THE LEGEND OF ROCK, PAPER, SCISSORS, A Fun, Family-Friendly World Premiere Is Coming To Milwaukee's First Stage

By: Feb. 20, 2020

THE LEGEND OF ROCK, PAPER, SCISSORS, A Fun, Family-Friendly World Premiere Is Coming To Milwaukee's First Stage

THE LEGEND OF ROCK, PAPER, SCISSORS, a family-friendly, fun world premiere musical, comes to First Stage this March. Based on the bestselling book by Drew Daywalt and illustrated by Adam Rex, First Stage Playwright in Residence John Maclay wrote the book and lyrics with Eric Nordin, also doing music and lyrics. First Stage favorite Kelly Doherty, (outstanding as Miss Trunchbull in last season's hit MATILDA The Musical), will be making her First Stage directing debut with this production. First Stage's Jeff Schaetzke is Musical Director and First Stage alumni Molly Rhode is the Choreographer. This is a World premiere co-commission with Oregon Children's Theatre. In THE LEGEND OF ROCK, PAPER, SCISSORS audiences will learn the legend of the three fierce warriors who started the popular game: from the Kingdom of Backyard came Rock, from the Empire of Mom's Home Office came Paper and from a messy village in the Junk Drawer Realm came Scissors. They were the strongest, smartest and fastest in all the land. Though they searched far and wide for worthy opponents, no one could beat them. . . until they meet each other. What follows is a musical battle royale to see who will come out on top! This production features terrific, original music from classic rock to dance pop that will delight the entire family. Sponsored by The Molitor Foundation.

THE LEGEND OF ROCK, PAPER, SCISSORS runs March 6 - April 5, 2020 at the Marcus Center's Todd Wehr Theater, located at 929 N. Water Street in downtown Milwaukee. Tickets start at $15 and can be purchased in person at the Marcus Center Box Office at 929 N. Water Street, by phone at (414) 273-7206 or online at Performance runtime is approximately 90 minutes, including intermission. Suggested for families with young people ages 4 - 10+.

Director Kelly Doherty had this to say about the show, "On the surface, THE LEGEND OF ROCK, PAPER, SCISSORS seems to be a kooky musical about a bunch of inanimate objects singing, dancing and battling each other in some very ridiculous and over-the-top scenarios. And, it is a kooky musical about all of that, but it really is so much more. It's about friendship, bravery, teamwork and overcoming challenges. . . . My hope is that audiences will walk away from this show with a smile on their face, and the realization that it is good to surround yourself with people who not only love you for who you are, but who also challenge you to be the best version of yourself."

Added Artistic Director Jeff Frank, "Oregon Children's Theatre Artistic Director Stan Foote and I both loved the book by Drew Deywalt because it's laugh out loud funny. Let's face it - we've all had a history of playing rock, paper, scissors - so it's great fun to think about how this legendary game began. Stan and I both agreed that First Stage Resident Playwright John Maclay was the perfect person to adapt the book. As I read the book, it just seemed like something John had written. Stan brought composer Eric Nordin on board, and he has created a great blend of rocking tunes. Eric explained, 'When adapting the book, I found it to be very much like a collection of comic book heroes. Each of the many characters has their own personality, style and skills. I explored the idea that each should have their own musical influence as well. For example, Rock is patterned off classic rock & roll, Paper is patterned off dance pop music . . . and Scissors is patterned off a Latina pop star in the vein of Jennifer Lopez.' Audiences are in for a treat as they watch this battle of musical genres on stage between three great warriors!"


Drew Daywalt (Author) has been creating escapist fantasy, horror and comedy since his childhood in Ohio. With a BFA in creative writing from Emerson College in Boston in 1992, Drew set off to Hollywood where he wrote for Disney and Universal on Timon & Pumba, Buzz Lightyear and Woody Woodpecker. He also wrote the Emmy-nominated animated series The Wacky World of Tex Avery. His first trip into live action landed him studio screenwriting and directing work with such Hollywood luminaries as Lawrence Bender, Tony Scott and Jerry Bruckheimer. In 2013, Daywalt's debut picture book, The Day the Crayons Quit, spent a year on the NYT Bestseller List at #1, and remains on the list to this day, over five years later. The sequel book, The Day the Crayons Came Home, also spent a year as a NYT Bestseller and his third book, The Legend of Rock Paper Scissors is a NYT Bestseller as well. Daywalt has also written a Star Wars book for LucasFilm Publishing, called BB-8 on the Run. His books, Sleepy the Goodnight Buddy and The Epic Adventures of Huggie and Stick have both been recently released to rave reviews and two national book tours. He has received 65 awards for his children's writing, including the coveted E.B. White Read Aloud Award and the Time Magazine Top 100 Best Children's Books of All Time.

John Maclay (Book and Lyrics) is a playwright who specializes in adaptation for Theatre for Young Audiences. In addition to his latest, THE LEGEND OF ROCK, PAPER, SCISSORS (with fabulous composer Eric Nordin), his plays and musicals include: GOOSEBUMPS THE MUSICAL: PHANTOM OF THE AUDITORIUM (with Danny Abosch); Geronimo Stilton: MOUSE IN SPACE, JUST A LITTLE CRITTER MUSICALa?? (with Brett Ryback); NANCY DREW AND HER BIGGEST CASE EVER (with Jeff Frank); ANATOLE (with Lee Becker and James Valcq); a new version of ROBIN HOOD (with Joe Foust) and NATE THE GREAT (with Brett Ryback). Upcoming projects include ANDROMEDA AND THE TRIALS OF HERCULES (with Joe Foust). Prior to leaving to pursue writing full-time, John proudly served ina??various leadership roles at First Stage, one of the America's largest and most respected theaters for young audiences. John has worked with First Stage in one form a??or other since 2000, has directed or appeared in more than 25 First Stage productions (from classics to world premieres) as well as having produced more than 50 productions for the First Stage high school programs. His work as an actor or director has also been seen at the Utah Shakespeare Festival, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Milwaukee Shakespeare Company, Defiant Theatre, Bunny Gumbo, Bialystock and Bloom, Skylight Opera Theatre and more. He also teaches theater at Carthage College in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

Eric Nordin (Music and Lyrics) is a multiple award-winning playwright, composer, music director and pianist and has made his artistic home in Portland, Oregon since 2004 at Oregon Children's Theatre. Recent original pieces for the theater include THE SNOWSTORM (2015) and John Hughes HIGH: THE 1980'S TEEN MUSICAL (2018). In addition to his writing credits, Eric has also had the enormous pleasure of music directing recent Oregon Children's Theatre productions such as GOOSEBUMPS: THE MUSICAL and last year's PETE THE CAT.

Kelly Doherty (Director) moved to Milwaukee after graduating from UW-Whitewater with a BFA in Theatre Performance. Having directed shows with Umbrella Group and Northern Sky Theater, she is making her First Stage directorial debut after appearing onstage last season as Miss Trunchbull in MATILDA The Musical and this season as Deb/Mrs. Claus in ELF - The Musical. She has appeared with Milwaukee Chamber Theatre, Skylight Music Theatre, Northern Sky Theater, Renaissance Theaterworks, Milwaukee Opera Theatre and Next Act Theatre. Some favorites include: Bodey (LOVELY SUNDAY FOR CREVE CEOUER); Pish Tush (THE MIKADO); Maria/Homer (MR. BURS); Williamina (SILENT SKY) and Gangster 2 (KISS ME, KATE) Next season, she'll be returning to Milwaukee Chamber Theatre portraying the iconic role of Josie in Eugene O'Neill's A MOON FOR THE MISBEGOTTEN.

Jeff Schaetzke (Music Director/Director of Artistic Operations) has a long history at First Stage as a director, teacher, music director and actor, dating back to playing Romeo in 1996. Most recently, Jeff directed ELF - The Musical and the music for MATILDA The Musical and BEST CHRISTMAS PAGEANT EVER THE MUSICAL. Other First Stage favorites include THE MIRACULOUS JOURNEY OF EDWARD TULANE, SPOOKLEY THE SQUARE PUMPKIN THE MUSICAL, LOVABYE DRAGON, RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER: THE MUSICAL, ELLA ENCHANTED; BIG NATE: THE MUSICAL; BIG FISH (having also appeared as Edward Bloom); BIG, THE MUSICAL and many others. Jeff enjoys leading the Young Company trip to American Players Theatre, and he directed last summer's Company Class production of LEGALLY BLONDE. A lifelong Milwaukeean, Jeff has enjoyed working with many Milwaukee theaters, including playing Father in Skylight Music Theatre's production of VIOLET, and directing music for the Milwaukee Rep, Skylight Music Theatre, Carroll University, UWM and Marquette University. Other credits: Milwaukee Chamber Theatre's THE DALY NEWS, two seasons at American Players Theatre, and a 22-year relationship at Dominican High School. Jeff is a 2014 inductee into the Wisconsin Theatre Directors Hall of Fame, and a 4-time Outstanding Musical Award Winner at the Overture Center's TOMMY/JERRY Awards. He's a proud graduate of North Central College and the Professional Theatre Training Program at UW-Milwaukee.

Molly Rhode (Choreographer) adores creating dances for John Maclay musicals and is thrilled to work with so many good friends on this production. A former Theater Academy student and young performer, Molly is always over the moon to return to First Stage. She was last seen as Mrs. Wormwood in MATILDA The Musical. Recent directing projects include last season's THE BEST CHRISTMAS PAGEANT EVER: THE MUSICAL, NEWSIES at Skylight Music Theatre and DAD'S SEASON TICKETS at Northern Sky Theater, where she is also the Associate Artistic Director. Molly loves working on new plays, and she will be directing the world premiere of James DeVita's ALEX AND THE AMAZING LEMONADE STAND up next in the Todd Wehr Theater.


Lamar Jefferson (Paper) returns to First Stage after last being seen in JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH (Earthworm) and SHREK THE MUSICAL (Donkey). Other noteworthy credits include: Skylight Music Theatre: VIOLET (Flick); Guthrie Theater: WEST SIDE STORY (Action), WE ARE PROUD TO PRESENT (Actor 4/Another Black Man) and ROMEO AND JULIET (Benvolio); Casa Mañana: TUCK EVERLASTING (Man in the Yellow Suite); Theater Latté Da: FIVE POINTS (Willie "Master Juba" Lane) and Penumbra Theatre: GIRL SHAKES LOOSE (Barry/Pastor).

Rick Pendzich (Rock) has been seen in multiple First Stage productions, including: CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG (Toymaker); JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH (Centipede) and SEUSSICAL: THE MUSICAL (Horton the Elephant). Rick has also worked with Skylight Music Theatre, Milwaukee Chamber Theatre, Next Act Theatre and In Tandem Theatre. He will return to First Stage in ALEX AND THE AMAZING LEMONADE STAND.

Karen Estrada (Scissors) is an actor, director and educator who has made her artistic home in Milwaukee - a home whose foundation was laid by attending First Stage Theater Academy and performing in the Todd Wehr Theater as a teenager. As an adult, Karen has performed in a dozen productions with First Stage and is a lead teacher for First Stage's Next Steps program. Karen has taught at many other schools of theater including MITY, Waukesha Civic, Sunset Playhouse and Next Act Theatre's Next Actors program. As an actor, Karen has performed with Milwaukee Chamber Theatre, Renaissance Theaterworks, Next Act Theater, Skylight Music Theatre, Milwaukee Opera Theater, In Tandem Theatre and is a proud three-time alumna of the Disney on Classic tour of Japan and Taiwan. She has directed at Chamber Theater's Young Playwrights Festival and Renaissance's Brink Festival.

Sydney Kirkegaard (Clothespin/Roll of Tape in Plastic Dispenser/Printer/Dance Captain) was last seen at First Stage in GIGGLE GIGGLE QUACK (Hen). Most recent credits include performing alongside Phish at Madison Square Garden on New Year's. Milwaukee credits include: WEST SIDE STORY at Milwaukee Repertory Theater and KISS ME, KATE at Skylight Music Theatre. Other credits include: A CHORUS LINE (Bebe) and SEVEN BIDES FOR SEVEN BROTHERS (Sarah) at the Riverside Theater and PURE COUNTRY, ANYTHING GOES at Lyric Stage in Dallas. Sydney's dance training includes: YDA (Milwaukee) and Steps on Broadway & BDC (NYC). She received her BFA in Musical Theater at TCU.

Jonathon Gideon (Understudy for Mr. Jefferson and Mr. Pendzich) makes his First Stage debut as an understudy with this production. He recently graduated from Concordia University Wisconsin with a BA in music and theater. As an actor and singer, Jonathon has worked with Kohl's Wild Theater, Renaissance Theatreworks, Milwaukee Entertainment Group, Outskirts Theatre and the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. He can also be seen as a game show host at Game Show Battle Rooms Milwaukee. In addition to acting, Jonathon works as a music director and composer.

Leah Gawel (Understudy for Ms. Estrada and Ms. Kirkegaard) graduated with a B.A. in Music Theatre from Carthage College. She recently performed as Doris Walker in MIRACLE ON 34th STREET: A LIVE MUSICAL RADIO PLAY (Forte Theatre Company). Collegiate roles include Ariel in THE LITTLE MERMAID, Morticia in THE ADDAMS FAMILY, Heather MacNamara in HEATHERS and Lucinda in INTO THE WOODS.

The adult cast for THE LEGEND OF ROCK, PAPER, SCISSORS includes: Lamar Jefferson, Member of Actors' Equity Association, as Paper; Rick Pendzich, Member of Actors' Equity Association, as Rock; Karen Estrada as Scissors; Sydney Kirkegaard as Clothespin/Roll of Tape in Plastic Dispenser/Printer/Dance Captain; Jonathon Gideon as Understudy for Mr. Jefferson and Mr. Pendzich and Leah Gawel as Understudy for Ms. Estrada and Ms. Kirkegaard.


Young Performer roles are double cast. Young Performers in the Trail Mix Cast include: Max Larson (from Milwaukee) as MC; Aidan Toth (from Milwaukee) as Ensemble; Daisha Lafford (from Milwaukee) as Ensemble; Lucia Santana (from Milwaukee) as Ensemble; Riley Halpern (from Whitefish Bay) as Ensemble; Jackson Vining (from Wauwatosa) as Ensemble; Greta Carlson (from Fox Point) as Ensemble; Paisley Schroeder (from Waukesha) as Ensemble and Evie Patrick (from Whitefish Bay) as Ensemble.

Young Performers in the Chicken Nugget Cast include: Eloise Field (from Oconomowoc) as MC; Gavin Miller (from Wauwatosa) as Ensemble; Naima Gaines (from Milwaukee) as Ensemble; Josephine Van Slyke (from Milwaukee) as Ensemble; Kyra Mathias (from Oconomowoc) as Ensemble; Ryan Vanselow(from New Berlin) as Ensemble; Ryan Bennett (from Mequon) as Ensemble; Lucy Irwin (from Elm Grove) as Ensemble and Eloise Bejma (from Shorewood) as Ensemble.

The Artistic Staff for THE LEGEND OF ROCK, PAPER, SCISSORS includes: Kelly Doherty (Director); Jeff Schaetzke (Music Director); Molly Rhode (Choreographer); Arnold Bueso (Scenic Designer); Brandon Kirkham (Costume/Puppet Designer); Jason Fassl, USAA, (Lighting Designer); Elisabeth Weidner (Sound Designer); Melissa L. Wanke, Member of Actors' Equity Association, (Stage Manager) and Eli Walker (Assistant Stage Manager).

Tickets start at $15 - Tickets may be purchased at or by phone (414) 267-2961.


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