Fairs, fests and other merriments
In 2009, In Tandem Theatre brought legendary actress Katharine Hepburn back to life in Angela Iannone’s body, via the one-woman show Tea at Five. This week, Hepburn gets re-resurrected, as In Tandem opens a return engagement Wednesday, August 3. The show places us in the sitting room of Hepburn’s beloved Connecticut home at two critical years of her life: 1938, after being deemed box-office poison, and 1983, at the near-end of her illustrious film career. Iannone’s portrayal of Hepburn was spot-on last time she slipped into the role, and this time should be no different. Tea at Five runs through August 21, with shows at 1 p.m. Wednesdays, 1 and 7 p.m. Thursdays, 8 p.m. Fridays, 4 and 8 p.m. Saturdays, and 2 p.m. Sundays. Tickets are $22 for weeknights and matinees and $26 for Friday and Saturday night shows, with $2 student and senior discounts available. Call (414) 271-1371 or buy online.
A summer storm can be a wonderful thing. A summer tempest can be even better — especially when it’s Shakespearean. Doppler radar shows a 100 percent chance of The Tempest hitting American Players Theatre in Spring Green, starting Friday, August 5. The show is the second of two Shakespeare plays at the traditionally classical APT this year, but something tells me that’s a case of quality over quantity. Just hope the storms stay on stage — as the play’s at their classic Up-the-Hill Theatre, a downpour will get you empathizing a little too much with the shipwrecked cast. The show runs through September 30, and tickets are $40 and up, depending on date, time and seat location. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit APT’s website or call the box office at (608) 588-2361.
You don’t need us to tell you the Wisconsin State Fair is awesome. There’s carnival rides, mostly-cuddly farm animals, cream puffs, everything edible on-a-stick and a killer lineup at their Potawatomi Bingo Casino main stage. Here’s the skinny for Aug. 4-8, the first half of the 11-day festival.
Opening night is Hammer Time. Thursday, the infamous MC Hammer comes to Milwaukee with Tone Loc and Young MC, forming a power trio of late ‘80s/early ‘90s rappers. Can’t touch this. On Friday, the fair offers the spiritual stylings of Casting Crowns, one of the biggest bands in Christian rock. Joining them is Corrie Carlson, a contemporary Christian singer who hails from Beaver Dam.
Saturday, the State Fair hosts boy band Big Time Rush, the stars of their own Nickelodeon TV show of the same name — think ‘N Sync marketed like The Monkees. Opening for them is Greyson Chance, a 13-year-old plucked from obscurity after Ellen DeGeneres discovered him on YouTube. So basically he and Big Time Rush are the new American Dreams.
The “Happy Together Tour,” a who’s who of ‘60s sunshine pop, rolls into town Sunday. The main act is The Turtles, with The Association, The Grass Roots, Mark Lindsay (original lead singer of Paul Revere and the Raiders) and The Buckinghams. Monday, the main stage switches gears to comedy. Puppet wielding comedian Jeff Dunham is no stranger to Milwaukee; he recorded his Christmas special here in 2008. If you like your laughs prompted by silly voices and cursing dolls, Dunham’s your guy.
The Wisconsin State Fair runs through August 14. Hours are 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays, 8 a.m. to midnight Fridays and Saturdays, and 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. the final Sunday. Ticket prices for main stage shows (which include fair admission) vary, so check the fair’s website for more information. Tickets for just the fair itself are $9 general admission, $6 for seniors, military/veterans and children 6-11, and free for kids 5 and under.
We’ve seen a lot of festivals roll through town this summer. What we haven’t seen is a festival designed to make you laugh in its face. Cue the Milwaukee Comedy Festival, August 4 through 7. Now in its sixth year, the Milwaukee Comedy Festival draws in comedians from across the state for sketch, improv and stand-up. The come not only for laughs, but to foster a comedy community. The main events are at ComedySportz, but a two-day kick-off is set for the Alchemist Theatre Aug. 2 and 3. Tuesday’s event is free open improv, starting at 8 p.m.; Wednesday’s is a stand-up comedy showcase starting at 7:30 p.m., with a $5 cover. The main shows are at 7:30 and 10 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, with midnight shows Friday and Saturday, and a “teen comedy day” on Sunday at 3 p.m. Tickets are $15 in advance and $18 at the door. Every show is different, so check out the festival’s website for details and tickets.
The Riverwest 24 graced our city’s streets last week, but this weekend the neighborhood’s hosting a bike gathering of a different sort: Rockerbox, a day-long motorcycle show and street party. The event is designed for any and all cycles, but rare or custom bikes are especially encouraged to enter the ride-in show, which goes on throughout the day. The show has a $10 entry fee, and will offer trophies in a number of categories including Best of Show, BUILD and the unmentionable “Cool as F*ck” award. Obviously the equivalent of an Oscar, that last one. Proceeds go to the Steel Shoe Fund, a nonprofit that helps pay medical bills for injured racers. New to Rockerbox this year is the addition of trials demonstrations. Perhaps best describable as trick motorcycling, the demonstrations will be performed by the touring Smage Brothers. Rockerbox runs from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Center Street in Riverwest, just outside of Fuel Café. It is free to the public.
Fireside Theatre: David, through Aug. 21
American Players Theatre: Blithe Spirit, through Sept. 9
APT: Of Mice and Men, through Oct. 1