A Presidential Primer

A Presidential Primer

hether you’re a political junkie or can’t wait for November 6 to pass, there’s no escaping we’re smack in the middle of campaign season.

Forward Theater Company is ready to make the lead-up to the presidential election a lot of fun. Kicking off its new season is 44 Plays for 44 Presidents, opening tomorrow and running through October 7 at Overture Center’s Playhouse.

A nonpartisan work by Chicago’s Neo-Futurists, the play chronicles the lives of all of the country’s commanders in chief, from George Washington up to Barack Obama.

Forward’s director of communication Gwendolyn Rice describes the two-minute plays on each president as quick-paced, Saturday Night Live-style skits mixing comedy, drama, music, dance and audience interaction.

Five actors—UW–Madison theater professor Patrick Sims, plus Milwaukee actors Jonathan West, Matt Daniels, Georgina McKee and Marcella Kearns—take on the daunting task of portraying the forty-four holders of the highest office in the U.S. Forward’s artistic director Jennifer Uphoff Gray directs the production.

Forward has also partnered with more than forty-four area artists who are each creating a portrait a president. Ranging from paintings to fiber art to collage, the pieces will be on display in Overture’s Playhouse Gallery in September and October.

Ultimately, the point of the play is twofold, says Rice. It’s meant to entertain as well as encourage audiences to get out and vote.

44 Plays for 44 Presidents runs September 20 to October 7. For more information, visit forwardtheater.com.

Photo by Zane Williams.