Jim Higgins, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Deaf West Theatre performed “Spring Awakening” with a mixture of deaf and hearing actors. Skylight Music Theatre will take the same approach in its 2021 production. (Photo: Joan Marcus)
Yes, that DeYoung, the former lead singer of the classic rock band Styx. His musical version of Victor Hugo’s novel won a 2008 Jeff Award in Chicago for best midsize musical. Unger has also directed DeYoung’s other musical adaptation, “101 Dalmatians.”
Unger unveiled next season’s titles during a public event Tuesday that included a singing appearance by DeYoung.
In a phone interview, Unger said he chose a season that respects Skylight’s credo of fun and its history of performing a full range of musical theater. He also noted that all of the shows started out in some other form, as a novel or movie or other work.
Here is a list of Skylight’s 2020-’21 productions, in chronological order:
“The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” Sept. 11-27. Unger will direct. He said DeYoung actually began writing “Hunchback” while on a tour performing in “Jesus Christ Superstar.” “Superstar” and “Evita” would be analogs for the style of “Hunchback,” he said.
“Oliver!,” Nov. 13-Dec. 27. As has become its tradition, Skylight will cast many local children in its annual holiday musical. It’s the first time Skylight has performed this 1960 classic, adapted by Lionel Bart from Charles Dickens’ “Oliver Twist.”
“Fledermaus MKE,” Jan. 15-31, 2021. Jill Anna Ponasik directs an English-language production of the Strauss operetta, which will be set in Milwaukee and filled with local references.
“Ernest Shackleton Loves Me,” Feb. 12-28, 2021. In this whimsical musical, a single mom and composer becomes involved in a time-bending romance with the great Antarctic explorer. “I tend to gravitate to impossible love stories,” Unger confessed.
“The Fully Monty,” April 30-May 23, 2021. Unemployed steelworkers in dire straits band together to perform as male strippers, humorously confronting male and body anxieties along the way. “At the heart, it’s a love story between father and son,” Unger said.
“Spring Awakening,” March 12-28, 2021. Taking a cue from Deaf West Theatre’s innovative Broadway revival, Skylight will stage the rock musical with a blend of hearing and deaf actors, incorporating ASL (American Sign Language) as well as song. Unger will direct this bilingual non-subscription show; subscribers will get first dibs on buying tickets.
For subscription and other info, visit skylightmusictheatre.org or call (414) 291-7800.