Musical gems, unsettling theater, and falling dancers
Present Music, Natalie Merchant and Siberian Virtuosi power up, while the theater re-visits disturbing history.
Natalie Merchant, best known for her multi-platinum career through the early to mid-90’s, helped define the alternative rock generation. Showcasing her new artistic path, the MSO presents An Evening with Natalie Merchant. Nineteenth and 20th-century British and American literature inspired this music, composed for orchestra. Guitarist Gabe Gordon and pianist/accordionist Uri Sharlin will join Merchant, the MSO and assistant conductor Francesco Lecce-Chong at the Milwaukee Theatre 7:30 p.m. Sat., Oct. 27. Tickets start at $22 online or call 414-291-7605. Support the Hunger Task Force: bring a non-perishable food item for a $10 discount.
The Florentine Opera opens its season with Carmen, Georges Bizet’s seductive classic after Prosper Mérimée’s novel about a seductive Spanish gypsy and her fiery affairs with Don José and Escamillo. Stage Director Dean Anthony and Maestro Joseph Rescigno lead this production. Carmen will be sung in French with English supertitles projected above the stage, at Uihlein Hall Fri. Oct. 26 at 7:30 p.m. and Sun. Oct. 28 at 2:30 p.m. Tickets start at $27 online, or call 414-291-5700 ext. 224.
Present Music, Milwaukee Ballet Company and the UWM Peck School of the Arts collaborate on FALLing, a unique performance intertwining the talents of Milwaukee’s finest. Four choreographers – Simone Ferro and Dani Kuepper of the UWM Department of Dance, and Milwaukee Ballet Company members Tim O’Donnell and Petr Zahradnícek – will premiere new dance works to live music from the creative Present Music Ensemble under the leadership of Kevin Stalheim. Performances of FALLing are at Helen Bader Concert Hall, 8 p.m. Fri. Oct. 26 and Sat. Oct. 27. Tickets range from $10 to $30, available online or call 414-229-4308. A UWM Peck School Year of the Arts event.
The Conservatory welcomes Philomusica String Quartet’s fifth season in residence. The opener will feature guest pianist Winston Choi, from Roosevelt University in Chicago. Philomusica will perform classics from Mozart and Beethoven. Choi will join the quartet in rarely performed Piano Quintet in C major by Béla Bartók. The performance is at 7:30 p.m. Mon. Oct. 29. Tickets are $22 online, students $12 at the door, or call 414-276-5760.
Siberian Virtuosi has enjoyed amazing popularity in Russia and around the world as an ensemble of string players and piano. Now on its debut U.S. tour, Siberian Virtuosi will perform on Wisconsin Lutheran College’s Guest Artist Series at 8 p.m. Fri., Oct. 26. Tickets are $37, $34 seniors and $12 students available online or at 414-443-8802.
Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas. Jump ahead with a visit to the Fireside Dinner Theater for Scrooge the Musical, starting Thurs. Oct. 25. It runs through Dec. 23. The Broadway musical tells the time-honored story of A Christmas Carol with big, merry music and boisterous performances. Ticket prices start around $60, get more information online or call 800-477-9505.
The Diary of Anne Frank is an essential piece of historical storytelling for every generation. The Rep brings Anne Frank’s moving diary to life. The diary and the play illuminate Anne’s undying belief in love and justice through more than two years in hiding from occupying Nazis during World War II. Check out the Rep’s study guide before you go. The play opens tonight at 7:30 p.m. Tues., Oct. 23, and runs through Dec. 2. Tickets range from $10 to $40, available online or call 414-224-9490.
Chicago Commercial Collective brings Keith Huff’s A Steady Rain to Next Act Theatre this weekend, featuring the original award-winning Chicago cast and crew. Randy Steinmeyer and Peter Defaria star as two seasoned police officers who find their life-long friendship tested as issues of honor, love and loyalty arise. The play has relevancy in Milwaukee; the plot echoes the real-life Jeffrey Dahmer case. The show premieres Thurs. Oct. 25 at 7:30 p.m., with performances through the weekend. View the full schedule here. Tickets are $35 online or call 414-278-0765.
Off the Wall Theatre ventures deep into the disturbing world of drug addiction with its stage adaptation of Irvine Welsh’s novel, Trainspotting. The play, like the book and Danny Boyle’s film, follows a group of young heroin addicts in 1980’s Edinburgh. Off the Wall Theatre intends to unfold the characters’ struggles with unsettling boldness, foregoing a traditional stage and turning the theater into a run-down drug den. A cast of four will play 14 different parts in director Jeremy C. Welter’s production. The play opens Wed. Oct. 25 and runs through Nov. 4. See the list of curtain times and purchase tickets here. Tickets are $22.50, also available by phone at 414 327-3552.
Inspired by Ray Bradbury, Milwaukee newcomer The Quasimondo presents Halloween Tree, following a troop of young boys around the world and through the origins of Halloween, in search of their best friend Pipkin. The production runs Thurs. Oct. 25 through Nov. 3 and addresses our desire at Halloween to “venture into darkness and recoil into light.” Call 414 702-0392 for more details.
Sunset Playhouse presents 12 Angry Men, a compelling drama about a jury deciding the fate of a man responsible for a family murder. A unanimous vote is blocked when one juror begins to question the evidence, forcing the other jurors to reevaluate their prejudices and notions of justice. The play opens Thurs. Oct. 25 and runs through Nov. 11. See specific dates and showtimes here. Tickets are $22 online or call 262-782-4430.
Renaissance Theaterworks and Cardinal Stritch University join artistic forces to present Irena’s Vow, the inspirational story of Irena Gut Opdyke. During the German occupation of World War II, Irena hid 12 Jewish workers in the basement of the German commandant’s house where she worked as a housekeeper. The play showcases her incredible courage and wit Fri., Oct. 26, through Nov. 4 at Nancy Kendall Theater at Cardinal Stritch. Tickets are $12, $10 seniors and $6 students. Call 414 410-4171 for tickets.
First Stage opened its season this past weekend with the family friendly musical adaptation of Big. If you didn’t have the chance to bring the kids to opening weekend, this Friday and Saturday offers a “bigger” draw with First Stage’s “Dream Big” Costume Contest. Kids are encouraged to come to the performances Fri. Oct. 26 at 7 p.m. or Sat. Oct. 27 at 1 p.m. or 3:30 p.m. dressed as what they want to be when they grow up, with a prize for every participant and a Dress-Up Party Package grand-prize at each performance from CostumeExpress and BirthdayExpress. Click here for tickets, showtimes and more info.
Milwaukee Ballet II presents Who Cares? George Balanchine’s setting of George Gershwin songs, at the South Milwaukee Performing Arts Center. The show features both classical and contemporary repertoire. The Nancy Einhorn Milwaukee Ballet II Program provides a stage to bridge the gap between student and professional dancing opportunities, developing dancers’ technique and artistry. Tickets start at $7, available online or call 414-766-5049.
UWM Union Theatre will screen Craig Zobel’s disturbing Compliance this weekend, detailing true events of how far rational individuals will sink to obey authority. When a man posing as a police officer calls a restaurant and accuses a young waitress of stealing from a customer, her manager complies with orders to detain the girl, despite her vehement denial of the accusation. With gripping story-telling, Compliance addresses issues of legality, reason and responsibility. Screenings are free, Fri. Oct. 26 at 9 p.m., Sat. and Sun. at 7 p.m.
The coming week packs a big Halloween punch, with events all over the area catering to every fright-level. ThirdCoast has your full 2012 Halloween Guide. Test your guts at Mars Haunted House on Milwaukee’s historic Mitchell Street, or the 30-year institution Dominion of Terror in Sheboygan. Bring the kids to Meadowbrook Pumpkin Farm in West Bend for hay rides, pumpkin patches, and a corn maze. Or head to Turner Hall Sat. Oct. 27 for Radio Milwaukee and Made in Milwaukee’s “Creatures and Creators Halloween Party,” featuring live music from local favorite the Fatty Acids and a Michael Jackson vs. Prince dance-off. Feeling especially revved up? Hop on your bike and join Cafe Hollander’s Halloween Costume Crawl, beginning at 9 a.m. Sat. Oct. 27 with stops (and drinks) all over the city. View the full schedule here.
UWM PSOA: Independence, through Oct. 28
Lynden Sculpture Garden: Artist in Residence: Colombe Marcasiano, through Oct. 29