Jitneys, rites, and revues roll in
If March and April seem farther away amid the sudden, late chill of winter, get over to the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra for Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring. In its premiere in 1913, the rhythmic, primal work shocked audiences to the point of rioting. It’s unlikely the same will happen in Uihlein Hall this weekend, but Rite remains provocative and exciting. The groundbreaking piece will share the program with Schubert’s “Great” Ninth Symphony, both conducted by Edo de Waart. Shows are Friday, Jan. 27 at 11:15 a.m. and Saturday, Jan. 28 at 8 p.m. Tickets are from $25 to $85 (Friday) or $102 (Saturday); order at (414) 291-7605 or the MSO box office.
This weekend, the newly-renamed Skylight Music Theatre opens a revival of Gershwin and Friends, a tribute to Gershwin, Fats Waller, Harold Arlen and Duke Ellington that premiered there last season. The revue, featuring Cynthia Cobb and Parrish Collier, replaces the previously scheduled Edith Piaf Onstage, postponed until next year due to performer Leslie Fitzwater’s sabbatical for medical reasons. The show opens Jan. 27 and runs through Feb. 12, with shows at 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays and 2:30 p.m. Sundays. Tickets are $22.50 to $65.50, and can be ordered at (414) 291-7800 or the Skylight box office.
The Fine Arts Quartet performs at UWM’s Helen Bader Concert Hall Sunday, Jan. 29. It’s the first concert they’ll perform as an official quartet since the late cellist Wolfgang Laufer stepped down in 2011 for health reasons; replacing him is Robert Cohen, who performed as a guest with the FAQ in November. Also joining the quartet is guest pianist Joseph Kalichstein. On the program is Saint-Saëns’ String Quartet No. 2 and Brahms’ Variations on a Theme by Robert Schumann and Piano Quintet in F Minor. The free concert begins at 3 p.m.; reserve tickets at (414) 229-4308.
Also performing at UWM this week is Chamber Music Milwaukee, Wednesday, Jan. 25 with soprano Susanna Phillips. Phillips, a lead performer at the Metropolitan Opera, has sung with the ensemble a few times before, both in 2010 and 2011. The concert begins at 8 p.m., and tickets are $17, $12 for seniors/faculty/alumni and $10 for students. Call (414) 229-4308 to order.
You know how people go nuts for musicians like the Beatles or Justin Bieber? It’s not a recent phenomenon, and when it happened to 19th century pianist Franz Liszt, they called it Lisztomania. This week, Frankly Music brings the madness back with a concert Monday, Jan. 30 at Wisconsin Lutheran College to celebrate Liszt’s 200th birthday. Featured are Liszt specialist William Wolfram on piano and violinist Frank Almond. The show starts at 7 p.m., and tickets are $10-$39. Visit their online box office to order.
Carpe Diem String Quartet, this week’s guest artists at Wisconsin Lutheran College, aren’t your average string quartet. Yes, they perform classical works, but just as often they’re playing pieces they themselves have written or arranged, and frequently pull from the realms of rock, pop, jazz, blues, folk and more. They’ll enliven Milwaukee Friday, Jan. 27, at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20, $18 for seniors/donors and $12 for students; call (414) 443-8802 or visit their website to order.
The Wilson Center hosts a Tribute to Clifford Brown Friday, Jan. 27, featuring Milwaukee- and Chicago-based jazz trumpeter Eric Jacobson. Jacobson, also on faculty at the Wisconsin Conservatory, will lead a quintet of musicians in honoring Brown, considered one of the finest jazz musicians ever to play. The concert starts at 8 p.m.; tickets are $28. Visit the online box office or call (262) 781-9520 to order.
The Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra hosts their annual Jazz Heritage Festival this Friday. Students for the MYSO will perform earlier in the day, with a masterclass by local jazzman Manty Ellis and performance by Milwaukee native and member of Wynton Marsalis’ Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra Dan Nimmer in the afternoon. Tickets are $8, $5 students/seniors; for a full schedule or to order, visit the MYSO website or call (414) 267-2958.
Andre Lee Ellis and Co. brings August Wilson’s Jitney to the Marcus Center this weekend. The eighth play in Wilson’s Pittsburgh Cycle, Jitney tells the story of a group of black men working as “jitneys” — unlicensed cab drivers who will travel to areas in the black community white drivers will not visit. The show runs Jan. 26 through Feb. 5, with tickets $20 each. Call (414) 273-7206 or visit the Marcus Center’s website to order.
While Jonathan Larson may be best known for creating Rent, the playwright also wrote Tick, Tick … Boom!, an autobiographical play based on his struggles to succeed in New York in the early ’90s. This week, Soulstice Theater presents the play’s Milwaukee premiere, at their theater in St. Francis. The show runs Jan. 27 through Feb. 11, with all shows at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $18, $16 for students/seniors and $10 for children under 10; call (414) 481-2800 or visit the online box office to order.
Friday, First Stage brings Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time to life, in a dramatic adaptation that hopes to introduce kids to the pre-Harry Potter juvenile fantasy hero. The show, an adventure that spans space and time, runs Jan. 27 through Feb. 19, at the Todd Wehr Theatre. Tickets range from $11 to $29; to order or for showtimes, call (414) 273-7206 or visit First Stage’s website.
This week, the Racine Art Museum opens A Chosen Path: The Ceramic Art of Karen Karnes, the first major retrospective on the iconic studio potter. The exhibit’s 69 works come from across Karnes’ six-decade career, including both her earlier salt-glazed pottery and her more recent sculptural pieces. The museum will host the show from Jan. 29 to May 27.
Woodland Pattern hosts their 18th Annual Poetry Marathon & Benefit this Saturday, offering local writers a friendly audience and a chance to keep the 30+ year old store going. Participants get a five-minute stretch of time to perform between 10 a.m. and 1 a.m., for an audience that frequently numbers in the hundreds. Timeslots are still available, so if you’re interested, drop by Woodland Pattern’s website for more information.
Sunset Playhouse: Nunsense, through Feb. 5
Renaissance Theaterworks: Neat, through Feb. 5
Fireside Theater: Viva Vegas, through March 4
Milwaukee Rep: The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged), through March 11
Danceworks: The Sequel!, through Jan. 29
Milwaukee Opera Theatre: Fortuna the Time Bender vs. The Schoolgirls of Doom, through Jan. 29 at the Alchemist Theatre
The World’s Stage Theatre Company: The Unseen, through Jan. 29 at Tenth Street Theatre
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