The Burden Of Being
Written by Robby McGhee
Directed by Jared Stepp
Produced by Robby McGhee & The Alchemist Theatre
The Burden of Being is a puppet musical that shares the story of a recent high school graduate, Aaron Bradway, and his journey towards self acceptance.
Being one of the only “monsters” in town has placed a heavy burden on Aaron, but he has overcome these obstacles and become the valedictorian of his high school graduating class.
Unfortunately, his family and friends try to ride the wave of his success and Aaron finds himself struggling with all the aspects of life he was taking for granted.
Aaron discovers the hard way that sometimes we have to lose ourselves to appreciate the details that make our lives matter most.
The Burden of Being is a comedic tale of love, loss, and life choices.
The Burden of Being was inspired by a variety of Milwaukee improvisers, actors, and musicians.
IN THE PRESS:
"The Burden of Being is a musical. With puppets. It's comic. It's serious. And it's a musical. And it's probably one of the most intriguing main stage things to make onto a local stage this summer."
READ THE FULL PREVIEW HERE.
"...we see the promise of a writer who combines a wonderfully offbeat sense of humor with a heartfelt awareness of what such humor often hides or deflects, in a world where a brave smile is often our only defense against the burden of being."
READ THE FULL REVIEW HERE.
Considering "Stunner" and the Burden of Being
He's just a supporting character, but thanks to San Fillippo, you want him to succeed. You want him to realize his potential and end up more like her. It's the type of thing that wouldn't have come about without puppetry . . . that graphic dynamic of a deliberately crude puppet matched with a very elegant actress.
READ THE FULL BLOG HERE
Stoddard’s performance is respectably endearing. There are a few other sparkling performances in the ensemble. Nevin Langhus’ comic instincts are as sharp here as they are in the improv comedy he’s become known for. Rachael Zientek makes subtlety look easy in the role of Aaron’s human girlfriend, Princess. Hayley San Fillippo is sweetly irresistible as an awkward monster kid named Stunner who delivers a few sketchy jokes during a couple of scene changes.
READ THE FULL REVIEW HERE
CAST AND CREW in no particular order:
After graduating with honors from the Vancouver Film School with a degree in Film Production, Jared relocated to the independent film making hotbed of Austin, Texas. While there he produced several short films with Ideogram Films, provided production assistance for the Friday Night Lights television series, and became a respected contributor to the thriving long form improv community. While at ColdTowne Theatre, Jared was the weekend stage manager, a performer in the house troupes Northshore Local, Boy Toy, and Nice Astronaut, and produced and directed a monthly sketch comedy show named Uptowne. Jared then traveled downtown and joined the Hideout Theatre as an ensemble improviser for their seasonal shows The Andersons, and Holy 1960s Batman, Batman!
Jared recently relocated to his hometown of Milwaukee where he has served as the producer of the 48 Hour Film Project, is one of the leaders of the Improv Jam at the Underground Collaborative, and provides coaching and direction for long form improv troupe Tall Boys.
Beverly began her theater career in the Pittsburgh area, with a particular love for musicals. She was instrumental in developing a program to encourage children to attend theater. Her first performances locally were at the gorgeous Pabst Theater! After many shows and a hiatus to raise her sons, she has worked at various times with Sunset Playhouse, Soulstice, Grant Park Players, etc. Beverly has been happily surrounded by Franklin High School musical actors for the past 10 years and is a proud member of Cooperative Performance Milwaukee.
Erin is happy to be returning to the Alchemist's stage. In addition to acting and volunteering here at the Alch, she can often be found at the Miramar Theatre where she produces the monthly Milwaukee Moth StorySLAM. She is thrilled to be part of this exciting new show, and be able to add “puppeteering” to her resume.
Rachael Zientek is a third year BFA Musical Theater major at UW-Milwaukee. Past performances at UWM have been as Little Red in Into the Woods and as Betty Brown in No, No, Nanette. She is very grateful to have been in a number of productions at Greendale Community Theatre. Some of her favorite roles include Kate Monster in Avenue Q and Olive Ostrovsky in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.
HAYLEY SAN FILLIPPO
Hayley San Fillippo, a Milwaukee native, recently graduated from UW-Whitewater with a BFA in Theatre performance. Some of her favorite roles during her time there include Little Becky Two Shoes in Urinetown and Rosaline in Love’s Labour’s Lost. She was also seen in Sunset Playhouse’s production of Hair as Jeanne, and she is thrilled to be back in the Milwaukee area.
Tim Backes is a Milwaukee native and a University of Wisconsin graduate. He has performed in several local theater groups, most recently in the Greendale Community Theatre production of Les Miserables. In addition to his involvement in the Milwaukee theater scene, Tim is senior editor of a public relations firm in Milwaukee and sings with the Milwaukee Symphony Chorus.
Zak Keil is making his Alchemist Theatre debut with The Burden of Being, however he is no stranger to the stage. He has performed with such companies as the Racine Theatre Guild, Lakeside Players (Kenosha), and Greendale Community Theatre in a variety of roles. He would like to thank everyone who has come out here today and hopes you all enjoy the show!
WRITER / PRODUCER
Robby McGhee has been active in the Milwaukee theatre community for the past seven years. The Burden of Being is his first appearance as a writer. Most recent works include Thenardier in Les Miserables at Greendale Community Theatre. Earlier this summer, he traveled off-broadway with The World’s Stage Theatre company to perform Waiting: A Song Cycle. This spring, they produced The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs at the Next Act Theatre, and it was his first one man show. Every third Thursday of the month, you can find him at Comedy Sportz performing in TIM: The Improvised Musical. Robby is also a proud member of Tall Boys and Sketch 22. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for everything.
Mary Kelly has been actively performing and directing in Milwaukee throughout the past 5 years, most recently portraying Yitzhak in Smithereen Production's Hedwig and the Angry Inch. She can be seen monthly in Smithereen's T.I.M. The Improvised Musical, a group of which she is a founding member. She studied Theatre with First Stage Academy for over 12 years and studied Theatre and Playwriting at London Metropolitan University, completing her BA in Theatre Studies at the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee. Mary is honored to be part of this original show with such talented individuals and a strong collaborative core.
Nevin is a member of TIM (The Improvised Musical), and has also been involved with many other endeavors. He was a founding member of Running With, Scoots Schticks and After School Special. He has performed with First Stage Children’s Theatre in such productions as A Christmas Story and Charlotte’s Web. He is also involved with various other performances in the Milwaukee Area. He is very excited to be a part of “The Burden of Being” and eagerly awaits seeing the feelings that are spread through performance.
Patricio Amerena was born on a small planet after millions of years of evolution by natural selection which have culminated in his being able to see, hear, and interact with his world through a variety of platforms. He finds it amusing that there are those out there who reject this view, and instead give credit for all things to some form of supreme being for which there is, at the time of writing, absolutely no evidence. He also has two cats named Django and Phineas.
Marty Morgan is a graduate of Musicians Institute in Hollywood, California. He currently teaches private drum lessons and directs the Bucket Brigade, a middle school percussion ensemble, in Waukesha at Outpost Music. Marty loves being in and around theater and playing in the pit. You can also catch him playing drums with his band, The Flyaways.
COMPOSER / MUSIC DIRECTOR / PIANO
Colleen Schmitt is the keyboardist for T.I.M. The Improvised Musical, and has been involved in several pursuits within the music community. Formerly a music director at RiverPark Community Church, she has also fronted a few bands, cover and original, in the Milwaukee area, having composed the music and lyrics for the songs of the local band, Blood Orange. She has Music Directed "Hedwig and the Angry Inch" with Smithereen Productions and "Waiting...A Song Cycle" with The World's Stage Theater Group, which performed Off Broadway in June of 2013, as well as several other productions in the Milwaukee area. With this experience and having studied Music Composition and Technology at UWM, she feels uniquely prepared to be a part of the composing team on "The Burden of Being", and wishes life always included puppets.
MICHAEL DAVID STODDARD
Michael David Stoddard has been an actor and director in Milwaukee for the past five years performing local roles as Link in Hairspray, Princeton/Rod in Avenue Q and Dr. Madden in Next to Normal. He received his BA and Masters degree from Plymouth State University in Performance and Education. He is currently the Director of Theatre at DSHA High School. Over the past 12 years Michael has performed with over 30 companies from Montana to Maine. I am excited to be involved in this original piece written by one of the funniest men I know.
Steven Baird been playing guitar for over ten years. He was introduced to Milwaukee's theater scene as a member of T.I.M. The Improvised Musical. This show is Steven's second major musical production, having recently played guitar in Hedwig and the Angry Inch. He is excited to have the opprtunity to have co-written the songs for this production with such talented artists!
Marcus is very excited to be involved in this original show. Marcus performs regularly at Kohls Wild Theater, at the Milwaukee County Zoo. He graduated from Cardinal Stritch University and has since appeared with World Stage, V-Day Milwaukee, in Sketch 22, and was even in a Boy Band.
MORE TO COME!!