Chamber Theatre’s Show ‘Misery’ Offers Horror for the Holidays

Catch Stephen King’s work on stage this month in Milwaukee.

“Super fun” isn’t exactly what you’d expect from Misery, but that’s how artistic director Brent Hazelton describes Milwaukee Chamber Theatre’s production of one of Stephen King’s most famous novels. The play, running Nov. 18-Dec. 18, weaves in humor with its grim and suspenseful plot.  

If you don’t know the story, it follows famous author Paul Sheldon after he is seriously injured in a car crash and left stranded in the mountains. Annie Wilkes, his “number one fan” played here by Kelly Doherty, comes to the rescue and takes the novelist to her remote home. But he soon realizes he’s in serious danger. Annie’s more than just a fan – she’s violently obsessed with him. 



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“There are some moments that get really dark and heavy, and then there’s a brief moment of levity that allows a little bit of release of tension,” Doherty says.  

When asked why someone should check it out, Hazelton has an easy answer: “Because Kelly Doherty is playing Annie Wilkes! One of the great actors that Milwaukee can truly claim as ours is playing a role that’s like the most gloved fit.”  

And she’s not the only local star participating in the production. Jonathan Wainwright will be tackling the role of Paul Sheldon, and Christopher Elst is the sheriff. The behind-the-scenes crew is stacked, too. “It’s sort of a who’s who of Milwaukee theatermakers,” Hazelton says.  

Shows in this genre are rare in Milwaukee; Hazelton can’t remember the last time a proper horror production was brought to life locally. And it’s especially rare this time of year, when local theater productions are bringing out Christmas classics. Says Hazelton: “It’s a psychological horror for the holidays, who could resist?”

Tickets and more info are available at 


This story is part of Milwaukee Magazine’s November issue.

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Alli Watters is the digital and culture editor at Milwaukee Magazine. That means that in addition to running this website, she covers art, entertainment, style, home and more for the magazine. It also means she doesn't sleep much.