Are you going to come see The Tempest?


Well, if the answer is obvious, then you need to become a Shakespeare in the Park Champion.

You see the value.  You understand how exciting and important this is.

Spread the word.

A Shakespeare in the Park Champion is an individual who not only raises their hand and says,” Yes! this is good and I’m going”  but also will commit to inviting at least one other human being who would not normally attend.

Consider your circle of friends, family and acquaintances.  Other than those you know would love the experience anyway, who can you invite?

Remember, it’s free!

There are several ways to be a Champion…

  • Tell them about the amazing cast and crew on board for The Tempest.  Send them to this link.
  • Forward the link to “How to RSVP” found here.
  • Arrange to go together.  Remember, it’s free!

We’d love it if you let us know so that we can thank you for your efforts, but don’t let that stop you.  Anyone can be a Shakespeare in the Park Champion at any time.

Together, we can bring free Shakespeare in the Park to our great community.

Coming Soon! YouTube Videos!

Free Shakespeare in the Park is just around the corner, but there’s lots of prep to be done.  To keep you up to date on progress, tell you a bit about the production, and give you a look at behind the scenes, we’re working on a series of short videos.

These podcasts will be posted on the Optimist Theatre YouTube channel — which you can find at  Feel free to check it out anytime.  If you want to be notified when a new video is posted, just subscribe.  It’s free, it’s easy and it doesn’t trigger any kind of spam.

If you’ve got any suggestions for video topics, just chime in. Email Ron Fry at with your burning Tempest wishes.

In Ars Veritas,

Susan Scot Fry

Announcing the cast and crew for The Tempest

“We are such stuff as dreams are made on …”

The dream is Free Shakespeare in the Park.  And this summer, for the first time ever in the Festival City of Milwaukee, the dream will come true.  Outdoors in the courtyard of Alverno College, Optimist Theatre will produce The Tempest, Shakespeare’s masterpiece of magic, humor, forgiveness, and redemption. The production will be completely free to the audience, but of the highest creative caliber – simple, fierce, and imaginative.  Directed by Ron Scot Fry, Optimist Theatre’s Artistic Director, the cast includes…

James Pickering*. . . Prospero


Angela Iannone* . . . Ariel

Tom Reed* . . . Caliban

Jocelyn Fitz-Gibbon . . .  Miranda

Andrew Voss . . . Ferdinand

Jacque Troy . . . Antonio

Neil Haven . . . Sebastian

T. Stacy Hicks . . . King Alonso

Flora Coker . . . Gonzalo

Ken Williams . . . Stephano / Mariners

David Flores . . . Trinculo / Mariners

Master . . . Andrew Parchman

Boatswain . . . Tommy Stevens

The company ensemble aka “The Tribe” . . .  Amie Losi, Allie Babich, Na Tasha Carr, Grace DeWolff, Cassondra Gresl, Trevor Olds, Tamsyn Reed, Eric Schabla, Tommy Stevens, Andrew Parchman, and Sara Zientek.

Managing Director . . . Susan Scot Fry

Dramaturg and Assistant Director . . . ML Cogar

Lighting Design . . . Jason Fassl

Stage Manager . . . Melissa Wanke*

Production Manager . . . Alan Piotrowicz

Tribe Costumer . . . Mel Benson

Costume Coordinator . . . Alex Tacoma

Original music composed by T.J. Hull and played by The Full Fathom Four, which include Hull, Amanda Caretta-Hull, Emily Rhode-Terrien, and Jeff Sturgeon

Puppet Design and Construction . . . Milwaukee Mask and Puppet Theatre, Artistic Director Max Samson

Managing Director Assistant Intern . . . Na Tasha Carr

Stage Management Intern . . . Kate Krakow

Podcast Filmographer . . . Christina Mata

Displays Artist . . . Estephanie Mendoza

The Tempest will run June 18 – 20 and 24 – 27.  “Milwaukee has incredible talent, and Shakespeare in the Park is a great opportunity to showcase that talent,” said Fry.  “We have the privilege of premiering this project with a brilliant ensemble of actors, musicians, and visual artists.  I’m looking forward to a rich, collaborative creative process.”

Optimist Theatre is a 501(c)3 non-profit theatre company.  Shakespeare in the Park is made possible by Alverno College, a Creative Communities Grant from the Wisconsin Arts Board and individual donor contributions.  For more information on Optimist Theatre, free Shakespeare in the Park or The Tempest, contact Susan Scot Fry, Managing Director at or 262-498-5777 or visit the Optimist Theatre website at


Susan Fry

2010 N. 1st Street

Milwaukee, WI  53212


*  Member of Actor’s Equity.

updated 5-19-10

We had an amazing casting meeting last night…

… for The Tempest. Tomorrow (Monday) I start making phone calls.

This morning, I’m reading from a new book of poetry – a Valentine’s gift – One Hundred Poems From the Japanese, edited by Kenneth Rexroth, and I’d like to share one with you…

I go out of the darkness

Onto a road of darkness

Lit only by the far off

Moon on the edge of the mountains.

Kuraki yori

Kuraki michi ni zo

Irinu beki

Haruka ni terase

Yama no hi no tsuki.

by Izumi

At first blush, this poem may seem ominous, but I feel it’s hope.  You know that the path is dark and unknown, but you keep going.  See the beacon of promise and let it draw us forward.  It’s about being on the path as much as it is about attaining that edge of the mountain light.

I look forward to our journey together.


Susan Scot Fry

Brave New World Article on!

Matt Konkel just posted a wonderful article about Optimist Theatre, Shakespeare in the Park and the Brave New World fundraiser.

There’s a link here.

Hope to see you all there on Saturday!


Turn the corner from fans to patrons

“I need another person to work coats.”

That was the thought in my head this morning when I woke up.  No deep meaningful epiphanies.  Just business.

To make Shakespeare in the Park actually happen, we need a whole lot of people to come to the fundraiser on the 30th, so we’re optimistically prepping for the best possible scenario.

We’ve got about 30 dedicated, brilliant and highly attractive volunteers on board who’s jobs will be to ensure that everything goes smoothly and everyone has a great time.  Everyone’s got an assignment or two.  We’re beefed up at potential bottlenecks, with back-ups just in case — so shifting someone to coats is no big deal.

Now, how do we fill the hall with enough party-goers to keep these volunteers busy?  That’s the challenge!  How can we help people who understand the importance of free Shakespeare in the Park for Milwaukee turn the corner from fans to patrons of the arts?  Two words…

Personal Invitation

(now, for some more words…)  One-on-one personal invitations.  It takes getting people talking.  Get the words out into the air.  Transform a thought or idea into reality by giving it life.  Give it life by saying it out loud to another person.  Tell another human being that you care about something.

It’s Magic.

The most significant thing I can do today is ask people to talk about Shakespeare in the Park and the Brave New World fundraiser.  Please tell your friends and family about it.  Tell them that there’s a party on January 30th.  Send them to the Optimist Theatre website for details.  Make it even easier and email them the Optimist Theatre webpage

Let’s see how we do today.


Susan Scot Fry

No Fear Shakespeare

There’s this lovely website called “No Fear Shakespeare”.  I started reading their side-by-side (Shakespeare’s text and a modern translation) text for The Tempest and found it to be non-simplistically, brain-candy enjoyable.

I say Hey!  Take the Fear out of Shakespeare!  Free Shakespeare for Everyone!  And if this helps, I also say AMEN!

Check out The Tempest at

What a Brave New World.


Susan Scot Fry

Jeanna Salzer is on 88.9 at 5:30 This Evening

Catch The Jeanna Salzer Trio live this evening on Milwaukee radio station 88.9.

Jeanna has a rich, soulful style which won her recognition as the Best Acoustic Musician and the Best Vocalist – Female in the Shepherd Express “Best of Milwaukee 2009″ issue.

AND, she’s a headliner at the Brave New World fundraiser on January 30th.


Announcing… Angela Iannone as Ariel!

Optimist Theatre is excited to welcome Ms. Angela Iannone to the cast of the Tempest in the role of Ariel.  Sparks are already starting to fly between Angela and Jim Pickering, as Prospero.  Like a moth to the flame – I know if I get too close, I’ll ignite.  But, what a way to go!

Shameless Plug Time…

The addition of Milwaukee theatre royalty like Angela to the cast is inspiring in so many ways.  I’m even more driven to make the dream real, and that takes your financial support.  I invite you to help us move beyond the thrill of dreaming and brainstorming to reality. Join us at the fundraiser on January 30th and become part of …

Such stuff as dreams are made on

The Tempest Act 4, scene 1

In Ars Veritas,

Susan Scot Fry

Grateful Managing Director

Optimist Theatre

Find the Best People and Get Out of Their Way

I posted today in another blog called “A Year of Significance” that my goal for January 4, 2010 is to find our leaders — specifically for the upcoming Brave New World fundraiser.  Yes, that’s pretty ambitious, but I’ve already begun and have faith that it will happen.  Yes, it will take me more than just today to do. Yes, it’s worth the effort.

So many of the Optimist Theatre goals — for both the company AND Shakespeare in the Park — focus on community involvement.  Our work is a collaborative effort.  It’s not the only way to go about these things, but it is the approach we prefer.  Utopian?  Why not?

We have a unique blend of optimism, faith in people and practical experience to draw from.  It’s the approach that worked successfully when Ron and I ran entertainment for the Bristol Renaissance Faire and for the couple of years at the Renaissance Pleasure Faire.  Let’s see how this works for Shakespeare in the Park.

Hopes are high.


Susan Scot Fry

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