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The Marla J. Eichmann Studio Theater

The Sunset Playhouse has been a community theater fixture in Southeast Wisconsin since its stage lights were illuminated in 1960. Throughout its history, it has experienced successes and challenges, and has risen to meet those challenges every time. Often, obstacles faced are overcome because of the volunteers, the lifeblood of any theater organization. One such Sunset Playhouse volunteer, Marla J. Eichmann, is an undeniable example of one who has impacted its success. Walking through the doors of the theater in 1999 to try her hand as a props mistress, Marla became so enamored with the Playhouse that she traveled from back stage crew to leading the charge as president of its board.

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Eichmann has always been a champion of the arts, and volunteering at Sunset allowed her to take that support further. “I enjoyed witnessing and learning the magic of theater.” However, it was her extensive business knowledge that aided Sunset Playhouse when it was most needed. When the theater had to navigate some financial obstacles, Marla used her savvy business acumen as Board President to steer Sunset in the right direction. “I stepped in to more directly supervise the day-to-day aspects of the theater, including implementing Management 101 discipline and searching for the right staff members.”

One area that required a re-focus was the Studio Theater. Built as an addition to the original structure, the intention was to utilize it for pre- and post-performance gatherings for the theater’s various patron groups. Additionally, there were dreams about using the space for small-scale productions that might not be a good fit for the Furlan Auditorium. The hope was to add another level of theatrical offerings, introducing and exploring lesser-known but important or edgier artistic pieces with a broader audience.

However, lacking a dedicated resource to manage the usage of the space, Sunset slowly saw the Studio Theater become more of a financial monkey on its back. Marla and company had to closely examine how to forge a corrective path. As Board President, Eichmann, the creative Sunset staff, and a group of very generous volunteers sprang into action. They hit the ground running, brainstorming ideas to turn the Studio Theater into a hot-bed of activity.

Today, that same Studio Theater space virtually never sees a quiet moment. It now hosts the popular SideNotes Cabaret Series and the newly-created After Sunset Series. Additionally, it serves as a rental space for private parties and events. Even more exciting, the Studio Theater has become a nurturing location for up-and-coming local artists and theater companies to stage special event performances.

Marla has continued her focused dedication to Sunset’s success story. Her devotion to the theater has served as an inspiration to her sister, Laura Hohing, who has also had a long-time affection for the arts.
Laura graciously and generously donated to the Playhouse in December, asking only that the Studio Theater be named in her beloved sister’s honor, a request enthusiastically endorsed by the Board. The Marla J. Eichmann Studio Theater is busier than ever, showcasing productions from Pulitzer Prize-winning pieces to the wonderfully endearing performances emanating from the very successful theater education programs.

The Sunset Playhouse’s Sparkling Sixtieth Season has been announced and the box office is open. Don’t just take our word; come see for yourself the incredible theater that is on display in both the Marla J. Eichmann Studio Theater and the Alan Furlan Auditorium. Remember….Entertainment begins at Sunset!

Nikki Lueck

Sunset Playhouse named Theatre of the Year – Broadway World Regional Awards

Winners Announced For The 2017 BroadwayWorld Milwaukee Awards; Sunset Playhouse Wins Theatre of the Year!

Winners have been announced for the 2017 BroadwayWorld Milwaukee Awards, honoring productions which opened between October 2016 and September 2017.

This year the BroadwayWorld Regional Awards took place in a record number of markets, with a record number of votes – including 56 cities across the United States; with our awards taking place globally in a record-breaking 11 countries, including multiple Canadian cities!

Nominations were reader-submitted and after the nomination period ended, BroadwayWorld’s local editors proofed the list for eligibility and errors.

The votes have been counted… Check out the full list of winners below!

Best Actor in a Musical
Michael Haubner – Jesus Christ Superstar – West Allis Players

Best Actor in a Play
Nicholas Callan Haubner – Of Mice and Men – Seventh Row Center

Best Actress in a Musical
Kat Geertsen – If/Then – Greendale Community Theatre

Best Actress in a Play
Beth Perry – 33 Variations – Waukesha Civic Theatre

Best Costume Design
Heather Patterson & Rebecca Schilling – 1776 – Lake Country Playhouse

Best Director of a Musical
Tim Backes – Next to Normal – All In Productions

Best Director of a Play
Dustin J. Martin – 33 Variations – Waukesha Civic Theater 

Best Musical

Next to Normal – All In Productions

Best Play
33 Variations – Waukesha Civic Theatre

Best Scenic Design
Christopher Kurtz – Romeo & Juliet – SummerStage of Delafield

Best Youth Actor (under 18)
Jake Koch – 1776 – Lake Country Playhouse

Best Youth Actress (under 18)
Harper Navin – The Best Christmas Pageant Ever – Sunset Playhouse

Theatre of the Year
Sunset Playhouse

Sunset Playhouse named Theater of the Year! 2016 Broadway World Awards

The Sunset Playhouse has been named THEATER OF THE YEAR in the Milwaukee BroadwayWorld Awards!

Votes were cast; polls are closed; and results have been tabulated! This was the biggest year yet! After a record number of voters in more than 75 regions worldwide, BroadwayWorld announced the 2016 Milwaukee winners!

We are excited to announce that Sunset Playhouse received four awards this year!





BroadwayHD is exclusive Presenting Sponsor for this year’s awards, representing a record-breaking 75 theater regions. Voters participating in this year’s awards receive special offers and subscription opportunities to BroadwayHD, whose co-branding will extend through the voting and winners announcements.

Since its launch in 2015, BroadwayHD aims to extend the reach of Broadway to fans old and new, anytime and anywhere. BroadwayHD is the only online streaming service of its kind, offering viewers an unprecedented Broadway experience and access to exclusive live streams. In addition to exclusive live streamed content, BroadwayHD offers subscribers unlimited access to an on-demand library of over 160 Theater Productions from the comfort and convenience of their own homes-or wherever streaming is possible. It’s the Broadway you know and love, curated from the stage to your screen.”

In June of 2016, BroadwayHD made history with the live stream of Roundabout Theatre Company’s “She Loves Me,” marking the first-ever Broadway live stream. On January 14, BroadwayHD will live stream Roundabout Theatre Company’s “Holiday Inn, The New Irving Berlin Musical.”

Click here to view a complete list of the Milwaukee BroadwayWorld Awards

Sunset Fundraiser at ParkSide 23 on November 15

Sunset Playhouse will be having a fundraiser on November 15th at one of Brookfield’s best restaurants: ParkSide 23.  

Please join us and enjoy lunch or dinner at ParkSide 23 and 25% of your food purchase will be donated back to Sunset Playhouse.  This is a great way for you to enjoy a wonderful meal and contribute to the playhouse.  

Please note:  you must present a flyer to your server when you order your lunch or dinner in order for Sunset to receive the 25% donation.  See below

Click here to view ParkSide 23’s menu.     

ParkSide 23 serves food from 11AM – 9PM    We hope you will join us at this event.  

ParkSide 23,  2300 North Pilgrim Road, Brookfield, WI 53005  262-784-7255

(click on form below to print)


Sunset Performer, Rayven Burdette – 2015 National High School Musical Theatre Awards

Wauwatosa West Theatre student and Sunset performer, Rayven Burdette has been selected to represent The Tommy Awards and the state of Wisconsin at the 2015 National High School Musical Theatre Awards in New York City.

The National High School Musical Theatre Awards is a national celebration of outstanding student achievement recognizing individual artistry in vocal, dance, and acting performance.

While in New York City, Rayven will experience five days of private coaching, master classes, and rehearsals with theatre professionals. The experience concludes with a panel of industry experts selecting exceptional students for The Jimmy for Best Performance by an Actress and Actor. The Ceremony takes place at the Minskoff Theatre in Times Square, which is the current home of THE LION KING on Broadway. Students are housed and attend classes and rehearsals on the campus of New York University.

The Trojan Players and Sunset Playhouse are extremely proud of Rayven and wish him well as he prepares to represent Wisconsin and the award-winning Tosa West Theatre program at this prestigious ceremony.

Rayven will also be performing this weekend along with the cast of THE ADDAMS FAMILY, which has won OUTSTANDING MUSICAL for the third year in a row at The Tommy Awards.  At Sunset Playhouse he played Tulsa in GYPSY  last summer and recently sang in our 2015-16 season preview party event.



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