Tag Archives: in tandem theatre

United Performing Arts Fund announces 2016-17 affiliate grants

Continue reading United Performing Arts Fund announces 2016-17 affiliate grants

‘Any Given Monday’

In Tandem Theatre opens its season with an unorthodox twist on the buddy comedy. When public school teacher and football fan Lenny’s life is shattered by his wife walking out on him for a smooth-talking philanderer, his best friend Mick finds an unorthodox solution that shakes up his life in potentially irrevocable ways.

At 628 N. 10th St., Milwaukee. Tickets are $30, $25 for students, seniors and military. Visit intandemtheatre.org or call 414-271-1371 to order.

Oct. 2 to Oct. 25


‘Come Back’

Milwaukee playwright Neil Haven has a new show on the horizon: a road trip comedy of life-and-death proportions. When Sky’s best friend Erin dies, she leaves instructions for Sky to visit every cremation shop in the lower 48 states — but that trip gets thrown off course when Erin’s estranged mother shows up to request Sky lay her daughter’s ashes to rest in the family plot.

At In Tandem Theatre, 628 N. Tenth St., Milwaukee. Tickets are $25, $23 for seniors/students. Call 414-271-1371 or visit intandemtheatre.org for tickets.

Feb. 27 to March 22

‘A Cudahy Caroler Christmas’

In Tandem Theatre’s Wisconsin-ish holiday classic returns, along with its crew of Cudahy denizens. Artistic director Chris Flieller again plays Stasch, the loveable south sider tasked with rounding up his old chorus after a five-year hiatus to perform one last show on public access. This year’s production could be Flieller’s last, so if you want to experience him warbling his way through “We Three Guys from Cudahy Are” and “O, Bowling Night,” don’t miss it.

At Tenth Street Theater, 628 N. 10th St., Milwaukee. Tickets are $25, $23 for seniors/students/military. Go to intandemtheatre.org or call 414-271-1371. In Tandem also presents the dark holiday comedy The Eight: Reindeer Monologues, a fundraiser for the company, at 8 p.m. Dec. 8 and 15. Tickets are $35.

‘Seminar’

Just in time for that back-to-school spirit, The World’s Stage Theatre Company brings an educational Wisconsin premiere to In Tandem Theatre. Theresa Rebeck’s Seminar focuses on four aspiring novelists who sign up for private writing lessons with an internationally successful author. Conflicts among them quickly arise as their professional and romantic lives intertwine and clash. At 628 N. Tenth St., Milwaukee. 

Performances are at 8 p.m. excepting for 2 p.m. Sunday matinees. Tickets are $18, $15 for students. Visit seminar.bpt.me to order online.

Aug. 21 – 31

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‘Chesapeake’

It technically only takes one person to tell a story, but most plays tend to throw at least two or three actors onstage. Not Chesapeake, the one-man show by Lee Blessing at In Tandem Theatre, 628 N. Tenth St., Milwaukee. It’s the story of a conservative senator trying to obliterate the National Endowment for the Arts, a gay artist hunting for a way to stop him, and the senator’s beloved dog who becomes a pawn in their war. All this is told by one performer — the talented Matt Daniels, a regular at In Tandem. Tickets are $25, $23 for students and seniors. Call 414-271-1371 or visit intandemtheatre.org.

Though March 16


Lovers battle for their man in In Tandem Theatre’s season opener

In theater, as in life, love triangles can be messy affairs – especially when they involve a vengeful spouse, a soundproof cell and a bottle of poison.

Such is the premise for “The Nightmare Room,” which opens Milwaukee’s In Tandem Theatre Co.’s 2012-13 season Oct. 5 with its U.S. premiere performance. The play, freely adapted by English author John Goodrum from a story of the same name by “Sherlock Holmes” creator Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, considers what might happen when two women love the same film actor – and one of them happens to be his wife, who is none too happy about the arrangement.

Goodrum, who is also an actor, originally wrote the piece for his own Rumpus Theatre Co. in 1985. The company had already become known for its adaptation of Victorian and Gothic thrillers, including Bram Stoker’s “Dracula’s Guest” and Charles Dickens’ “The Signalman.” Goodrum happened upon the story, which appears in Conan Doyle’s “Tales of Terror and Mystery.”

“I saw at once its potential as a basis for a contemporary thriller,” says Goodrum from his home in England. “After so many period plays, that was an exciting prospect.”

In Doyle’s narrative, two men vie for the affections of the same woman, a former Parisian dancer who gave up her career to marry one of them. The husband confronts the suitor in an ornately decorated yet stifling drawing room. He offers to play a type of Russian roulette with beverages, one of which contains deadly poison. The survivor, of course, gets the dancer.

In Goodrum’s adaptation, the conflict comes between two women, played by actors Mary McLellan and Libby Amato. The drawing room becomes a soundproof cell in which McLellan and Amato alternately hold positions of power. The bottle of clear poison takes on the same role, with a “Twilight Zone”-style twist at the end that gives the play an even stronger appeal, says In Tandem artistic director Chris Flieller, who directed the production.

“The hairpin turns of the plot are exciting, and equally exciting is the energy the characters exhibit in pursuit of their desires,” Flieller says. “It’s sexy and dangerous.”

Keeping a show like “The Nightmare Room” on the proper emotional footing can be challenging, says Flieller, who has added lighting, sound effects and unusual perceptual tricks to draw the audience further into the narrative. More than most other types of shows, suspense thrillers require perfectly timed pacing to keep audiences on edge, he adds.

“You have to keep things moving and can’t let the audience get ahead of you, but even then some clever person will have it figured out before intermission,” says Flieller, who also directed Joe DiPietro’s “The Art of Murder” two seasons ago. “The events that play out in ‘The Nightmare Room’ are inevitable, but (Goodrum’s) plot construction will help in keeping the audience guessing until the pieces of the puzzle coalesce at the very last moment.”

The play employs flashbacks to give the narrative greater dimension.

“My wife said, ‘You always write shadowy, dark scary plays. What about writing a light, bright scary play?’” Goodrum says. “That was the challenge, and the contrast between the intensely bright, starkly lit nightmare room, where nothing is what it seems, and the more mellow flashback scenes proved that this is possible.”

Flieller expects the play, which runs through Oct. 14, to be as successful for In Tandem as “The Art of Murder” was two years ago. In fact, he expects even more from The Nightmare Room.”

“Don’t eat too much before the show – you may need a drink at intermission,” Flieller says. “And under no circumstances may you give away the ending!”

If you do, you may be facing your own nightmare (insert spooky laugh here).

In Tandem Theatre Season at a Glance

“The Nightmare Room,” Oct. 5–21

“A Cudahy Caroler Christmas,”
 Nov. 30–Jan. 5

“Beast on the Moon,” March 1–24

“Apartment 3A,” April 26–May 19

‘Veronica’ looks at love from different positions

Politics, as the saying goes, makes for strange bedfellows. In the case of “Veronica’s Position,” the season-closing production for Milwaukee’s In Tandem Theatre Co., the phrase is explored literally as well as figuratively, often with hilarious results.

Playwright Rich Orloff ’s award-winning comedy takes place in Washington, D.C., in early 1990. Veronica (Tiffany Vance) is a fading film star and the new fiancé of Harvey (Steve Koehler), a U.S. senator. Veronica is trying to revive her career by appearing in a stage production of Henrik Ibsen’s “Hedda Gabler” with her former husband Philip (out actor Richard Ganoung), an actor she has twice married and twice divorced.

Alan (T. Stacy Hicks), Veronica’s gay assistant, reunites with Zeke (Joe Fransee), an old friend and controversial photographer whose provocative work will soon be exhibited in D.C. with the assistance of public funding. The senator objects to the photographer’s work and introduces a bill to curtail public funding to the arts to prevent the exhibit.

The senator further questions the validity of the budding romantic relationship between Alan and Zeke. The otherwise apolitical Veronica finds herself caught in the middle of this unusual situation and is forced to, well, take a position.

For those who need the dots connected, the play was inspired by actors Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, U.S. Sen. John Warner and photographer Robert Mapplethorpe.

“About 30 years ago Taylor and Burton, already twice married and divorced, did reunite to create a disastrous Broadway production of Noel Coward’s ‘Private Lives,’ ” says the Manhattan- based Orloff. “I met someone who worked on the production and thought, ‘This sounds like a play.’ ”

It wasn’t until two years later, when Orloff introduced the Mapplethorpe-inspired character, that he found himself with a viable scenario, he says. The result is a well-balanced, accomplished comedy that appeals at a variety of levels, says In Tandem managing director Jane Flieller.

“I like ‘Veronica’s Position’ because it couples Rich’s wonderful sense of humor with hot-button topics like public arts funding and gay marriage,” says Flieller, who is directing the production. “It’s incredibly well-balanced writing that allows you to understand the issues well enough to take a position.”

Orloff ’s balance comes from a great deal of research into the lives of the people who inspired his characters. He read numerous biographies and visited what is now the Paley Center for Media to watch film clips, particularly of Taylor and Warner. Despite the fictional scenario, a few elements of truth slip in.

“In the play, there is an engagement ring with red, white and blue gems,” Orloff says. “It sounds like a joke I made up, but it’s like the actual engagement ring Warner gave Taylor.”

The deeper social issues are balanced by the humor. Despite the fact that comedies are often more dependent on audience response, directing a comedy is no more difficult than directing a drama, Flieller says.

“It’s no more or less dif- ficult to bake a cake than to bake a pie, if you bake well,” she says. “As a director, I prefer comedies. They tend to be faster-paced and I like to work quickly.”

If there is a driving sentiment, one that leads Veronica to her “position,” it is love, Flieller explains. In fact, it is the only subject in which the film star in any way engages.

“She is a great romantic who says, ‘I don’t question love the way most people do. To me, it is the best reason to be alive, and it should be welcomed whenever it happens.’