Far Off Broadway, But Successful
Soulstice Theatre presents Moon Over Buffalo in St. Francis.
Far from the Third Ward or Downtown, where audiences are accustomed to seeing theater, Soulstice Theatre has been producing high quality shows in the residential quiet of suburban St. Francis. The mix of shows have been pretty adventurous and the reviews have typically been good. Jillian Smith, artistic director and president of Soulstice Theatre, has created a venue that’s a draw for theater lovers.This week Soulstice launches a production of Moon Over Buffalo, the 1995 Broadway comedy by playwright Ken Ludwig, also known for his Tony Award-winning Broadway plays Lend Me a Tenor and Crazy for You.
Set in the 1950s, the show follows George and Charlotte Hay, married traveling actors who perform at a repertory theater in Buffalo, New York. They get a call from film director Frank Capra, who is considering the couple as replacements for the stars of his current project, “The Twilight of the Scarlet Pimpernel.” Farcical chaos ensues as they prepare for Capra’s arrival and deal with their own marital problems. Critic Vincent Canby called Ludwig “one of those comparatively rare contemporary playwrights who thinks in terms of old-fashioned, knockabout farce.”
Opens Nov. 7 and runs through Nov. 22 at 3770 S. Pennsylvania Ave. General admission is $21 with student and senior discounts at $19. Tickets are available online or by calling 414-481-2800.
My Dear Othello by Theatre Gigante
Artistic directors Isabelle Kralj and Mark Anderson put a new spin on Shakespeare in My Dear Othello, a mix of text and dance that doesn’t retell the Moor’s entire tale, but focuses on an intense story arc involving Othello, Desdemona, Iago and Emilia. The show debuted in 2004 with a script by Kralj and Anderson and original choreography from Kralj, who has performed with the Slovenian National Theater Ballet, Milwaukee Ballet and Chamber Dance Theater.
Kralj plays Desdemona and Janet Lilly, the head of the Department of Dance at the University of North Carolina-Greensboro, plays Emilia. Michael Stebbins and Tom Reed make their Gigante debuts as Othello and Iago. The show also features new music by Seth Warren-Crow as well as scenic art by the late, legendary Milwaukee artist Schomer Lichtner.
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel critic Mike Fischer called the show “an intriguing” adaptation that’s indebted to both choreographer Jose Limón and Japanese Noh technique. Onmilwaukee.com critic Dave Begel called the “the latest example of how creative some of the smaller companies in town can be when they are free to tell a great tale however they want.”
Running through Nov. 8 at UWM’s Kenilworth Studio 508 Theater. Tickets are $25 with discounts for seniors and students, available online or by calling 800-838-3006.
Splinter Group Does Gamma Rays
Jim Farrell, artistic director of Splinter Group, began his theater company to produce shows that were genuinely artistic, not simply ones that would sell seats. The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds epitomizes that mission statement.
Begel saluted the production and noted that “Mallory Metoxen, who made a spectacular directorial debut last season in ‘The Understudy’ at Renaissance, is at the helm of this intense drama, and she proves that her first hit was no fluke.”
Running through Nov. 9 at the Marian Center, 3211 S. Lake Dr. Tickets are $15, available online.