WHAT AN AMAZING YEAR IT HAS BEEN — AND IT IS COMING TO AN INCREDIBLE END WITH A MATCHING CHALLENGE!!!
Theatre Gigante has been contacted by a Chicago law firm informing us that an anonymous donor is interested in Theatre Gigante, and is challenging us with a dollar for dollar matching grant in the amount of $12,500! We received this thrilling news in November and have been given six months to raise the match. With your help we are absolutely certain that we can do it!
Success means a whopping end sum of $25,000!!!
And what exactly does financial support like this do for Theatre Gigante and the Community it serves? Let’s take a look at the past year and all the interesting projects Gigante was able to create and present.
Back in January, Gigante premiered Isabelle Kralj & Mark Anderson’s ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE, directed by Isabelle with music by the extremely talented Jason Powell, featuring a brilliant cast. The performance was well attended and received great reviews, and we were able to promote Milwaukee Riverkeeper in the lobby and their director, Ms. Jennifer Bolger Beceda, who joined us in a compelling talkback about the quality of water in Milwaukee and elsewhere, and the importance of ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE as a timely work that addresses water issues.
Soon after, we took BUILDING THEATRE THE GIGANTE WAY to 3rd graders throughout Milwaukee and Waukesha Counties – through the Milwaukee Symphony ACE Program – emphasizing the importance of creative, inventive thinking and thinking out of the box, the power of the imagination, and the beauty of hybrid work.
Early April, Gigante flew to Slovenia to perform Rok Vilčnik’s TARZAN (presented in Milwaukee in 2018). We were part of an International Theatre Festival in Kranj, and were also invited to Ptuj, to the same theatre where Gigante performed Isabelle & Mark’s THREE OTHER SISTERS in 2012!
In April, Theatre Gigante presented WILL WE EVER GET THERE?, written and performed by Mark and Isabelle and Chicago singers/songwriters Steve Dawson and Diane Christiansen, at St. John’s On The Lake. It was a wonderfully inspiring evening, ending with a lively and enthusiastic talkback in the theater, followed by a lovely reception in the home of Emeritus Board Director, Eve Lipchik and poet Elliot Lipchik.
Summer was spent planning and beginning work on a brand new project – a collaboration between Theatre Gigante and Teatro delle Albe of Ravenna, Italy. The two companies, who struck up a friendship in 2014 when Gigante presented Alessandro Renda in Marco Martinelli’s RUMORE DI ACQUE, are incredibly excited to be working together. The new piece being created by Isabelle, Mark, and Alessandro, titled IN THE BELLY OF THE BEAST, will premiere in Milwaukee in May 2020. It will then travel to summer festivals in Italy. Following, in November, IN THE BELLY OF THE BEAST will be presented in Ravenna and Milan.
August saw Gigante back at Milwaukee’s Fringe Festival, where Mark performed I JUST WANT TO SAY – a witty, clever collage of excerpts from his autobiographical monologues, in the Todd Wehr Theatre at the Marcus Center. A good turnout made our performance and the 4th Milwaukee Fringe Festival a winning Milwaukee event!
THE BEGGAR’S OPERA, written by Isabelle & Mark, with music by Dan Dance and lyrics by Ian Bedford, Isabelle & Mark, and John Gay, scenic art by Carri Skoczek, and direction by Isabelle, took the stage at the Kenilworth 508 Theatre this past September & October for 8 performances — six of them packed full, happy to report! The cast, creative team, and production staff were a dream to work with and it showed on stage! Reviews were great and audience comments stole our hearts!
In October, Gigante reached out to schools once again, this time to 1st graders, with our popular PETER & THE WOLF & THE ONE MAN BAND created by Isabelle, featuring a lovely cast of 7 performers, including saxophonist Aaron Gardner as our one man band!
Also in October, Isabelle & Mark traveled to Grinnell College, where the two of them were invited as Guest Speakers. They visited a directing class where they discussed how to have a career in theatre, continued their conversation with the students over lunch, and presented an evening talk on the work and style of Theatre Gigante. Gigante thanks Professor Sandy Moffett, Grinnell College, and the students for this wonderful opportunity to share and exchange ideas. It was a delight!
As you can see, we have achieved a lot of successes together – with you, with creative teams, fabulous artists, generous donors, and wonderful audiences! So, as 2019 is winding down and an exciting 2020 is about to begin, Isabelle & Mark are working with Alessandro, contriving, devising, designing, innovating and creating together – and, while you go about your busy lives, contriving, devising, designing, innovating and creating, we would like to pause a moment to thank you, and wish you a very happy, merry, cheery, jovial and glowing Holiday Season!