7 things I’ve been meaning to tell you…
Florentine Opera, Milwaukee Opera Theatre, the American Philatelic Society, the Milwaukee Art Museum and the Milwaukee Ballet have news to share.
The Florentine Opera Company board of directors has extended the contract for the company’s general director, William Florescu, through June 30, 2019. This is a good thing. Florescu has transformed the company from a sleepy, me-too opera importer into an adventurous player on the world stage. Not everything that Florescu has tried has succeeded, but that’s the point; he tries.
He has that in common with Jill Anna Ponasik, who busies herself by igniting creative fireworks with the nothing budget of the Milwaukee Opera Theatre. Just now, she is at work on recording the original cast album of Jason Powell’s Fortuna the Time Bender and the Schoolgirls of Doom, which MOT commissioned and premiered in January of 2012. Help them out via Kickstarter.
Also in the MOT hopper: A new musical by Susan Peterson Holmes, Peggy Peterson Ryan (book and lyrics) and Alissa Rhode (music), all Milwaukee stage veterans. Their Victory for Victoria is a fictionalized account of events in the life of the fascinating Victoria Claflin Woodhull (1838 – 1927), the first woman to run (in 1872) for President of the United States. Rhode will be at the keyboard for public concert readings of the musical, with a cast of 10, at the Sunset Playhouse Studio Theatre at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 6 and 7. Tickets are $20 and $15, $10 Student/Senior; order online or call 1-800-838-3006.
I collected stamps as a kid, and had occasion to dust off the old stamp album in connection with the Milwaukee Chamber Theatre’s 2011 production of Mauritius, Theresa Rebeck’s clever play about shady dealing in the obsessive world of big-time stamp collecting. That rekindled my interest in these funny bits of paper, so I’m pleased to report that the American Philatelic Society’s biggest show will run Aug. 8-11 at the Wisconsin Center. VISIT Milwaukee expects about 6,000 collectors to attend. Thousands of stamps will be on view, but the star of the show will surely be the rare “Inverted Jenny” air mail from 1918. Among other activities, appraisers will be available, a la Antiques Roadshow, to give you an idea of whether grandpa’s collection found in the attic has any value. Maybe I’ll run my schoolboy collection by them.
The Milwaukee Ballet School has launched two promising young students to the next level. Jennifer Hackbarth, 14, of Whitefish Bay, placed in the top nine worldwide competitors during the Youth America Grand Prix competition in April. That won her a full scholarship to
the John Cranko School of Ballet, affiliated with the Stuttgart Ballet, in Germany. Ahna Lipchik, 16, Shorewood, won top awards for contemporary dance at both the Youth America Grand Prix and World Ballet Competition this spring. She will attend the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, where she’ll be a high school junior.
More Milwaukee Ballet: The company has selected Mequon-based artist Stacey Williams-Ng to install an original work, depicting movement and dance and helping to tell the story of Milwaukee Ballet, in the windows of the ballet’s studios, 504 W. National Ave. Williams-Ng’s “The Nine Muses” will comprise nine 5’x5′ canvas paintings, framed in painted wood and suspended in each of nine window panes of the Jodi Peck Center. Williams-Ng’s mural concept is based on the nine muses of classical Greek mythology, and each will represent a different work performed by Milwaukee Ballet. MBC will dedicate the work in a ceremony on Oct. 18, 2013, as part of the Milwaukee Ballet’s first-ever participation in Gallery Night and Day.