The mission of Milwaukee Chamber Theatre is to produce intimate, high-quality, professional theatrical works of literary merit that engage and challenge the audience, while employing and nurturing principally local theatre artists.
1975: Montgomery Davis and Ruth Schudson decide Milwaukee needs more than one theatre for professional (Equity) actors and correct the problem by founding Milwaukee Chamber Theatre. MCT's inaugural production, DON JUAN IN HELL by George Bernard Shaw, performs at Vogel Hall.
1975-1982: A "nomadic" theatre troupe, MCT bills itself as a "moveable feast" touring to homes, churches, restaurants and other locations throughout Southeastern Wisconsin and the Midwest. From the beginning MCT focuses on intimate theatre experiences and works of great literature.
1980: Montgomery Davis and Ruth Schudson star in MCT's first production of 84, CHARING CROSS ROAD. The play becomes a signature piece and is re-mounted in 1982, 1991 and 2004.
1982: MCT sets down roots by performing regularly at the old Skylight Theatre on Jefferson St. Through the years MCT also performed at Marquette University's Helfaer Theatre and Milwaukee Rep's Stiemke Theatre.
1983: First annual Shaw Festival featuring DON JUAN IN HELL and DEAR LIAR. For twenty years (1983-2002), MCT is the only theatre company in the United States to produce an annual Shaw Festival.
1984: MCT offers its first subscription season featuring THE DINING ROOM, CANDIDA and MRS. WARREN'S PROFESSION. Monty runs MCT of out of his home and subscription orders are processed in a volunteer's rec room.
1993: MCT becomes a resident theatre at the new Broadway Theatre Center in Milwaukee's burgeoning Historic Third Ward. MCT's first production in the building was THE SCHOOL FOR SCANDAL in the Cabot Theatre.
1997: MCT and Milwaukee Repertory Theater jointly produce both parts of ANGELS IN AMERICA by Tony Kushner. MCT's piece ANGELS IN AMERICA: PERESTROIKA becomes the highest-grossing show in MCT history.
2005: Montgomery Davis steps down as artistic director and after a national search local director and actor C. Michael Wright is hired.
2006: The first Young Playwrights Festival is produced in the Studio Theatre. Each Festival features three one-act plays, the winners of our annual high school playwriting competition. YPF becomes MCT's signature education program with the participation of hundreds of young playwrights and emerging theatre artists since its inception.
2007: MCT produces a workshop and staged reading of THE DALY NEWS, the inaugural project in the Montgomery Davis Play Development Series, named in honor of MCT's late co-founder who passed away earlier that year. Through the series, each season MCT develops two new scripts by Wisconsin playwrights.
2008: As part of MCT's long-standing tradition of producing great literary works, we commit to offering a Pulitzer Prize-winning play for five consecutive seasons. The series begins with TALLEY'S FOLLY and continues with RABBIT HOLE, PICNIC, THE SUBJECT WAS ROSES, CRIMES OF THE HEART and DRIVING MISS DAISY.
2009: MCT strengthens its commitment to nurture young theatre artists by creating an intensive three-year University Collaboration Series, which begins with PICNIC, produced in partnership with UW-Milwaukee. The series continues with collaborations with Marquette University and UW-Parkside. Today MCT remains deeply committed to working with local university theatre departments through a variety of diverse partnerships.
2011: Ruth Schudson plays the title role in DRIVING MISS DAISY - her 65th production with MCT. To mark the occasion, a tribute is mounted with over 35 artists collaborating on a retrospective of Schudson's most memorable roles. The "Ruth Schudson Leading Lady Fund" is established to honor her contributions to Milwaukee's theatre community and to continue supporting the work of other leading ladies at MCT.
Milwaukee Chamber Theatre, Milwaukee's third largest non-musical
theatre company, has long been recognized as producing first-rate,
thought-provoking drama and a major contributor to the rich
cultural and economic life of the community. One of the city's
oldest, professional theatre companies, MCT was co-founded in
1975 by two local actors, Montgomery Davis and Ruth Schudson, who
envisioned a space where audiences could open their minds to new
theatrical ideas and Milwaukee's theatre professionals could
broaden their skills and apply their craft. After having been a
"roving" company for 18 years, MCT conducted its first capital
campaign and in 1993 moved into the Broadway Theatre Center. For
twenty years of its existence (1983-2002), MCT was the only theatre
company in the United States to produce an annual Shaw Festival.
Montgomery Davis led MCT as Artistic Director for 30 years.
During his tenure, the company mounted dozens of memorable
productions including MASTER CLASS, DON JUAN IN HELL, SCHOOL FOR
SCANDAL, DINNER WITH FRIENDS, and statewide tours of 84 CHARING
CROSS ROAD and DEAR LIAR featuring the company's founders. In 1997,
MCT's production of ANGELS IN AMERICA: PERESTROIKA became the
highest grossing play in MCT history.
After 30 years as artistic director, Montgomery Davis announced his retirement in 2004. C. Michael Wright, a local director and actor, was appointed as the company's second artistic director in September of 2005. Michael's artistic programming is characterized by smaller, more intimate productions that feature emerging local talent. His management style rescued the company from financial peril and allowed the company to expand its programming in order to develop new voices. Under his leadership, MCT began its annual Young Playwrights Series in 2006. In the fall of 2007, he created the Montgomery Davis Play Development Series, honoring the company's founding artistic director who passed away that spring. In 2007-2008, Producing Artistic Director C. Michael Wright also committed to offering a Pulitzer Prize-winning play each season for five years. In an effort to continue to enrich Milwaukee's pool of theatrical talent, MCT will partner with a local college theatre department for one production each season. This initiative was inaugurated in 2009 when MCT mounted William Inge's PICNIC in collaboration with UW-Milwaukee.