Barbara Castonguay
On Stage with TCD

Weekly Highlights from 12/2 to 12/8

By - Dec 1st, 2009 12:24 pm
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A publicity still from Who Killed Santa? that runs for a limited engagement at the Bay View Brew Haus.

A publicity still from Who Killed Santa?, running for a limited engagement at the Bay View Brew Haus.

There’s a merry little Christmas brewing right this very minute, seemingly with something for everyone — from the salty plays at Alchemist and neighboring Brew Haus to the traditional Christmas Carols and French Horn recitals. Check out the Noises Off-version of Carol with Scrooge in Rouge at In Tandem and the MSO’s Holiday Pops concerts with Marvin Hamlisch to get those holiday fires burning.



Rudolph: The Pissed-off Reindeer, Alchemist Theater, 12/3 to 12/20
Billed as The Usual Suspects meets the classic claymation Rudolph story, the Alchemist Theater’s Rudolph promises audiences more adult holiday fare featuring local improv and sketch comedians. In this play, Sam The Snowman is arrested and forced to retell the classic tale of Rudolph in an attempt to uncover who is smuggling illegal, defective and dangerous toys through Misfit Island. Written and directed by Patrick Schmitz.  Visit the Alchemist website or call 414-426-4169 for details on this show.

The Complete Works of William Shakespeare…abridged.  Soulstice Theatre at the Marian Center, 12/3 to 12/9
All 37 of Shakespeare’s plays in 97 minutes. For more information, visit the Soulstice website or call 414-431-3187.

Scrooge in Rouge

A publicity still from Scrooge in Rouge, courtesy of the website.

Scrooge in Rouge,  In Tandem Theatre, 12/4 to 1/3

The Premise: Twenty-three actors set out to put on a musical version of A Christmas Carol. Twenty come down with food poisoning, but the show must go on. The three left standing attempt to play all 23 parts, with unintentionally comedic results. For more information, visit In Tandem or call 414-271-1371.

A Christmas Carol, the Falls Patio Players on the , 12/4 to 12/6
Dickens’ classic Christmas story. For more information, visit the Falls Patio Players website .

caroldrawInspecting Carol,  Sunset Playhouse, 12/4 to 12/31
Billed as a blend of A Christmas Carol, Noises Off and Waiting for Guffmann, Sunset Playhouse takes a comic swipe at Dickens. A young man auditions for a play at a small theater and is mistaken as a government informer for The National Endowment for the Arts. The cast and crew cater to his every whim to try to win his favor and their government funding. Visit the Sunset portal or call 262-782-4430.

puppetsWho Killed Santa?, a special production at the new Bay View Brew Haus, 12/4 to 12/27
Local playwright Neil Haven and director Laurie Birmingham present this alternative, snarky holiday tale. Santa is hosting his annual party with Frosty, Rudolph, Tiny Tim and the Little Drummer Boy. Apparently, the Santa character is a lot like Mr. Body from Clue, as everyone seems to have an issue with him, and he meets his end with a candy cane through the ticker. Detectives show up and use the audience to help figure out whodunit. Billed as “an irreverent, naughty alternative to traditional sentimental holiday entertainment options,” it features a revised script from the 2008 showing, Dan Katula’s Muppet-style rod puppets, parodies of holiday songs, drag and four different endings chosen by audience members. Adult content, not suitable for children under age 16. Tickets can be reserved by calling 414-839-7801 or e-mailing Bo Johnson. Reservations recommended.

Candy Cane Tales and Holiday Carols,  Waukesha Civic Theatre,  runs 12/4 to 12/20
A cast of all ages will sing, dance and re-enact many holiday favorites in this new WCT family show. Rudolph, Scrooge, the Grinch, Frosty and even the Bumble will make an appearance. For more information, visit the Waukesha Civic Theatre’s website, or call 262-547-0708.

Eugene Rubenzer, who plays the cheerful homeless man "Soapy" in the upcoming production of The Gifts of the Magi at Acacia Theatre

Gifts of the Magi, Acacia Theatre Company, 12/5 to 12/13
A musical theater offering drawn from two short stories by O. Henry, The Gifts of the Magi is a holiday love story that follows destitute couple Jim and Della. Their sacrifices and generosity reveal the true meaning of Christmas: selfless love. Book and music by Mark St. Germain and Randy Courts. For more information, visit the Acacia Theatre  website or call 414-744-5995.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream, UWM Theatre Mainstage Series,  12/8 to 12/13
The UW-Milwaukee Theatre Department stages Shakespeare’s comedy of lunatics, lovers and poets.  Directed by Jim Tasse. Visit the UWM Campus Events page or call 414-229-4308.



Horns a Plenty Christmas, the Marcus Center on the Uihlein Hall stage, 12/2
Enough tubing to stretch from Milwaukee to the North Pole will be on stage, as the Milwaukee Symphony French horn section and guest horn players from all over the Midwest play seasonal fare. This is a free 7 p.m. concert. For more information, visit the Marcus Center’s website .

UW-Milwaukee Faculty Recital: Chris Burns & Steve Nelson-Raney, Peck School of the Arts Recital Hall,  12/3
An evening of improvised music and multimedia by UWM faculty members Christopher Burns and Steve Nelson-Raney, featuring performances with saxophones, guitar, piano and electronics. For more information, visit the UWM events page or call 414-229-4308.

Chuchito Valdes

Chuchito Valdés’ Afro-Cuban Quartet, Latino Arts Inc., 12/4
Pianist Chuchito Valdés hails from one of Cuba’s most distinguished musical families. Valdés and his band play jazz festivals, concerts and clubs around the world. Valdés draws from Afro-Cuban Latin jazz, Bebop, Danzon and Cha-Cha-Cha.  You can dance to this jazz. Visit Latino Arts, Inc. or call 414-384-3100.

Dickens of a Christmas, various musical acts at the Greendale Library, 12/4
It’s an evening of holiday renditions with “Hornucopia” French Horn Quartet, “Wee Sing for Christmas” with the Promise Puppets and Ben Kammin’s Guitar Melodies. Visit the library’s website or call 414-423-2136.

kinderMSO: Kids Kinderkonzert, Marcus Center Uihlein Hall, 12/5
Marvin Hamlisch conducts this Saturday afternoon concert that promises to be a sleigh ride adventure. These concerts typically feature storytelling and are a great introduction to classical music for young audiences. Pre-concert activities start at 1 p.m. with a the book fair, instrument ‘petting zoo’, special guest appearances and crafts with community partners and the MSO League. For more information and tickets, visit the MSO site or call 414-291-7605.

hamlisch_profileMSO: Holiday Pops, Marcus Center Uihlein Hall, 12/4 to 12/6
Consider this the adult version of the above entry. Hamlisch conducts a weekend of holiday fare, including favorite carols and modern orchestral takes on golden standards. For more, see the MSO entry or call 414-273-7206.

The Tree of Life: Reflections of Family, Wisconsin Cream City Chorus at the Unitarian Universalist Church West, 12/5-6
Expect equal parts family, tradition and holiday fun from this Cream City Chorus holiday season offering, with special guest Corky Morgan. For more information, visit The CCC’s website or call 414-276-8787.

Festival Soiree with Robin Pluer, the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music’s Helen Bader Hall, 12/3 to 12/5
Pluer, one of Milwaukee’s best-known vocalists, teams up with Mrs. Fun (Connie Grauer, keyboards, and Kim Zick, drums). Pluer will also play accordion. Repertoire includes jazz standards and Pluer’s speciality, mid-century French popular song. For tickets, call 414-276-5760 or visit the WCM website.

Also at the Conservatory: The Prometheus Trio, in residence at WCM,  will play music by Sibelius and Schumann at 7:30 p.m. Monday and Tuesday, Dec. 7-8.

blind1Blind Boys of Alabama Christmas, Turner Hall Ballroom, 12/6
A unique holiday special. For videos and more on this show, visit the Pabst website or call 414-286-3663 for ticketing information.

Irish Tenors Christmas, Riverside Theater, 12/6
Backed by a 30-piece orchestra, it’s the first U.S. Tour for this particular featured set of singers, Anthony Kearns, Karl Scully and Finbar Wright. Visit the Riverside or call 414-286-3663.

FestivalWinterSpiritPosterA Festival of Winter Spirit, the Milwaukee Children’s Choir at the South Milwaukee Performing Arts Center, 12/6
“There will be candles, bells, violins, flutes and—most important—the voices of children. Singing comes from the heart. Our voice is the one instrument that is truly our own,” states the MCC website, which goes on to inform that all five groups will be heard in this mega-event involving the Columbian carol “El Pequeño Niño,” German carol “Ring Merry Bells” accompanied by members of the Advent Lutheran Church Handbell Choir, Arvo Pärt’s “Estonian Lullaby” reprised from the recent Present Music Thanksgiving performance, and others like the African-American Spiritual “My Lord, What a Morning.” For more information, visit the MCC or call 414-766-5049.

Viennese Christmas, Waukesha Symphony Orchestra at Elmbrook Church in Brookfield, 12/6
Three area high schools will join conductor Alexander Platt and the Waukesha Symphony Orchestra to celebrate the holiday season with music from Brahms’ Hungarian Dances to the “Hallelujah Chorus” from Handel’s Messiah. Also included in the repertoire are classics like “Sound of Music” and “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.”  For more information, visit the Waukesha Symphony’s website, or call 262-547-1858.


kuhefussKuhefuss House Museum: Victorian Christmas.  Cedarburg Cultural Center.  12/4, 5 and 12/11
Celebrate a Victorian Christmas in Cedarburg with costumed docents and carolers at the Kuhefuss House Museum. For more information, visit the Cedarburg Cultural Center’s calendar page.

DISNEYARTPlayhouse Disney Live. Milwaukee Theatre. 12/4-5.
Playhouse Disney Live continues its tour in Milwaukee. For more information, visit the Milwaukee Theatre’s website or call 414-908-6001.

Breakfast with Santa, Skylight Bar and Bistro at the Broadway Theatre Center, 12/5
This late morning-to-noon special event features the big man himself. There will also be a Bazaar running from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the adjacent Salon. For more information, visit the Skylight or call 414-271-1740.




Audition notice from Grant Park Players:

“Auditions will be held for the upcoming Grant Park Players 1-acts to be held on Wednesday, Dec. 2 at 7:30 p.m. and Thursday, Dec. 3 at 7:30 p.m. Auditions will take place at the South Milwaukee PAC (901 15th Ave. in South Milwaukee). Actors will be doing cold reading from the scripts. The shows will be Almost the Bride of Dracula, When Shakespeare’s Ladies Met and Check, Please! We are looking for actors, ages 14- 99, to play nine male and 18 female roles. Descriptions of the roles can be found at or for more information e-mail Denise Kujawa. The shows will be the first two weekends in February.”

Audition notice from Sunset Playhouse:

ESCANABA IN LOVE Auditions: Dec. 7 & 8 (7 p.m.-10 p.m.). Callbacks: Dec. 9. Rehearsals: Jan. 25-Feb. 25, 2010. Production dates: Feb. 26-Mar. 20, 2010. Roles available: one woman, 20s; four men, 18-70s

ESCANABA IN LOVE will be directed by Mark Salentine, Sunset Playhouse’s artistic director. Please show up at 7 p.m. on either Dec. 7 or 8 at The Sunset Playhouse, located at 800 Elm Grove Road, and be prepared to read selections from the script. Scripts can be checked out at the box office, Monday-Friday (1-5 p.m.) and Saturday (1-4 p.m.) with a $10 deposit. Contact Artistic Director Mark Salentine with further questions or visit Sunset’s website and click on the Auditions tab for more details.


For more on the latest from stages and orchestra pits,
consult our partner website, Footlights Magazine.


Categories: Arts & Culture

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