Arts Roundup

Mary Poppins Floats into Town

Fireside Dinner Theatre presents a new production of the Disney movie that became a Broadway hit.

By - Feb 24th, 2014 03:50 pm

Perhaps the best-known Disney movie that was remade into a Broadway musical was The Lion King (1997), but others include Beauty and the Beast (1994), The Little Mermaid (2008) and Mary Poppins (2006).  The latter seemed a natural given how popular the 1960s movie was and how memorable the songs by brothers Richard Sherman and Robert Sherman. The stage version, moreover, has a script by Julian Fellowes, now revered as the writer of the hit TV series “Downtown Abbey.” The musical wasn’t a runaway hit: it won only one of the seven Tony Awards it was nominated for, and reviews for the show were mixed, but audiences loved it and the show kept on running for 7 years, achieving the 30th longest run in Broadway history.

A touring version of the musical came to Milwaukee in 2012, but to date, no professional company in Wisconsin has attempted the show. Until now. Fireside Dinner Theatre in Fort Atkinson this week opens its own production of the musical, once more bringing to life the world’s favorite nanny, who will float in with her umbrella bringing music, dance and laughter. As with the movie, the staged version is based on the series of children’s books by P.L. Travers, but some elements from the books that were omitted from the film have been restored, while some elements from the film have been removed. Expect a polished, professional show: The Fireside has long experience with this sort of fare; it’s been doing musicals for half a century, since 1964.

Mary Poppins comes to Fireside Dinner Theatre Feb. 27 – April 20. Tickets are $79.07, available online or call (800) 477-9505. For show times and menu information see here.

Also opening this week is the Milwaukee Repertory Theater’s An Iliad, a one-man show, starring the popular Wisconsin actor, James DeVita. Renowned theater director Lisa Peterson and Tony Award winning actor Denis O’Hare have adapted the classic Homeric tale in a way that makes it relevant to today, giving the audience parallels of war while referencing more recent events in history. The show was described as “pure theater: shocking, glorious, primal, and deeply satisfying” by Time Out New York.

With just the help of virtuosic cellist Alicia Storin, DeVita will command the stage for the entire play. “This spellbinding new play—drawn from thousands-of-years-old, razor-sharp source material that still packs a massive punch—is a glove fit for the wonderful and charismatic James DeVita,” says Artistic Director Mark Clements.

Milwaukee Repertory Theatre’s An Iliad will be at the Quadracci Powerhouse Feb. 28 – March 23. Tickets range from $35-$60, $30-$55 for seniors, and $20 for students 18 and younger, available online or call (414) 224-9490.

The rest of this week’s arts events:


Acacia Theatre Company: Searching for David’s Heart, Feb. 28 – March 9. Tickets are $17.55, $14.45 for seniors/clergy/students, available online or call (414) 744-5995.

Peck School of the Arts: Cementville, Feb. 28 – March 2 at Kenilworth Studio 508. Tickets are $10, $8 for UWM faculty/staff, $5 (presale) or $8 (at the door) for students, and free for majors, available online or call (414) 229-4308.



Blessed Feathers will play a PBR Ten Buck Show with special guests on Saturday March 1.

The Pabst Theater presents a PBR Ten Buck Show featuring Blessed Feathers with special guests Fatty Acids and comedy by Milwaukee’s Ryan Holman, Saturday March 1. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets are available online or call (414) 286-3663.

Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra: Orion Weiss plays Ravel, Feb. 28 – March 1 at the Marcus Center. Tickets range from $22-$102, available online or call (414) 291-7605.

Mitchell Park Conservatory (The Domes) “Music Under Glass” series presents The Test 1..2 Band, 6:30 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 27. Tickets are $6.50, $5 for seniors/students.

Wisconsin Conservatory of Music presents Raymond Mueller, Miguel Llobet: Expanding the Romantic Tradition, as part of their Conservatory Concert series Saturday, March 1 at 5 p.m. at the Helen Bader Recital Hall.  Tickets are $25, $15 for students with ID.

Carroll University choirs, including Concert Choir, Vocal Collective, Women’s Ensemble, and Jazz Ensemble will explore and celebrate the musical heritage of New York City with a performance on Saturday, March 1, 2014 at 7:30 p.m. in Shattuck Music Center. The performance is free and open to the public. For more information, contact the Carroll Music Office at (262) 524-7182 or

Special Events

Turner Hall Ballroom: The OnMilwaukee Bartender Games, Thursday, Feb. 27 at 7 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. Must be 21 and older with ID.

Last Chance

Quasimondo Milwaukee Physical Theatre:  Love and Cthulhu, through March 1

Windfall Theatre: The Petrified Forest, through March 1

First StageThe Cat in the Hat, through March 2


Milwaukee Chamber TheatreOctober, Before I was Born, through March 9

Milwaukee Repertory TheaterWoody Sez: The Life & Music of Woody Guthrie, through March 9. For review of show see

Milwaukee Repertory Theater: The Whipping Man, through March 16 For review of show see

In Tandem TheatreChesapeake, through March 16

First StageAnatole, through March 16

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