Ernest Shackleton Loves Me
January 14-30, 2022
Milwaukee, Wis. (December 15, 2021) — Skylight Music Theatre today announced the cast and creative team for the regional premiere of Ernest Shackleton Loves Me, a highly inventive off-Broadway musical that crisscrosses continents and time in an improbable and enchanting love story.
Ernest Shackleton Loves Me runs January 14-30, 2022, in the beautiful Cabot Theatre at the Broadway Theatre Center, 158 N. Broadway, in Milwaukee’s Historic Third Ward. Skylight is Milwaukee’s professional Equity music theatre company. Safety requirements are in effect, including masks while indoors and proof of vaccination or negative Covid test.
Off-Broadway Best New Musical
Ernest Shackleton Loves Me won the Best New Musical of the 2017 Off-Broadway Alliance Awards. With ingenuity, modern pop music, and cutting-edge video, Ernest Shackleton Loves Me is a romantic adventure linking a struggling modern-day, single-mom composer/violinist and the early-1900’s, intrepid, banjo-playing, Antarctic explorer, Ernest Shackleton. Digital projections of actual footage from Shackleton’s expeditions are incorporated into the multimedia set design.
Ernest Shackleton Loves Me is written by Joe DiPietro, (Tony Award-winner for Memphis and author of I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change), with lyrics by Val Vigoda and music by Brendan Milburn.
Longtime Skylight collaborator and producing artistic director of Milwaukee Opera Theatre, Jill Anna Ponasik, will direct. Ponasik directed Skylight’s acclaimed productions of Oklahoma!, Carmina Burana, Ruddigore, The Tales of Hoffmann and Tosca.
“This may be the most FUN I have ever had researching a production,” said Ponasik. “To dive into the adventure of the Endurance Expedition, specifically the roles hope and optimism played in the men’s unlikely survival, has been thoroughly refreshing, and I can’t wait to share that energy with live audiences.”
Regional Premiere Features Skylight Debuts
Skylight’s production will be the first time the show is presented in the Midwest. “The musical explores the unexpected similarities and sacrifices made by artists and explorers,” said Skylight Music Theatre Artistic Director Michael Unger. “It is as much suspenseful, historical travelogue, as fantastical love story. We are thrilled to stage the regional premiere of this imaginative, heartfelt, wild ride of a show here at Skylight.”
Making their Skylight debuts will be Matt Daniels as Ernest Shackleton and Janice Martin as Kat. Both professionals are graduates of Juilliard.
Daniels has performed throughout Wisconsin, including with Milwaukee Rep and Milwaukee Chamber Theatre; at numerous national Shakespeare Festivals; and at independent stages in New York. Based in Milwaukee, Daniels is the director of the Young Company at First Stage.
Martin tours around the country with her own award-winning show (A Janice Martin Cirque Show) showcasing her talents as a violinist, pianist, singer and aerialist. Based in Wisconsin, she has performed with numerous symphonies, including winning a violin competition at age 15 that allowed her to perform on stage with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra.
Music Director is Eric Svejcar, a Brooklyn-based composer, pianist, and arranger who music directed Skylight’s 2021 staged concert reading of Paul Williams’ Fortunate Sons. On Broadway he conducted the Roundabout/Deaf West production of Big River and played first keyboard for The Little Mermaid.
When Ernest Shackleton premiered off-Broadway in 2017 critics were effusive. The Huffington Post called Ernest Shackleton Loves Me “a welcome rarity — whimsical and so original that spectators sit through it with jaws dropped.” The New York Times described it as “an intrepid new musical. Exhilarating.” Time Out NY said it was “inventive and big-hearted!” Seattle Times called it “visually impressive, sonically inventive, whimsically diverting.” Broadway World praised it as “an exhilarating and heartfelt journey!”
ERNEST SHACKLETON LOVES ME
Jan. 14-30, 2022
Book by Joe DiPietro
Lyrics by Val Vigoda
Music by Brendan Milburn
Directed by Jill Anna Ponasik
Recommended for ages 12 and up.
ERNEST SHACKLETON LOVES ME CREATIVE TEAM
Director – Jill Anna Ponasik
Music Director – Eric Svejcar
Scenic Designer – Scott Davis**
Costume Designer – Karin Kopischke**
Lighting Designer – Jason Fassl**
Sound Designer – Kelsea Sexton
Production Stage Manager – David Vandervliet*
ERNEST SHACKLETON LOVES ME CAST
Ernest Shackleton – Matt Daniels*
Kat – Janice Martin
* Appearing through an agreement between Skylight Music Theatre and Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States.
** The Scenic, Lighting and Costume designers are represented by United Scenic Artists, Local USA-829.
CREATIVE TEAM BIOGRAPHIES
Jill Anna Ponasik (Director) is in her 12th season as producing artistic director of Milwaukee Opera Theatre (MOT). Select past productions include: Oklahoma! (Skylight Music Theatre), Little Mahagonny (Florentine Opera), Carmina Burana (MOT/Skylight Music Theatre/Chant Claire Chamber Choir/Danceworks Performance Company), Zie Magic Flute (MOT/Quasimondo Physical Theatre), Doc Danger and the Danger Squad (MOT), Svadba (MOT/Wild Space Dance Company), The Tales of Hoffmann (MOT/ Skylight Music Theatre), among others.
Eric Svejcar (Music Director) is a composer/pianist/arranger whose credits include Caligula: an Ancient Glam Epic, A ROCKIN’ Midsummer Night’s Dream, (both directed by Michael Unger)and the musical podcast series Loveville High. On Broadway he conducted the Roundabout/Deaf West production of Big River and played first keyboard for The Little Mermaid. With playwright/lyricist David Zellnik he adapted Disney’s Peter Pan Jr. which has been performed thousands of times around the world. As a pianist he has performed in concert with the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra.
Matt Daniels (Ernest Shackleton) is an actor, director, and teaching artist based in Milwaukee making his Skylight debut. Other theaters he has worked with include Milwaukee Rep, First Stage, Milwaukee Chamber Theatre, Forward Theater, Door Shakespeare, Renaissance Theaterworks, Milwaukee Opera Theatre, In Tandem, Milwaukee Shakespeare, Lake Geneva Theatre, Kentucky Rep, and the Illinois, North Carolina, Notre Dame, and Michigan Shakespeare Festivals. Daniels is a Juilliard graduate.
Janice Martin (Kat) has been featured on national television and in multiple productions around the world as a singer, violinist, pianist, and aerialist. She has performed as a soloist with the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Boston Pops and the San Francisco Symphony as part of the troupe Cirque de la Symphonie. A Juilliard School graduate, Martin has won many international awards including use of the 1720 “Bagshawe” Stradivarius Violin.
Performances of Ernest Shackleton Loves Me are Friday, January 14, 2022 through Sunday, January 30, 2022 in the beautiful Cabot Theatre at the Broadway Theatre Center, 158 N. Broadway in the Historic Third Ward of Milwaukee.
Single tickets and subscriptions are on sale. Subscribers get the best seats at the best prices. Purchase at the Broadway Theatre Center Box Office. Call (414) 291-7800 or visit 158 N. Broadway, Monday – Saturday, from noon – 6 p.m. or email [email protected].
· Please let the Box Office know if accessible seating is needed, or if patrons will have a wheelchair or walker.
· Box Office hours are Mon. – Sat. Noon – 6 p.m. The Box Office window is also open two hours prior to performances.
· Group discounts are available for parties of 10 or more by calling (414) 299-4972 or emailing [email protected]
· If you have ADA needs, please contact the Box Office (414) 291-7800 or [email protected].
· Skylight offers a risk-free guarantee to exchange, credit, or refund tickets for any canceled performances.