Aaron Rodgers Day not all worth celebrating
Handel's Messiah arrives for the holidays; Jane Austen gets sensible at the Rep; Who Killed Santa returns; and pirates at the Public Museum.
The Milwaukee Rep brings Jane Austen’s voice to the stage with Sense and Sensibility, the story of two sisters and their different journeys in love. Austen’s work endures Fri. Dec. 14 through Jan. 13, with preview performances beginning today, Dec. 11. See the full performance schedule and purchase tickets online (from $10 to $65), or call 414-224-9490.
Off the Wall Theatre will turn its intimate setting on Gigi, the classic Lerner & Lowe coming-of-age musical. A cast of 18 will fill the space with favorites like “Ah Yes, I Remember It Well” and “The Night They Invented Champagne.” The musical opens Fri. Dec. 14 and runs through Dec. 31. Showtimes are at 7:30 p.m. Wed., Thurs., Fri., and Sat. and 4:30 p.m. on Sundays. A special New Year’s Eve performance takes place at 8 p.m. Purchase tickets ($25. 50) online, at the door, or call 414-327-3552.
The Underground Collaborative will host a special staged reading from Klare Productions Inc. The Dream Cafe Musical, written and directed by Katie O’Regan, is a comedic musical dedicated to friend Julie Wichman who lost her battle with cancer this summer. The staged reading will take place at 7:30 p.m. Wed. Dec. 12. Reserve tickets ($16.25) online or call 888-229-0842.
Carte Blanche Studios brings back local playwright Neil Haven’s Who Killed Santa? this season. An adult-themed holiday show a-la Avenue Q, Who Killed Santa? features holiday favorites Rudolph, Frosty, Tiny Tim, and The Little Drummer Boy in a “Choose-Your-Own-Ending Murder Mystery Holiday Whodunnit.” The show opens Fri. Dec. 14 and runs through Dec. 30. Tickets are $20, available on the Who Killed Santa website, along with a full schedule.
Next Act Theatre welcomes back cable access TV host Earlene Hoople, played by John McGivern in A Kodachrome Christmas. The spirited comedy shows the “Queen of Rural Media” as she tapes her last Christmas special. The show opens Wed. Dec. 12 and runs through Dec. 31. Wed. matinee performances are $28, all other tickets $38. See the full schedule and purchase tickets online or call 414-278-0765.
Handel’s sacred Messiah comes to three beautiful area churches this season, led by conductor James Judd for the MSO and featuring talent from the Florentine Opera Studio Artists and the Milwaukee Symphony Chorus. Performances will start at 7:30 p.m., first at St. Mary’s Catholic Faith Community Wed. Dec. 12. The Basilica of St. Josaphat hosts Thurs. Dec. 13 and Sun. Dec. 16, and Cathedral of St. John hosts Fri. Dec. 14 and Sat. Dec. 15. The performances will then move to the Wilson Center Fri. Dec. 21 through Dec. 23. See their website for tickets ($25 to $45) and more info. Call the MSO at 414-291-7605 or go online for tickets ($30 to $40) and info. (Strini review published.)
The MSO will also begin its annual Hometown Holiday Tour today, performing at 10 a.m. at the St. Ann Center for Intergenerational Care and at 2:30 p.m. at the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. Assistant conductor Francesco Lecce-Chong leads the Hometown Holiday Tour, a series of concerts bringing the gift of music to community venues. The concerts run through Dec. Sat. 15. See the full schedule and list of venues online, or call 414-291-6010 for more information.
Consider heading to Sugar Maple in Bay View Saturday night, not just for a great selection of craft beers, but to see innovative drummer Frank Rosaly on his Midwestern tour. Coinciding with the release of his new LP Centering and Displacement, the show features Rosaly’s experimental and diverse talents. The show starts at 9 p.m. Sat. Dec. 15.
Camerata Milwaukee is a young collective of Milwaukee musicians specializing in Baroque Era music. They’ll perform a Baroque Christmas music concert at 7:30 p.m. Sat. Dec. 15 at St. Robert Catholic Church in Shorewood, featuring works by Purcell, Torelli, Corelli, and Manfredini.
Turner Hall will host The Surfjohn Stevens Christmas Sing-A-Long (Seasonal Affective Disorder Yuletide Disaster Pageant On Ice), 8 p.m. Thurs. Dec. 13. Young singer/songwriter/composer Sufjan Stevens has released an astounding 10 volumes of Christmas music to date, ranging from the classic to the auto-tuned. Tickets are sold out, so if you’re missing it, you can hear the five volumes of Silver and Gold on NPR’s First Listen.
Braid has been delivering alternative, emo music since the early 90’s, despite disbanding and reforming a few times. Their breakout album Frame and Canvas will be performed in its entirety at Turner Hall, 7:30 p.m. Fri. Dec. 14. Tickets are $14 online. In Riverside Theater news, The Musical Box presents the final tour of The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, a recreation of Peter Gabriel-era Genesis. The show is creative visual theater, set to the classic album. Tickets are $35.50 online. You may also call 414-286-3663 for either show.
While some will be celebrating Aaron Rodgers’ Day, 12/12/12 also marks a momentous event for RedLine Milwaukee. Beginning at noon, the gallery will host 12 performance art pieces, for 12 hours. The works will unfold over time, never repeating. You may pay $5 for single entry or $10 for unlimited coming-and-going privileges. Performances include an evolving drawing by Gail Luther and a window piece by Ashley Janke. Find more information online, or check out TCD’s Kat Murrell’s preview.
Stand-up comedian and actor Kevin Hart rolls through the Milwaukee Theater Sat. Dec. 15 on his “Let Me Explain” tour. In addition to previous tours, including last year’s “Laugh At My Pain” tour, Hart is known for hosting the BET and MTV awards and roles in Along Came Polly and Think Like a Man. Tickets are $47.50, $67.50 and $100 online or call 800-745-3000. Showtimes are at 7 p.m. and 10 p.m.
For a free look at Milwaukee’s future MKE Film Fest participants, check out the UWM Film Department’s Student Film and Video Festival, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Fri. Dec. 14 in the UWM Union Theatre. The event is followed by UWM Film Department’s senior thesis screenings, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Sat. Dec. 15.
The Milwaukee Public Museum opens a debut exhibit this Friday: Real Pirates, a detailed look at treasures from the only authenticated pirate shipwreck in the U.S. The artifacts, from an 18th-century ship called the Whydah, are paired with a glimpse into the lives of pirates through recreations, multimedia galleries and hands-on activities. The exhibit opens Dec. 14 and runs through May 27; tickets are $24-$26 for adults and $17.50-$18.50 for children, and include museum admission. Order online or at (414) 223-4676.
American Players Theatre: The Gift of the Magi, through Dec. 22
Sunset Playhouse: A Christmas Story, through Dec. 23
Fireside Theatre: Scrooge the Musical, through Dec. 23
Tory Folliard Gallery: John Wilde Remembered, through Dec. 31
UWM PSOA: New Dancemakers: In the Loop, through Dec. 15