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Skylight Music Theatre Announces 2019-2020 Season Marking Landmark 60th Anniversary

Skylight Music Theatre Announces 2019-2020 Season Marking Landmark 60th Anniversary

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Milwaukee, Wis. (Feb. 5, 2019) — Artistic Director Ray Jivoff today unveiled Skylight Music Theatre’s 2019-2020 season, which will mark the theatre’s 60th Anniversary. 
“Our landmark 2019-2020 season is something of a valentine to Skylight on its 60th anniversary. It is a season of big-hearted shows that are full of emotion and full of fun. We think it captures the essence of Skylight,” said Jivoff. 
Skylight was founded in 1959 by Clair Richardson with a simple question to some arts-loving friends: “Do you want to have some real fun?” The answer was “yes,” and Skylight was born. Jivoff said that Skylight still answers that question with the same resounding “Yes!” 
“All the shows in our milestone season have powerful, emotional threads that go right to the heart, while still capturing the deliciously quirky quality that has made Skylight so beloved,” said Jivoff. “The anniversary season includes shows never before seen at Skylight and some that longtime patrons will remember with great affection.”

Exciting Community Collaborations, Young Performer Opportunities
The 2019-2020 season addresses Skylight’s mission to present the full spectrum of music theatre to reach a wide and diverse audience. Skylight will build on efforts to expand and grow audiences by collaborating with diverse community organizations and continuing to provide opportunities for young performers to work on Skylight’s professional music theatre stage.
 “Our successful runs of Hairspray (2018) and Annie (2017) showcased local young performers who energized us and our audiences with their enthusiasm and talent. We continue to build on that excitement with our next holiday show, Newsies. We look forward to working with area junior high and high schools as we search for 10-12 local young performers – both girls and boys – to portray the newsies.” 
Other community building efforts include a partnership with Bronzeville Arts Ensemble to present The Gospel at Colonus, an inspiring retelling of Sophocles’ Oedipus at Colonus set in the context of a black Pentecostal service, to be directed by Sheri Williams Pannell. 


Music Theatre Landmarks
The 60th anniversary season will open and close with two titles that can only be described as landmarks in music theatre. The season opens with Rodgers & Hammerstein’s legendary musical and Pulitzer Prize winner Oklahoma! directed by Skylight Artistic Associate Jill Anna Ponasik. Skylight last produced Oklahoma! in 1992 at Skylight’s old theatre on Jefferson Street. 
Closing the season is Leonard Bernstein’s 1956 masterpiece Candide. This cherished operetta was last produced by Skylight in 1982 (at the Todd Wehr Theatre) and in 1992 (at Skylight’s theatre on Jefferson St.). This will be the first time Candide is presented on Skylight’s Cabot Theatre stage. 


Reputation for Fun
Reflecting Skylight’s reputation for eclectic fun will be the fresh and wildly funny The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.  This charming 2005 Tony Award-winning musical has a score by William Finn (Falsettos, A New Brain) and offers select opportunities for onstage audience participation. 


Limited Engagement Performances
Jivoff also announced two special add-on productions to its five-show subscription package, the Gilbert & Sullivan gothic melodrama Ruddigore, or The Witch’s Curse and a staged concert version of the megawatt musical Evita. These shows will have limited engagements and be offered to subscribers first at special prices before they go on sale to the public. 
Skylight will partner with Milwaukee Opera Theatre to celebrate Skylight’s long history with Gilbert & Sullivan. Ruddigore will be directed by Skylight Artistic Associate and Milwaukee Opera Theatre Artistic Director Jill Anna Ponasik, who said that Ruddigore will be a “dramatically and imaginatively reduced to fit cozily in the 100-seat Studio Theatre at the Broadway Theatre Center.”
Evita will be a staged concert version on the Cabot Theatre stage. This special limited run will be directed by Michelle Lopez-Rios, formerly the head of the BFA Acting program at UW-Milwaukee, and now at DePaul University. 


Cabaret and Salon Series to Continue
Jivoff said that Skylight would continue the successful Cabaret Series and Salon Series held in two of the distinctive venues at the Broadway Theatre Center. Cabaret Series offers intimate performances on the cabaret stage in the Skylight Bar & Bistro and the Salon Series celebrates the art song tradition with “One Night Only” concerts in the elegant Dorothea C. Mayer Salon. 
“For 60 years, Skylight’s mix of repertoire and outstanding quality have delighted Milwaukee audiences. We dedicate this heartfelt season to them as a thank you,” said Jivoff. 
The 2019-2020 Season Announcement event was held tonight for patrons, subscribers, donors, and members of the arts community in Skylight’s home, the Cabot Theatre in the Broadway Theatre Center. Entertainment included songs from each of the upcoming shows, performed by a cast of Skylight favorite performers. 
 

The 2019-2020 Skylight Music Theatre Season is as follows:
 
OKLAHOMA!
September 27 – October 13, 2019
Music by Richard Rodgers 
Book and Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II
Directed by Jill Anna Ponasik
Last produced at Skylight in the “old space” on Jefferson Street in 1992
One of the most influential and triumphant musicals in history! In 1943, Oklahoma! broke ground for seamlessly integrating song and dance into its story of a young farm woman and her two suitors. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize and numerous Tony Awards, Oklahoma! features a gorgeous Rodgers & Hammerstein score with such unforgettable songs as “Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin’,” “People Will Say We’re in Love,” and “Oklahoma.”
"If ever a show earned its exclamation point, it's this one!" — Wall Street Journal
 
Disney’s 
NEWSIES
A Musical based on the Disney Film
November 15 – December 22, 2019
Music by Alan Menken 
Lyrics by Jack Feldman
Book by Harvey Fierstein
First time at Skylight
 
This Disney film turned Tony Award-winning Broadway hit is based on the rousing true story of newsboys who strike against unfair conditions in turn-of-the century New York City. Featuring a score by Alan Menken (Little Shop of Horrors), book by Harvey Fierstein (Kinky Boots) and exhilarating dancing, this musical delivers a timeless message about fighting for what’s right. Perfect for the whole family.
"A winning, high-energy musical for family audiences!" – Entertainment Weekly
 

THE GOSPEL AT COLONUS
January 17 – 26, 2020
Conceived and adapted by Lee Breuer
Music composed by Bob Telson
Directed by Sheri Williams Pannell
In collaboration with Bronzeville Arts Ensemble and area gospel choirs
First time at Skylight
 
With the ground-shaking thunder of a revival meeting and a rousing gospel and blues score, The Gospel at Colonus is an exuberant re-telling of Sophocles’ Oedipus at Colonus. The musical premiered on Broadway in 1988 generating excitement and inspiring a wide audience with its soaring voices, music and dance all set in the context of a black Pentecostal service. 
"An exhilarating musical celebration." – The New York Times
 

THE 25TH ANNUAL PUTNAM COUNTY SPELLING BEE 
February 7 – 23, 2020
Music and Lyrics by William Finn
Conceived by Rebecca Feldman
First time at Skylight
 
A group of quirky, socially awkward over-achievers find joy, heartache and a purpose as they compete at the regional spelling bee. Winner of two Tony Awards, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee charms audiences with its effortless wit and humor, fast-paced and touching story, and fresh, vibrant score by William Finn (Falsettos, A New Brain). It’s a wildly funny, riotous ride where winning (and losing) isn't everything.
“Winsome and winning…generously warm-hearted!" – Variety
 

CANDIDE
April 17 – May 10, 2020
Music by Leonard Bernstein
Book adapted from Voltaire by Hugh Wheeler
Lyrics by Richard Wilbur
Previously produced by Skylight in 1982 and 1992. 
This will be its first presentation on the Cabot Theatre stage.
 
Leonard Bernstein's operetta is a masterpiece for the ages. Based on Voltaire's satire of innocence, optimism and the unexpected lessons of life, Candide bridges the gap between musical theatre and opera. It is a cornerstone of Skylight history, having been produced twice at Skylight’s space on Jefferson Street. 
"Marvelous musicality and thoughtfully conjured, eye-pleasing entertainment." – Washington Post
 
SUBSCRIBER ADD-ONS: While not part of a subscription package, subscribers have the first opportunity to purchase tickets for the following at subscriber prices before they go on sale to the general public.
RUDDIGORE (or The Witch’s Curse)
January 3-19, 2020
Book by W.S. Gilbert
Music by Arthur Sullivan 
Directed by Jill Anna Ponasik
Last seen at Skylight in 1978
 
In this special limited run in the Studio Theatre, Skylight and Milwaukee Opera Theatre collaborate to celebrate Skylight’s long history of producing the works of Gilbert & Sullivan with a dramatically and imaginatively reduced production of the G & S gothic melodrama Ruddigore, last produced at Skylight in 1978. 
“Full of fun, full of delectable melody, resplendent with lovely choral work.” -- The New York Times 
 
EVITA
March 20-29, 2020
Lyrics by Tim Rice
Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber 
Directed by Michelle Lopez-Rios
First time at Skylight
 
This staged concert version is a special limited run of the seven-time Tony Award-winning megawatt musical. The story follows Eva Duarte and her meteoric rise from impoverished child to wife of Argentine president Juan Peron and finally, to becoming the most powerful woman in Latin America.  
"A total triumph. A technical knockout, a magnificent earful, a visual triumph and a wow." —Daily Mirror
 
2019-2020 60th Anniversary Season
Skylight’s 2019-2020 subscription season opens in fall with the Pulitzer Award-winning musical Oklahoma! (Sept. 27 – Oct. 13). For the holidays, Skylight presents Disney’s Broadway blockbuster Newsies (Nov. 15 – Dec. 22). In 2020, Skylight will collaborate with Bronzeville Arts Ensemble to present the exuberant The Gospel at Colonus (Jan. 17 – 26, 2020). In February, Skylight brings the charming and quirky Tony Award winner The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (February 7 – 23, 2020). Closing the season will be Bernstein’s masterpiece Candide (April 17 – May 10, 2020). In addition to the five mainstage shows, Skylight will offer two special, limited run productions, Ruddigore (or The Witch’s Curse) (Jan. 3-19, 2020) and Evita (March 20-29, 2020). 
Performance Information
Skylight performances are in the Cabot Theatre and the Studio Theatre in the Broadway Theatre Center, 158 N. Broadway, Historic Third Ward, Milwaukee, Wis. 
 
Special Events 
Skylight Insights. In-depth discussions with directors and special guests take place one hour before every Wednesday and Sunday performance. For more information on special events visit www.skylightmusictheatre.org, email info@skylightmusictheatre.org or call the Box Office at (414) 291-7800.
 
Tickets & Box Office
Subscriptions are on sale now. Subscribers get the best seats at the best prices. Subscriptions can be purchased in person at the Broadway Theatre Center Box Office or by calling (414) 291-7800, Monday – Saturday, from noon - 6 p.m. Subscriptions will be available online soon. Check for updates at www.skylightmusictheatre.org/subscribe.
 
Single tickets will go on sale Monday, August 5. Tickets are $30 - $75 (plus tax and fees). 
Ticket prices for the special add-on productions of Ruddigore and Evita will be announced at a later date. 
Group discounts are available for parties of 10 or more. Call (414) 299-4964 or email MorganH@skylightmusictheare.org
 
For ticket discounts and more information, sign up for Skylight’s email newsletter at www.skylightmusictheatre.org or call the Box Office (414) 291-7800.
Skylight Bar & Bistro 
The Skylight Bar & Bistro is located on the second floor of The Broadway Theatre Center. It is open two hours before each Cabot Theatre performance and features gourmet dining and fine wine by Indulge Wine Room. Reservations for full table service in Skylight Bar & Bistro can be made in advance by calling (414) 291-3773 or email Skylight@getindulge.com. Counter service is available without reservations. 
 
Parking Vouchers
Purchase discounted parking vouchers from the Broadway Theatre Center Box Office for use in the Historic Third Ward parking garage at 212 N. Milwaukee Street (one block east and one block north). Vouchers can be purchased for $5 during normal Box Office hours. Vouchers are valid starting at 5 p.m. for evening performances only. Voucher sales stop 30 minutes before showtime and are not available during intermission. 
 
About Skylight Music Theatre / 60 Years of Presenting the Best in Music Theatre
Skylight is renowned for bringing distinctive, creative approaches to every production. Its mission since 1959: To bring the full spectrum of music theatre works to a wide and diverse audience in celebration of the musical and theatrical arts and their reflection of the human condition. Skylight’s mainstage home is the Cabot Theatre at the Broadway Theatre Center. Based on the design of an Italian opera house and one of Milwaukee’s most beautiful theatres, the intimate Cabot Theatre allows audiences to feel close to the music and action on stage. 
 
Skylight Music Theatre is supported in part by the United Performing Arts Fund, Wisconsin Arts Board and CAMPAC – the Milwaukee County Arts Fund.

Contact Information:

Susan Heymann
(414) 299-4961 | susanh@skylightmusictheatre.org
158 N. Broadway | Milwaukee, WI 53202
skylightmusictheatre.org

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