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First Stage announces 2022/23 season, kicks off in October with 'Arthur and Friends Make a Musical'

Performace of 'Big River' at First Stage theater
Posted at 9:17 PM, May 23, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-23 22:17:20-04

MILWAUKEE — A Milwaukee children's theater, First Stage, recently announced its full 2022/23 season.

The season will kick off in October at the Marcus Center's Todd Wehr Theater with the world premiere musical Arthur and Friends Make a Musical. In November, Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical will return to the Todd Wehr to get people into the holiday spirit. First Stage says the new year will begin with Carmela Full of Wishes. Then in March, the public can look forward to The Spongebob Musical. The final production at the Todd Wehr will be Bob Marley's Three Little Birds.

First Stage will also have a variety of shows in the Milwaukee Youth Art Center's Goodman Mainstage Hall. In February 2023, there will be The Hobbit.

Young Company will also present two Performance Projects at Milwaukee Youth Arts Center including A Midsummer Night's Dream in December and Little Women in March. The Young Company will also present The Gracious Sisters.

There are three ways to purchase tickets for the upcoming season: the All-Access Membership, Family Package, or regular single tickets. All-Access Membership and Family Packages are now on sale. Single tickets go on sale Aug. 1.

For additional information about the 2022/23 season and to order tickets, click here or call (414) 267-2961.

According to a news release from First Stage, below are all the details on the 2022/23 season of plays:

October 7 – November 6, 2022
Marcus Center’s Todd Wehr Theater 
Book and Lyrics by John Maclay, Music and Lyrics by Brett Ryback
Adapted from the books and characters created by Marc Brown 
Directed and Choreographed by Khalia Davis
Music Direction by Brett Ryback
Sponsored by Children’s Wisconsin

Big things are happening at Lakewood Elementary School! Mr. Ratburn’s class is asked to write and perform a big show for all of Elwood City. Everyone is so excited! Everyone, except for Arthur. What should he do? Arthur feels more nervous as the big performance gets closer and closer. With the help of his family and friends Buster, Brain, Francine, Muffy – and even little sister D.W. – Arthur learns the importance of being his best, unique self. All aboard for an incredibly fun ride with this world premiere musical! Suggested for families with young people ages 5+. 

November 25 – December 24, 2022
Marcus Center’s Todd Wehr Theater
Based on the animated television special “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” and the stage production directed and conceived by Jeff Frank and First Stage.
Script adaptation by Robert Penola. Arrangements and orchestrations by Timothy Splain.
“Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” animated television special adapted from a story by Robert L. May and the song by Johnny Marks, music and lyrics by Johnny Marks. All elements © and ™ under license to Character Arts, LLC.Directed by Jeff Frank
Sponsored by Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren and Associated Bank

And if you ever saw it, you would even say it glows! The beloved TV classic Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer soars off the screen and returns to our stage this holiday season. From fleeing the Abominable Snow Monster to saving Christmas, join Rudolph and his friends, Hermey the Elf and Yukon Cornelius, as their adventures teach us that what makes you different can be what makes you special. Don’t miss this wonderful holiday tradition that speaks to the little misfit in all of us. Suggested for families with young people ages 4+. 

January 20 – February 12, 2023
Marcus Center’s Todd Wehr Theater 
Adapted by Alvaro Saar Rios
From the book by Matt de la Peña, Illustrated by Christian Robinson
Published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
“Carmela Full of Wishes” was Co-Commissioned by and received its World Premiere Productions at Chicago Children’s Theatre, Jacqueline Russell, Artistic Director; and The Rose Theatre of Nebraska, Matt Gutschick, Artistic Director
Directed by Michelle Lopez-Rios
Sponsored by PNC  

It’s Carmela’s birthday, and her wish has already come true – she’s finally old enough to join her big brother as he does the family errands! As they travel through the neighborhood, Carmela finds a lone dandelion growing in the pavement. Before she can blow its puffy white fluff away, her brother tells her she has to make a wish. If only she can think of just the right wish to make. Delight in this moving ode to family, to dreamers and to finding hope in the most unexpected places. Suggested for families with young people ages 3+. 

February 3 – March 5, 2023
Goodman Mainstage Hall, Milwaukee Youth Arts Center
Based on The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
Licensed by Middle-earth Enterprises
Adapted for the Stage by Greg Banks
Produced by special arrangement with Plays for New Audiences 
Directed by Jeff Frank

Our unlikely hero, Bilbo Baggins, would much rather be sitting in their cozy Hobbit Hole with a cup of tea and a plate of bacon and eggs. However, they somehow find themselves on a magically mystical adventure. Staged with speed and surprises, you’ll be delighted as things change before your very eyes. Discover what happens as Bilbo travels on an epic journey over freezing mountains and a frightening forest, meeting all sorts of fierce creatures – some who want to eat them, others who turn into dear friends. Suggested for families with young people ages 8+.

THE SPONGEBOB MUSICAL for Young Audiences 
March 3 – April 2, 2023
Marcus Center’s Todd Wehr Theater 
Based on the series by Stephen Hillenberg
Book by Kyle Jarrow
Original songs by Yolanda Adams, Steven Tyler and Joe Perry of Aerosmith, Sara Bareilles, Jonathan Coulton, Alexander Ebert of Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, The Flaming Lips, Lady A, Cyndi Lauper, John Legend, Panic! At the Disco, Plain White T’s, They Might Be Giants and T.I., and songs by David Bowie, Tom Kenny and Andy Paley
Additional lyrics are by Jonathan Coulton, with additional music by Tom Kitt
The musical production was conceived by Tina LandauDirected by Tommy Novak
Choreographed by Katelin Zelon
Sponsored by the Molitor Foundation

Are you ready, kids? Dive into the undersea town of Bikini Bottom with SpongeBob and his quirky circle of friends and neighbors – Patrick, Sandy, Squidward, Mr. Krabs and even Plankton – in this dynamic stage musical with songs from music’s most legendary artists. Chaos erupts when SpongeBob and all of Bikini Bottom face the total annihilation at the threat of Mt. Humongous. Just when all hope seems lost, a most unexpected hero rises up and takes center stage. The power of optimism really can save the world! Suggested for families with young people ages 6+. 

Bob Marley’s THREE LITTLE BIRDS Based on a story by Cedella Marley
April 21 – May 21, 2023
Marcus Center’s Todd Wehr Theater 
Music and Lyrics by Bob Marley
Adapted for the stage by Michael J. Bobbitt 

Arrangements, Orchestrations, Additional Musical & Lyrics by John L. Cornelius IIDirected by Samantha D. Montgomery
Choreographed by Sonya Thompson of Ko-Thi Dance Company

Ziggy’s afraid to leave the house. He’s too busy worrying about tropical storms, evil spirits, and the sneaky, hair-grabbing trickster, Duppy. With the help of his feathered friends, Ziggy will learn that “every little thing is gonna be all right!” With music from the legendary reggae artist, get jammin’ with this timeless tale of peace and love. Suggested for families with young people ages 3+. 

THREE LITTLE BIRDS, adapted for the stage by Michael J. Bobbitt, encourages us to enjoy the adventures of life by not allowing our fears to stifle us. Instead, we must rebuild ourselves and overcome our fears by finding the strength within ourselves to make bravery our only choice.”


By William Shakespeare
December 9 – 18, 2022
Goodman Mainstage Hall, Milwaukee Youth Arts Center
Sponsored by UPAF 

Follow the misadventures of fairies, nobles, and craftsmen through the forests of Athens over the course of one magical evening. Love triangles, mistaken identities and alarming transformations are abound in Shakespeare’s most enchanting comedy. Suggested for families with young people ages 11+. 

Adapted from the novel by Louisa May Alcott
March 24 – April 2, 2023
Goodman Mainstage Hall, Milwaukee Youth Arts Center
Sponsored by UPAF 

Jo March isn’t your typical Victorian lady. She’s ruthless and headstrong, and destined to be a great American novelist. As Jo and her sisters grow up in the middle of the Civil War, they strive to be brave, intelligent and imaginative young women, while reconciling their own ambitions with society’s expectations. Alcott’s celebrated coming-of-age novel comes to stage in this modern and relevant adaptation. Suggested for families with young people ages 12+. 

A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM and LITTLE WOMEN are Young Company Performance Projects. These actor-driven presentations use elemental production values, enhancing the connection of actor to audience, allowing the words of the play to come alive in exciting ways. These award-winning students will showcase their graduate level skills with full-length material, from Shakespeare to American classics to pieces commissioned specially for them. 

May 5 – 21, 2023
Goodman Mainstage Hall, Milwaukee Youth Arts Center
World Premiere
A free adaptation of The Eumenides, by Aeschylus
Directed by Matt Daniels
Sponsored by UPAF 

When archaeological intern Alice falls down an ancient Greek rabbit hole, she discovers the aftermath of a violent murder, with the goddesses of vengeance, or “Furies,” chasing down the accused to exact bloody retribution. Athena, the goddess of wisdom (and war), persuades the Furies that the accused should have a fair trial before a jury. When the jury is divided in a split decision, all must come to terms with the balance of a desire for vengeance, and the need for grace. Suggested for families with young people ages 13+. 

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