Yes, Hamilton is finally coming to Milwaukee. And a host of other great shows too.

We’ve known for over a year now that a touring production of Hamilton will be coming to Milwaukee in 2019. So when the Marcus Center finally announced exactly when the show would be coming to town, we immediately threw our tricorne hats up in the air in celebration.

But a hip-hopera about one of our country’s founding fathers is far from the only play we’re excited about seeing over the course of the 2019-20 season.

Here are the rest of our top theatrical picks, in chronological order:

 

Br!nk New Play Festival

Sept. 7-9
Broadway Theatre Center

Renaissance Theaterworks is kicking off the season with its sixth-annual new play festival featuring works by some of the best contemporary playwrights living and working in the Midwest. Who knows? The next Lorraine Hansberry could be one of the playwrights this year.

 

Oklahoma!

Sept. 27-Oct. 13
Skylight Music Theatre

Oklahoma! was considered groundbreaking when it came out in 1943 for the way it seamlessly integrated song and dance numbers into its narrative arc. And even by today’s standards, the play is still a toe-tapping winner. So it’s a great choice for a Skylight season opener.

 

The God of Hell

Fall of 2019 (Exact dates to be determined)
Underground Collaborative

A couple living in rural Wisconsin have their lives upturned when a secret agent comes looking for their friend Haynes. This dark comedy about our country’s response to the September 11 attacks – being put on by the Constructivists – is as timely now as it was when it first debuted.   

 

Hamilton

Oct. 22-Nov. 17
Marcus Center

“Look around, look around at how lucky we are to be alive right now,” because the buzziest show in the country is finally coming to Cream City. It was nominated for 16 Tony Awards, and it continues to gross about 2 million on Broadway each week. Need we say more? 

 

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The Nerd

Nov. 12-Dec 15
The Milwaukee Repertory Theater

Did you know that Larry Shue’s masterwork The Foreigner received its world-premiere at the Rep in 1983? So it’s fitting that the Rep has decided to stage another one of Shue’s classic comedies, this one about an unexpected party guest who overstays his welcome.  

Elf the Musical at First Stage

Orlando Repertory Theatre, 2018 Production of “Elf The Musical;” photo by Michael Cairns, Wet Orange Studio

 

Elf

Nov. 23-Dec. 31
Marcus Center

If you’re still obsessed with the 2003 Will Ferrell comedy Elf, you’re not alone. This year, First Stage is regaling audiences of all ageas with this musical take on the contemporary classic, which reminds us that “The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear.”

 

The Lion King

Feb. 5-March 1
Marcus Center

This king of the musical jungle has grossed more than a billion dollars since it premiered in 1997, making it the highest-grossing Broadway production of all time. The staging is inventive, the costumes are some of the most memorable in theatrical history and the songs are catchy as all get out.

 

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee 

February 7-23
Skylight Music Theatre

Who knew a regional spelling bee could be so much fun? This two-time Tony-winning musical plumbs adolescent angst and awkwardness for comedy gold. And it’s coming to the Skylight for the first time ever. Consider our interest P-I-Q-U-E-D.

 

No Wake

Feb 21-March 15
Broadway Theatre Center

James Pickering and Hannah Shay star in the Milwaukee Chamber Theatre’s world premiere about an elderly man hellbent on saving the loons of Lake Winnipesaukee. The playwright, Erica Berman, is a Wisconsinite who had an early version of her script read at the Chamber Theatre last year.

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Eclipsed

March 3-29
The Milwaukee Repertory Theater

Actress-playwright Danai Gurira (you may have seen her in Black Panther and “The Walking Dead”) has written a gripping drama set in Liberia in the midst of its blood-soaked civil war. The play, which premiered in 2009, was nominated for six Tony awards, and a critic writing for New York Magazine dubbed it “a must-see production.”

 

Gently Down the Stream

April 24-May 17
Broadway Chamber Theatre

The Milwaukee Chamber Theatre is closing out its last season with longtime artistic director C. Michael Wright at the helm with the Midwestern premiere of a touching play about a budding romance between two gay men, one older and world-weary, one younger and full of optimism for the future.

 

You Can’t Take It With You

May 8
Milwaukee Youth Arts Center 

First Stage’s talented young company members are tackling this Pulitzer Prize-winning play – by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart – about the eccentric Sycamore family. Hilarity ensues when their daughter brings home her fiancée and his conservative parents, who ultimately learn a thing or two about familial love and personal values.

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