Bill Theisen Creates Landmark Season as Tenure Comes to an End
Milwaukee, WI –Skylight’s 2012-2013 season will mark Bill Theisen’s final year as Artistic Director and he has recently announced the exciting lineup for this company landmark. The 2012-2013 season will be an exclamation point on his exceptional run of creative, critically acclaimed, eclectic and enthusiastically received productions. The season will consist of seven remarkable productions drawing on Bill’s commitment and passion for the full spectrum of music theatre.
Main stage productions are as follows: Avenue Q (September 21 – October 14, 2012); The Sound of Music (November 16 – December 23, 2012); Edith Piaf Onstage (January 25 – February 10, 2013); Pump Boys and Dinettes (March 8 – 24, 2013); and The Gershwins’ Porgy & Bess (May 17 – June 9, 2013).
Studio Theatre productions include: Here’s a Howdy Do – The Mischievous World of Gilbert & Sullivan (December 31 – January 13, 2013) and Sing Me a Story (May 3 – 19, 2013).
“For my final season, I have chosen productions specifically to showcase the strengths of our company as well as to share with you important theatrical works that speak to me. Avenue Q is one of the funniest, most clever and thoroughly delightful shows I have seen in the last 10 years. The Sound of Music is the perfect holiday show for our Milwaukee audiences…and, believe it or not, Skylight has never done it! Porgy & Bess is a piece that I have wanted to do since my first day as artistic director because it truly is an American folk opera masterpiece and Gershwin’s finest work. My hope is that all seven shows in our season will provide a unique glimpse into the everyday as well as the extraordinary.” – Bill Theisen, Artistic Director
Skylight’s unique position in the national music theatre landscape requires an artistic leader of diverse knowledge and unwavering commitment to the full spectrum of music theatre. Bill has met and exceeded audience expectations in every year of his tenure. Under Bill’s leadership Skylight has presented eight original productions, countless regional premieres and several world premieres. He created the successful Studio Series, and was the driving force behind several of the highest grossing productions in Skylight history. Other notable achievements include the pairing of La Boèhme and Rent in back to back seasons – creating an innovative combination of related pieces that fit Skylight’s mission beautifully. His contributions to the company go well beyond the work on Skylight’s stages as he has created a culture of collaboration that the Skylight will benefit from for years to come.
The search for Skylight’s next Artistic Director continues. The organization anticipates an announcement mid-summer.
September 21 – October 14, 2012 in the Cabot Theatre
Music and Lyrics by Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx
Book by Jeff Whitty
Stage Direction and Choreography by Donna Drake
Music Direction by Jamie Johns
Winner of three Tony Awards including Best Musical and written by the composer of The Book of Mormon, Avenue Q is a hilarious adult-themed spoof of Sesame Street. Part flesh (human), part felt (puppets) and packed with heart, Avenue Q tells the story of Princeton, a recent college grad who moves into a shabby NYC apartment in the only neighborhood he can afford, all the way out on Avenue Q. He soon discovers that the residents of his building are not your ordinary neighbors. Together, Princeton and his new friends struggle to find decent jobs, stable relationships and a purpose in life, but ultimately realize the real world isn’t so bad after all. Skylight is thrilled to be opening the season with this laugh-out-loud tale of the ups and downs of life!
THE SOUND OF MUSIC
November 16 – December 23, 2012 in the Cabot Theatre
Music by Richard Rodgers
Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II
Book by Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse
Stage Direction and Choreography by Molly Rhode
Music Direction by Richard Carsey
When Maria, a nun-in-training, proves to be too high-spirited for religious life, she is sent to serve as the governess for the seven children of a widowed naval captain. Her amazing rapport with the children combined with her generosity and kindness gradually capture the heart of the austere Captain von Trapp. Shortly after marrying, the whole family is forced to flee invading Nazis by escaping over the mountains of Switzerland. The family’s narrow escape on the eve of World War II is one of the most thrilling and inspirational finales ever presented in musical theatre. Capturing hearts as the world’s most beloved musical, The Sound of Music is absolutely perfect for the entire family!
HERE’S A HOWDY DO – THE MISCHIEVOUS WORLD OF GILBERT & SULLIVAN
December 31, 2012 – January 13, 2013 in the Studio Theatre
Written and Directed by Dale Gutzman
We’re at it again! Skylight, Dale Gutzman and Gilbert & Sullivan collide for a brand new and delightfully wonky look at the world of G & S. Join us in the Studio Theatre for a roller coaster ride through all of your favorite G & S tunes. You will roar with laughter when the cast teaches the audience how to write a G & S opera – a Skylight musical revue unlike any other! Here’s a How-De-Do indeed!
EDITH PIAF ONSTAGE
January 25 – February 10, 2013 in the Cabot Theatre
Stage Direction by Jim Butchart
Music Direction by Paula Foley Tillen
Leslie Fitzwater brings legendary and celebrated French chanteuse, Edith Piaf to life in this dramatic and newly expanded theatrical experience. Piaf’s stormy life was paralleled only by her iconic music. Overcoming an impoverished childhood and successfully fighting a murder charge that threatened to end her budding career, she rose to be the highest paid female performer in the world. Fitzwater embodies Piaf in this captivating evening of song and story that includes some of Piaf’s most well-known songs such as “Hymn to Love”, “Milord” and “La Vie En Rose”.
PUMP BOYS AND DINETTES
March 8 – 24, 2013 in the Cabot Theatre
Conceived and written by John Foley, Mark Harwick, Debra Monk, Cass Morgan, John Schimmel and Jim Wann
Stage Direction by Bill Theisen
Music Direction by Richard Carsey
Drive a ways outta town, somewhere between Frog Level and Smyrna, North Carolina and you’ll come to a filling station run by L. M. and Jim. Across the blacktop is the Double Cupp Diner, operated by Rhetta and Prudie Cupp. To look at it, you wouldn’t know that this little stop on Highway 57 is where all the action is, but trust us – once the boys get that guitar and bass fiddle revved up, you won’t want to be anywhere else. Pump Boys and Dinettes is a countrified musical packed with highly entertaining toe-tappers such as “Drinkin’ Shoes”, “Farmer Tan” and “The Night Dolly Parton Was Almost Mine!”
SING ME A STORY
May 3 – 19, 2013 in the Studio Theatre
Featuring Kay Stiefel & Jack Forbes Wilson
Stage Direction by Ray Jivoff
Once upon a time, many years ago…well, twenty-five years ago, a girl and a boy met and fell in love with singing…with each other. Kay Stiefel and Jack Forbes Wilson have a way of musical storytelling like no others. Kay and Jack, along with the help of Broadway greats such as Lerner & Lowe, Rodgers & Hart and Kander & Ebb, will entertain you with an evening of musical adventures, allegories, anecdotes, and more than a few “happily ever-afters”!
THE GERSHWINS’ PORGY & BESS
May 17 – June 9, 2013 in the Cabot Theatre
By George Gershwin, Dubose and Dorothy Heyward, and Ira Gershwin
Stage Direction by Bill Theisen
Music Direction by Richard Carsey
Hailed as a masterpiece of American Opera and set in Charleston’s fabled Catfish Row, beautiful Bess struggles to break from her scandalous past while Porgy, the crippled beggar, is the only one who can truly rescue her. Threatened by her formidable former lover Crown, and the seductive enticements of the colorful troublemaker Sportin’ Life, Porgy and Bess’ relationship evolves into a deep romance that triumphs as one of theatre’s most exhilarating love stories.
All productions in Skylight’s 2012-2013 season will be presented at the Broadway Theatre Center located at 158 N. Broadway (Milwaukee, WI) in the Historic Third Ward. Skylight season subscriptions, which range in price from $54 to $295, go on sale Monday, March 12, 2012. Subscriptions can be purchased by calling the Broadway Theatre Center Box office at (414) 291-7800, Monday through Saturday from noon to 6:00 pm. Subscriptions will also be available online at www.skylightmusictheatre.org. Single tickets will go on sale to the public on August 13, 2012.
CABOT THEATRE within the Broadway Theatre Center
A hidden jewel in Milwaukee, the Cabot Theatre is a 358-seat replica of an 18th Century European opera house, complete with intimate seating, an ornate chandelier and an awe-inspiring ceiling mural of historic Milwaukee scenes and people.
STUDIO THEATRE within the Broadway Theatre Center
The Studio Theatre is a 99-seat versatile black box space.
BAR & BISTRO
The Skylight Bar & Bistro is open two hours before each performance and at intermission. It is also open one hour following each performance, except on Sundays. Located on the second floor of the Broadway Theatre Center, it features a pre-theatre menu by Indulge Wine Room.
Skylight Music Theatre offers a free cabaret in the Skylight Bar & Bistro after all Friday and Saturday night performances in the Cabot Theatre, except on opening nights.
Skylight enriches theatre experiences with Skylight Insights—up-close and personal conversations with the creative Skylight staff. Free and open to the public, Insights are held every Wednesday and Sunday one hour before performances.
ABOUT SKYLIGHT MUSIC THEATRE
Skylight Music Theatre is a nationally recognized producer of the full spectrum of Music Theatre.
Skylight is proud to be a cornerstone member of the United Performing Arts Fund (UPAF), which provides major annual financial support. Through community support of the United Performing Arts Fund, UPAF Member and Affiliate Groups are able to provide education and outreach to over 400,000 children, provide over 2,000 live performances and reach over 1,000,000 people every year.
Skylight is also supported in part by grants from the Wisconsin Arts Board, the City of Milwaukee Arts Board, and Milwaukee County CAMPAC. Skylight is a member Visit Milwaukee, Historic Third Ward Association, Theatre Wisconsin, and Cultural Alliance of Greater Milwaukee and is a cultural partner of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra’s Arts in Community Education (ACE) Program. This theatre is an equal opportunity employer. Except in plays where race itself is an issue, casting is based on ability, not race.