Milwaukee overflows with talent old and new
The Marcus Center is filled to the brim with talented musicians this week. First and most prominent is 15-time Grammy winner Tony Bennett, visiting tonight (Tuesday) at 7:30 p.m. Bennett, who’s been a successful artist for over 60 years and has added standards like “I Left My Heart in San Francisco” to the classic American repertoire. He and daughter Antonia will perform works from across his career. Tickets start at $65.
Then, on Friday, singer/songwriter and guitarist John Prine arrives at the Marcus Center for a concert at 8 p.m. Prine’s guitar finger-picking style has become his trademark over the last 40 years. His songwriting skills have earned him praise from Bob Dylan and the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, as well as two Grammys. Tickets range from $45 to $55; to order for either concert, call (414) 273-7206 or the Marcus Center box office.
The Marcus Center also hosts the spring edition of UWM’s Unruly Music festival this weekend. The three-day event includes three completely different contemporary performances. Thursday, Minneapolis percussionist Patti Cudd fuses electronics with various percussive instruments, including djembe, maracas and cajon. Friday, Unruly celebrates John Cage on the composer’s 100th birthday. Saturday, Dal Niente will perform the US premiere of new work “The Brightest Form of Absence,” an exploration of the Mojave Desert and Death Valley, as well as new works composed for them by UWM faculty (including Amanda Schoofs) and students. All concerts are at 7:30 p.m., and tickets are $12, $10 for seniors/faculty/alumni and $8 for students. Order at the Marcus Center box office, (414) 229-4308, and online.
The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra offers a star-studded program for this week’s concerts. First on the list is Sibelius’ Violin Concerto, performed with the orchestra by teenage virtuoso Caroline Goulding. Goulding, 19, has already performed with more than a dozen of the world’s most prestigious orchestras and was nominated for a Grammy for her 2009 debut album. German guest conductor Jun Märkl will lead the orchestra in Tchaikovsky’s passionate Fourth Symphony. Concerts are Friday at 11:15 a.m. and Saturday at 8 p.m.; tickets range from $22 to $99. To order, call (414) 291-7605 or visit the MSO box office.
Last season, Alverno Presents hosted the Vijay Iyer Trio for an evening of jazz. Now, Iyer returns all alone, as he was on his Solo piano album. The show begins at 8 p.m., and tickets are $25. Call (414) 382-6044 or visit the Alverno box office to order.
Didn’t get enough Blues Brothers at the Marcus Center last week? Don’t worry, another show is rolling into the Milwaukee Theatre: the All New, Original Tribute to the Blues Brothers. The show will recreate the Brothers’ greatest moments and songs, starting at 7:30 p.m. Thursday; tickets are $68, $58, $48 or $38. The show precedes the 6th Annual Milwaukee Blues Festival, which brings in blues stars including Sir Charles Jones, Shirley Brown and Floyd Taylor with the Johnny Taylor Revue. The festival starts at 8 p.m. Friday, and tickets are $59.50 or $49.50. To order for either show, visit the Milwaukee Theatre’s online box office.
The Master Singers of Milwaukee perform a “Requiem” concert Sunday at Wauwatosa Avenue United Methodist Church, 1529 N. Wauwatosa Ave. The concert will predominantly feature Maurice Duruflé’s nine-movement setting of the Mass, as well as world premieres of two pieces by Brookfield composer Paul Fowler. The concert begins at 3 p.m.; tickets are $18, $15 seniors and $10 students. Order tickets at the Master Singers’ website or (414) 364-8089.
The Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra and Milwaukee Children’s Choir are collaborating this weekend for the 8th annual Milwaukee Youth Music Celebration. The concert joins the MYSO’s Senior Symphony and MCC’s Youth Chorale with several other high school groups to perform works by artists including Copland and Vaughn Williams. The show begins at 3 p.m. Sunday at Elmbrook Church, 777 S. Barker Rd. in Brookfield.
The Valparaiso University Orchestra visits Marquette University High School tonight (Tuesday) for a free concert as part of their spring Midwest tour. Pieces on the program include Brahms’ Double Concerto for Violin, Cello and Orchestra, performed with Chicago Symphony Orchestra Assistant Principals Yuan-Qing Yu and Kenneth Olson, and Sibelius’ Symphony No. 2. The concert begins at 7:30 p.m.
The Milwaukee Rep opens an electrifying new play in their Stiemke Studio: Sarah Ruhl’s In the Next Room (or The Vibrator Play). The Pulitzer-nominated comedy was inspired by a book detailing the vibrator’s first use in Victorian times as a treatment for “hysteria,” and delves into issues of marriage, intimacy and desire. The show opens Friday, March 9 and runs through April 22, with performances at 7:30 p.m. weeknights, 8 p.m. Fridays, 4 and 8 p.m. Saturdays and 2 and 7 p.m. Sundays. Tickets are either $30 or $40, depending on date and time, with senior tickets $35 or $25 and student tickets $20 with ID. Order at the Rep’s website or call the box office, (414) 224-9490.
New musical Daddy Long Legs comes to the Skylight Music Theatre this weekend, as part of a touring world premiere. Based on a 1912 novel by Jean Webster, the play traces the life of orphan Jerusha Abbott. An anonymous patron plucks her from poverty. He asks only that she write him a letter once a month. But while she develops intellectually, there’s one secret her “Daddy Long Legs” has yet to tell her that will change her life all over again. The show runs Friday, March 9 through April 1, with most performances at 7:30 p.m. or Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. Tickets range from $22.50 to $65.50, and can be ordered at the Skylight box office or (414) 291-7800.
Soulstice Theater presents Nocturne this weekend, a dark horror story about a young man and the terrible tragedy in his past. Written by Adam Rapp, the monologue play offers an unflinching glimpse into one man’s attempt to cope with his actions and ultimately redeem himself. The show runs March 8 to 24, with shows at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $18, $16 for students/seniors; order at (414) 481-2800 or Soulstice’s website.
This weekend, the Fireside Theater presents the Wisconsin premiere of 9 to 5. The musical, just off Broadway and its first national tour, is based on the classic film starring Dolly Parton. It features a score crafted by Parton to complement the original title song. The show runs March 8 to May 6, and tickets are $67.95 including lunch/dinner. For tickets or a list of showtimes, visit the Fireside’s website.
And one quick note about the play that should have been on this week’s list: Success, produced by Theatre MXT (aka John Kishline, Deborah Clifton and Edward Morgan). The show, retooled since its 1991 premiere for a post-Madoff world, was supposed to make its U.S. premiere this week. Unfortunately, due to unforeseen delays getting Indian actress Kriti Pant to the States, they’ve pushed back the debut to March 15. So watch this space.
The Lynden Sculpture Garden swings its focus to Haiti for its latest exhibition, Haiti and the Midwestern Imagination. It’s not Haitian art that’s on display though — that’s instead the focus of the conference it coincides with at UWM: Haiti 2012: Dreams and reality — pays rêvé, pays réel, a celebration of contemporary Haitian art, cinema and literature, March 5 to 9. The Lynden exhibit centers on the works of Orville Bulman, a Midwestern businessman and self-taught artists who fell in love with images of Haiti in the ’50s and began to depict the island in works that turned more imaginative and fantastical as time went on. Also included are watercolors of Haiti by Emilio Sanchez. The exhibit opens Wednesday and runs through May 13. Garden hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays excluding Thursday and 12 to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; admission is $9, $7 for seniors/students.
88Nine Radio Milwaukee presents the awards show for their 5th annual Milwaukee Music Awards tonight (Tuesday) at 7:30 p.m. at Turner Hall Ballroom. The show will feature performances by nominated artists including The Delta Routine, Trapper Schoepp & the Shades and Boy Blue, as well as awards presentations. Tickets are $10 at the Turner box office or (414) 286-3663.
Woodland Pattern hosts Objectivist poet Michael Heller for a workshop on modernist and postmodernist poetry and a reading from his new volume of collected poems: This Constellation is a Name. The workshop, entitled “Making It New Again: Revisiting 20th and 21st Century Poetry,” will explore the evolution of contemporary poetry beginning with Ezra Pound, and include a number of writing exercises. Heller will read from works that span from 1965 to 2010. He explores contemporary avant-garde movements, post-Holocaust poetry and the connections between Buddhist and Western philosophy. The workshop runs 1 to 4 p.m., with $25 admission ($20 for members), while the reading is at 7 p.m. and admission is $8, $7 for students/seniors and $6 for members.
Alchemist Theater: 1984, through March 17
First Stage: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, through March 31
Milwaukee Rep: The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged), through March 11
Sunset Playhouse: Greater Tuna, through March 11