Three one-act plays written by Milwaukee high school students, 7:30 pm on 3/19-21 and 2 pm, 3/22, Broadway Theatre Center-Studio Theatre, Milwaukee. $18. 414-291-7800
Milwaukee Chamber Theatre (MCT) is celebrating young writers with its seventh Young Playwrights Festival Showcase, March 19-22, 2015. The Showcase features three one-act plays from the winners of our high school playwriting competition and is directed, designed, and performed by up-and-coming local professionals.
The three winning plays are "AS WE WAIT" by Sydney Schlager from Pius XI High School, "3" by Hasani Kidd from Rufus King International School, and "STORAGE SPACE" by Nalee Praseutsack from Rufus King International School. All three one-acts will be performed each evening during the Showcase at the Broadway Theatre Center.
The young playwrights work closely with experienced educators, directors, designers, technicians and age-appropriate actors in preparation for public production of their work. As a part of the mentoring process, three professional Milwaukee theatre artists are serving as directors of these original productions. Ken Williams directs "AS WE WAIT," in which three high school seniors wait out the night before a hearing for possible expulsion. Thomas J. Novak directs "3," following three prisoners of a totalitarian regime who unlock one another's secrets as they are forced to choose which one of them will be executed. Mallory Metoxen directs "STORAGE SPACE," wherein three adult siblings, both blood-related and adopted, seek connection and forgiveness in the wake of the loss of their mother.
MCT's Young Playwrights Festival is, for the most part, the product of a series of free playwriting workshops at several Milwaukee-area high schools over the duration of two academic years. An annual writing competition encourages high school students to explore themes, relationships, and genre from a uniquely adolescent perspective.
That said, only two of the three Showcase plays this year were born in residencies. The third playwright submitted a play to the competition independently - in fact, students from any local area high school may submit original, one-act plays. A panel of local theatre artists, educators, and past winners serve as judges, and the winning playwrights, announced August 1, 2014, received a cash award along with invaluable professional guidance and feedback throughout the process of production.
The Young Playwrights Festival is not only a learning experience for the high school students involved, but also acts as a platform for many early career theatre artists. Seventeen local actors will perform in the Broadway Theatre Center's Studio Theatre for this year's festival. "AS WE WAIT" features Kara Foster, Eva Nimmer, Sasha Sigel, Shayne Steliga, and Mitch Weindorf; "3" features Marques D. Causey, Anna Figlesthaler, Ryan H. Nelson, Nate Press, Sherrick Robinson, Roqushaun Settlers, and Andrew Stachurski; and "STORAGE SPACE" features Libby Amato, Marcee Doherty-Elst, David Franz, Paul Matthew Madden, and Sharon Nieman-Koebert.
The Showcase also provides opportunities for college students, recent graduates and emerging professionals to serve in behind-the-scenes roles. The following designers and technicians are serving as the production team for the three premiering one-acts.
Scenic Designer: Katherine Shanahan
Costume Designer: Bridget Rzymski
Lighting Designer: Colleen Geddes
Properties Master: Keri Ryan
Sound Designer: Tracy Nowak
Stage Manager: Samantha Eberle
Lighting Designer Colleen Geddes comments on her experience with MCT's Young Playwrights Festival: "What I love about YPF is it's a safe environment for young designers to learn the process of professional theatre. Not only does it help build one's portfolio with a respectable theatre, but you have guidance you can't get in smaller theatres."
The Young Playwrights Festival Showcase 2014-2015 performs March 19, 20, and 21 at 7:30pm and March 22 at 2:00pm at the Broadway Theatre Center's Studio Theatre, 158 N. Broadway in Milwaukee's Historic Third Ward. All three one-acts will be presented at each performance. There will also be a talkback following each performance.
Young Playwrights Festival Showcase 2014-2015 tickets are $18 for adults and $12 for students, seniors and MCT subscribers. Tickets are available Monday through Saturday from noon-6:00 p.m. at the Broadway Theatre Center Box Office, 158 N. Broadway, or by phone at (414) 291-7800. Tickets can be purchased online - 24 hours a day at milwaukeechambertheatre.com.
The Young Playwrights Festival Showcase 2014-2015 is sponsored by The Herzfeld Foundation, The Deborah Aronson Theatre Education Fund, the Morgan Stanley Foundation, The United Performing Arts Fund and the City of Milwaukee Arts Board.
MILWAUKEE CHAMBER THEATRE
Founded in 1975, Milwaukee Chamber Theatre (MCT) celebrates its 40th Anniversary in 2014-2015. MCT produces intimate and accessible theatrical works that engage and challenge the audience, while employing and nurturing principally local theatre artists. Under the leadership of Producing Artistic Director C. Michael Wright and Managing Director Kirsten Mulvey, Milwaukee Chamber Theatre performs at the Broadway Theatre Center in Milwaukee's Historic Third Ward.