Archives for posts with tag: John Maclay

Over the course of the thirteen years we have been producing Combat Theatre, there are any number of the plays produced that have deserved attention and a life outside of the single night they were produced.Certainly one of the highlights of all those productions was Patrick Holland’s The Cowboy.  Patrick’s play has been published in The Best American Short Plays 2011-2012 along with the likes of plays by such hacks as John Guare.  Well done, Master Holland!

Fletcher

Hey Fletcher,

 

Well the book is out! It’s so weird to me to see “The Cowboy” published especially in this particular anthology. I keep flashing back to writing it at three in the morning at a Starbucks for Combat! But I am so grateful to everyone from Combat. Without your support, this play would have never been written. And what a wonderful acknowledgement of the work we all do than to have it included in the “The Best American Short Plays Of 2011-2012.”

 

For the anthology William Demastes, the editor, wrote this about “The Cowboy”:

“The Cowboy by Patrick Holland is haunting in its own way. The work is perfectly crafted to present a collection of improbabilities leading to a fantastic accident that generates the feeling that the accident was no accident at all. The messy lives of three women come together in an unexpectedly appropriate manner, overseen by the silent hand of a character known as the Cowboy, begging the question: What forces lie beneath daily events beyond our control and even understanding?

Preview the first few pages:

But it on Amazon:


 


Rentmeester in The Triumph of the Still

Tami Rentmeester is one of the funniest actors I know.  She’s got the rare ability to send an audience over the edge with a single look.  She’s also got the guts to extend a pause further than it has a right to go.  It takes a special kind of actor to wait a gag out, let it get to that point where it’s not funny and the audience gets uncomfortable, go past the point where most actors break and give in and thus suffer the joke falling flat on its face.  Tami will wait until it’s funny again.  Then she’ll wait a little longer.  Then she’ll wait a bit longer until it’s hysterical.

As such, she’s a hot commodity at Combat.  Not that anyone has a choice, the actors are cast at random, but your day gets a little better when Tami’s in your play.  “Whether Tami is in a play of mine or not, she usually comes to mind during my writing process” says playwright John Van Slyke.  “She’s so versatile and fearless, Tami typically comes to mind for as at least one of the roles. And when she is picked for one of my plays, I know all will be well. Tami brings comfort with many exciting surprises.”

Rentmeester in Fiddler

She’s also a favorite amongst directors.  Katie Cummings has had the opportunity to work with her several times.  “Some of my favorite moments of Tami in Combat are her portrayal of  the madam in the whorehouse that Maclay was interviewing for PBS, playing Sesame Street’s Ernie in Patrick Hollands, “Scalp Those Muppets” and Floyd the Barber in Tony Woods “Triumph of the Still.”  Katie adds, “She’s genuine, she’s the real deal, she has the ability to transform into any character she chooses and she works hard.  Bottom line, she is beautiful inside and out and I can’t imagine doing a Combat without her.”

So who doesn’t like working with Tami?  Just one person: John Maclay.  “I don’t like being in scenes with Tami because she is really quite a bit funnier than I am and I don’t like getting shown up at Combat Theatre.  Each Combat morning I sit and pray that she will be cast across Bo Johnson or Doug Jarecki as she is also funnier than them.  And I have no problem with them getting shown up.”

So enough of the love, let’s have Tami speak for herself.

What first got you involved in theatre?

My folks used to take my brother & me to see the high school musicals when we were little, which is an inexpensive way to introduce your kid to the arts.  I saw Brigadoon when I was only about 4 years old and I was BIT.  HARD.  Plus, we had a ton of cast albums that I listened to all the time.  When I was 12 or 13, a friend’s mom was directing a children’s play for the local community group, and I was cast.  I never really stopped after that.  Weirdly, during high school, I was too chicken to audition for the school shows, but I was continuously doing community theater on the side.

Where did you grow up?

Greendale, Wisconsin.  Or, “The Bubble” as all residents between the ages of 13 and 19 refer to it.

Where did you go to school?
Greendale High School.  No college.  Well, a little bit of UW-Oshkosh for seasoning.  No theater/drama/acting school.  I got all that training in the trenches.

What was your first professional gig?

I was in the chorus of “Amahl and the Night Visitors” for Milwaukee Opera Company.  Which has since changed names a whole bunch of times and may not even exist anymore.  I think I made around $40 or $45.  Woot!  I did a few more shows for MOC, then some Music Under the Stars.  It was a while before I made much more than gas money.  But hey – at the time, $45 bucks filled my Horizon more than 3 times.

Why Milwaukee?

It’s just home.  I’ve never strayed, apart from a brief period travelling for regional stuff.  When I decided  a) It was time to stay in one place.  b) That place will not be New York; it just made sense to stay here.  I like it here.

The first time I met you was on the docks outside of Skylight (I was doing something in the other theatre and we were having a smokey treat).  What show were you doing then?

Ooooh, what was I doing?  I think it had to be A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.  Mr. Bo Johnson was in that show, and I believe he is the one who introduced us.  I beat him up every night in Funny Thing.  And my wig was made of yak hair.  Awesome.

Michelle Smith, Bo Johnson and Tami Rentmeester in Forum

You’ve got a great singing voice, were you trained?

Yes, I was trained.  I started out lucky – just accidently sang correctly when belting out Loverboy’s “Get Lucky” album in the living room after school.  But I knew that in order to advance in musical theater I needed real training.  I studied classical technique privately with Patricia Nelson for several years.  I even did the regional Met Auditions.  Holy carp, that was terrifying.  But rewarding.  But seriously terrifying.

Rentmeester as the Fairy Queen in Skylight’s Iolanthe

You’re a great comedian, do you prefer comedy to drama?

I do.  I enjoy drama as well, but comedy’s just more fun.  (Duh)  Plus, I think I’m better at comedy.  I think I’m more believable in funny situations than dramatic ones.  (Or so I assume.  I know people who think I’m hilarious when I’m angry.  I hate them.)

What was your favorite gig?

Am I a brown-noser if I say Combat?  ‘Cause I love that.

Playing Fruma Sarah in Fiddler at the Skylight fulfilled a childhood dream.  I loved doing Honk! at Music Theatre of Wichita, being Ruth in Pirates of Penzance and Sr. Mary Hubert in Nunsense.  ONE real favorite?  Impossible.

Rentmeester in Honk

What was your scariest gig?

See above re: Met Audition.  Not really a gig though.  This:  Michael Wright cast me in “A My Name is Alice,” and he gave me a pretty sizeable monologue.  I was perfectly comfortable standing alone in the middle of the stage to sing.  But to TALK?  It was the first time I was expected to actually TALK that much.  Scared the crap out of me. (thank you for kicking my butt, Michael)

Is there a dream role out there?

I consider myself mostly retired now, so I doubt I’ll ever do it, but there was I time I would have hurt someone for the chance to play Mrs. Lovett in Sweeney Todd.

What’s your day job?

I’m a secretary.  I get in trouble when I use that word, but I prefer it.

I’m officially Executive Administrative Assistant in Communications & PR and Assistant Vice President at Baird, a financial services company.  I really love it.

Besides Sheepshead, what else do you enjoy?

I read like it’s a sickness.  I’m such a book nerd that I set myself ridiculous reading challenges with spreadsheets to track & calculate how I’m doing.  It’s embarrassing.  Don’t tell anyone that.

Tami playing Sheepshead with the boys


Welcome to City Anywhere, USA.  Oh it might be just a town or it might be a thriving metropolis.  Size doesn’t matter; not in this story.  Joy has left this city, at least for the women.  They go to work at unsatisfying jobs, to gyms as much to stave off  boredom as stay in shape, they stop at grocery stores to pick up meals for one and they go to clubs hoping to find a companion if only for a night.  And so goes their routines, day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year.

Yes, nothing much of anything happens here in Anywhere USA and no one seems to mind.  And time, it does seem to pass.  But there’s a warm wind blowing through the streets of Anywhere, and it’s bringing something with it.  The change is subtle at first, nothing more than a little dust blowing through the streets, hardly worth mentioning.  But then the tumbleweeds begin to roll through.  Strange as that may seem, the citizens of Anywhere take no note of the change, or at least most of them don’t.  Seems there are these three women, three women who have never met each other, Linda, Kim and Amanda, and they do indeed see what is happening.  All three of these women set out to find the source of this strange wind and find…

…The Cowboy!  Patrick Holland brings us the uplifting tale of a man who isn’t what he appears to be.  A man who has one mission; to bring joy to the women of Anywhere, USA.  The Cowboy strikes up a relationship with each of these women, opening up their minds and their hearts.  He brings bliss where all hope was lost.  But can it last?  What happens on the fateful day when they all run into each other?  Will they continue to live out their new lives, or will they go back to their old ways?  Or is it all some kind of joke?  The answer can only be found in one place and on one night.

The Bunny Gumbo Theatre Company presents The Best of Combat Theatre…so far!
8 of the finest plays from the last decade.
Saturday, December 17th at 8:00 pm.
The Milwaukee Youth Arts Center (MYAC)
325 W. Walnut Street, on the corner of Walnut and MLK Drive

Tickets for this benefit show are $25 and available at the door only.

Bunny Gumbo: We do it because we can.

For more info visit us at http://www.bunnygumbo.com


Fletch,

Could you please post that we will offer artist rate for Pink Champagne for $12.  These tickets are available online (www.milwaukeegayartscenter.org) or at the door.

The online code will be ARTISTMKE.

Thanks,

Alan


The Milwaukee Gay Arts Center and Uprooted Theatre Company proudly present

Neil Haven’s new comedy

Pink Champagne

Grandpa and Grandpa said I could move in…”

May 19 (preview) – June 5, 2011

Friday, May 20 performance followed

                                         by a Reception hosted by PFLAG

10th Street Theater

628 North 10th Street

Milwaukee, WI

Uprooted Theatre and the Milwaukee Gay Arts Center continue their 2010-2011 season with Milwaukee playwright Neil Haven’s new comedy, PINK CHAMPAGNE.  Uprooted Theatre’s Artistic Director/Co-founder Dennis F. Johnson directs this artistic collaboration.  PINK CHAMPAGNE features Uprooted’s Managing Director/Co-Founder Marti Gobel, T. Stacy Hicks, John Kishline, John Maclay, and Ari Shapiro.  It runs May 19th – June 5th, 2011 at the Tenth Street Theatre, 628 N. 10th Street, Milwaukee, WI.

Tickets are on sale now!

$15 general admission

(Seniors/students $12 @ the door)

For info & tickets: 414-383-3727 or go to www.milwaukeegayartscenter.org

The Plot ~ a new look at coming out, bullying, and family values!

Donald’s relationship with his conservative son Gene never recovered after Donald came out and split with Gene’s mother twenty-five years ago. Now in his sixties, Donald and his husband Patrick are surprised by a visit from Donald’s rarely seen seventeen-year-old grandson, Joey, who happens to be a sporting a black eye. Joey announces he also is gay and will be heretofore living with “grandpa and grandpa.” Gene and his wife Corrine must now chase down their son to Donald’s house for an impromptu family reunion. Both couples are in dire straits for various reasons. Corrine and Patrick become allies as the two in-laws, and Donald and Gene each have strong feelings about the other’s parenting abilities.

This production is made possible through generous funding by the Greater milwaukee Foundations’ Johnson and Pabst LGBT Humanity Fund, the Milwaukee Arts Board, PrideFest, QUEST News, and the Cream City Foundation’s Joseph R. Pabst LGBT Infrastructure Fund


First Stage Theatre Academy is looking for Musical Theatre teachers-both choreographers and music directors/accompanists- for its summer programs at the Oconomowoc Arts Center and Sharon Lynne Wilson Center.

The OAC program runs from June 20-July1.

The SLW program runs from July 18-29.

The span of day for both programs is 8:30-4:15.

 If interested (or if you know someone who you think would be a good fit), please e-mail me @ jmaclay@firststage.org.

Many thanks,

John Maclay


POSITION ANNOUNCEMENT

Early Stages Program Director

First Stage Children’s Theater

Milwaukee, WI

 

BACKGROUND: Founded in 1987, First Stage Children’s Theater has grown from a small theater for young audiences to a nationally acclaimed company drawing annual audiences of more than 135,000 people. With a season including six mainstage plays and two First Steps shows (more than 300 performances annually), First Stage has become one of the largest programs in the nation. First Stage Theater Academy teaches life skills through stage skills—offering classes for students of all ages, cultures and abilities. Our professional staff strives to provide the best theater training we can while being conscious of the development of each individual student—helping each student to take their next step as an actor and as a person.



RESPONSIBILITIES:  The Early Stages Program Director will oversee the evaluation, maintenance and development of Theater Academy programming for students age 3 through 4th grade. This dynamic role will include significant involvement with adjunct staff, parents and students. The Early Stages Program Director will report to the Academy Director. Duties include (but will not be limited to):

                                   

Recruiting, hiring, and evaluation of all Lower elementary faculty, teaching assistants, and student intern positions.

Develop new programming and maintain existing programming.

Assist in creating and overseeing a progressive year round curriculum.

Train teachers in Creative Drama methods and pedagogy

Be available to teach as needed.

Assist in supervising all academy classes for ages 3 through 4th grade.

Maintain communication with Academy adjunct staff regarding scheduling and classroom needs.

Aid in facilitating systems and communications in the Academy Office.

 

QUALIFICATIONS:  This position requires advanced knowledge of theatre both as an art form and as a tool for developing life skills. Expertise in developing and overseeing Creative Drama curriculum and the ability to confidently and publicly articulate the Academy program and philosophy are necessities. Excellent communication skills are critical, along with the ability to adjust communications styles to varied youth, parent and professional populations. The position will occasionally require local travel to schools and other community destinations. Advanced degree in Children’s theatre or Child Drama, teaching experience, curriculum/lesson plan development and youth work experience are required. Some weekends and evenings required. The position will occasionally require local travel to schools and other community destinations. Spanish-speaking capabilities are advantageous but not required.

 

HOURS/SALARY:    This is full time position with benefits. Salary is commensurate with experience.

 

TO APPLY:    Mail cover letter, resume/cv, and the contact information for three references to First Stage Children’s Theater, attn: Program director search, 325 W. Walnut, Milwaukee, WI or e-mail materials to Academy Director John Maclay at jmaclay@firststage.org. NO CALLS.

 

 

POSITION ANNOUNCEMENT

Main Stage Program Director

First Stage Children’s Theater

 

RESPONSIBILITIES:  The Main Stage Program Director will oversee the evaluation, maintenance and development of Theater Academy programming for students in 5th-12th grade. This dynamic role will include significant involvement with adjunct staff, parents and students. The Main Stage Program Director will report to the Academy Director. Duties include (but will not be limited to):

                                   

Recruiting, hiring, and evaluation of all Main Stage faculty, teaching assistants, and student intern positions.

Development of new programming and maintain existing programming.

Oversight of a progressive year round curriculum.

Oversee the year round, advanced high school programs and performances including the Young Company, Organized Chaos Improv group and the Glee Club

Teach as needed.

Supervise all academy classes for grades 5-12.

Maintain communication with Academy adjunct staff regarding scheduling and classroom needs.

Aid in facilitating systems and communications in the Academy Office.

Be available and ready to fulfill the duties and responsibilities of the Academy Director whenever needed. 

 

QUALIFICATIONS:  This position requires advanced knowledge of theatre both as an art form and as a tool for developing life skills. Ability to confidently and publicly articulate the Academy program and philosophy is a necessity.  Excellent communication skills are critical, along with the ability to adjust communications styles to varied youth, parent and professional populations. A degree in theatre, education background, teaching experience, curriculum/lesson plan development and youth work experience are required. Some weekends and evenings required. The position will occasionally require local travel to schools and other community destinations.  Spanish-speaking capability is advantageous but not required.

 

HOURS/SALARY:    This is full time position with benefits. Salary is commensurate with experience. Anticipated April or May start date.

 

TO APPLY:    Mail cover letter, resume/cv, and the contact information for three references to First Stage Children’s Theater, attn: Program director search, 325 W. Walnut, Milwaukee, WI or e-mail materials to Academy Director John Maclay at jmaclay@firststage.org. NO CALLS.

 

 

First Stage is an equal employment opportunity employer functioning under an Affirmative Action Plan

 

 


Hello all!

We will be hosting a free invited dress run of the Little Engine that Could for Theatre Folks, their significants and/or their kids this Friday at 5:p.m. at the Milwaukee Youth Arts Center. The show is a musical, runs about 45 minutes and is a part of our First Steps series aimed at the 3-6 year old crowd. It is likely to sell out so this is a chance to see it for free. Please consider yourself invited.

It features Adam Estes and a gaggle of top high school students. Diana Lemense choeographed, Adam Baus music directed and I directed it. And it has actual working Lionel trains. So stop by if any of that appeals to ya. No need to rsvp.

 Many Thanks, 

John Maclay


Thanks to John Maclay for passing this on.  Sharizes’s observations are spot-on and moving.

http://www.shakespeareis.com/2010/11/sharize-terrell-prisoner-on-reading-macbeth/

This is an excerpt from an interview we did with Sharize Terrell.  He is a prisoner at Woodbourne Correctional Facility, a medium security prison in the Catskill Mountains of NY State, about 2 hours north of NYC.  Terrell is a member of the play reading seminar there.  The seminar is organized and hosted by “Rehabilitation Through the Arts” an amazing program that offers connection to the arts for prisoners in a number of NY State prisons.

The lead instructor of this seminar is director Arin Arbus.  Arbus works at NYC’s “Theater for A New Audience”.  Her production of Othello, featuring actor John Douglas Thompson, received rave reviews in 2009. In 2011 the two will re-unite in a new production of Macbeth.

Steve Rowland was invited to visit the program in August – and is grateful to Vockins, Arbus, the NY State Prison Board, the administration and officers of Woodbourne CF, and the prisoners themselves.


Courtesy of John Maclay, it’s Conan the Barbarian: the Musical!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OBGOQ7SsJrw