Famous names and familiar faces
In 1956, Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins crossed paths at a recording studio in Memphis. Fifty-five years later, Million Dollar Quartet, the Broadway hit dramatizing their jam session, has come to Milwaukee’s Marcus Center for one week only. The jukebox musical is built around the songs recorded that evening — including Blue Suede Shoes, Great Balls of Fire and Matchbox, to name a few. The show also tells the nostalgic st0ry of how the four stars came to be in the studio that day. Shows run Tuesday, Nov. 15 through Sunday, Nov. 20, and a full list of times can be found online. Tickets range from $28 to $81, call (414) 273-7206 or visit the online box office to order.
Also opening at the Marcus Center : John McGivern’s latest Milwaukee show, A Kodachrome Christmas. McGivern stars as TV hostess Earlene Hoople, filming yet another of her regular nostalgic Christmas specials on her cable access program. The show runs Nov. 16 through Dec. 31, and tickets are $41 to $45. For showtimes or to order, call (414) 273-7206 or go to the Marcus website.
Hard to believe, but The Music Man has never graced the stage of the Skylight Opera Theatre. Until now. Skylight will stage Meredith Wilson’s musical as its holiday show, to run Friday (Nov. 18) through Dec. 18. The musical tells the tale of a charismatic con man whose plans to cheat the town of River Falls are derailed when he falls in love with the librarian looking to expose his fraud. The show runs at 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays with 2 p.m. matinees Saturdays, Sundays and some Wednesdays. Tickets range from $22.50 to $65; call (414) 291-7800 or visit the online box office.
Next Act Theatre welcomes back Sylvia, a light-hearted comedy about a husband who brings home a stray dog and the wife who isn’t happy to find herself a rival for his affections. Next Act did the play back in 1996. Sylvia runs Nov. 17 to Dec. 18, at 7:30 p.m. weeknights, 8 p.m. Friday, 4:30 and 8 p.m. Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays. Tickets range from $25 to $35, with student/senior rates available, and can be purchased at (414) 278-0765 or Next Act’s online box office.
Describing Tomáš Kubínek, the South Milwaukee Performing Arts Center’s latest find, is tricky so we’ll just let him speak for himself in a Q&A with Susan Barnett. See the one-of-a-kind vaudevillian Saturday, Nov. 19, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets range from $25 to $40 for adults with discounts for students, seniors and children; order at the SMPAC online box office.
Present Music’s traditional Thanksgiving concert is Sunday, Nov. 20, at the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist. As usual, the Bucks Native American Drumming and Singing Group joins them, as do the Milwaukee Choral Artists and a collection of singers and musicians from local schools and independent youth music groups. The centerpiece is a revival of Henry Brant’s Wind, Water, Clouds & Fire, which PM commissioned for Thanksgiving 2004. It features over 100 musicians and singers spread throughout the cathedral. The concert starts at 4 p.m.; tickets are $35 for “Best” seating and $25 for “Good” seating, with student tickets half-price. To order call (414) 271-0711 or visit Present Music’s website.
The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra returns to the Basilica of St. Josaphat for the second time this year, for a concert comprised primarily of works from the Baroque period. Assistant conductor Francesco Lecce-Chong will lead the orchestra in the performance of Bach’s second Brandenburg Concerto, Suites No. 2 and 3 from Handel’s Water Music, Wagner’s Siegfried Idyll, and contemporary Latvian composer Pēteris Vasks‘ Symphony for String Orchestra. Tickets range from $28 to $48, and can be purchased at (414) 291-7605 or the MSO online box office.
The Florentine Opera will offer operas in bite sizes at an Opera Scene Showcase Thursday, Nov. 17. The company’s resident artists — soprano Erica Schuller, mezzo-soprano Kristen DiNinno, tenor Matthew Richardson and bass Dan Richardson — will sing from operas including Bizet’s Carmen, Puccini’s La Boheme, and Mozart’s Idomeneo (part of the Florentine’s current season). Yasuko Oura will accompany, and Florentine general director William Florescu will direct. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased at (414) 291-5700, ext. 224.
The Wisconsin Conservatory’s We Six ensemble commemorates the career of tenor saxophonist Joe Henderson with a concert Thursday, Nov. 17. The sextet will perform a collection of Henderson’s works, the most well-known of which include “Recorda Me” and “Inner Urge.” The jazz concert begins at 7:30 p.m. and tickets are $22; call (414) 276-5760 to order.
Early Music Now celebrates its 25th anniversary Saturday, Nov. 19, with a collection of Handel arias and love duets performed by the Theatre of Early Music. Canadian countertenor Daniel Taylor leads the ensemble. He will join British soprano Deborah York in the duets. The concert will begin at 5 p.m. with a pre-show lecture at 4 p.m. Tickets are $25, $10 for students for general admission, $40 and $20 for preferred seating. Visit the Early Music Now website to order. The concert will take place at the Schwan Concert Hall of Wisconsin Lutheran College, 8815 W. Wisconsin Ave.
The Philomusica String Quartet will open its season with guest flutist Mathieu Dufour, principal of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Dufour will join violinists Jeanyi Kim and Alexander “Sascha” Mandl, violist Nathan Hackett and cellist Adrien Zitoun in Arthur Foote’s Nocturne and Scherzo and two Mozart works. Beethoven’s String Quartet No. 10 (“Harp”) completes the program. The concert starts at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 21. Tickets are $22; call (414) 276-5760.
Singer/songwriter Paula Cole made a name for herself in the ’90s with such hits as “Where Have All the Cowboys Gone?” and “I Don’t Want to Wait.” But when she comes to the Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts Friday, it’s all about her newest album, Ithaca. The concert begins Nov. 18 at 8 p.m., and tickets are $31 for balcony, $51 regular seating and $61 for prime orchestra. Call (262) 781-9520 or visit their online box office to order.
Wisconsin Lutheran College hosts the Allan Harris Band Friday, Nov. 18 at 8 p.m. Harris is best known for his interpretations of jazz tunes, both vocally and on guitar, which blur the line between jazz, blues and rock. Tickets are $24, $21 for seniors and donors and $12 for students; call (414) 443-8802 or go to the online box office.
Ko-Thi Dance Company has made a name for themselves as the premier performance group for works of African-American and Caribbean dance. Yet it’s their youth group, Ton Ko-Thi, that gets the spotlight at their show Saturday, Nov. 19. Tickets are $20 and $10 for students and seniors. Call (414) 273-0676 to order.
Saturday, Woodland Pattern hosts a reception at The Hamilton for mystery and nonfiction writer Walter Mosley. Mosley, most famous for his bestselling Easy Rawlins series, is making a rare appearance in the Midwest. He will read from his latest novel The Last Days of Ptolemy rey. The reception begins at 5:30 p.m., the reading at 7 p.m. Tickets are $80 for the reception and performance or $20 for the reading alone; call (414) 263-5001 to order.
Boulevard Theatre: The Importance of Being Earnest, through Dec. 3
Fireside Theatre: A Fireside Christmas, through Dec. 22
Soulstice Theatre: The Nerd, through Nov. 19
Carte Blanche Studios: Reefer Madness, through Nov. 20
Broadminded: Encyclopedia Broadtannica, at the Alchemist through Nov. 20