Without football, what would we have? Plenty.
Dancers with disabilities once was an oxymoron — how could dance on stage without two strong arms and two strong legs? But a number of choreographers are making dances — as theater, not therapy — for the disabled. Heidi Latsky, an alum of the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company and a frequent visitor in Milwaukee, is bringing her provocative Gimp to town. Here is a little quote from the notes for the show: “Gimp is about beauty… a harsher more unexpected one that comes from the ultimate sexiness of risk-taking and utter commitment.” Video here.
The Alverno Presents series of Alverno College is presenting the show at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday Jan. 28-29, but not on its own campus. Gimp will go to Marquette University’s Helfaer Theater, near 13th and Clybourn, the new Marquette Law School and the Haggerty Museum of Art. Tickets are $30, at the Alverno box office, 414 382-6044, and at the Alverno Presents website.
Debra Loewen and her Wild Space Dance Company have done so many site-specific dances and succeeded so often that they’ve become the go-to for anyone with an intriguing property. The recently refurbished Milwaukee County Historical Center, in a beautiful 1913 bank building in Pere Marquette Park Downtown, will get the Wild Space treatment at 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday. Tickets are $35 and $25, $20 for students and seniors; call Wild Space, 414 271-0712, or visit the company website.
Tonight! (Tuesday, Jan. 25, 7:30 p.m.) The annual Florentine Opera recital features three winners from the 2010 Wisconsin District Auditions. This year, soprano Emily Birsan, mezzo Corrie Stallings and baritone Adam Hendrickson will join accompanist Yasuko Oura for an evening of song at St. John’s on the Lake, 1840 N. Prospect Ave. Tickets are $15 at the door.
The Milwaukee Symphony enters weekend 2 (of 3) of its midwinter German Festival. Edo de Waart will conduct, and the pianist soloist will be Garrick Ohlssohn. The rep: Brahms – Academic Festival Overture; Schumann – Symphony No. 3 in E-flat major; Beethoven – Piano Concerto No. 5 in E-flat major (“Emperor”). Times: 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 28-30, in Marcus Center Uihlein Hall, 929 N. Water St. Tickets: $25-$95, $25-$79 Sunday, at the MSO ticket line, 414 291-7605, and at the orchestra’s website.
Conductor Monte Perkins and the Festival City Symphony at 3 p.m. Sunday (Jan. 30) will look ahead to Valentine’s Day with an Outlooks on Love program at the Pabst Theater. On the bill: Karl Goldmark’s Rustic Wedding Symphony, Otto Nicolai’s Overture to The Merry Wives of Windsor, and Camille Saint-Saens’ bombastic Bacchanale from Samson and Delilah. Festival City concerts are especially family-friendly; 15 minutes before the concert, educator Jayne Perkins will give a Children’s Program Notes session. Tickets are $14, $8 for students, seniors and children. call the Pabst Theater Box Office at 414-286-3663 or shop online at the Pabst Theater website.
Stas Venglevski, the master of the Russian bayan accordion, will be featured on the Frankly Music series concert set for 7 p.m. Monday at Wisconsin Lutheran College Schwan Concert Hall, 8815 W. Wisconsin Ave. The guy is phenomenal; just watch this. Venglevski will join cellist Roza Borisova, pianist Nell Buchman and violinist/music director Frank Almond a night of tango music by Astor Piazzolla and others. Tickets are $39, $10 for students, and include a post-concert reception with the performers. Order online or call the Wisconsin Lutheran College box office, 414 443-8802.
The Wisconsin Conservatory of Music will hold a benefit for Berkeley Fudge, a Milwaukee jazz legend, at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 28 at the conservatory, 1584 N. Prospect Ave.
Fudge suffered a stroke in November and will not be able to work for the foreseeable future. Enjoy a full evening of live performances across the musical spectrum and show your support. Howard Austin will serve as MC. Performers include Adekola Adedapo, David Bayles, Jason Behr, Jamie Breiwick, Mark Davis, Teresa Drews, Robert Figueroa, John Foshager, Phillip Grossman, Stefanie Jacob, Eric Jacobson, Colin O’Brien, Jim Paolo, Robin Pluer, Matt Schroeder and Paul Silbergleit. Donations accepted at the door. Cash bar. Complimentary parking available at Renaissance Place, 1451 N. Prospect Ave.
Jill Anna Ponasik, who became artistic director of the sleepy Milwaukee Opera Theatre and is making something wonderfully quirky out of it, sent me a note about MOT’s latest. I’m passing it along to you now, slightly edited:
“In 2006, MOT’s general manager, Jillian Bruss embarked on an expedition to bring solo recitals to the birthplaces of her grandfathers in Denmark and Norway. Friend and composer Paula Foley Tillen accompanied on this voyage of body and soul and composed a song cycle, “When Thou Commandest Me to Sing,” for the trip. Using Jillian’s adventure as our inspiration and Paula’s song cycle as our centerpiece, MOT presents a concert that explores the particular yearning that makes us leave what we know and head for the unfamiliar. Dates: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 29 and 3 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 30, at St. John’s Lutheran Church, 20275 Davidson Road in Brookfield. Tickets: $15, $12 for seniors, $8 students. Call Brown Paper Tickets: 1-800-838-3006 or order online. Cash or check only at the door.”
Ponasik, John Becker, Jillian Bruss, Doug Clemons and Kathryn Peperkorn will sing, with pianist Anne Van Deusen.
Polish jazz? Why not? Americans play Chopin. So here comes Adam Makowicz, presented by the Polish Center of Wisconsin, 6941 South 68th St., Franklin, at 7 p.m. Jan. 29. Tickets are $23 in advance; $25 at the door, $15 for students. Call 414 529-2140.
Makowicz, born in Czech Silesia, grew up in Poland from age 6. He has appeared in the world’s leading music venues and jazz festivals and has recorded over 50 albums. Makowicz has performed with such stars as Benny Goodman, Herbie Hancock, Earl Hines, Freddie Hubbard and Sarah Vaughan.
Mark Clements, the Milwaukee Rep‘s artistic director, really believes in Andrew Bovell’s Speaking in Tongues, which opens in the Rep’s Stiemke Theater at 8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 28. Clements directed the world premiere, in London in 2000, and the US premiere, in New York in 2001. In Milwaukee, Clements has turned it over to director Laura Gordon and an A-list cast comprising Lee E. Ernst, Deborah Staples, Jonathan Smoots and Jenny McKnight. The play in a nutshell: “Two couples put their own estranged lives in perspective as they share the stories that changed them forever in this partner-swapping, film noir thriller.” It previews at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, opens Friday and runs through May 13. Tickets are $25-$40; 414-224-9490 or buy online.
Belgian singer-songwriter Jacques Brel is no longer alive and well in living in Paris. He passed away in 1978, at age 49.
But his music is very much alive. Friday night (Jan. 28), the Skylight Opera Theatre will revive the 1968 revue, Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well and Living in Paris, the show that made his reputation in America (he was a household name in Europe long before that). Brel was a man of the world, and many of his songs reflect a world-weary sort of sophistication bordering on cynicism, with The Port of Amsterdam a particular example. But Brel could be upbeat, too, and this show reveals all his facets. Ray Jivoff directs, Richard Carsey is the music director, and Liz Baltes, PJ Baccari, Alison Mary Forbes and Steve Koehler will perform. Jacques Brel runs through Feb. 20 in the Cabot Theatre of the Broadway Theatre Center, 158 N. Broadway. Tickets are $22.50-$65; call the BTC box office, 414-291-7800, or visit the Skylight’s website.
Youngblood Theatre: Red Light Winter, through Feb. 5.
Next Act Theatre: Big Boys, through Feb. 13.
First Stage Children’s Theater: The Magic Bicycle, at Marcus Center Todd Wehr Theater through Feb. 5.
Sunset Playhouse: Guys on Ice, through Feb. 6.
Renaissance Theaterworks: Crumbs from the Table of Joy, in collaboration with Uprooted Theater, at the Broadway Theatre Center through Feb. 6.
Milwaukee Rep: Alfred Hitchcock’s The 39 Steps, at the Quadracci Powerhouse Theater through Feb. 13; Nobody Lonesome for Me, Stackner Cabaret through March 13.