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Hilger has high hopes for 'Miss Reardon'
Richard Hilger, who moved to Monroe about two years ago, will direct "And Miss Reardon Drinks A Little" at the Monroe Theatre Guild. Auditions begin Feb. 27 and performances will be in late April. To order a reprint of this photo, click here. (Times photo: Marissa Weiher)

About the Play

"And Miss Reardon Drinks A Little" is a play written by American novelist and playwright Paul Zindel.

The play is considered a dark comedy, describing the relationship of three adult sisters after the death of their mother. As the plot progresses, the characters explore how their lives were affected by their strict Roman Catholic mother.

There are only seven roles in the play: four roles for women between the ages of 25 and 45, one role for a woman between the ages of 45 and 55, one role for a man between the ages of 45 and 50 and one role for a teenage boy.

Auditions for the show are Feb. 27 until Feb. 29. For more information, contact the Monroe Theatre Guild at (608) 325-1111 or see

MONROE - A dark comedy that's not often staged is coming to the Monroe Theatre Guild, courtesy of a former professional actor.

Richard Hilger, a retired actor from Milwaukee with more than 25 years of stage experience, will direct MTG's performance of Paul Zindel's play "And Miss Reardon Drinks A Little" in late April.

"It's brutal. It's not a comedy," Hilger said. "There's been nothing like it ever in Monroe."

Hilger, who moved to Monroe about two years ago, first saw the play early in his career, as an amateur when he was touring in Colorado.

"I always wanted to do that play and it always floated around in the back of my mind," Hilger said.

It was years before he had the opportunity, however, as Hilger's career took him across the country and, eventually, the world.

Hilger said he discovered his acting talent in high school after performing dramatic readings for class.

"The thing is, it's really the only thing I'm able to do really well," Hilger said.

Hilger attended Ripon College, graduating in 1970. While there, he wrote a play titled "The Day of the Golden Calf," about cardinals meeting to elect a new pope.

Hilger began his professional career in 1974 in a dinner theater production of Rodgers and Hammerstein's "Oklahoma!" The production ran for eight months.

A few years later, Hilger starred in a production of Mark Medoff's "When You Comin' Back, Red Ryder?" which attracted the attention of a Canadian director. Hilger worked for years in Canada, appearing in shows throughout Toronto, Montreal and Winnipeg.

Hilger's career brought him into contact with some famous names in theater and Hollywood at the time. He traveled to the United Kingdom to perform a show at a theater owned by Oscar-nominated actress Susannah York, and met stars such as Tom Hanks, Kelsey Grammar, John Hurt and Leonard Nimoy.

Hilger said he also held a one-man show in 1984 and was offered a chance to perform it in Tel Aviv.

Hilger returned to teach at his alma mater, Ripon College, in the 1980s, where he directed a student production of "Miss Reardon."

"They were terrific," Hilger said. "But I want to do it with adults."

While teaching at Ripon, Hilger met Richard Daniels, director of the Monroe Arts Center. Daniels introduced Hilger to Monroe and invited him to perform a recitation of "The Snow Goose: A Story of Dunkirk" by Paul Gallico.

Hilger also directed a radio production of the holiday classic "A Christmas Carol" in 2010.

Now retired, Hilger looks forward to making "Miss Reardon" a play to remember.

"It has roles - big roles - for four women, so I hope enough people come in to rehearse."

Auditions for "Miss Reardon" will begin on Saturday, Feb. 27. The performance will run from April 21 to May 1.