NEW! A Gay Spring for Milwaukee Theater

By - Apr 17th, 2011 12:36 pm
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Milwaukee’s 2010-2011 theater season is drawing to a close with a spree of LGBT themes and playwrights.

It may seem odd to write about “gay” theatre. (Some might ask if there’s any other kind.) But, yes, there is non-gay theatre and then there’s theatre that portrays gay characters stereotypically — they wind up killing themselves, being suspected of pederasty or standing around to serve as the butt of jokes.

But LGBT roles have taken a turn for the better, lately. Both straight and gay playwrights are creating LGBT characters who are just like everyone else…well, almost. Nowadays, we can be cast as sensational murderers; fretting. intelligent outsiders and down-home jocks. So obviously there’s been significant improvement in the realm of gay equality, at least on stage.

Thrill Me: Speaking of murderers, did you miss Theatrical Tendencies’ Milwaukee premiere of Stephen Dolginoff’s Thrill Me, the Leopold and Loeb Story, at the Milwaukee Gay Arts Center? Don’t worry, you can catch the reprise. In Tandem’s production opens April 28, with a pay-what-you-can preview. The show opens Friday, April 29, and runs through May 15 at the Tenth Street Theatre.

Thrill Me is the true story of a couple of 1920’s rich, gay college boys in a quirky, dysfunctional, mutually manipulative relationship (sound familiar?).  They end up killing a young boy for the sheer thrill of it. It’s a musical, of course. But don’t expect to hear What I Did for Love. You’ll leave the theatre troubled, but humming the tunes (Dolginoff’s songs will stay in your head for weeks).

Tickets and info: 414 271-1371 or visit In Tandem’s website.

Bubbly: On May 19, also at Tenth Street Theatre, Uprooted Theatre Company will premiere Neil Haven’s Pink Champagne, a new gay coming-out play commissioned by the Milwaukee Gay Arts

Playwright Neil Haven

Center. Details at the Uprooted website. Support from the Greater Milwaukee Foundation’s Johnson and Pabst LGBT Humanity Fund, the Milwaukee Arts Board and PrideFest made this production possible.

Two to Go: The Boulevard Studio Ensemble Theatre concludes its 25th silver anniversary season with Two to Go, a pair of one-acts by a pair of gay playwrights George Bernard Shaw and Thornton Wilder. OK, Shaw — author of A Village Wooing, the evening’s  “delightful marital romp” — was only probably gay. Wilder was pretty gay. He was the presumed lover of Samuel Steward, the gay sexual renegade subject of Justin Spring’s recent biography (if you missed the author’s appearance at the Milwaukee Gay Arts Center, you should at least read the book!).

Wilder’s Pullman Car Hiawatha is a “soulful regular comedy” (quoth the Boulevard). In the play, the train’s passengers include an insane woman, assorted momentary appearances by peculiar personalities (think Our Town), and Harriet, who is on her last train ride. Yes, it’s an inevitable but poignant train ride metaphor.


Two to Go opens a six-week run on Tuesday, April 19, with a pay-what-you-can preview. It officially opens Wednesday, April 20. Call the Boulevard, 414 744-5757, for tickets.

Paul Masterson, a frequent TCD contributor, is executive director of the Milwaukee Gay Arts Center.

Categories: Theater, Uncategorized

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