By Dave Begel Contributing Writer Published Nov 01, 2016 at 11:03 AM

When you are a theater critic, there is always a little part of you that harbors this kind of wish list of things that you’d love to see done by the companies you write about on a regular basis.

Normally you keep those to yourself – but nobody has ever called me normal.

I do have thoughts about programming a season or producing a play. It's a wish list of things I'd love to see on Milwaukee stages. Here are just a few of them.

In Tandem Theatre

I would love to see In Tandem Theatre take its four-show season and devote it to four great American plays during a season. Chris and Jane Flieller, who run the company, have proved over the years that they have a penchant for staging memorable productions. They have an impeccable ability to bring together creative and skilled directors with equally creative and skilled actors to create some absolutely great productions.

I’d like to see In Tandem stage a season with "Death of a Salesman," "A Streetcar Named Desire," "Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf" and "Long Day’s Journey Into Night."

I’d like to see Leda Hoffmann direct "Salesman," Mary MacDonald Kerr direct "Virginia Woolf," Mallory Metoxen direct "Journey" and Jane Flieller direct "Streetcar." Four brilliant women directors each with a classic play. It could be magic. Oh, and I’d love to see James Pickering play Willy Loman in "Salesman," Marti Gobel play Blanche and Malkia Stampley play Stella in "Streetcar," and see Norman Moses play James Tyrone in "Journey."

Next Act Theatre

David Cecsarini at Next Act Theatre has built a company with a focus on plays that deal with social or political issues. They have ranged from this season's incredibly comic "The Taming" to the incredibly dramatic "Back of the Throat" from last season.

There is a rich trough of politically themed plays from which to choose, but I’d love to see Cecsarini stage "Arborophilia" by Jacob M. Appel. It’s the story of a woman who is very disappointed in her daughters because one of them is dating a Republican and the other is in love with a poplar tree. Its biting humor would do well at Next Act.

The Rep

With three stages, The Rep has the opportunity to mount about a dozen productions a season.

I’d like to see the duo called The Clairvoyants do a long stretch at The Stackner Cabaret. I saw the pair on "American’s Got Talent," and the two are absolutely amazing. Two seasons ago, Marc Salem’s "Mind Over Milwaukee" act was very successful. I’d predict that the mental gymnastics of The Clairvoyants would break that record.

Rep artistic director Mark Clements has a well-deserved reputation as a director who can mount major musicals as well as anybody else in the country. Clements and Rep managing director Chad Bauman have made a commitment to increasing opportunities for minorities in the theater.

So, I’d love to see Clements take "South Pacific," the classic Rodgers and Hammerstein musical about racial prejudice and tolerance, and turn it on its ear with a mainly black cast of actors. I think it would be a fascinating experience in how the color of an actor either does or doesn’t change the power of this play. Plus, we’d get to hear all that fantastic music again.

Renaissance Theaterworks

Renaissance Theaterworks is a company dedicated to increasing opportunities for women in theater, and it’s run by women who have staged some memorable productions in the past.

I’d love to see Renaissance produce "Getting Out," the first play written by Marsha Norman. The play is a powerful and dramatic tale about a woman who leaves prison after eight years and her attempt to resume the reality of both her new and her past lives. It has many opportunities for inventive casting and staging, and I’d love to see it find a home at Renaissance.

Milwaukee Chamber Theatre

C. Michael Wright has a remarkable sense of comedy at Milwaukee Chamber Theatre, and he has staged a number of farces over the years. One playwright missing from Milwaukee has been the prolific British writer Alan Ayckbourn.

There are a number of his plays I’d like to see, but "How the Other Half Loves" is a marvelous example of mixed relationships and the hazards of both falling and being in love. Wright could make this production sing.

Off the Wall Theatre

Dale Gutzman at Off the Wall Theatre has a deserved reputation as the most surprising and daring producer in town. His productions of "Trainspotting" and "The Man in the Glass Booth" are memorable.

I’d love to see him produce Neil LaBute’s "Reasons to be Pretty," a bitter look at four young working class friends – some lovers – and their dissatisfaction with their lives.

There you have it. I’ve probably missed some I’d like to see – and I’m pretty sure that theater producers don’t much care what I think. But in the moments when they are perhaps stuck looking for ideas, they may stumble on this and give one or two of them a shot. It would make me a happy man.

Dave Begel Contributing Writer

With a history in Milwaukee stretching back decades, Dave tries to bring a unique perspective to his writing, whether it's sports, politics, theater or any other issue.

He's seen Milwaukee grow, suffer pangs of growth, strive for success and has been involved in many efforts to both shape and re-shape the city. He's a happy man, now that he's quit playing golf, and enjoys music, his children and grandchildren and the myriad of sports in this state. He loves great food and hates bullies and people who think they are smarter than everyone else.

This whole Internet thing continues to baffle him, but he's willing to play the game as long as keeps lending him a helping hand. He is constantly amazed that just a few dedicated people can provide so much news and information to a hungry public.

Despite some opinions to the contrary, Dave likes most stuff. But he is a skeptic who constantly wonders about the world around him. So many questions, so few answers.