Peggy Sue Dunigan

Recent Articles

At the Sunsent Playhouse, taxes can be funny

At the Sunsent Playhouse, taxes can be funny

"Love, Sex and the IRS" mixes cross-dressing and tax evasion; hi-jinks ensue.

First Stage’s “Miss Nelson Is Missing”: Fun with a point
First Stage’s “Miss Nelson Is Missing”

Fun with a point

Those rotten fifth-graders thought they had Miss Nelson's number. Then the sub showed up.

First Stage alum directs classroom musical, “Miss Nelson is Missing!”

First Stage alum directs classroom musical, “Miss Nelson is Missing!”

Molly Rhode directs tale of rowdy kids and the teacher who tames them. Rhode started her as a teen actress at First Stage.

Boulevard closes 25th season with charmers by Shaw, Wilder

Boulevard closes 25th season with charmers by Shaw, Wilder

"A Village Wooing" and "Pullman Car Hiawatha" are all about the words.

Carte Blanche’s “Trailer Park”: Fun that trades on stereotypes
Carte Blanche’s “Trailer Park”

Fun that trades on stereotypes

Kitschy and irreverent, Carte Blanche's production offers a (slightly skewed) view of life on the other side of the tracks.

NEW! Diane Reeves sings jazz at Alverno

NEW! Diane Reeves sings jazz at Alverno

Grammy-winning legend sounds, looks and acts the part.

“The Hundred Dresses” resonates with audiences young and old

“The Hundred Dresses” resonates with audiences young and old

First Stage's charming production offers lessons on fear, courage, and the power of words, in a story that speaks to audiences of all ages.

First Stage: Two talented girls, “100 Dresses”
First Stage

Two talented girls, “100 Dresses”

Meet Katherin Pollnow and Marion Frank, two of the child actors in the First Stage Children's Theater show that opens Friday.

Sunset Playhouse: Gershwin on the Musical Mainstage
Sunset Playhouse

Gershwin on the Musical Mainstage

Singers from the Milwaukee area's A-list remember George and Ira.

Shakespeare’s da bomb at The Rep

Shakespeare’s da bomb at The Rep

The Stackner Cabaret's madcap "Bomb-itty of Errors" is a tour-de-force of rap, rhyme and rhythm.

Vijay Iyer on Alverno Presents

Vijay Iyer on Alverno Presents

The celebrated young jazz pianist brings his trio to the South Side campus.

The Rep’s rapped Shakespeare

The Rep’s rapped Shakespeare

"Comedy of Errors" goes hip-hop in "Bomb-itty of Errors," opening Sunday in the Rep's Stackner Cabaret.

“Tuesdays with Morrie” resonates with thoughts of loved ones

“Tuesdays with Morrie” resonates with thoughts of loved ones

A poignant Sunset Playhouse production of a play based on real life.

Ricardo Lemvo, Grooving the Rumba with Latino Arts

Ricardo Lemvo, Grooving the Rumba with Latino Arts

TCD's Peggy Sue Dunigan dances to Makina Loca, with an auditorium full of rollicking kids at the United Community Center.

First Stage’s U:Bug:Me!, tiny critters with life lessons
First Stage’s U

Bug

Jeremiah Clay Neal's new musical for the little one takes the creepy out of the crawlies.

First Stage’s “U:Bug:Me!” offers a glimpse of springtime
First Stage’s “U

Bug

"U:Bug:Me!" rushes in the season, bringing life to enchanting insects and compelling audiences to fall in love and be young (or young at heart) once again.

Soulstice puts you in (someone else’s) therapy

Soulstice puts you in (someone else’s) therapy

In Conor McPherson's "Shining City," Soulstice puts an audience of 50 onstage with the actors in a psychological drama.

Soulstice stages Conor McPherson’s psychological drama

Soulstice stages Conor McPherson’s psychological drama

The company will make audiences of 50 feel they're in the therapist's office, in the local premiere of "Shining City."

Off the Wall’s thoroughly modern Alice

Off the Wall’s thoroughly modern Alice

Jeremy Welter's edgy "Alice in Wonderland" makes Disney's look like, well, Disney.

The Magic Bicycle runs on imagination

The Magic Bicycle runs on imagination

John Oliver's new play, for First Stage Children's Theater, is entertaining, thought-provoking fare for the over-8 crowd.

Find enchantment in First Stage’s “The Magic Bicycle”

Find enchantment in First Stage’s “The Magic Bicycle”

Playwright John Olive's vision comes to life on stage with the story of two teens and their journey through time and space in search of the meaning of family.

APT’s new “Gift of the Magi” enriches the season

APT’s new “Gift of the Magi” enriches the season

James DeVita and Josh Schmidt added music and songs to their adaptation of O. Henry's sweetly ironic tale of Christmas love and sacrifice.

Sunset’s “Wonderful Life” a bittersweet end for Salentine

Sunset’s “Wonderful Life” a bittersweet end for Salentine

Artistic Director Mark Salentine touchingly directs his last show, as 50-year institution Sunset Playhouse cuts back.

“My Son Pinocchio” is perfectly magic at First Stage

“My Son Pinocchio” is perfectly magic at First Stage

Artistic Director Jeff Frank stages the perfect show to articulate the magic of family this season.

Jack Forbes Wilson shines in The Rep’s LIBERACE!

Jack Forbes Wilson shines in The Rep’s LIBERACE!

The brilliant lights and costumes combined with Wilson's expert performance pay a fitting tribute to one of the world’s most iconic and entertaining virtuosos.

Chamber Theatre’s Subject Was Roses touches

Chamber Theatre’s Subject Was Roses touches

MCT stages Frank Gilroy's 1965 Pulitzer winner, a kitchen-table dramedy of set in the wake of World War II.

“It’s a Wonderful Life” coming to Sunset Playhouse

“It’s a Wonderful Life” coming to Sunset Playhouse

In his final show, Mark Salentine reimagines the iconic story of George Bailey to creat a touching, but not overly sentimental, holiday experience.

A new twist on an old tale at First Stage Children’s Theater

A new twist on an old tale at First Stage Children’s Theater

My Son Pinocchio revisits a timely holiday theme, centered around the blessings received through joy, love and sharing family.

New! Review: Soulstice takes on “The Foreigner”
New! Review

Soulstice takes on “The Foreigner”

Playwright Larry Shue died in 1985, but his plays live on in Milwaukee. The Soulstice Theatre has takes on his hit comedy -- and its baggage.

Review: In Tandem’s darkly comic “Art of Murder”
Review

In Tandem’s darkly comic “Art of Murder”

Joe DiPietro's deliciously nasty comedy opens at the Tenth Street Theatre.

First Stage finds the ‘second star on the right’ in “Peter Pan and Wendy”

First Stage finds the ‘second star on the right’ in “Peter Pan and Wendy”

This enchanting production of Peter Pan and Wendy adeptly tells a story that, like Peter Pan himself, never grows old.

Flights of Fancy in First Stage “Peter Pan and Wendy”

Flights of Fancy in First Stage “Peter Pan and Wendy”

Puppets and live actors mingle in this version of Pan, which is all about imagination and the emotional flight from childhood to young adulthood.

The Rep’s “Asher Lev” is art to be taken seriously

The Rep’s “Asher Lev” is art to be taken seriously

A captivating production reveals rich, intelligent performances that demonstrate that life, like art, is, as Asher Lev describes, “both demonic and divine.”

Plenty of “Reasons” to get to Renaissance Theaterworks

Plenty of “Reasons” to get to Renaissance Theaterworks

Beautiful, pretty. Unattractive, ugly. What do these words really convey about a person, especially a woman?

Review: Renaissance “Reasons to Be Pretty” more than skin-deep
Review

Renaissance “Reasons to Be Pretty” more than skin-deep

Neil LaBute's stinging needle of a play probes the difference between outer and inner beauty.

“The President” impressively opens Windfall’s 18th season

“The President” impressively opens Windfall’s 18th season

Thoroughly enjoy this Milwaukee premiere, a production that provokes an introspective undercurrent beneath a generous layer of hearty laughter.

British invade new music series at the Sunset Playhouse

British invade new music series at the Sunset Playhouse

Elm Grove's Sunset Theater launches a new musical series featuring professional local talent.

Next Act’s season opens quietly, poignantly and with a gentle smile

Next Act’s season opens quietly, poignantly and with a gentle smile

Joel Drake Johnson's "Four Places" probes laughter and heartache as parents and children reverse roles.

Old fashioned summer fun with Hula Hoop Sha-Boop

Old fashioned summer fun with Hula Hoop Sha-Boop

If rock ‘n roll was a "disease” in the '50s, then the Stackner Cabaret's "Hula Hoop Sha-Boop" is a great way to catch that eternally uplifting fever.

Boulevard Theatre opens 25th season, lovingly

Boulevard Theatre opens 25th season, lovingly

"Fourplay: 4 Plays of Love and Seduction" explores the many themes of the L-word, mostly with great success

Good Read: I’m sorry you feel that way… A memoir (sort of)
Good Read

I’m sorry you feel that way… A memoir (sort of)

Diana Joseph articulates the mundane with stark factuality and rarely any sentiment. But underneath it all lies clarity and warmth.

Review: Alverno Presents Zemog/El Gallo Bueno
Review

Alverno Presents Zemog/El Gallo Bueno

Jazz? Rock? Latin? Abraham Gomez-Delgado's septet is a little of all of that, and a lot of fun.

Review: First Stage’s Alexander and his very bad day
Review

First Stage’s Alexander and his very bad day

Musical version of Judith Viorst's tale about a day when everything goes wrong makes an amusing and uplifting musical.

Review: Next Act’s The Value of Names
Review

Next Act’s The Value of Names

Jeffrey Sweet's play peels away the layers of meaning and worth bound up in names.

Review: The Boulevard’s It’s Your Mother
Review

The Boulevard’s It’s Your Mother

Durante and Tuxill's string of vignettes about mothers and daughters skates on the surface of the relationships.

Review: A Wiz made for kids glitters at First Stage
Review

A Wiz made for kids glitters at First Stage

First Stage has adapted the 1975 Broadway version of The Wizard of Oz.

Liz Lerman’s Dances for Everyone

Liz Lerman’s Dances for Everyone

Native Milwaukeean has made a career of getting non-professionals dancing, onstage and off.

Review: Milwaukee Choral Artists
Review

Milwaukee Choral Artists

A multicultural evening of mystical music from a superb women's choir.

Review: The Rep’s Almost, Maine
Review

The Rep’s Almost, Maine

The Rep's Stiemke Theater offering offers winter vignette comedy with a heart.

Review: Annie at Milwaukee Theatre
Review

Annie at Milwaukee Theatre

Annie and Daddy Warbucks send a warm, fuzzy message for the season.

Review: Off the Wall’s La Cage aux Folles
Review

Off the Wall’s La Cage aux Folles

Dale Gutzman's holiday guts, glitter and guffaws in the complicated world of transvestite show business.

Review: The Marriage of Bette and Boo at Boulevard Theatre
Review

The Marriage of Bette and Boo at Boulevard Theatre

Christopher Durang's dysfunctional, autobiographical tale is fleshed out in all of its profound absurdity.

Review: Lady With All the Answers at The Rep
Review

Lady With All the Answers at The Rep

Resident Rep Company actor Laura Gordon shines in this one-woman show about a beloved advice columnist.

Review: We Six performs music from the big, small screens
Review

We Six performs music from the big, small screens

Interesting covers from The Odd Couple to The Flintstones uplift this Wisconsin Conservatory sextet.

Review: If You Give a Mouse a Cookie… with First Stage Children’s Theater
Review

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie… with First Stage Children’s Theater

A clever mouse and his sympathetic friend are the center of this lively, mischievous production.

Review: STOMP at the Milwaukee Theatre
Review

STOMP at the Milwaukee Theatre

The national tour brings its percussive bash to town with new numbers and a showcase for body movement and creativity.

Review: Deathtrap at Sunset Playhouse
Review

Deathtrap at Sunset Playhouse

The 1980s setting and a few dramatic misfires lessen the intensity of this mysterious production that's packed with surprises and quick turns.

Review: Joan Didion’s Year of Magical Thinking
Review

Joan Didion’s Year of Magical Thinking

The Rep stages Didion's renowned memoir in a one-woman show.

Review: Iannone as Kate Hepburn at In Tandem Theatre
Review

Iannone as Kate Hepburn at In Tandem Theatre

Angela Iannone nails the iconic star in a one-woman show.

MFF Preview: Bliss
MFF Preview

Bliss

Treasured traditions collide with modern thinking in this provocative Turkish tale about honor killings.

Review: Tuesdays with Morrie at Soulstice
Review

Tuesdays with Morrie at Soulstice

A trip to reconnect leads to a discovery of self, life and death in this Soulstice performance.

Review: Wild Space Dance’s Trace Elements at Turner Hall
Review

Wild Space Dance’s Trace Elements at Turner Hall

Choreographer Debra Loewen and a small company of able bodies experiment with vertical space in fluid ways.

Review: Sondheim’s Company at Off the Wall Theatre
Review

Sondheim’s Company at Off the Wall Theatre

It's the best of Broadway on Dale Gutzman's little stage as friends and former girlfriends cajole a happily single man into committing to love.

A divine obession for the Bel Canto Chorus: Verdi’s Requiem
A divine obession for the Bel Canto Chorus

Verdi’s Requiem

In this musical dedication to the Italian poet and novelist Alessandro Manzoni, the approximately 90 minute performance will allow the music group and collaborators to create an inspirational project — a choral constituency.

Dispatches from Tutu Retro at MAM

Dispatches from Tutu Retro at MAM

Peggy Sue Dunigan uncovers 40 years of Milwaukee Ballet costume history at their season-kickoff fundraiser.

There will be tiptoeing at some point in the play

There will be tiptoeing at some point in the play

It's Oscar Wilde's Bliss family, busy ignoring their dinner guests. APT's troupe brings to life a "comedy of manners" in the latest Up The Hill outdoor staging. As in most Wilde plays, the guests sneak out.

Review: FAME at Sunset Playhouse
Review

FAME at Sunset Playhouse

Before there was American Idol, Making the Band, High School Musical and other insights into becoming a star -- there was the 1980 ensemble docudrama about New York's High School for the Performing Arts. Now it's a new musical.

Review: Comedy of Errors
Review

Comedy of Errors

If this interpretation appears over the top, the audience gathered at the Up the Hill outdoor stage assimilated quickly to this campy, if not nostalgic take on Shakespeare.

APT set to celebrate 30 years at July 12 dedication party

APT set to celebrate 30 years at July 12 dedication party

A look at the troupe that winds words between the trees and rocks, going on for nigh 30 years now. Interviews with players and information before the Touchstone dedication on July 12.

Love and Respect, 100 Years Later: The Philanderer at American Players Theatre
Love and Respect, 100 Years Later

The Philanderer at American Players Theatre

Contrasted against a rugged outdoor setting, the sumptuous turquoise and red late 19th-century scenery at the American Players Theatre production of The Philanderer prepares the audience for contrasts that George Bernard Shaw invokes in his play. Progressive for the time (it was banned at first by British Censorship in 1893), the story contains themes of feminine vs. masculine, father vs. daughter, love vs. lust, and marriage vs. friendship - all mingling together in a captivating script performed by the APT in their Spring Green home.

Anderson and Roe dazzles the ivories at PianoArts concert

Anderson and Roe dazzles the ivories at PianoArts concert

After performing a world premiere piece, Grand Scherzo based on Mozart's Act One of the opera Cosi fan Tutte, they constructed a duet for four hands on one piano. As the pair crossed over and under each other's arms, the subtle nuances of notes and measures evoked a passionate response from both musicians and audience. You needed to catch only a smile, or a lean into the other's shoulder by either piano player to sense the intense synchronization of genius.

REVIEW: Noises Off! at the Sunset Playhouse is great summer fluff
REVIEW

Noises Off! at the Sunset Playhouse is great summer fluff

A bit of British humor enlivens the stage at the Sunset Playhouse with the current production of Noises Off!. This award-winning play from 1983 was revived in 2001, and continues to challenge theater companies. Playwright Michael J. Frayn created a tightly wound laugh out loud farce that builds in tension throughout the three acts. Flapping doors, lost contact lenses, an axe and a disappearing plate of sardines occasionally steal a scene.

Off the Wall’s fundraiser mines with ‘Gold’

Off the Wall’s fundraiser mines with ‘Gold’

Broadway music often strikes memories in the mind, and it was this intent which played the audience's heartstrings in a four day special event at Off the Wall Theatre's staged fundraiser to support its upcoming 2009-2010 season which stages at the Black Box space on Wells Street in Milwaukee.

Dancing with Common People: Milwaukee Ballet does “Live and Kicking”
Dancing with Common People

Milwaukee Ballet does “Live and Kicking”

While the Milwaukee Ballet takes its act on the road in St. Louis this weekend for a kind of lollapalooza of dance companies called "Spring to Dance Festival", we look at the final 2008-09 season performance featuring the return of a popular but strange William Shatner-inspired piece.

Hamlisch, Ambassadors, and an ingenue enchant Milwaukee audience

Hamlisch, Ambassadors, and an ingenue enchant Milwaukee audience

From the minute Hamlisch stepped on stage, the program soared as the Emmy/Grammy/Oscar/Tony/Pulitzer Prize winning composer paid homage to audience member Mary Youth, who was celebrating her 101st birthday. When Hamlisch asked her to divulge the secret of long life, Youth emphatically stated, "I laughed my way through life."

Review: ‘Romantic Fools’ at the Tenth Street Theater
Review

‘Romantic Fools’ at the Tenth Street Theater

Fools and their fantasies: Perhaps at one time or another every person plays a fool for love. Portraying both the foolish and the fantastical through the course of a loosely related romance, In Tandem Theatre Company closes its season with Rich Orloff’s comic revue Romantic Fools. Twelve short sketches travel down a wayward path between […]

Review: The Sky is Falling! at Danceworks
Review

The Sky is Falling! at Danceworks

The concept of falling —whether in love, out of love, off bridges or off a bike–creates an intriguing performance through the Danceworks, Inc. production of The Wide Sky is Falling! , which closed out the 2008-09 season at their studio theater last weekend. The program collaborated the choreography of Artistic Director Dani Kuepper together with […]

Review: ‘I Just Stopped to See the Man’ at Steimke Theater
Review

‘I Just Stopped to See the Man’ at Steimke Theater

Whether an individual actually walks side by side with the Devil or only faces personal demons during his life, the human soul suffers — needing to sing “the blues”. In the Stiemke Theater’s final selection of the season, I Just Stopped By To See The Man, all three of its characters sidestep tragedy in order to gain greater […]

Review: How I Became a Pirate at First Stage
Review

How I Became a Pirate at First Stage

Each pirate on this ship, cleverly dressed for the sailing, sings and dances to rhythmic tropical tunes while young Jeremy learns pirate code and language enough to join the crew. When a midnight storm ensues, the mast lets loose over the stage before intermission. In the second act, pirates search the audience. Representing the Arrgh's cast, Austin Zdziarski as Jeremy Jacob ably handles this zest for sea life, and helps them bury their booty. But he still longs for soccer games and kisses goodnight.

Genesis

Genesis

“Art is at its best when it’s challenging,” claimed the ballet’s Artistic Director Michael Pink after Saturday night’s performance of Genesis at the Pabst Theater. The Milwaukee Ballet’s weekend production featured the three finalists from the International Choreographer’s Competition, which were chosen from over 30 entries worldwide. The results proved to be challenging for the […]

The School for Wives

The School for Wives

On a sparse but well used stage, laughter filled the Milwaukee Youth Arts Center when teenage thespians, known as “The Young Company,” presented Moliere’s classic The School for Wives. Under the leadership of accomplished actor and Associate Artistic Director John Maclay, First Stage Theater Academy’s advanced pre-professional training program for high school students inventively added […]

Blues in the Night

Blues in the Night

It’s two or three a.m. in the morning on a sultry evening in a shabby New York City hotel. The “blues” overcome three women, all ‘”taking a chance on love” with the same man in the Skylight Opera Theatre’s sensual production Blues in the Night that opened Friday night. While short on a compelling story […]

Reviewed: Same Time, Next Year
Reviewed

Same Time, Next Year

Romantic commitment tangles with social convention in a love story laced with humor. Same Time, Next Year, the latest selection from the Sunset Playhouse, continues to charm audiences with this complicated liaison that spans 25 years. The 1975 Drama Desk Award-winning play by Bernard Slade centers around two characters, Doris and George, who meet unexpectedly […]

Reviewed: The Elephant Child and Other African Tales
Reviewed

The Elephant Child and Other African Tales

One of the only remaining auditoriums in the Milwaukee Public School System resounded with children’s voices last week. In Ivory Hall at Lincoln School for the Arts, Milwaukee Youth Theatre presented The Elephant Child and Other African Tales. Through the tradition of folklore, writer and editor Frederick KD Diggins reformatted stories from Rudyard Kiplings’s Just […]

Reviewed: The Neverending Story
Reviewed

The Neverending Story

The power of imagination overflows the Todd Wehr Theater when The Neverending Story arrived this weekend courtesy of First Stage Children’s Theater. The production crosses elements of fairy tale and science fiction while the story revolves around saving the land of Fantastica, which requires a chosen hero to be sent on a quest for the […]

The Bra Project

The Bra Project

Over 500 bras complement the weekend production of Danceworks Performance Company’s The Bra Project, which incorporates an A to Z litany of names for the feature of the female anatomy that fills this garment, including the word “Carambas.” As an important but politically and sexually charged garment, the bra provides one clear definition of femininity. […]

I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change

I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change

Since the creation of Adam and Eve was there ever a perfect love? The Sunset Playhouse’s presentation of I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change celebrates the beginning of 2009 and the glory of love by trying to answer this question. Through 20 delightful comedy and musical sketches, this humorous and often poignant play examines […]

Dogpark: The Musical
Dogpark

The Musical

It’s yuppy hour! This sums up the first 2009 selection in The Rep’s Stackner Cabaret, Dogpark: The Musical. The tag line drolly reflects the production written by Jahnna Beecham and Malcolm Hillgartner, a husband and wife team, and Michael J. Hume. The night is spent ascertaining the love lives of “two-legged” canines in this premiere […]

Dale Gutzman’s Holiday Punch Green

Dale Gutzman’s Holiday Punch Green

Spiked with humor and a generous spritz of decadence, Dale Gutzman’s Holiday Punch Green lightly focuses on environmental issues. Together with this politically correct “green” emphasis, the two-hour performance also spoofs Gutzmans’s longevity as the company’s artistic director. In these 28 loosely related sketches, the twelve cast members (including Gutzman who appears on stage to […]

Michael Pink’s The Nutcracker

Michael Pink’s The Nutcracker

What a night for the Tannenbaum children! The toymaker Drosselmeyer fashions not only toys, but also an evening of magic for Marie, Fritz, and Clara (and the audience) in the Milwaukee Ballet’s presentation of Michael Pink’s The Nutcracker. This Milwaukee holiday tradition opened December 12 at the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts. Pink’s version […]

The Show

The Show

Reminding Milwaukee once again that the “Yuletide has a dark side,” In Tandem Theatre Company reintroduces parodies and sketch comedy in The Show. The fourteen sketches, written and performed by local actors Karen Estrada, Matthew Huebsch, Doug Jarecki, Andrea Moser and Jason Powell, combine new and old material that provide a counterpoint to the sentimental […]

The Happy Elf

The Happy Elf

“Think big and you can do great things.” Believing this line quoted from Harry Connick Jr.’s The Happy Elf, First Stage Children’s Theater perfected every production element throughout their opening night performance. From the charming North Pole stage designed on two levels to snowflakes of light spiraling over the audience, the musical Happy Elf delivered […]

Have A Seat

Have A Seat

By Peggy Sue Dunigan “Sitting on chairs upholstered with stars,’’ a quote from Milwaukee’s Poet Laureate Susan Firer used in one of the evening’s dance presentations, describes the Danceworks production Have a Seat featured this past weekend. Five numbers choreographed with chairs and overseen by Guest Artistic Director Janet Lilly cohesively define the performance. This […]

Greater Tuna

Greater Tuna

By Peggy Sue Dunigan It’s the small rural town of Tuna, Texas circa 1986– where inhabitants find that Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet demonstrates rampant disrespect for parental authority. Taking this trip to Texas, the Rep’s Stackner Cabaret opened the production Greater Tuna this weekend and presented one third of the Tuna Trilogy’s engaging satire written […]

The God Committee

The God Committee

By Peggy Sue Dunigan What is a day of life worth? This question becomes the focus for Acacia Theatre Company’s opening production, The God Committee. The ninety-minute, no-intermission script by Mark St. Germain tackles complex ethical and moral questions regarding organ transplant– specifically heart transplants– together with a host of underlying health care issues critical […]

Sleeping Beauty

Sleeping Beauty

Magical lighting effects abound in the Milwaukee Ballet’s season-opening production, Tchaikovsky’s The Sleeping Beauty. But commingled with the sparse post-modern scenery, these fantastical efforts slightly diminished the accomplished dancing in Michael Pink’s reinterpretation of this full length ballet, which also displayed Marius Petipa’s legendary choreography. Pink’s version of the familiar fairy tale reduced the three-hour […]

Stevie

Stevie

Hugh Whitmore’s two-hour play, Stevie, tells the story of the life of British poetess Stevie Smith. Christened Frances Margaret Smith and called Peggy by her family, Smith was said to resemble jockey Steve Donaghue, inspiring the name that stuck with her. Born in 1902, this feminine literary figure was honored with two prestigious awards for […]

All The Great Books (Abridged)

All The Great Books (Abridged)

The sound of the bell signals that class is in session. For audiences attending All The Great Books (Abridged) at Tenth Street Theatre this involves participating in a remedial Western literature course taught by In Tandem Theatre Company. The performance proves to be a humorous hour and forty-five minutes during which classical literature clashes with […]

Giggle, Giggle, Quack

Giggle, Giggle, Quack

A barnyard chorus of mayhem overtakes a Dutch country farmhouse in the lighthearted Giggle, Giggle, Quack. The stage’s resemblance to a field of brightly colored tulips and the production’s amusing mischief recapture Doreen Cronin’s familiar picture book. Using this adaptation by James E. Grote and George Howe, First Stage Children’s Theater opens their First Step […]

Gypsy

Gypsy

This iconic musical retells the story of a show business mother, Rose, and her two daughters, Louise and June. Louise went on to become the Burlesque star Gypsy Rose Lee. Gypsy: A Musical Fable, provides a softer framing for what June described as a “much darker childhood” than the fable presented in the musical based […]

Gossamer

Gossamer

Casey Tutton and Mark Metcalf in Gossamer Gos·sa·mer (n): a light and delicate touch. These words define this coming of age story that confronts sensitive social issues with light touches of humor, imagining the nature of dreams against the realities of domestic abuse through this credible ninety-minute production that deftly uses puppets to portray delicate […]

La Boheme

La Boheme

A large golden moon casts shadows over the Cabot Theatre’s stage set in Paris, 1933. In this glowing new version of La Boheme, Bill Theisen, the company’s artistic director, adapts the opera to define the artistic but risqué lifestyle rampant in Paris during that decade. With Theisen’s inspiration gleaned from the photographic collection of Brassai, […]

I Am My Own Wife

I Am My Own Wife

Photo by Jay Westhauser A string of white pearls defines the central character, Charlotte von Mahlsdorf, in The Rep’s season opener I Am My Own Wife at the Stiemke Theater. This real-life character, who was born in Berlin in 1928, wears a “black peasant dress, sturdy, in fact orthopedic, black shoes, and a string of […]

100 Years of Beautiful Music

100 Years of Beautiful Music

Gracious. Elegant. Gifted. Enthusiastic. These classical characteristics describe Thallis Hoyt Drake, recording secretary and publicity chair of the MacDowell Club of Milwaukee, and the prestigious organization itself, celebrating its centennial in May 2009. Drake, a past president and member of the MacDowell Club for 50 years, describes the vision of the first 38 women who […]

The Girl in the Frame

The Girl in the Frame

What would life be like with the perfect partner, romance, or relationship? Exploring all these possibilities, Jeremy Desmon’s 2003 play The Girl in the Frame closes In Tandem Theatre’s season. This tribute to the romantic ideal focuses on the seldom-realized fatal discrepancies to these overrated dreams. The Girl in the Frame intersperses musical numbers throughout […]

The Spitfire Grill

The Spitfire Grill

The Spitfire Grill still sparkles. The award winning musical, a reprise production from September 2002, literally glows through the book, music, and lyrics by Wisconsin natives and friends James Valcq and Fred Alley – especially on this particular Saturday night, when the four piece orchestra played under composer Valcq’s guest direction. Based on the 1996 […]

Choreographer’s triptych

Choreographer’s triptych

In a triptych of ballet selections, The Milwaukee Ballet captured a complete repertoire of styles in Season Finale. This last performance of the 2007-2008 season showcased the entire company in extraordinary fashion through the work of several choreographers with a captivating trio of pieces: The Kingdom of Shades, Aubade and Offenbach in the Underworld. Beginning […]

A Year with Frog and Toad

A Year with Frog and Toad

An afternoon – or an entire year – of life at the pond with Frog and Toad completely mesmerizes. Interpreting the book, lyrics and music of Willie and Robert Reale, First Stage Children’s Theater closes their season in classic style with A Year with Frog and Toad. As these amphibians perform a soft-shoe dance in […]

The Mystery of Irma Vep

The Mystery of Irma Vep

There is pure pleasure in laughter, in comic relief from a long, receding winter, in an evening spent watching two very talented actors revel in their roles. Next Act effortlessly provides this opportunity in their production The Mystery of Irma Vep by Charles Ludlam. Charles Ludlam founded The Ridiculous Theater Company in 1967, where producing […]

Mass Appeal

Mass Appeal

Between heaven and hell, if either exists, is a present life that human beings struggle through, desperate to survive the circumstances that confront them. Saving a person from hell by faith, the conventions of the authentic church and the representations of those beliefs, including the priesthood, become controversial dialogue in the current production Mass Appeal […]

A graceful duet

A graceful duet

The stomach twists into a knot, the palms springs tiny beads of sweat, and the heart flutters. These are the agonizing symptoms of performance in a piano recital, and they may occur as well in an anxious audience, holding its collective breath, waiting for every note to sound clearly and correctly. Yet PianoArts, a Milwaukee […]

The Night is a Child

The Night is a Child

“How can you forget what you don’t understand?” asks Harriet Easton, a middle-aged mother from Boston struggling through endless, sleepless nights. Her insomnia follows the suicide of her son Michael after the tragic event at a city nursery school where he killed his ex-wife and seven other victims. These oppressive night shadows haunt Harriet in […]

Sleeping Beauty

Sleeping Beauty

Two feuding sisters. Two witches. Branwen the bright witch and Modron the dark bring a sibling duel to this entertaining fairytale of magical powers as this First Stage Children’s Theater production of Sleeping Beauty unfolds with engaging and innovative touches. From the fall of glittering fairy dust on children’s heads as they enter the theater, […]

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Even without Shakespeare’s lyrical poetry, the Milwaukee Ballet’s presentation of A Midsummer’s Night Dream is, quite literally, enchanting. Set to Mendelssohn’s melodious score amid a lush canopy of forest on stage, this full-length ballet conveys the light-hearted qualities of Shakespeare’s rhymes through classical dances and visual spectacle. The host for the magical night is a […]

The Cemetery Club

The Cemetery Club

One is never too old to fall in love – even after the age of fifty. The Sunset Playhouse presentation of The Cemetery Club reiterates this premise as three widows, Ida, Doris, and Lucille, visit the cemetery each month to talk to and remember their deceased husbands. But two of the women feel the need […]

Say Goodnight, Gracie

Say Goodnight, Gracie

At the end of the night, amidst echoes of laughter, it is difficult to leave the Boulevard Ensemble Studio Theatre’s Milwaukee premiere of Say Goodnight, Gracie. Yet there is plenty to consider afterwards in this 1978 script by Ralph Pape, whom in 2007 the Dramatist’s Guild of America selected as one of the country’s top […]

The Watsons Go to Birmingham: 1963
The Watsons Go to Birmingham

1963

The “Brown Bomber,” a 1947 four door Plymouth sporting plenty of chrome, sits center stage amid the day to day family life portrayed in The Watsons Go to Birmingham – 1963. This world premiere play, adapted by Reginald Andre Jackson from the classic children’s book by Christopher Curtis Chapman, touches on America’s racial unrest in […]

A Cudahy Caroler Christmas

A Cudahy Caroler Christmas

Bringing back that “old Cudahy Caroler magic” is Stasch Zielinski’s mission in A Cudahy Caroler Christmas, In Tandem Theatre’s co-presentation with the Marcus Center and a Milwaukee holiday favorite. Returning to Vogel Hall in the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts Thanksgiving weekend, this production features both new and returning cast members.

White Christmas

White Christmas

Snow fell several times, including over the audience, during The Skylight’s seasonal production of Irving Berlin’s White Christmas Saturday night. The perennial favorite – which opened to a dusting of real snow in the city on Thanksgiving weekend – is filled with the Irving Berlin songs that made and continue to make memories during the […]

12 Days – A Milwaukee Christmas

12 Days – A Milwaukee Christmas

How many teachers inspire and believe in their young students? First Stages Children’s Theater musical play, 12 Days – A Milwaukee Christmas, is the adapted true story of Miss Emily Brown, a Downer College Professor whose Christmas theatrical productions became legendary in Milwaukee at the turn of the century. First Stage presents this holiday offering […]

The Quiltmaker’s Gift

The Quiltmaker’s Gift

A kaleidescope of hues in imaginative sets and costume design delights the eyes in The Quiltmaker’s Gift, presented at First Stage Children’s Theater. The whimsical details in this musical fable will capture the attention of a younger audience, but adults will smile along with throughout the 90 minutes. Based on the picture book by Jeff […]

HA!

HA!

In Tandem Theatre Company marks their 10th Anniversary with the Midwest premiere of HA! Along with this premiere, the company also debuts their permanent residence at Tenth Street Theater, a few steps underground below a red brick church on Wisconsin Avenue near Marquette University. By opening weekend, In Tandem had finally received temporary occupancy. But […]

Hana’s Suitcase

Hana’s Suitcase

“Stories can die if there is no one to tell them.” The line from Hana’s Suitcase, the First Stage Children’s Theater 2007 opening production, is revelatory. The story is the life of a 13-year-old Jewish girl and her family; the play tackles the drama and the difficulty inherent in preserving such tragic narratives. Hana’s Suitcase […]

Cyrano de Bergerac

Cyrano de Bergerac

The panache of Cyrano De Bergerac resonated throughout the Quadracci Powerhouse Theatre at The Rep on opening weekend. Cyrano’s indomitable soul overcomes unsightly features through his unabashed ability to love, conquering both the stage and the audience to begin the 2007 season. Directed by Sanford Robbins from the nationally renowned Professional Theater Training Program (PTTP) […]

The Spitfire Grill

The Spitfire Grill

“Shoot the moon, life is hard and gone too soon,” sings Percy, Hannah and Shelby in The Spitfire Grill. Set in the north woods of Gilead, Wisconsin, this production was adapted from Lee David Zlotoff’s film. Fellow Wisconsinites Fred Alley, co-founder of American Folklore Theatre in Door County, and James Valcq, who started at the […]

The Lady in Question

The Lady in Question

Gender-bending roles are a trademark in the scripts written by Charles Busch – accomplished playwright, actor and drag artist. Awarded a Drama Desk Award for Career Achievement in 2003, Busch usually plays the leading ladies in his parodies of 1940s, ‘50s and ‘60s film. Two of his best-known works are Psycho Beach Party and Die […]

Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse

Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse

“I am Lilly. I am Queen. I like everything,” says Lilly as she roller skates on stage to the surprise of her two mouse friends, Chester and Wilson. In Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse, which opened May 4 at First Stage Children’s Theater, Lilly is indeed queen of this enchanting, eye-catching production. Kevin Kling, who adapted […]

Green Gables

Green Gables

The Green Gables were perfectly pitched on the set of First Stage Children’s Theater as they opened a musical version of the L.M. Montgomery classic novel Anne of Green Gables this past weekend. The book, music and lyrics, all penned by Janet Yates Vogt and Mark Friedman, do both literally and figuratively sing on stage […]

Smokey Joe’s Café

Smokey Joe’s Café

By Peggy Sue Dunigan The sparks on stage opening weekend for Smokey Joe’s Café at the Skylight Opera were more than electric. Every facet of this musical revue was on fire. Celebrating the most prolific songwriting team from the ‘50s and ‘60s, Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, the review celebrates about 30 of their songs […]

The Underpants

The Underpants

By Peggy Sue Dunigan In 1910, when this play was written, “a glimpse of stocking was shocking” and ultimately humorous. On a weekend in 2007, the shock factor may be slightly removed but the comedy continues as RSVP Productions presents a 90-minute version of The Underpants. Originally penned under the title Die Hose by Carl […]

Enchanted April

Enchanted April

By Peggy Sue Dunigan Enchanted April opened on Broadway in April 2003 and was nominated for four Tony awards and two Drama Desk Awards, including best play. Based on the novel by Elizabeth Von Armin, and adapted by Matthew Babel, Enchanted April, which opened at the Acacia Theatre Company this past weekend, is the story […]

Third and Oak

Third and Oak

By Peggy Sue Dunigan Third and Oak is the third installment of Dramatists Theatre’s 2006-2007 season that is revisiting the work of Marsha Norman. Norman, who was most recently nominated for a 2006 Tony Award after comprising the libretto for The Color Purple, once again observes, as she puts it, “people you wouldn’t even notice […]

Hamlet, Prince of Denmark

Hamlet, Prince of Denmark

The simple staging Nevermore Theatre adheres to works perfectly for William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Prince of Denmark that opened the weekend of January 5. The audience focuses on the play, the verse and prose, where multiple lines of the most quoted and remembered words in the English language are given context. Recognized as perhaps the greatest […]

Guys on Ice

Guys on Ice

By Peggy Sue Dunigan This wishing hole, found in Marvin’s wooden ice shanty, brings magic once again as Guys on Ice replays in The Rep’s Stiemke Theater for a record sixth engagement. Originally produced by The Rep and American Folklore Theater from Door County in 1998 as part of Wisconsin’s Sesquicentennial Celebration, Marvin and Lloyd’s […]

Mercy of a Storm

Mercy of a Storm

By Peggy Sue Dunigan New Year’s Eve, 1945. Snow is falling furiously, it’s almost midnight. George and Zanovia find the two hours preceding 1946 in a Midwest country club pool house to be infinitely colder than the weather outside in Mercy of a Storm, Next Act Theatre’s production that opened November 19. This performance spends […]

Give ‘Em Hell, Harry

Give ‘Em Hell, Harry

By Peggy Sue Dunigan Speaking directly, loudly and customarily cursing, Harry S. Truman’s voice and words ring shockingly true and remain relevant in the production of Give ‘Em Hell, Harry that opened at the Boulevard Ensemble Studio Theatre November 8. The audience in the packed space greatly appreciated those words, generously sprinkled with humor and […]