First Stage Announces its 2016-2017 Season!

First Stage celebrates 30 years of Theater You Never Outgrow– including five captivating world premiere plays for young audiences!

First Stage’s 2016-2017 season:

at the Todd Wehr Theater

Goosebumps the Musical: PHANTOM OF THE AUDITORIUM
October 14 – November 13, 2016             

A world premiere play
Book and Lyrics by John Maclay, Music and Lyrics by Danny Abosch
Produced by special arrangement with GURMAN AGENCY, LLC, New York, NY
™&© Scholastic Inc. SCHOLASTIC, GOOSEBUMPS and associated logos are trademarks and/or registered marks of Scholastic Inc. Based on Goosebumps® Phantom of the Auditorium.
Brooke and Zeke have been cast as the leads in the school's new production of an old play about a...Phantom. Strange things start disrupting rehearsals and they have to wonder: is this someone's idea of a joke? Or is the Phantom real? A silly and spooky adventure ensues that will keep the whole family in suspense until the final curtain! Ideal for adults, teens and children ages seven to sixteen.

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer™: The Musical
November 25 - December 31, 2016

Based on the animated television special “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” and the stage production directed and conceived by Jeff Frank and First Stage. Script adaptation by Robert Penola.
Arrangements and orchestrations by Timothy Splain.
“Rudolph the Red-Nosed reindeer” animated television special adapted from a story by Robert L. May and the song by Johnny Marks, music and lyrics by Johnny Marks. All elements © and ™ under license to Character Arts, LLC.
And if you ever saw it, you would even say it glows! The beloved TV classic Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer soars off the screen and returns to our stage this holiday season.  From fleeing the Abominable Snow Monster to saving Christmas, join Rudolph and his friends, Hermey the Elf and Yukon Cornelius, as their adventures teach us that what makes you different can be what makes you special.  Don’t miss this wonderful holiday tradition that speaks to the little misfit in all of us. Ideal for adults, teens and children ages five to fourteen.

Welcome to Bronzeville
January 13 – February 5, 2017                                    

A world premiere by Sheri Williams Pannell

1957. The heart of Milwaukee’s Bronzeville pulses to the beat of jazz and blues. Everyone expects Michael Jr. to be a deacon like his father. But is this who is he truly meant to be? The local talent show, a famous visitor, and the wisdom and guidance of a community seeking to lift up their young people, help Mike find the path to the man he will become. Join us for this latest installment of The Wisconsin Cycle developed with the input and support of the elders in our community and celebrate the vibrant and rich community that was Milwaukee’s Bronzeville. Ideal for adults, teens and children ages eight to sixteen.

Robin Hood
February 17 – March 12, 2017

A world premiere by Joe Foust and John Maclay
A fresh look at the timeless tale of the legendary hero. When Robin, Little John and Friar Tuck are captured, it falls to Marian and the Merry Men-in-training to come to the rescue. Full of adventure and with laughs aplenty, this new take on a classic tale is suitable for the entire family. Ideal for adults, teens and children ages seven to sixteen.


March 24 – April 9, 2017

Adapted by Julie Jensen
Based on the book by Kathryn Erskine
Winner of the National Book Award
This play was commissioned by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and was first produced at the Kennedy Center during the 2014-2015 season.
Produced by special arrangement with GURMAN AGENCY LLC, New York, NY
Caitlin sees the world in black and white.  Colors are messy, and recess is chaotic. As an 11-year-old on the autism spectrum, Caitlin used to rely on her older brother to help make sense of a world that doesn’t fit her definitions, but now that he’s gone, she’s all on her own. With the support of her advisor, father, and a new reading buddy, Caitlin begins to understand how to embrace the “messiness” of emotions. Soaring with heart and humor, discover how the perseverance of one girl can change a community – and how black and white can always be complemented by a kaleidoscope of colors. Ideal for adults, teens and children ages ten to seventeen.

Junie B. Jones Is Not A Crook
April 28 – June 4, 2017

A play by Allison Gregory
Adapted from the books series by Barbara Park
Produced by special arrangement with Playscripts, Inc.
Based on the books
Junie B. Jones Is Not a Crook and Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren by Barbara Park
Meet the funniest girl in Room Nine – Junie B. Jones! A terrible thing happened to Junie B. —someone took her new black furry mittens! And plus also they kept them! When Junie B. finds a wonderful pen on the floor, she should be allowed to keep it too, because “finders keepers.” There’s also a new boy in school, and he’s the handsomest boy Junie B. has ever seen. Unfortunately, Lucille and That Grace want him for a boyfriend too, and Handsome Warren just thinks Junie B. is a nutball.  Whatever is Junie B. to do? Find out how Junie B. perseveres through her kindergarten conundrums and learns that honesty is the best policy. Ideal for adults, teens and children ages five to nine.

at the Milwaukee Youth Arts Center

Lois Ehlert’s Mole Hill Stories                     
November 5 – 20, 2016

By Alvaro Saar Rios
Adapted from the book  by Lois Ehlert
MOLE HILL STORIES received its world premiere at First Stage, Milwaukee, WI
Inspired by the work of Milwaukee author/illustrator Lois Ehlert, this collaboration with Danceworks returns to First Stage, bringing three of Ehlert’s most famous stories to life – Mole’s Hill, Cucu, and Moon Rope. Journey with Mole as she discovers, with the help of her friends, that there is more to life than one can see at first glance and that our dreams are within reach if we believe. Actors and dancers and live music spin a magical world, and true to Ehlert’s original text – the play makes use of English and Spanish language. Ideal for adults, teens and children ages three to seven.

January 21 – February 19, 2017

A world premiere musical
Adapted from the Dragon and Girl books by Barbara Joosse
By Jeff Frank
Music and Lyrics by The Happy Racers

From the Dragon and Girl series by award-winning Wisconsin author Barbara Joosse comes an enchanting new musical of unexpected friendship between a lonely girl and an even lonelier dragon. Together they embark on a grand adventure to the farthest far away only to face their greatest challenge. With music by The Happy Racers, this show is guaranteed to get your toes tapping and to put a smile on your face. Ideal for adults, teens and children ages three to seven.

at the Milwaukee Youth Arts Center

December 9 – 18, 2016

By William Shakespeare
Two sets of twins separated at birth collide in the same city. Mistaken identities, assumed personas and wild mishaps occur as laughs fly in Shakespeare’s farce about the most outrageous family reunion ever.  Ideal for adults, teens and children ages twelve and up.


March 10 – 19, 2017

A world premiere by Eric Coble
It starts on a Wednesday.  Kids in high school getting the weirdest texts from fellow students they don't know.  What's going on?  And what if it's not people connecting with people via their phones… but phones trying to connect with other phones via their people?  A digital mystery of the mind and heart for the savvy texter.  Ideal for adults, teens and children ages twelve and up.

May 12 – 21, 2017

Adapted by Ian Wooldridge from the book by George Orwell
After revolting against the reign of their negligent human master, the animals of Mr. Jones’s farm create their own ideal society in which all animals are equal and rules are set by democratic vote. It’s all working pretty well, until the allure of power leads the animals to a chilling fate. ANIMAL FARM illustrates how new tyranny replaces old and power corrupts even the noblest of causes. Ideal for adults, teens and children ages twelve and up.

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Family packages to our 2016-17 season go on sale April 4! If you are a current family package holder, log in to to renew online using your renewal source code, or contact the First Stage Box Office at (414) 267-2961.

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