Brian Jacobson
On Stage with TCD

The Week in Highlights 11/11 to 11/17

By - Nov 10th, 2009 09:03 am

Luna Negra Dance Theater. Photo by Kristie Kahns.

It’s definitely a week for all kinds of string music, from the multifaceted Turtle Island Quartet accompanying a Cuban danzón to violinist Guillermo Figueroa who will join the UWM Fine Arts Quartet. But it’s also a week for college shows in general, from the blues/theater showcase at UWM to the raucous Sondheim classic, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, at Carroll University.  Also: Holmes and Watson get locked in a room and sing their way out.



7stories_side7 Stories, Next Act Theatre at the Off-Broadway Theatre, 11/12 to 12/13
David Cecsarini directs this Morris Panych tale about a mysterious man on a ledge. He becomes embroiled in the lives of the tenants in the surrounding windows. His solution and escape are ingenious. Buy tickets on the company’s website or by calling 414-278-0765.

The Producers, Carte Blanche Studios, 11/12 to 11/22
It’s a big, showy musical. Mel Brooks’ farcical story about an accountant and a conniving producer who plan the perfect Broadway crime, with Michael Traynor (the emcee in Carte Blanche’s Cabaret) as Max Bialystock and Jordan Gwiazdowski (Don’t Dress for Dinner) as Leo Bloom, is set to impress with an ensemble cast of rising Milwaukee performers. For ticket information, visit the studio’s website or call 262-716-4689.

The Producers, the Shorewood Players at the Shorewood Auditorium, 11/13 to 11/22
No, that’s not a typo. Across town, director Terry Grazer has long imagined directing “Springtime for Hitler” (the show within the show) and now gets to live part of that dream. It’s the next big step for a community theater group that has a long tradition of blockbusters and standards, ahead of Our Town in January and a big-deal spring show to be announced in December. For more information, visit the Shorewood Players site or call 414-737-3421.

Moon Over the Brewery, Milwaukee Chamber Theatre on the Studio stage, 11/12 to 12/13
This 1998 Bruce Graham play sees Angela Iannone (Tea at Five) making her MCT directing debut. It’s a story about a single mom (Melinda Pfundstein) with a new admirer who always rings twice. Her teenage daughter (Amanda J. Hull) is so troubled by the new fling that her old imaginary friend Randolph appears to help break it up. Dan Katula and Travis A. Knight fill out the cast in this dramedy. For tickets, visit the Milwaukee Chamber Theatre website or call 414-291-7800.

A Midsummer’s Night Dream, Marquette University Department of Performing Arts at the Helfaer Theatre, 11/12 to 11/22
Spells are cast, lovers are fooled and revelry abounds as worlds collide in Shakespeare’s imaginative comedy. For information and tickets, visit Marquette’s news item or call 414-288-7504.

Coyote on a Fence, Cardinal Stritch University students on the Studio stage, 11/13 to 11/22
This 2000 study by Bruce Graham of tough, death row questions is explored by university students under the supervision of department head David L. Oswald. For ticketing information, visit the Theater Department page or call 414-410-4171.

laughkeepTyler Perry’s Laugh to Keep from Crying, the Milwaukee Theatre, 11/13 and 11/14
The prolific playwright brings a national tour stop to Milwaukee for three shows. There’s no Madea (or Tyler Perry himself), but instead we find Mama Carol Wright keeping her children flying right while her neighborhood causes a ruckus. It’s a gospel-musical comedy, with deep and comforting Perry-isms throughout. For information, visit this website. For tickets, call Ticketmaster at 1-800-745-3000.

A Funny Thing Happened on the way to The Forum, the Carroll Players at the Otteson Theater, 11/13 to 11/15
The oldest- running student theater organization in Wisconsin takes on Stephen Sondheim (and Roman playwright Plautus) in this comedy about a slave, Pseudolus, who attempts to win his freedom by helping his young master to woo the girl next door. Associate Professor James Zager directs, with musical direction by Donna Kummer and choreography by senior Rayen Singletary. Advance tickets are recommended, so call the box office at 262-524-7633.

Holmes and Watson: A Musical Mystery, the Milwaukee Rep at the Stackner Cabaret, 11/13 to 1/3
It’s a musical comedy that finds the world’s greatest detective and sidekick trapped in their sitting room together. Will they figure out Moriarty’s riddle and escape? Married playwight duo Jahnna Beecham and Malcolm Hillgartner provide the book and music, while Michael Santo and Richard Farell star. For show tickets, visit The Rep website or call 414-224-9490.



Danzón, Luna Negra Dance Theater at the Wilson Center, 11/14 at 8 p.m.
It’s a big event overall in the Kuttemperoor Auditorium, as this multi-day presentation gets underway. Funded by heavy hitters like Arts Midwest, the Chicago-based Luna Negra starts with a special performance on Thursday (11/12) for the Beyond the Classroom Series. There, the company will introduce and narrate to youth about the Latin and Afro-Carribean dance form. This official dance of Cuba, which blends ballet and modern dance, will be backed up on Saturday by the award-winning Turtle Island Quartet (who have their own show there on Friday, 11/13) and features guest composer and musician Paquito D’Rivera. For more information, visit the Sharon Lynne Wilson Center page or call its box office at 262-781-9520.



The Road North, UWM Peck School of the Arts at Studio 508, 11/11 to 11/15
In this musical variety show collaboration between the university’s guitar and theater programs, 21 ensemble players trace the history of the blues through North America. Rebecca Holderness directs this play-in-the-making, as the first part of UWM’s Lab/Works program this season. Visit the PSOA web calendar for details or call 414-229-4308.


photo courtesy: MSO website

Bruckner’s Masterpiece, the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra at Uihlein Hall, 11/13 and 11/14
Lawrence Renes guest conducts this powerfully epic Symphony No. 8 that was hailed at its time as “the absolute victory of light over darkness.” Visit the MSO website or call 414-291-7605 for tickets.

toshicoverToshi Reagon, Alverno Presents at the Pitman Theatre, 11/14
Reagon, a throwback to classic R&B artists, is joined by select members of her band, BigLovely, as they continue Alverno’s season of diverse artists. Expect the album Have You Heard, as well as incredibly original interpretations of standards (such as The Cars’ hit, Just What I Needed). Find out more about the series by visiting the Alverno Presents page, or call the box office at 414-382-6044.

Copper Box, Cedarburg Cultural Center, 11/14
Americana by way of “a Texas tornado that went through New Orleans and landed in Wisconsin.” This foursome brings a distinctive musical melting pot to Milwaukee’s northern neighbor. For more information about the CCC, call 262-375-3676.

Salute to Our Troops and the Big Band Era, the Waukesha Symphony Orchestra at Carroll University, 11/15
The WSO honors Veterans Day a few days after the mark with a full-scale production at the Shattuck Auditorium on Sunday afternoon. “From Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man to … the gorgeously orchestrated suites from the masterpieces of Rodgers and Hammerstein, this concert is the perfect way to celebrate the service of our Waukesha County service members.” Wisconsin We Care will also collect non-perishable food items for military members overseas. For more information, visit the WSO website or call 262-524-7633.


photo courtesy the Figueroa family website, Stephen J. Sherman photographer.

UWM Fine Arts Quartet with violinist Guillermo Figueroa, Helene Zelazo Center of the Performing Arts, 11/15
It’s a perfect event for a Sunday afternoon, and the works selected for this one (like Mendelssohn’s String Quintet No.2 in B-Flat Major, Op. 87) will get you soaring. Guest musician Figueroa has an impressive CV, including acting as music director of the New Mexico Symphony and concertmaster for the New York City Ballet. There is also demand for his album recordings. He joins the other renowned artists-in-residence for this affair. Dr. Timothy Noonan gives an informal talk beforehand, and UWM Chancellor Carlos Santiago is expected to announce a new music scholarship for Latino students. For tickets, call the UWM Box Office at 414-229-4308. For more information on the guest and event, click here.

shostakovichThe World of Dmitri Shostakovich, Frankly Music at the WCM, 11/16 (sold out) and 11/17 at 7 p.m.
Frank Almond, Joseph Johnson and special guest pianist Adam Neiman examine the compelling musical work Shostakovich, one of the early 20th century’s important composers and troubled political philosophers. The program includes selected Preludes for Piano, Op. 34; Piano Trio in e, Op. 67.  For further detail, go to the Frankly Music web entry, buy tickets online or call the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music at 414-443-8802.



ukegroupIt’s the return of the monthly Sunset Playhouse $10 Friday Fish Fry, only this time the tartar sauce comes with ukulele music! Jeff Kroupa and clan provide the menu while the Milwaukee Ukulele Club provides sweet, stringed songs. Call 262-782-4431 to reserve your spot, and you may just want to stick around for Deathtrap at 8 p.m.

Florentine Opera Camerata, hosted at The Room on S. 2nd St., 11/15
It’s another Sunday Artists Social. This one offers a cash bar, hors d’oeuvres, an inside scoop from General Director William Florescu and Tosca cast member Matthew Lau and selections by the Florentine Opera Studio Artists. RSVP by Nov. 12 to Scott S. Stewart at 414- 225-1958.



Although it started during Global Union, it was only recently that I noticed Alverno Presents started a blog about the series. So far, it has often included video responses from audiences about particular artists they’ve just seen. But a few are more in-depth pieces from choreographer Molly Shanahan and guest bloggers, like Dwellephant. This blog now joins other local performing arts, such as Florentine Opera’s Company Blog and Milwaukee Ballet’s En Face.


For more on the performing arts scene, check out our partner site, Footlights Milwaukee.


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