Uplifting World Premiere DREAM, QUICKIE! DREAM! to Open Milwaukee's First Stage 2023/24 Season

DREAM, QUICKIE! DREAM! runs October 6 - 29, 2023 at the Marcus Center's Todd Wehr Theater.

By: Sep. 07, 2023
Uplifting World Premiere DREAM, QUICKIE! DREAM! to Open Milwaukee's First Stage 2023/24 Season
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First Stage will kick off its 2023/24 season with the world premiere production DREAM, QUICKIE! DREAM!, a story for all ages inspired by the life of Donald "Quickie" Driver, written by playwright Gloria Bond Clunie and directed by popular Milwaukee actor/producer/director DiMonte Henning. In the play we find Donald, a champion football player on the Green Bay Packers, is a new dad! He is tired, frightened, frazzled and desperate to survive the night with a crying baby who refuses to sleep. As the night wears on, his younger self, Quickie, comes to his rescue! Together, they journey through childhood memories, sharing stories inspired by Quickie's life to soothe his new son and help them all rediscover how to dream big. DREAM, QUICKIE! DREAM! is a co-commission between First Stage and Marcus Performing Arts Center (MPAC) and is an outgrowth of the MPAC Cultural Ambassador program and partnership with Donald Driver. Sponsored by Associated Bank and Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren s.c.

DREAM, QUICKIE! DREAM! runs October 6 - 29, 2023 at the Marcus Center's Todd Wehr Theater, located at 929 N. Water Street in downtown Milwaukee. Tickets start at $20 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 firststage.org. Performance runtime is approximately 75 minutes, which includes a brief intermission. Suggested for adults, teens and children ages 7-9 and 10-12.

Kevin Giglinto, Marcus Performing Arts Center's President and CEO had this to say about the project: "The commissioning of DREAM, QUICKIE! DREAM! is a direct outcome stemming from MPAC's Cultural Ambassador program and partnership with Packers' legend Donald Driver. As we start our third year together with Donald as our Cultural Ambassador, we're thrilled to be working with First Stage to bring Quickie to life in this world premiere production. This collaboration demonstrates the value and impact of two leading arts organizations partnering to create an original performance with the power to connect with all audiences. We can't wait to see DREAM, QUICKIE! DREAM! when it opens in our Todd Wehr Theater on October 6!"

From Director DiMonte Henning, "DREAM, QUICKIE! DREAM! reinforces the idea that dreaming big coupled with hard work, always pays off. Donald Driver's passion for football and his dedication to hard work allowed him to dream big and see a life much greater than the challenges of his upbringing. What I love about this play is it gives license for young people to dream big, work hard for their dreams and believe they are greater than their current circumstances. The upbeat music and fast-paced "football-style" choreography is an extension of this idea through the many lessons Quickie learns throughout the play. I can't wait to share this inspiring story and for audiences to immerse themselves in this wonderful play this fall."

Added First Stage Artistic Director Jeff Frank: "Though his football career has ended, Donald Driver continues to be an inspiration for so many around the country and in our community. In 2021, Donald became the first-ever Cultural Ambassador for the Marcus Performing Arts Center - a wonderful fit given his passion for community engagement and the arts (marcuscenter.org/cultural-ambassador/). After that appointment, the Marcus Center arranged a meeting between First Stage and Mr. Driver, hoping to find a way to spread his message to an even bigger audience. I was immediately struck by his passion for young people and his hope that they can make a better future. His Quickie books were inspired by stories that he told his children in hopes of inspiring the values of hope, friendship, perseverance and hard work. It has been a joy to witness the collaboration between Mr. Driver and playwright Gloria Bond Clunie. Directed by DiMonte Henning, DREAM QUICKIE! DREAM! celebrates Donald Driver's stories and proclaims the power and importance of our dreams. Whether you are a football fan or not, the show is super fun and inspiring - and certainly one for the whole family to share."

BIOGRAPHIES

Donald Driver

(Author) Super Bowl Champion Donald Driver is the All-Time Leading Receiver in Green Bay Packers history for career yards and career receptions. His NFL peers have recognized his accomplishments by voting him to four Pro Bowls. In addition to his on-field accomplishments, Donald is a JB award winner and Packers' recipient for both the Walter Payton Man of the Year and the Ed Block Courage Award. In 2011, Donald was selected by the National Education Association to read his first book, Quickie Makes the Team!, at the Read Across America event hosted by First Lady Michelle Obama. His other children's books include: Quickie Goes to the Big Game, Quickie Handles a Loss and Quickie Stands up to a Bully.

Donald still answers to his childhood nickname "Quickie." The name recognizes his compact size and fast moves that have served him well both growing up and as a wide receiver in the National Football League. Donald has beaten the odds time and time again. Growing up, his small size was not his only challenge. Donald was also homeless for part of his childhood. He overcame all obstacles to attend Acord Stage University and beat the odds again to make it to the NFL. Donald Rose to stardom after being selected by the Packers in the last round of the 1999 draft. In 2000, Donald and his wife Betina created the Donald Driver Foundation with the motto, "Strong Hands, Strong Minds, Loving Hearts." The foundation provides assistance to the homeless, scholarships for underprivileged children and supports numerous charities in the family's home states of Texas, Mississippi and Wisconsin. Although he has garnered numerous personal awards and recognitions (Dancing with the Stars, Season 14), Donald would rather be remembered for his undying support of others and encouragement to pursue one's dreams. Donald and Betina are proud parents to Cristian, Christina and Charity.

Gloria Bond Clunie

(Playwright) is an award-winning playwright, director and educator. Ms. Clunie is a founding member of the Playwriting Ensemble at Chicago's Regional Tony Award-winning Victory Gardens Theater where her plays NORTH STAR, LIVING GREEN and SHOES premiered. She is also the founding Artistic Director of Evanston's Fleetwood-Jourdain Theatre where she directed scores of productions including AIN'T MISBEHAVIN, CEREMONIES IN DARK OLD MEN, HOME and RAISIN. Other plays include SWEET WATER TASTE, SMOKE, SING, MALINDY, SING!, BLU, BUCK NAKED and DRIP, among others. She is published by Dramatic Publishing and in the anthologies Seven Black Plays, Reimagining A Raisin In the Sun and The Bully Plays. Her plays have been produced and workshopped in a variety of theaters including Victory Gardens Theatre, Goodman Theatre, Fleetwood-Jourdain Theatre, ETA and Alliance Theatre, among many others. Ms. Clunie has been recognized for her work in theater and education by the NAACP, AKA and DST Sororities, American Alliance for Theatre and Education and the Vision Keepers. Awards include a Chicago Jeff, a Children's Theater Foundation of America Orlin Corey Medallion, a Scott McPherson, a Dramatists Guild Fellowship, Theodore Ward African-American Playwriting Prizes, New York's New Professional Theater Award, Chicago Black Theatre Alliance Awards, NEA and Illinois Arts Council Fellowships, the Evanston Mayor's Award for the Arts and the 2018 YWCA YWomen Leadership Award This Northwestern graduate (B.A. Theater, MFA-Directing) is honored her drama SHOES was included in the 2015 Women Playwrights International Conference in Cape Town, South Africa. In January 2018, she served as both playwright and director for MY WONDERFUL BIRTHDAY SUIT commissioned by Chicago Children's Theatre, while her adaptation of THE LAST STOP ON MARKET STREET (2016 Caldecott/2016 Newbery/2016 Coretta Scott King Book Awards) premiered in November at Children's Theatre of Charlotte, went to Dallas Children's Theatre and Bay Area Children's Theatre in 2020 and performed at Milwaukee's First Stage in 2022. Originally from Henderson, North Carolina, she and her husband Basil live in Evanston, Illinois and are the proud parents of Aurelia, an amazing theater artist and daughter.

DiMonte Henning

(Director) is grateful to be back at First Stage and to direct the world premiere of DREAM, QUICKIE! DREAM! Dimonte is an actor, director and theater producer. He received his formal theater training from UW-Milwaukee with additional training from Milwaukee Rep's Emerging Professional Residency. He is a Founding Member of the Milwaukee Black Theater Festival and performing arts organization, Lights! Camera! Soul! His favorite directing credits include: THE COLORED MUSEUM, BLACK NATIVITY, THE NICETIES and PRETTY FIRE. Dimonte's national regional theater credits include: SEVEN GUITARS (Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park); TONI STONE (Alliance Theatre); STICK FLY (Writers Theatrebub22); THE ISLAND and DEATHTRAP (Milwaukee Chamber Theatre); SKELETON CREW (Forward Theater Company); OUR TOWN, A CHRISTMAS CAROL and DREAMGIRLS (Milwaukee Repertory Theater) and THE WIZ and THE ADVENTURES OF HUCKLEBERRY FINN (First Stage). Dimonte has several TV and commercial credits including: Guest starring roles on NBC's Chicago PD (Seasons 4 and 6), Disney's Encore!, WI Lottery, UBER, Inpro Designs and Harley-Davidson.

ADULT CAST

Denzel Taylor* (Daddy (Donald)/Coach); Patrice Hood (Quickie's Mom/Mama/Ms. Faye) and Allen Dennis Edge* (Mr. Peters/Donald's Dad).

*Appearing through an Agreement between First Stage and Actors' Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States.

YOUNG PERFORMER CASTS

Young Performer roles are double cast. Young Performers in the Lambeau Cast include: Caiden Chambers (Milwaukee) as Quickie; Reece Davis (Milwaukee) as Marvin; Shaun Brown (West Bend) as Billy; Marcia Olson (Milwaukee) as Christina; Amilia Rosado-White (Milwaukee) as Ensemble; Mi'Yanna Boone (Milwaukee) as Ensemble; Christian Williams-Henning (Milwaukee) as Ensemble and Messiah Johns (Milwaukee) as Ensemble.

Young Performers in the Lombardi Cast include: Tiago Patterson (Milwaukee) as Quickie; Caleb Hoze (Milwaukee) as Marvin; Quinn Sison (Franklin) as Billy; Sivan Wallace (Mequon) as Christina; Rocco Onorato (Milwaukee) as Ensemble; Jaliyah Drake (Milwaukee) as Ensemble; Gabby Donovan (Milwaukee) as Ensemble and Jetziel Soler (Milwaukee) as Ensemble.

Please note: To find which cast is performing on a specific performance day, please refer to the website on the show page located here: firststage.org/events-tickets/2023-24-season/dream-quickie-dream/

The Creative Team for DREAM, QUICKIE! DREAM! includes: DiMonte Henning (Director); Martin McClendon (Scenic Designer); Trinae Williams-Henning (Costume Designer); Jason Fassl, USA (Lighting Designer); Antoine Reynolds (Sound Designer); Christopher Gilbert (Movement Choreographer); Lonnae Hickman (Puppet Designer and Builder) and Kelly L. Schwartz* (Production Stage Manager) and Lauren Westfahl (Assistant Stage Manager).

*Member of Actors' Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States.

Tickets start at $20 - Tickets may be purchased at firststage.org or through the Marcus Center Box Office, in person at 929 N. Water Street in downtown Milwaukee or by phone (414) 273-7206 or toll free at (888) 612-3500. The number for TDD (for deaf and hard of hearing patrons) is (414) 273-3080.

Security at the Marcus Performing Arts Center: Upon entry to the Todd Wehr Theater, attendees will walk through a security scanner to check for any items not permitted in the building. While purses and small bags are allowed, please leave larger bags, backpacks or other items at home. Review Security Procedures at the Marcus Performing Arts Center. Please allow ample time for parking and security checks before the performance.

Digital Playbill: The digital playbill includes artistic/actor/designer and cast bios. To view the digital playbill when it gets posted closer to the show opening, please go to: firststage.org/about-us/media-center/playbills/

Please note: Please refer to the digital playbill for updates on any cast changes as well as for the appropriate pronouns for actors.

Enrichment Guide: An Enrichment Guide for the production will get posted here:

firststage.org/events-tickets/2023-24-season/dream-quickie-dream/

Group Sales: Groups of 10 or more receive 15% off single ticket prices on most First Stage performances at the Marcus Center's Todd Wehr Theater. Call (414) 267-2964 or email groups@firststage.org for more information.

Special events for DREAM, QUICKIE! DREAM!

Pay What You Choose Performance: Friday, October 13, 2023 at 7:00 p.m.

Pay What You Choose tickets are available on a first come, first served basis with a minimum suggested ticket price of $10 per person. Doors open at 6:00 p.m. on the day of the performance. Patrons are encouraged to arrive early. Tickets may also be reserved in advance by phone at (414) 267-2961, weekdays 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. For more information, please visit:

firststage.org/events-tickets/tickets-offers/pay-what-you-choose/ This Pay What You Choose Performance is sponsored by First Stage's Inclusion & Accessibility Partner, Children's Wisconsin.

Sensory Friendly Performance: Saturday, October 21, 2023 at 3:30 p.m.

A Sensory Friendly Performance with accommodations for families with children on the autism spectrum will take place on Saturday, October 21, 2023 at 3:30 p.m. Sensory accommodations include a quiet area staffed by an experienced educator, adjusted sound and lighting, and more. Tickets for Sensory Friendly Performances are $10. Order online or by phone at (414) 267-2961, weekdays 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. to reserve tickets. To learn more visit: firststage.org/plan-your-visit/sensory-friendly-performances/.

ASL Interpreted Performance: Sunday, October 22, 2023 at 3:30 p.m.

This performance will be sign language interpreted for patrons who are deaf or hard of hearing. Assistive listening devices are also available at the Todd Wehr Theater. To learn more, please visit: firststage.org/plan-your-visit/accessibility/sign-language-interpreted-performances/




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