Russ Bickerstaff

Recent Articles

Ten tap dancing Cleopatras is quite a sight

Ten tap dancing Cleopatras is quite a sight

A review of Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat, now showing for Soulstice Theatre

Review: Little Women at Acacia Theatre
Review

Little Women at Acacia Theatre

Meg, Jo, Amy, and Beth sing! It doesn’t help.

Review: Boulevard Theatre’s “Stations of the Cross”
Review

Boulevard Theatre’s “Stations of the Cross”

Written by local writer, actor and storyteller Beth Monhollen, Boulevard Theatre's Stations of the Cross follows the traditional 'stations' of Jesus suffering as told through monologues and short scenes about the restaurant service industry. Often witty and occasionally dark, Cross provides many, many laughs and insights into human behavior.

Hair wants to shine, but falls flat

Hair wants to shine, but falls flat

Even though Hair defined the "rock musical" genre and illustrated drug use, its message was actually quite serious and intellectual. But the players at UWM seem to have trouble paying homage to these great American social issues. On stage, actors seem more intent on portraying various stages of being stoned. Illegal drug use pervades the entire show, but it here it seemed to overtake all other aspects.

Review: Brooklyn Boy at Milwaukee Chamber Theatre
Review

Brooklyn Boy at Milwaukee Chamber Theatre

Milwaukee Chamber Theatre closes its 34th season with playwright Donald Margulies’s semi-autobiographical play. It focuses on a novelist who, after two attempts at the great American novel, gets it right on the third try to critical acclaim and popularity by penning a semi-autobiographic novel called Brooklyn Boy. With the vague notion that this achievement may […]

Tales from the Dugout

Tales from the Dugout

Pink Banana Theatre Co. opened its annual show comprised completely of original one-acts on Friday, March 27. Staying true to its mission of encouraging new artists, Pink Banana used locally grown writers, actors and directors. With few mis-steps, Pink Banana once again showed itself to be a hot bed of young Milwaukee talent. Using a […]

Fire on the Bayou

Fire on the Bayou

The corner of Hope and Desire is a perfect metaphor for the city of New Orleans. Battered and ravaged by Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans continues to strive to not merely recover but to thrive. Written and directed by Kevin Ramsey, Fire on the Bayou at the Milwaukee Rep celebrates the history, present and the hopes […]

Reviewed: Oedipus Rex
Reviewed

Oedipus Rex

Oedipus Rex is one of the few surviving plays from ancient Greece. Written by Sophocles as the second of a trio of plays about King Oedipus and his family, Oedipus Rex is rife with the impact of following fate and choosing to exercise free will. The University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee’s theatre department takes an […]

Reviewed: Secrets of a Soccer Mom
Reviewed

Secrets of a Soccer Mom

Soccer Mom. It’s a term that crept into the American vernacular near the end of the twentieth century. It’s a woman who drives a mini-van or an SUV, visits Starbucks everyday and has an expensive cell phone that constantly ringing with calls about the PTA. She ‘runs errands’ every day of the week and manages […]

Witness

Witness

Small town Vermont in the 1920s conjures images of a simple, idealistic way of life. America had won the Great War and patriotism was at a high. However, First Stage Children’s Theater’s production of Witness, by John Urquhart, adapted from the book by Karen Hesse, showcases a different side of America during the first quarter […]

The Dig

The Dig

Renaissance Theaterworks is certainly known for its provoking plays that quite often challenge standards set by society. Their first show of 2009 certainly falls into these categories. Written by Resident Playwright Marie Kohler, The Dig explores the relationship between a brother and sister from childhood to their adult lives. It also sifts through the interconnection […]

Roses in December

Roses in December

Artistic Director Mark Bucher is quite proud of the fact the Boulevard Theatre consistently produces plays that are premieres in Milwaukee. The most recent premiere produced by the Boulevard is Roses in December, by Victor L. Cahn. A play composed entirely of letters with no true interaction between characters can be daunting for both the […]

A Tuna Christmas

A Tuna Christmas

Holiday-themed shows are a favorite in Milwaukee this time of year. They draw in larger then usual crowds and are often appropriate for nearly all ages. Soulstice Theatre opened A Tuna Christmas last Friday with a packed theatre full of people ready for full holiday swing. A Tuna Christmas is the second play in a […]

One Thousand and One

One Thousand and One

The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Theatre Department opened its 2008-2009 season with a Mainstage production of 1001 by Jason Grote. Straying from the standard university fare of well-known and over-produced plays, UWM bravely chose a newer work by a contemporary playwright. This bold move gave voice to some wonderful moments and connections, but ultimately was too […]

State of the Union

State of the Union

The Milwaukee Rep responds to a long, exhausting presidential campaign with Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse’s State of the Union. Despite having been written half a century ago, State of the Union delivers a surprisingly topical look at presidential politics in an entertaining show that only feels a bit long at times. The Rep draws […]

The Constant Wife

The Constant Wife

It’s the classic tale of a man who loves a woman, a woman who loves a man and the world that gets in their way. Somerset Maugham’s tale of potential infidelity comes to the Boulevard Theatre as it presents The Constant Wife. Maureen Dornemann stars as title character Constance Middleton whose fidelity to her husband […]

Ripper!

Ripper!

In the autumn of 1888, a series of murders shook London’s Whitechapel district. The victims were all women, all murdered in similar ways, leading police to suspect they were all perpetrated by one person — now known to the world as Jack The Ripper. Possibly the most infamous serial killer of modern times, dozens of […]

Lombardi: The Only Thing
Lombardi

The Only Thing

Making its way to Milwaukee after its debut in Madison last year, Eric Simonson’s Lombardi: The Only Thing arrives at the intimate Off-Broadway Theatre with an updated script and a stellar cast. Next Act Producing Artistic Director David Cecsarini stars as legendary Packers coach Vince Lombardi in a story that mixes fact with fiction and […]

Doubt

Doubt

Taking on a Pulitzer Prize-winning play is a massive endeavor. With well-published expectations to aspire to, many companies and directors go over the top with set, lighting and costume descisions and play to stereotypes instead of bringing out true human beings with flawed judgment and emotional responses. But with John Patrick Shanley’s Doubt, the 2005 […]

Isn’t it Romantic?

Isn’t it Romantic?

The Milwakee Rep opens its 2008-2009 season at the Stackner Cabaret with a classy, romantic evening of music. The first of three openings in as many weeks for the Rep, Isn’t It Romantic? features the powerfully rich voice of singer Jimi Ray Malary leading William Knowles on piano, Don Linke on bass and Scott Napoli […]

Those Crazy Ladies in the House on the Corner

Those Crazy Ladies in the House on the Corner

The Sunset Playhouse opens its 49th season with Those Crazy Ladies in the House on the Corner by Pat Cook. The comedy revolves around three aging sisters who’ve created an insular world for themselves in their family home. The three are proud of their independence and of their reputation. When the town doctor tricks them […]

The Wonder Bread Years

The Wonder Bread Years

John McGivern returns to the Marcus Center this month for another run of Pat Hazell’s comedic monologue The Wonder Bread Years. One of the most recognizable actors in town, McGivern’s memories of growing up in a quirky Milwaukee has natural appeal for his fellow boomers and beyond. While Hazell wrote The Wonder Bread Years as […]

The Misanthrope

The Misanthrope

Boulevard Theatre opens its season with a modern twist on an old comedy as it presents its production of Moliere’s The Misanthrope – moved from 17th-century France to contemporary Quebec, set in an art gallery and spiced up with a liberal dose of gender-bending. The new floor of the renovated Boulevard is a rich, deep […]

Well

Well

Milwaukee Chamber Theatre opens its season with the Milwaukee premiere of Lisa Kron’s Well — a pseudo-meta-theatrical drama. Angela Iannone stars as Kron, who is trying to develop a theatrical exploration into the nature of health and illness in modern society. Ruth Schudson plays Lisa’s mother, who has unsuspectingly been framed onstage as Lisa’s case […]

Pride and Prejudice

Pride and Prejudice

Jane Austen’s romantic drama Pride and Prejudice, originally published in 1813, is one of the most beloved and revisited classics of the English literary canon. Its adaptations have been numerous, from standard-issue stage and screen presentations to Broadway musicals, cheeky modern-day retellings like Bridget Jones’s Diary and Bollywood flicks. Audiences will inevitably bring all of […]

Ah, Wilderness!

Ah, Wilderness!

Largely considered to be one of Eugene O’Neil’s lesser works, Ah, Wilderness! is nonetheless fascinating. From its outdoor theater in Spring Green, Wisconsin, the American Players Theatre offers an idyllic production of O’Neil’s pseudo-biographical comedy. The story follows a day in the life of a wealthy family in Connecticut on the Fourth of July, 1906. […]

Henry IV: The Making of a King
Henry IV

The Making of a King

Taking place in two separate feature-length parts, William Shakespeare’s Henry IV rarely appears in its entirety. This is a lamentable situation, as Shakespeare’s style of storytelling benefits a great deal from a longer, more involved plot structure than a single feature-length play will allow for. In its entirety Henry IV forms the middle half of […]

Broadminded: Now in 3D!
Broadminded

Now in 3D!

You might not think Hillary Clinton and Alanis Morissette have much in common, but somehow, Broadminded’s rendition of Hillary’s concession speech as the spoken lyrics of “You Oughta Know” sheds new light on the current presidential campaign season as well as the media coverage consuming it: exactly what the four women of Broadminded are aiming […]

The Boys Next Door

The Boys Next Door

Staging Tom Griffin’s The Boys Next Door can be a tricky endeavor. The comedy about a group of developmentally disabled men and the social worker who looks after them uses a brand of humor that doesn’t always make people feel comfortable. The audience is encouraged to laugh at the cognitively impaired not because they are […]

To Gillian on Her 37th Birthday

To Gillian on Her 37th Birthday

In 1983, Michael Brady’s touching drama To Gillian on Her 37th Birthday generated a landslide of critical praise, marking Brady as a promising new playwright. Over a dozen years later, the play was adapted for a film, which bombed critically and financially. The play is still produced, but probably not as much as it deserves. […]

Armadale

Armadale

Brian Vaughan and Emily Trask in Armadale Jeffrey Hatcher is one of the most talented American playwrights alive. His deftly-written monologue program Three Viewings recently found a local stage at Kopper Bear productions — a tiny studio staging which became one of the best productions in the county this season, of any size. Even the […]

CRACKS IN THE FLOOR and 31: Two one-act dramas
CRACKS IN THE FLOOR and 31

Two one-act dramas

Underground art institutions Insurgent Theatre and Alchemist Theatre have teamed up for a double feature that explores the darker side of human emotion. The two shorts, split by an intermission, run no longer than an average feature-length drama. The presentation runs through May 4. Insurgent opens the program with Cracks in the Floor, a compelling […]

Talley’s Folly

Talley’s Folly

Originally staged in 1979, Talley’s Folly is a romantic theatrical waltz for two written by Lanford Wilson. Milwaukee Chamber Theatre closes its season with a production of the play starring Laura Gray and Jonathan West. In 90 minutes without intermission we see an unlikely romance develop between an older man and a younger woman on […]

Hula Hoop Sha-Boop

Hula Hoop Sha-Boop

When I was in grade school, some of the biggest hits on pop radio spoke of paternity suits, what it was like to be a virgin “touched for the very first time” and the sound of doves crying. By the time I got to high school, pop radio was openly dealing with sex, anatomy and […]

Endgame

Endgame

Before the play begins, the audience faces an image that resembles a René Magritte painting. A formless background of white clouds against blue sky is projected into the drawn curtain. When the curtain is pulled back, we see the familiar, iconic set of Samuel Beckett’s Endgame. A sheeted object rests center stage. Two more sheeted […]

Blessed Assurance

Blessed Assurance

As messed up as things seem in the United States right now, it is reassuring to realize that certain things were much worse 100 years ago. A lot happened in the 20th century. In theory, every adult citizen of the United States can vote now. This was not the case on the other side of […]

Butterflies are Free

Butterflies are Free

Love and romance are classical theatrical themes, but few productions in the greater Milwaukee area this season have trained their focus on a single, simple love story. Now through March 9, Spiral Theatre welcomes romance back to center stage with Leonard Gershe’s Butterflies are Free. The story of a young musician falling for an aspiring […]

The Lion King

The Lion King

Inspired by Osamu Tezuka’s Kimba the White Lion, Disney’s 1994 animated feature The Lion King was a huge success at box offices nationwide. In 1997, it debuted with ridiculous success as a Broadway musical thanks to the songwriting talents of Elton John and Tim Rice, who also scored the film. The show prowls through the […]

Enchanted April

Enchanted April

There’s something transcendental about Getting Away From It All. Given the right opportunity, people shed their accepted identities, move toward something less constructed and take a closer walk with their ideals. At the turn-of-the-century, Elizabeth Von Arnim’s novel Enchanted April explored the transformative nature of a vacation, a theme which becomes the single most enduring […]

Crime and Punishment

Crime and Punishment

It’s dry. The forced perspective is harsh. Dust and plaster are piled around a dark, drab space. And there’s a man lying there in dreary, heavily worn garments. Look closely and you’ll see he’s breathing. Most people don’t seem to notice until they sit down. The lights fall into complete darkness. They rise. There are […]

Faith Healer

Faith Healer

A scene from Friel’s play Faith Healer, as perfomed by Next Act Theatre. Irish playwright Brian Friel casts a piercing glance into the heart of truth and belief in his three-part drama Faith Healer. Three characters played by three remarkably talented actors speak four conflicting monologues in a thoroughly satisfying script. Next Act Theatre stages […]

Twelfth Night

Twelfth Night

Alexis McGuinness and Molly Rhode in Milwaukee Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night Milwaukee Shakespeare’s impressively staged production of Twelfth Night only played for seven performances, a briefly realized event manifesting just long enough to register a reaction before its disappearance. Shakespeare’s quintessential gender-bending comedy came to the stage of the Sharon Lynne Wilson Center with a distinctly […]

True West

True West

Sam Shepard’s True West is a cleverly dark comedy that would be all too easy to overdo in all the wrong places. A less than shrewd production could miss the finesse of the original script, but the Spiral Theatre, in a tiny space on National Avenue, brings the right immediacy and intimacy to capture Shepard’s […]

Berzerk!!!

Berzerk!!!

In the hours I spent watching the snow fall in Green Bay, I’d forgotten that the relatively quiet streets of Milwaukee’s East Side weren’t filled with snow. In something very much resembling a good mood, I caught the #15 bus to Bay View for my second evening of high-pressure theatre. I was headed to The […]

Arthur, The Boy Who Would Be King

Arthur, The Boy Who Would Be King

The legend of King Arthur goes so far back that historians aren’t in perfect agreement as to exactly when or where it may have originated. In the modern age, stories of the Arthurian legend have been adapted to film, television, comic books, ballets and even a couple of rock operas. The latest incarnation of the […]

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee

The spelling bee dates back to the early nineteenth century, and what may have started as a celebration of literacy in a largely agrarian nation has become a common feature of childhood culture familiar to people all over the country. One slice of Americana meets another in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee — […]

How do you measure ten years?

How do you measure ten years?

It was almost an overnight success — an iconic piece of Broadway that infected the hearts and minds of thousands. Personally, I don’t see the appeal. I tend to agree with Cintra Wilson who once described it as “Cats with AIDS.” Think of it what you will, there is no denying the fact that Rent […]

The Woman in Black

The Woman in Black

Renaissance Theaterworks revives the classic art of scary storytelling with Stephen Mallatratt’s wildly successful The Woman In Black. Based on the novel by Susan Hill, The Woman In Black tells the story of a man trying to escape ghostly events his past that have haunted him for years. The play, one of the longest-running productions […]

The Wonder Bread Years

The Wonder Bread Years

Stand-up comedian/writer/commercial spokesman Pat Hazell is touring the country with The Wonder Bread Years, a series of recollections about growing-up as a baby boomer. Local comedian and theatre icon John McGivern takes Hazell’s role in Milwaukee’s production of the one-man show. The set is a stylized suburban front porch, personalized with a few McGivern touches […]

Life Could Be a Dream

Life Could Be a Dream

Californian cabaret guru Roger Bean opens the next in a growing number of original musicals at the Rep’s Stackner Cabaret. The same man who brought Milwaukee The Marvelous Wonderettes, The Andrews Brothers and Lana Mae’s Honky Tonk Laundrydebuts his latest, Life Could Be A Dream. Though it’s not quite as accomplished as previous revues, Life […]

2 Henry IV

2 Henry IV

Milwaukee Shakespeare continues its multi-season presentation of the Henriad with part two of Henry the Fourth. The production, which cleverly fills the space of the Broadway Theatre Center’s Studio Theatre, continues the saga of yet another doomed king on his way out of office. The doomed king in question is the title character as played […]

The Night of the Iguana

The Night of the Iguana

American Players Theatre The American Players Theatre delves into a mid-twentieth century script with its production of Tennessee Williams’ Night Of The Iguana. It’s an interesting choice in material for one of the APT’s few dips into the recent past. While it is true that Williams is widely recognized as one of the greatest playwrights […]

Timon of Athens

Timon of Athens

Regarded by many scholars as an unfinished, perhaps experimental piece that may not have been entirely written by Shakespeare, Timon of Athens has great potential to be staged in an offbeat style. American Players Theatre in Spring Green has brilliantly realized this potential in what is by far its most accomplished production this season. This […]

Raise the Curtain!

Raise the Curtain!

The performing arts season bursts open with a half-dozen theatre groups launching productions this month. The Milwaukee Rep opens no less than three shows, including its centerpiece – Lee Ernst as Cyrano De Bergerac. The Rep’s cabaret opens its season with this year’s Roger Beane show Life Could Be A Dream. In more edgy local […]

“Keep guard over your EYES AND EARS as the inlets of your heart …” — Anne Bronte

“Keep guard over your EYES AND EARS as the inlets of your heart …” — Anne Bronte

The percussion of two eyelids meeting during a blink is not audible to the human ear, which consists of fibro-elastic cartilage covered with skin and fine hairs. In contrast to the eyes, the ears are always working. Visual reality is limited to a single, blinking field of vision and sight requires the tireless work of […]

“THE HEART has reasons that reason cannot know.” — Blaise Pascal

“THE HEART has reasons that reason cannot know.” — Blaise Pascal

Radiance and darkness come from the same place. If the mind is the brightest place in the human body with its constant storm of electrical impulses, perhaps the human body’s darkness exists in the heart – a place of absolutely essential, tireless labor. The heart creates enough pressure in the course of its constant pumping […]

“The LEGS are the wheels of creativity” — Albert Einstein

“The LEGS are the wheels of creativity” — Albert Einstein

In tribute to their strength and versatility, legs are used metaphorically in a variety of different cultures all over the world to indicate strength or mobility. Consisting of thousands of flexible muscle fibers grouped into numerous muscles, the legs are capable of impressive range of motion and are used for a wide array of different […]

“THE BRAIN is a commodity used to fertilize ideas.” — Elbert Hubbard

“THE BRAIN is a commodity used to fertilize ideas.” — Elbert Hubbard

The mind is run by the brain through an extraordinarily complex series of bioelectric reactions. Much like local arts groups, the brain does remarkable things with profoundly few resources. The brain runs an individual’s body and arguably everything abstract going on in his/her mind on very little quantifiable physical energy. If, for instance, a waiter […]

“Human salvation lies in the HANDS of the creatively maladjusted.” — Martin Luther King

“Human salvation lies in the HANDS of the creatively maladjusted.” — Martin Luther King

Some of the oldest words in human language relate to the hands, suggesting a fundamental linguistic link between the human mind, the human hand and the world in which they exist. Hands, being the fundamental organ of corporeal interface between a human being and the outside world, have much to answer for in this respect. […]

Moonlight and Magnolias

Moonlight and Magnolias

Milwaukee Chamber Theatre Watch the closing credits of any film and you’ll see a long list of people who lived, breathed and sweated a massive creative project for days, weeks, months or more. Every name on that list has a story behind it that might be just as interesting as the story the film tells. […]

A Play In A Day 2: Bunny Rabbit In A Box Of Chocolates
A Play In A Day 2

Bunny Rabbit In A Box Of Chocolates

As 8 p.m. neared on the night of July 21st, people milled about the Broadway Theatre Center. Casual conversation drifted through the lazy summer evening as show time approached. Alamo Basement had been at it for nearly 24 hours – writing and rehearsing the show that was about to make its debut that night. The […]

Misalliance

Misalliance

The first non-Shakespeare show in this year’s American Players Theatre season, George Bernard Shaw’s early 20th century dramatic debate, Misalliance, works much better on paper than it does on the stage. In principal, the idea of a play consisting almost exclusively of characters having lengthy discussions about love, marriage, justice and so on without much […]

The Merchant of Venice

The Merchant of Venice

The American Player Theatre delves into sticky realms of ambiguity with its production of what is arguably one of Shakespeare’s most questionable plays. The Merchant of Venice concerns money lent to a man by a Jewish moneylender named Shylock. If the money is not paid back in a timely fashion, Shylock has the legal right […]

Much Ado About Nothing

Much Ado About Nothing

It can be the smallest things that make any production of a popular Shakespeare classic more memorable than the last. In an American Players Theatre production, this always seems to come from the least expected places. Maybe the production design is so impressive that it nearly overshadows the play it’s presenting. Maybe there’s a subtle, […]

A Midsummer Night McGivern

A Midsummer Night McGivern

One of the most popular people in local theatre, John McGivern has a huge following. Just to see the guy standing there onstage, the uninitiated could be forgiven for wondering what all the fuss is about. On the surface, McGivern seems like anyone else you might see walking around the East Side. Seeing him perform […]

Patience

Patience

For as long as there has been art, there have been those who have taken the love of aesthetics and beauty to nauseating extremes. In 1881, Gilbert and Sullivan took a satirical jab at artistic pretentiousness with Patience. Today, 126 years later, The Skylight Opera Theatre revisits this classic musical in a production that carries […]

Long Day’s Journey into Night

Long Day’s Journey into Night

Humor can draw anyone into a theatre, but it’s the darkness that really excites the imagination. Eugene O’Neil’s Long Day’s Journey Into Night is one of the great classics of dark American theatre. Under the direction of Heidi Mueller Smith, Cornerstone Theatre Company presents the classic in the basement of the Brumder Mansion. As everyone […]

Five Women Wearing the Same Dress

Five Women Wearing the Same Dress

Writer/Director Alan Ball has met with considerable success in film and TV. His film American Beauty won an Academy Award while his TV series Six Feet Under garnered him two Golden Globes and no less than six Emmys. Before any of that, however, Ball earned a degree in theatre. In 1993 he wrote a comedy […]

Rooming House

Rooming House

With Milwaukee being host to so many productions of plays written by people in other parts of the country, it’s always nice to see something new written by a local playwright. Early this summer, Olsen Arts Theatre Group opened Rooming House, written and directed by local playwright Christel Olsen. The play is a comedy about […]

A Shot in the Dark

A Shot in the Dark

The Boulevard Ensemble closes its 21st anniversary season with a murder-mystery comedy by Harry Kurnitz, adapted from an original French work by Marecl Archard. It’s a fun, well-balanced comedy adeptly directed by the Boulevard’s Mark Bucher. Bucher has assembled a surprisingly good cast for the final show of a memorable 21st season of theatre in […]

Tartuffe

Tartuffe

The con is on once more. Moliere’s classic tale of deception through feigned piety climbs the stage again in a glossy, big-budget Milwaukee Rep production. Just months after the Skylight Opera closed its production of the musical adaptation of Moliere’s comedy, The Rep opens a more traditional interpretation of the story. Director Joseph Hanreddy has […]

The Nerd

The Nerd

An unwanted houseguest can make for good comedy so long as it isn’t your house. Put such a houseguest onstage and, ideally, no one has to suffer. It’s comedy for everybody because no one actually has to live with the person. Such is the case with the late Larry Shue’s smash hit The Nerd. The […]

Who I Was Yesterday

Who I Was Yesterday

Moct Bar sits in an area just south of downtown that is rapidly being carved into an upscale, trendy haunt for the young, wealthy and reasonably hip. Amidst shiny new condos and expensive restaurants, nestled in a space that apparently is a converted machine shop, Kurt Hartwig’s theatre outfit Bad Soviet Habits is staging a […]

1 Henry IV

1 Henry IV

Sometimes theatre hurts. Milwaukee Shakespeare’s production of 1 Henry IV can attest to this, having suffered a few minor injuries early in its run. When Jeffrey Withers sustained a show-stopping injury to his lower back, it was only a short while until someone else had suffered a minor broadsword wound to the hand. After a […]

A Walk In The Woods

A Walk In The Woods

A park bench seems innocent enough until you get it on stage. What might casually be seen as an unsuspecting piece of furniture in its aural habitat takes on a whole new personality when it is placed in front of an audience. In Edward Albee’s Zoo Story, a bench is a silent witness to murder; […]

Ears on a Beatle

Ears on a Beatle

John Lennon mastered the deceptively simple genius of finding his own voice and speaking with it. He spoke it deftly and frequently enough to have made quite a few people uncomfortable over the years and some of these people were in rather prominent positions in the U.S. government. As a result, Lennon was trailed by […]

The 2007-2008 Fine Arts Season Preview

The 2007-2008 Fine Arts Season Preview

By Russ Bickerstaff and Evan Solochek Having survived the uncertainties of a Milwaukee winter, things settle down as our performing arts groups begin to look forward to next season. As usual, 2007-08 events closest to the present happen to also be the furthest from Milwaukee, as spring pushes performances further away from the theatre district […]

String of Pearls

String of Pearls

Michele Lowe’s String of Pearls follows the title object through 30-years, as it passes from owner to owner to owner. Slowly, the necklace makes its long journey full circle as it leaves its mark on the lives of a large number of characters. Featuring some impressive talent in a small space, Renaissance Theaterworks’ production of […]

Jake’s Women

Jake’s Women

Everyone who has ever known anyone has talked to people while they weren’t there. The little fractions of imagination required to talk to people without them knowing about it keeps most people psychologically well adjusted. Everyone knows that. Not everyone writes a play about it, though. With Jake’s Women, Neil Simon explores imaginary conversations as […]