Classic works and performers revived
The American opera Susannah makes its Florentine Opera debut this weekend. Carlisle Floyd wrote both the music and the libretto of this exploration of intolerance, based on the Bible story of Susannah and the Elders. It focuses on a young girl accused of promiscuity by the Appalachian community in which she lives. Joseph Mechavich, who has previously earned high praise from Floyd for his handling of the score, will conduct. The Florentine has proven especially adept with quintessentially American operas — their recording of Elmer Gantry from the 2009-10 season recently won two Grammys — so it seems likely that good things are in store for Susannah, which premiered in 1956. The show runs March 16 at 7:30 p.m. and March 18 at 2:30 p.m. Tickets start at $30; call (414) 292-5700 or visit the Florentine’s website to order.
The Wilson Center hosts British entertainers The King’s Singers Friday night. The six-man a capella group is famous world-over for their distinctive sound and impeccable skill, as well as their ability to easily bound from the classical to the contemporary. The concert will begin at 8 p.m. March 16, and tickets are $57 prime orchestra, $47 regular orchestra and $29 balcony. Call (262) 781-9520 or visit the online box office to order.
Early Music Now brings two favorites to Milwaukee for their latest concert: the wind band Piffaro and early string ensemble King’s Noyse. They’ll collaborate for a concert that highlights the music and culture of Ferrara, Italy, an artistic hub in the Renaissance. Also joining them is soprano Ellen Hargis. The concert begins Saturday, March 17 at 5 p.m.; tickets are $25 and $10 for students, or $40 and $20 for preferred seating. Order at their online box office or (414) 225-3113.
The Philomusica Quartet performs Monday at the Helen Bader Recital Hall. The concert, with violist Erin Pipal in the place of regular member Nathan Hackett, on a leave of absence for the year, will include string quartets by Mendelssohn, Shostakovich and Beethoven. The concert begins at 7:30 p.m.; tickets are $22 and $12 for students, and can be ordered at (414) 276-5760.
Superstars like Patsy Cline tend to seem larger than life, but for diehard fan Louise Seger, Cline was a friend and confidant. They kept in touch via letters after a chance meeting, right up to the legend’s untimely death at age 30. The Milwaukee Rep’s Always…Patsy Cline offers a glimpse inside that friendship, as well as a tribute to two dozen of Cline’s hits, including “Crazy,” “I Fall to Pieces” and “Walkin’ After Midnight.” The show opens Sunday, March 18 and runs through May 6, 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 $35-45, $30-40 for seniors and $20 for students, depending on date and time; to order call (414) 224-9490 or visit the Rep’s website.
After a week’s delay, Theater MXT (composed of John Kishline, Deborah Clifton and Edward Morgan) will open the American debut of Kishline’s revised Success this weekend. Originally performed by now-defunct Theater X in 1991, the play was reconfigured for the modern era as part of a theater festival in India in the fall. The company traveled there for a six-city tour, casting Indian actress Kriti Pant via Skype to play one of the roles. Pant is traveling west to reprise the role in Milwaukee. The show runs March 15 through April 1 at Next Act’s new theater; tickets range from $10 to $23. Call (414) 278-0765 to order.
William Shatner comes to town this Sunday, performing his one-man show, Shatner’s World: We Just Live In It, at the Riverside Theater. Shatner’s of course most famous for his portrayal of the original Star Trek’s Captain Kirk, but Milwaukee audiences may also recognize him from his stint advertising for Hupy and Abraham on TV or the two Milwaukee Ballet productions of Common People, a ballet set to the music from his Ben Folds-produced spoken word album Has Been. Doors open at 6 p.m., and tickets are $49.50, $57.50 or $65.50. Call (414) 286-3663 or visit their online box office.
The United States’ longest-running touring theater company, Olney Theatre Center’s National Players, visits the Marcus Center this week to perform two classic stories from the literary canon. Saturday, they’ll perform a Wild West-themed version of Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew, with Kate and Petruchio dueling on the frontier. On Sunday, an adaptation of John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men will grace Vogel Hall. The Taming of the Shrew begins at 7:30 p.m., while Of Mice and Men begins at 2 p.m.; tickets are $12. To order, visit the Marcus Center box office or call (414) 273-7206.
The Tory Folliard Gallery opens two new solo exhibitions this week. One is the debut exhibition of Ron Isaacs, a painter/sculptor who applies the trompe l’oeil painting style to his detailed wood sculptures, resulting in works that seem indistinguishable from real fabric or cloth. The other is returning artist Dennis Nechvatal, who’ll be displaying works including his Offerings series, paintings of vibrant floral bouquets, and his Face/Mask paintings, composed of hand-cut tin masks. The exhibits both open Saturday, March 17, and run through April 14. For visiting hours and more information, visit the gallery’s website.
Wisconsin Lutheran College hosts Rhythm of the Dance, a touring Celtic dance show sponsored by the National Dance Company of Ireland. The show features both modern and traditional Celtic song and dance, including the Irish stepdance made famous by Riverdance. The concert begins Thursday, March 15, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $37, $34 seniors/donors and $12 students; order at (414) 443-8802 or the online box office.
Soulstice Theater: Nocturne, through March 24
Fireside Theatre: 9 to 5, through May 5
Alchemist Theater: 1984, through March 17