July 7 to 13
ThirdCoast Digest’s weekly highlights preview of local performing arts and fine music
Bristol Renaissance Faire, Kenosha, weekends from 7/11 to 9/7
It’s not just giant turkey legs, jousting, and “cast members” who will speak to you in nothing but ye olde English whilst donning period costumes. Multiple stages and street performers give smaller acrobatic and lowbrow shows all day, but there are some especially good acts in the later weeks including Twelfth Night in Under an Hour by the Company of the Suitcase Shakespeare Company (8/8 – 8/16) and the Chumley Extreme Variety Show (8/1). But opening weekend, look for the Weno Gypsies bellydancers and Doctor Kaboom! For more information visit the RenFair website or call (847) 395-7773.
Everybody knows about the big parade that winds through downtown Milwaukee on Sunday, but preceding that for 10 performances is a traveling circus show that has showcased death-defying acrobatics, tigers jumping through hoops, and clowns (of course) for over 70 years. This year, they’ve added Ballet Aerialist Courtney Heidenreich, Miss Elaina’s Hula Hoops, The Gauchos of Argentina, a Trampoline Leaping act from Brazil, a whip cracking and rope spinning tribute to the Wild West, and more. For more information and tickets, visit the Kelly Miller Circus site or just show up. Watch TCD for a post-opening night feature before the end of the week.
Comedy Sportz 25th Annual Tournament Show, ComedySportz, 7/9 – 7/11
This year’s make-them-laugh-for-points-and-glory competition will feature 20 member clubs of the World Comedy League and the trade association of ComedySportz® Clubs based in cities across the United States and The United Kingdom. Milwaukee team members will stand alongside and against other guests for a chance to come up with on-the-fly funny. After the primary Public Events in the 200-seat arena, there’s a final championship showdown Saturday night. Call 414.272.8888 to reserve seats today or visit their website.
Wilson Center Big Band with Barbara Stephan, Gerlach Outdoor Theater, 7/12 at 6:30 p.m.
The free Starry Nights series is back this July, starting with this gathering of stellar local musicians that will likely get you off the blanket or lawn chair and swinging. This big band features the vocals of Barbara Stephan, who has toured with the likes of Buddy Rich, Stan Kenton, Frank Sinatra, Barbra Streisand and Guy Lombardo. There’s lots of parking out there, and good food and drink is available from local vendors. Call 262.781.9520 or look at the rest of the summer’s lineup at the Wilson Center’s website.
Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me, Pink Banana Productions at Next Act Theatre, 7/9 through 7/18 weekends
Juxtapositioned against a lot of the lighter stuff that happens on summer stages, Banana’s renegade theater troup bring a story written by Frank McGuiness to bear based on true events. An Englishman, Irishman, and an American are put together in a foreign prison and survive a hard time against an unknown enemy. They come to learn things about each other and themselves that are astonishing. Tickets and information can be found at 414.278.0765 or by visiting Next Act.
Sexual Perversity in Chicago, Alchemist Theater, 7/9 – 7/25
David Mamet comes appropriately to this intimate stage in Bay View with the play that shot him through the literary stratosphere back in 1974. It’s a dark comedy about a man and a woman hooking up, trying to make it stick despite what their friends do or say, and struggling to connect after moving in together. Oh, and there’s a lot of swearing. The production will be framed with a highly stylized set and use of video to suggest settings. Call 414.426.4169 or look at the Alchemist website for ticketing and showtime information. Front row tickets apparently include two drinks and popcorn or candy. Considering the play, order something strong.
David’s Redhaired Death, Youngblood Theatre at UWM’s Studio Theatre (T6), 7/10 through 7/19 weekends
In this original 1997 play by Sherry Kramer and put on by an upstart company, “two redheads named Jean and Marilyn, are falling in love with each other, but Jean’s brother David falls first, and the lovers are left to pick up the pieces.” Tickets and information are found at 414.229.4308 (UWM Box Office) or by visiting Youngblood’s under construction but illuminating site. Also starting July 13, Savage in Limbo at the Landmark Lanes. More on that with review to come.
In Acting Shakespeare, American Players Theater, opens 7/10
In this adaptation of Ian McKellen’s famous one-man show, actor Jim DeVita pulls back the curtain on a journey from fishing boats to the theater. Passages from various Shakespearean plays are not only performed, but illuminated, as DeVita creates a character of his own: the Shakespeare-Acting Everyman. For more information or tickets, call 608.588.2361 or take a look at playinthewoods website.
Little Women, Acacia Theatre, 7/10 – 7/19
Yes, all the March sisters will be there: Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy. Louisa May Alcott’s book is once again adapted to the stage — this time as a musical. Based on the 2005 Broadway version with music by Jason Howland and lyrics by Mindi Dickstein, watch Jo and Beth croon “Some Things Were Meant to Be” while flying kites. Call 414.744.5995 for ticketing information or visit Acacia’s website.
Honky Tonk Angels, Racine Theater Guild, 7/10 – 7/19
The creator of Always … Patsy Cline combines country classics with a spirited story of three good old gals who are following a dream while on a bus to Nashville. They belt out tunes like “Stand By Your Man,” “Coal Miner’s Daughter,” “9 to 5” and “Harper Valley PTA.” Contact the box office at 262.633.4218 for ticket prices and availability or visit the RTG website.
Cotton Patch Gospel, Waukesha Civic Theatre, 7/10 – 7/19
Hailed as a powerful drama and joyous celebration, it is a Gospel presented in a setting of present-day rural Georgia with country music songs. The final and perhaps best work of Harry Chapin and featuring a ensemble cast with a tour-de-force by Managing Artistic Director/Co-Director of CPG/actor John Cramer as Matthew, it’s a musical that will keep your toes tapping and fingers snapping. Call 262.547.0708 or visit the Civic Theatre’s website for the details.
A Red, White & Blue Tribute, Gathering on the Green at Rotary Park in Mequon, 7/11 at 7:30 p.m.
This is a special joint collaborative show between the Milwaukee Ballet and Florentine Opera Company, and two hours later there’s suddenly fireworks before your eyes. This 15th Anniversary event also sees Al Jarreau performing a few days prior for a special concert in the park. But it’s the main event that will first feature activities starting at 4:30 and then conductor Richard Hynson and the Gathering on the Green Festival Orchestra to accompany the dancers and singers from the premier troupes on Saturday night. Tickets are $15 to $37 and can be purchased by calling 262.236.0510 or visiting the Gathering website.
Screendance, Danceworks and the Peck School of the Arts at the 1661 Studio, 7/11 at 9:15 p.m.
Danceworks joins the bastion of event organizers hanging a screen and enjoying a sultry summer evening outdoors to showcase recent performance films and videos from the past three years. The event brings together Danceworks DanceLAB and UWM’s Departments of Dance and Film after three years with guest curators Annie Melchior and Luc Vanier in choosing a program of award-winning shorts through Dance Film Association (DFA). In addition, ScreenDance premieres one locally produced short film (Before Sunrise) selected from entries received from southeastern Wisconsin filmmakers. All tickets are $10, and you can call 414.277.8480 or see this calendar page for more info.
You can always find tickets and the more information on area performing arts and music events at Footlights Milwaukee.