Jackson Rosenberry is excited theater is back with Genealogy opening at Broom Street and so are we!

Jackson Rosenberry

posted by T.J. Elliott

The combination of the lingering effects of the pandemic and the distance to Madison, Wisconsin from our homes in the New York City area meant that Joe Queenan and I did not meet many of the actors in our Genealogy cast in person when we had our Zoom table reading a few months ago. And then when we were auditioning several actors for the part of Glenn Weber, the former MTV personality now hosting what another character in the play describes as the “tabloid version” of ancestry podcasts, watching applicants on video was the only method available to us. Jackson Rosenberry stood out even on that colder medium for his energy and inventiveness.

Thus, I wasn’t surprised when we asked for his bio after he was chosen for the role to read its very first sentence: “Jackson Rosenberry is very excited to work on this production.” Finally meeting him a few weeks ago in person and watching his work in the first two rehearsals, I realized that this was something of an understatement. Jackson plunged dynamically into the role and I found myself cracking up at the ingenuities of his interpretations. He also read the script so carefully that he caught a mistake we had made in describing someone’s ancestor. I don’t think I will ever get over the sensation of gratification that comes from recognizing someone has read our words very carefully.

As I learned more about Jackson’s work in the theater, I understood the strong foundation that he brings to our work. Since moving to Madison in 2017, Jackson has been involved in multiple productions around Madison including Henry IV Part 2 and The Merry Wives of Windsor, both produced by the Madison Shakespeare Company. He has also been involved with several productions at Broom Street Theater, including Lysistrata, and Hamilton: The Original 1917 Broadway Smash Hit. Having an opportunity to grab a drink at the Weary Traveler after one of the rehearsals with Jackson, it was very clear how very happy he is to return to Broom Street once again to bring the love of theater back to Madison after such a long time. And that long time is now less than a week before Genealogy directed by Dana Pellebon opens at Broom Street Theater Our live stream on the Broom Street YouTube channel will be on November 19 and we are very happy that Jackson Rosenberry will be part of our fine cast.

Jackson in action at Genealogy rehearsal

Jamie England is NOT to be Missed as Muggs Moriarty in Genealogy

Jamie England

Blog post by T.J. Elliott October 24, 2021

While my co-playwright, Joe Queenan, was writing a dozen books and thousands of columns over several decades, my life required me to take several steps back from direct activity in the theater. That did not mean I stopped writing or thinking about plays; it just meant that I had to concentrate on my straight job because I was just not talented enough to dance that corporate tango and stage plays. But those moments in which I could consider theater yielded results that continue to be important now when I’m back full-time in this world. Several large drawers overflow with notes from that earlier era that may yet find their way onto the stage as plays and a few well-worn books that inspired me then persist still in nourishing my theatrical interests.

One of those books is by the playwright Alan Ayckbourn. The Crafty Art of Playmaking became one of the books of my ‘Bible’ guiding me in playwrighting. Perhaps counterintuitively, one of the most important messages Ayckbourn conveys emphasizes an element other than the writing: “Theatre is not about the writing, it’s not about the directing. It is about that, but in the end it’s really about the actors and the audience and most audiences – aside from the cognoscenti who sit there being experts – come to watch a bit of acting. … Stephen Joseph always taught me that you serve that wonderful moment between actor and audience. And that is the precious moment that live theatre has that no other media has quite to that extent and that is why I stick to theatre.”

I agree wholeheartedly with Ayckbourn’s sentiment and that is why meeting and then working with Jamie England who plays Muggs Moriarty in Genealogy, which opens in just a dozen days from now at Broom Street Theater in Madison Wisconsin, elated me so powerfully. Having an actress like Jamie who was not only capable of creating that “wonderful moment between actor and audience”, but also possessed such imagination and curiosity made me certain that a character that enchanted Joe and I as she came into being on the page would now be even more compelling on the stage.

That Jamie owns such talent is no surprise to those who have seen her act in Madison or elsewhere. After all, Jamie has been acting since fourth grade, when she gave a rousing, critically-acclaimed performance as the narrator in Cinderella. Here in Madison, Jamie most recently appeared onstage as Judy in Madison Theatre Guild’s 2019 production of Small Mouth Sounds. Other favorite local acting experiences include turns as Joyce in Body Awareness, Mattie Fae in August:  Osage County, Nightshade LaVixen in Sweet William, Linda Loman in Death of a Salesman, JoAnn in Company, the unsinkable Narrator in You’ve Ruined a Perfectly Good Mystery, Lisa in Cancer Stories, Margaret Hughes in The Compleat Female Stage Beauty, Liz Morden in Our Country’s Good, and Arsinoe’ in The Misanthrope.   We are very fortunate that she has taken on our Muggs as her next role and for those of you who will see Genealogy either live November 5, 6, 11-13, 18-20 or via our streaming performance will be fortunate to see her performance. For those of you who can travel to Madison, you can purchase tickets at this link. We should have more details on our live streamed formants, which will air on the last weekend of our run at Broom Street. Stay tuned and don’t miss Jamie!