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MRT 2013/14 Season

I Left My Heart: A Salute to the Music of Tony Bennett    •    Ragtime    •    Venus in Fur    •    Forever Plaid    •    A Christmas Carol    •    Noises Off
Woody Sez   •   End of the Rainbow   •   The Whipping Man   •   An Iliad   •   Ain’t Misbehavin’   •   Rep Lab  •   The History of Invulnerability

Forever Plaid

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October 25 – December 29
Stackner Cabaret

Written by Stuart Ross
Arrangements by James Raitt
Directed by JC Clementz

Sally Manegold, Executive Producer

Classic barbershop quartet harmonies, wrapped in a pitch-perfect theatrical confection!

On a stormy night in the 1960s, four eager singers known as “The Plaids”—Sparky, Jinx, Frankie, and Smudge—are killed in a car crash on the way to their first big gig. In 2013, they get one chance to return from the afterlife and bop-shoo-bop their way through classic hits like “Love is a Many Splendored Thing,” “Three Coins in the Fountain,” “Sixteen Tons,” and many more. You’ll delight in their zany, boyish squabbles and charmingly outlandish choreography as they pay an affectionate homage to the close-harmony male singing groups of the 1950s, and fulfill their dreams by performing the show that never was.

“A tribute to every dreamer who never made it,
but had a few moments of unwitnessed glory.”

Try Our New Menu In The Stackner ~ Prix Fixe Dinner for Just $25!

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Behind the Scenes

Forever Plaid gallery

Forever Plaid Gallery

Mark Clements

Forever Plaid is a show that might as well have been written for the Stackner Cabaret—it’s the kind of thing that we do best in that wonderfully close space. It’s entertaining, it’s funny, it’s moving, and with its great songs in the style of the male harmony groups of the 1950s, it’s the perfect holiday season family outing to enjoy after dinner and over a cocktail!”


» Learn more about Forever Plaid from Artistic Director Mark Clements


Meet the Cast

Creative Team

Director, JC Clementz
Musical Director, Dan Kazemi ±
Scenic Designer, Megan Truscott
Costume Designer, Jason Orlenko
Lighting Designer, Lee Fiskness
Sound Designer, John Tanner±
Stage Movement Director, Magdalene Ellsworth
Casting Directors, Sandy Ernst/JC Clementz
Dance Captain, Adam Estes*
Assistant Director, Emily Penick
Stage Manager, Kimberly Ann McCann*
Stage Management Intern, Kimberly Carolus

± Rep Associate Artist
* Member of Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States.



Adam Estes

Adam Estes, Sparky
Adam previously appeared at The Rep in The Andrew Brothers and Route 66. Other credits include performances with Goodman Theatre, Paramount Theatre, Writers’ Theatre, Madison Repertory Theatre, Ravinia Festival, Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire, Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities, Peninsula Players, In Tandem Theatre, First Stage Children’s Theater, Skylight Opera Theatre, Florentine Opera Company, and The Fireside Theatre. For more information, please visit www.adamestes.com   -Top-

Paul Helm

Paul Helm, Jinx
Paul is so plaid to be back in the Stackner! Past Rep credits include Gutenberg! The Musical! , Always…Patsy Cline, Laurel and Hardy, Guys on Ice, Life Could Be a Dream, Why Do Fools Fall in Love? , The Polish Diva from Milwaukee, and Blue Rose: The Rosemary Clooney Story. Paul has also performed, directed and music directed with the Skylight Music Theatre, First Stage Children’s Theater, Florentine Opera Company, Marcus Center for the Performing Arts, American Folklore Theatre, Greenbrier Valley Theatre, Circa ‘21 Dinner Playhouse, Young Actors Guild, and the UW-Platteville Heartland Festival. www.paulhelm.net   -Top-

Nate Lewellyn

Nate Lewellyn, Frankie
Nate is a native of Milwaukee, and has recently been living and working in Chicago. He has been seen in Follies (Chicago Shakespeare), Gifts of the Magi (Porchlight Music Theatre), Joseph…and How Can You Run with a Shell on Your Back? (Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire), as well as productions with Chicago Children’s Theatre, Drury Lane Theatre, and Circle Theatre. He also performed in The Bowery Boys at New York’s National Alliance for Musical Theatre Festival. He is a proud graduate of Northwestern University.   -Top-

Anand Nagraj

Anand Nagraj, Smudge
Anand is delighted to make his Milwaukee Rep debut and to sing these wonderful songs. A native of Virginia, his past regional work includes Chautauqua Theatre Company, Court Theatre, TimeLine Theatre, Silk Road Rising, Quantum Theatre, Resident Ensemble Players, and seasons with the Ohio, Texas, Utah, and Virginia Shakespeare Festivals. He is the co-author of the musical, Murphy's Law. Anand trained at Delaware's PTTP, and is rejoining the faculty at the University of Pittsburgh this spring as a teaching artist-in-residence.   -Top-

Colleen Schmitt

Colleen Schmitt, Pianist
Colleen Schmitt is delighted to be making her debut in Forever Plaid with Milwaukee Repertory Theater. She was recently Music Director and Band Keyboardist in Hedwig and the Angry Inch and Waiting...a Song Cycle this past Spring, which premiered in Milwaukee and also Off-Broadway. Having played a variety of music styles and having studied Music Composition, she feels uniquely qualified to be Music Director/Keyboardist for T.I.M. (The Improvised Musical).   -Top-


Creative Team

Stuart Ross, Creator
Stuart Ross staged the premiere of The Boswell Sisters a new musical, which he co-rote with Mark Hampton at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre Conference for the Nation Music Theatre. Prior to this he directed his new play Tea With Bea at Chicago's Royal George Theatre and Sag Harbor's Bay Street Theatre. He directed three productions for HBO's New Writers Project. Also this season, he won Chicago's Joseph Jefferson Award for Best Director of a Musical. Stuart wrote and directed the musical phenomenon Forever Plaid. He directed the original New York production, as well as subsequent productions across the United States, Japan, Canada and on London's West End. On Broadway, he co-authored the Tony nominated musical Starmites and the acclaimed Radio City Music Hall Easter Show. Off-Broadway he wrote Fun With Dick and Jane (workshop Playwrights Horizons), The Heebie Jeebies: The Musical and The Not-So-New Faces. As a director his work includes Breaking Up, Nasty Little Secrets, Conrack, Creeps, The Lunch Girls, It's a Bird, It's a Plane, It's Superman among others. For six seasons Mr. Ross has been a director and dramaturg for The Eugene O'Neill Theatre Conference.   -Top-


James Raitt, Original Musical Arrangements
James Raitt, was an Arranger, Musical Director, Orchestrator and Musical Supervisor before his death in 1994 at the age of 41. Credits include Forever Plaid, Damn Yankees, Meet Me in St. Louis, Late Nite Comic and Stardust.   -Top-


JC Clementz, Director
JC Clementz is the Artistic Associate: Casting & Artistic Intern Company Director at The Rep. He has assistant directed Othello, To Kill A Mockingbird, A Christmas Carol, and Yellowman. Additionally, JC has directed in Rep Lab for the past two seasons. As a stage manager, JC has traveled throughout Europe as the Assistant Stage Manager for New York Harlem Productions' international tour of Porgy and Bess (dir. Baayork Lee). Prior to his arrival in Milwaukee, he spent a season at Philadelphia's Walnut Street Theatre working in the casting and literary office. JC holds and MFA in Directing from Western Illinois University. Go Cubs!   -Top-


Dan Kazemi, Musical Director
Dan Kazemi is a New York based composer, actor, music director and educator, and is an Associate Artist at The Rep. Dan was Musical Director for The Rep’s recent productions of Ragtime, Blues in the Night, Assassins, Always . . . Patsy Cline, Next to Normal and Cabaret. In Philadelphia, Dan recently musically directed Kerrigan/Lowdermilk's Flash of Time and orchestrated and musically directed the world premiere musical, Tulipomania at the Arden Theatre Company. Dan musically directed Tick, Tick . . . Boom! , Austentations, The PhillyRocks! concerts, The World Goes Round (Barrymore nomination), Reefer Madness, Little Shop of Horrors, Rooms and The Great American Trailer Park Musical for 11th Hour Theatre Company. He also received a Helen Hayes Nomination for his work on the D.C. premiere of The Musical of Musicals: The Musical, a Barrymore Nomination for The Flea and the Professor (Arden Theatre Company), and received a Barrymore Award for 11th Hour’s Avenue X. At the Walnut Street Theatre, Dan musically directed, arranged and performed in The Irish . . . and How They Got That Way (Two Barrymore Nominations). Dan’s music has been performed at the Cirque de Demain in Paris, at the A.W.A.R.D. Show Philadelphia and in 213 Productions collaborations, Untitled Project #213 and Your Attention Please! Dan is also the composer of a new musical, The Tapioca Miracle (thetapiocamiracle.com).   -Top-


Megan Truscott, Scenic Designer
Megan Truscott is thrilled to return to the Rep for her fourth show after previously designing Blues in the Night, Ring of Fire: The Music of Johnny Cash, and I Left My Heart. A Chicago-based scenic designer, Megan's work has been seen at Bailiwick Chicago, Pavement Group, Pennsylvania Youth Theatre, TheatreSquared, and Young Actors Guild of Arkansas. Recent and current projects include Our Town (DePaul University), Harry and the Thief (Pavement Group) and A Christmas Carol (TheatreSquared). She would like to thank the incredible team at the Rep for their continued support. www.megantruscott.com   -Top-


Jason Orlenko, Costume Designer
Jason makes his Rep debut with Forever Plaid. Most recently, Jason designed Dirty Rotten Scoundrels for Marquette University. Other previous designs include 4000 Miles (St. Louis Repertory Theatre), The Sound of Music and Oklahoma! (Jenny Wiley Amphitheatre), The Nightmare Room (In Tandem Theatre), You Can’t Take it With You and Taming of the Shrew (Indiana Festival Theatre). Upcoming, Jason will be designing The Understudy for Renaissance Theaterworks and Hydrogen Jukebox for Skylight Music Theatre. www.jasonorlenko.com   -Top-


Lee Fiskness, Lighting Designer
Lee Fiskness is a freelance Lighting Designer based in Chicago. Here at The Rep he has designed Ring of Fire, Song Man Dance Man, Liberace, and Soultime. He has designed with Manhattan School of Music, Minneapolis Music Theatre, Two River Theatre Company, Writers Theatre, Lookingglass Theatre Company, Northlight Theatre, American Blues Theater, Griffin Theatre, Next Theatre, About Face Theatre, and American Music Theatre Project among others. He is the Lighting Director at The Santa Fe Opera House and has worked there for 13 years.   -Top-


John Tanner, Sound Designer
John Tanner is a composer, sound designer and Milwaukee Rep Associate Artist. He is also one of the Principals of Tanner-Monagle Inc., a video and audio production and post-production house in Milwaukee, WI. His experience covers a broad range of work in scoring, arranging and music composition for television, documentaries, radio, industrial video and theater. His music has won numerous awards, including: Golden Reel Awards; Telly Awards; national, regional and local American Advertising Federation “Addys,” Silver Microphone awards and RAC awards for retail advertising. John has also garnered both Gold and Platinum sales certification for his album engineering work. His projects include scores for NBC, ABC, Lion’s Gate and PBS. Recent work includes projects with Donald Driver and both David and Jerry Zucker. He has written original scores and designed sound for theatrical productions at Milwaukee Repertory Theater, Yale Repertory Theatre, American Players Theatre, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, First Stage Children’s Theater and many others.   -Top-


Magdalene Ellsworth, Stage Movement Director
Magdalene Ellsworth has returned to The Rep after spending last season as a Directing Intern. Her previous Stackner credits include Gutenberg, the Musical! (Assistant Director and Choreographer), and Blues in the Night (Assistant Director). She is thrilled to be reunited with her grad school friend, JC, and is honored to be a part of this Forever Plaid team. Upcoming projects: A Christmas Carol (Children's Director and Staged Movement Director) at the Rep, 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Director) at Carthage College, and Next to Normal (Director) at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music. Many thanks to Mark, JC, Dan, and her husband, Brett.   -Top-


Sandy Ernst, Casting Director
Previously, Sandy Ernst served as The Rep's Associate Artistic Director and was with Milwaukee Rep for 18 seasons. During her tenure, she held many positions including: Director of the Artistic Intern Program, Cabaret Director, Casting Director, Stage Manager and Director. She is now the Assistant Producing Artistic Director at the University of Delaware Resident Ensemble Players.   -Top-


Emily Penick, Assistant Director
Emily Penick most recently enjoyed Assistant Directing Ragtime here at The Rep, and is honored to join the Forever Plaid team. Favorite Directing credits include: The Rose Tattoo, The Servant of Two Masters, Spike Heels, The Secret Rapture, and The Lover. Emily recently Assistant Directed The Little Foxes at The Florida Repertory Theatre, which earned rave reviews from The Wall Street Journal. Also a choreographer, Emily earned her MFA in Directing from Ohio University. (emilypenick.com)   -Top-


Kimberly Ann McCann, Stage Manager
Kimberly is excited to be returning to The Rep for her second season. Her Rep credits include Clybourne Park and The Diary of Anne Frank. Broadway credits include Curtains. Off-Broadway credits include: Bill W. and Dr. Bob, How to Save the World and John Ferguson. Regional credits include: Million Dollar Quartet (Chicago), Northlight Theatre, Tuacahn Center for the Arts and Skylight Music Theatre. Other credits include Door Shakespeare, Illinois Shakespeare Festival, Colorado Shakespeare Festival, ArtsPower National Touring Theatre and numerous productions at The Julliard School. Kimberly is a graduate of Illinois State University and a proud member of Actors’ Equity.   -Top-


Kimberly Carolus, Stage Management Intern
Kimberly is excited to be joining The Rep this season as a Stage Management Intern. Earlier this season she worked on I Left My Heart and Ragtime. Kimberly recently graduated from the University of Central Florida with her BFA in Stage Management. Her UCF credits include Stage Manager for Spring Awakening as well as many Assistant Stage Management positions. She has also worked for the Orlando Repertory Theatre and completed an internship with Walt Disney World.   -Top-

The Rep Experience

Each of our shows offers opportunities for our audience to engage in conversations and discussion with our staff, artists and guest speakers. Please join us!

Check back for more information closer to the opening of the show.

Learn more about the background of the show and/or the themes explored in this production.


» Forever Plaid Website


» Interview with Stuart Ross

» Life is a Gift – Book by Tony Bennett


» Forever Plaid on The Tonight Show


» Amazon MP3 Album: Original Cast Recording

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Running Time
Approx. 90 minutes

Recommended Age
10 years and older

Performance Times
Tuesday: 6:30pm*
Tuesday - Thursday: 7:30pm
Sunday Evening: 7:00pm
Fri/Sat Evening: 8pm
Saturday Matinee: 4pm
Sunday Matinee: 2pm
Wednesday Matinee: 1:30pm
*Once per run otherwise 7:30pm

Access Dates
Audio Described
Sunday, Nov 3, 7pm

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Mark Clements, Artistic Director    Chad Bauman, Managing Director

The Rep is sponsored in part by:

Milwaukee Repertory Theater • Patty & Jay Baker Theater Complex • 108 E Wells Street, Milwaukee WI 53202
www.MilwaukeeRep.com • Administration: 414-224-1761 • Ticket Office: 414-224-9490
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