Thursday, December 10, 2015


In conjunction with Windfall Theatre’s February Milwaukee premiere of the award winning Pulitzer Prize nominated play SONS OF THE PROPHET by Stephen Karam, Windfall is sponsoring thru Gathr Films an exclusive screening of the critically acclaimed new animated feature film
The Prophet, by celebrated Lebanese author Kahlil Gibran, is among the most popular volumes of poetry ever written, selling over 100 million copies in forty languages since its publication in 1923. Gibran's timeless verses have been given enchanting new form in this painterly cinematic adventure about freedom and the power of human expression.
This breathtaking animated feature, produced and spearheaded by Salma Hayek, was an official selection at Cannes and made its North American premiere at Toronto International Film Festival. Written and directed by Roger Allers (The Lion King), the film intersperses Gibran's elegant poetry within stunning animated sequences by filmmakers Tomm Moore (The Secret of Kells, Song of the Sea), Nina Paley (Sita Sings the Blues), Bill Plympton (Guide Dog), and a host of award-winning animators from around the world. Set in a Mediterranean sea-side village, Kamila (Salma Hayek) cleans house for exiled artist and poet Mustafa (Liam Neeson), but the more difficult job is keeping her free-spirited young daughter, Almitra, (Quvenzhané Wallis) out of trouble. The three embark on a journey meant to end with Mustafa's return home – but first they must evade the authorities who fear that the truth in his words will incite rebellion. Featuring music from Damien Rice, Glen Hansard and Yo-Yo Ma.
Please reserve your $10 ticket today!
Those who attend Kahlil Gibran’s THE PROPHET at the Oriental Theater on Tuesday, January 12 at 7pm are eligible to receive a $10.00 ticket to Windfall Theatre’s production of
Sons of the Prophet by Stephen Karam February 19- March 5. 
(Tickets subject to availability. Please call Windfall Theatre’s box office at 414.332.3963 for more information.)
Windfall Theatre presents
   Joseph Douaihy, distantly related to Kahlil Gibran, copes with diagnosing his own 
   mysterious illness, caring for his brother and aging uncle while negotiating a new romance
   with Timothy a reporter covering the circumstances of Joseph’s father’s death.
(Mature subject matter and language for audiences ages 18 and over)

Friday, October 9, 2015

Friends of Windfall Theatre
Please join us for
by Henrik Ibsen
Adapted by Maureen Kilmurry and the Windfall Theatre Cast
from the 1891 William Archer translation.
To lay to rest rumors about the depraved behavior of her late husband, Helene Alving is on the verge of dedicating an orphanage in memory of him. She has built the orphanage with Captain Alving’s money so that her son Oswald will not inherit anything from his father. Her plans unravel as ghosts from the past emerge and long kept secrets and lies are exposed. Banned as shocking and lewd when it was written in 1881, yet influential and important to GB Shaw, Thomas Hardy and Henry James, Ibsen’s GHOSTS shined a stark light on the hypocrisy of the day and society’s oppression of the human spirit. Ironically, those societal ghosts still walk in our world today. Don’t miss this poignant and powerful play!

Ben George, Charles Hanel, Samantha Martinson,
Joe Picchetti, Carol Zippel

Maureen Kilmurry

Dylan Elhai

TICKETS $17.00!  ($3 off the ticket price!)

Guarantee your $17.00 seats today by purchasing tickets at
Friday 10/9 and Saturday 10/10 
enter event discount code: FFG17

All Windfall performances are at 8pm
At Village Church Arts, 130 E. Juneau
Windfall Theatre Box Office: (414) 332 3963 

Shepherd Express Review
The Intensity of Ibsen
'Ghosts' onstage at Windfall Theater

Windfall Theatre chases a challenging gravity at the beginning of this season as it presents Henrik Ibsen’s weighty family drama, Ghosts. Carol Zippel is resolute as Mrs. Alving, a family matriarch who is trying to put to rest certain sinister shadows from her family’s past.

Joe Picchetti casts a hauntingly deep energy into the role of her artist son Oswald who has returned home suffering from an ominous disease. There is a passion at the heart of Picchetti’s performance. The character’s infirmity doesn’t hold him back from a feisty interaction with a pastor who is helping the family with certain business affairs. The pastor is played with elegantly troubled poise by Ben George, who conjures an admirable amount of authority onstage even when he’s not speaking a word. Samantha Martinson is given quite a bit more to communicate nonverbally in the role of Mrs. Alving’s maid. Martinson plays a very strong and articulate person who must work in subtlety and clever planning to navigate her way through the undesirable options that have been presented to her since birth. Martinson defines the role quite well, giving her just the right amount of fire and passion underneath the precise layer of formality necessary for a domestic servant. 

It’s a cozy space that Windfall inhabits. Much of the intensity of the drama is brought to the stage by proximity. Silences and sighs grow to fill the entire space in an organic way. Director Maureen Kilmurry has developed a production that lives just as much in the space between actors as it does in the tension between them. Through Oct. 10 at Village Church Arts on 130 E. Juneau Ave. For tickets, call 414-332-3963.

Milwaukee Examiner Review
"Ghosts" at Windfall Theatre
By Jeff Grygny, Milwaukee Examiner

It's not at all surprising that Ghosts is so seldom performed. This 1881 play by Henrik Ibsen broke ground for realism in many ways—and it is also one of the most monumentally depressing dramas ever written. Smothering under both rigid social norms and the dismal Norwegian climate, its characters conceal desperate secrets. Yet miraculously, Windfall Theatre's crystal-clear production offers an evening of gripping, stimulating theater.

Ibsen was the Lars Van Trier of his day: innovative and contrarian, his settings are as tightly focused as any Dogme film, eschewing lyricism in favor of clear-sighted verity; he challenged conventions while scandalizing both the public and the critics (one of Ibsen's critics called the play "a festering wound"). The first copies of Ghosts were returned to the printer: the booksellers were too ashamed to carry them; and the play's first actual production was, improbably, in Chicago—performed in Norwegian by a company of forward-thinking émigrés. For all that, Ghosts is very much a product of its time: though it dared to bring up the forbidden topic of venereal disease, its tragic outcome could only have occurred in a world before the discovery of antibiotics. By depicting forbidden subjects in such a vivid, unblinking way, detailing the emotional and spiritual toll they take, Ibsen blazed the trail for countless issue dramas, determined to shine light into the secret corners of society.

It's remarkable how little scandalous material there actually is in the dialog: these characters wouldn't be caught dead saying out loud things like "The captain got the serving girl pregnant," much less whisper the dreaded word "syphilis" (which is the vehicle for the doom that arrives like a Greek tragedy in the final act). Everything is conveyed by innuendo—which actually makes the script much more powerful: we have to piece the truth together just as the characters do. "There, I've told you everything" says Mrs. Alving—but she's actually said almost nothing; everything is implicit.

You can count the number of woman protagonists in classic drama on your fingers; Ibsen was responsible for a handful of them, contributing Hedda Gabler, Nora from A Doll's House, and, in this play, Helene Alving. Expertly rendered by Carol Zippel, Alving is a cultured, intelligent, and capable woman who has taken over management of a large estate after the death of her dissolute but well-respected husband (nobody ever says how he died, but the implication is clear). Complex, articulate, and making the most of the mixed hand life has dealt her, she is rebuked by the village priest for reading "suspect books" and espousing liberal ideals. Zippel lets us see into this sympathetic character without a single false note. She has a worthy partner in Joe Picchetti as her son Oswald, a successful painter who has spent most of his life abroad— barely knowing his father— but who has recently returned home for an extended stay. (Picchetti has been seen much around town of late, but, one suspects, it won't be long before Hollywood or Broadway snaps him up.) Together, these accomplished actors maneuver their most harrowing scenes without a trace of the bathos into which they could very easily descend.

As a serving girl with ambitions, Samantha Martinson brilliantly presents a woman who plays the game of submission while you can almost hear the wheels turning in her head; when she learns the truth and shows her colors, it's a breathtaking moment. Rounding out the cast are Charles Hanel as a townsman scheming behind a mask of deference, and Ben George as the Pastor. A striking figure in severe black, he seems genuinely benevolent, but (as is the hazard of his profession), he is quick to pass judgment, and, as played by George, a bit hapless. His advice, ever hewing to the letter of scripture, has spectacularly terrible consequences for everyone. The problem with religious authority, Ibsen suggests, is that its strictures lead to a kind of righteous blindness—no wonder Ibsen was condemned, a mere century after the French Enlightenment raised the ideals of liberty and reason over those of conformity and obedience. Under Maureen Kilmurry's finely-tuned direction, every moment of the script works toward the whole; the characters' relationships and intentions are clearly displayed: there's not a dead moment. Carl Eiche has designed a simple yet elegant set evoking spiritual agoraphobia: a beautiful monochromatic backdrop of forest and sea gracefully conveys the setting, while an ingenious lighting concept by Dylan Elhai brings it to life in a heartbreaking visual coup; to say anything more would be a spoiler.

Some productions try to dazzle us with exotic theatrical banquets: elaborate confections, sparkling wordplay, or high-concept conceits. Windfall's production of this modernist classic shows that sometimes plain bread and wine can make for a very satisfying feast.

Waukesha Freeman
Review of “Ghosts”                                                                                      September 26, 2015
By Julie McHale
Henrik Ibsen, one of the most renowned Norwegian playwrights of the 19th century, was severely criticized during his life for tackling issues that existed but were not culturally acceptable as material for literature.  His works, nonetheless, had a positive effect on the realism of Hardy, James, and Shaw, and to this day, many of his plays are often performed, second only to Shakespeare in popularity.

“Ghosts” deals with marriage, infidelity, sexual disease, incest, alcoholism and euthanasia – all realities that exist in any society.  Ibsen questions the strict morality, prevalent in his time, a morality that is more concerned with how things appear than how they really are, the attitude of hiding anything scandalous, following the letter rather than the spirit of the law. Pastor Manders, well delineated by Ben George, is the character who represents this point of view.

Mrs. Alving, a tortuous figure, long married to a philandering husband, is erecting an orphanage to her late husband to cover over his scandalous behavior.  Carol Zippel is stellar in the role.  Their son Oswald, very credibly rendered by Joe Picchetti, an artist just returned from years in Paris, is dying from syphilis. The cause of his disease is ambiguous as to whether he acquired it genetically or from his own dissolute behavior. Sexually transmitted diseases were not well understood in Ibsen’s day.

As the play proceeds, all sorts of “secrets” (ghosts from the past) are revealed by Mrs.  Alving, Oswald and others, much to the moral outrage of Pastor Manders, but again, he is only concerned with how things look, what others will say, than with the painful reality of situations.  To Ibsen, Manders epitomizes the hypocrisy too often prevalent among those who are firmly entrenched in “religion.” Having the audacity to criticize the self-proclaimed moral giants of his time probably accounts for the harsh criticism Ibsen suffered. Exposes are seldom welcomed by those who are targeted.

Two other characters who figure in the drama are Jacob Engstrand (Charles Hanel) and Regina Engstrand (Samantha Martinson), another pair whose histories are revealed as secrets are uncovered.  Both actors are engaging in their roles.

Adapted and directed by Maureen Kilmurry with costuming well designed by Connie L. Petersen and an authentic set design by Carl Eiche, “Ghosts” is a very intriguing drama.  Many of the issues raised are still very relevant today.  The play runs for two more weekends with performances on Friday and Saturday evenings at 8:00 with an added performance on Thursday, October  8  in the Village Church on Juneau, just west of Water Street in Milwaukee. Check out or call 414-332-3963 for reservations.


Thursday, September 10, 2015

Tuesday, April 21, 2015



 Marty McNamee as Stone, Shayne Steliga as
Lt. Munoz and Ben George as Stine

David Ferrie as Buddy Fidler
     Tamara Martinsek as Donna, Ben George as Stine,                                  Stone & Stine
                         David Ferrie as Buddy Fidler
Marty McNamee as Stone, Laura Monagle as Bobbi

The finale of Windfall Theatre’s 2014-2015 22nd season of bringing Fearless theatre to Milwaukee audiences opens Friday, May 1 with the Milwaukee premiere of the multiple Tony Award Winning musical CITY OF ANGELS with lyrics by David Zippel, music by Cy Coleman and book by Larry Gelbart.  CITY OF ANGELS eight show run is staged in Windfall Theatre’s intimate performance space located at Village Church Arts, 130 East Juneau Avenue, in the heart of Milwaukee’s downtown theater district.
About the Musical:
Hitting Broadway in 1989 and running for 800+ performances, with major productions in London’s West End in 1993 and 2014 CITY OF ANGELS is a winner of 6 Tony Awards, 8 Drama Desk Awards, 3 Olivier Awards and an Edgar Allan Poe best play award for Larry Gelbart’s book.  CITY OF ANGELS is a musical comedy homage to 1940’s film noir private eye movies told in two simultaneous plots, the “real” world of a writer turning his book into a screenplay and the “reel” world of his characters in the fictional film.  Through this convention it deals with the writer’s integrity and freedom of expression vs. crass commercialism and content censorship.  It’s a saavy and sassy send up of the pretensions of Hollywood that resonate today. evening in which even a throwaway wisecrack spreads laughter like wildfire…
Wonderfully wry…the stuff that dreams are made of.”
~ The New York Times
About the Writers:

CITY OF ANGELS team of writers is comprised of two legends Cy Coleman, music and Larry Gelbart, book and a talented up and coming lyricist David Zippel.  CITY OF ANGELS was Zippel’s first full length musical.  Growing up in Easton, PA he wrote parody lyrics to pop tunes making fun of his high school teachers. He attended Harvard Law School to become a theatrical lawyer, but was side tracked by meeting Barbara Cook’s accompanist Wally Harper who was looking for a songwriting partner to create music for Ms. Cook’s Carnegie Hall show.  Among Zippel’s many honors are Tony and Drama Desk Awards (City of Angels) and Academy Awards and Golden Globe Awards (Disney’s Hercules and Mulan and The Swan Princess). He has worked with many composers including Marvin Hamlisch (The Goodbye Girl), Phil Collins (Tarzan), Alan Menken (Hercules), and Andrew Lloyd Webber (The Woman in White).

 Composer Cy Coleman (1929 – 2004) was born Seymour Kaufman, in New York City to Eastern European Jewish parents, and was raised in the Bronx. Coleman was a child prodigy who gave piano recitals at Carnegie Hall between the ages of six and nine.  His fabled Broadway career includes Wildcat, Little Me, Sweet Charity, I Love My Wife, On the Twentieth Century, and The Will Rogers Follies. Among his film scores are Father Goose, The Art of Love, Garbo Talks, Power and Family Business. He wrote the acclaimed television specials If My Friends Could See Me Now and Gypsy in My Soul for Shirley MacLaine.

Larry Gelbart (1928-2009) a prolific playwright, screenwriter and television writer is most well known as a creator and producer for the record breaking hit TV Show M*A*S*H. He began his career as a writer at age 16 for Danny Thomas’s radio show after Gelbart’s father who was Thomas’s barber showed him some jokes his son had written.  During the 1940’s he wrote for Jack Paar and Bob Hope; in the 50’s he wrote for Red Buttons, Sid Caesar and Celeste Holm. He collaborated with Neil Simon, Mel Brooks, Carl Reiner and Woody Allen.  He received Oscar nomination for Tootsie and Oh, God!  In addition to the long running Broadway hit CITY OF ANGELS, he co-wrote with Stephen Sondheim the long running Broadway smash A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. In 2002, he was inducted into the American Theatre Hall of Fame and in 2008 he was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame.
About the Ensemble:
Windfall has assembled a cavalcade of Milwaukee musical theater talent, directed by Carol Zippel with music direction by Paula Foley Tillen, to take audiences into CITY OF ANGELS’ film noir, Hollywood studio system world of the late 1940’s.  The cast of 17 features Ben George as Stine the novelist turned would be screenwriter; Marty McNamee as Stone the film noir detective; Laura Monagle in the dual roles of Bobbi/Gabby Stone’s film noir love and Stine’s wife; Tamara Martinsek in the dual roles of Donna/Oolie the “Girl Friday” with a heart of cold in the movie and the real world; Amber Smith in the dual roles of Alaura Kingsley/Carla the lethal film noir femme fatale and the movie mogul Buddy Fidler’s wife; David Ferrie as Buddy Fidler cut throat movie mogul and star maker and Irwin S. Irving his film noir alter ego; Shayne Steliga as Lt. Munoz Stone’s nemesis and Pancho Vargas actor and Hollywood playboy; Alison Pogorelc as the film noir bad girl Mallory Kingsley and vapid starlet Avril Raines. Filling the mean streets of LA in the film and Hollywood studio worlds by playing multiple roles and bringing to life the intricate Jazz harmonies of CITY OF ANGELS evocative score are Cleary Breunig, Doug Clemons, Mohammad ElBsat, Marcee Doherty-Elst, Christopher Elst, Leslie Fitzwater, Thom Gravelle, Amanda J. Hull and Matt Zeman.  
The creative team features choreography by Alicia Rice; costume design by Kathleen Smith; lighting design by Kevin Czarnota, set design by Carol Zippel and Thom Gravelle, violence design by Christopher Elst, sound design by Mohammad ElBsat and stage management by Veronica Zahn.
Windfall Theatre presents
Lyrics by David Zippel, Music by Cy Coleman, Book by Larry Gelbart
May 1-16
(5/1, 5/2, 5/8, 5/9, 5/11, 5/14, 5/15, 5/16)
All Windfall Theatre performances are at 8pm
At Village Church Arts, 130 E. Juneau
Tickets $20.00
Box Office: 414-332-3963
Purchase Your Tickets Today
With Generous Support Provided by

Monday, January 12, 2015

PRIN February 13-28, 2015

Michelle Waide as PRIN


Humorous Interrogation of Public Education
Windfall stages ‘Prin’
By Mac Writt
Shepherd Express
Acid tongued, unapologetically tenacious and devastatingly witty, the titular character of Windfall Theatre’s Prin is a loveable tyrant dressed in a crisp navy suit and heels. The show is set in the economically gloomy world of 1980s English academia. Headmistress Prin, played by the marvelous Michelle Waide, is locked in heated combat with those that want to merge her beloved teacher’s training college with the local polytechnic. If that were not enough, a scandal involving a dozy-headed English professor arises and Prin’s closest ally and protégée, whom she lovingly nicknames “Little Pig,” threatens to dismantle the only true friendship Prin ever had.

The play’s set design is simple and unobtrusive. Most of the action takes place in Prin’s headmaster’s office, overlooking the college’s grounds. This led to some clever staging throughout the performance. Sometimes Prin would address the audience as if they were a class of graduating seniors. Seating around 50 patrons, the space made for a supremely intimate theater experience. By the show’s end the audience has thoroughly peeled away at Prin’s prickly exterior, exposing a wholly sympathetic character.

At its core, Prin is a comedy and it is a treat for those who prefer their humor on the drier side. Fast-paced dialogue, rich in sarcasm, is ample throughout the piece. Playwright Andrew Davies, perhaps best known for his adaption of classic literally works, expertly the weaves the audience through Prin’s chaotic life on campus. Director Maureen Kilmurry allows her characters move freely while onstage, sipping whiskey and tidying up the office, peaking the audience’s interest enough in a play heavy on dialogue and short on dazzling sets or action sequences.

The cast, who all showcase very polished English accents, are exceptional. Waide’s Prin manages to create both a maniacal and lovable character. Carol Zippel, who plays the shy and rather frumpy Dibs, is the perfect contrast to Prin’s commanding presence. The show dabbles in themes such a lust, sexuality and feminism, but Prin is largely about the mediocrity of the public education system. It is obvious to see the similarities between Prin’s posh English prep school and our own educational shortfalls here in Wisconsin.
By Julie McHale

Andrew Davies, a Welshman who early on settled in London, is best known for his film and TV scripts and adaptations. “Bridget Jones Diaries” is one of his big successes as is the popular “House of Cards,” currently playing on HBO.  He has also adapted some of Jane Austen’s novels, an author that continues to draw a substantial audience. Davies, a writer who has garnered his share of awards, has only written two stage plays, one of which is now playing at Windfall Theatre. “Prin,” … is a comic drama replete with memorable characters, Brit wit and some provocative ideas about education and relationships.

Michelle Waide… plays the key role as the unwavering Principal of a small, private college that educates teachers of physical education. She is a passionate believer in the significance of bodily movement and the pursuit of excellence. Carol Zippel plays Prin’s dear, dumpy Vice Principal Dibbs, who accommodates Prin’s every whim and is rewarded with constant berating.  Prin sees herself as a superior human being and treats all the underlings around her accordingly. She is extremely rigid and disgustingly self-righteous, ruling her territory with intimidation and hiding behind the robes of higher education and lofty idealism. As a teacher myself, I found her “addresses” all too redolent of many of the clichés I’ve had to suffer through in my career. A stranger to change and compromise, Prin does not readily comprehend that her world is crumbling around her.  One even feels some sympathy for her as her kingdom topples.  As the play ends, we pity her for her emptiness and misplaced priorities.

The four other characters that Davies has created are all a bit quirky but lovable. As they appear before their threatening boss, some stutter and cringe, while a few others take her on.  The scene when Melanie, the student who has been carrying on with Walker, her English professor, and has also been quite willing to accommodate others in need,  boldly enters Prin’s office,  is fascinating as we watch how she reacts to Prin’s manipulative bullying tactics. Sonia Rosenthal as Melanie is excellent in the role. Walker, the offending English teacher, is endearingly memorable as he confesses and rationalizes his dalliance. Mohammad N. ElBsat aces this part. Boyle, the sorry little science teacher who loves to dissect rats, is well rendered by Ben George. He surprises us all when he eventually wins over Dibbs’ heart and gives her the courage to confront her surly, snobby boss. That scene is one of the best in the play. Zippel so beautifully portrays the transformation of Dibbs as the story progresses. The last character, Kite, the superintendent of education, is strongly played by Howard Goldstein. He is a match for Prin. We don’t particularly admire or like him, but we enjoy watching them spar for power.

The play, well directed by Maureen Kilmurry,  is rich with irony and provocative ideas about the mission of education, the role of progress and change, and the complexity and mystery of close relationships. It runs through February 28 in the Village Church on the corner of Juneau and Edison in Milwaukee.  Call 414-332-3963 or visit their website at for times and tickets. 


 Cast of PRIN
(From Left-Right Sitting) Michelle Waide as PRIN; Carol Zippel as DIBS;
Sonia Rosenthal as MELANIE;
(From Left-Right Standing) Howard Goldstein as KITE; Ben George as BOYLE;
 Mohammad ElBsat as Walker