Newly Named Artistic Director Ray Jivoff Launches Exciting Season
With the Question: “Do You Want to Have Some Real Fun?”
Milwaukee, Wis. (March 28, 2017) — At an announcement party held today, Artistic Director Ray Jivoff unveiled Skylight Music Theatre’s 2017-18 Season line-up of “firsts” — five shows that have never been produced at Skylight.
Jivoff, who was announced as Artistic Director at the same event, said the season was inspired by the famous words of Clair Richardson, who founded Skylight in 1959 by asking his friends: “Do you want to have some real fun?” The answer was yes, and Skylight was born.
“Our company was founded almost 60 years ago out of energy, passion and a real joy in presenting music theatre in a way that is innovative, intimate and engaging,” said Jivoff. “This season celebrates that. We want our audience to have fun – even when the show’s themes may be thoughtful, tender or serious.”
Patrons, subscribers, donors and members of the arts community attended the Season Announcement party held in Skylight’s home, the Cabot Theatre in the Broadway Theatre Center. Entertainment included songs from each of the upcoming shows, performed by a cast of Skylight favorite performers. Returning to perform together were Jack Forbes Wilson and Kay Stiefel, a duo who are well known to Skylight audiences for numerous Skylight cabarets. Also featured were performances by Alicia Berneche, Raven Dockery, Rana Roman, Samantha Sostarich and Ryan Stajmiger.
“We are known for bringing a fresh approach and interesting twists to music theatre works, and this Season has the added excitement of showcasing five acclaimed shows that are new to Skylight’s stage,” said Jivoff.
Skylight’s 2017-18 season opens in fall with Hot Mikado (Sept. 29 – Oct. 15), a fresh, swinging twist on the Gilbert & Sullivan classic. Just in time for the holidays, Skylight presents the Broadway favorite Annie (Nov. 17 – Dec. 23), the first time this Tony Award-winning show has been on the Skylight stage. In 2018, Skylight presents the off-Broadway musical by Milwaukee native James Valcq, Zombies from the Beyond (Feb.2 – 18, 2018), followed by a reimagining of the Offenbach opera, The Tales of Hoffmann (March 16 – 29, 2018). Closing the season is the modern musical satire Urinetown (May 18 – June 10, 2018).
The 2017-18 Skylight Music Theatre Season is as follows:
Hot Mikado September 29 – October 15, 2017
First time at Skylight
Book and Lyrics Adapted by David H. Bell
Music Adapted and Arranged by Rob Bowman
Based on The Mikado by W.S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan
Originally produced in 1939, revived for West End in 1995
Cultures collide in this swinging hot version of Gilbert and Sullivan’s masterpiece, The Mikado. Reset and re-orchestrated to big band, swing, jazz, blues and gospel music, Hot Mikado weaves a hilarious tale set in a land where outrageous laws sentence people to death for nearly any indiscretion.
Said Jivoff, “Hot Mikado is a reimagining of a Skylight staple. This version addresses some of the stereotyping in the source material and creates a fresh, fun and non-traditional homage to Skylight’s past.”
The Chicago Reader called Hot Mikado “the most energetic, funny, toe-tapping musical comedy you’ll ever see” and praised its “new sassy, brassy energy.” The Chicago Tribune described it as “highly entertaining!”
Annie November 17 – December 23, 2017
First time at Skylight
Music by Charles Strouse
Lyrics by Martin Charnin
Book by Thomas Meehan
Originally produced in 1976
Based on the popular Depression-era comic strip, Annie has become a worldwide phenomenon and won seven Tony Awards, including Best Musical. The Broadway musical comedy boasts at least three movie versions, a beloved book and score, and the unforgettable hit song, “Tomorrow.”
“The show is warm-hearted and perfect for families during the holiday season. In fact, its final scene takes place on Christmas with President Franklin Delano Roosevelt,” said Jivoff. “We are looking forward to having children and dogs in our midst again. The show features seven orphans, who will be double cast, and of course, the dog Sandy.” Jivoff said that auditions for those roles would begin in April.
The New York Times calls Annie “an intensely likable musical…it has a rare kind of gutsy charm.” Newsweek said, “Spectacular on every count…. A sudden reversion to the concept of fun.”
Zombies from the Beyond February 2-18, 2018
First time at Skylight
Book, Music and Lyrics by James Valcq
Originally produced off Broadway in 1995
Zombies from the Beyond is a musical comedy celebration of America in the Eisenhower era. Cold War and space race paranoia threaten the good folks at the fictional Milwaukee Space Center in 1955. The budding romance of rocket scientist Trenton Corbett and Mary Malone is jeopardized when a flying saucer lands in Milwaukee. Taking its cue from ‘50s pulp space-alien movies, Zombies brings the 1950s nostalgically and hilariously to life.
Jivoff called Zombies “a fun and quirky musical with strong Milwaukee ties. Not only is it set here, it is written by James Valcq, a Milwaukee native and Skylight alum. Zombies was originally produced off-Broadway at the Players Theatre (New York City) in 1995 by Colin Cabot, former Skylight managing director.”
The Daily News called Zombies “A dizzy musical above and beyond the call of hilarity!” The New York Post said “…music ranges from Doris Day/Perry Como style romanticism, to Neolithic rock and dewy doo-wop.” Backstage wrote that “The audience is sent into seventh satire heaven”
The Tales of Hoffmann March 16-29, 2018
Composed by Jacques Offenbach
First time at Skylight
Libretto by Michel Carre and Jules Barbier
First performed in 1881
An imaginative and kinetic new version of Offenbach’s gorgeous opera. Sung in English, the story begins in a tavern, where the poet Hoffmann tells of his three ill-fated romances.
“Part of our mission is to tell stories through opera. The Tales of Hoffman is a great example of a story that sings.” said Jivoff. “In classic Skylight style, we will put a distinctive, creative spin on this 19th century piece, bringing audiences a fresh approach.”
National Public Radio called The Tales of Hoffman “One of the grandest and most expressive of all 19th-century French operas — achieving a combination of emotional depth and musical brilliance that only the finest opera composers ever equaled.”
Urinetown May 18 – June 10, 2018
First time at Skylight
Music by Mark Hollmann
Lyrics by Mark Hollmann and Greg Kotis
Book by Greg Kotis
Originally produced in 2001
Winner of three Tony Awards, Urinetown is a hilarious musical satire of the legal system, capitalism, social irresponsibility, corporate mismanagement— and musical theatre itself. In a Gotham-like city, a 20-year drought has led to a government-enforced ban on private toilets, regulated by a single malevolent company that charges admission for this basic need.
“Urinetown is praised for reinvigorating the very notion of what a musical could be,” said Jivoff. “In many ways it is inspired by the works of Brecht and Weill, but it absolutely appeals to a contemporary audience.”
The New York Times called the show “exuberantly satirical…another great musical that makes us laugh at tyranny.” Variety described it as “audacious…crisp, sharp and clever.”
Performances in the Cabot Theatre, Broadway Theatre Center, 158 N. Broadway, Historic Third Ward, Milwaukee, Wis.
Skylight Insights. In-depth discussions with directors and special guests take place one hour before every Wednesday and Sunday performance. For more information on special events visit www.skylightmusictheatre.org, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call the Box Office at (414) 291-7800.
Tickets & Box Office
Subscriptions are on sale now. Subscribers get the best seats at the best prices! Single tickets will go on sale July 17. Tickets are $25 – $75 (plus tax and fees) and can be purchased in person at the Broadway Theatre Center Box Office or by calling (414) 291-7800, Monday – Saturday, from noon – 6 p.m., and two hours prior to each performance. Tickets may be purchased online at www.skylightmusictheatre.org. For ticket discounts and more information sign up for Skylight’s email newsletter at www.skylightmusictheatre.org or call the Box Office (414) 291-7800.
Group discounts are available for parties of 10 or more. Call (414) 299-4964 or email MorganH@ skylightmusictheatre.org.
Skylight Bar & Bistro
The Skylight Bar & Bistro is located on the second floor of The Broadway Theatre Center. It is open two hours before each performance and features gourmet dining and fine wine by Indulge Wine Room. Reservations for full table service in Skylight Bar & Bistro can be made in advance by calling (414) 291-3773 or email Skylight@getindulge.com. Counter service is available without reservations.
About Skylight Music Theatre
Skylight Music Theatre’s mission since 1959: To bring the full spectrum of music theatre works to a wide and diverse audience in celebration of the musical and theatrical arts and their reflection of the human condition. Skylight presents productions “Skylight Style” – bringing fresh approaches or interesting twists to music theatre works, creating meaningful connections, not only between the characters on stage but with the audience as well. Skylight performs in the beautiful, intimate Cabot Theatre, which allows audiences to feel close to the powerful emotions on stage.