By OnMilwaukee Staff Writers   Published Jan 22, 2009 at 5:22 AM

First Stage Children’s Theater presents "Witness," a play based on the Newberry Award-winning book by Karen Hesse. The show runs Jan. 23-Feb. 22 at the Todd Wehr Theater in the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts, 929 N. Water St.

"Witness" tells the story of the Ku Klux Klan’s attempt to recruit members in a small Vermont town in the year 1924.  Leanora Sutter, a young African-American girl, feels isolated by racial prejudice and her mother’s recent death. 

She is befriended by Esther Hirsh, a younger Jewish girl, whose innocence and natural optimism provides a sharp contrast to the other characters.  Leanora and Esther are a source of comfort for each when they find themselves no longer welcome by some of the townspeople.

"'Witness' starkly examines the cost to a society of allowing hate to fester and offers hope for the future when a community comes together for the good of every citizen.," says director John Maclay.

Tickets start at $10.50 and are available through the Web site or by calling (414) 273-7206.