Got those Eroica Black Bottom blues, oh yes
Conflict and angst among band members was not a rock ‘n’ roll innovation. Creative, passionate people under pressure in close quarters have a way of bumping heads.
Friday, the Milwaukee Rep will open August Wilson’s play, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, set in a Chicago recording studio in 1927. Rainey, the queen of the blues, chafes against pressure from her producer and trumpter to alter her style and cross over for white audiences. Race, artistic integrity and commerce rumble in this 1985 play that draws on the real life of one of the most important figures — and some of the most important issues — in American music. Greta Oglesby stars at Rainey.Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom runs in the Quadracci Powerhouse Theater through March 27.
Click here for tickets, $10-$40, and further information, or call the Rep box office, 414 224-9490.
The sun will come up the day after tomorrow for Annie! The beloved musical opens Thursday (March 3) at the Fireside Dinner Theater in Fort Atkinson and runs through March 27, with two shows a day through most of the run. The complete calendar and ticket links are here. Thumbnails of the very large and mostly local cast are here.
Latino Arts, Inc., often pairs art openings with musical events, which is a very smart practice. They’re at it again Friday (March 4), with the opening of The Art of Latino Foodways at 5 p.m. and a performance by Ricardo Lemvo and Makina Loca, an Afro-Caribbean band of international renown at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets are $25 for general admission, $20 for seniors 60 and over, $15 for full-time students, and $8 per student in groups of 10 or more. The Dinner & A Show special features Café el Sol’s Friday fish buffet before the performance (beverage and gratuity not included) for only $32. Order here. Latino Arts resides in the United Community Center, 1028 S. 9th St.
Classical guitarist Raphaela Smits, the first woman to win the prestigious Francisco Tarrega Guitar Competition, works by Johann Sebastian Bach, Johann Kaspar Mertz and Fernando Sor at 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 4, at the UWM Peck School of the Arts Recital Hall, 2400 E. Kenwood Blvd. $17 general/$12 seniors, faculty, staff and alumni/$10 students at the PSOA box office, 414 229-4308. Here she is now, burning up a Legnani caprice on an extremely rare and beautifully restored 1827 Mirecourt seven-string.
The Milwaukee Symphony returns to action Friday, after a little hiatus. (Seems that Uihlein Hall was full of Hair! last week.) Music director Edo de Waart will conduct a program comprising John Adams’ groundbreaking Harmonium and Beethoven’s groundbreaking Symphony No. 3 (“Eroica”). De Waart was an early champion of Adams and one of his leading interpreters. Concerts begin at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, March 4 and 5, in Marcus Center Uihlein Hall. Tickets are $25-$95 at the MSO website, the MSO ticket line and the Marcus Center box off, 414 273-7206.
Guest cellist Robert Cohen, of the Royal Academy of Music, London, will join Fine Arts Quartet regulars Ralph Evans and Efim Boico (violins) and violist Nicolò Eugelmi in music by Hugo Wolf and Robert Schumann. The program is set for 3 p.m. Sunday, March 6, at the UWM Zelazo Center. Admission is free this season, in honor of the FAQ’s 75th anniversary year, but reservations are recomended. Call the Peck School of the Arts box office, 414 229-4308. Cohen is filling in for long-time FAQ cellist Wolfgang Laufer, who is on medical leave.
Also at 3 p.m., Yehuda Yannay’s Music from Almost Yesterday series will present Stas Venglevski, the brilliant bayan accordionist, in a program of chamber music. It includes Milwaukee premieres by composers from Russia, the US, Germany and Finland. The concert includes the world premiere of Yannay’s Bayanette for Two. $12 general/$10 seniors, faculty, staff and alumni/$8 students, PSOA box office, 414 229-4308.
Milwaukee Chamber Theatre: Mauritius, through March 13.
First Stage Milwaukee: U: Bug: Me, through March 13.
Boulevard Theatre: Becky Shaw, through March 13.
The Milwaukee Rep: Speaking in Tongues, through March 13 in the Stiemke Theater; Nobody Lonesome for Me, Stackner Cabaret through March 13.
In Tandem Theatre: Murder at the Howard Johnson’s, through March 13.