Skip to content

WPW Backstage

World Premiere of UNSILENT NIGHT at Next Act Theatre. Photo by Ross Zentner.

An insider's look into our inaugural festival by veteran Wisconsin theater critic and superfan Mike Fischer!

Meet Mike

Mike Fischer wrote theater and book reviews for the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel for fifteen years, serving as chief theater critic from 2009-18. A member of the Advisory Company of Artists for Forward Theater Company in Madison, he also co-hosts Theater Forward, a bimonthly podcast. You can reach him directly at mjfischer1985@gmail.com.

Mike’s work as WPW’s Festival Reporter is made possible through the sponsorship of the United Performing Arts Fund (UPAF). Learn more: https://upaf.org/

Through the Looking Glass: WPW Heroines Find Their Superpower

7 June 2023
Through the Looking Glass: WPW Heroines Find Their Superpower Image

“Who’s the person in the mirror? I don’t know her name. – Lourds Lane, “Fragmented” I. The best moment in Lourds Lane’s SuperYou, receiving its world premiere developmental production with Skylight Music Theatre as part of World Premiere Wisconsin, comesContinue reading

The Sound Inside: Music Theatre of Madison Subverts Old System by Singing New Song

5 June 2023
The Sound Inside: Music Theatre of Madison Subverts Old System by Singing New Song Image

Early in Micro, the new Adam Qutaishat and Heidi Joosten musical receiving a workshop production this Friday courtesy of Music Theatre of Madison, protagonist Ali Masihl sings a rousing power ballad addressing all she’s up against, as a global majorityContinue reading

Omnia Vincit Amor: Dreaming New Possibilities for Opera

2 June 2023
Omnia Vincit Amor: Dreaming New Possibilities for Opera Image

In order for it to reassert itself as first-class music and drama, [opera] has to be emancipated from the formal presentation in which it may have been conceived but has now been imprisoned. Opera, like any other art form, hasContinue reading

Good Things Come in Small Packages: June’s World Premiere Wisconsin Lineup Includes Three One-Act Festivals

31 May 2023
Good Things Come in Small Packages: June’s World Premiere Wisconsin Lineup Includes Three One-Act Festivals Image

Long before World Premiere Wisconsin, there was the Village Playhouse, which has been staging annual one-act festivals of new work by Wisconsin playwrights for nearly 40 years. Opening on June 9 in Milwaukee and featuring six world premieres, the Playhouse’sContinue reading

Dancing Alone

30 May 2023
Dancing Alone Image

The Loneliness One dare not sound – And would as soon surmise As in its Grave go plumbing To ascertain the size – . . . I fear me this – is Loneliness – The Maker of the soul ItsContinue reading

London-Bound SUPERYOU Comes to Life in Milwaukee: Liberating Lourds Lane Musical Takes the Stage at Skylight Music Theatre

26 May 2023
London-Bound SUPERYOU Comes to Life in Milwaukee: Liberating Lourds Lane Musical Takes the Stage at Skylight Music Theatre Image

Following an initial concert presentation and ensuing developmental lab in 2019, Filipino-American artist Lourds Lane’s SuperYou – a musical for which she wrote book, music, and lyrics – was ticketed for an off-Broadway opening in May 2020 at the DarylContinue reading

Why Do We Fight? And What’s Worth Fighting For?

24 May 2023
Why Do We Fight? And What’s Worth Fighting For? Image The Cast of THE KENOSHA VERBATIM PROJECT with narrator Dr. Julius Crump

This past weekend, each of the three World Premiere Wisconsin plays I saw – Margaret in Madison, Lincoln & Liberty Too in DePere, and The Kenosha Verbatim Project in Kenosha – involved versions of civil war, with communities tearing themselvesContinue reading

A Heartless Homeland: New Play Asks Hard Questions About Homelessness in America

23 May 2023
A Heartless Homeland:  New Play Asks Hard Questions About Homelessness in America Image

Playwright Marcia Jablonski was working as a freelancer in California when she realized she’d need to write the play that would become The Last Hotel; it will make its debut this Friday as part of World Premiere Wisconsin, courtesy ofContinue reading

The Way We Live Now: Finding Community and Speaking Truth in a Divided America

19 May 2023
The Way We Live Now:  Finding Community and Speaking Truth in a Divided America Image

“Hegel remarks somewhere that all great, world-historical facts and personages occur, as it were, twice. He has forgotten to add: the first time as tragedy, the second as farce.” – Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte   I.Continue reading

The Reality of an Illusion: Reflections on Rebecca Anne Nguyen’s HYPOTHETICALS

17 May 2023
The Reality of an Illusion:  Reflections on Rebecca Anne Nguyen’s HYPOTHETICALS Image

“I am the opposite of a stage magician. He gives you illusion that has the appearance of truth. I give you truth in the pleasant disguise of illusion.” – Tennessee Williams, The Glass Menagerie I. Jamie is a psychiatrist. BlaiseContinue reading