2012-01-04 13:56

Are you ready for some “double, double toil and trouble”?  Well, “screw your courage to the sticking place” and get your tickets now for Optimist Theatre’s …

“Something Wicked This Way Comes

 Saturday, February 4, 2012, Optimist Theatre hosts our third annual winter fundraising party.  This year we celebrate the 2012 summer production of free Shakespeare in the Park …


By William Shakespeare

Macbeth will feature Mr. Tom Reed* as Macbeth, Ms. Marti Gobel* as Lady Macbeth, Mr. James Pickering* as Duncan and, with your help, is slated for June and July of 2012.  Whether there are 2 or 3 weekends of performances will be determined in large part by how well this fundraiser goes.


The Details:

"Something Wicked This Way Comes" will be held…

Saturday, February 4, 2012
7:00 pm to 10:00 pm

Alverno College
The Teaching, Learning and Technology Center
3900 S. 43rd Street
Milwaukee, WI

Tickets are only $35.00 each.  To purchase tickets
Please CLICK HERE to visit the Optimist Theatre webpage and
select the Add to Cart button.

$20 per ticket is tax deductible.

Unable to join the fun that night, but you want free Shakespeare in the Park to happen? Please consider a 100% tax deductible donation also via the Optimist Theatre support webpage.

"Something Wicked This Way Comes" will be a delightful evening of fiendish-fun including…

  • Tarot readings by “Tarot Politico”, columnist for The Huffington Post.
  • Your Fairy Godmother Deosil  discovering your color aura or reading your palm
  • Numerology readings with Fairy Godmother Widdershins
  • The generous riches of The Milk of Human Kindness Silent Auction.  One of the best silent auctions in Milwaukee has something for everyone and for every budget.  Bid on great items such as airline tickets to anywhere and a signed, first edition of Christopher Buehlman’s blockbuster, award-winning novel “Those Across The River”
  • Sweet and savory snacks and a no-host bar
  • Your chance to cast your vote for the 2012 Shakespeare in the Park seating reservation system you would most like to use

Stage Entertainment featuring…



  • Comedy by Optimist Theatre favorite, Mr. Phil Johnson, juggler, ropewalker, foolish mortal.  Phil’s sublime, physical and musical comedy is a huge hit with Optimists every year and we’re extremely excited to bring him to Milwaukee again.  www.philipearl.com
  • Music by Milwaukee’s own Mr. John Sieger of Tune du Jour.  “One of our local treasures” – onMilwaukee.com.  “The man oozes soul, and his talent is not in question.” – ExpressMilwaukee.com.    www.johnsieger.wordpress.com/
  • Alverno Colleges’ Chamber Choir and Flute Ensemble.  Featured around town at venues including MAM After Dark, both groups were favorites of the pre-performance picnic crowd during 2011’s production of Twelfth Night.

Thank you for again making the dream of free Shakespeare in the Park a reality.  We couldn’t do it without you.

See you there!

* Member of Actors Equity Association

Inquiries?  Please call or email Susan Fry, Managing Director at 262-498-5777 or SSFry@OptimistTheatre.org

2011-01-03 19:25

Last summer Milwaukee experienced, for the first time, free of charge to the audience …


Audiences loved it.

Saw the performance today – magnificent …  Hope you are able to find the means to continue this venue.  We drove an hour to get there and would do it over and over again.  Thanks to everyone involved….

- Miles & Barbara Capron

I think you might want to take a moment to consider the joy that your efforts generated. Prospero may have discarded his staff, but the final spell was cast by Optimists, and hundreds of grateful theater-goers and artists are still experiencing its uplifting charms! Join them.

Lee Ernst

Critics loved it.

Optimist Theatre’s ‘Tempest’ a profile in stage courage, heart

- Headline, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

The Optimist Theatre’s performance of “The Tempest” gave the state an intoxicating taste of free Shakespeare outdoors.

- From “Wisconsin Theatre Evolving”, Mike Fischer, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

So we’re doing it again, and we want you to be part of it.


We invite you to enjoy an evening of entertainment at a fundraiser to benefit free Shakespeare in the Park that we’re calling …



“If music be the food of love, play on!”

Twelfth Night, Act I Scene i


Saturday, February 12, 2011

Reception at 7:00 pm / Show at 8:00 pm

Alverno College in the Teaching, Learning and Technology Center

3400 S. 43rd Street – Milwaukee, WI  53234

Parking is free and plentiful


Event admission is $35 per person ($20 per person tax deductible)

To purchase your admission please visit CLICK HERE to visit our Paypal page …

If you are unable to attend, please consider a 100% tax deductible donation by CLICKING HERE.

Entertainment Highlights

Our evening of Play will include a fabulous silent auction, snacks and drinks, snippets from Twelfth Night (watch for Mr. James Pickering* and Mr. Tom Reed*), and entertainment from:

Molly Rhode and Chase Stoeger From the Skylight Opera to American Folklore Theatre, Molly and Chase are perennial audie nce favorites.  For “Play On!”, they bring wit, character, and show-biz style to an entertaining variety of show tunes and comic songs.


Radio WHT – Frequently heard on WMSE 91.7FM and seen at the Alchemist Theatre, Radio WHT brin gs contemporary laughs to “olde tyme” radio drama.  www.radiowht.com


Women who Can’t Sing - The Tempest’s spellbinding Ariel, Angela Iannone*, will be joined by Tami Workentin and pianist David Bonofiglio for musical numbers that make great theatre.

Patrick Schmitz – Master of improv, sketch comedy, and stand-up, Patrick will be our Master of Ceremonies.  In addition to keeping things moving and making us laugh, he’ll run a series of games to challenge your trivia knowledge and other skills.  Big laughs and small prizes are guaranteed.  “Play On!” indeed!

Doktor Kaboom! – Played by national performing artist David Epley, Doktor Kaboom will play with science, creating a series of entertaining, explosive, and occasionally successful experiments.  Watch for Doktor Kaboom on his DVD release “Don’t Try This at Home” and an upcoming graphic novel.   www.doktorkaboom.com

To learn more and purchase tickets for “Play On!”, visit OptimistTheatre.org, or contact Managing Director Susan Scot Fry at SSFry@OptimistTheatre.org or 262/498-5777 or Artistic Director, Ron Scot Fry at RSFry@OptimistTheatre.org or 262/498-9788.

Have a brilliant evening and thank you for helping bring free Shakespeare in the Park to Milwaukee.



Susan Scot Fry

Managing Director

* Members of Actors Equity Association

2011-01-03 09:14

I suppose there would have been a poetry of sorts to start Twelfth Night auditions on the 6th of January, but we just can’t wait.

Looks like we’ve got a full audition roster today.  Last year, I had no idea what to expect.  As the cycle starts to repeat I’m going to go out on a limb and make some predictions.

Prediction 1:  Personal cognitive dissonance will set in as I get to experience professionally run auditions and I’m not the one running them.  All I need to do is show up with my note pad and this handy expanding file for keeping track of headshots and resumes.  Wow.  Thank you, Mr. Tom Reed.  You’re amazing.

Prediction 2:  My mind will be blown by the depth and range of the talent we will see.  I love and admire my friends in the Chicagoland theatre world, but will happily stack up Milwaukee area talent.

Prediction 3:  I will again be amazed at Tom Reed’s near photographic memory of audition pieces.  After watching numerous actors and actresses, there’s that delightful part of the process where you start mixing and matching for the best cast combinations.  This is when I have to pull out headshots, resumes and notes to refresh my memories.  Not, Tom.  He’s got everyone in his head and it’s almost like magic.

Looking forward to it.


Susan Scot Fry

2010-12-31 21:19

If music be the food of love, play on!

Twelfth Night, Act 1, scene 1

Mark your calendars – Save the date – It’s party time.

Optimist Theatre will be holding our winter fundraiser on Saturday, February 12, 2011.  The theme is “Play On!” and as the name suggests, the focus is on fun.

The official invitation will be sent out to everyone on the email list the week of January 2.  If you aren’t on it, drop me an email at SSFry@OptimistTheatre.org and I’ll make sure you’re added.

Happy New Years!


Susan Scot Fry

2010-12-23 19:43

Our good friends at Bunny Gumbo are cooking up another installment of their venerable tradition, “Combat Theatre”.  In an act of sheer cowardice, Optimist Theatre’s Artistic Director, Ron Scot Fry, will once again be directing.  Cowardice?  It was either direct or act and acting is far too intimidating.  The actors in “CT” all deserve purple hearts.

Anyhoo…  Here’s the blurb with all the info you need to know – straight from the Bunny Gumbo mouth, Mr. Jim Fletcher.

Hope to see you all there.

It’s the Year of the Bunny, baby!

2011 marks the Year of the Bunny and your favorite theatre company isn’t one to let something like that pass by lightly.  Bunny Gumbo starts the year off right by presenting not one, but two Combat Theatres. Our regular version of Combat takes place at the Milwaukee Youth Arts Center on January 14th and 15th, but a week earlier, you can catch the high school version, Combat Boot Camp at the Waukesha Civic Theatre on January 8th

For the uninitiated, Combat Theatre challenges eight playwrights, eight directors and 30 actors to bring 16 original scripts from initial concept to performance before a live audience – in only 24 hours.  Topics, locations, directors and actors are all, literally, “pulled from a hat.”  There is no advanced preparation, no warning, no mercy – just instinct, ability and raw talent on display. The outcome of the process is a wide variety of 15-minute works that range from admirable to brilliant.  And while the Boot Campers get slightly longer to prepare, they are no slouches when it comes to entertainment.

Combat Theatre is Friday and Saturday, January 14th and 15th, at 8 pm at the Milwaukee Youth Arts Center, 325 W. Walnut (on the corner of Walnut and MLK.)  Tickets are $18 each and are available at the door only.  Or buy the weekend package and see both nights for only $30.

Combat Boot Camp is Saturday, January 8th, at 7 pm at the Waukesha Civic Theatre, 264 West Main Street, Waukesha.  Tickets are only $8.  Call their box office at 262-547-0708 or visit their web site: www.waukeshacivictheatre.org

Combat Theatre involves the best writers, directors, and actors Milwaukee has to offer.  Those wishing to attend are advised to arrive early as previous installments of Combat have sold out quickly.

The Milwaukee Youth Arts Center is a collaboration of First Stage Children’s Theatre and Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra.

For more information about Bunny Gumbo, write to bunnygumbo@wi.rr.com or visit our website: www.bunnygumbo.com

2010-12-02 18:56

William Shakespeare’s


Directed by Ms. Laura Gordon*

With Mr. James Pickering** as Malvolio

To be performed outdoors on the campus of Alverno College in June 2011.   Exact dates are TBD.



Our Associate Artistic Director, Mr. Tom Reed, has again arranged for audition space at Alverno College and is organizing all those details. If you’re interested in receiving audition information, please drop him a line TReed@OptimistTheatre.org.



Shakespeare in the Park and Optimist Theatre merchandise is now available via our online store.

Please visit us at www.printfection.com/OptimistTheatre and peruse to your heart’s content. Hoodies and tote bags and coffee mugs, oh my!  Proceeds all go to support free Shakespeare in the Park for Milwaukee.


The original musical soundtrack from The Tempest is available on CD for only $8 – which includes shipping! Please drop a line to SSFry@OptimistTheatre.org to order your copy and relive the magic.

Digital Download of the whole album is available via CD Baby.  Click on http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/fullfathomfour to preview all the tracks and to order your own copy.


Shakespeare in the Park is a joyous gift to the great city of Milwaukee, WI.  Thank you for being part of it.

Susan Scot Fry

*Member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society
**Member of Actor’s Equity Association

2010-11-05 09:39

Shakespeare in the Park is a labor of commitment and our love.  It is the distillation of all the good we can help bring to the Milwaukee area and deserves the life that a couple thousand people have already poured into it.  It is a newborn with  potential beyond that of any one individual.  It is not me, Ron, Tom, TJ, ML, Jim, Amanda, Jenni… any one person.  It’s you and me and all of us.

Shakespeare in the Park is extremely expensive and Ron and I are out of personal capitol to put into it.  We have fundraising ideas and are on the verge of kicking those into gear.  This is Part A of What’s Next.

Shakespeare in the Park needs feet on the ground and hands in the mixing bowl.  Many people have said, “I want to help.”  Email me at SSFry@OptimistTheatre.org if you still mean it.  We’ve got some stuff for you to do.  Don’t be afraid.  I will bet you’ll like it.  The coming cold months, when we start to hunker indoors, are the perfect time to get directly involved.


Susan Scot Fry

2010-08-24 12:03

Greetings Optimists!

Tonight, we have another round of “What Play Should We Do Next Year?”  Most days, that’s a great game to play on it’s own merits, but tonight might just answer that question.

As Managing Director, my perspective is different than that of the creative team of Ron, Tom, Jim and ML.  I speak Artist and love a spirited debate, but my required input now revolves more around, “Yeah, I think we could sell that.”

Early days, I was in the thick of the creative decisions of this sort.  It was great.  I loved it.  It’s tiring.  Now, I have the luxury of getting the heck out of the way of the professionals.  And kibitzing.  I’ve gotta be me.

I’m really looking forward to tonight’s discussion.  We’ve narrowed it down to 2 possibilities and are even starting to consider who we will ask to direct.  With the calibre of people we’re talking about, that’s almost as mind-bendingly cool as deciding which play.

Stay tuned…


Susan Scot Fry

2010-06-28 02:09

It’s 1:00 in the morning, I’ve got a car full of Tribe leather and Ron’s delivering the Full Fathom Four piano.  The cast of The Tempest is might still be at Omega nomming on burgers and french toast.  I just discovered a surprise donation in the box.

Set the alarm for 7 am so we can get back to Alverno for strike tomorrow.

Life’s good.

2010-06-26 10:48

In the mixed blessing category, I need to highlight a snag that some of our patrons for The Tempest have encountered…

Summerfest Traffic.

(insert the appropriate ominous music here)

At points, music fans on their merry way to the Big Gig are using the same routes as those wonderful folke on their way to Alverno College and so we had a few people show up late to the performance last night.  Everyone got in, but…

Please give yourself EXTRA TIME to get to Alverno.  If you arrive early, you’ll simply have more time to relax on the grass and enjoy your picnic and a beverage.

See you tonight!


Susan Scot Fry

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