Matthew Reddin
On Stage June 28

Summerfest isn’t the only gig going on

By - Jun 28th, 2011 04:00 am


Darragh Kennan and Susan Shunk in APT’s “The Glass Menagerie.” APT photo by Zane Williams.

Theater seasons may be dying down in the city, but out in Spring Green, American Players Theatre’s season is in full blast. They’re currently running five shows in rotation, two of which, The Glass Menagerie and Crime and Punishment are playing at their new indoor Touchstone Theatre. The remaining three plays, The Taming of the Shrew, Blithe Spirit and The Critic, are still set at the Theatre Up the Hill, offering the usual APT outdoor theater experience. While APT may have a show running almost every day of the week during the summer, dates and times vary widely amongst the five shows, so finding a day to go is much easier with the assistance of their season schedule.

All five shows run through the summer, with Blithe Spirit and The Critic ending in early September and the remaining three lasting until October. But don’t think these five shows are all APT has to offer. Next month, the company will add Of Mice and Men and The Tempest to their Theatre Up the Hill roster, and The Cure at Troy will complete the trio of plays at the Touchstone in August. Tickets start at $40, but prices depend on date, time, and location. Also, For more information or to purchase tickets, visit APT’s website or call (608) 588-2361.


Fine Arts Quartet. Photo, courtesy of website.

It’s fitting that the Fine Arts Quartet host the same number of concerts as they have musicians for their Summer Evenings of Music series, but that also means the last of the four free concerts will occur this Wednesday, at 7:30 p.m. at the Helene Zelazo Center for the Performing Arts, 2419 E. Kenwood Blvd. It’s all big names at this one, with the quartet set to perform pieces by Haydn, Verdi and Mozart. Guest cellist Ronald Thomas returns for his third concert in the series, and guest violinist Anthea Kreston will lend her bow to the performance as well. After this series concludes, the quartet won’t host any Milwaukee concerts until their season begins in September, so if you need your Fine Arts Quartet fix, you’d better make it to this one. Tickets are free, but due to space limitations, must be reserved at the box office, (414) 229-3408.


Summerfest in Milwaukee draws about 1 million people annually.And, of course, no coverage of this week would be complete without taking note of Summerfest. Conveniently, this year’s 11-day festival has divided itself in half, with the addition of a Wednesday and subtraction of the Fourth of July on Monday, making it easy for us to split up the festival’s events into two weeks of coverage. If you’re counting down as excitedly as we are, keep reading our preview of this week’s acts.

While the festival usually opens on Thursdays, Wednesday is the kick-off this year, and hump day’s never looked as interesting. The big name at the Marcus Amphitheater is Peter Gabriel, performing with his New Blood Orchestra sans both drums and guitars. The eclectic possibilities of the evening evolve from there, with the night’s headliners featuring artists as varied as Hebrew-influenced reggae artist Matisyahu, Chicago blues legend Buddy Guy, the pop rock team of Hall and Oates, and Meat Loaf, who’s … well, Meat Loaf-y.

Thursday looks as star-studded as the debut evening. The Amphitheater hosts Kanye West with Kid Cudi (say that five times fast), but if they’re not the stars you’re looking for, don’t expect the other stages to make your decision easy. There’s George Clinton, Owl City, Panic! at the Disco (with Neon Trees), REO Speedwagon and rockabilly great Wanda Jackson — and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. On the plus side, being forced to make such a grueling choice early on makes the rest of your Summerfest decisions less painful.

Making a big 180 from the day before, Friday’s Marcus headliner is Toby Keith (with Eric Church), one of the biggest country names in the business. As always though, if country isn’t your genre of choice, you can also find ’90s rockers (Third Eye Blind), emo darlings (Red Jumpsuit Apparatus) and a mash-up master (Girl Talk). Also note local indie rockers I’m Not A Pilot are performing on the Cascio stage as well.

Saturday initially seems tailored to a younger crowd, with Jason Mraz and Guster at the Marcus Amphitheater and Maroon 5, The Airborne Toxic Event, and Hinder backing them up on the side stages. But don’t count out one of the “oldies” — Loretta Lynn, one of country music’s first and greatest female stars, is one of the goodies.

Frequent collaborators Kid Rock and Sheryl Crow grace the Marcus Amphitheater Sunday with Leroy Powell and The Messengers. Joining them on the side stages are rock bands of every tonal color, ranging from old favorites making comebacks, like The Jayhawks and Fuel, to more modern sounds like Rise Against and Taking Back Sunday.

These listings are, of course, non-inclusive; for the remainder of the artists or more information, check Summerfest’s website. Tickets are $8 Tuesday-Friday, before 4 p.m., and $15 evenings and weekends.


Marcus Center: Church Basement Ladies, through Aug. 7

Note: On Stage is not comprehensive. For more events, please check the TCD performance calendar listings.

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