Changes News

Michelle LoRicco named associate artistic director at First Stage

First Stage Children’s Theater in Milwaukee announced in a press release Wednesday that  Michelle LoRicco has recently joined the organization as the new Associate Artistic Director. LoRicco will work directly with First Stage Artistic Director Jeff Frank on mainstage productions, and also manage the day-to-day operations of the Artistic Department, oversee audition processes, serve as lead producer for First Stage’s Amplify Reading Series and Goodman Mainstage Hall productions, as well as associate produce productions performed at the Marcus Center’s Todd Wehr Theater. 

LoRicco comes to First Stage with a deep background in theater as a director, teaching artist, playwright and performer. She received her MFA in Theatre for Young Audiences from University of Central Florida. She began her new First Stage position in March of 2023, will continue in a hybrid fashion with the start of the 2023/24 season and will be fully in-person beginning in January of 2024.  

“I am thrilled to join the First Stage team as the new Associate Artistic Director. For over a decade, I have worked with and for youth, using First Stage as a guiding light that has had a significant impact on my work,” LoRicco said in a statement. “When I was the Artistic Resident for Orlando Repertory Theatre, Jeff Frank came to direct one of my favorite productions to date, NANCY DREW AND HER BIGGEST CASE EVER. What impressed me the most about him wasn’t just his involvement in the commission and adaptation of one of my favorite series, but also his ability to lead the cast, crew and creative team with a strong vision and an inclusive approach, making him a true trailblazer in my book. Now, I feel incredibly fortunate to have the opportunity to partner with Jeff and the amazing staff at First Stage.”

Before her time at First Stage, Michelle served as the Theatre Program Director at Patrick Henry High School, where she produced shows while teaching Theatre I-IV, Entertainment Design and Tech and Film Studies for three years. She holds an MFA in Theatre for Young Audiences from the University of Central Florida and a bachelor’s in musical theatre from Palm Beach Atlantic University. She has worked as the Education Associate at Mill Mountain Theatre and served in the Education Departments of several organizations, including the American Repertory Theatre, The Kravis Center for the Performing Arts, Orlando Repertory Theatre, Virginia Children’s Theatre and Children’s Impact Network.  

As a playwright, Michelle has developed plays for the Orlando Repertory Theatre’s Writes of Spring program, a writing competition which takes creative writings from K-12 students that culminate in a fully produced play. Her original play WHEN COQUIS SING, was produced as a part of Orlando REP’s celebration of International Women’s Voices Day 2018, and later chosen as a finalist for Childsplay’s 2019 Write Now Competition. She has been commissioned for Endstation Theatre Company’s Playwrights’ Initiative in partnership with Kids’ Haven to develop NICO AND THE VOLCANO. Michelle has a heart for producing new work for young audiences. She began as Associate Artistic Director for the inaugural season of UCF’s Pegasus Playlab 2018; and she has been involved in the Hollins Playwright’s Lab since 2018.    

“Michelle’s exceptional skills as both an educator and a theater artist – combined with her commitment to community engagement and ongoing DEI and Intimacy training – make her uniquely prepared to step in and help First Stage continue to build our artistic vision for the future while leading the way in casting, new play development and cross-departmental integration,” Frank said in a statement. “We are thrilled to have Michelle as part of the First Stage team.” 

LoRicco just finished directing the Summer Theater Academy’s successful production of KISS ME KATE with the Company Class. She will also direct and choreograph First Stage’s 2023/24 production of ELEPHANT & PIGGIE’S, “WE ARE IN A PLAY!” running February 24 – March 17, 2024 in the Goodman Mainstage Hall at the Milwaukee Youth Arts Center. In addition, LoRicco will direct the Amplify Series reading of EMILY SONG AND THE SHADOW QUEEN which will be presented on April 24, 2024 at the Goodman Mainstage Hall. More information about First Stage’s 2023/24 season is available at