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Performing Arts Weekly 1.12

Jan. 10, 2017
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Photo by Michael Steinbach-Bach Photography

THEATRE:

Fancy Nancy the Musical @ Marquette University, Jan. 14-22

Based on author Jane O’Connor and illustrator Robin Preiss Glasser’s best-selling Fancy Nancy book series, this musical adaptation finds the eponymous character looking forward to dancing in her school’s upcoming ballet production. But, when Nancy doesn’t get the part she aspired to (a mermaid), can she make being a tedious tree trés jolie and be satisfied with that? Life lessons are here for the learning for both young and old alike. 

The original Fancy Nancy series author, Jane O’Connor, is both vice president and editor-at-large for Penguin Books for Young Readers. She’s written more than 30 children’s books thus far. “It was after dinner one evening that the title just came to me,” O’Connor remembers. “I sat down and wrote the first and last paragraphs. The rest of the story took me awhile, but the beginning and the end just flew into my head.”

Marquette Theatre’s season begins the New Year with Fancy Nancy the Musical at the university’s Helfaer Theatre. With music and lyrics by Danny Abosch and additional lyrics and book by Susan DiLallo, Fancy Nancy the Musical features an overture and nine songs. It premiered Off-Broadway in 2012 and has been staged around the country ever since. (John Jahn)

Exit Laughing @ Racine Theatre Guild, Jan. 13-29

What do you do when a long-standing tradition suddenly must be altered to reflect a new reality? It’s not always easy to adapt to change—especially unexpected and drastic change. In a sense, this is the crux of the plot of Paul Elliott’s Exit Laughing. Three bridge-playing friends have to deal with the death of a fourth member of their weekly get-togethers. It could all be quite maudlin, of course, but Elliott treats the situation with humor and aplomb. I should like to add that Elliott’s comedy, Exit Laughing, won Best Play at 2014’s American Association of Community Theatre’s NewPlayFest. (John Jahn)

MUSIC:

Eric Hoeprich and the London Haydn Quartet @ Wisconsin Lutheran College, Jan. 14

In their third installment in a concert series observing the historical development of the clarinet, Early Music Now brings renowned clarinetist Eric Hoeprich to town. Hoeprich is a founding member of the Orchestra of the 18th Century and has performed with many other ensembles throughout his 30-plus-year career. He performs here with the London Haydn Quartet—one of the world’s leading period instrument quartets. This assembly of great instrumental talent performs Wolfgang Mozart’s glorious Clarinet Quintet in A, K. 581, Ludwig van Beethoven’s String Quartet in D, Op. 18, No. 3 and Carl Maria von Weber’s fabulous Clarinet Quintet, Op. 34. (John Jahn)

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