First Stage's Award-Winning Young Company Presents THE WINTER'S TALE

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First Stage's Award-Winning Young Company Presents THE WINTER'S TALE

First Stage's Young Company, the Theater Academy's award-winning training program for advanced high school actors, will present William Shakespeare's THE WINTER'S TALE as their first Performance Project for the 2019/20 season. Directed by Marcella Kearns, the play explores multiple facets of the human condition - from false assumptions and lost children to truths revealed, redemption found and the appearance of marvelous wonders. As one of Shakespeare's late plays, it tells the story of wandering and separation leading eventually to tearful and joyous reunion. Sponsored by United Performing Arts Fund.

Young Company Performance Projects are actor-driven presentations using elemental production values. By stripping down to a nearly bare stage, the connection of actor to audience is enhanced, and the words of the play come alive in exciting ways. These fully rehearsed studio projects allow First Stage's award-winning students to showcase their graduate level skills with full-length material, from Shakespeare to American classics to pieces commissioned specially for them.

THE WINTER'S TALE runs December 6 - 15, 2019 at the Milwaukee Youth Arts Center, located at 325 W. Walnut Street in downtown Milwaukee. Tickets are $14. Tickets are available are available online at or through the First Stage Box Office at (414) 267-2961. Performance runtime is approximately two hours and twenty minutes, which includes two intermissions. Suggested for families and young people ages 13+.

Director Marcella Kearns shared these observations about THE WINTER'S TALE, "This play requires of all of us - artists and audience - to have a collision with our own biases and discomforts. We will confront how humans behave when authority manufactures its own narrative from nothing and deems it truth. We will witness how family may cut the deepest, how chosen family may help to heal and how forgiveness must come not only from another, but from self. We will be required to awaken our faith - to believe in miracle and the dissolution of seemingly impossible barriers before us and between us. We look forward to sharing this story of patience, forbearance and belief with our First Stage audiences."

Matt Daniels, Director of the Young Company also added, "THE WINTER'S TALE is my personal favorite of all of Shakespeare's plays. It is half tragedy, half comedy, full of music and magic, jealousy and redemption. It is one of Shakespeare's last plays, and so the language is rich, textured and complex, making it a great training tool. And it has Shakespeare's greatest stage direction, if not the greatest stage direction of all time: Exit, pursued by a bear."

Marcella Kearns (Director) is a Milwaukee-based director, actor and theater educator. Marcy serves as the Associate Artistic Director of Milwaukee Chamber Theatre and an adjunct instructor of theater at Carthage College and Marquette University. At First Stage, she is a faculty member for the acclaimed Young Company and last appeared onstage in SHERLOCK HOLMES: THE BAKER STREET IRREGULARS. Previous directing credits at First Stage include ALL'S WELL THAT ENDS WELL, MOCKINGBIRD, LILLY'S PURPLE PLASTIC PURSE and GIRLS IN THE BOAT. Next up will be the world premiere of FIGHTING FOR HOME at Carthage College.

The Young Company cast for THE WINTER'S TALE includes: Claire Mitchell (from Whitefish Bay) as Time/Gaoler/Officer/Mariner/Steward; Mathilde Prosen-Oldani (from Shorewood) as Leontes/Servant (Bohemia); Morgan McKinnis (from Grafton) as Hermione/Bear; Kate Ketelhohn (from Cedarburg) as Archidamus/Perdita; Molly Boyle (from Port Washington) as Paulina/Moposa; Selma Rivera (from Milwaukee) as Antigonus; Kyra Mathias (from Oconomowoc) as Camill o; Kathleen Lepianka (from Grafton) as Polixenex; Emily Harris (from Milwaukee) as Mamillius/Autolycus; Gabriela Bastardo (from St. Francis) as Cleomenes/Shepherd; Molly McVey (from Fox Point) as Dion/Clown; Costello Mylott (from Milwaukee) as Servant (Sicilia)/Florizel; Gwynyth Martin (from Delafield) as Emilia (1 Lady)/Dorcas/Gentleman in 5.1-5.3 and Trevor Schmitt-Ernst (from Wauwatosa) as Lord (Sicilia)/Young Shepherd/Rogero.

The Artistic Staff for THE WINTER'S TALE includes: Marcella Kearns (Director); Amy Sue Hazel (Scenic Coordinator); Marisa Abbott (Lighting Designer); Michelle Pendzich (Costume Coordinator); Derek Buckles (Sound Designer) and Aaron McEachran (Stage Manager).

Tickets are $14 - Tickets may be purchased at or by phone (414) 267-2961.

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