Chilling and thrilling shows return to Milwaukee
Just in time for Halloween, the Milwaukee Ballet brings Michael Pink’s most famous and successful work, Dracula, back to the city, where it was last staged in 2005. The ballet runs Thursday, Oct. 27 through Sunday, Oct. 30, at 7:30 p.m. most nights and 1:30 p.m. Sunday. Tickets start at $27; call (414) 902-2103 or visit their online box office.
A touring production of South Pacific, based on the 2008 Tony-winning revival, comes to the Milwaukee Theatre this weekend for a three-night engagement. The musical, set on a tropical island during World War II, centers on two couples’ struggle against racial prejudice and the war raging around them. Notable tunes from the Rodgers and Hammerstein score include “There is Nothing Like a Dame” and “I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Outta My Hair.” Shows are at 8 p.m. Friday, 4 and 8 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday, and tickets are $75, $63, $48 and $33. Order at (800) 745-3000 or the online box office.
Didn’t get enough Bette Davis/Joan Crawford action with last week’s Gorgons? Try Off the Wall Theatre’s wacky adaptation of the original: Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? Dale Gutzman’s version of the 1962 classic includes all the film’s crazy moments, from Jane’s infamous hammer scene to the sisters’ every fight and scrape. Crazier still, Jeremy Welter and Mark Hagen will exchange the roles of sisters Jane (Bette Davis) and Blanche (Joan Crawford) on alternating nights. The show runs Oct. 27 through Nov. 6, and tickets are $23.50 or $26.50 for reserved seats; call (414) 327-3552 or visit their website to order.
Boulevard Theatre opens Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest on Wednesday. Mark Bucher directs a modern dress version, but the plot stays constant: two friends use the same alter ego (Ernest) to charm their respective love interests, a plan that falls to pieces when the two women encounter each other. The play runs Oct. 26 through Dec. 3 at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2:30 p.m. Sundays. Tickets are $23 Saturdays and $21 all other nights; call (414) 744-5757 to reserve seats.
Friday, First Stage premieres Don’t Tell Me I Can’t Fly, an original play inspired by the life of collage artist Della Wells. The play is the first of six planned “Wisconsin Cycle” plays First Stage will produce over six seasons. The show runs Oct. 28 through Nov. 13 and tickets are $22, $20 and $11 based on location. Showtimes vary, so call (414) 273-7206 or visit their website for more information.
The Fireside Theatre’s annual Christmas show is a Fort Atkinson tradition. This year’s revue runs Thursday, Oct. 27, through Dec. 22. The songs, dances and costumes may be new, but the Christmas spirit remains the same. Tickets are $75.91 for dinner and the show; for the full schedule visit the Fireside’s website or call (800) 477-9505.
If you couldn’t make it to Door County for American Folklore Theatre, don’t worry: AFT is coming to you with its first statewide tour. Guys and Does, the humorous tale of a father and hopeful-son-in-law bonding “Up Nort,'” comes to In Tandem Theatre for two weeks. It opens tonight (Tuesday, Oct. 25) and runs through Nov. 6. Shows are at 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays, 4 and 7:30 p.m. Saturdays and 1 and 4:30 p.m. Sundays; tickets are $24 weekdays, $27 weekends and can be purchased at (414) 271-1371 or In Tandem’s box office.
The Unruly Music festival offers three nights of cutting-edge contemporary music, starting Thursday (Oct. 27). Thursday features Milwaukee composers David Collins, Kevin Schlei, Christopher Burns and Amanda Schoofs performing live works using innovative technology. Friday, English saxophonist John Butcher makes a rare visit to Milwaukee. Then, on Saturday, Chicago ensemble Dal Niente performs chamber works from both the 20th and 21st centuries. Burns is the festival director and a faculty member at UWM’s Peck School of the Arts, which sponsors the festival. All concerts begin at 7:30 p.m., and tickets are $12, $10 for seniors and UWM community members and $8 for students. To order, call (414) 229-4308 or visit the online box office.
The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra offers two concertos on the four seasons at the Basilica of St. Josaphat Oct. 28-30. Concertmaster Frank Almond will be featured in Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons. Associate concertmaster Ilana Setapen will play Astor Piazzolla’s Las Cuatro Estaciones Porteñas (The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires), a concerto steeped in the tango. Almond will also solo on the concerts’ third work, Ralph Vaughan Williams’ The Lark Ascending. All three pieces will be led by guest conductor Timothy Meyers, artistic director and principal conductor of the North Carolina Opera. Shows are at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 4 p.m. Sunday; tickets range $28 to $48 and can be ordered at (414) 291-7605 or at the MSO’s website.
Bluegrass duo Dailey & Vincent visit the Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts this Saturday. Fronted by veteran artists James Dailey and Darren Vincent, the band has earned numerous awards in the bluegrass and country community since they released their debut album in 2008. The show begins at 8 p.m. Oct. 29; tickets are $29 balcony, $47 regular orchestra and $57 prime orchestra. Call (262) 781-9520 or visit their online box office to order.
Sunday, organist Christopher Houlihan will perform at Wisconsin Lutheran College as part of their Guest Artists Series. The concert begins at 3 p.m., with a pre-concert talk at 1:30 p.m. Tickets are $12, $10 for donors and seniors and $6 for students; order at (414) 443-8802 or the online box office.
Theatre Gigante pays tribute to a legend this weekend with Shades of Gray, a festival celebrating the life and work of Spalding Gray. Gray was a master performer credited with the invention of the autobiographic monologue, an art form he developed with works like Swimming in Cambodia and Gray’s Anatomy up until his death in 2004. The festival has three primary parts: the performance of the play Spalding Gray: Stories Left to Tell, a collection of Gray’s monologues, unpublished letters and journal entries delivered in his signature style; the screening of the documentary And Everything is Going Fine, a collection of clips from Gray’s life and career; and a collaboration with Boswell Book Company for the release of The Journals of Spalding Gray. For a full schedule of events, visit Theatre Gigante’s website. Tickets for the play are $26.50, $31.50 for both the play and the film, and $11.50 at the door for just the film.
Don’t have anything particularly spooky planned for Halloween yet? Consider the Night of the Living Dead puppet show, at the Oriental Theatre at 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 27. The show re-enacts the classic Romero flick with puppets operated by the Angry Young Men. Also present are the M.U.T.E.S. — a vaudeville-inspired troupe of raunchy mimes who’ll perform an original sketch called “Clockwork Boy” and pair with the Angry Young Men for a Dawn of the Dead spoof — a zombie choir performing Ode to Joy and several other surprises. The cover is $10.
Sunset Playhouse: Prelude to a Kiss, through Oct. 30
Acacia Theatre Company: The Miracle Worker, through Oct. 30