Theatre Gigante’s 2020 Holiday Newsletter


A year we will all remember for a long time to come!

During this COVID-19 pandemic, we hope you are staying safe and healthy. We miss you and look forward to the day we will be together in a beautiful theatre again! Until then, we will continue to connect with you, our audience, supporters, and friends, on social media, and virtually.

At this time, we feel it is safer to communicate through social media than through postal mail. Therefore, if you are not already on Gigante’s e-list, we would be very happy and appreciative if you sent your email address to That way we will be able to inform you of all Gigante shenanigans!

With the holidays and a new year fast approaching, let’s take a look at our past year…

Back in January, Gigante was working in Ravenna and Milan, Italy, as part of a collaboration with Teatro delle Albe. The 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! We began work with Alessandro on the creation of a new piece, IN THE BELLY OF THE BEAST, in Ravenna. Then the residency moved to Milan. This new work was to premiere in Milwaukee in May, then in Italy, to be performed in Ravenna and Milan in July, October, and November. Unfortunately, the COVID crisis caused all the performances to be postponed.

In February, after returning to Milwaukee, Gigante 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, thinking out of the box, the power of the imagination, and the beauty of hybrid work. Gigante has been performing two shows through the ACE program for many years.

Then, in March we were thrilled to present the Milwaukee premiere of CRAVE, a thought provoking, enigmatic play by renowned British playwright Sarah Kane. The play is amazing, poetic and unique in its lyrical, free writing style for four voices. This was Gigante’s first production in the magnificent Jan Serr Studio in the Kenilworth Building. With beautiful city lights as background, performers David Flores, Kralj, and Anderson were joined on stage by award winning, amazing actor Jane Kaczmarek. Gigante’s CRAVE was further enhanced by the fabulous jazz musicians Aaron Gardner, Steve Peplin, Sam Winternheimer, and Clay Schaub, and the performances played out beautifully in front of a live audience!

The talent of all four actors shines through as they capture the attention of the audience and words flow melodiously, bouncing from one perspective to the other, from one truth to another, seamlessly. They infuse the words with humanity. Russ Bickerstaff Shepherd Express

Sadly, the day after CRAVE closed, Milwaukee went into lockdown, and COVID-19 became a reality for all of us. We postponed the Milwaukee premiere of IN THE BELLY OF THE BEAST and all the scheduled performances in Italy, a reading of A PRISON MADE OF LIGHT, and a Wine Tasting Fundraiser.

Now, you, your families and friends, schools, businesses, and non-profits – among them Theatre Gigante – are all dealing with an abhorrent pandemic, coping to the best of our abilities, and surviving as best we can. Thanks to all donors, the CARES grant from WI Arts Board and the National Endowment for the Arts, the WI State COVID-19 Cultural Organization Grant, and the generosity of Sound Check 4 Arts, Gigante is holding its own.

Operating through social media and virtual events for the time being, in July and August we posted a music series, highlighting composers/musicians who have been a part of Gigante productions throughout the past 32 years. It was uplifting to see what these gifted artists are up to these days.

In September, we presented a Zoom performance of A PRISON MADE OF LIGHT. Thomas Simpson’s new, playful, otherworldly, existential play, written for four, featured John Kishline, Ben Yela, Kralj, and Anderson, and played to an audience of 122.  Simpson gifted us with a piece that was perfect for the Zoom format, and viewers tuned in from Hawaii, California, Colorado, Oklahoma, Connecticut, New York, England, Slovenia, and Italy, as well as our neighborhood, which extends to Madison and Chicago!  It may not be live theatre, but it sure was fun!

Theatre Gigante continued its tradition of presenting challenging dramatic abstractions for performance this week with a debut of Thomas Haskell Simpson’s A Prison Made of Light.  Simpson’s dreamy poetics washed over the evening in a brief and haunting progression of ideas passionately searching for meaning in life, death and everything else.   Russ Bickerstaff  Shepherd Express

We are now in our 33rd Season, and we have achieved a lot of successes together – with you, with creative teams, fabulous artists, generous donors, and wonderful audiences!  As this difficult 2020 is winding down and 2021 is about to begin, we are determined to come out on the other side with strong, innovative, thought provoking and dynamic live theatre!  Until then, we will continue creating and spending time with you on social media and Zoom.

To successfully do this, we need your help!  Please consider making a contribution to Theatre Gigante at this time.  Survival is always challenging for performance arts organizations, but particularly challenging during COVID-19.  We greatly appreciate your support as audience, friends, and donors, and look forward to our future projects in virtual time, until we’re back to real time. We can’t wait to see you again at a live Gigante performance!!!

At this time, we wish you a very happy, merry, cheery, jovial and glowing Holiday Season! Stay safe and healthy!



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Theatre Gigante
P.O. Box 1999
Milwaukee, WI 53201-1999