The Amateurs

March 19 - April 5, 2020

Regional Premiere

Directed by Jennifer Uphoff Gray

Hollis is a performer in an itinerant troupe of actors attempting to outrun the Black Plague in this 14th century-set comedy by the author of Marjorie Prime. The Renaissance is still in the future, and so is the concept of self-determination. So when Hollis stops a performance to wonder why Mrs. Noah would get on that ark, she throws her castmates into chaos.

This thought-provoking and centuries-spanning play delights in the imaginations of theater-makers and theater-goers everywhere. And in a tale as inventive and hilarious as its characters, The Amateurs ponders the purpose of art in turbulent times.

“...a rollicking tragicomedy in which pratfalls and death throes are tumbled together...” - The New York Times

Sponsored by: DeWitt, CUNA Mutual, Isthmus


Terry Bell (The Physic), Matt Daniels (Larking), Adam Estes (Brom), Emily Glick (Rona), Josh Krause (Gregory), Kat Wodtke (Hollis)

Scenic Designer: Nate Stuber, Lighting Designer: Marisa Abbott, Costume Designer: Monica Kilkus, Composer/Sound Designer: Joe Cerqua, Props Master: Pamela Miles, Dramaturg: Mike Fischer, Stage Manager: Sarah Deming-Henes, Assistant Stage Manager: Enya Nett


Forward Theater is offering three free lectures that will go into depth on various topics discussed in this rich and complex show.
The lectures will take place on the Rotunda Stage in the Playhouse lobby, before each Saturday evening performance of The Amateurs.
These are open to the public - a show ticket is not required to attend.

Saturday, 3/21 at 6:30pm: Dick Wagner, local historian on issues relating to the LGBTQ+ community and author of We've Been Here All Along: Wisconsin's Early Gay History, will give a talk about the history of the AIDS years here in Madison. Wagner is a scholar, activist, and the first openly gay member of the Dane County Board of Supervisors, where he served for fourteen years. He was co-chair of the Governor's Council on Lesbian and Gay Issues in 1983 and one of the co-founders of UW-Madison’s LGBT Alumni Association and the Harvest Foundation, the LGBT foundation for southern Wisconsin.

Saturday, 3/28 at 6:30pm: Martin Foys, UW Madison Professor of English, will give a talk about the traditions of medieval theater. Foys’ scholarship has explored pre- and post-Conquest England, with special attention to the intersection of literature and other visual, material, technological and media modes of cultural expression,

Saturday, 4/4 at 6:30pm: Thomas Dale, Director of Medieval Studies, Professor of Art History, and Second Vice-President of The Medieval Academy of America, will offer a lecture on The Macabre and the Performance of Death in Late Medieval Art and Visual Culture, which will include a look at representations of plague saints during the period of the Black Death and its aftermath.


Why did we choose The Amateurs? Check out this review in The New York Times:

‘The Amateurs’ Takes On God, Noah’s Ark and the Plague. For Laughs.

There's more to The Amateurs than meets the eye. A next level interview with playwright Jordan Harrison:

How To Write An “AIDS Play” Today—And Why We Should Still Care
With “The Amateurs,” Jordan Harrison swaps “Orange Is the New Black” for Black Death.

Interview with playwright Jordan Harrison and Oliver Butler, director of original Vineyard Theatre production:

The Playhouse at Overture Center
201 State Street, Madison, WI