Milwaukee Rep Announces Casting for HOW THE WORLD BEGAN and CLYBOURNE PARK, Jan 2013


Milwaukee Repertory Theater announced casting today for How the World Began, their next production in the Stiemke Studio, and the 2011 Pulitzer Prize- winning Clybourne Park, their next production in the Quadracci Powerhouse.

Religion and science collide in playwright Catherine Trieschmann’s How the World Began, a visceral examination of the way in which we navigate interpersonal beliefs – and just how hard it is to truly listen to one another in an increasingly polarized world. Rep Associate Artistic Director Brent Hazelton will direct the play, which will feature Rep Associate Artist Deborah Staples. The cast also features Ben Charles and Marty Lodge, both newcomers to The Rep. How the World Began runs in the Stiemke Studio from January 16 – February 24, and opens on Friday, January 18.

“We live in a society that is growing more stringent in terms of how we express our views,” says Artistic Director Mark Clements. “If the play contains a lesson, it is to ask us to listen to the other side – to remember that nothing is ever as black-and-white as we might think, and that we could all become more well-rounded individuals by being more tolerant of those who hold opposing viewpoints.”

Cast - How the World Began
Ben Charles – Micah Staab
Marty Lodge – Gene Dinkel
Deborah Staples – Susan Pierce

Ben Charles (Micah Staab) is a graduate of University of Delaware’s Professional Theatre Training Program and has performed with Texas Shakespeare Festival; recent credits include Lennie Ryan in the world premiere of Theresa Rebeck’s O Beautiful; Marty Lodge (Gene Dinkel) has performed extensively in the Washington, D.C. area for 14 years with Arena Stage, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company and Round House Theatre, among others; film and TV credits include Zodiac, Madmen, Grey’s Anatomy, Boston Legal and Gilmore Girls, among many others; Deborah Staples (Susan Pierce), a Rep Associate Artist, was recently seen as Mrs. Van Daan in The Diary of Anne Frank, Emilia in Othello and Jean Louise in To Kill a Mockingbird, all in the Quadracci Powerhouse; she also recently performed the one-woman show The Blonde, The Brunette and The Vengeful Redhead at Writers’ Theatre for which she received a Jeff Award nomination.

The creative team for How the World Began includes Brent Hazelton (Director), Scott Davis (Scenic Designer); Rachel Laritz (Costume Designer); Jaymi Lee Smith (Lighting Designer); Barry G. Funderburg (Sound Designer); Richelle Harrington Calin (Stage Manager).

Clybourne Park is a wickedly funny and fiercely provocative new play about the volatile combination of race and real estate. Written by Bruce Norris, Clybourne Park was the recipient of the 2011 Pulitzer Prize, London’s Olivier Award for Best Play and was nominated for the 2012 Tony Award for Best Play. Artistic Director Mark Clements will direct the play. Clybourne Park is a co-production with Arizona Theatre Company. The cast features Rep Associate Artists Lee E. Ernst and Gerard Neugent and Rep favorites Marti Gobel, Grant Goodman and Jenny McKnight. The cast also features 2010/11 Rep acting Intern Greta Wohlrabe and newcomer James T. Alfred. Clybourne Park runs in the Quadracci Powerhouse from January 29 – February 24, and opens on Friday, February 1.

“When I first read the truly extraordinary Clybourne Park, it knocked me off my feet. It confronts huge subjects: gentrification, race relations and political correctness, among others,” says director Mark Clements. “It’s hard for any play to tackle any one of those things, but to take on so many and to take them on so brilliantly and fluidly without lecturing the audiences – while at the same time being hilariously funny – is an extraordinary feat. I can’t wait to direct this modern masterpiece!”

Cast - Clybourne Park
James T. Alfred – Albert/Kevin
Lee E. Ernst – Russ/Dan
Marti Gobel – Francine/Lena
Grant Goodman – Jim/Tom
Jenny McKnight – Bev/Kathy
Gerard Neugent – Karl/Steve
Greta Wohlrabe – Betsy/Lindsey

James T. Alfred (Albert/Kevin) is a Chicago native and studied Shakespeare in New York at The Public Theater’s Shakespeare Lab and received special recognition in acting from Chicago’s African-American Arts Alliance in 2010; Lee E. Ernst (Russ/Dan), a Rep Associate Artist, most recently appeared in the roles of Mr. Van Daan in The Diary of Anne Frank and Samuel Byck in Assassins; last season he appeared as Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird and Vince Lombardi in Lombardi; Marti Gobel (Francine/Lena), a former Rep acting intern (2008/09), is currently performing the roles of Mrs. Cratchit/Mrs. Oatway in The Rep’s production of A Christmas Carol at the historic Pabst Theater; other Rep credits include The Yankee Tavern (2009/10); Gobel is also the Producing Artistic Director of UPROOTED Theatre; Grant Goodman (Jim/Tom) returns to The Rep after appearing as Dr. Givings in last season’s In the Next Room or the vibrator play and as Alfred Lunt in Ten Chimneys; other roles at The Rep include Fred in A Christmas Carol and Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice; Jenny McKnight (Bev/Kathy) returns to Milwaukee Repertory Theater where she most recently appeared in In the Next Room or the vibrator play and Ten Chimneys; other roles at The Rep include Speaking in Tongues and All My Sons; Gerard Neugent (Karl/Steve), a Rep Associate Artist, is now in his 11th season with The Rep; he is currently appearing as Jacob Marley/Old Joe/Reverend Waghorn in The Rep’s production of A Christmas Carol; he also appeared as Doug in Gutenberg! The Musical! in The Rep’s Stackner Cabaret earlier this season; Greta Wohlrabe (Betsy/Lindsey), a former Rep Acting Intern (2010/11), returns to The Rep for this production; she is currently a member of The Acting Company at American Players Theatre.

The Creative Team for Clybourne Park includes Mark Clements (Director/Artistic Director); Todd Edward Ivins (Scenic Designer); Rachel Healy (Costume Designer); Jesse Klug (Lighting Designer); Barry G. Funderburg (Sound Designer); Laura Wendt (Stage Manager); Kimberly McCann (Assistant Stage Manager).

Tickets for How the World Began range from $25.00 – $40.00 and Clybourne Park range from $10 – $65 (prices are subject to change). Single Tickets for all of Milwaukee Repertory Theater’s 2012/13 productions are now on sale. Single Tickets can be purchased online at, through The Rep’s Ticket Office by calling 414-224-9490 or in person at 108 E. Wells Street. Group tickets are also available for purchase by calling Patron Relations Manager Christine Yundem at 414-290-5340.

To learn more about The Rep or its productions, visit

Milwaukee Repertory Theater is a nationally-recognized company that presents compelling dramas, powerful classics, award-winning contemporary works, full-scale musicals and side-splitting comedies housed in its three unique performance venues – the Quadracci Powerhouse, Stiemke Studio and Stackner Cabaret. The Rep also produces an annual production of A Christmas Carol at the Pabst Theater. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Mark Clements, The Rep is committed to creating plays that are meaningful and relevant to the society we live in – plays that are challenging, visceral and engage the community through the issues they explore.

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