During the 2013/14 Season an epic slate of personalities and productions awaits you on the Quadracci Powerhouse stage! The monumental, moving, and Tony Award-winning musical Ragtime gives us a glimpse at the early 20th century life of three distinct groups of people, while the side-splitting comedy, Noises Off, peeks behind the curtain at a group of struggling actors. The tumultuous final days of Judy Garland unfold before our eyes in End of the Rainbow, a single virtuoso artist will lead a blazing, contemporary retelling of a Homer classic in An Iliad, and the dynamic birth of Superman will be explored with The History of Invulnerability, forever changing the way we look at superheroes.
We’re thrilled to continue presenting emotionally-moving and thought-provoking plays in the Stiemke Studio with the sexy backstage comedy/thriller, Venus in Fur, and the Civil War drama, The Whipping Man.
The Stackner Cabaret will showcase the soundtracks of America’s rich and epic musical history, beginning with a classy crooner in I Left My Heart: A Salute to the Music of Tony Bennett, and followed by four zany, male harmony singers in Forever Plaid. We’ll strum our favorite folk music with Woody Sez, and get joyously high with the sounds of Fats Waller in the wildly popular Ain’t Misbehavin’.
While not part of the Subscription Series, two additional Milwaukee favorites will return, as Tiny Tim, Bob Cratchit, and Ebenezer Scrooge make their 38th annual appearance at the Pabst Theater in the fantastical holiday family favorite, A Christmas Carol, and our annual short-play festival, Rep Lab, will celebrate its 4th season of showcasing The Rep’s highly-lauded Intern Ensemble.
I Left My Heart
A Salute to the Music of Tony Bennett
Created by David Grapes & Todd Olson
Arrangements by Vince di Mura
August 23 – October 20
Called “the greatest singer in the world” by Frank Sinatra, the always-charming, classy, and debonair Tony Bennett crooned his way into the heart of America. In this sexy new musical revue, three superb male singers perform an anthology of Bennett’s best work—from “Rags to Riches” to “Put On a Happy Face” to the title track and many more—celebrating more than six decades of remarkable music in this swingin’ walk down memory lane.
Book by Terrence McNally
Music by Stephen Flaherty | Lyrics by Lynn Ahrens
Based on the novel “Ragtime” by E.L. Doctorow
Directed by Mark Clements
September 17 – October 27
Adapted from E.L. Doctorow’s novel (voted by Time Magazine as among the Top 100 Best Novels of the 20th century), this sweeping musical portrait of early 20th century America tells the powerful tale of a white, upper-middle class family, an African-American couple, and an Eastern European immigrant escaping to America with his daughter, as they all confront the timeless contradictions of wealth, poverty, freedom, prejudice, hope, and despair in pursuit of the American Dream. Unfolding through the fiery rhythms of Harlem and Tin Pan Alley, delicate waltzes, and the vibrant klezmer of the Lower East Side, this vivid and unforgettable Tony-winning score bursts onto the Quadracci Powerhouse stage “on the wheels of a dream” in what will be the largest and most epic production ever staged at The Rep.
Venus in Fur
By David Ives
September 25 – November 3
Meet Thomas—a demanding playwright and director desperate for the perfect actress for his new stage adaptation of a classic erotic novel. Meet Vanda—an unusually talented young actress lusting after the leading role in the show. Through the comic genius of playwright David Ives, their late-night encounter in a deserted audition studio evolves from banal routine into a sizzling battle of the sexes blending love, libido, and literature that will keep you wondering to the very end just who, exactly, is on top.
Written by Stuart Ross
Arrangements by James Raitt
October 25 – December 29
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.
By Michael Frayn
November 19 – December 22
Called “the funniest farce ever written” by the New York Post, Michael Frayn’s uproarious play-within-a-play follows the on- and off-stage antics of the members of a mediocre touring company as they blunder from an ominously bad dress rehearsal to a spectacularly disastrous closing performance. The perfect show for the Holiday Season, Noises Off is a hysterical romp packed full of a side-splitting collection of forgotten cues, missed connections, and backstage hilarity.
The Life & Music of Woody Guthrie
Devised by David M. Lutken with Nick Corley,Darcie Deaville, Helen Jean Russell and Andy Teirstein
January 3 – March 9
The original folk hero, Woody Guthrie and his energetic, moving, and infectious melodies defined an American era of political expression, and transformed the folk ballad into a vehicle of social commentary and unity. With more than 25 songs—including classics like “This Land is Your Land,” “Pastures of Plenty,” and “The Ballad of Tom Joad”—this joyous, toe-tapping, and moving theatrical concert event celebrates the colorful life and rich musical legacy of America’s greatest troubadour.
End of the Rainbow
By Peter Quilter
January 7 – February 9
Explosive acting and classic songs bring down the house in this critically-acclaimed exploration of Judy Garland’s infamous 1968 London comeback. Named in Time Magazine’s “Top Ten” List and called “electrifying” by the New York Times, this savagely funny and emotionally searing play finds the once-glittering starlet sparring with her new fiancé, her devoted accompanist—and her personal demons. Filled with Garland’s legendary tenacity, razor-sharp wit, and once-in-a-generation voice, this is a piece of theater truly befitting the late, great songstress who took us “over the rainbow.”
The Whipping Man
By Matthew Lopez
February 5 – March 16
The Civil War has ended, but for some, the struggle has just begun. A Jewish Confederate soldier, wounded in war, has returned from the battlefield to find that his family has fled. The only remaining household members are two former slaves, who have been raised by his family as Jews. Over a celebratory feast, family history is uncovered and dark secrets are revealed, forcing the men to come to terms with the sordid legacies of slavery and war that threaten each of their future freedoms.
Adapted from Homer
By Lisa Peterson and Denis O’ Hare
Translation by Robert Fagles
February 25 – March 23
“It’s a good story,” says the lone figure, just emerged from the darkness, as he launches into this modern, enthralling adaptation of Homer’s epic poem that relives the glory and brutality of the Trojan War. Wisconsin favorite actor, James DeVita, shares the stage with a virtuoso cellist in this lean, muscular, tour-de-force performance filled with wit and wisdom that conjures the rage of the gods as it delves deep into mankind’s attraction to violence and destruction.
Conceived by Murray Horwitz and Richard Maltby, Jr.
Musical Adaptations by Luther Henderson
Vocal & Musical Concepts by Jeffrey Gutcheon
Vocal Arrangements by Jeffrey Gutcheon & William Elliot
March 14 – May 18
Get ready for two spirited hours of rowdy, rollicking music straight out of the height of the Harlem Renaissance! This Tony Award-winning tour through the legendary Fats Waller songbook will have you jumpin’ and jivin’ with the infectious energy and the cheeky humor of classic Waller hits like “Loungin' At The Waldorf" and "I Can't Give You Anything But Love." One of the most popular, well-crafted musical revues of all time, Ain’t Misbehavin’ is simply unforgettable and will be performed in the now-signature Rep style, with a group of five “Quadruple Threat” actor/singer/dancer/musicians.
The History of Invulnerability
By David Bar Katz
Directed by Mark Clements
April 8 – May 4
For every Superman, there must be a Jerry Siegel—the creative brains behind the fantasy brawn. Siegel, a Jewish writer creating comics on the brink of World War II, is torn by the atrocities taking place in Europe as he struggles to retain control of his most famous creation. Filled with real-life heroes and villains every bit as boldly drawn as the panels from the Golden Age comics that they echo, The History of Invulnerability will forever change the way we see our superheroes.