Brett Ryback

Skylight Music Theatre presents…

The Tavern Keeper’s Daughter Staged Reading

Monday, February 27, 2012 @ 7:30 PM

In a unique collaboration, Milwaukee Chamber Theatre and Skylight Music Theatre present the Montgomery Davis Play Development Series staged reading of a new musical, THE TAVERN KEEPER’S DAUGHTER, by Wisconsin native Brett Ryback.

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A brief synopsis: Returning home to Milwaukee from WWII, Lenny, a young Polish marine, finds himself arranged to marry the tavern keeper’s daughter from the bar across the street. Wanting more than a small town life, he runs off to New York City, where he meets Wanda, a spunky young woman trying to make something of herself in the Big Apple. Together they embark on a hilarious and heartwarming journey of self-discovery and romance, complete with a kooky, chorus-dancing gypsy, two mischievous gangster brothers, and the villainous godfather of the Polish mafia. THE TAVERN KEEPER’S DAUGHTER is a brand-new, throwback musical that celebrates that home is what you choose to make of it.

The structure of THE TAVERN KEEPER’S DAUGHTER comes from a German comedy by Georg Buchner called LEONCE UND LENA , which tells the story of two royals who run away from their arranged marriage, only to meet and fall in love. Ryback was further inspired by his grandparents’ courtship, basing the characters, time period and locations on their story. He explains, “My grandmother was visiting a friend on the east coast, and was called home by her father to meet the man he wanted her to marry. Researching my grandparents’ history, I was able to fill in a lot of the blanks with wonderful, rich detail.”

Brett Ryback is a composer, playwright and actor originally from Muskego. Currently based in California, his plays and musicals include: LIBERTY INN: THE MUSICAL (Ovation Award nominations Best Book, Best Music/Lyrics); DARLING (Emerson College; PACE New Musicals); WEÏRD (Winner, Tennessee Williams One-Act Competition); A ROZ BY ANY OTHER NAME (Winner, Henrico County Theatre, Virginia, One-Act Competition); and DEATH VALLEY DQ, which will premiere in NYC at the American Globe Theater’s 15-minute play festival. He also appears regularly on stage and screen. His theatre credits include THE LIEUTENANT OF INISHMORE, THE HISTORY BOYS, LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS and THE 25TH ANNUAL PUTNAM COUNTY SPELLING BEE. Locally he has performed with Skylight Music Theatre, Milwaukee Chamber Theatre, Milwaukee Repertory Theater and First Stage Children’s Theater.

When asked about the upcoming reading Ryback said, “I couldn’t be happier with the way this first reading of  THE TAVERN KEEPER’S DAUGHTER is taking place. I very much wanted it to have some sort of premiere in Milwaukee as that’s where the musical begins, and that’s where a lot of the characters come from. And for it to be bringing together two fantastic arts organizations, Chamber and Skylight, each of which I’ve had the pleasure of working at, as well as being led by two of my childhood mentors, Michael Wright and Ray Jivoff, is a great honor. It smacks of the kind of everyday magic that’s talked about in the show.”

Ray Jivoff, the associate artistic director of Skylight Music Theatre will direct and Ruben Piirainen Skylight’s associate music director will provide musical direction.  The reading features a cast of eight talented Milwaukee artists Ryan CapplemanKaren EstradaTommy Hahn,Bob HirschiAmanda HullJosh KrauseRick Pendzich and Rana Roman.

THE TAVERN KEEPER’S DAUGHTER will be performed on Monday, February 27, 2012 – 7:30 p.m. The reading will be in the Broadway Theatre Center’s Cabot Theatre, 158 N. Broadway in Milwaukee’s Historic Third Ward.  MCT’s readings are typically performed in the Skylight Bar & Bistro, however given the large cast and the collaboration between MCT and Skylight, this reading will be performed in the larger Cabot Theatre space. The reading is free with donations kindly accepted. Seating is first-come, first-served. For more information, contact Milwaukee Chamber Theatre at (414) 276-8842.

LISTEN to a song from the show by clicking on one of the links below:


Click an image below to enlarge.

  • Brett Ryback