Assassins, artists and African dance
An explosive Sondheim piece comes to the Rep, UWM holds an African dance throwdown, and new visual art springs up from galleries to museums.
The Milwaukee Rep opens its Quadracci Powerhouse season with a bang, with Stephen Sondheim’s Assassins Friday. The one-act musical offers a surreal look at the lives and motivations of the men and women who’ve taken aim at America’s presidents. Sondheim casts the American Dream in a new, often unsettling light. Assassins runs Sept. 7 through Oct. 7, with shows at 7:30 p.m. weekdays, 8 p.m. Fridays, 4 and 8 p.m. Saturdays and 2 and 7 p.m. Sundays. Tickets range from $10 to $65, and can be purchased at the Rep’s online box office or (414) 224-9490.
Miss the DIY punk aesthetic of the ’80s? Turn to Punkplay, the last summer season show by The World’s Stage Theatre Company. Focusing in on a 13-year-old suburbanite and the angry runaway he befriends, the show serves as a reflection on an era not-so-long-ago and a universal story of outsiders trying to belong. The show runs Sept. 6 to 8 at Cream City Collectives in Riverwest and then Sept. 13-15 at Bucketworks in Walker’s Point; all shows are at 7:30 p.m. and tickets can be purchased online for $12, $10 for students. For more information, visit the event’s Facebook page.
This week, the Milwaukee Art Museum becomes the first American museum to showcase the works of Grete Marks, a German ceramic artist of the modern period. While Marks’ work, a mix of German traditional and Bauhaus influence, was considered unique and promising in the ’20s and ’30s, it was labeled “degenerate” by Nazi propagandists upon their rise to power, eventually forcing Marks to leave her homeland behind. She never again created works of similar impact. MAM’s exhibit collects tea services, bowls and other ceramics from her most successful period. The exhibit runs Sept. 6 through Jan. 1, and is free with museum admission.
Two new solo shows open at the Tory Folliard Gallery this week. Fantasy and Other Delights, an exhibition by well-known Wisconsin transplant Flora Langlois, depicts a variety of otherworldly landscapes in vibrant paintings. Michael Noland’s equally vivid paintings, in After the Garden, focus on close-up animals and flowers, painted with wavy, staggered color combinations that seem to vibrate off the canvas. Both exhibitions will be on display from Sept. 7 to Oct. 5.
Friday marks the beginning of the Walker’s Point Center for the Arts’ Annual Members Show, a juried exhibition featuring the works of WPCA members. This year’s show comes with a twist: Four selected artists will be granted three-month solo exhibitions in the upcoming year, with openings on each of the four Gallery Nights. The Members Show runs through Oct. 6, with the Friday night opening reception from 5 to 9 p.m.
The Milwaukee Ballet School and Academy, Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra and First Stage collaborate this week for Peter and the Wolf, a performance featuring Milwaukee high school students. A remount of a similar production from 2008, the production includes Spanish-speaking and American Sign Language-communicating actors, to convey the 1936 story of a boy and other forest animals catching a wolf to additional audiences. Performances are at the Milwaukee Youth Arts Center. They run Sept. 7 to 16 at 7 p.m. Fridays; 1, 3:30 and 7 p.m. Saturdays; and 1 and 3:30 p.m. Sundays. Tickets are $15, online or at (414) 273-7206.
At the Marcus Center, Philadelphia tribute band Get the Led Out brings the songs of Led Zeppelin to Milwaukee. Boasting six multi-instrumentalists, the “American Led Zeppelin” can recreate the studio versions of the British band’s iconic songs, some of which even the original Zeppelin couldn’t duplicate on stage. The concert begins Saturday, Sept. 8 at 8 p.m., and tickets are $26 to $46. Call (414) 273-7206 or visit the online box office.
The Fine Arts Quartet performs its first concert of the 2012-13 season at 3 p.m. Sunday at UWM’s Helen Bader Concert Hall. While all Fine Arts Quartet concerts are free this season, tickets are required, and this concert is completely reserved. However, for patrons interested in taking a chance, any open seats will be released to people waiting before the concert starts. Call the box office at (414) 229-4308 for more details. Remaining Fine Arts Quartet concerts are Nov. 11, Feb. 17 and April 14.
As part of its Year of the Arts, UWM hosts African Dance Throwdown: Bantaba!, a performance celebrating more than 40 years of the Peck School of the Arts’ BFA program in African Dance and Diaspora. The performance is tonight (Sept. 4) at 7:30 p.m. in Spaights Plaza, and admission is free.
The South Milwaukee Performing Arts Center hosts Milwaukee’s resident historian John Gurda Sunday, for an exploration of the history of the South Shore. Gurda’s talk will include stories of the region, from Walker’s Point down into South Milwaukee and Oak Creek, and refreshments after the 6:30 p.m. presentation. Tickets are $5 to $10, and can be purchased online or at (414) 766-5049.
American Players Theatre: Season closures begin Sept. 27, see website for details
Phantom Cicada Theater: The Bible: The Complete Word of God (Abridged), through Sept. 9 at Next Act Theatre
Don’t miss anything! Bookmark Matthew Reddin’s comprehensive 2012-13 TCD Guide to the Performing Arts. Sponsored by the Florentine Opera.