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Performing Arts Weekly, Jan. 19-25, 2017

Jan. 17, 2017
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Milwaukee Opera Theatre, Zie Magic Flute @ Tripoli Shrine Center, Jan. 20-29

Since Mozart was a Freemason and The Magic Flute played with masonic imagery, where better in Milwaukee to stage the opera than the landmark Tripoli Shrine? Milwaukee Opera Theatre brought other good ideas to the imaginative recreation they call Zie Magic Flute. A collaboration with Quasimondo Physical Theatre and Candance Collective, Zie Magic Flute features a witty new English-language adaptation commissioned by MOT.

“We were hooked!” says MOT Artistic Director Jill Anna Ponasik of her visit to Tripoli Shrine with Quasimondo’s Brian Rott. “Glorious music. A magical setting. And a beautiful opportunity to develop a new adaptation.” The comical Papagena comes out on roller skates—a staging of which Mozart might have approved. (David Luhrssen)

Frankly Music, Wind and Strings @ Wisconsin Lutheran College, Jan. 23

No fewer than 11 instrumentalists assemble at Schwan Concert Hall on the campus of Wisconsin Lutheran College for an evening of solos, trios, quartets and a legendary divertimento. The most modern pieces are Leonard Bernstein’s Sonata for Clarinet and Piano; Pierre-Octave Ferroud’s Trois pièces pour flûte seule and the Quartet in C Major for Winds by Arthur Berger. Composer Virgil Thomson lauded the latter work as “one of the most satisfactory pieces for winds in the whole modern repertory.” The classical era is also well represented on the program by way of Haydn’s London Trio in C Major, and Mozart’s glorious, monumental Divertimento in B-Flat Major for Two Horns and Strings. (John Jahn) 


McGuire @ Milwaukee Repertory Theater, Jan. 20-March 19

Al McGuire was head coach of Marquette University’s men’s basketball team from 1964 to 1977, and won the NCAA National Championship in that final season. The Rep presents the newly expanded one-man show McGuire at the Stackner Cabaret—not only to honor the man but also the 100th anniversary of Marquette basketball. Tony Award-winning actor (and Milwaukee native) Anthony Crivello portrays Coach McGuire. (John Jahn)

The Lion in Winter @ The Alchemist Theatre, Jan. 20-Feb. 4

James Goldman’s Tony Award-winning The Lion in Winter premiered on Broadway in 1966—a play set during the holiday season of 1183 involving English King Henry II, his wife, Eleanor of Aquitaine, their children and their guests. The latter include such 12th-century notables as Richard the Lionheart and France’s Philip II. It’s a successful blend of fact and fiction and, as The New York Times opined of the play: “The vexed royal family… is made up of super-sexualized, emotional predators,” and it’s “a megaphone for the ’60s theme of family malice.” The Alchemist Theatre plays host to Pride Theatre Company for this production. (John Jahn)

You Can’t Take It With You @ Sunset Playhouse’s Furlan Auditorium, Jan. 19-Feb. 4

Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman’s wonderfully zany and touching play You Can’t Take It With You premiered on Broadway in 1936, won the Pulitzer Prize for drama and spawned a Frank Capra-directed, Oscar-winning film starring Lionel Barrymore and James Stewart. As this local production’s director, Brian Zelinski, says: “Kaufman and Hart are the playwrights [who wrote] a show that just speaks to people, because the characters are rich and real; the things that happen to them can be crazy and at times bizarre, but you will fall in love with somebody on this stage.” (John Jahn)

Lovabye Dragon @ First Stage, Jan. 21-Feb. 19

From Wisconsin author Barbara Joosse’s Dragon and Girl book series we have here a world premiere musical adaptation with music and lyrics by The Happy Racers. This production is the very definition of “family-friendly,” with shows starting as early as 11 a.m. and no later than 3:30 p.m. throughout the run. Indeed, Lovabye Dragon is part of First Stage’s First Steps Series, geared toward audience members in the 3-7-plus-year-old range. Says Jeff Frank, the musical’s co-writer, “our young audiences are sure to love this enchanted tale of a friendship between a girl and a dragon;” Joosse adds that she’s “over the moon with Lovabye Dragon and so is my little girl self.” (John Jahn)


Get It Out There

Danceworks DanceLAB @ Danceworks Studio Theatre, Jan. 21

Performing artworks don’t exist without an audience. “Get It Out There,” a now biannual showcase of dance, theater and music performance hosted by Danceworks, frees area artists from many production demands and costs so they can test new ideas with an audience to complete the process. Artistic Director Kim Johnson says, “I love that we can now embrace 15 acts, by both well-established and emerging artists, even though it means we have to make two shows happen in one night.” Those shows are 6:30 and 8 p.m. Both have exciting line-ups. (John Schneider)


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