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Baby Boomer Comedy

‘Over the Tavern’ in Elm Grove

Mar. 6, 2013
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Tom Dudzick's domestic comedy Over the Tavernis one of those period pieces that feels a bit chronologically ambiguous. It's been produced so many times since it first appeared in the mid-1990s that it scarcely feels like a play from the mid-90s. Set in Buffalo, New York in the ’50s, it kind of feels like it's more or less been around since then. One can picture Dudzick's comedy playing alongside original runs of classic Neil Simon. The fact that it's actually a lot more recent is likely to be kind of a strange detail as time pulls further and further away from the 20th century.

The latest local production of the comic juggernaut takes the stage of the Sunset Playhouse this month. Set in the playwright's hometown, it's a partially biographical look at life growing up as a baby boomer. A mother and father are trying to raise four kids in a tiny apartment over a bar. Dudzick straddles his tale somewhere between idealization and realism. These people are inherently nice and easy to like, but in their hearts they are struggling with much deeper matters. This isn't Donna Reed or “Leave it to Beaver.” There's real depth here that feels very authentic. It never dwells in the darkness for too long, though.

Sunset Playhouse's production of Over the Tavern runs March 7-24. For ticket reservations, call 262-782-4430 or visit sunsetplayhouse.com/tickets.


Theater Happenings

A classic tale of blood and hunger warms the late winter as Alchemist Theatre presents a revival of Aaron Kopec's Dracula starring Randall T. Anderson as Jonathan Harker and Liz Whitford as Lucy. The show runs Feb. 28-March 16, 2569 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., Bay View. For ticket reservations, call 414-426-4169 or visit alchemisttheatre.com.

The Milwaukee Rep pays tribute to the life and work of Johnny Cash with Ring of Fire. Conceived by William Meade, the show runs March 1-May 5 at the Stackner Cabaret, 108 E. Wells St. For ticket reservations, call 414-224-9490 or visit milwaukeerep.com.


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