"The Who & The What"by Ayd Akhtar, at Milwaukee Repertory Theater in 2017. Pictured: Soraya Broukhim, Brian Abraham and Ben Kahre. (Photo by Tony Duvall)

Milwaukee Repertory Theater Announces 2018-19 Season

The season will feature 15 productions, from premieres to contemporary classics and musicals.

MILWAUKEE: Milwaukee Repertory Theater has announced its 2018-19 season, featuring 15 productions.

“I’m so excited about the lineup we have planned for our special 65th anniversary Season,” said artistic director Mark Clements in a statement. “I think the season as a whole perfectly illustrates what we are trying to accomplish as an organization in an ongoing conversation with our patrons and our community.”

The season will start with the American premiere of Songs for Nobodies (Sept. 7-Nov. 4), by Joanna Murray-Smith, a one-woman show that features life-changing encounters between legendary divas and the everyday women they inspired, featuring songs by Judy Garland, Patsy Cline, Billie Holiday, and more. Laura Braza will direct.

Next up will be In the Heights (Sept. 18-Oct. 28), a coproduction with Seattle Repertory Theatre, with music and lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda and book by Quiara Alegría Hudes. The musical follows a vibrant community of people as their neighborhood in Washington Heights is on the brink of change. May Adrales will direct.

Following will be Rajiv Joseph’s Guards at the Taj (Sept. 26-Nov. 4), an exploration of a friendship between two imperial guards at the Taj Mahal who are charged with an unspeakable task. Brent Hazelton will direct.

The season will continue with The All Night Strut! (Nov. 9-Jan. 13, 2019), originally directed and choreographed by Fran Charnas, with musical arrangements by Tom Fitt, Gil Lieb and Dick Schermesser, and additional orchestrations by Corey Allen. The musical revue will feature performances of hit songs from the 1930s and 1940s. JC CLementz will direct.

Just in time for the holidays will be Lauren Gunderson and Margot Melcon’s Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley (Nov. 13-Dec, 16), a sequel to Jane Austen’s novel Pride and Prejudice, which follows Mary Bennet and her unexpected romance as the family gathers at the stately home of Mr. and Mrs. Darcy for Christmas. Kimberly Senior will direct.

Next will be Ayad Akhtar’s Junk (Jan. 15-Feb. 17, 2019), about the battles between junk bond kings in the financial world of the 1980s. Clements will direct.

Following will be the world premiere of Mark Twain’s River of Song (Jna. 18-March 17, 2019), by Randal Myler and Dan Wheetman, an exploration of music and the culture of the people and towns along the Mississippi River. The show will be performed by three world-class musicians, including David Lutken. Myler will direct.

Next up will be Lloyd Suh’s The Chinese Lady (Feb. 13-March 24, 2019), about the life of Afong Moy, who was brought from Beijing to America in 1834 and put on display as the “Chinese Lady.” Adrales will direct.

The season will continue on with the American premiere of Andrew Bovell’s Things I Know To Be True (March 5-31, 2019), about four adult siblings and their struggles to establish their identities and deal with personal crises. Clements will direct.

Following will be the return of Ring of Fire: The Music of Johnny Cash (March 22-May 26, 2019), adapted by Richard Maltby Jr. and Jason Edwards, with orchestrations by Steven Bishop and Jeff Lisenby, and additional arrangements by David Abbinanti. The musical follows the life and career of Johnny Cash, and features such classics as “I Walk The Line” and “Ring of Fire.” Dan Kazemi will direct.

Next up will be August Wilson’s Two Trains Running (April 16-May 12, 2019), about the owner of a run-down diner in Pittsburgh torn between selling his business to a predatory business or gambling on an urban-renewal buyout in 1969. Timothy Douglas will direct.

The company will also present off-subscription programming, including the world premiere of Kimberly Belflower’s Lost Girl (July 19-22), which explores Wendy Darling’s life after she returns from Neverland. Ryan Quinn will direct.

The programming will also include A Christmas Carol (Nov. 24-Dec. 24), adapted by Clements from Charles Dickens. Leda Hoffmann will direct, based on the original direction by Clements.

The off-subscription programming will also feature “Rep Lab” (April 4-8, 2019), a short play festival featuring works by Milwaukee Rep’s Emerging Professional Residents.

Lastly, the company will present Every Brilliant Thing (April 12-28, 2019), by Duncan Macmillan with Jonny Donahoe, about a young boy who attempts to ease his mother’s depression by making a list of all the things worth living for. Terrence J. Nolen will direct.