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Critics Choice

2013 Fall Arts Guide

Sep. 6, 2013
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Milwaukee Ballet's 'Romeo and Juliet' - Photo by Jessica Kaminski
Charles Allis Decorative Art Museum

“Treasures From the Allis Collection”

Through Oct. 6

1801 N. Prospect Ave.

Visit the Allis for an exhibit unveiling the immense history within the museum’s walls. As a wealthy industrialist at the turn of the 20th century, Charles Allis was uniquely suited to engage his passion for art collection, and many of his treasures remain in the mansion, including works by prominent 19th-century Realists, exquisite examples of Chinese and Japanese porcelain and bronzes by Antoine-Louis Barye.  (Selena Milewski)


Racine Art Museum

“If Only We Had Met¾Six Stories”

Through July 20, 2014

441 Main St., Racine

Acclaimed Wisconsin artist Martha Glowacki was commissioned to create a yearlong installation “If Only We Had Met¾Six Stories.” The site-specific artwork marries Glowacki’s interest in vintage photographs with constructing objects that resemble historical artifacts. For the museum’s Fifth Street window, Glowacki envisioned something resembling a monumental Victorian Cabinet of Curiosities, revealing poetic, open-ended narratives through six evocative tableaus. Programming to complement the Fifth Street window is planned throughout the year and Glowacki will revise the installation after six months. (Peggy Sue Dunigan)


Haggerty Museum of Art

“Current Tendencies III: Artists from Milwaukee”

Through Dec. 22

Marquette University campus, 1250 W. Wisconsin Ave.

The Haggerty Museum’s Current Tendencies series examines the state of contemporary art in Wisconsin. The nine artists in “Current Tendencies III” have been based in Milwaukee at different stages in their creative life. Each will present an installation in the lower level galleries that expresses a unique response to a specific piece from the museum’s permanent collection. The featured artists, who work in a variety of media, include: Tyanna Buie, William E. Carpenter, Evan Guzis, Jon Horvath, Mark Mulhern, Jean Roberts Guequierre, Cassandra Smith and Jessica Steeber (in collaboration) and Jason S. Yi. (P.S.D.)


Wisconsin Museum of Art

“Tom Jones: I am an Indian First and an Artist Second”

Sept. 6-Dec. 1

205 Veterans Ave., West Bend

Wisconsin Ho-chunk conceptual photographer/artist Tom Jones challenges outmoded perceptions of indigenous culture. Native American visual art style always existed fluently in the abstract. Jones takes to abstract style like a bird to soaring currents. He reflects the ongoing effort to reclaim his people’s lost culture and heritage. The show uses Indian figurines in a statement about identity genocide. A second body of landscape work is a sort of blood brother to the museum’s unforgettable current photo exhibit “Edward S. Curtis and the Vanishing Race.” (Kevin Lynch)


Theatre Unchained

Monty Python’s Spamalot

Sept. 6-22

1024 S. Fifth St.

Formerly known as Carte Blanche Studios, Theatre Unchained brings Eric Idle’s charming musical tribute Monty Python and the Holy Grail to life on a small stage. As Carte Blanche, Theatre Unchained had been able to bring a big feel to shows like The Producers and Cabaret without compromising the intimacy. (They don’t even trip over each other.) Audiences can expect the same comic balance and poise with this production. (Russ Bickerstaff)


Present Music


Sept. 7

Lynden Sculpture Garden, 2145 W. Brown Deer Road

Contemporary American composer John Luther Adams is inspired by nature, especially his sojourn in the solitude of the Alaskan wilderness. Milwaukee’s foremost contemporary ensemble, Present Music, will perform Adams’ Inuksuit in the outdoor setting of the Lynden Sculpture Garden with the aid of 99 guest percussionists, tolling lonesome cadences on tom-toms, conch shells, cymbals, temple gongs, wind machines and more. Among the guest musicians will be Chicago’s Third Coast Percussion. (David Luhrssen)


Wild Space Dance Company

Acts of Wilderness

Sept. 19-21

Menomonee Valley Three Bridges Park

Enter at the Mitchell Domes Parking Lot, 524 S. Layton Blvd.

Be prepared to walk through this year’s site-specific performance. The site is Three Bridges Park, a new 24-acre “urban wilderness” that joins the Layton Boulevard West and Clarke Square neighborhoods with the Menomonee Valley. Everything will happen outdoors. Tim Russell will make music. You’ll journey through an ever-changing watery environment on the weekend of the equinox; as darkness falls, Jan Kellogg’s lighting design will materialize. A separate ticket adds a pre-show lecture by the illuminating historian-showman John Gurda. Since Debra Loewen’s choreography is responsive to both the past and present of a site, knowing its ghosts adds pleasure. (John Schneider)


Great Lakes Improvising Orchestra

Sept. 12

Peck School of the Arts Recital Hall, 2400 E. Kenwood Blvd.

The city’s most adventuresome radio program (“Alternating Currents”) expands conductor Hal Rammel’s hypnotic realm of influence when GLO lets loose with another freewheeling performance. The 13 improviser-composers, featuring pianist Steve Nelson-Raney, strive for a nuanced interplay of ideas, sounds, moods and textures in a funhouse of conventional instruments, electronics and voice. So expect mainly the unexpected, the musical equivalent of taking a leap into the deep, or a planetary buzz in the galaxy where John Coltrane’s Ascension finally landed. Admission is as free as the music. (K.L.)


Hidden River Art Festival

Sept. 14-15

Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts

Mitchell Park, 19805 W. Capitol Drive, Brookfield

The scope of this year’s Hidden River Art Festival expands beyond Wisconsin to include 100 Midwest artists, displayed in the white tents set up as galleries surrounding the Wilson Center. The serene setting is inviting for families and includes children’s events, a variety of food trucks to keep visitors refreshed and affordable prices, including a weekend pass. Inside the Center, painter Beki Borman exhibits in the Ploch Art Gallery while juried emerging artists are presented in the education wing. (P.S.D.)


Milwaukee Chamber Theatre

The Detective’s Wife

Sept. 18-Oct. 13

Broadway Theatre Center’s Studio Theatre, 158 N. Broadway

Mary MacDonald Kerr has proven herself to be a talented actress and director countless times over the years. She’s got an irresistible stage presence that’s thoroughly engrossing from a variety of different thematic angles. Here, the equally talented James Tasse directs her in a contemporary ghost story about a woman investigating the death of her husband, a Chicago homicide detective. With remarkable seasoned talent, this should be a very tightly illuminated drama. (R.B.)

The Bay Players

The Odd Couple (Female Version)

Sept. 20-28

Whitefish Bay High School Auditorium, 1200 E. Fairmount Ave.

This particular production of Neil Simon’s classic has the distinction of being staged by a company that goes back nearly a decade and a half before the original comedy debuted on Broadway. Whitefish Bay’s Bay Players will be bringing Simon’s own gender-flipped modulation of the mid-century comedic classic to life, presenting it on a spacious stage as directed by seasoned local stage director Raymond Bradford. (R.B.)


Milwaukee Entertainment Group

Sherlock Holmes and the Final Vow

Sept. 20-Oct. 13

Brumder Mansion, 3046 W. Wisconsin Ave.

The third and final installment of Liz Shipe’s Sherlock Holmes trilogy makes it to the classy environment of the Brumder Mansion early this autumn. Michael Traynor and Max Hultquist return as Holmes and Watson in the closing chapter of the popular series. The cast has been looking forward to this one for a while, having received this show’s scripts at the end of the run of Sherlock Holmes and the Regrettable Engagement. (R.B.)

The Milwaukee Rep

Venus In Fur

Sept. 25-Nov. 3

Stiemke Studio Theatre, 108 E. Wells St.

Powerful male lead Reese Madigan will dominate the stage of the Rep’s studio theatre in the role of a playwright and director who is searching for the right actress to star in his stage adaptation of a classic erotic novel. Greta Wolhrabe plays a beautiful actress looking to be cast. It may not be the most intimate studio theatre in town, but the Rep should excel at amping up the sexiness of this comedy by the great David Ives. (R.B.)


Youngblood Theatre

Dying City

Sept. 26-Oct. 12

Location TBA

Benjamin James Wilson takes over for Michael Cotey in the driver’s seat at Youngblood Theatre. The first show in their new season is Christopher Shinn’s dramatic 2006 analysis of the impact of the Iraq war on the home front in the U.S. A man leaves the city, his wife and his brother for Iraq. One year later we see how his wife and brother are affected. (R.B.)


Over Our Head Players

Short Attention Span Theatre!”

Sept. 27-Oct. 13

Sixth Street Theatre, 318 Sixth St., Racine

Racine’s Over Our Head Players has succeeded with short comedy. Their annual Snowdance Short Comedy Festival has run for many years, allowing the company the opportunity to stage more comic shorts than the mind can safely grasp. Late this September, OOHP stages a program of four shorts. The show includes Wasp by Steve Martin, Variations on the Death of Trotsky by David Ives, The Problem by A. R. Gurney and a new play by Ethan Cohen. (R.B.)


Windfall Theatre

An Empty Plate in the Café du Grand Boeuf

Sept. 27-Oct. 12

Village Church Arts, 130 E. Juneau Ave.

Windfall Theatre stages a tale set in a fine restaurant in early-’60s Paris. They’ll have an interesting challenge bringing the proper atmosphere to the stage in this Michael Hollinger comedy. In the past, the Windfall Theatre has excelled in bringing the proper irreverence to crazy comedies like this one, which involves cooking, sex and bullfighting. (R.B.)



“The 2012 Greater Milwaukee Foundation Mary L. Nohl Fellowships Exhibition”

Sept. 27-Dec. 15

Inova/Kenilworth, 2155 N. Prospect Ave.

Inova’s Nohl program sustains creative enterprise in the visual arts. Here are the top 2012 fellows/exhibitors: Public TV vet Danielle Beverly, who served in 2011 as a cameraperson on the politically charged documentary As Goes Janesville by Nohl Fellow Brad Lichtenstein and as a field producer for the Peabody Award-winning Sundance film Rebirth (she’ll exhibit clips from her films); Faythe Levine, a multimedia artist, curator, author and collector who toured for two years with her book and film, Handmade Nation: The Rise of D.I.Y. Art, Craft and Design (she’ll display photography); Colin Matthes, who comically juggles painting, drawing, installation, zine and graphic production (he’ll stage a solar-powered miniature demolition derby); and Emerging Artist fellows Lois Bielefeld, Tyanna Buie, Brad Fiore and Paul Kjelland.  (K.L.)


Ensemble Music Offering

Music from the French Court, Paris ca. 1740

Sept. 28

Cathedral of All Saints, 818 E. Juneau Ave.

Short of powdered wigs and the threat of the guillotine, the Ensemble Music Offering strives to serve up an authentic experience by using historically accurate instrumentation. If the program’s composers, Rameau and Telemann, are unfamiliar these days, their credentials are easy enough to establish. Bach named one of his sons after Telemann. No less impressive, we have Rameau to thank for (arguably) the most significant advancements in music theory since the ancient Greeks. The French Revolution may have toppled the monarchy, but you can still give your ears the old-fashioned royal treatment. (Tyler Friedman)


UWM Peck School of the Arts

Musical Theatre Capstone: “What You Don’t Know About Women”

Sept. 28

Kenilworth Studio 508, 1925 E. Kenilworth Place

The UWM Theatre program has been the starting point for a number of local actors over the years. UWM stages have featured some great emerging talent in the recent past. Late this September, two seniors present their musical theatre capstone projects in a performance that is free and open to the general public. Samantha Goodrich and Kelly Cline perform in the cozy studio atmosphere of an above ground space that is ever-so-slightly off campus. (R.B.)


Dance Revolution Milwaukee

MKE Follies

Sept. 28

Theatre Unchained, 1024 S. Fifth St.

MKE Follies has become a popular and valuable showcase-laboratory for a new generation of Milwaukee performing artists. Dance is featured, but the vaudeville-style shows that are presented every couple of months in bar and theater settings are likely to include poets, musicians, actors, comedians and, well, vaudeville acts. This edition includes separate works by dance artists Jessie Mae Scibek, Kate Carpenter, Tara Wrobel and Nastassja Bates, a theater/dance piece by Kimberly Rhyme, music by Glenview Lane, spoken word by Nigel Wade and a hula hoop performance by Sarah Sparkles. Expect another show in November, date and details TBA. (J.S.)


Café Sopra Mare

Worldwind Jazz Trio

Sept. 29

Villa Terrace, 2220 N. Terrace Ave.

The jazz trio is a venerable institution. Sure the quartet and quintet are more common. Sure the big band is not to be outdone in range of tone color and volcanic explosiveness. Sure the amorphous jam session looms large in jazz lore and learning. But there’s just something about the utter competence and interactivity demanded of the trio’s component parts. This requisite individual and individualized mastery is paradigmatic of jazz. The WJT prides itself on giving the Great American Songbook an intimate, chamber-style reading. Bella Café caters. The Villa Terrace’s majestic Mercury Courtyard sets a Mediterranean mood. (T.F.)


Prometheus Trio

Sept. 30, Oct. 1

Wisconsin Conservatory of Music, 1584 N. Prospect Ave.

The Prometheus Trio opens its season with a concert of musical threesomes, including work by R. Clarke along with the Trio in G Major by Debussy and the Piano Trio No. 1 in B-Flat Major by Schubert. Nearing the end of both life and career, the B-Flat Trio is the first of two such magnificent works by the composer that filled a void that had existed in the genre since Beethoven’s famous Archduke Trio some 16 years earlier. (John Jahn)


Boulevard Ensemble Studio Theatre

A Picture of Autumn

Oct.-Nov. TBA

Boulevard Ensemble Studio Theatre, 2252 S. Kinnickinnic Ave.

Artistic Director Mark Bucher will stage a reading of a script he calls “delightful and neglected.” Indeed, this first play by British playwright N.C. Hunter (1908-1971) was performed only once at a try-out in London in 1951. Hunter went on to write a series of hits but this early comic portrait of a once-wealthy family in decline remained buried until New York City’s Mint Theatre revived it this summer to glowing reviews. Bucher believes the play’s time has come. He’ll test that faith this fall. (J.S.)



Digital Billboard Art Month

Oct. 1-10

Digital billboards around Milwaukee

For 10 days, 18 digital billboards in Milwaukee will include an artwork. Their wondrous images were chosen by 18 Milwaukee nonprofit organizations/institutions and represent a broad spectrum of styles. Some images refer to the city; others are simply beautiful. Each will appear with only the name of the artist and the organization/institution that made the selection (no participant logos or website addresses). The billboards, donated by Clear Channel Outdoor and Lamar Outdoor Advertising, will be identified in September. The companies estimate that well over a million people will view this first-of-a-kind-in-the-nation 10-day art exhibit. Mayor Tom Barrett has proclaimed October “Digital Billboard Art Month.” (J.S.)


UW-Milwaukee Peck School of the Arts

Mil-Wonky Style

Oct. 3-5

UWM Mainstage Theatre, 2400 E. Kenwood Blvd.

UWM playwright-lecturer Alvaro Saar Rios leads a group of students from the program in a piece about the ups and downs of contemporary college life in Milwaukee. This continues a longstanding tradition of developing new material in conjunction with promising, new talents brought about by one of the best theater programs in the state. No telling exactly what this will look like, but there’s little doubt that it will be fresh. (R.B.)


Alchemist Theatre

Closing Night: A Wicked, Paranormal Who-Dun-It Experience

Oct. 3-Nov. 2

2569 S. Kinnickinnic Ave.

The Alchemist Theatre hosts another interactive murder-mystery show this coming Halloween season with a story that plays on the theatrical setting of the intimate spaces of the Alchemist as patrons are led through a mystery. It’s the closing night of another show and someone has been killed. Supernatural forces reach out at them in whispers, photographs and locked doors. The Alchemist has staged this kind of thing before and it’s always been a lot of fun. (R.B.)


In Tandem Theatre

Burying the Bones

Oct. 4-27

628 N. 10th St.

In Tandem Theatre opens its season with a post-Apartheid South African drama. M.E.H. Lewis’ Burying the Bones tells the story of a woman, looking for answers about the disappearance of her schoolteacher husband, who contacts the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The more that she finds out, the more she realizes how little she actually knows. (R.B.)

Festival City Symphony

“London Bridges”

Oct. 6

Pabst Theater, 144 E. Wells St.

In the first of its “Symphony Sundays” concerts, the Festival City orchestra performs two famous works that pay respects to England’s great metropolis. First is Symphony No. 104 in D Major by Franz Joseph Haydn, the culmination of a half-dozen symphonies he composed for the city that had so warmly embraced him. Written over 100 years later was the Symphony No. 2 in G Major by Ralph Vaughan Williams, a similar homage but on a far grander scale. (J.J.)


Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design

“The Brooks @ 20”

Oct. 8, 2013-Feb. 8, 2014

273 E. Erie St.

“Along with Frank Lloyd Wright, Brooks Stevens was one of the most important creative talents in the design world from this area,” says MIAD’s Director of Galleries Mark Lawson. To celebrate its 20th anniversary, the gallery looks back on its namesake’s achievements and the state of industrial design today. Keep an eye out for museum memorabilia, Stevens’ 1979 hybrid car and displays by design giants GE Healthcare Global Design, Lunar Design, Fiskars, Master Lock and Brooks Stevens, Inc. (S.M.)


Milwaukee Art Museum

“Thomas Sully: Painted Performance”

Oct. 11, 2013-Jan. 5, 2014

700 Art Museum Drive

“Thomas Sully: Painted Performance” is an original exhibition of an important 19th-century American artist. Sully (1783-1872) painted portraits of the new nation’s elite and gained international attention, eventually immortalizing Britain’s young Queen Victoria in his famous full-length image. This long-awaited retrospective presents more than 75 paintings illustrating Sully’s romantic style. (P.S.D.)


Cedarburg Artists Guild

Covered Bridge Art Studio Tour

Oct. 11-13

Visual arts are flourishing across Ozaukee County. Witness this self-guided tour of more than 50 art studios in Newburg, Port Washington, Grafton, Cedarburg, Thiensville and Mequon, Friday evening and Saturday and Sunday afternoons. The event’s capstone takes place Oct. 12 at the Cedarburg Cultural Center with live music by Sawdust Symphony and a silent auction. For a tour map, go to cedarburgartsweekend.com. (Morton Shlabotnik)


John Michael Kohler Arts Center

“The Wisconsin Project”

Oct. 13, 2013-Feb. 23, 2014

608 New York Ave., Sheboygan

Well-known Wisconsin photographers J. Shimon & J. Lindemann will surround life-size head-to-toe color portraits of Wisconsin natives and assemblage sculpture with an installation of Wisconsin-related objects, including vintage postcards. The project reflects on “the rootedness and identity resulting from inhabiting a single place, our native Wisconsin, for a long time,” explains Lindemann. (D.L.)


Frankly Music


Oct. 14-15

Wisconsin Conservatory of Music, 1584 N. Prospect Ave.

Two works by Mozart are on this program. The first is his Duo in G Major for Violin and Viola, composed while on a visit to Salzburg and one of only a couple of chamber pieces he wrote in the mid-1780s. Secondly, there is his Divertimento for Violin, Viola and Cello, which is among the greatest works ever composed for this string combination. Also on the program: Duo for Violin and Cello by Czech composer Erwin Schulhoff, who died in a Nazi concentration camp. (J.J.)


Aquila Theatre

Twelfth Night

Oct. 16

UW-Whitewater, Young Auditorium, 930 W. Main St.

The Brooklyn-based Aquila Theatre brings its exhaustively toured production of Shakespeare’s classic to UW-Whitewater for a single performance before moving on to other parts of the Midwest. Aquila’s mission of bringing well-produced, contemporary interpretations of classic works to stages all over the country finds them touring with both Twelfth Night and a stage adaptation of Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451. The Bradbury adaptation graces the stage of the Young Auditorium the day before Aquila, on Oct. 15. (R.B.)



Stretch MARKS; a theatre fete honoring the life and talents of Sally Marks

Oct. 17-Nov. 3

Next Act Theatre, 255 S. Water St.

Beloved stage and film actress Sally Marks died in December 2012. She and her husband Robb attended every UPROOTED performance, developed strong friendships with company artists and became the first donors to receive Angel status. In her honor, UPROOTED has inaugurated an exciting play development project. Six new plays from emerging and established playwrights will be given two presentations each by local professionals in a Reader’s Theatre format. Audience votes will determine which will travel to Chicago’s Definition Theatre and South Africa’s Isithatha Theatre in Port Elizabeth where, last June, UPROOTED’s Marti Gobel gave the first performance ever by an African American. (J.S.)


Waukesha Civic Theatre

You Can’t Take It With You

Oct. 18-Nov. 3

264 W. Main St., Waukesha

You film buffs will recognize this play as the source of Frank Capra’s delightful 1938 screwball comedy starring Jimmy Stewart, Jean Arthur and Lionel Barrymore. Seventy-five years later, the work remains relevant. Penetrating, even. When the kids fall in love, a stodgy follow-the-almighty-dollar family is confronted with an eccentric follow-your-passion family. The plot, while vaguely reminiscent of Romeo and Juliet, unfolds with more laughs than tears. Be forewarned: you may leave the theater set to exchange your nine-to-five for a life of impassioned tinkering. (T.F.)


Schauer Arts & Activities Center

Light Catchers Photography Club/Kettle Moraine Fine Arts Guild

Oct. 18, 2013-Jan. 5, 2014

147 N. Rural St., Hartford

Located inside the Schauer Arts Center, the Suckow Family Art Gallery’s mission focuses on expanding awareness of Wisconsin regional artists. Two exhibitions this autumn feature a variety of amateur and professional artists. From Oct. 18-Nov. 17, Lightcatchers Photography Club from Beaver Dam presents a group exhibition. Then, beginning Nov. 22, the Schauer’s resident Kettle Moraine Fine Arts Guild presents its annual holiday exhibition of mixed-media work. (P.S.D.)


RedLine Milwaukee Community Art Studios

The Human Touch: Selections from the RBC Wealth Management Art Collection

Oct. 18-Dec. 21

RedLine Milwaukee, 1422 N. Fourth St.

RedLine’s major fall exhibit fulfills the organization’s mission to show work by nationally and internationally acclaimed artists in alternation with work by its local artist members. This show of approximately 40 of the 400 pieces of RBC Wealth Management’s esteemed collection of contemporary painting and sculpture is devoted entirely to the human figure. Artists include Roy Lichtenstein, Luis Gispert, Willie Birch, Roland Fischer and Chuck Close. RBC began collecting art in the early 1990s for exhibitions in cities where their financial advisors live and work. (J.S.)


Acacia Theatre

Malcolm and Teresa

Oct. 18-27

Concordia University Wisconsin’s Todd Wehr Auditorium

12800 N. Lake Shore Drive, Mequon

British journalist Malcolm Muggeridge is recognized as the man who helped make Mother Teresa world-famous. His interviews with her introduced the as-yet unrecognized help-giver to the world. Faith-based stage group Acacia Theatre opens its season with a play that juxtaposes Muggeridge’s exposé of Soviet oppression against his interviews with Teresa in a tale of redemption written by Cathal Gallagher. The drama endeavors to show how one person can change the world. (R.B.)


Cedarburg Performing Arts Center

An Evening with John McGivern and Pat Hazell

Oct. 18

W68 N611 Evergreen Blvd., Cedarburg

Local theater celebrity John McGivern has performed the work of baby boomer Pat Hazell onstage before, most notably in productions of The Wonderbread Years. The warmth of McGivern’s delivery is a perfect match for Hazell’s material, although he’s better known for his own biographical stuff. McGivern and Hazell will be performing a show onstage together for one evening in Cedarburg. It should be a really charming mix of material from the two men. (R.B.)


Cedarburg Cultural Center

“Text and Texture: Vicki & William Reed, Deb Mortl & Claudette Lee”

Oct. 20-Dec. 1

W62 N546 Washington Ave., Cedarburg

Vicki and W.A. (Buz) Reed are founding editors for Porcupine Literary Arts Magazine, a Cedarburg publication operating under the philosophy that “there is no distinct edge between art forms.” Little wonder then that Cedarburg Cultural Center’s inter-arts show “Text and Texture” is the couple’s brainchild. Visual artists Vicki Reed, Claudette Lee Roseland and Deb Mortl draw inspiration from W.A. Reed’s poetry to create artworks in a wide range of media. (S.M.)


Sunset Playhouse

Inherit the Wind

Oct. 24-Nov. 10

800 Elm Grove Road

It’s a bit disappointing that a drama based on the Scopes trial would still be so topical nearly 100 years after the case was tried. But some very strange notions persist as Elm Grove’s Sunset Playhouse produces the classic courtroom drama nearly six decades after it was originally staged on Broadway. It’s precisely the type of classic 20th-century drama that Sunset has been so good with over the years. (R.B.)


Off the Wall Theatre

The Divine Sister

Oct. 24-Nov. 3

127 E. Wells St.

An endearing talent for both comedy and drama, Mark Hagen is probably best known to quite a few people as the drag diva Dear Ruthie. This October, Hagen will be trading in the curly red wig for a black habit as he stars in a Charles Busch comedy that pays homage to Hollywood films involving nuns. This isn’t Late Night Catechism. With Hagen doing Busch, this is going to be something much, much better. (R.B.)


Racine Theatre Guild


Oct. 25-Nov. 10

2519 Northwestern Ave., Racine

In one of several self-referential theater shows to open this season, the RTG stages an Ira Levin thriller about a potential murder. This particular instance of theater looking into the mirror features a successful writer of Broadway mysteries struggling to overcome a dry spell when he happens upon a very promising script by a college student. Will he actually go through with the murder of the student and stealing his script? Perhaps. (R.B.)


Bel Canto Chorus with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra

“Works with Friends”

Oct. 26

Christ King Parish, 2604 N. Swan Blvd., Wauwatosa

Inspired by Bel Canto Chorus’ recent trip to the southeastern region of France, Music Director and Conductor Richard Hynson has programmed an exciting collaboration series titled “Works with Friends” for the 2013-14 season. Opening the series is a performance with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra of Maurice Duruflé’s Requiem and Francis Poulenc’s Gloria. Soloists include Gerard Sundberg, Nicole Warner and Rebecca Whitney. Experience the sheer beauty of French music celebrating life and after-life at this must-see event. (Amanda Sullivan) 


Racine Symphony Orchestra

“Music with a Spanish Accent”

Oct. 26

Holy Communion Lutheran Church, 2000 W. Sixth St., Racine

The RSO performs two works to showcase the guitar talents of its special guest, Rene Izquierdo. First is the lovely and evocative Serenata Espagnola by Isaac Albéniz. Also on tap is the famous Concierto de Aranjuez for guitar and orchestra by Joaquín Rodrigo, surely his most popular and recognizable work. The RSO also performs Franz Schubert’s Symphony No. 6 in C Major, in which the composer paid tribute to Beethoven with its loud-soft dynamics. (J.J.)


Latino Arts/Walker’s Point Center for the Arts

Day of the Dead

Nov. 1-22 (Latino Arts); Oct. 18-Nov. 16 (WPCA)

Latino Arts, 1028 S. Ninth St. 

WPCA, 839 S. Fifth St. 

In our workaday lives we either ignore death or downplay its significance. The flinty-eyed ancients looked on their demise differently, and we have them to thank for the Day of the Dead. Milwaukee furnishes ample opportunities to celebrate human finitude and those loved ones who have beaten us to the other side. Latino Arts presents a colorful display of ofrendas (altars) by artists both far and near. The Walker’s Point Center for the Arts brings 20 years of macabre experience to its annual festivities. (T.F.)


Milwaukee Ballet

Romeo and Juliet

Oct. 31-Nov. 3

Marcus Center for the Performing Arts, 929 N. Water St.

In 2007, Michael Pink’s production of Prokofiev’s gorgeous 20th-century ballet was built on the young dancers Luz San Miguel and David Hovhannisyan. They’ve been among Pink’s foremost collaborators ever since. Now they’ll revisit the title roles as artists rich in experience. In an alternate cast, the young Nicole Teague and Alexandre Ferreira will have a first go at the sensuous choreography. “I’ve created these roles to allow for a physical and emotional connection between the two dancers that makes them totally vulnerable,” says Pink. “How else will they break your hearts?” It’s all in service to Shakespeare.  (J.S.)


Pink Banana Theatre

Dark Play or Stories for Boys

Nov. 1-16

The Underground Collaborative, 161 W. Wisconsin Ave.

Casual questions about a few scars launch one character into memories about creating an elaborate lie of an online persona in this drama that debuted with the Actors Theatre of Louisville back in 2007. A theater company with stress-tested DIY roots brings it to life in a basement in the heart of Downtown Milwaukee. The stage of the Underground Collaborative is an intimate space below street level that has been serving up some very intense drama. (R.B.)


Marquette University Theatre

The Boys Next Door

Nov. 7-17

Helfaer Theatre, 525 N. 13th St.

Tom Griffin’s comedy about men living together in a group home is delicate stuff. The script treats the characters with a great deal of respect while simultaneously allowing us to laugh at those things that make them so unique. Their problems illuminate our own. It can, however, be difficult to bring that comedy to the stage without seeming insensitive. This is the challenge given to Marquette students this November. (R.B.)


Soulstice Theatre

Picasso at the Lapin Agile

Nov. 7-23

Tamsett Theatre, 3770 S. Pennsylvania Ave.

Albert Einstein and Pablo Picasso meet a legendary recording artist in a delightfully whimsical comedy by genius Steve Martin. Soulstice Theatre will also be staging shows by Harold Pinter and Woody Allen in the months to come. It’s one of the most promising line-ups by a local theater company this season. Soulstice has put together some impressive performances in the recent past. It will be interesting to see what they manage with Martin’s work. (R.B.)


Fine Arts Quartet

Nov. 10 

Zelazo Center, 2419 E. Kenwood Blvd.

Here’s a must-hear feast of Beethoven. Quartet No. 3, op. 18 will stoke the fire for the dazzling six-movement Quartet in B Flat Major, op. 130, and its prodigal offspring, The Grosse Fugue, op. 133. The double fugue is a maelstrom of counterpoint laced with ethereal interludes, perhaps Beethoven’s quintessential late-period work. UW-Milwaukee’s internationally acclaimed quartet includes violinists Ralph Evans and Efim Boico (ensemble mates for nearly 30 years), interim violist Juan-Miguel Hernandez and cellist Robert Cohen. A free talk by historian Timothy Noonan precedes the concert at 2 p.m. (K.L.)


Next Act Theatre

Groucho: A Life in Revue

Nov. 14-Dec. 8

255 S. Water St.

Groucho Marx, like jazz and baseball, is a great American cultural treasure. Phooey to all those who trivialize him as a mere comedian or only recognize him as the inspiration for those novelty moustache-eyebrow-nose glasses. Groucho is—in truth—a decidedly modern artist whose command of absurdity places him in the same league as Beckett and Kafka. This production, co-authored by the offspring of the man himself, tells the tale of the 20th century’s least controversial Marxist and his brothers. “Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana,” quips Groucho. Audiences like Groucho’s life in revue. (T.F.)


Theatre Gigante

A Little Business at the Big Top

Nov. 14-16

UW-Milwaukee’s Kenilworth Studio 508, 1932 E. Kenilworth Place

After closing last season with one of their finest original productions, an Electra based on Greek and Hungarian sources, writer/directors Isabelle Kralj and Mark Anderson are handing the opening of their 26th season to their friend David Gaines, a celebrated physical theater artist and one-man circus. In this lighthearted solo performance, he plays a popcorn vendor, a dog, a drunk, a dream lady, a bruiser, a clown and many other creatures. Virtuosic comic stunts include a chase scene on a high wire and a death-defying plunge. Happily, Kralj, Anderson and John Kishline will present an original warm-up act. (J.S.)


Danceworks Performance Company


Nov. 15-24

Danceworks Studio Theatre, 1661 N. Water St.

Four modern dance premieres introduce a season of wide-ranging collaborations. Christina Briggs-Winslow and Edward Winslow, working with composer Tim Russell, offer shadow-filled dancing inside and outside a suspended transparent dome. Laura Murphy continues her series of sound and movement improvisations with Steve Schlei and composer Amanda Schoofs. DPC’s Christal Wagner continues her work with the live and recorded sounds of Cadance Collective. New DPC dancer Gina Laurenzi and composer Matt Martel imagine life underwater. Artistic Director Dani Kuepper, collaborating with “an unsuspecting public,” will compose from her dancers observations of people’s agile and awkward movements. (J.S.)


Skylight Music Theatre

Les Misérables

Nov. 22-Dec. 29

Broadway Theatre Center’s Cabot Theatre, 158 N. Broadway

With its success on Broadway, in multiplexes and community theaters across the country, Les Misérables is as popular as it’s ever been. The talented Molly Rhode directs the Skylight’s production of the musical. The Skylight has a standard for excellence that is brilliantly woven into the venue in a way no touring Broadway production could ever manage. This is the pinnacle of lavish local musical theater performing a classic. (R.B.)


First Stage Young Company

Maul of the Dead

Dec. 6-8

Milwaukee Youth Arts Center, 325 W. Walnut St.

Just as the holiday shopping season gets seriously underway early this December, the First Stage Young Company presents the story of zombies roaming an abandoned shopping mall on Black Friday. With very young actors in the roles of six strangers taking refuge in the mall, this production can’t help but be ridiculous amounts of fun. And knowing First Stage’s standard for thematic depth, this will be a show George A. Romero would be proud of. (R.B.)


Early Music Now: The Waverly Consort

“The Christmas Story”

Dec. 7-8

St. Joseph Center Chapel, 1501 S. Layton Blvd.

Milwaukee’s period-instrument specialists hook onto perhaps the brightest star in the field. The Waverly Consort helped catapult the early music movement into a strong cultural development. “If they didn’t play with the Waverly’s gusto and reverence back in the 14th century, they should have,” wrote Newsweek. The consort will present “The Christmas Story,” its hallmark program for over 40 years in medieval drama and song. The ensemble has performed internationally, including 100 concerts at Lincoln Center, and on CBS’ “Sunday Morning” and PBS’ “Performance Today.” (K.L.)


Broadway at the Marcus Center

War Horse

Jan. 7-12

Uihlein Hall, 929 N. Water St.

Winner of five Tony Awards, the stage adaptation of Michael Morpurgo’s children’s novel War Horse went on to be adapted for the screen by Steven Spielberg in 2011. The touring Broadway production makes it to the Marcus Center’s largest stage for one week in the beginning of 2014. It should be the perfect venue for the impressive puppetry that rests at the heart of the stage production. (R.B.)


Renaissance Theaterworks

The Understudy

Jan. 17- Feb. 9

Broadway Theatre Center’s Studio Theatre, 158 N. Broadway

Renaissance Theaterworks stages a complex comic look at theater by the author of Mauritius and Bad Dates. Theresa Rebeck’s comedy focuses on a Broadway premiere of a previously undiscovered play by the legendary Franz Kafka. Roxanne is a stage manager given the daunting task of running an understudy rehearsal with a cast of strangely idiosyncratic theater types for a show that producers are threatening to shut down. Mallory Metoxen directs. (R.B.)


Milwaukee Opera Theatre

The Eurydice Project Stage Three: The Festival

Jan. 24-26

Carroll University’s Otteson Theatre, 238 N. East Ave., Waukesha

A three-year investigation of the Orpheus legend by MOT and Carroll University’s Department of Visual and Performing Arts culminates in a performance of New York composer Ricky Ian Gordon’s gorgeous 2005 theater-song cycle Orpheus and Eurydice, featuring Catey Ott Thompson’s choreography. Work by Milwaukee composers commissioned during the process will also be highlighted, including the fully staged and orchestrated premiere of Joel Boyd’s 30-minute opera The Crawling Dove, Nathan Wesselowski’s Orpheus and Eurydice for two sopranos, and Joey Kerner’s Crumbling Love, a soprano-tenor-electric-guitar tune performed in Go to Hell, an original Orphic musical by the Carroll students. (J.S.)


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