Brian Jacobson
Performance and Visual Arts Preview

April 29 to May 4

By - Apr 28th, 2009 04:09 pm

We’re adjusting the timing of this weekly preview to give you a better jump on planning your outings. As a result what you see here are the events going on just through this weekend (and one event beyond). Check back Monday, May 4 for a new selection of performing, musical, and visual arts happening in Milwaukee and the surrounding areas.

The first days of May (May Day! May Day!) presents new offerings from a wild farce from Windfall Theater (I had seven margaritas!), a Wild Space Dance performance about Jones Island (Kaszubes in ballet shoes!), and a standout from Alverno Presents (Inyembezi Zam!).


Headline Comedian Mike Kosta, JD’s Comedy Café, 4/30-5/2
Also Featuring Josh Alton, Steve Hartman, Geoff LaFleur. Contact: 414.271.5653 or JD’s.

The Midnight Show, ComedySportz, 5/2 at 12:00 a.m. (naturally)
The hardest working day of the week for this venue is Saturdays, when they regularly host a 3:00 p.m. matinee for kids and then two more shows at 7:30 and 10:00 p.m. But it’s the adults only, must be 18 or older show that takes place late which has the most ribald sass. Contact: 866.512.5233 or ComedySportz.

Headlining Comedian Billy Gardell, Jokerz Comedy Club, 4/30-5/2, 8 p.m.
Star of Hit TV Series such as Heist, Yes Dear, and the King of Queens, Billy Gardell is the kind of comedian that makes you laugh your ass off. Sort of a mix of a New Jersey guy doing the Redneck Comedy Tour material as Jackie Gleason. See here:



wildspaceMap of Memories, Wild Space Dance Company at Studio 1661, 5/1.
Back by overwhelming public demand, Map of Memories will return for an encore performance, telling the story of Milwaukee’s Jones Island. Inspired by the lives of Polish, Kaszubian, and Eastern European immigrants who founded the Island’s fishing village in the 1870s, Map of Memories merges expressive contemporary dance with historic images and text. Prior to the evening performances, Milwaukee historian and author John Gurda will discuss the island’s journey from thriving fishing village to harbor hub. Contact: 414.271.0712 or Wild Space.

Rhapsody in Blue, Cashiel Dennehy School of Irish Dance at South Milwaukee Performing Arts Center, 5/2

A high-flying, powerful performance that combines the traditional, innovative and unique. Rhapsody showcases all that Irish dancing has to offer – there is truly something for everyone in this show. The event features dancers of all ages shining on stage, a raffle, a silent auction and much more. Contact: 414.766.5049 or SMPAC.



Stations Of The Cross, Boulevard Ensemble Studio Theater, 4/29
Boulevard closes its 23rd season by staging the premiere of local Milwaukee playwright and actress Beth Monhollen’s comedy of waitressing. As an actress, Monhollen has appeared with many companies in Milwaukee (Late-Night Theatre X, Inertia Ensemble) and has consistently won accolades for her work.

A founding member of Milwaukee’s WIND-UP DOLLS THEATRE (an all-women improvisational-based theatre company), Monhollen has performed countless times with the feminist ensemble as well as creating many of its pieces.  This production marks Ms. Monhollen’s writing debut with the Boulevard.

Stations of the Cross covers the many comic and not-so-comic aspects of waiting tables through a series of monologues which mirror Jesus’ travails of his stations. playwright Monhollen pulls aside the apron to reveal people behind the name-tag.  She covers issues of harassment, working conditions and the unique stress of “hospitality” with adroit humor and uncanny humanity. More information:  414.744.5757 or online.

Temples of the Nadir, Alchemist Theater, 4/30-5/2
(Last weekend) An original play by e.theis about race and solidarity. Harrison deFond finds himself learning of the struggle of an African American songwriter and artist during the post-Reconstruction era, and coming to terms with what that means for him as a white man of conscience in the 2000’s. Contact: 414.426.4169 or Alchemist Theater.

Romantic Fools, In Tandem Theater Company at Tenth Street Theatre, 4/30
A comic collection of hysterical sketches exploring love, lust, dating and romance! A little bit naughty, a little bit nice … witness the goofy lengths two people can go to in relationships from first date to first marriage. Best suited for ages 16 and over. Contact: 414.271.1371 or In Tandem.

bettybloghdrBetty’s Summer Vacation, Windfall Theatre Company at Village Church Arts, 5/1
Windfall Theatre invites you to join us on a nutty/merry dark ride with the Milwaukee premiere of Christopher Durang’s Obie Award-winning play. Durang mixes humor with pathos while making audiences intrigued and amused at the same time. Betty’s Summer Vacation is no different. Durang’s tale of a trip gone bad is a life lesson straddling the fine line between the humorous and the macabre. Contact: 414.332.3963 or Village Church Arts

(Updated 4/30/2009:) Cabaret, Carte Blanche Studios at 1024 S. 5th Street, 4/24 to 5/10
Jimmy Dragolovich directs, with Music Director Jamie Schlect and Choreographers Jackie Moscicle and Samantha Paige rounding out the production team. The large cast features several seasoned Carte Blanche performers, as well as numerous performers new to the Carte Blanche stage. A live orchestra of female musicians bring magnetic energy to this intimately staged musical. Contact: 262.716.4689 or Carte Blanche



Robert Robinson & the TCC Gospel Choir, South Milwaukee Performing Arts Center, 4/30 at 7:30 p.m.
The Twin Cities Community Gospel Choir (TCCGC) leaves audiences energized through its soulful interpretation of the African-American gospel music tradition. Led by Robert Robinson and backed by a talented ensemble of musicians, the TCCGC gathers singers of various musical experience, ethnic backgrounds and ages to celebrate music and spirituality through the rich traditions of African American religious music. With songs ranging from inspirational spirituals to rocking contemporary gospel tunes, the choir strives to share the “Good News” of gospel music with diverse audiences. This event is part of a first-ever Bring Your Child to the Arts Day. Contact: 414.766.5049 or the SMPAC.

Violinist Jennifer Frautschi, Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts, 5/1
The Avery Fisher Career Grant recipient makes her debut appearance on Friday evening. Accompanied by John Blacklow on piano, Ms. Frautschi’s program includes Stravinsky’s Suite Italienne, Schumann’s Sonata No. 1, Mozart’s Sonata in A Major, among others. Contact 262.781.9520 or visit

Spring Concert, Nancy Kendall Theater at Cardinal Stritch, 5/3 at 2 p.m.
Featuring the Cardinal Stritch University Concert Choir, conducted by Jerrad J. Fenske. Contact:  414.410.4349 or visit Cardinal Stritch.

Renée Fleming with Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, Uihlein Hall at Marcus Center for Performing Arts, 4/30
Maestro Andrea Delfs celebrates a 12-year tenure by joining forces once again with the celebrated soprano Renée Fleming. The MSO and Ms. Fleming will be performing pieces by R. Strauss that were last performed in 2003 with this same conductor and recitalist. Party it up with Delfs and Fleming at the Pfister afterward. Contact: 414.291.7605 or the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra.

Excitement featuring Frank Almond on violin, MSO at Uihlein Hall, 5/1-2
Delfs takes no day off after the Fleming concert with another one being billed as “A showpiece for violin and a showpiece for orchestra, full of color, emotion, and unabashed thrills. The violin plays surging melodies. The orchestra rises from the depths to the heights, sweeping you away with its power.”  Contact: 414.291.7605 or the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra.

Dobet Gnahore in concert, Alverno Presents at Pitman Theater, 5/2 at 8 p.m.
It’s a good thing that Global Union 2007 was an outdoor festival. Otherwise Dobet would have blown off the roof. She’s that passionate, her personality that bubbling and infectious, her energy that vital. And the sound – a clear shot from her heart and soul straight into yours and the heavens above. Singing in a range of African languages included Bété, Fon, Bauole, Lingala, Malinke, Mina, or Bambara, the immensity of her talent is deliciously overwhelming. Contact: 414.382.6044 or Alverno Presents


Visual Arts

Graduate Student Thesis Exhibition, Cardinal Stritch University, 5/2
The first of two shows from the Master of Arts program at Cardinal Stritch opens this Saturday at the school’s Northwestern Mutual Art Gallery. Join students and faculty for a reception from 5:30 to 8:00 pm. This show closes on May 10 with a second installation from graduate students to open on May 16.414-410-4105


Alex Chaney: The Lost Child Paintings, Tory Folliard Gallery, 5/2
Last chance to see this spring’s Gallery Project artist, Alex Chaney, a senior painting major at UWM’s Peck School of the Arts. Inspired by children’s drawings and Aztec art and culture, Chaney’s figurative paintings on paper and canvas combine strong graphic imagery with beautiful, atmospheric backgrounds. Flat stylized figures, misshapen and awry, mingle in ways sometimes conveying harmony, other times conflict.

Michelle Grabner: Silverpoint Drawings, The Green Gallery East, 5/3

Michelle Grabner’s paintings and silverpoints index the essentialism of time. Created with lines, marks, ticks, points, and dots Grabner’s compositions are simply organized, accumulated, and sequenced, thus leaving virtually no space for the imagination or invention. There is nothing signified or expressed – nothing to be interpreted – only a methodical indication or trace of time’s passage.

For venue, tickets, showtimes and more, visit Footlights Milwaukee online.

Categories: Art, Classical, Dance, Theater

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