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Local Theatre Brings Back The Comedy of Cid Caesar

Broccoli Theatricals

For those of us old enough to remember him, Sid Caesar was the king of live television in the 1950s. In Your Show of Shows Caesar all but defined the sketch comedy TV show. He also surrounded himself with a bevy of equally brilliant writers, many of whom who would go on to great things on their own: people like Mel Brooks, Carl Reiner, Larry Gelbart, and Neil Simon.

Simon immortalized his time working for Caesar in his hit Broadway play Laughter on the 23rd Floor. One of Milwaukee’s newest theatre companies, Broccoli Theatricals, is about to open their production of it. John Baiocchi is the founder of the company and directs their production of Laughter. He moved to Milwaukee back in 2009 from California and found that the local theatre scene was in comparison just as vibrant as the sunny town of Pleasonton.

"Casting is ninety-eight percent of directing, so if I'm a good director I have to have a good cast. And I've found in every show I've done in Milwaukee...the talent has shown up," says Baiocchi.

The talent is certainly not lacking in actress Beth Lewinski, who will be playing the character Milt Fields in drag. Although decisions and changes such as having a woman play a male character's role, the show still holds fundamental lessons relatable for audiences more than twenty years after its original production.

"It still relates to you now. You know it was set in its time period, and it was perfect for its time period, and it was ground breaking for its time period. But it's still ground breaken even now somehow," says Lewinski.

Laughter on the 23rd Floor opens tomorrow night at Theatre Unchained’s space on South 5th street in Milwaukee, and runs through May 9th.

To give you some idea of the comedy behind the show, below is an original clip from Your Show of Shows:


Bonnie North
Bonnie joined WUWM in March 2006 as the Arts Producer of the locally produced weekday magazine program Lake Effect.