Streaming Online Dec. 11, 2020 through Jan. 10, 2021
Milwaukee, Wis. (November 20, 2020) — Skylight Music Theatre today announced it will invite audiences to join them virtually in the Cabot Theatre for Skylight Sings: A Holiday Special — From Our Home at the Cabot Theatre, streaming Friday, Dec. 11, 2020 through Sunday, Jan. 10, 2021.
Skylight Sings: A Holiday Special virtually brings together more than 20 artists and performers presenting a wide range of seasonal music, including Broadway show tunes, traditional holiday songs, pop adaptations, and a generous dose of comedy.
“Our goal is to refresh spirits during these challenging times,” said Skylight Artistic Director Michael Unger, who also directs the show. “More than just a concert of holiday tunes, we have put our usual Skylight spin on the festivities. We have curated a variety of numbers performed by the sort of delightfully talented people whom any of us would love to welcome into our homes. Even though we will all be inside more than usual this season, this show is certain to make the holidays a little brighter.”
The backdrop for the show will be the stunning Cabot Theatre, Skylight’s home. All performances were recorded individually in the Cabot, following strict safety protocols. The Cabot Theatre is considered one of Milwaukee’s most beautiful theatres. It is modeled after an 18th century French opera house, with jewel-box, tiered balconies and plush velvet seats.
Ray Jivoff and Michael “Ding” Lorenz Bring their Comedic Antics
Performers in the show include some familiar faces as well as a few who are new to Skylight. Two well-known names include Ray Jivoff, seen in shows including La Cage Aux Folles, The Mikado and Chicago, and Michael “Ding” Lorenz, Skylight’s percussionist who delighted audiences with his humorous variety shows filled with an incredible collection of percussion instruments. They will perform a selection from their hit Christmas show Things That Go Ding (Dong, Merrily on High)!
The Holiday Special will also welcome “home” performer Liz Norton, last seen at Skylight in Into the Woods, The Wizard of Oz and The Sound of Music. She will bring a little jazz to the show, with a special version of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.”
Some of the artists who were scheduled to appear in Little Shop of Horrors are also part of the show, including Ashley Olviedo and Aaron Reese Boseman, who would have made their Skylight debuts in Little Shop. Other Little Shop cast members who are performing are Raven Dockery and Kevin James Sievert. Little Shop of Horrors was postponed due to the pandemic and will be presented when conditions allow a safe return to live theatre.
A Blend of Holiday Favorites and a Few Twists
“It wouldn’t be a Skylight show if we did not balance a little bit of quirk with a whole lotta’ class; traditional tunes, some with a twist, and some delightful numbers audiences may not know but are sure to love,” said Unger.
Unger has programmed, among other things, familiar holiday songs; a fresh approach to a Hannukah song; a song honoring the seven principles of Kwanzaa; a revival of a classic Ray Jivoff Christmas cabaret song; and a guest appearance by Dolly, the Adorable Dancing Dog.
“Although we don’t know if the dog can tap dance, we can say Skylight favorite Ryan Cappleman will dance with his dog, Dolly, performing the song “The Best Things Happen While You’re Dancing” from the musical White Christmas.”
Other highlights include the drama and passion of “Simple Song,” from Leonard Bernstein’s Mass, performed by Andrew Varela, known for leading roles in many Skylight shows, including Sweeney Todd. Rána Roman, last seen as Kate in (Kiss Me, Kate) will perform a contemporary holiday song that is sure to become a classic.
Broadway songs will be a part of the eclectic mix. Samantha Sostarich, who recently appeared in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, will sing “A Hard Candy Christmas,” from The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. Ashley Oviedo, who made her Skylight virtual debut in the musical Being Earnest, will be joined by Kevin James Sievert, who has been seen in Newsies and Five Guys Named Moe, to perform “Love is an Open Door” from Disney’s Frozen.
In addition, Skylight Sings: A Holiday Special will offer some group numbers through the magic of editing. One song updates what it means to be “Home for the Holidays” at this particular time in our world.
The cast includes (in alphabetical order) Kaylee Annable, Aaron Reese Boseman, Christie Burgess, Ryan Cappleman, Raven Dockery, Kelly Doherty, Krystal Drake, Shawn Holmes, Ray Jivoff, Liz Norton, Ashley Oviedo, Rána Roman, Kevin James Sievert, Samantha Sostarich, Ben Tajnai, Andrew Varela, and others.
Led by music director David Bonofiglio, Skylight Sings: A Holiday Special has a three-piece band featuring Michael “Ding” Lorenz on percussion, Michael Ritter on bass, and Bonofiglio on piano. Special guests include Congregation Beth Israel Ner Tamid Cantor, Jeremy Stein on flute, and Doug Syme on guitar.
Skylight Sings: A Holiday Special video production is by Ryan Rosmann and Hi-Five Studio.
Skylight Sings: A Holiday Special From Our Home at the Cabot TheatreStreaming PresentationDec. 11, 2020 through Jan. 10, 2021Directed by Michael UngerMusic Director David BonofiglioVideo Production by Ryan Rosmann and Hi-Five Studio
Being Earnest Continues through December 31
Skylight is offering two virtual options for the holidays. In addition to Skylight Sings: A Holiday Special, virtual performances of Being Earnest continue through Dec. 31. The musical, based on Oscar Wilde’s satirical comedy of manners, The Importance of Being Earnest, has received effusive reviews from patrons and critics. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel said Being Earnest is “spectacular!” and Shepherd Express called it “fun and endearing.” Urban Milwaukee praised its “evocative 1960s music” and Ryan Jay Reviews called it “delightfully entertaining and marvelous!”
Written by Paul Gordon and Jay Grushka, Being Earnest takes place in a mod, 1960’s, Austin Powers-era setting. All of the brilliant wit in Wilde’s most popular play remains intact in this effervescent musical about two young couples and the societal conventions, over-bearing mothers, and misplaced handbags in railway stations that they must overcome in the course of finding true love. The score is a sparkling homage to 1960’s rock groups such as Herman’s Hermits, The Dave Clark Five, The Rolling Stones, The Lovin’ Spoonful and more.
The musical was rehearsed, performed, and recorded in the seven performers’ separate homes to allow for social distancing, and footage was then edited together like a film. Being Earnest was directed by Skylight’s Artistic Director, Michael Unger, who with Paul Gordon, also edited the film version.
The Milwaukee-area performers in the cast of Being Earnest are: Algernon (Max Pink), Lane/Chasuble/Merriman (Tim Rebers), Jack (Joey Chelius), Lady Bracknell (Nathan Marinan), Gwendolyn (Stephanie Staszak), Miss Prism (Karen Estrada), and Cecily (Ashley Oveido).
Through December 31
Book and Lyrics by Paul Gordon
Music by Paul Gordon and Jay Gruska
Based on the play by Oscar Wilde
Directed by Michael Unger
Music Director Conor Keelan
Choreographer Amanda Marquardt
Edited by Paul Gordon and Michael Unger
Skylight Sings: A Holiday Special Cast
Kaylee Annable Previous Skylight credits include: Lois/Bianca in Kiss Me Kate, Little Sally in Urinetown, Isabel in Pirates of Penzance, Little Red in Into the Woods, and Ensemble/US Cosette in Les Miserables. Among other regional credits, Kaylee was most recently seen as Jovie in Elf: The Musical at Derby Dinner Playhouse.
Aaron Reese Boseman is a Chicago native and graduate of Columbia College Chicago. Boseman is co-founder/artistic director of Pulse Theatre Chicago. He has been nominated for multiple BTAA and Black Excellence awards and a Jeff Award. Acting credits: Benny in In The Heights at The Miracle Center, Shrek in Shrek at Windy City Performs, Flick in Violet at Loyola, Senator Lowell in Do Re Mi and Ronnie in Golden Boy at Porchlight Music Theatre, Jim u/s, Ensemble in Big River at TATC, Entertainer in Balm in Gilead at Griffin Theatre.
Ryan Cappleman works as a performer, choreographer, musician, and teaching artist. Favorite Skylight roles: Woof in Hair, Scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz, Pooh-Bah in The Hot Mikado, Dancer in Carmina Burana, Footlights Award winning choreographer for Hairspray, Sweeney Todd, and Pirates of Penzance, three years of KidsWrites and many cabarets. He has worked with Danceworks, Third Avenue Playhouse, Off Broadway at the Cherry Lane Theater, Northern Sky Theater, Overture Center, and Shorewood High School. UW Milwaukee alumni (BFA Inter-Arts Musical Theater, 2001).
Raven Dockery has appeared at Skylight as Ismene in The Gospel of Colonus, Lula Buffington in Violet, Velma in Crowns, Asaka in Once on this Island and Dionne in Hair. She was also a part of KidsWrites: Me, Myself and I Tour 2020 and Cabaret Series: Raven and Ryan on Shuffle. Dockery just received her Masters in Music Vocal Pedagogy for Music Theatre Singing from Carthage College. She received her B.F.A. for Music Theatre Performance from UW-Milwaukee. Dockery has performed with First Stage, The Milwaukee Rep and Black Arts MKE.
Shawn Holmes has performed throughout Wisconsin including with Lakeside Players, Florentine Opera, First Stage Children’s Theatre, Middleton Players Theatre, Black Arts MKE, and Four Seasons Theatre. Among his favorite roles were Coalhouse Walker Jr. from Ragtime (winner of best actor in a musical – Broadway World), Sebastian the Crab in Disney’s The Little Mermaid, and Jacob in La Cage aux Folles at Skylight Music Theatre (winner of Best Supporting Actor in a musical – Footlight Awards).
Ray Jivoff is a Door County resident where he performed in Dad’s Season Tickets at Northern Sky Theatre last fall. Prior to moving to Sturgeon Bay, he was on the staff at Skylight Music Theatre, serving first as Education Director, then as Artistic Director. Shows he appeared in at Skylight include La Cage Aux Folles, Adding Machine, The Mikado and Chicago. He directed Kiss Me Kate, Pippin, Hair and Jacques Brel.
Michael “Ding” Lorenz serves as Staff Percussionist and Orchestra Contractor for Skylight. His involvement with the theatre goes back to 1972 and he has performed in over 135 productions. His percussion/comedy show Things that go Ding! had a highly successful run in the Cabot Theatre during the 2018-2019 Season. The Christmas version, Things that go Ding (Dong, Merrily on High)! packed the Skylight Cabaret for six weekends. In addition to Skylight, he performs with touring Broadway shows; records shows for the Fireside Theatre; is Principal Percussionist of the Wisconsin Philharmonic Orchestra; and collaborates with Milwaukee Opera Theatre.
Liz Norton has performed at Skylight playing Cinderella’s stepmother in Into the Woods (2015), Wicked Witch in The Wizard of Oz (2014), and in The Sound of Music (2012). Other credits: Boulevard Theatre: Dear World (Countess Aurelia), Pal Joey (Melba); Sunset Playhouse: Hello, Dolly! (Dolly Levi); Lake Country Playhouse: Company (Joanne); Soulstice Theatre: Follies (Phyllis); All In Productions: The Wild Party (Madeline True). In Chicago: Kokandy: Head Over Heels, Grand Hotel; Theo Ubique Cabaret: A New Brain; Porchlight Music Theatre: Merrily We Roll Along.
Ashley Oviedo is a recent graduate of the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, with a BFA in musical theater. She was recently seen as Cecily in the virtual musical Being Earnest at Skylight Music Theatre, Anna in The Green Room Zoom selection performance with Round Earth Entertainment in association with RnD Productions, as Aquarius/Harper/Dana/Adia in When We Were Stars at Next Stage Theater, and as Maggie in the workshop reading of The Mill on the Potomac at First Flight Theater Company.
Rána Roman was previously seen at Skylight in Kiss Me Kate, Hot Mikado and In the Heights. Other credits include A Christmas Carol, Our Town (Milwaukee Repertory Theatre), On the Wings of a Mariposa, Big Fish (First Stage), Agnes of God and Enfrascada (Renaissance Theaterworks), Vanya and Sonya and Masha and Spike and Lend Me A Tenor (Milwaukee Chamber Theatre), Life Sucks, Exit Strategy and Mr. Burns (Forward Theater of Madison). Roman is also member of the Advisory Company at Forward Theater.
Kevin James Sievert is an actor, singer, choreographer and musician based in Wisconsin. Sievert has been seen previously in Skylight Productions such as Hot Mikado, Urinetown, Disney’s Newsies, The Gospel at Colonus, and Five Guys Named Moe as Little Moe. Other Milwaukee Credits include Carrie: The Musical with Outskirts Theatre and has served as choreographer for Waukesha South’s 2020 production of Pippin.
Samantha Sostarich is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she received a BA with distinction as a Theatre Acting Specialist. Favorite roles include Rona Lisa Peretti in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Velma Von Tussle in Hairspray, and Lily St. Regis in Annie with Skylight Music Theatre, Gretchen in Boeing Boeing with Milwaukee Chamber Theatre, Lady of the Lake in Monty Python’s Spamalot with Four Seasons Theatre. Other Skylight credits include Sweeney Todd, Violet, Pirates of Penzance, Into the Woods, and Pump Boys and Dinettes.
Ben Tajnai, a native of Pewaukee, was seen at Skylight as Beadle in Sweeney Todd. Other theater credits include Jean Valjean in Les Miserables and Shrek in Shrek the Musical. He sings the national anthem on a regular basis for the Milwaukee Bucks and Milwaukee Brewers. He was the first to sing the national anthem at the Fiserv Forum for the grand opening. He has also sung backup for The Rolling Stones. Operatically trained, he has performed at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
Andrew Varela Broadway and National Tour: Javert in the 25th Anniversary tour of Les Misérables; The Phantom in Phantom of the Opera; Jean Valjean in Les Misérables; Sunday in the Park with George; Cats. Skylight performances include Fred/Petruchio in Kiss Me, Kate; “Daddy” Warbucks in Annie; the title role in Sweeney Todd, (Footlights Award for Outstanding Lead Performance in a Musical); The Pirate King in Pirates of Penzance; The Cowardly Lion in The Wizard of Oz and Inspector Javert in Les Misérables. TV: “Chicago Justice;” “The Chi;” “Chicago Fire.”
Box Office Information
To watch Skylight Sings: A Holiday Special online, patrons purchase tickets for a specific date through January 10, 2021 and have 48 hours from their selected date to view the show online. Tickets are $20 (Solo), $35 (Date Night), $50 (Family) and $75 (Full House). Tickets are available at www.skylightmusictheatre.org/holiday. Tickets for subscribers are $10, but must be purchased through the Box Office at (414) 291-7800.
To watch Being Earnest online, patrons purchase tickets for a specific date through Dec. 31, 2020 and have 48 hours from their selected date to view the show online. Tickets are $25 (Solo); $35 (Date Night), $50 (Family) and $75 (Full House) and available at www.skylightmusictheatre.org/Being. Tickets for subscribers are $10, but must be purchased through the Box Office at (414) 291-7800.
Box Office hours are Mon. – Fri. noon – 5 p.m. For more information, please call the Box Office (414) 291-7800, email [email protected] or visit www.skylightmusictheatre.org.
Health & Safety Protocols
Following CDC guidelines and in consultation with area doctors, Skylight Music Theatre has strict health and safety protocols. Read more at www.skylightmusictheatre.org/about/health-and-safety-protocols.
About Skylight Music Theatre
Skylight Music Theatre launches its 61st season in 2020-2021. Skylight’s mission since 1959: To bring the full spectrum of music theatre works to a wide and diverse audience in celebration of the musical and theatrical arts and their reflection of the human condition. Skylight brings fresh approaches or interesting twists to music theatre works, creating meaningful connections, not only between the characters on stage but with the audience as well. During these challenging times, Skylight is committed to offering a variety of virtual options to stay engaged with audiences and artists. Skylight’s home is the beautiful 350-seat Cabot Theatre, modeled after an 18th century French opera house.