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Taking Shakespeare
Plymouth Church
Milwaukee, WI
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Taking Shakespeare
    Fresh off its smash October, 2017 hit of WHERE THE STREETCAR BENDS THE CORNER (DOWN BY THE ZOO!), Milwaukee's Boulevard Theatre (www.boulevardtheatre.com) continues its 31st season by staging the Midwest premiere of acclaimed playwright John Murrell's dramatic comedy TAKING SHAKESPEARE.   This affecting script scores high marks for its amusing banter, delightful characters, and its witty indictment of academia.   In just 90 minutes, SHAKESPEARE slyly examines the process of education and the result is a thoughtful comedy that illuminates Oscar Hammersteins musical phrase Its a very ancient saying, But a true and honest thought, That if you become a teacher, By your pupils youll be taught!    

    This upcoming March, 2017 production features two exciting actors (Amy Callahan and Jake Konrath) and is presented in a clean, simple style that showcases Murrell's luxurious language and delicious dialogue.  Noted Milwaukee actor David Flores co-directs (along with Boulevard Theatre's Artistic Director Mark Bucher).  All performances are at Plymouth Church, located east of the intersection of Hampshire and Downer, at 2717 East Hampshire (approximately 1 block east of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee).  Plymouth has hosted Boulevard's recent past stagings, including the standing-room-only smash production of STREETCAR/ZOO.  

    In addition to that artistically acclaimed original work , Boulevard also won critical raves for its April, 2016 production of Ionesco's linguistic farce, THE BALD SOPRANO.  SOPRANO was staged in Plymouth's second-floor Graham Chapel, which will also host TAKING SHAKESPEARE.  Graham Chapel's warm, cozy environment enhances an intimate connection between performer and patron and the limited seating (40 patrons) fosters a sense of community for all participants.  For more information about Plymouth Church, please visit  www.plymouth-church.org .   TAKING SHAKESPEARE'S tickets ($18-$21) are available online at www.brownpapertickets.com (search for Boulevard Theatre) and also on the day of performances at the door (cash only).   Deeply discounted (obstructed view) seating is also available at door, as well.  

    Patrons may call Boulevard's 24-hour voice mail at 414-744-5757 or visit boulevardtheatre.com for further information on this small-cast, artisan-crafted comedy.    Patrons may also visit the Boulevard 's other social media portals (www.instagram.com/blvd_mke,  twitter.com/blvd_mke, and/or www.facebook.com/boulevardtheatre/).  The direct link to the Facebook event page is https://www.facebook.com/events/1849137562010567/ .


    SHAKESPEARE is a shrewdly written comic tutorial that revolves around the unlikely pairing of a disillusioned literary professor ("PROF") and a slacker student ("MURPH"), who is obsessed with video games.  ''Murph'' is the son of the dean of humanities at a small unnamed university.   Despite being highly intelligent and having his own set of fresh ideas, the young man is barely passing his courses and shows little interest in his studies.  In an attempt to motivate him, his mother sends him to be tutored by her former mentor (the "Prof") at the burned-out instructor's apartment.   However, "Prof" has come to her own dramatic crossroads.   Depressed and disillusioned with her life, she barely functions and has little interest in teaching the cocky young man -- or any other student.

      But when ''Murph'' reveals that in order to pass his English Lit class, he must demonstrate a thorough understanding of  Shakespeare's classic OTHELLO, his reluctant tutor appears strangely thunderstruck by the assignment of this literary portrait of jealousy and regret.  The cause for her intellectual paralysis only becomes apparent later in Murrell's affecting narrative.  "Prof" is "Murph's" last chance at passing the course (and staying in school) and he is her last opportunity to retain her position (and her tenure).  This unlikely pair begins an uneasy emotional journey together as they work through the famous tragedy of OTHELLO.   Along the way, they timorously begin to understand the tragedies in their own lives as they deal with university politics, parental manipulation, regrets from the past, and the uncertainty of the future.   The playwright dovetails Shakespeare's tale of treachery, ambition, and betrayal alongside modern issues of anti-intellectualism, academic oppression, and cultural malaise with an adroit humor and piercing wit.  The artistic result is emotionally affecting, socially troubling, and very entertaining.

       Milwaukee actors Amy Callahan and Jake Konrath appear as "Prof" and "Murph," respectively.   Ms. Callahan has appeared previously with the Boulevard in Edward Albee's thorny matrimonial delight, COUNTING THE WAYS.  She has also appeared with other local companies in such varied pieces as Conor McPherson's THE WEIR and John Murphy's THE COUNTRY BOY.   Mr. Konrath has appeared with Voices Found Repertory Theatre (CORIOLANUS) and the Sunset Theatre (HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS WITHOUT REALLY TRYING).  

      Noted local actor, director, and playwright David Flores co-directs TAKING SHAKESPEARE.  Flores, a local powerhouse of talent, lends his classical finesse to staging Murrells classy comedy.   Mr. Flores is well-known to both Milwaukee audiences and local theatrical media, having performed with a majority of Milwaukee's cornucopia of theatre companies (Skylight Music Theatre, Off The Wall, Windfall Theatre, etc.)  as well as portraying leading and key roles in Shakespeare ("Shylock" in THE MERCHANT OF VENICE, the title role in RICHARD III, "Parolles" in ALL'S WELL THAT ENDS WELL, etc.).   Boulevard Theatre's Artistic Director and founder Mark Bucher contributes his directing skill set to this production.  Boulevard stalwart Jaime Jastrab provides technical support.  Boulevard Social Media Director Troy Freund and graphic designer Jason Krukowski also contribute to the success of this production.


    John Murrell was born in 1945 in Texas, but has lived for many years in Calgary, where he completed his education.   His play Memoir has been translated into more than 15 languages. John has been playwright-in-residence with Alberta Theatre Projects from 1975 to 1976, Associate Director with The Stratford Festival from 1977-1978, and the head of the Banff Centre School of Fine Arts Playwrights Colony in 1986.   In 1988 he was appointed as the head of The Canada Council's Theatre Section.   He is a Lifetime Member of Playwrights Guild of Canada. ( For even more information about Mr. Murrell, please visit this link:  http://www.canadiantheatre.com/dict.pl?term=Murrell%2C%20John ).

Boulevard Theatre's LIFETIME Subscriptions are valid for the first three performances (3/2; 3/4; and 3/5).

Due to the intimate seating, please allow plenty of time to arrive at least 15 minutes prior to curtain.  Latecomers will only be seated at house management's discretion.  Street parking around Plymouth Church and the greater UWM area is limited.


Plymouth Church (View)
2717 E Hampshire St
Milwaukee, WI 53211
United States


Arts > Theatre

Kid Friendly: No
Dog Friendly: No
Non-Smoking: Yes!
Wheelchair Accessible: Yes!


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