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Milwaukee Chamber Theater's 'Fallen Angels' Pays Tribute to Noel Coward

kate gabrielle

Sir Noel Coward was a jack of all trades. He was an actor, a composer and a singer - but he’s most remembered for his plays. The English playwright wrote dozens of plays during his life, including: Private Lives, Blithe Spirit and Hay Fever, just to name a few.

The Milwaukee Chamber Theater is celebrating that legacy with its production of Coward’s Fallen Angels and a discussion with one of the playwright’s close friends, Geoffrey Johnson. He is a trustee of the Noel Coward Foundation, and was a U.S. representative for Coward during his life.

"Noel Coward was one of these people that could do so many things that it's difficult to kind of pin everything down," says Johnson. 

Coward was an influential person in both the United Kingdom and the United States, although he came from humble beginnings. He started as a child actor and began writing shows in his teens. Although they were well received by audiences at the time, the Censors sometimes found them controversial. 

Fallen Angels was no exception. The play is about two women with risqué pasts, who get drunk while waiting for an old flame. And while the subject matter for his shows changed, his characters and plot points always revealed a sense of his personal style. 

"If you say, particularly to people in the theater and to audiences that go to the theater a lot, 'Oh, it's a Noel Coward play,' or 'It has all these Noel Coward characters in it,' they know what they're in for," says Johnson. "And they like it." 

Milwaukee Chamber Theatre's production of Fallen Angels is playing at the Broadway Theatre Center through May 1st. 

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Joy Powers joined WUWM January 2016 as a producer for Lake Effect. Before then, she was a director and producer for Afternoon Shift, on WBEZ-fm Chicago Public Radio.