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2013 Spring Arts Guide

Feb. 6, 2013
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Latino Arts

Through Feb. 22

“Contemporary Inspirations from Ancient South American Pottery”

1028 S. 9th St.

Latino Arts’ winter gallery exhibit brightens the Wisconsin winter with the handmade pottery of Luz Angela Crawford. Born in Columbia and currently based in Texas, the artist draws from the ancient pottery designs and techniques of indigenous South American peoples. Incorporating natural objects and simple mineral glazes, and preferring hand sculpting over the use of a potter’s wheel, Crawford’s clay plaques and vessels offer a sensory feast of complex texture and earthy tones. (Selena Milewski)


Haggerty Museum of Art

Through May 19

“Images of the Virgin Mary”

Marquette University

530 N. 13th St.

The Virgin Mary’s image has inspired diverse cultures and artists for centuries. In the Haggerty exhibition, Italian Andrea Vanni’s The Mourning Madonna (1375), borrowed from Madison’s Chazen Museum, contrasts with German Albrecht Dürer’s woodcut Assumption and Coronation of the Virgin (1510) or Spaniard Salvador Dali’s oil painting Madonna of Port Lligat (1949). Some 20 paintings, prints and sculptures define Mary at various stages in her life to provide examples of how religious art has evolved and influenced contemporary artists. (Peggy Sue Dunigan)


Racine Art Museum

Through July 21

“Christine Lee: Interlocked”

441 Main St., Racine

Christine Lee appropriates found, salvaged and recycled materials (primarily wood) for her innovative sculptures. The UW-Madison graduate received an MFA in furniture design and woodworking. Her yearlong installation in the RAM’s “Windows on Fifth Gallery” channels a grand-scale version of children’s Lincoln Logs, Frank Lloyd Wright’s modular constructions and humanity’s connection to the environment. (P.S.D.)


Milwaukee Ballet

Feb. 7-10

“Genesis: International Choreographic Competition”

Pabst Theater

144 E. Wells St.

This competition attracts exciting young choreographers of exceptional talent. Each finalist creates a one-act contemporary ballet with Milwaukee Ballet’s wonderfully game performers. The winner, chosen by the audience and a national panel of judges, will create a premiere for the company in 2014. This year’s finalists— Lauren Edson, James Gregg and Gabrielle Lamb—have stunning résumés as dancers with celebrated companies including the Trey McIntyre Project, Christopher Wheeldon’s Morphoses and Les Ballet Jazz de Montreal, and are winning choreographic awards across North America. Here they are encouraged to make risk-taking signature work. Not to be missed. (John Schneider)


Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum

Feb. 8-April 7

“Modern Rookwood: 1918-1933”

2220 N. Terrace Ave.

Villa Terrace’s spring exhibition charts the progress of one of America’s most innovative and celebrated ceramics companies during the fascinating post-war period and Great Depression. Drawn mainly from the private collection of Riley Humler and Annie Bauer, the vessels in this exhibit were painted by luminaries of the Modern Art movement including Lenore Asbury, Arthur P. Conant and Harriet Wilcox. For a true American success story, immerse yourself in the Cincinnati-based artist’s studio that was Rookwood. (S.M.)


Cedarburg Cultural Center

Feb. 9-March 30

“From Eggs to Art”

W62 N546 Washington Ave., Cedarburg

This spring the Cedarburg Cultural Center presents an exhibition of the vibrant and finely detailed cloisonné eggs and egg mosaic paintings of Paula Hare. Based and educated in Wisconsin, Hare’s work has been displayed and celebrated everywhere from Milwaukee to the White House. On March 16, she offers her expertise to the public through a workshop for all ages (registration fee $18 for CCC members and $20 for non-members) on egg painting and design. (S.M.)


Carte Blanche Studio Theatre

Feb. 14-March 3

Fawlty Towers

1024 S. 5th St.

There were 12 episodes of John Cleese and Connie Booth's 1970s sitcom “Fawlty Towers.” It's considered to be one of the great classics of TV comedy, but is rarely if ever brought to the stage. The big challenge here is getting performances that approach the material in a novel way. Carte Blanche's Jimmy Dragolovich and company have been successful with British farces in the past. It will be interesting to see what they do here. (Russ Bickerstaff)

Waukesha Civic Theatre

Feb. 14

Comedy Tonight: Love American Style

264 W. Main St., Waukesha

Here's kind of a strange option for Valentine's Day: Random Acts of Entertainment performing in a big theater in a small town. Located in the adorable heart of downtown Waukesha, the Waukesha Civic Theatre is surrounded by antique shops and little mom-and-pop businesses. This Valentine's Day, WCT hosts stand-up and improv comedy as well as a host of other variety acts all celebrating the most romantic holiday on the calendar. (R.B.)

Milwaukee Theatre

Feb. 14

Distant Worlds: Music from Final Fantasy

500 W. Kilbourn Ave.

Gamers rejoice! The Final Fantasy Symphony is coming to Milwaukee. After the massive success of the initial concerts in Japan held in conjunction with the 20th Anniversary of the Final Fantasy videogame series, a world tour was organized. It’s a symphonic concert of epic proportions with breathtaking visuals. Better yet, the multimedia aspects change from one performance to the next, so if the Milwaukee show leaves you wanting more, you can garner a totally different experience at the next performance you attend. Obviously this is no longer just for gamers. (Maxwell Thiesenhusen)


John Michael Kohler Arts Center

Feb. 19 and 21


608 New York Ave., Sheboygan

Philadanco, a Philadelphia-based dance group that focuses heavily on African styles of dance, comes to Sheboygan. Formed in 1970, the company has become renowned for its innovative concerts and for providing up-and-coming professionals a stage on which to dance and be seen, and emerging choreographers a chance to hone their craft. Philadanco has performed on many national and international stages and been highly praised for its creative preservation of African dance traditions. Not to be missed! (M.T.)


Marquette Theatre

Feb. 21-March 3

A Doll’s House

525 N. 13th Street

The Marquette Theatre Department presents Henrik Ibsen’s classic, A Doll’s House. Adapted and directed by Maureen Kilmurry, this production strives to tell the playwright’s original story faithfully, using largely realistic design elements and close adherence to Ibsen’s wording and syntax. Haunting and ambiguous, this groundbreaking tale of a marriage in crisis still guarantees to pique our interest and prompt dialogue about gender politics, communication and secrecy within our closest relationships and the true meaning of family. (S.M.)


First Stage Theater

Feb. 22 – March 24

Pinkalicious The Musical

Todd Wehr Theater

929 N. Water St.

Among the best children’s theaters in the state, First Stage consistently turns out quality plays and musicals for kids (and kids at heart). The fourth show in the 2012-2013 Season, Pinkalicious, is based on the popular children’s book of the same name. This musical interpretation will illustrate, in the most fun and colorful way, that too much of anything is seldom a good thing. Boys, don’t count this one out, Pinkalicious’ brother plays an important role in the story. (Susan Harpt Grimes)


Milwaukee Art Museum

Feb. 22-May 19

“Color Rush: 75 Years of Color Photography”

700 N. Art Museum Drive

Do we dream in color? The bigger question is why do we ask that? The reason could be that much photography was once in black and white. “Color Rush” tracks the arc of color photography from 1907 through the 1981, years that marked the widespread acceptance of color in art photography. Among the 150 photos in the show are such interesting surprises as color work by Ansel Adams and Walker Evans. (Francis Ford)


Frankly Music

Feb. 25

Wisconsin Lutheran College

Schwan Concert Hall

8815 W. Wisconsin Ave.

Frankly Music features Frank Almond and William Wolfram in a program that previews their new CD, A Violin’s Life, on Avie Records. Works on the album have direct historical connections to the “Lipinski” Stradivarius violin Almond performs on. The program includes Tartini’s Devil’s Trill Sonata, a violin sonata by Julius Röntgen, and works of Karol Lipinski and Robert Schumann. (Joel K. Boyd)


Alchemist Theatre

Feb. 28-March 16


2569 S. Kinnickinnic Ave.

Dracula returns by popular demand to the Alchemist Theatre. Adapted by founder Aaron Kopec, this production promises a scintillating thrill ride through the forests of Transylvania and the streets of Victorian London. Looking for a head-trip? Fear not; Dracula offers that too. As Kopec puts it, “There are bits that speak of politics and economy, other parts that poke fun at humanity’s flaws. That's what the good monsters are—broken mirrors that show bits and pieces of ourselves.” (S.M.)


In Tandem Theatre

March 1-24

Beast on the Moon

628 N. 10th St.

In Tandem Theatre has assembled an impressive blend of talent for its staging of this award-winning Milwaukee-based drama. Set here somewhere around 1921, the Richard Kalinoski play follows the lives of a couple of survivors of the Armenian Genocide. The talented Mary MacDonald Kerr directs Youngblood co-founder Michael Cotey and Project Empty Space's Grace DeWolff (both alumni of the UWM theatre program) in a cast that also includes local seasoned stage veteran Robert Spencer. (R.B.)

UM-Milwaukee Theatre Labworks

March 1-10


1925 E. Kenilworth Place

It has been a good season for Michelle Lopez-Rios. Earlier this season, she directed a production of Enfrascada with Renaissance Theaterworks. This coming March she directs another Latin American piece, this time a drama for UW-Milwaukee's intimate studio theatre series. The work of Puetro Rican-born Jose Rivera, Marisol tells the story of a mortal woman who is let in on news of a war in heaven against an old and senile God. (R.B.)

Milwaukee Choral Artists

March 1

Memories: The Best of MCA with Resident Composer Paula Foley Tillen

Women’s Club of Wisconsin

813 E. Kilbourn Ave.

A founding member and resident composer for the Milwaukee Choral Artists since its inception, Paula Tillen is a seasoned musician whose compositions and arrangements are performed by choral groups throughout North America. Memories will highlight some of MCA’s favorite works by Tillen to celebrate their memorable 15-year collaboration. Adding to this wonderful homage is the world premiere of Tillen’s newest piece, Rain. (Amanda Sullivan)


Acacia Theatre Company

Heaven Sent

March 8-17

Concordia University

Todd Wehr Auditorium

12800 N. Lake Shore Drive, Mequon

Loosely based on a novel by George Eliot, Heaven Sent by playwright Rick Whelan tells the story of a reclusive hermit who serves as the herbalist for a town in Kentucky during the Great Depression. When he finds an abandoned child near his home in need of his care, his life is forever changed for the better. Acacia Theatre Company promises a moving performance about a man's discovery of redemption, family and love. (Samantha Stanford)


Woodland Pattern Book Center

March 8-10

“Discovering the Hidden Story: A Writing Workshop with Sharon Fiffer”

Lynden Sculpture Garden

2145 W. Brown Deer Road

This spring, Woodland Pattern’s writer-in-residence, Sharon Fiffer, offers a workshop at Lynden Sculpture Garden entitled “Discovering the Hidden Story.” Renowned as a lecturer and as author of the Jane Wheel detective mysteries, Fiffer will focus on drawing out participants’ personal stories and bringing them to bear on diverse writing styles. Participants of all experience levels are welcome, and in addition to practical techniques (for plotting, creating fictional timelines, etc.) the workshop will feature a “junking junket,” wherein writers seek out inspiration through antiquing. Advance registration is required. (S.M.)


Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra

March 8-9

New World Symphony

Marcus Center for the Performing Arts

929 N. Water St.

Antonín Dvořák’s love for African-American spirituals and Native American music sparked his Symphony No. 9 From the New World, arguably his finest work. Edo de Waart will conduct this heartfelt piece with guest star Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, weaving her violin into the fabric of Dvořák’s melodies. Also on the program is Bruch’s Concerto No. 1 plus a work by the Pulitzer and Grammy-winning Jennifer Higdon, blue cathedral, one of the most popular recent works for orchestra on the concert stage. (Thomas J. Hammer)


Skylight Music Theatre

March 8-24

Pump Boys and Dinettes

Broadway Theatre Center

158 N. Broadway

A unique musical among musicals, Pump Boys and Dinettes was originally written, directed and performed by a group with the same name. It tells the story of four young gas station workers and two waitresses, and it will take you back to the1980s in a way so distinctive it can only be based on real life—and in fact, some of it is. Nominated for a Tony Award, the musical is full of sharp wit and Southern charm accompanied by pop-oriented country music. (M.T.)



Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts

March 9-April 27

The Photography of Sarah Stonefoot

19805 W. Capitol Drive, Brookfield

Madison’s Sarah Stonefoot achieved the Best in Show Award in the 5th Annual CoPA Juried Invitational 2011, held at Walker’s Point Center for the Arts, with her print displaying dead ladybugs placed in ornate patterns referencing Victorian wallpaper. By photographing organic materials placed in her serene interior scenes, Stonefoot juxtaposes two disparate worlds with unusual artistry and wit that garnered the attention of the Catherine Edelman Gallery Chicago Project. The Wilson Center hosts an artist’s reception on March 14. (P.S.D.)


Bel Canto Chorus

March 10

All-Night Vigil

St. Joseph Center Chapel

1501 S. Layton Blvd.

Bel Canto Chorus will perform All-Night Vigil in celebration of their choral conductor and music director Richard Hynson’s 25th anniversary. This extraordinary a cappella choral composition, commonly known as Vespers, is considered one of Sergei Rachmaninoff’s finest achievements. This must-see performance will also feature the Bel Canto Boy Choir and include the world premiere of Alexander Levine’s newly commissioned piece At All Times And At Every Hour (Morning Prayers). A celebratory reception will be held after the event. (A.S.)


Wisconsin Philharmonic

March 10

English Elegance

St. Luke’s Lutheran Church

300 Carroll St., Waukesha

Churches and classical music have been linked since the days of Bach. This acoustical gem of St. Luke’s is a fine setting for an afternoon spent with a trio of late 19th-century and early 20th-century British composers: Gustav Holst (St. Paul’s Suite), Edward Elgar (Serenade for Strings) and Benjamin Britten (Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings). The concert features horn player Matthew Bronstein and tenor Vale Rideout. (T.J.H.)


Milwaukee Rep

March 12-April 14

A Raisin In The Sun

108 E. Wells St.

One of the greatest stage dramas of the 20th century was also one of the greatest American stage dramas of all time. Lorraine Hansberry's tale of a family struggling to make ends meet in a tiny tenement in Chicago graces the spacious stage of the Quadracci Powerhouse Theater this spring as the Milwaukee Rep, under artistic director Mark Clements, stages the popular classic. (R.B.)

UW-Whitewater Young Auditorium

March 13

The Improvised Shakespeare Company

930 W. Main St., Whitewater

If it's done right, Shakespeare's work can be hilarious. But maybe it just doesn't have enough weak humor to truly compete with contemporary improv. Shakespeare's too classy. Where's the silent desperation of hack comedy? Thus was born The Improvised Shakespeare Company. It transcended the cheap laughs so common to improv, however, and became something more. That project is now on tour. It makes its way to Whitewater this March. (R.B.)

Wild Space Dance Company

March 14-16


Stiemke Studio Theater

108 E. Wells St.

Wild Space’s 26th season opened in breathtaking style last fall with Milwaukee 360 choreographer Debra Loewen’s site-specific masterpiece performed in and around the parking structure of the old Pabst Brewery. Loewen will again collaborate with some of the inventive stars of that show, including composer/musician Tim Russell and dancers Mauriah Kraker, Molly Mingey and Yeng Vang-Strath, for this mixed program of original works and premieres. Astonishing vocalist Amanda Schoofs and strong dancers Lindsey Krygowski and Emily Zakrzewski complete the cast. Loewen’s concerts are always experimental in the best sense, richly humored, rigorously structured and highly memorable. (J.S.)


UWM Peck School of the Arts Music Department

March 15-16

Hansel and Gretel

Kenilworth Building 512

1925 E. Kenilworth Place

For three performances only, the UWM Voice Area presents Engelbert Humperdinck’s full opera version of the classic Grimms’ fairytale, Hansel and Gretel. Composed for a libretto written by Humperdinck’s sister, Adelheid Wette, in the early 1890s, the opera still promises to delight audiences of all ages today. Beautiful music, including the unforgettable song “Now I lay me down to sleep,” coupled with mischief and magic will surely make for an unforgettable outing in the German woods of yore. (S.M.)


Charles Allis Art Museum

March 20-May 12

“Michael Kutzer: Etchings and Woodcuts”

1801 N. Prospect Ave.

German artist Michael Kutzer creates prints featuring bizarre and beautiful images of landscapes and amalgamate creatures, and his selection for this exhibit includes a series on the animals of St. Francis’ Seminary Woods. The offering is presented in conjunction with the Southern Graphics Council International 2013 Print MKE printmaking conference (March 20-23), which will bring practitioners from all over the world to Milwaukee. (S.M.)


Milwaukee Opera Theatre

March 22-24

Guns N’ Rosenkavalier

Wisconsin Conservatory of Music

1584 N. Prospect Ave.

It seems strange that a classic Richard Strauss opera from 1911 could bond with the brand of rock ’n’ roll for which Guns N’ Roses is known. Loud, sleazy, salacious hair metal doesn’t seem like it could find a place amidst the more regimented world of art music. But somehow, this inventive company is likely to pull it off, melding rock and comic opera into a perhaps mind-numbingly good time. Baritone Andrew Wilkowske, keyboardist Ruben Piirainen and composer John Glover will be featured along with special guests. (M.T.)


Schauer Art Center

March 22-23

The Secret Garden

147 N. Rural St., Hartford

The Missoula Children's Theatre has a long and distinguished history of touring the country with entertaining shows for kids. This March the company makes its way to the stage at Hartford for a couple performances of The Secret Garden, an adaptation of the beloved book by Frances Hodgson Burnett. The touching story of a young girl's journey is played out in a short musical theatre performance that should be appealing for fans and the uninitiated alike. (R.B.)

The Bay Players

April 5-13

The Seven Year Itch

Whitefish Bay High School Auditorium

1200 E. Fairmount Ave.

George Axelrod's 1952 comedy gets a staging from one of the oldest continuing theater traditions in the state with a performance by Whitefish Bay's community theater group, The Bay Players. Artistic Director Raymond Bradford brings the familiar title to the stage with what will likely be the same mix of new talent and local veterans that has become the trademark of The Bay Players. (R.B.)

Renaissance Theaterworks

April 5-28

The Road to Mecca

Broadway Theatre Center Studio Theatre

158 N. Broadway

Renaissance Theaterworks presents Athol Fugard’s 1985 drama The Road to Mecca, a provocative examination of creativity and repression. Set in the apartheid world of 1974 South Africa, the play centers on the struggles of Outsider Artist, Helen Martins. Challenging, but ultimately uplifting, this production is sponsored by the Mary L. Nohl Fund and incorporates thousands of sculptures created by members of Pearls for Teen Girls, a Milwaukee nonprofit offering leadership training for at-risk girls. (S.M.)


Museum of Wisconsin Art

April 6-7

Grand Opening Weekend & “Antifragile: Contemporary Glass” Exhibition Opening

205 Veterans Ave., West Bend

The opening of the Museum of Wisconsin Art’s architecturally cutting-edge building is marked by an exhibition of contemporary glass. Douglas and Renee Sigwarth, who fashioned a permanent glass sculpture for the museum, join 14 other Wisconsin artists, including Beth Lipman, Michael Meilahn, Jeremy Popelka and Stephanie Trenchard. The artists’ works range from opaque to transparent and promise a tremendous show of technique and brilliant color. Marking the long-awaited reopening of the Museum of Wisconsin Art in its new building, admission is free and open to the public from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Saturday, April 6. (P.S.D.)


UW-Washington County 

April 6

Festival of Arts

UW-Washington County Campus

400 University Drive, West Bend

The Festival of Arts dabbles in all things good: art, music, food and community. The free event will feature a juried arts and crafts fair with more than 50 artists, musical performances by local bands and a large farmer’s market. The market will expand two floors and showcase goods, including homemade ice cream, honey, ham, jellies and even specialty doggie treats. Educational opportunities also abound with landscaping seminars and a contest displaying student work from 27 local middle and high schools. Organizers encourage visitors to attend the festival, describing it as “a true celebration of all the arts.” (Erin Heffernan) 


Philomusica Quartet

April 8

Wisconsin Conservatory of Music

Helen Bader Recital Hall

1584 N. Prospect Ave.

Beethoven’s F Minor String Quartet has the moniker Serioso (Serious) for a reason. Unique within his output, it possesses a violent, compact score that includes harmonic experiments looking forward to the Romantic era. The jittery finale provides the sole mood-brightening passages. Also on the program are Franz Schubert, whose gifts for melody and harmony shine forth in his Cello Quintet in C Major, and contemporary Estonian composer Arvo Pärt, whose Summa for String Quartet is animated by a lively Baroque-like spirit. (John Jahn)


Lynden Sculpture Garden

April 7-May 26

“Women, Nature, Science: Sheila Held”

2145 W. Brown Deer Road

Textile artist Sheila Held describes her work as the point “where magic, science and religion, art and nature intersect.” In her colorful cloth hangings, the grids of the warp and weft merge into fluid abstract designs that create the magic of which Held speaks. (P.S.D.)


Milwaukee Chamber Theatre

April 11-28

Jeeves In Bloom

158 N. Broadway

Matt Daniels returns to the role of P.G. Wodehouse's unflappable butler Jeeves in a second production for Milwaukee Chamber. Daniels' naturally precise stage presence is a hilariously clever match for the character. Here he is directed by Tami Workentin in a production featuring some of the best comic talent to find a home at the Broadway Theatre Center in the recent past, including Chris Klopatek, Norman Moses, Karen Estrada and Marcella Kearns. (R.B.)

Prometheus Trio

April 15-16

Wisconsin Conservatory of Music

Helen Bader Recital Hall

1584 N. Prospect Ave.

Beethoven’s first published work, the Piano Trio in E-Flat Major, reveals that the young genius had already assimilated the high-classical style as exemplified by his masterful predecessors, Mozart and Haydn. Half a century later, the Romantic era was in full swing, from which emerged Mendelssohn’s Piano Trio No. 2 in C Minor, a finely detailed work from late in the composer’s oeuvre. Finally, Prometheus Trio performs Círculo by early 20th-century Spanish composer Joaquín Turina. (J.J.)


Sunset Playhouse

April 18-May 12

The Goodbye Girl

Furlan Auditorium

800 Elm Grove Road, Elm Grove

Incorporated in 1954, the Sunset Playhouse is one of Wisconsin’s longest running community theaters and a much beloved facet of Elm Grove. Currently, Sunset produces around 14 shows a season, which feature community actors and are directed by local theater professionals. Directed by Skylight Opera veteran Diana Alioto, the light-hearted Neil Simon comedy The Goodbye Girl will be a joy to watch for fans and first timers alike. (Susan Harpt Grimes)


Cardinal Stritch University

April 19-28

Little Women: The Musical

Cardinal Stritch’s Nancy Kendall Theater

6801 N. Yates Road

Generations of mothers and daughters have read Louisa May Alcott’s beloved novel, and now area audiences can see the musical adaptation, an award-winning hit on Broadway. Cardinal Stritch’s music and theatre departments present the timeless story of the March Sisters, Meg, Jo and Beth, and their journey into womanhood during the time of the Civil War. The producers promise: “This is a Little Women unlike any you have seen or heard before.” (S.S.)


Early Music Now

April 20

Slavic Wonders: Feasts & Saints in Early Russia, Poland and Bohemia

Basilica of St. Josaphat

2333 S. 6th St.

The Rose Ensemble from Saint Paul, Minn., is one of the world’s leading exponents of early choral music, albeit early music only begins to describe their range. For their Milwaukee concert in the beautiful setting of St. Josaphat, the Ensemble will straddle the divide between the Roman Catholic West and the Orthodox East with an evening of Latin and Russian liturgical choral music. (T.J.H.)


Racine Symphony Orchestra

April 20

Laurino goes Italian

First Presbyterian Church

716 College Ave., Racine

This RSO concert is based around Mendelssohn’s Italian Symphony, one of his best-loved works. The program heads east to Poland for Lutoslawski’s Little Suite for orchestra, which was banned during the Stalinist era for the sin of being “formalist.” Joining the orchestra will be the winner of the 2013 Young Artist Competition as well as high school students chosen for the annual RSO Youth String Invitational. (T.J.H.)


Stefanie H. Weill Center for the Performing Arts

April 21

A Brown Bear, a Moon and a Caterpillar: Treasured Stories by Eric Carle

826 N. 8th St., Sheboygan

The Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia presents an afternoon of music, puppetry and skits based on the children’s stories of Eric Carle, best known for The Very Hungry Caterpillar. The 2 p.m. show in the grand, gilded environs of the old Sheboygan Community Theatre will include black light simulations of Carle’s unique hand painted, die-cut pages. (Morton Shlabotnik)


Broadway At The Marcus Center

April 23-28

Catch Me If You Can

929 N. Water St

What con artist Frank W. Abagnale Jr. managed to do in impersonating an airline pilot was not just amazing—it was bizarre. The fact that his exploits got turned into the hugely successful film Catch Me If You Can was possibly even more bizarre. That film in question has been turned into a big, splashy Broadway musical. The show makes it to the Marcus Center this April as one man's con continues to make money. (R.B.)

Boulevard Ensemble Studio Theatre

April 24-May 12

Living Out

2250 S. Kinnickinnic Ave.

Playwright Lisa Loomer came to national attention with The Waiting Room, a celebrated 1994 play about women and cosmetic body modification practices across centuries and cultures. Its first production was directed by David Schweizer who spent the second half of the 1980s in Milwaukee with Theatre X. Living Out (2003) concerns the relationship between a Salvadoran mother who supports her child back home by working illegally as a nanny in Los Angeles, and the American mother, a lawyer, whose child she tends. Rising local director, actress and playwright Beth Monhollen directs the Milwaukee premiere. (J.S.)  


Danceworks Performance Company

w/ Milwaukee Chamber Orchestra and Milwaukee Opera Theatre

April 25-27

Façade – An Entertainment

Milwaukee Theatre

500 W. Kilbourn Ave.

Last season’s historic collaboration by these three fine companies gave us the spectacular tango opera Maria de Buenos Aires. For their second collaboration, they’ve chosen something radically different and wildly interesting. Façade is a collection of Edith Sitwell’s experimental poems recited to lovely, whimsical music by William Walton. It was considered too avant garde at its 1922 premiere; Noël Coward noisily walked out. Frederick Ashton choreographed a famous 1931 ballet to the music alone, but DPC’s Dani Kuepper will choreograph the Sitwell-Walton original.  She intends, she said, to make dance puzzles that are as intricate and elaborate as the poetry. (J.S.)


South Milwaukee Performing Arts Center

April 26

Frank Ferrante in An Evening With Groucho

901 15th Ave., South Milwaukee

He may not be quite as well-known locally as Milwaukee's favorite Groucho, Norman Moses, but Frank Ferrante has been touring with his impression of the most famous Marx Brother in a one-man show that puts a premium on feeling as authentic as possible. Ferrante's performance is a carefully rendered version of Groucho in his prime performing "Hooray for Captain Spalding" and "Lydia, the Tattooed Lady." The show promises plenty of fearless comedy that even delves into improvisation. (R.B.)

Festival City Symphony

April 28

From the Steppes

Pabst Theater

144 E. Wells St.

The Festival City Symphony will conclude its season with Mussorgsky’s Pictures at the Exhibition, along with another Russian classic by one of his 19th century contemporaries, Borodin’s Symphony No. 2. Mussorgsky’s music is somehow intensely visual, a tribute to his country and its inherent beauty, and Borodin was similarly inspired by the highest ideals of his culture. (T.J.H.)


Next Act Theatre

May 2-26

The Mystery of Irma Vep: A Penny Dreadful

255 S. Water St.

A few seasons back, Next Act's David Cecsarini, actor John McGivern and comic talent Christopher Tarjan tackled this extremely convoluted contemporary stage comedy. In delving into the script, they found it to be the Joyce's Ulysses of contemporary plays complete with a small universe of obscure references and bizarre little comic fugues. Several seasons later, Cecsarini and McGivern revisit Irma Vep with Milwaukee comic veteran Norman Moses. (R.B.)

Windfall Theatre

May 3-18

A Little Night Music

130 E. Juneau Ave.

Windfall Theatre closes its 20th season with the 40th anniversary of Stephen Sondheim's tribute to Ingmar Bergman's Smiles on a Summer Night. The cozy studio theater plays host to the romantic lives of several couples and the music that they inspired. Best known for the haunting song “Send in the Clowns,” the musical flits through quite a few different moods that should be enjoyable to see rendered with the kind of passion that characterizes a season-closing musical with Windfall. (R.B.)



May 4-11

Twelfth Night, or What You Will

UW-Parkside Theater

900 Wood Road, Kenosha

Sit back, relax and enjoy one of Shakespeare’s finest comedies in a nearly brand-new facility. UW-Parkside completed their state-of-the-art fine arts center addition in 2011, demonstrating commitment to their top-notch theater program. Solid acting and clever set design will bring this comedic love story to life. Like most of Shakespeare’s comedies, Twelfth Night is all about fun, frivolity and excess. The season (and school-year) ending performance promises to be an enjoyable, audience-pleasing event. (S.H.G.)


Off the Wall Theatre

May 9-19

Kiss of The Spider Woman

127 E. Wells St.

This Broadway classic brought to the Milwaukee stage is based on the novel by Manuel Puig. The musical follows the prison life of Luis Molina, a homosexual window dresser who dares to dream big and lives in his head to keep the screams of the tortured prisoners away. His fantasies revolve around films and the diva Aurora, an actress that Molina admires in all her rolls except when she portrays the spider woman who kills with her kiss. Cellmate Valentin Arregui Paz is brought into Molina’s life and a strong bond is formed, but the spider woman always kills. (M.T.)


UWM Peck School of the Arts Dance Department

May 9-11

Springdances: Impermanence

Mitchell Hall Studio 254

3203 N. Downer Ave.

This concert of faculty-student premieres will be given in addition to the department’s annual Summerdances, which, this year, is being devised in collaboration with UWM’s School of Freshwater Sciences. Springdances will showcase premieres by three faculty choreographers, their student dancers and the much-in-demand Milwaukee composer Tim Russell. Dani Kuepper, artistic director of Danceworks Performance Company, was inspired by the street photographer Vivian Maier; Christina Briggs Winslow will draw on photographic darkroom processes; and Maria Gillespie will reflect a world of mobile identities and unfixed communities. Heartfelt mentoring is always the basic component and honest risk-taking gets A's. (J.S.)


Florentine Opera

May 10, 12

The Marriage of Figaro (Le Nozze di Figaro)

Uihlein Hall

929 N. Water St.

For the Florentine Opera’s production of Mozart’s operatic gem, Frank Kelley portrays Don Basillo, Joseph Rescigno conducts the orchestra and Daniel Belcher returns to Milwaukee as the title character, having stared in an earlier Florentine production, The Barber of Seville. From its sonata-form overture through its triumphant, fanfare-laden finale, Mozart’s masterpiece flows with famous and beloved moments. (J.J.)


Racine Theatre Guild

May 10-26

A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum

2519 Northwestern Ave., Racine

Stephen Sondheim's musical farce closes out the 75th season of the Racine Theatre Guild. The 1962 hit Broadway comedy has continued to return to the stage in a number of different revivals over the years. Best known for the first song in Act I, any production of this comedy has the challenge of maintaining an audience's enthusiasm after "Comedy Tonight" ends and the story begins. That it's based on ancient Roman comedy doesn't hurt. (R.B.)

Theatre Gigante

May 10-19


UWM Kenilworth Studio 508

1925 E. Kenilworth Place

Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides, the ancient Greek inventors of playwriting, were each inspired to tell the story of Electra, daughter of Agamemnon. Consumed by grief and rage, she fiercely supported her brother Orestes in the vengeance killing of their mother, their father’s murderess. Artistic directors Isabelle Kralj and Mark Anderson will take the story apart and retell it with help from their remarkable pool of collaborators, bringing contemporary thinking to its themes and issues through new text and movement, live music and visual art. This world premiere is the climax of the indispensable experimental performance group’s 25th season. (J.S.)

Ensemble Musical Offering

May 11

The French Bach

Cathedral Church of All Saints

818 E. Juneau Ave.

Though he’s lamentably somewhat overlooked today, Georg Philipp Telemann is not only one of history’s most prolific composers, but his music is an important link and driving force between the Baroque and early classical styles. Ensemble Musical Offering reintroduces us to him via his orchestral suite, Wassermusik in C Major, as well as his Concerto in E Minor for Recorder and Flute. Telemann’s friend J.S. Bach wrote four orchestral suites that stand among Bach’s most popular works. The Ensemble rounds out its program with Bach’s Orchestral Suite No. 2 in B Minor. (J.J.)

UWM Peck School of the Arts Dance Department

May 17-18

The Sweet Grass Project

Mitchell Hall Studio 254

3203 N. Downer Ave.

This is the premiere of a major new work by Ferne Yangyeitie Caulker-Bronson, genius of African dance and mother of Ko-Thi Dance Company and of the African Dance Program of UW-Milwaukee’s Dance Department. In collaboration with UWM Film Professor Portia Cobb, she’s made an extensively researched, evening-length performance of dance, song, music and spoken prose in celebration of the Gullah people of South Carolina and Georgia. The Gullah have preserved a distinct cultural legacy from the slave period and this work is “dedicated to the perseverance and ever-present spirit of survivors.” Bronson knows that spirit intimately. (J.S.)


Cedarburg Performing Arts Center

May 17

Vocal Trash

W68 N611 Evergreen Blvd., Cedarburg

Formed in 2001 in Dallas, Vocal Trash consists of six performers who sing, among other things. The group is best known for their tight a cappella vocals and use of everyday items to create beats. The members all cite different musical influences, lending the group’s musical choices an eclectic vibe. The act offers a mix of music, dance and comedy, with audience participation scattered throughout. This is an event not to be missed, especially if you enjoy the power of the industrial music theater group Stomp. (M.T.)


Pink Banana Theatre Co.

June 6-15

One Act Play Festival

The Underground Collaborative

161 W. Wisconsin Ave.

Playwrights around the country compete to have their work included, but artistic director Matt Kemple (who also produces our city’s national Comedy Festival in August) gives preference to Milwaukee writers. That’s because Pink Banana’s founding mission is to provide a showcase for artists here. This year, competitors were asked to write short plays in imaginative response to the phrase “game night.” Pink Banana has a new, raw, flexible performance space in the lower level of the Grand Avenue Mall’s glorious Plankinton Building and an open-hearted commitment to collaboration and experiment. (J.S.)


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