Nancy.
9-10am: Visit WTMJ-TV (local NBC affiliate) and cut promos for the show.  Take pictures with the winner of the “Why I wanna be like Chuckles” contest. 
10:30-11:30am:  Chuckles visits with kids at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin.  Check presentation of $5,000 to the hospital.
12-1:30pm:  Lunch at Benji’s for the Reuben and Mish Mosh Soup with Herb Kohl.
2-3p: Visit Woodman’s Food Market for ‘Meet & Greet / Picture Taking’.  Cut commercial with Phil Woodman promoting the new Chuckle Chip’s BBQ Potato Chips.
3:30-4:30: Private Pilates Class with Master Pilates Instructor Carolyn Roselin.
5-7pm: Back to the Pfister Hotel for a Shower and Shave.
7:30 - ?:  Dinner and lots of wine at Sanford’s Restaurant with Carolyn Roselin followed by dancing … and a marriage proposal.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

A little bit about Tom Klubertanz

Here's a great look inside Tom's life as a theatre professional and teacher.  Tom's character, Murray Burns, knows how to live his life to the fullest, and we believe Tom does too!  Don't forget to check out Tom and the rest of the cast on stage during A THOUSAND CLOWNS starting today and running through August 26.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Meet Matt Daniels

A THOUSAND CLOWNS starts tomorrow! Today we hear from Matt Daniels who returns to MCT after playing British icons Jeeves in JEEVES INTERVENES and Phileas Fogg in AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS.  Later this season he will reprise his role as Jeeves in JEEVES IN BLOOM (April 11-28, 2013). Matt is also a budding 'ukulele master' and a member of the Milwaukee Ukulele Club.

What are some of your favorite moments in theatre that made you who you are today?
Matt Daniels
Whew! So many. As an actor, I truly think that every experience goes toward making me who I am, but I'll try to break it down... The first play I remember seeing was a National Tour of THE KING AND I, with Yul Brynner, which come on! Yul Brynner!

I have fond memories of being in all my school plays, especially my fourth grade production of OLIVER!(I played Fagin). Other formative experiences include my first full Shakespeare play, ROMEO AND JULIET, in which I, as the youngest member of the cast, (I was in eighth grade and most of my cast mates were seniors in high school), played the oldest character, Friar Laurence. I played Bottom two years later, in A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM, and I was hooked on Shakespeare.

I trained at The Juilliard School, in New York, where I studied with some masters who were truly fundamental in my growth as an artist: John Stix, Eve Shapiro, and Vanessa Redgrave were acting teachers; Ralph Zito, Elizabeth Smith and Robert Neff Williams for voice & speech, Barry Edelstein for Shakespeare, and amazing directors like Tom Hulce, Michael Kahn and Brian Mertes. Recently I've been teaching Viewpoints for First Stage Academy's Young Company, which never would have happened without my movement training at school: Moni Yakim for physical acting, Carolyn Serota for Alexander Technique, Ellen Lauren for Viewpoints, and Pierre LeFevre for mask.

After graduation I discovered the incredible world of downtown theater in New York City -- tiny, tiny storefront spaces, and great experimental and avant garde work everywhere! I was part of some great work in that downtown theater scene -- environmentally staged productions of the classics in public spaces with Gorilla Rep, and brand new verse plays by dizzying wordsmith Kirk Wood Bromley, among others.

Plus, of course, all the many, many moments that have made the hair on the back of my neck stand on end as an audience member: The Broadway premiere of Tom Stoppard's ARCADIA, Janet McTeer as Nora in A DOLL'S HOUSE, the bone chilling Broadway production of MEDEA starring Fiona Shaw. The Globe productions of CYMBELINE and CORIOLANUS, and David Cromer's revelatory OUR TOWN, and a 24 hour BALD SOPRANO at the first NY Fringe Festival. And many, many more.

Tell us about your first reaction upon reading A THOUSAND CLOWNS.

I loved that it didn't tie up in a pat little bow at the end; that it was layered, funny, poignant. Also, I was particularly pleased to find out I only appear in the first half! I'll get to spend the second act prepping for my next project (Plug alert!): 44 PLAYS FOR 44 PRESIDENTS at Forward Theater in Madison.

What’s it like being an up and coming ukulele master on stage?

Ukulele Master is overdoing it a bit, especially in light of the fact that we have a couple of true uke masters in our midst here in Milwaukee, in the persons of Lil Rev and Jon Prown. I've only been playing for a couple of years, but it has become a real passion of mine, and I have, of late, been trying to find ways to insert the uke into as many productions as possible! And now, here's one where it's actually called for, even if my character would never in a million years play. That said, it has been a blast taking my playing to the next level by arranging some tunes, and ultimately, forming a band with our own Beth Mulkerron!

From your perspective, how would you best describe your character?

Albert Amundson does everything by the book. He describes himself as "not one of the warm people," but that doesn't mean he doesn't care. He's a social worker, and cares very much for the children he's tasked with, and so he plays by the rules to ensure their safety. Sometimes this means that the other people around him get the short end of the stick, I guess, but he tries as hard as he can.

If your character could spend a day in Milwaukee, where would they go and what would they do?

He'd definitely check out the Art Museum, maybe the War Memorial. City Hall, too. Maybe a night at the Rep (or the BTC). I think he'd try to find out as much about the city as possible - one of those river tours, perhaps, or Old World Milwaukee at the Public Museum.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Meet Thomas Kindler

We're getting closer to opening night! Today we're taking a closer look at Thomas Kindler who is debuting in the role of Nick Burns at MCT. Thomas is finishing up his summer here at MCT and will be a freshman at Brookfield Central High School this fall. This kid does it all - sings, acts, and of course, plays the ukulele! Don't forget to catch him onstage for this show, August 9-26! 

Friday, August 3, 2012

Short and Sweet with Beth Mulkeron

Happy Friday to all!  Hope you enjoyed our first interview with Patrick yesterday.  Today we bring you Beth Mulkerron who makes her MCT debut as Sandra Markowitz in A THOUSAND CLOWNS.  Enjoy!
Beth Mulkerron
What are some of your favorite moments in theatre that made you who you are today?

I made my theatrical debut as Mrs. Cratchit in A CHRISTMAS CAROL in fourth grade. After that I was hooked. The fact that I have been lucky enough to experience everything from Shakespeare to PACKER FANS FROM OUTER SPACE, has shaped my love for the theatre.
Tell us about your first reaction upon reading A THOUSAND CLOWNS.

I loved this piece from the first read. There is no bad guy in the play. You root for everybody. It also doesn't hurt that it's hysterical. 

What’s it like playing an instrument you’ve never played before in front of an audience?

I play the kazoo in this show and must confess it is not my first performance with a kazoo. At First Stage Children's Theater I played a character by the name of Ms. Toot who LOVED her kazoo.

From your perspective, how would you best describe your character?

Sandra is one giant heart. She wants to take the whole world in her arms and give it the hug it needs. She is vulnerable and silly, passionate and strong. 

If your character could spend a day in Milwaukee, where would they go and what would they do?

Sandra would probably spend the morning taking in the latest exhibit at the art museum, the afternoon at the children's hospital playing board games with the kids and the evening reading a very good book with a bowl of custard. 

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Meet Patrick Lawlor from A THOUSAND CLOWNS

Milwaukee Chamber Theatre is only a week away from opening A THOUSAND CLOWNS in the Cabot Theatre on August 9. We have fabulous people working on the show so we thought we would interview the cast.  Today we will be featuring Patrick Lawlor (Arnold Burns) who was just seen as Virgil Blessing in last season's BUS STOP.  Hope you enjoy his insights into the theatre world and our season opener!

What are some of your favorite moments in theatre that made you who you are today?

Patrick Lawlor
To work in the Theatre is to have countless moments that make you who you are. Just getting to do this for a living opens you up to endless little miracles, wonders, triumphs, tragedies. Taking on a role that you feel is beyond your ability and performing it well, doing free Shakespeare in the Park and getting acting notes from the local homeless guy who collects cans from the park's trash, getting "rained out" at an indoor theatre in Los Angeles when floods short out your electrics,  bringing classical theatre to inner-city kids or folks in depressed Appalachia, even waiting out a thunderstorm with the audience at an outdoor venue, all of these energize us in special and unexpected ways.  It's the odd little things that happen all the time in theatre that make me who I am today.

Other examples that come to mind include: explaining to a fellow member of a four-person touring show how it might be difficult to find fresh sushi in rural West Virginia, watching from the wings at American Players Theatre as a huge bat flew out of the trap door on stage during a performance of HAMLET, performing for children who are seeing their first show ever, and watching Stacy Keach's RICHARD III. All of these things and innumerable others are the stuff that keep me going.  Add to that, getting to learn by watching and performing with the remarkable actors that were around the San Francisco Bay Area as I was getting started in the late 70's through the 80's instilled in me that every person I work with contributes to who I am as an actor. I am grateful to continue my development and education with my talented and extremely generous co-workers in A THOUSAND CLOWNS .

Tell us about your first reaction upon reading A THOUSAND CLOWNS.

I first read it in college years ago and saw it as a silly piece, a warning about conforming and giving up. I was not impressed, though I did learn a monologue to use as an audition piece. Picking it up again for this production, with a little more life behind me and a VERY DIFFERENT experience. 

This time, I read a beautiful examination of life, relationships and responsibility. It had an examination of growing up, and what that does and does not necessarily mean. I no longer see "giving up," but rather "trading up" - letting go of certain aspects of childhood, or childishness in order to experience the benefits and rewards of maturity, responsibility and relationships with others. Murray is confronted with that moment (that we all SHOULD be confronted with at some point), when he realizes that there are some things that are more important to him than himself. How he handles that confrontation... Well, that's the play. It's a beautiful piece of theatre!

What’s it like playing an instrument (ukulele) you’ve never played before in front of an audience?

Patrick Lawlor as Virgil Blessing in BUS STOP
I love it! Playing music rocks and having to do it in front of an audience gives me that extra incentive to learn it! That said, it really doesn't apply to me in this play, but it has in several others.

From your perspective, how would you best describe your character?

Murray and I spend some time describing my character in the play, so you'll just have to see it to find out.

But briefly, Arnold Burns is a good guy with a good job (Murray's agent), a good family, a good life and a crazy, immature, wonderful brother who he loves dearly and worries about constantly

If your character could spend a day in Milwaukee, where would they go and what would they do?

Arnie would stay at the Pfister.  He'd get up early to find a farmer's market somewhere to grab some fresh fruit. He’d take a bunch of meetings at the local TV affiliates in the morning while Shirley and the kids check out the zoo. He'd try to time it so the Mets were playing the Brewers (or the Braves, if we stay true to the period, though in that case,  he'd probably still follow his beloved Giants, even though they broke his heart by moving to San Francisco) and he'd definitely catch the game that afternoon. He'd hook up with Shirley and the kids for a nice family dinner, maybe at Kopp's. Then a few calls to clients, etc., before ending the day with a relaxing cocktail with Shirley in the Pfister's BLU (or whatever it was called in 1962). 

Thank you so much Patrick for your kind words about your experiences in the theatre and also about A THOUSAND CLOWNS.  We all look forward to seeing your performance next week!