7/15 – 7/21
The mood in the city is languid, but while more timid elements runs for cover, Milwaukee stages are jumping with lots of fearless productions, including offerings from Youngblood, Danceworks, and Uprooted Theatre. If you’re ready for something fresh, edgy and fabulous, get out there.
A play that “explores the hopes and dreams of a group of rootless young ‘losers’ who congregate in an anonymous Bronx bar, hoping to find respite from the drabness of their live.” From the 1986 play by John Patrick Shanley, the author’s original desire was to have the audience be peripheral characters inhabiting the imagined world. He gets his wish here, with a play staged in the sidebar of the cavernous Landmark Lanes. Will everyone be drunk before the curtain falls? Stay tuned for an upcoming review. Information can be found at the Youngblood website, tickets are sold at the door first come, first served.
Beauty’s Daughter, Uprooted Theatre, 7/17 and 7/18 at 8:30 p.m.
Marti L. Gobel brings her one-woman performance of Dael Orlandersmith’s play down from Fort Atkinson for this first piece from the newly formed African-American acting company. A woman struggles to keep her head about her in an urban tenement setting in a poetic form. Directed by Dennis F. Johnson and graciously hosted at the Broadway Theatre Center’s 99-seat studio theater. Tickets available at uprootedmke.com or call 414.378.8582 for details.
Fame, Sunset Playhouse, 7/17 – 8/9
Before there was High School Musical, there was Fame. Well, sort of. High School Musical employed a fantasy breakout world when a song came on, whereas Fame was a fictional look at going through the tough New York High School for the Performing Arts – sort of like a documentary or reality show. A standard favorite since it was first produced in 1988, it’s always been difficult to produce locally since you need to hire great, multi-ethnic teen roles. Sunset Playhouse dares to bring it. Visit sunsetplayhouse.com or call 262.782.4430 for ticketing.
Combat Boot Camp, Bunny Gumbo, 7/18 at 7 p.m.
The folks at Bunny Gumbo are taking the Combat Theatre idea and putting it in the hands of high schoolers. Usually the acting enthusiasts get 24 hours to come up with an original concept and flesh it out into a play with actors, sets, and production value. This time, the kids get a little more help, but not much. “Topics, locations, directors and actors are all literally pulled from a hat. There is no advanced preparation, no warning, no mercy – just instinct, ability and raw talent on display.”
It all finishes with six new shows on one night only at the Milwaukee Youth Arts Center (a collaboration of First Stage and Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra) located at 325 W. Walnut. Tickets are available at the door only, $10 for adults and $5 for students. For more information, call 414-630-1748 or visit the Bunny Gumbo website.
A Sneak Peek, In Tandem, 7/21 at 5:30 p.m.
The players at this theater adjacent to Marquette University are showcasing snippets of its upcoming season during a free event at In Tandem’s Tenth Street Theatre. Musicals, comedy, and free appetizers abound. Call 414.271.1371 or visit intandemtheatre.org for more.
Highlighted Singers, Festa Italiana, 7/16 to 7/19
We could just list the names of some of great crooners, songstresses, and musical acts that fit the fine arts bill. But there’s apparently also a cannoli eating contest and a dancing chihuahua that will appear on the kids stage. Here’s what we would go see: Elegant Gypsies, Jane Taylor (Italian Idol winner), Dick Contino, both the children and adult Italian Dance Group, Giada Valenti, Al Martino, Bobby Valli, the Master Singers of Milwaukee, and Milwaukee Opera Theatre. Visit the Festa Italiana website for details or call 414.223.2808
Milwaukee Ballet at Kidz Days, Marcus Center Kidz Stage, 7/16 at 10 a.m.
Dancers from the professional ballet group here in town straps on their pointes and flats for a special free event aimed at children and parents. The audience will see ballet stories brought to life, and learn about stretching and ballet positions. This event is often preceded on days with shows from Discovery World, First Stage, and later Milwaukee Public Library. For more information, visit the Marcus Center website or call 414.273.7121 for more info.
Evening of Irish Music and Dance, Lapham’s Peak State Park, 7/18 (rain date 7/19) at 7:30 p.m.
Great Irish step dancing accompanied by the music of Athas and Rira with Stuart Mitchell as well, presented by the Summerstage of Delafield in an outdoor setting. Bring lawn chairs, and your State Parking sticker if you have one already. Otherwise, parking is $5, and tickets are $10 in advance. Next week features the kids performing Shakespeare series. Visit the SummerStage website for more details. Phone contact is not listed.
Keely Garfield Dance, Danceworks, 7/17 and 7/18 at 7:30 p.m.
The New York-based dancer presents her thesis dance project, developed at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. “For the DanceLAB, Keely Garfield Dance will perform two pieces, Limerence and First Attempt. Both pieces were conceived and created separately but seen together.” Call the box office at 414.277.8480 ext. 6025 or visit danceworksmke.org for details.
Italian Flag Throwers, Youth ensembles, and dueling pianos, Bayshore Town Center, 7/15 – 7/21
As part of a summer series of performance events, this week you can see a vibrant troupe of flag throwers, drummers, and buglers on Wednesday afternoon. Then on Thursday afternoon and night, see the Milwaukee Symphony and Jazz Orchestras in Youth versions. For two shows on Friday night, two pianists duke it out over a keyboard playing music from Top 40 to oldies to novelty songs. Visit the Bayshore website or call the Guest Services number at 414.963.8780 for times and directions.
Lynn Redgrave, Ten Chimneys, 7/17 and 7/18 at 8 p.m.
The weeklong Lunt-Fontanne Fellowship Program concludes with a public program that on the first night finds the celebrated actress sharing stories of a life and family in theatre, including a Q&A session. The second night is a glimpse into what went on during the ‘camp’ of sorts, with the acclaimed actors and Redgrave explaining how they approached their work and sharing scenes and monologues they worked on. Tickets range from $25 to $100. Call 262.968.4110 or visit the Ten Chimneys website.
You can always find ticketing information and other theater links at Footlights Milwaukee.