A big theater week
Hi, performing arts fans. Here are a few reminders about the crush of events as the companies begin to get their holiday shows up and running. Remember, On Stage is just the beginning of TCDs’s arts coverage. Drop in often for reviews and interviews and profiles of the people who make the shows happen. When a lot happens on stage, a lot happens on the TCD Arts and Culture page. And be sure to visit our Calendar often to keep up with events. (Display picture is from Cirque Dreams Holidaze. More on that below.)
Opening nights will crowd Milwaukee’s stages this weekend. Two are about conflicts between parents and children, on rather different levels of intensity
Theatre Gigante’s The Lears premieres Thursday, Nov. 18. That would be as in Shakespeare’s King Lear, but with music, movement, video and the particular perspective of the creative team of Isabelle Kralj and Mark Anderson, Theatre Gigante’s co-founders. In addition to Kralj and Anderson, the cast includes James Butchart, Leslie Fitzwater, John Kishline and Jennifer Rupp. Composer/performers Steve Nelson-Raney and Seth Warren-Crow will provide the music, with video/visuals by Iain Court and lights by Nathan Booth. Through Nov. 21 at the Studio 508 of the UWM Kenilworth East building, 1925 E. Kenilworth Place, at Prospect. More info here.
Give three cheers and one cheer more, as Gilbert and Sullivan’s H.M.S. Pinafore slips into safe harbor for a holiday run at the Skylight Opera Theatre. This season’s offering revives the Skylight practice of holiday G&S. Bill Theisen will direct, and he’s promising a few new shivers in the timbers of the old operetta send-up of life in the Royal Navy. Pinafore opens Friday and runs through Dec. 19 at the Broadway Theatre Center. Call the BTC box office for tickets, 414 291-7800. More info here. Three of my personal Skylight favorites, Gary Briggle, John Muriello and Alicia Berneche are in the cast.
Cirque Dreams Holidaze features, among other astonishments, “An international cast of acrobats, aerialists, singers, dancers and musicians fill this Cirque Dream on stage, in the air and while dangling from a 24 foot tall magical tree.” Here’s some video to give you the idea, and there’s more info at the Cirque Productions website. Tickets are $22 to $57, plus a $3 facility fee. The facility would be the Milwaukee Theatre, 500 W. Kilbourn Ave.
Wladziu Valentino Liberace, the local boy who became an enduring international showman of the piano, might be the most fitting subject ever for the Milwaukee Repertory Theater’s Stackner Cabaret. Rep artistic associate Brent Hazelton wrote Liberace!, which previews Friday and Saturday and opens in earnest at 7 p.m. Sunday (Nov. 21). And who better to play the famously flamboyant pianist than Jack Forbes Wilson, who is something of a show-business legend in these parts himself. Liberace runs through Jan. 16.
The Milwaukee Guitar Duo — Edel Muñoz and Ignacio Barcia — will debut at 7:30 p.m. Friday at the Milwaukee Conservatory of Music, 1584 N. Prospect Ave. They are classical guitarists by trade — Muñoz, especially, has an impressive slate of international competition wins on his vita — but they venture into everything from the Beatles to bossa nova. Tickets are $10, $7 for students, seniors and WCM faculty. Call (414) 588-3280.
The MSO‘s own Frank Almond will be the soloist in Samuel Barber’s Violin Concerto Friday and Saturday, with Edo de Waart conducting. Almond, who has another of his a Frankly Music series programs coming up on Nov. 29-30, has hinted about a Samuel Barber surprise up his sleeve. I’ll try to pin him down when I interview him for the coming installment of This Week at the MSO. So tune in for that. Also on this program: Suite No. 1 from Grieg’s Peer Gynt and one of my personal favorites, Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra. Concert times are 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Nov. 19-20, at Marcus Center Uihlein Hall. Tickets are $25-$92. Links, details and map here.
Milwaukee is surely the only city in America where you can fill a cathedral with both new music and people. Kevin Stalheim and Present Music have somehow made that a tradition for their annual Thanksgiving concert at the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist. That concert always sells out; if you want to go at 4 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 21, at 812 N. Jackson St., you’d better get your ticket ($20 and $30, $5 for students) now. Call Present Music, 271-0711. Much more info here.
Four stages, performances all day, bake sale, door prizes, raffles, auctions and music music music; it’s all at the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music Performathon Open House, and it’s kid-friendly. Do drop in from 1-5 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 21. As a further bonus, you’ll enjoy the gorgeous lakeside mansion that the conservatory has called home for many decades. And now, the magic words: It’s free!