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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Saturday, April 19, 2014

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"A Steady Rain" welcomes back its original actors as the award-winning show visits Next Act Theatre this weekend.
"A Steady Rain" welcomes back its original actors as the award-winning show visits Next Act Theatre this weekend.

Coming soon: "A Steady Rain"

Milwaukee is clearly in the grip of a growing controversy over its police department, with the death of a young boy at the heart of the clamor for reform in the police force.

In an example of how art mimics life, or the other way around, Milwaukee will be graced with a rare touring production of one of the great plays of recent years as "A Steady Rain" has a too-brief four-day run at Next Act Theatre.

The award-winning play is about two police officers who are involved in the death of a young boy. The focus of the play is on the two officers, Denny and Joey, and their perceptions of the incident and the fallout that rains down on their lives.

Most plays that tour and come to Milwaukee are the big musicals like "Wicked" and "Thoroughly Modern Millie." This is an unusual chance to see a world-class serious play that certainly touches on Milwaukee today.

"A Steady Rain" was born in Chicago by playwright Keith Huff and nurtured to the stage by well-known director Russ Tutterow, who is the artistic director at Chicago Dramatists. Tutterow directed the original incarnation of the play and eventually sent it off to Broadway, where it starred Hugh Jackman and Daniel Craig and played to universal critical and box office success.

The play has now been revived with the original director and original cast, actors Randy Steinmeyer and Peter De Faria.

"This play was such a hit that bringing it back was the logical thing to do," Tutterow said. "The reception from audiences has been wonderful.

"Keith Huff has family members who are cops and he was obviously moved by the whole Jeffrey Dahmer thing," he added. "That played a role in creating this wonderful work.

"This is not a play about police, though. It's a play about two individual, very flawed people, who happen to be cops. It's so interesting that people are just going to love it. They do love it."

The run is Thursday and Friday at 7:30 p.m., Saturday at 2 and 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets are on sale now and are $35. Tickets may be purchased online at nextact.org.

For more information on "A Steady Rain," visit asteadyrainchi.com.

This is one play that should not be missed.

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