Milwaukee, WI – June 15, 2022 – First Stage, one of the nation’s leading theaters for young people and families, is delighted to announce the third season of their Amplify BIPOC Play Series beginning August 13, 2022. In support of First Stage’s ongoing commitment to the development of new work, with an intentional focus on lifting voices of underrepresented playwrights and artists, this season’s Amplify Series will be presented as readings of three new plays, to be held at the Milwaukee Youth Arts Center and other community locations. A talkback will follow each reading, allowing audiences opportunities to share their voices with the playwright and artists – helping shape the development of the plays and potential future productions at First Stage. Commented First Stage Artistic Director Jeff Frank, “We’re excited to continue our investment in new play development and in lifting up the voices of underrepresented artists. We also look forward to engaging our audiences in conversation about the work as we consider selections for future seasons.”
The Amplify Series launched virtually in the spring of 2021 during the pandemic and featured the world premiere virtual productions of COPPER HORNS IN WATER by First Stage alum Ty Defoe and UNMUTED by First Stage Resident Playwright Alvaro Saar Rios and composer Deborah Wicks La Puma. A second Amplify Series was offered virtually in the fall of 2021 and included the world premiere virtual productions of HOW TO ACTUALLY GRADUATE IN A VIRTUAL WORLD by Nikkole Salter, STEP KIDS by Tyrone L. Robinson and Postell Pringle and THE TALE OF LA LLORONA AS TOLD BY CONSUELO CHAVEZ by José Casas. These virtual productions were all well received, both critically and with audiences, and reflected First Stage’s commitment to commissioning work by Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) whose voices offer the organization an opportunity to expand its artistic horizons and develop its audience’s perspective. All productions were offered for free to viewing and in-person audiences.
First Stage will again offer the 2022/23 Amplify Series at no cost to attendees, but registration will be required. For additional information, please go to: firststage.org/events-
2022/23 AMPLIFY BIPOC PLAY SERIES
By Shá Cage
Based on the book Hidden Human Computers: The Black Women of NASA by Sue Bradford Edwards and Duchess Harris. Published by ABDO Publishing, Minneapolis, MN.
Copyright © 2017
Directed by Samantha D. Montgomery
Presented as part of the Milwaukee Black Theater Festival
Saturday, August 13, 2022 at 1 p.m. & 3:30 p.m.
Milwaukee Youth Arts Center
Sunday August 14, 2002 at 1 p.m.
“It doesn’t matter what you look like, what your size is, what your color is. You can be anything you want to, but you do have to work at it,” says Annie Easley’s mother to her young daughter. In the 1950s and ’60s, the black women of NASA fought against racial and gender discrimination for a place on the leading edge of math, science and technology. Be inspired as we tell the stories of how these women were influenced as young girls to eventually make critical contributions that launched U.S. astronauts into space and returned them safely back to Earth. For families with young people ages 7 and up.
From Jeff: “This remarkable play by Shá Cage celebrates the brilliance and creativity of these young girls as they break barriers, conquer the seemingly impossible and become the women whose work in mathematics and engineering would help make space exploration possible.”
FRANKIE: THE UNTOLD STORY OF A GURL FRANKENSTEIN
By José Casas
Originally Commissioned by Florida Studio Theatre
Saturday October 15, 2022 at 1 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.
Milwaukee Youth Arts Center
Sunday October 16, 2022 at 3:30 p.m.
Inspired by Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein, playwright José Casas transforms this timeless story through the prism of Francesca Frankenstein, a brilliant young girl who, in her quest for a friend, plans a one-of-a-kind project for the school science fair. Original, thought-provoking, and filled with humor and heart, discover what happens when Francesca’s project literally comes to life in this bilingual play. For families with young people ages 10 and up.
From Jeff: “Originally commissioned by Florida Studio Theatre, First Stage is thankful to be a part of the development of this new script by our friend José Casas (CHRISTMASTOWN COMES TO FIRST STAGE, THE TALE OF LA LLORONA AS TOLD BY CONSEULO CHAVEZ). We’re excited to hear what audiences think.”
THE FORGOTTEN GIRL
By India Hill Brown
Adapted by Idris Goodwin
Directed by Jon Royal
Thursday, March 30, 2023 at 7 p.m.
Milwaukee Youth Arts Center
On a cold winter night, Iris and her best friend, Daniel, play in the freshly fallen snow in the woods when they stumble upon the gravestone of a young girl, Avery Moore. Strange things begin to happen, and Iris and Daniel research the area to find answers. They learn of their town’s history of segregation and become determined to restore Avery’s grave and pay proper respect for her and others buried there. A ghostly tale with a historical twist, this empowering tale that examines the connection of past and present, friendship and forgiveness. For families with young people ages 10 and up.
From Jeff: “Browsing the Niche Book Bar website, I came across this book and immediately fell in love and reached out about acquiring the dramatic rights. Excited to have nationally recognized playwright Idris Goodwin adapt this ghost story/mystery that is also grounded in the reckonings of our social history. A powerful examination of friendship, those who are overlooked and the price of both.”