Arts Roundup

Milwaukee Storytellers Battle Onstage

The Moth’s GrandSLAM Championship provides great stories ranked by the judges at Turner Hall.

By - Jan 27th, 2014 12:54 pm

The Moth is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the art of storytelling. It was launched in New York City in 1997 by poet and best-selling novelist George Dawes Green and received a 2012 John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation MacArthur Award for Creative & Effective Institutions. Moth shows each have their own theme which the storytellers are asked to explore, creating shows that span a wide range of human experience and emotion. Through a variety of programs, from Moth Mainstage shows to High School StorySLAMs, Corporate Programs and much more, the Moth has presented more than 3,000 live stories told without notes or scripts to standing-room-only crowds across the globe.

That includes Milwaukee, which encountered its first Moth event in 2009. In 2012 the Moth began hosting StorySLAMs on the first Thursday of each month at The Miramar Theatre, with 160 compelling stories told here to date. This Friday, Milwaukee’s first GrandSLAM Championship will be held, featuring ten Moth StorySLAM winners from the past year who will each tell their own true story on the theme “Fish Out of Water.” There will be no notes or scripts, just storytellers using their words as weapons to battle it out on stage, and the winner will be chosen by guest judges. The eclectic group of finalists includes a doctor, two artists, a ghost hunter, an ex-cab driver and a wedding videographer and their stories range from humorous to heart-breaking.

Each true story and authentic voice contributes to this intimate and unique experience that falls somewhere between documentary and theater. “Audiences will be mesmerized. There is nothing more raw, primal or universal than a really good story” said Sarah 49550089Haberman, The Moth executive director and Milwaukee native.

The Moth’s GrandSLAM Championship will be held at Turner Hall on Friday, Jan. 31 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $20, available online or call (414) 286-3663.

This week’s other arts offerings:


Next Act Theatre presents Race, David Mamet’s controversial play that examines one of the most complex socio-political issues in America, Jan. 30 – Feb. 23. Tickets range from $12.50-$35, available online or call (414) 278-0765.

Skylight Music Theatre: In the Heights, a Tony and Grammy award-winning musical, Jan. 31 – Feb. 23. Tickets range from $13.50-$67, available online or call (414) 291-7800.

Sunset Playhouse: The Singer/Songwriter, Jan. 27-28. Tickets are $20, $18 for seniors/students/military personnel, available online or call (262) 782-4430. 



The Philomusica Quartet will perform at the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music Monday, January 27.

Wisconsin Conservatory of MusicPhilomusica Quartet Concert Monday, Jan. 27 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $25, $35 for premium reserved seating and $15 for students with ID at the door, available online or call (414) 276-5760.

Frankly Music: Its Wisconsin Lutheran Concert Series this time presents Britten and Messiaen on Monday, Jan. 27 at 7 p.m. at the Schwan Concert Hall, Wisconsin Lutheran College. Tickets are $39, $10 for students, available online or call (414) 443-8802.

Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra presents Progressions January Jubilee Thursday, Jan. 30 at 5:30 p.m. at the Milwaukee Youth Arts Center. Admission is free.

Mitchell Park Conservatory (The Domes)  “Music Under Glass” series presents Visit a Galaxy Far, Far Away featuring music from Sigmund Snopek & David Woods 6:30 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 30. Tickets are $6.50, $5 for seniors/students. 

Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra:  Leonard Bernstein – “On the Town” plus works by Lukas Foss and Samuel Barber Jan. 31 – Feb. 1 at 8 p.m. Tickets range from $22-$102, available online  or call (414) 291-7605.

UWM’s Peck School of the Arts presents Fine Arts Quartet Sunday, Feb. 2 at 3 p.m. at Helen Bader Concert Hall. Tickets are $10, $5 for students, available online or call (414) 229-4308.



Gallery rooms and passages are turned into spaces for dance and film in Sight Readings.

UWM’s Peck School of the Arts presents Sight Readings, Wild Space Dance Company’s site specific performance at INOVA Jan. 30 – Feb. 1 with performances at 7 p.m. and 8:15 p.m. Tickets are $15, $10 for students and seniors, available online or call (414) 229-4308.

Visual Art

Northwestern Mutual Art Gallery at Cardinal Stritch University Campus presents A Culture of Evil exhibition through Mar. 9. Admission to the gallery is free.


Soulstice Theater CompanyGod, through Feb. 8

First StageA Midnight Cry, through Feb. 9. See photo gallery here

Milwaukee Repertory Theater: End of the Rainbow, through Feb. 9. See review of the show here.

Sunset PlayhouseMurder on the Nile, through Feb. 9

Renaissance TheaterworksThe Understudy, through Feb. 9. See preview here.

First StageThe Cat in the Hat, through Mar. 2

Milwaukee Repertory TheaterWoody Sez: The Life & Music of Woody Guthrie, through Mar. 9. See review of the show here.

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