South Milwaukee Performing Arts Center
Press Release

South Milwaukee Performing Arts Center Presents A.J. Croce—Croce: Two Generations of American Music Thursday, October 12, 7:30 PM

“My father made heroes out of everyday people.” -A.J. Croce

By - Aug 25th, 2017 08:45 am
South Milwaukee Performing Arts Center Presents A.J. Croce—Croce: Two Generations of American Music Thursday, October 12, 7:30 PM

South Milwaukee Performing Arts Center Presents A.J. Croce—Croce: Two Generations of American Music Thursday, October 12, 7:30 PM

(South Milwaukee, WI) – South Milwaukee Performing Arts Center is proud to present Adrian James (A.J.) Croce, a bluesman who performs primarily from the keyboard and was inspired by his father who was the artist responsible for Time in a Bottle, Operator and Bad, Bad Leroy Brown. Two Generations of American Music presents a selection of A.J.’s own tunes alongside his father’s, plus vintage folk, blues, R&B and early rock ’n’ roll that inspired them both.

A.J. honed his piano skills as a boy, while recovering from a brain tumor that left him partially blind. His career began at age 18 opening for B.B. King. Today, he strikes a fine balance between paying heartfelt homage to his father’s artistic legacy and injecting the songs with his own spin and personality. He adds a rollicking, New Orleans-flavored piano touch to “Workin’ At The Car Wash Blues” that is as awesome as it is unexpected. A.J. wants to create an experience that “makes the audience and me happy.”  The evening is an entertaining look at how the songs relate to each other and to the American music that inspired them. The performance will feature guitarist Michael Bizar, bassist David Barard and Tony Morra or Gary Mallaber on drums.

A.J. Croce has appeared on numerous shows including Jay Leno, David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, and Good Morning America, and he has shared the stage with an innumerable list of eclectic artists such as Willie Nelson to one of his strong influences Ray Charles, plus Béla Fleck, James Brown, Lyle Lovett, Morphine, Rod Stewart and Ben Harper. His soul touching music spans genres from blues to pop, Americana to New Orleans funk, and jazz to alternative rock. His albums include Twelve Tales, Fit to Serve, Cantos, That’s Me in the Bar, and others.

He signed a record contract with Private Music at the age of 19. Two years later, Croce released his self-titled debut, which featured production from John Simon and T-Bone Burnett. That’s Me in the Bar appeared in 1995, and Croce soon left the label to sign with Ruf Records, for whom he issued Fit to Serve in the spring of 1998. Although best known for his piano-based interpretation of American roots music, Croce switched gears in

2000 by hiring alternative rock producer Michael James (whose credits included albums by New Radicals, Hole, and Jane’s Addiction) to helm his next record, Transit. Four years later, the singer’s fifth album (the self-titled Adrian James Croce) explored more elements of pop music, while 2006’s Cantos featured a decidedly stripped-down feel. Croce then returned to a wider sound with his latest album Cage of Muses.

“A.J. Croce has wisdom beyond his years. With his music, he represents his generation with a profound sense of honesty in his lyrics and quality in his delivery. The future of entertainment is safe in his hands!”

Willie Nelson

Ticketing Information

Ticket prices for adults: $30-45, seniors (ages 60+):$25-40, and students (ages 4 thru college): $10-20. For tickets, visit or call (414) 766-5049.


South Milwaukee Performing Arts Center (SMPAC) provides the greater Milwaukee and southeastern Wisconsin communities with creative, innovative and diverse performing arts.  In addition to hosting an annual Performing Arts Series, SMPAC also serves the students of South Milwaukee and is a professionally-managed rental facility for other presenters, organizations and groups. More than 500 performances, rehearsals, classes and other events take place at SMPAC annually. SMPAC was voted 3rd Best Theatre in the 2016 Milwaukee A-List contest, with customer reviews such as “A great venue with fabulous events for all ages!” “Excellent and diverse touring artist performances showcased in a comfortable, friendly theatre away from the downtown crowds.” “There is not a bad seat in the house.” “Great place that does a wonderful job.”

The annual SMPAC Performing Arts Series is sponsored in part by the Avalon Theatre, Classic Cargo International Inc., Courtyard Marriott Milwaukee Airport, Sheridan House & Café, Skyline Catering & Express Deli, TASC Services LLC., and Ken Cook Co. Performances are supported in part by a grant from the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the State of WI and the National Endowment for the Arts. SMPAC is located inside of the South Milwaukee School District 6-12 campus, at 901 15th Avenue in South Milwaukee between College and Rawson Avenues.  It is easily accessible from I-94 and 794.  Free parking is located in the northwest parking lot.  Patrons should enter door #9.  For tickets or directions, call 414-766-5049.  For more information, visit

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