Brian Jacobson
On Stage with TCD

Highlights from 9/15 to 9/21

By - Sep 15th, 2009 07:06 am

There’s A LOT to get through this week, and many great events that need your attention and patronage. So no chitchat here — on with the shows!



Barber of Seville, Skylight Opera Theatre, 9/18 – 10/4
imagebarberGioachino Rossini’s opera buffa, luckily performed in English this time for those of us who failed Italian language class, is considered a masterpiece in the first installment of Pierre Beaumarchais’ comedic Figaro story. As most know by now, the local gang is back together at Skylight, and this show will likely be sold out opening night after overwhelming support for the company. Watch for a review from Tom Strini this weekend, or go yourself during the three-week run. Then watch for the sequel at the same venue next year. Visit Skylight’s website, or call 414-291-7800.

Rabbit Hole, Over Our Heads Players, 9/18 – 10/4
This Pulitzer Prize-winning drama by David Lindsay-Abaire opens this Racine troupe’s 18th season. In this play, “a successful suburban couple must pick up the pieces after devastating tragedy tests their marriage. Rabbit Hole charts their bittersweet search for comfort, exploring life after tragedy. Their story is told through daily moments and emotional hurdles hiding in routines.” For tickets, visit the OOHP website or call 262-632-6802. 

Light in the Piazza, Waukesha Civic Theater, opens 9/18
In this musical by Craig Lucas and Adam Guettel, “Margaret and her daughter Clara — a beautiful, surprisingly childish young woman — are touring the Tuscan countryside. Clara meets Fabrizio, a handsome Florentine. Their chance meeting sparks an immediate, intense romance. As the story of this romantic comedy unfolds, we learn that Clara is not quite all that she appears to be. A winner of both Tony and Drama Desk Awards, this event officially kicks off at a venue that always has something happening. Visit the website, or call 262-547-0708 for ticketing information.

You Can’t Take It With You, Grant Park Players at SMPAC, 9/18 – 9/27
canttakeIt’s the George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart gem on the stage at the South Milwaukee Performing Arts Center. It would take too long to describe the plot, but let’s try: boy meets girl and wants to marry her. Girl’s family is crazy; boy’s family is uptight. They dine together and mingle. It’s from the team that gave us great Marx Brothers scripts and a neighborhood-favorite community theater group. Visit the SMPAC website or call the box office at 414-766-5049.


Gertrude Bell in Iraq, circa 1908 (historical photo)

Gertrude Bell in Iraq, circa 1908.

The Desert Queen (staged reading), Milwaukee Chamber Theatre, 9/21
James DeVita has had a good season, and a great career so far in the theatrical arts. Here, the actor/playrwight has created a piece for fellow American Players Theatre actress Sarah Day and director Tracy Michelle Arnold. As a launch for the 2009-10 Montgomery Davis Play Development Series, he conjures up a one-woman show surrounding the fascinating historical figure Gertrude Bell. Her impressive resume: “writer, traveler, political analyst, pioneer for women’s rights, administrator and archaeologist who mapped and identified Anatolian and Mesopotamian ruins. Appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1917, the first woman officer in the history of military intelligence. Helped to create the Hashemite dynasty in Jordan and define the outline of the modern state of Iraq. Had a role behind the scenes in the Arab revolt in World War I.” She has a story to tell, and DeVita returns to the MCT to tell it. This event is FREE, with donations gladly accepted. For more information, visit the company’s website or call 414-276-8842.


Nothing but the Blues, MSO Pops at Uihlein Hall, 9/18 – 9/20
tyzikA precursor to the season that stands up fine all on its own. In this edition, Jeff Tyzik conducts the musicians into a celebration of classic jazz with the songs of Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald. Carmen Bradford lends her voice and trumpeter Byron Stripling join the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra in this three-night event. For tickets, visit the specific Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra page or call 414-291-7605.

Karkowska Sisters Duo, Wisconsin Lutheran College, 9/18
The Karkowska Sisters, promo photograph from the Wisconsin Lutheran College websiteThis award-winning act kicks off the Complete Classics series for the college. The two will bring their virtuoso performance to the Schwan Concert Hall on Friday night. “Anna (violinist) and Kasha (pianist) Karkowska have toured North America and Europe extensively, always meeting with raving reviews. Their debut at Carnegie Hallwas an unmitigated success crowned with standing ovations and encores. The duo intersperses elements of comedic banter to make concerts entertaining as well as inspiring.” Call 414-443-8802 or visit the Wisconsin Lutheran website for details.

Chris Botti, The Riverside Theater, 9/19
The “gifted instrumentalist, a talented composer and a charismatic performer” brings his stylings to downtown Milwaukee for a special event. Botti has his own sound borrowing from a host of genres. He is credited with turning the modern world of jazz on its axis. His most recent studio album “links the worlds of jazz and pop and classical music in a suite of songs and music inspired by the romance of Italy.” For extensive details including online samples, visit The Riverside website. For tickets, call 414-286-3663.

Also of note, R&B star Eric Benet headlines at the Pabst Theater on Friday night for a special reunion concert with Gerard, the Milwaukee band the reemerges for this event. The concert serves as a fundraiser for former Gerard singer Beccee Smith-Kujawa, who is battling lung cancer. The Facebook page for the event called “Love for Life” is a good resource for addtional details.

2009 Global Union concert event, Alverno Presents at Humboldt Park, 9/19 – 9/20 (FREE)
TCD will be there. You should be there, too. Alverno’s little world music showcase that could officially mark the end of summer (autumn starts 9/22) by blowing up the stage with Mucca Pazza on Saturday afternoon and finishing with the life-affirming grooves of Mineyshu. There’s a variety of styles in between like Watcha Clan and Red Baraat. For a full musical preview, please read our article posted last week (or read this handy study guide). There will be plenty of food and merchandise representing the world’s flavors. In between sets, you can wander a few blocks away on the first day to the Bay View Bash. For more information, visit the Alverno website.

Prometheus Trio, photo courtesy Daniel Petry of WCM

Prometheus Trio, photo courtesy Daniel Petry of WCM

Prometheus Trio Concert, Wisconsin Conservatory Of Music, 9/21
“Stefanie Jacob (piano), Timothy Klabunde (violin) and Scott Tisdel (cello) embark on their 10th Anniversary season at the Conservatory as this loved trio ensemble begins its season at the WCM (sans flashlights, which was needed at Washington Island Music Festival back in August).” Concertgoers get a champagne reception after listening to the trio’s best-known staged pieces: the Brahms Trio in B Major, Haydn’s Trio in A Major and a contemporary work by Paul Moravec entitled “Mood Swings.” Visit the fine music website for details, or call 414-276-5760 for more.

One of the great things about writing this weekly preview is that you discover new artist groups in Milwaukee all the time. This time around, we discovered the Civic Music Association of Milwaukee, which presents the Gaudete Brass Quintet with Jean McCullough to the Helen Bader Hall on Sunday afternoon. The Wisconsin Conservatory of Music also sponsors this performance by the midwest-based foursome. It promises to be the balm that you need in these hectic times. For details, visit the Footlights Milwaukee article.


Trace Memories, Wildspace Dance Company at Turner Hall, 9/18 – 9/19
Wildspace posterWhere else exactly can you say that you got a fish fry and then went upstairs for a talk from the director of Milwaukee’s Historical Society before watching modern dance at its best? This Friday, for $40 total, you can do it all. Talks are also available at the two Saturday shows, and this particular dance promises “physicality and dynamic, vertical movements abound … watch as dancers literally take flight from the lofty spaces of the historic Milwaukee landmark.” Look for a feature preview later in the week at TCD. For tickets, visit the Wildspace website or call 414-271-0307.

Dance Company performances, DanceCircus at various locations, 9/15 – 9/20
Milwaukee dance group specializes in modern and African dance, and after a seven-week program this summer the dance company it will be participating in staged shows at different locations. Expect movement “emphasizing its environmental forte” with compositions both by DanceCircus and Xalaat Africa, especially at the final denouement show at SoHi Sunday Family Festival happening on 9/20. For more information, visit the DanceCircus website or call 414-277-8151.


Joseph Hanreddy
Joseph Hanreddy

Joseph Hanreddy at Boswell Books, 9/16
The outgoing artistic director of The Milwaukee Rep gives a talk at the Downer Ave. bookstore about the staging of Government Inspector (which he also directs), a career at the venerable acting organization and his future. To get an idea, here’s a link to a conversation he had with WUWM’s Bonnie North back in July. For details about the appearance, visit the Boswell Books website.

The 5th Annual Noche de Gala, Latino Arts at its auditorium, 9/19
nocheFeaturing the music of Diego Del Real and His Orchestra and the exhibition opening of “Welcome to the Holy Land” by Luis De La Torre. Latino Arts’ 5th Annual Noche de Gala is an “opportunity to make a commitment to cultural arts programming, while enjoying an elegant evening of dancing and music. Purchasing your seat or sponsoring a table helps fund diverse arts programming and education, including the Latino Arts Strings Program.”  There will also be a raffle, the prizes for which include round-trip airfare for two from AirTran and a Sony laptop including one year of wireless Internet service provided by Time Warner Cable. Visit the Latino Arts informational page or call 414.384.3100.

The Sunset Playhouse adds a special event for Monday and Tuesday next week called A Half Century of Musical Memories to launch the anniversary season. It looks back at 50 years of Broadway musicals seen on the Sunset stage. Appearances include Paula Foley Tillen, Jim Ryan, Robert Bortman, Leslie Fitzwater, Joel Kopischke and Peggy Peterson Ryan. Following Monday night’s performance, there’s a wine-and-cheese mingle with the performers. Tickets are limited, visit the website or call 262-782-4430 for details.


Milwaukee Ballet has a short sale going on now until Sept. 16 for tickets to the season favorite The Nutcracker. The sale is only valid for the following performances: December 11, 17 and 26 at 7:30 p.m.; and December 24 at 11 a.m. To order tickets, call 414- 902-2103 or order online by using the promo code “SNOW” at Ticket prices start at $18. There is a limit of eight tickets per household.

You can always find the latest in theater news and venue details at our partner site, Footlights Milwaukee.

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