The Alchemist Theatre is proud to present

King Lear
directed by Leda Hoffmann
featuring Bo Johnson as King Lear

Thursdays - Saturdays
(ADDED: Wednesday July 17 & Monday July 22)

July 11th - July 27th
7:30 pm



The Alchemist’s “King Lear” a crowning achievement
Matthew Reddin
Third Coast Daily
"King Lear may be a tragedy, but this production is a triumphant success for the Alchemist."

"He plays Lear with a calculated inconstancy that ebbs and flows like the tide, and whether the “mad king” is angry or insane is a matter of a coin flip. His rages are captivating, first because they come with an authoritarian edge that draws every eye, then because they come with that same edge but a feebleness that neuters then. When he finally is let loose into madness, Johnson turns the role the other way, giving every insane pronouncement and action a buried, compelling purpose that reminds us the man beneath is not quite lost. Until he is."
       read the full review HERE.

Alchemist’s "King Lear" rides the storm
Jeff Grygny
Milwaukee Theatre Examiner
"Alchemist’s Lear sets the bar higher for Shakespeare in Milwaukee."

"With Game of Thrones priming the public for dynastic intrigue and medieval ultra-violence, they’re able to turn this 400-year-old warhorse into a fast-moving action entertainment: exciting, gripping and deeply moving. "

"The bones of the story gleam like polished ivory: never have the familial relationships, the cutthroat scheming, and even the international politics of the play been so clear. Non-scholars will find themselves understanding everything perfectly."
       read the full review HERE.

A Brilliant Ensemble for Lear
Alchemist Theatre's first Shakespeare is really, really good.
Russ Bickerstaff
"As always, there is a very intense clustering of Shakespeare productions this summer. The fourth show by Shakesepare that I'd seen in 8 days, the Alchemist Theatre's staging of King Lear ended up being my favorite to open all month. "

"Milwaukee theatre veteran Bo Johnson carries a very weighty depth in the title role of King Lear. Not content to let the surface emotions carry the character, he delivers a performance with a great deal of attention to subtleties in the emotional vicissitudes of one of Shakespeare's more complex characters. I'm far more familiar with Johnson in comic roles, which makes this soulfully serious dramatic turn feel very, very dramatic. Kind of breathtaking, actually."
         read the full review HERE.

King Lear comes to Kinnickinnic
Mike Fischer
Milwaukee Journal
"The opportunity to watch Hoffmann paint on such a big canvas — and with a cast as strong as the one that Alchemist has assembled — makes this "Lear" one of the this summer's must-see events."
     read the full preview HERE.

Milwaukee doubles down on Shakespeare this weekend
Danielle McClune
Third Coast Daily

"This marks the first time artistic director Aaron Kopec and the Alchemist Theatre has taken on Shakespeare, but director Leda Hoffman says the play naturally fits the company’s recent set of shows, tagged as the Year of Fear. The tragedy tells the story of a king who divides his kingdom among his daughters, only to see his kingdom, family and life decay and collapse into chaos."
    read the full preview HERE.

Alchemist Theatre's 'King Lear' reigns as intense family drama
Mike Fischer
Milwaukee Journal
"Hoffman's "Lear" isn't the political story of a mismanaged kingdom, but an intense family drama. And I do mean intense."
"DeWolff gives a luminous performance that embodies Cordelia's warmth and fundamental goodness, while also tracing Cordelia's growth into the strong woman who will lead an army pledged to Lear's restoration."
            read the full review HERE.

This "Lear" is just too young
Dave Begel
onmilwaukee blog
"Save that one complaint, this production is rife with strong performances, especially by the three Lear daughters.

Anna Figlesthaler, who played Reagan, and Grace Dewolff, who played Cordelia, were both sparkling. And Libby Amato continued to show her wonderful growth as Goneril. Amato is a very special actor who brings great sensitivity and intelligence to her performances.

A special mention needs to go to Tim Linn who created a magnificent Edgar and the schizophrenic and manic freak who rivals the madness of the king. His performance is truly special."

"Johnson delivered a spectacular portrait of a man going mad before our very eyes. He was mad at the start of the play and shred all semblance of sanity with a skill and sensitivity that was breathtaking the rest of the way."
     read the full review HERE.

Lear Laid Bare
Alchemist stages Shakespeare’s timeless tale
By Harry Cherkinian
Shepherd Express
" Alchemist Theatre has done the Bard proud..."

" As Lear, Bo Johnson humanizes the egocentric royal in the plain brown suit as we watch the king’s humbling descent into his own self-made maelstrom of madness...  Johnson transforms the king into a common man, which makes this production all the more accessible and fascinating to watch."
        read the full review HERE

as Goneril

Libby is so very pleased to be a part of The Alchemist Theatre's first Shakespeare production, after appearing in THE CANONICAL FIVE, and DRACULA earlier this season.
Most recently she was seen in Next Act Theatre's production of GRACE. Other local credits include In Tandem Theatre, Optimist Theatre, Chamber Theatre, and Forward Theatre among others. She also recently joined the acting company at Kohl's Wild Theatre. Libby is a graduate of Carroll University with a BFA in Theatre Performance.
A huge thank you to everyone who supported this crazy venture, and helped to make it a success.
And lots of love to Joe and Beth Amato...for everything.

as Regan

Anna is ecstatic to be appearing in The Alchemist’s production of King Lear. Anna has performed in several productions at The Alchemist over the past couple of years, including performances as the saucy secretary Marjory Lotus in HELP WANTED, the Irish prostitute Mary Kelly in THE CANONICAL FIVE OF JACK THE RIPPER, and the “Buffyesque” Mina in DRACULA. Recently, Anna finished her Master’s in Liberal Studies by writing the play THIS IS WHAT DEMOCRACY LOOKS LIKE, which was performed as a staged reading at The Alchemist. She currently teaches Theatre, English, and Speech at Rufus King High School. Favorite past roles include Helena in A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM, Flo Owens in PICNIC, Delia Erickson in THE MOUND BUILDERS, and Val in A CHORUS LINE. When not teaching or acting, Anna dabbles in writing, improv, and cooking. Anna would like to thank her Shakespearean co-producers, Aaron Kopec, Libby Amato, and Erica Case for going in with her on this exciting new endeavor!

The Alchemist Theatre is excited to offer an intimate, theatrical production of KING LEAR that examines the disintegration of two families as the younger generation usurps power from the older.

A diverse and truly amazing cast and crew have assembled to undertake this endeavor.  The Alchemist has had a great deal of success in placing "large shows in a small space" but this production will be one of the largest with a production and performance staff filled with talented professionals who often work at some of the much larger theaters in the area.

This will be a King Lear with something for everyone.  Whether you are a long-time lover of Shakespeare or someone willing to give it a chance for the first time, this will be a production that you'll both enjoy and talk about for a long time after.

The Alchemist Theatre welcomes you to join us on this journey.
Welcome to the world of Lear.


as  King Lear
Mr. Johnson appearing courtesy of Actor's Equity Association.

A Milwaukee area native since the age of 4, Bo received a BA in Theatre Arts from UW Eau Claire. After graduating, he toured Wisconsin in shows produced by the early iteration of American Folklore Theatre.

Bo co-founded Theatre Tesseract and spent 4 years as its Technical Director as well as performing in many productions including NOISES OFF, TERRA NOVA, and CRIMES OF THE HEART. Tesseract later changed its name to Next Act, and since then Bo has  performed in the company’s productions of KINDERTRANSPORT (a collaboration with Renaissance Theatre), FALLEN ANGELS, SIDEMAN, DEAR ESTHER, RED HERRING, THE EXONERATED, and IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE (THE RADIO PLAY).

Bo was also a frequent performer with TheatreSportz of Milwaukee, which later changed its name to ComedySportz. He spent 8 years as the company’s lead improv skills instructor and, as such, had the pleasure of teaching comedic improvisation to thousands of people in the Milwaukee area.

While teaching for CSz, Bo helped assemble some of Milwaukee’s most talented improvisationalists  into a troop known as THE DEAD ALEWIVES. They performed a weekly show in Milwaukee for twelve years, from 1989 to 2001. Though now defunct, the group is still held in high regard by many improvisational comedians around the country.

Somewhere around 1993, Bo and a group of close friends formed another new theatre company called The Screaming Penguins which performed short comedic plays and original sketch revues. After some of the other original members moved away from Milwaukee, Chris and Jane Flieller took over the administrative duties of The Screaming Penguins and renamed the company In Tandem Theatre. Since becoming In Tandem, Bo has performed in a few mountings of HOLIDAY HELL and the company’s production of EQUUS.


Theatre X was always one of Bo’s favorite theatre companies, and he had the chance to work with the group in their production of GINT.

He has also had a long running relationship with First Stage Children’s Theatre. He held the position of Technical Director/Props Master/Production Manager for two seasons and was also a teacher of improv and scripted acting at their downtown summer academy for 11 years. And he has performed in many of their productions, including THE UGLY DUCKLING, ANIMAL FARM, TEN MINUTES TO BEDTIME, MISS NELSON IS MISSING, TOM SAWYER, TRUE CONFESSIONS OF CHARLOTTE DOYLE, A CHRISTMAS STORY (twice), BUNNICULA, CHARLOTTE’S WEB, LILLY’S PURPLE PLASTIC PURSE, SLEEPING BEAUTY, THE HUNDRED DRESSES, and CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY.

Before Milwaukee Shakespeare Company closed its doors, Bo had the chance to perform in their productions of MEASURE FOR MEASURE, A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM, MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING, ROMEO AND JULIET, THE TEMPEST, and HENRY IV PART 2.

For the last 4 years, he and his friends Neil Haven and Dan Katula have produced a very successful holiday puppet show, WHO KILLED SANTA. It has been staged at Carte Blanche Studios, Bayview Brewhaus, and 6th Street Theatre of Racine and will be remounted at The Underground Collaborative this January.

Recently, Bo has taken a greater interest in directing and has proudly stepped into that role for First Stage’s Company Class where he has directed ROOM SERVICE, THE MOUSE THAT ROARED, and THE TIME OF YOUR LIFE. In the spring of 2010, he directed Bite Theatre’s MY FIRST TIME. Two years ago, he directed a production of FOOL FOR LOVE at Alchemist Theatre. In the spring of 2012, he directed a staged reading of POLISH JOKE for Solstice Theatre and THE AUTHOR’S VOICE for Jason Waszak’s living room. Last summer he directed a production of THE BIBLE-THE COMPLETE WORD OF GOD; ABRIDGED, and THREE DAYS OF RAIN last January at Carte Blanche Studios.

as Cordelia

Grace is a Milwaukee actor, teacher, and theatre maker who loves Shakespeare, swords, and traveling. After many years at First Stage Theatre Academy, less years at UW-Milwaukee, and even a few months spent far away in locations like the Honolulu Theatre for Youth, the Edinburgh Fringe, and the British-American Dramatic Academy, Grace has a BA in Theatre Studies and will never be done learning. She is excited to return to The Alchemist stage after adventures in FAUST,  NATALIE RYAN, MURDER CASTLE and a battle with the biggest birthday drink ever mixed (thanks, Aaron.)

as Cornwall

Jason Will is a recent graduate of the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in London, UK. He has only just returned from London where he portrayed Rooster in THE DREAMER EXAMINES HIS PILLOW. This is his debut with The Alchemist Theatre.


as  Gloucester

Michael,  has been acting, directing and designing professionally since 1979.  Notably, he has worked with Shakespeare Festivals in Oregon, Idaho, Colorado, Virginia and Wisconsin.  A graduate of UWM's Professional Theatre Training Program, he has been active in Milwaukee theatres since 1992.  Directorials in Milwaukee include DEATH OF A SALESMAN, LUCKY STIFF, BILOXI BLUES and most recently CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF.   He has appeared with Skylight, First Stage, Next Act, Sunset and several seasons with Milwaukee Shakespeare.

as Edmund

Matt Wickey feels quite blessed to be apart of this production of King Lear. A graduate of Marquette University, and a recent recipient of an MA in Classical Theatre from Kingston University London, Matt is quite happy to be living again in wonderful Milwaukee. He was recently seen in THREE DAYS OF RAIN at Carte Blanche Studios, and A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC at Windfall this past May. Many thanks to Leda and everyone on the Lear team for this opportunity. Love to his family, friends, and Amelia for their love and support.


as Oswald

A Racine native, Tim Palecek is a University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee student, and is finishing the completion of his BA in Theatre Arts. His most recent work includes Pink Banana's THE HOTHOUSE and The World's Stage's PUNKPLAY, along with Pink Banana's One-Act Festival The End of the World. This is his first show with the Alchemist Theatre, and he couldn't be more thrilled to be work with them!

as Albany

Ken Williams wishes to thank the entire talented cast and crew for letting him play.  Ken has worked with many local theatre's including First Stage, Milwaukee Chamber Theatre, In Tandem, Youngblood, Renaissance Theatreworks, Uprooted, Optimist, Windfall, Boulevard Ensemble, Summerstage of Delafield, and he loves playing many roles for Bunny Gumbo's Combat Theatre.  Coming up you can see Ken in The Understudy at Renaissance and October Before I was Born at Chamber Theatre.  He currently teaches theatre at Carmen High School of Science and Technology.  Ken is a proud graduate of UW Milwaukee's Peck School of the Arts and is a true Southsider where he lives with his lovely wife Rachel and three gorgeous children Calder, Mara, and Elliette.

as Kent

Dylan's acting credits include Neil Simon's LAUGHTER ON THE 23RD FLOOR with Next Act Theatre, JOE EGG with Chamber Theatre, and, most recently MURDER AT THE  HOWARD JOHNSONS with In Tandem Theatre. His one-man show, PEACE, LOVE AND A 30-YEAR MORTGAGE (which he also wrote) has toured several venues in Wisconsin. He is a veteran of Milwaukee's ComedySportz as a performer and instructor, a regular, featured guest of the Dave and Carole Morning Show on 96.5/WKLH, husband, and father of a toddler. His personal website is, but, to be fair, is way more adorable.

as The Fool

David Flores has performed extensively in the Milwaukee area with many theater, music, and dance companies including Boulevard Ensemble, Cornerstone Theater, Florentine Opera, In Tandem Theatre, Milwaukee Chamber Theater, Milwaukee Shakespeare, Dale Gutzman/Off The Wall Productions, Optimist Theatre, Skylight Music Theatre, Theatre X, Wildspace Dance, and Windfall Theatre. He has also served as stage director, music director, and text coach. Performance credits include TARTUFFE (Tartuffe), THE MERCHANT OF VENICE (Shylock), UNCLE VANYA (Vanya), A DELICATE BALANCE (Tobias), SWEENY TODD (Judge Turpin), CABARET (Emcee), KISS OF THE SPIDERWOMAN (Molina), and JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR (Herod).

as France

Mack is looking forward to making his Alchemist Theatre debut this summer. He recently appeared as Fleance in Optimist Theatre's production of MACBETH. He also played Fleance in Milwaukee Shakespeare's MACBETH. Mack is currently attending Carthage College.

as  Gloucester’s Tenant

Margaret’s theatrical journey started in Milwaukee years ago and continued through many moves around the country and on to Germany and the UK. In recent years she has been on the road with Milwaukee Irish Arts to Irish Fests throughout the Midwest, as well as participating in annual Acting Irish International Theatre Festivals in the U.S. and Canada. She has also performed with Soulstice Theatre (M’Lynn in STEEL MAGNOLIAS), Boulevard Ensemble (Lady Bracknell in THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST) and Carte Blanche (Mrs. Richards in FAWLTY TOWERS). Margaret works in public relations at VISIT Milwaukee.

 Cornwall’s Second Servant

Harry was last seen acting in the Alchemist's production of HOUSE OF HORRORS as Ben Peitzel. He is a graduate of the Marquette University Theater Program where he played a variety of roles like Puck from A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM and characters in the LARAMIE PROJECT. He played the role Chris in the film BARABOO by Mary Sweeney. When not acting he writes funny songs, or works on his website, where he draws fun comics. He would like to thank Leda for casting him, and his family for always supporting him.

Violence Design

An Advanced Actor/Combatant recommended in all eight weapon disciplines taught by the Society of American Fight Directors and an Apprentice Instructor with Dueling Arts International, Christopher recently returned from his fourth year as an Associate Instructor of stage combat at the Central Illiniois Stage Combat Workshop; however, he brings his most powerful qualification to Alchemist's KING LEAR: his enthusiasm for this incredible project.
Christopher's violence design was most recently seen on the Alchemist stage in JULIET AND ROMEO and CANNIBAL THE MUSICAL!
Christopher also portrayed the lead role of Winston in The Alchemist's Wisconsin premiere of   Michael Gene Sullivan's adaptation of "1984."
Please also consider seeing Christopher portray  Charles the Wrestler and Oliver Martext on stage at Optimist Theatre's free in-the-park production of "As You Like It!"
You can learn more about Christopher at his website:

as Edgar
(Fight Captain)

Tim is a Milwaukee based actor who has worked with First Stage, Optimist theater, Milwaukee Shakespeare, American Players theater, as well as appeared in several independently produced productions.  When not acting, he builds and remodels with the folks from Edge Grain, LLC. 
Thanks for coming to see a play.

Sound & Music Design

Erin served 5 seasons at Oregon Shakespeare Festival on productions such as HAMLET, DEATH & THE KING'S HORSEMAN, and SHE LOVES ME.  Erin has served as sound designer at Annex Theater in Seattle, Lookingglass Theater in NYC, and several productions at Southern Oregon University from which she earned a B.F.A. in Sound Design.  
Currently Erin is working as Assistant Sound Supervisor at Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, where she will soon be designing I LEFT MY HEART for the Stackner Cabaret.

Box Office / Financial Manager
(Theatre Owner)

Erica is co-owner at The Alchemist and also works full time as an H.R. Manager at Harley Davidson.  
She has co-directed The Alchemist's FREE 2 B U & ME,   MURDER CASTLE: A CHRONICLE OF H.H.HOLMES and helped coordinate the elaborate, throughout-the-building production of FAUST: AN EVENING AT THE MEPHISTO THEATRE. 

as Lear's Knight

Chris Goode is very pleased to be acting in Lear, his first performance at the Alchemist. Previous Milwaukee acting credits include Huchison in FAWLTY TOWERS (Carte Blanche), Joey in THE LIEUTENANT OF INISHMORE (World's Stage), Florizel in THE WINTER'S TALE (Marquette U.) and Yasha in THE CHERRY ORCHARD (Marquette U.). Chris has also directed one-act plays at Carte Blanche, Village Playhouse of Wauwatosa, and Pink Banana. Thanks to all audience members for supporting our production and enjoying classical theatre! Love to his wife, Therese, to whom he owes everything.

as   Cornwall’s First Servant

Mitch is a graduating senior at Carthage College where he is a double major in Theatre Performance and Directing. Carthage Acting credits include TARTUFFE, THE DROWSY CHAPERONE, GHOST BIKE, CABARET, ONE DAY IN THE SEASON OF RAIN, and LYSISTRATA. He has also appeared in workshop productions of SEUSSICAL, URINETOWN, and A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC. Professionally, Mitch has interned with First Stage Children’s Theatre and Peninsula Players Theater, where he performed in A FEW GOOD MEN. Mitch would like to thank his family, friends, and mentors for their continued support.


               Leda's directing credits include THE ULTIMATE BATTLE FOR TOTAL CONTROL OF THE ENTIRE UNIVERSE (Pink Banana Theater), WAITING... A SONG CYCLE (associate director, The World's Stage Company), ALONE WORLD, PARACHUTE SILK, EXPRESS YOURSELF and NIGHT (Rep Lab, Milwaukee Repertory Theater).
A former Milwaukee Rep Directing Intern, Leda assistant directed MY NAME IS ASHER LEV, A CHRISTMAS CAROL, THE 39 STEPS, and DEATH OF A SALESMAN at Milwaukee Rep as well as directing a reading of DESIGN FOR LIVING at Ten Chimneys.
Leda is a graduate of Grinnell College and a member of Lincoln Center Directors Lab 2012 and Chicago Directors Lab 2013.
Upcoming: THE PENELOPIAD under the Holton St Viaduct ( and BIRTH WITCHES at Riverside Theatre in Iowa City.

Assistant Director

Mallory graduated from Cardinal Stritch University in 2010 with a BA in Business and Theatre with a concentration in stage directing.  She started working at Renaissance Theaterworks as an intern, then an Administrative Assistant and will start the 2013-14 season with this wonderful company as an Artistic Associate.  

She has directed at The Milwaukee Artist Resource Network (LUCKY CHARMS), The Alchemist (IN LOVE, YET AGAIN!), with InHerOwnRight Productions (OLD GARDE), and most recently, a scene from ALL IN THE TIMING for Renaissance Theaterworks in collaboration with InterACT.  

She has Assistant Directed with Pam Kriger at Skylight Music Theatre (A DAY IN HOLLYWOOD, A NIGHT IN UKRAINE), with Suzan Fete and Marie Kohler at Renaissance Theaterworks (NEAT, HONOUR, and their collaboration with Cardinal Stritch University IRENA’S VOW) and with C. Michael Wright ant Tami Workentin at Milwaukee Chamber Theatre (UNDERNEATH THE LINTEL and JEEVES IN BLOOM).

She will be directing THE UNDERSTUDY by Theresa Rebek for Renaissance Theaterworks in the 2013-14 season!

Stage Manager

Erin Nicole Eggers recently lost her mind and left San Diego for her hometown, Milwaukee, where she had previously studied Theatre and English at Wisconsin Lutheran College. She has had the delight of stage managing THE MAN WHO CAME TO DINNER,  THE COMOPLETE WORKS OF WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE: ABRIDGED  (three times), SEE ROCK CITY, and several one acts by Christopher Durang. She knows that you didn't see any of them. She is ok with it. Erin is an avid traveler and works for a major airline in her spare time. Cheers!

Assistant Stage Manager

Sydonia is currently a Film and Technical Theatre major at UW-Milwaukee and is absolutely, positively thrilled to be back for her seventh show at the Alchemist!  Recent productions include HERE'S A HOWDY DO!  at the Skylight Music Theatre, HELP WANTED,  IN LOVE... YET AGAIN, THE CANNONICLE FIVE OF JACK THE RIPPER, DRACULA, and HOUSE OF HORRORS: A CHRONICLE OF H.H.HOLMES at The Alchemist Theatre and "Bye Bye Liver; The Milwaukee Drinking Play" with the Pub Theatre Company.  

Text Advisor

(Theatre Owner)

Aaron is a co-owner and artistic director at The Alchemist Theatre.  He is very excited to be working with the talented group of people who have assembled for this production of King Lear.  
Aaron has written and directed several shows but recent highlights include the sexy, 1940's office drama HELP WANTED, the wildly successful and elaborate throughout-the-entire-building production of FAUST: AN EVENING AT THE MEPHISTO THEATRE and THE CANNONICLE FIVE OF JACK THE RIPPER which focused on the lives of the women that "Jack" stalked in Whitechapel, London.
After Lear, Aaron is looking forward to helping the talented Robby McGhee with the premiere of Robby's puppet musical THE BURDEN OF BEING and then jumping into the Halloween production of CLOSING NIGHT: A WICKED, PARANORMAL, WHO-DUNNIT EXPERIENCE where each audience member will have their own, unique adventure throughout the building through hidden passageways and secret rooms!
Aaron thanks his real family, his Alchemist family and all the patrons who have made these past six years unbelievably rewarding.

Costume Designer

Costume Designer

Lighting Design