February ANews

Optimist Theatre

The Tempest

Milwaukee, WI- February 8, 2010- Optimist Theatre will bring free Shakespeare in the Park to Alverno College’s Alumnae Courtyard and to the great city of Milwaukee this summer with their inaugural production of The Tempest.  Starring Milwaukee theatre luminaries James Pickering as Prospero and Angela Iannone as Ariel, there will be nine shows over the course of seven days, free of charge to the audience.  The show dates are Friday, June 18-20, 2010 and Thursday, June 24-27, 2010.  The June 18th and 24th performance days will each include a matinee in order to serve Milwaukee’s younger audience. 

The mission statement of Optimist Theatre illustrates how mutually compatible their collaboration is with Alverno:  “We believe that the theatrical arts broaden and enrich those parts of our minds and spirits that are most essentially human.  Optimist Theatre is driven to reach artists and audiences across the economic, ethnic, and experiential landscape, we educate, entertain, and inspire through creative works of artistic integrity.”

Shakespeare in the Park will benefit Alverno students through the opportunities that it offers.  Theatre students auditioned for performance internships and/or volunteer work.  The students who have been cast in the ensemble will help create the setting for The Tempest and to embody Prospero’s magic.  Alverno internships in stage management and the marketing and developing of the festival are currently being filled by two Alverno students – Na Tasha Carr and Kate Krakow. 

Another crucial member to both organizations is Thomas Reed, an Alverno Theatre Department faculty member.  As an actor and director, Reed strongly believes in the inclusiveness of the audience.  The Tempest will not only be performed in a manner that makes the audience feel included, but there will also be a time after the show where the actors will mingle with the audience in order to answer any questions they may have. 

The participation of Alverno College is quite important to the success of Shakespeare in the Park.  Alverno has offered its campus for not only the actual performance, but for auditions and rehearsals.  There are plenty of additional opportunities to get personally involved.  Alverno alumnae are encouraged to volunteer in preproduction work including such tasks as working on program layouts, contacting community leaders for their support, and aiding in the educational outreach materials.  These and many more volunteer opportunities are there for the exploration.

Recently, Optimist held a fundraiser entitled, A Brave New World, at Alverno College where both students and faculty joined Artistic Director Ron Fry, Managing Director Susan Fry and a huge volunteer cast in the effort to raise money for The Tempest.  The night was a success, and ended with more than $11,000 being raised.  This, in fact, effectively doubled the grant of $10,000 given to the Fry’s from the Wisconsin Arts Board.  Interestingly, this is the largest grant they award for theatrical productions.  This was granted to Optimist Theatre because of the W.A.B’s faith in this project.

For additional information visit www.OptimistTheatre.org or contact Susan Scot Fry, Managing Director, at SSFry@OptimistTheatre.org or 262/498-5777.