Milwaukee to be add-on to 2012 Chicago conference
Wednesday, July 20, 2011 at 9:54PM
Chris Rawson, Editor, ATCA Communications Chair

If you are taking in some Midwest sights before or after our 2012 Chicago national conference, June 13-17, how about attending a post-conference trip to Milwaukee, June 17-20? Details are only beginning to take shape, but the add-on promises to be worthwhile for those who have the time.

(Click here for advance word on Chicago conference.)

The Milwaukee centerpiece will be a short ride to Ten Chimneys, located only an hour from downtown. This historic site, which many saw on our last Chicago conference, is the restored summer residence of theater legends Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne. Because they were so widely loved and respected, “anyone who was anyone” in theatre, arts, and literature wanted to come to Ten Chimneys to be with and work with the Lunts. These included their very dear friend Noel Coward, Helen Hayes, Edna Ferber, Lawrence Olivier, etc. Estate tours are available almost year-round, but Ten Chimneys is much more than a museum. It is a centerpiece of theater education and professional advancement. Each summer marks an intensive eight-day program sponsored by the Ten Chimneys Foundation. Each year, 10 actors are hand-picked from the best regional theaters to participate. Past mentors include the late Lynn Redgrave and Barry Edelstein. This year’s mentor was Olympia Dukakis.
 
The Ten Chimneys board has promised a surprise treat tailored just for us.

An Abundance of Beautiful Theaters
We will tour some of Milwaukee’s most prominent, historic and beautiful theaters. The Milwaukee Repertory Theater, long the city’s flagship theater, is housed in a converted utility complex. It has three theaters - and a new artistic director (Mark Clements) who will be delighted to welcome you. He is an “outsider” who owns and rides a Harley Davidson motorcycle, so he’s OK by us Milwaukeeans. We also will visit the historic Pabst Theater, a restored former vaudeville house that draws almost every type of theater, music and dance to its ultra-elegant red velvet interior. The nearby Riverside Theater, also a former vaudeville house, has also been restored. Then there’s the Cabot Theater, a personal gift from one of Milwaukee’s arts philanthropists. Modeled after the jewel-box theaters in Europe, it amazes with its hand-painted murals and other glorious touches.

Although only a few theater companies launch productions during the summer, it’s a great time to take in Milwaukee’s other treasures. These include the world-renowned art museum, nationally acclaimed zoo and one of Milwaukee’s many ethnic festivals held on the lakefront. The Harley Davidson Museum and hotel are a must-see for gear-heads. There’s also Water Street, an eclectic group of watering holes located in the downtown area. Did I mention brewery tours (including those making notable micro brews)? And we have Lake Michigan, too - just like Chicago!

The search is on for a reasonably priced hotel to make the Milwaukee add-on trip even more enticing. Milwaukeeans are famed for stretching a buck.

The official post-conference trip is scheduled for June 17-20. The organizer, Anne Siegel, is a longtime ATCA member and former excom member. She was born and raised in Wisconsin and has covered the local theater scene for the past 20 years. She writes for various local publications as well as totaltheatre.com. She also knows how to identify three similarly colored dairy cows - jersey, Guernsey and brown Swiss. Do you?

Please Join Us for a Memorable Experience
Consider joining your ATCA colleagues for the post-conference Milwaukee trip. Milwaukee is only 90 miles north of Chicago, and can be accessed by planes, trains and automobiles. A Milwaukee trip check-off option will be included in the information about the Chicago conference. Stay tuned!

 

Article originally appeared on American Theatre Critics Association (http://americantheatrecritics.org/).
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