First Stage’s BIG NATE: THE MUSICAL Feb 27 – March 29 Todd Wehr Theater, Marcus Center for the Performing Arts

BigNateLeftFirst Stage’s 2014-2015 season continues with the madcap misadventures of Nate Wright in BIG NATE: THE MUSICAL February 27 – March 29, 2015 at the Marcus Center’s Todd Wehr Theater, located at 929 N. Water Street, downtown Milwaukee.  Tickets can be purchased in person at the Marcus Center box office at 929 N. Water Street, by phone at (414) 273-7206 or online at www.firststage.org

Based on the popular comic strip and book series by Lincoln Peirce, with a captivating score by Chris Youstra and choreography by local favorite Molly Rhode, this outrageously funny musical will rock your world! “Scenic and Video Designer Kristin Ellert our has created a fun, dynamic playground that’s a video game, a pinball machine, and a rock concert rolled into one,” said First Stage Company Manager Jeff Schaetzke who directs the play.

The story, originally commissioned by Michael Bobbitt at Adventure Theatre MTC in Maryland, includes a bit of everything that makes the middle school world go round, including an arch-nemesis, a love interest, struggles to avoid detention and an exciting battle of the bands.

Jeff Schaetzke (Director) Jeff is the company manager at First Stage. He directed THE BEST CHRISTMAS PAGEANT EVER last season, as well as music directing BIG, THE MUSICAL; MISS NELSON IS MISSING! and MY SON PINOCCHIO.  Jeff is very excited to direct BIG NATE: THE MUSICAL and be a part of BIG FISH later this season.  Jeff has also directed music for the Milwaukee Rep, Skylight Music Theatre, and Marquette University.  Other credits include Milwaukee Chamber Theatre’s THE DALY NEWS, two seasons at American Players Theatre, and an 18-year relationship at Dominican High School.  Jeff is a proud graduate of North Central College.

The adult actor cast of BIG NATE: THE MUSICAL includes Molly Rhode (Member of Actor’s Equity Association) as Mrs. Czerwicki/Ensemble; Rana Roman (Member of Actor’s Equity Association) as Mrs Godfrey/Ensemble; Rick Pendzich as Coach John/Dad; Alex Campea as Mr. Galvin/Ensemble; Elyse Edelman as Mrs. Hickson and Chris Gilbert as Mr. Staples/Ensemble.

Young performer roles are double cast.  Young performers in the Mollusk Cast are Darius Gaskin (as Nate) from Greenfield; Ben Kramer (as Francis) from Fox Point; Kaden Rhodes (as Teddy) from Waukesha; Teddy Esten (as Artur) and Catherin Gwidt (as Ellen/Tabitha) from Cedarburg; Elizabeth Stawski (as Gina) from St. Francis; Ellie Kumer (as Jenny) from Brookfield; Gabe Smith (Calvin) and Isha Jayadev (Marcie) from New Berlin; Kamani Graham (Randy) from Milwaukee; Mary Elizabeth Stern (Sarah) from Wauwatosa; Celeste Hermans (Paige) from Saukville and Lindsay Gleason (Debbie) from Oak Creek.

Young performers in the Rainbow Cast are Ben Kindler (as Nate) from Brookfield; Jonathan Neustifter (as Francis) from Racine; Joseph Mitchell (as Teddy), Ellie Taft (as Ellen/Tabitha), Alec Wellenstein (Calvin) and Julia Buskirk (Sarah) from Whitefish Bay; Andrew Lynch (as Artur) from Greendale; Chantae Miller (as Gina) and Regan Carter (Marcie) from Waukesha; Claire Holtebeck (as Jenny) from Saukville; Samuel Gist (Randy) from Glendale; Alayna Perry (Paige) from Milwaukee; and Taylor Vraney (Debbie) from Menomonee Falls.

The Artistic Staff for BIG NATE: THE MUSICAL includes: Molly Rhode (Choreographer); Kristin Ellert (Scenic Designer); Jesse Kluge (Lighting Designer); Brian Meyers (Music Director);Jason Orlenko (Costume Designer); Matt Whitmore (Sound Designer); Melissa L. Wanke (Stage Manager); and Cara Cook (Assistant Stage Manager).

Tickets for BIG NATE: THE MUSICAL start at $14.50.  Tickets may be purchased at

www.firststage.org or through the Marcus Center box office, in person at 929 N. Water Street in downtown Milwaukee or by phone (414) 273-7206 or toll free at (888) 612-3500. The number for TDD (for deaf and hard of hearing patrons) is (414) 273-3080.

Special events for BIG NATE: THE MUSICAL

Opening Night Reception
Friday, February 27
Following the opening night performance, First Stage invites all patrons to attend the Opening Night Reception at the Milwaukee Youth Arts Center, located one mile from the Marcus Center at 325 W. Walnut Street.  Patrons can mix and mingle with the cast and crew of BIG NATE: THE MUSICAL while enjoying refreshments, courtesy of First Stage.