Ghosts of Christmas Past
John McGivern‘s gift for combining comic irony with warm nostalgia has made him a star in Milwaukee. McGivern will revive his warm and witty memoir, Home for the Holidays, starting at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 1. Next Act Theatre is producing the show, with Edward Morgan directing, at the Milwaukee Rep’s Stiemke Theatre. It runs through Jan. 2. Tickets are $25 for the Tuesday and Wednesday matinees and $35 for all other shows. Call the Rep’s box office, 414-224-9490, or visit Next Act’s website.
Milwaukee’s most durable Christmas perennial, the Rep‘s A Christmas Carol, returns once again to the Pabst Theater. Joseph Hanreddy and Edward Morgan’s adaptation of Charles Dicken’s tale of cynical greed converted to generosity previews Thursday and opens at 7:30 p.m. Friday (Dec. 3). James Pickering, Milwaukee’s Scrooge ofchoice, will again play London’s biggest tightwad. A Christmas Carol runs through Dec. 26. Call the Milwaukee Repertory Theater box office, 414-224-9490, or visit the Rep’s website for tickets. Tickets are $25-$45, $20-$40 for students and seniors, $10-$30 for children.
What if Mickey Mouse got all his Disney pals from TV and film together and went on the road? Well, he did. It’s called Playhouse Disney Live: Mickey’s Rockin’ Road Show, and it lands at the Wisconsin Center District Milwaukee Theatre, 500 W. Kilbourn Ave., for three performances this weekend. Curtain times are 1 and 4 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday (Dec. 4-5). Tickets are $17-$49.50 at the theater box office and via Ticketmaster, 1-800-745-3000.
Margaret Leng Tan, the avant-garde wizard of the toy piano, will be Present Music‘s special guest at its first concert of the New Year, Jan. 8. But that’s not our topic just now; I’m extending Present Music’s invitation to a free screening of Sorceress of the New Piano, a documentary about the musical life of this unique artist. It’s at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 1, at the Todd Wehr Conference Center, 1047 N. Broadway, at the Milwaukee School of Engineering. Present Music will be collecting toys to distribute to children in need; so bring one to donate.
Conductor, arranger and trumpeter Jeff Tyzik, whose low-key ways charmed MSO Pops audiences during the low-budget Christmas of 2008, returns to conduct a rather more glitzy Holiday Pops Friday through Sunday at Marcus Center Uihlein Hall. The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, narrator John Letterman, the Milwaukee Children’s Choir, the Milwaukee Youth Chorale and the Alleulia Ringers of Concordia University will all be part of this Holiday Pops Spectacular. In addition to the usual Pops schedule — 8 p.m. Friday (Dec. 3) and Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday (Dec. 4-5) — the MSO has added a Saturday matinee, at 2:30 p.m. (Dec. 4). Tickets are $25-$95 at the MSO ticket line, 414-291-7605; at the MSO website; and at the Marcus Center box office, 414-273-7206.
The Bel Canto Chorus, led by Richard Hynson, will put on traditional Christmas concerts, complete with sing-alongs, at a traditional venue, the Basilica of St. Josaphat, 2333 S. 6th St., at 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 4-5. In addition to the adult chorus, the Bel Canto Boychoir will sing and the Milwaukee Area Handbell Ensemble, led by John Behnke, will ring. Tickets are $23 and $28; click here or call 414-481-8801.
Need some relief from the holly-jolly? The Prometheus Trio offers a holiday-free, non-themed program at 7:30 p.m. Monday and Tuesday (Dec. 6-7). Violinist Timothy Klabunde, cellist Scott Tisdel and pianist Stefanie Jacob will play Mozart’s Trio in C Major, K. 548; Martinů’s Cinq Pièces Bréves; Rachmaninoff’s Trio élégiaque No. 1; and the Chaconne from Bach’s Partita No. 2 in D Minor (arr. Dudley). Tickets are $22, $20 for students and seniors. Call the conservatory, 414-276-5760.
Boulevard Theatre: The Savannah Disputation, through Jan. 16.
Milwaukee Chamber Theatre: The Subject Was Roses, through Dec. 12.
Milwaukee Repertory Theater: Liberace! through Jan. 16; Bombshells through Dec. 19.
Skylight Opera Theatre: H.M.S. Pinafore, through Dec. 19.
Sunset Theatre: It’s a Wonderful Life, through Dec. 19; The Santaland Diaries, through Dec. 18.