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Warren Gerds/Critic at Large: Milwaukee company acquires ‘Natural Shocks’ from Sturgeon Bay theater

Critic At Large

Third Avenue Playhouse

Images organized by Warren Gerds.

STURGEON BAY, Wis. (WFRV) – Next Act Theatre Company of Milwaukee will be presenting Third Avenue Playhouse’s production of “Natural Shocks” as the finale to its 2020-2021 season.

This is a first for the professional Third Avenue Playhouse.

The theater has presented online, one-night-only readings of established plays as part of its “PlayWorks 2021” series. The series is running on the Internet because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The play-to-view stream will be available May 24 to June 13. Info:

Third Avenue Playhouse presented “Natural Shocks” March 19, following the recorded presentation with a live talkback that included playwright Lauren Gunderson participating from her home near San Francisco.

According to a press release from Next Act Theatre, which has presented contemporary plays for more than 30 years:

Directed by Michael Cotey “and featuring Jennifer Vosters in a tour de force performance,” was recorded for the Third Avenue Playhouse reading series.

“While most of the performances in the series have been done live, for this particular play director Michael Cotey wanted to experiment using video from an IPhone. It was recorded in the basement of Ms. Vosters’ home, replicating precisely the location of the play. Each working remotely, they created an intriguing, unique and fascinating piece of virtual theater.”

My review is here:

In the talkback, the release notes, Lauren Gunderson “was extremely impressed by the work of Cotey and Vosters. It caught the attention of David Cecsarini, producing artistic director of Next Act Theatre in Milwaukee. He contacted James Valcq, Third Avenue Playhouse’s co-artistic director, to ask permission to present it as part of his 2021 season. Valcq gave him an enthusiastic yes, and the production was scheduled… The ticket price of $30 will entitle the viewer to watch the play as many times as desired during the dates it is being made available….

“This is the first professional collaboration between TAP and Next Act Theatre.

“As TAP’s co-artistic director Robert Boles says, ‘We are extremely proud of this production. Not only does it beautifully showcase the extraordinary talents of Michael Cotey and Jennifer Vosters, but it exemplifies the type of theatrical programming TAP audiences have been experiencing on a regular basis over the years. We thank David Cecsarini and Next Act Theatre for bringing ‘Natural Shocks’ to their Milwaukee patrons, and helping to spread the good word about TAP to a wider audience’.”

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