Education – FBYCP

Education The Fran Bauer Young Critics Project

Fran Bauer Young Critics' Project logo

The Fran Bauer Young Critics Project (FBYCP) is our arts education program. Named after our beloved Board member and journalist Fran Bauer, FBYCP was created to form the next generation of theater critics.

Upcoming FBYCP
The Wolves by Sarah Delappe

Left quad, right quad, lunge. A girls high school soccer team warms up. From the safety of their suburban soccer field the team navigates big questions and wages small battles with all the vigor of a pack of warriors. THE WOLVES is a triumph of insight and energy into what it takes for young women to come of age.

A finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for drama, THE WOLVES is one of the most talked about off-broadway plays of the last 20-years.

“Incandescent…the scary, exhilarating brightness of raw adolescence emanates from every scene of this uncannily assured first play…” Ben Brantley /New York Times

The Schedule

FIRST REHEARSAL - Wednesday, December 27th at 12pm
Students will be invited to attend the first rehearsal for THE WOLVES with an opportunity to hear the script, meet the other participating students, and meet all of the artists (actors, director, and designers) involved in the production!

MASTER CLASS - Saturday, January 6th at 12pm
Students will participate in a Master Class ran by local Theatre and Movie Reviewer Ryan Jay of TMJ4 to learn all about critiquing a performance!

ATTEND THE SHOW - Saturday, January 20th at 4pm
Students will attend a preview performance of THE WOLVES to base their written review on!

Apply for the FBYCP!

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Meet The Instructor

ryan jay

Ryan Jay is one of America’s most popular nationally syndicated entertainment critics. Based on his website,, he is featured weekly as resident film critic on The Morning Blend and weekend newscasts on the NBC-TV affiliate in Milwaukee, WI (and previously on the FOX-TV affiliate in Fort Myers, FL). On radio, he can be heard live Friday mornings on FM stations across the country, in addition to recorded weekly movie and TV review segments for Premiere Networks. Ryan is a member of the Critics Choice Association which annually awards excellence in film and television at the Critics Choice Awards; and GALECA: The Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics, which annually hosts The Dorian Awards. Passionate about the arts, Ryan has cultivated a career celebrating entertainment and sharing his unique perspective with TV, radio, and social media audiences.

He was co-host of Digital Dish, a weekly, live, celebrity gossip show on the TMJ4 News Facebook page and continues to spotlight performers of theatre and the arts on his Ryan Jay Reviews Facebook page. Often on the red carpet at movie premieres and events, he has interviewed many of Hollywood’s A-list celebrities. And every other week he can be found in the pages of Us Weekly magazine as Fashion Police. Inspired since childhood by his favorite film, The Wizard of Oz, Ryan has become an Oz historian, interviewing the casts and creatives of many Oz productions – from stage to screen, producing and emceeing Oz conventions, publishing articles and giving multimedia presentations; all celebrating the legacy of Oz to audiences from around the world. He has appeared at annual Oz festivals in NY, IL and KS, along with universities and theaters and museums. Ryan has worked as a television producer of major pop culture and entertainment programming for networks such as Bravo, Showtime, MTV, VH1, Nickelodeon, TLC, and… The Jerry Springer Show.


 Upon completion of FBYCP, students will be able to:

  • Understand the foundational elements of theater;
  • Understand the contrast between opinion and critique;
  • Utilize engaged thinking to discuss themes and analyze and interpret written and performed theatrical works;
  • Hold honest, respectful, and meaningful conversations about themselves and peers;
  • Set and meet both personal and professional goals for themselves and peers;
  • Actively practice self-efficacy and autonomy increasing confidence, productivity, and professionalism.

What Is It?

The Fran Bauer Young Critics Project is an educational program offered by Renaissance Theaterworks tied to a variety of productions throughout our season, and is designed to introduce high school and college aged students to theatre criticism and professional writing.

Selected students will be invited to attend the first rehearsal of a performance, participate in a Master Class to craft their writing and critical thinking skills, attend a live performance of an RTW show, and be given the opportunity to have a written critique of the performance reviewed and perfected for publishing! Through this program, students will understand and value the performing arts, writing skills, the differences between personal opinion and insightful critique, and knowing your audience.

Fran Bauer Young Critics Program, a Renaissance Theaterworks education program designed to introduce Milwaukee high school girls to theater criticism and professional writing.

About Fran Bauer

Fran Bauer

Fran Bauer was a trailblazing reporter for the Journal Sentinel for over thirty years. She was an important voice for the underdog –an advocate for the elderly and the disabled. She was also a single mom, raising three children while pursuing her career in a male-dominated world. Fran was a fierce activist for women’s rights and worked very hard to empower women in everything she did. She was a Renaissance Theaterworks' Board member for many years.

Fran was also a gifted artist. She painted the world through her eyes with incredible spirit and joy in living. Her kind, generous and caring soul, and her funny spirit, touched all who had the good fortune to know her.

Fran passed away in July, 2016, at the age of 79. We miss her deeply! We are overjoyed to honor her memory through the Young Critics Project.

We are deeply committed to Milwaukee's future generations of theater lovers!
Our goal with FBYCP is to foster a new and more diverse group of theater critics.

Please contact us for more information.