Renaissance Theaterworks: Presents ACTUALLY

MILWAUKEE, WIS. (January 26, 2022) – Renaissance Theaterworks (RTW) presents ACTUALLY by Anna Ziegler at their new artistic home, 255 S. Water St., running March 11 through April 3, 2022. The play will be directed by Mary MacDonald Kerr and features Eva Nimmer and Preston Tate, Jr. ACTUALLY is sponsored By: George & Sandy Dionisopoulos and J. Michael Reavis

ACTUALLY is a smart, profound exploration of the culture of sexual consent. With lyricism and wit, ACTUALLY investigates gender and race politics, our crippling desire to fit in, and the three sides to every story. Tom and Amber are college freshmen at Princeton. They are overwhelmed, overstimulated, sleep-deprived, surrounded by strangers, full of tension, uncertainty, and alcohol. What could possibly go wrong?

RTW’s Community Engagement Manager, Alea McHatten, leads the volunteer community engagement committee to build strong relationships in the community. Community partners have missions related to the topics of the play and bring their expertise to special events connected to the play, and share information about their mission in the lobby. 

For ACTUALLY our Community Partners are: 

  • The City of Milwaukee’s Office of Violence Prevention who’s core mission is to reduce violence in Milwaukee. The Office of Violence Prevention provides strategic direction and oversight for City efforts to reduce risk of violence through linked strategies in partnership with government, non-profit, neighborhood, and faith organizations.
  • REDgen (Resilience through EDucation for a new generation) advocates for youth mental health and well-being. A catalyst to drive hope and transformation in our community, REDgen supports communities with their visions of raising resilient youth who are living authentic lives with a strong sense of emotional well-being

Since ACTUALLY was scheduled for March 2020, and cancelled because of the pandemic, RTW is thrilled to bring it back. ACTUALLY was the winner of the 2018 L.A. Stage Alliance Ovation Award for Playwriting for an Original Play. ACTUALLY was developed at the McCarter’s 2016 Sallie B. Goodman Artist’s Retreat, The Playwrights Realm and in a Fridays at 3 reading at The Williamstown Theatre Festival. ACTUALLY’s many notable productions include The Geffen Playhouse, Los Angeles; The Manhattan Theatre Club; Trafalgar Studios, London, UK; and  Harold Green /Obsidian Theatre Company, Toronto. 

Press reviews include: 

  • “Gripping. Beautifully rendered and complex. Destined to trigger discussion.” – LA Times
  • “GO! Smart and penetrating…A top-notch narrative that travels beyond the hot-button issue of date rape it tackles. The characters…are as finely etched as in a good novel, and as satisfying.” – LA Weekly
  • “[Her] dialogue bristles with smart, eloquent talk…Ms. Ziegler’s quietly lyrical language has a luminous beauty, and her talent for creating characters whose complicated depths are just visible on their surfaces is still more remarkable.” – The New York Times
  • “Incisive and smartly observed. Compelling and provocative.” – The Hollywood Reporter

When asked what inspired her to tell this story, playwright Anna Ziegler answered, “I’m often drawn to stories that examine the nature of ‘the truth,’ in which multiple perspectives reveal the impossibility of a single definitive version of events. And the sexual misconduct cases that are proliferating on college campuses right now provide a fascinating, and painful, example of this, and of the particular difficulties of ascertaining what really happened between two people. But more than anything, I was interested in these two characters and in investigating what led each to the moment in question — how society and personality converge to create a combustible mix of self-doubt and the desire to fit in, and how, as a result, good people can end up compromising themselves and others. I was also really intrigued by the idea of trying to determine truth at the dicey, charged intersection of race and gender, where biases abound.”

And, this is the second of Anna Ziegler’s plays that Renaissance Theaterworks has produced. The first one was PHOTOGRAPH 51, in their 2018-2019 season. Besides winning London’s 2016 WhatsOnStage award for Best New Play, PHOTOGRAPH 51 was selected as a “Best of the Year” play by The Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post (twice) and The Telegraph.

Director Mary MacDonald Kerr shared her thoughts about ACTUALLY: “I was immediately drawn to the way this play offers both sides of the story – good and bad, fair and unfair, attractive and ugly. Tom and Amber are brutally honest as they navigate their journey, both are forced to look at hard truths about themselves and the world around them. I am very excited to help the cast bring this honesty bravely to light.”

Tickets may be purchased at or by calling the new box office number 414-278-0765 from 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. All those in attendance will be required to show proof of vaccination with matching ID. All attendees, including staff and volunteers, will be required to wear masks, covering nose and mouth, for the duration of the evening. 

For 29 seasons, RTW has promoted the work of women in theater onstage and off, and in 2021-2022 highlights What Really Matters – Identity, Belonging, Connection. The bold, edgy, thought-provoking lineup of theater continues with ACTUALLY, a smart, profound exploration of the culture of sexual consent in the college environment; and MUTHALAND, a play based on actual events about a young Indian American woman’s journey of discovering her own voice. The 2021-2022 season kicked off with the EIGHTH Br!NK NEW PLAY FESTIVAL and THE CAKE. This is RTW’s first full season at their new artistic home at 255 S Water Street in Next Act Theatre. 

Led by Artistic Director Suzan Fete and Managing Director Lisa Rasmussen, the offices remain at 158 N. Broadway St.