Theatre choices abound in October

A rehearsal of “Mil-Wonky Style,” created by Director Alvaro Saar Rios and UWM students.

Theatre lovers, rejoice! The Peck School of the Arts theatre season kicks off this month with “Mil-Wonky Style” at the Mainstage Theatre, “Italian American Reconciliation” at the Kenilworth 508 studio theatre as part of the Labworks Series, and a collaboration with Milwaukee Chamber Theatre: “The Detective’s Wife.”

‘Mil-Wonky’ mines students’ lives

“Mil-Wonky Style,” Oct. 3-5.

Created by Director Alvaro Saar Rios and UWM students, “Mil-Wonky Style,” Oct. 3-5, is a devised theatre piece about the ups and downs of college life in Milwaukee.

Audience members will see a play that didn’t even exist until rehearsals began, three-and-a-half weeks before opening night. Assistant Professor Saar Rios describes a process that launched with auditions and call backs, held the first week classes. (This is not a project for the fainthearted.)

“The first step involved selecting people who worked well with others and brought the most creative energy.” Saar Rios then led the cast through exercises that involved team-building and story-telling, with scenes for a play beginning to evolve. The script for “Mil-Wonky Style” was born from “the details of our students’ every day lives,” he explains.
“Mil-Wonky Style” will be presented at the Mainstage Theatre, 2400 E. Kenwood Blvd., Oct 3-5 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $10/general public and $8/seniors, UWM faculty and staff. Student tickets are $5 (pre-sale); $8 (night of show). Theatre majors are free.

‘Reconciliation’ brings love to Studio 508

“Italian American Reconciliation,” Oct. 18-20 and Oct. 24-27 at Kenilworth Studio 508

“Italian American Reconciliation,” Oct. 18-20 and Oct. 24-27 at Kenilworth Studio 508, is a play about AMORE!, says Director Raeleen McMillion, senior lecturer. The play is set in New York City’s Little Italy and is written by John Patrick Shanley, who has made major contributions to contemporary American drama for stage and screen – “Doubt,” “Moonstruck,” “Danny and the Deep Blue Sea” and more.

“This play offers our students opportunities to dig into the psychology of love and romance,” says McMillion. She says this includes such universal questions as “Why does love work?” and “Why does love fail?”

McMillion, who in addition to her extensive work as a director and actor is a professional dialect coach, points out that the play also presents an opportunity to work on dialect skills, “Which is just plain fun.”

She adds: “The play is very theatrical, and while we’re always aware that these are characters, they manage to pull us into their stories because we recognize the symptoms of falling deeply, madly for someone – and then end up driving each other completely insane. These intimate portraits of love’s fallibilities are a nice match for the cozy size of Studio 508, putting the play right into the laps of our audience.”

“Italian American Reconciliation” will be presented at Kenilworth Studio 508, 1925 E. Kenilworth Pl., at 7:30 p.m. Friday through Saturday, Oct. 18-19; 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 20; 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, Oct. 24-26; and at 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 27. Tickets are $10/general public; $8/seniors, UWM faculty and staff. Student tickets are $5 (pre-sale) and $8 (night of show). Theatre majors are free.

Tickets to “Italian American Reconciliation” are available from the Peck School of the Arts box office, 414-229-4308, or online at

‘Detective’s Wife’ continues UWM-MCT partnership

“The Detective’s Wife,” presented by the Milwaukee Chamber Theatre (MCT) through Oct. 13.

Jim Tasse, lecturer in UWM’s Department of Theatre, is director of “The Detective’s Wife,” presented by the Milwaukee Chamber Theatre (MCT) through Oct. 13 at the Broadway Theatre Center’s Studio Theatre, 158 N Broadway.

When discussing design team options for the one-woman show, Tasse suggested his Peck School of the Arts colleagues and students. With five faculty members and several students in production roles, “The Detective’s Wife” is part of a continuing partnership between UWM and MCT.

“These partnerships give students an opportunity to ‘dip their feet’ into the professional realm,” says Tasse. “We’ve forged these great relationships because our students are well-trained and disciplined.

Tasse also believes students benefit from seeing their UWM teachers at work outside the Peck School. “It gives them an opportunity to see if we really ‘walk the walk!’”

Faculty working on the play’s production staff include Professor Sandy Strawn, scenic designer; Professor Pamela Rehberg, costume designer; Senior Lecturer Stephen R. White, lighting designer; and Associate Professor Christopher J. Guse, sound and projection designer.

Students are Adam Jermain, properties master; Katie Grayson, stage management intern/deck chief/wardrobe; Maria Pretzl, projection design assistant; and Sasha Sigel, assistant director.

Tickets to “The Detective’s Wife” are available at the Broadway Theatre Center Box Office, 158 N. Broadway, at 414-291-7800 or at