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Performing Arts Weekly 2.9

Feb. 7, 2017
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Photo Credit: Nathaniel Davauer


Milwaukee Ballet’s Genesis @ Pabst Theatre, Feb. 16-19

The contestants chosen from 54 international submissions for Genesis, the prestigious choreographic competition held by Milwaukee Ballet every other winter, have already won. Enrico Morelli, Mariana Oliveira and George Williamson have each been invited to make a new work with the company’s excellent dancers and production team, and to see it performed four times before an excited Milwaukee audience and a distinguished national panel of experts. Each will receive a cash award, including one determined by audience vote, and one will receive a commission to create a second world premiere here next year. Morelli (Italian), Williamson (British) and Oliveira (Brazilian American), all young but with impressive track records, talked about the dances they’re making. 

Morelli: “It’s a piece about people living at this time in history when it’s really hard to speak with other people. The first part is more violent and shouted; the second more intimate and whispered in terms of the movement and the music. The first music is from Adrien Casalis, a really young French composer. The second is Frederic Chopin. I’m trying to work from the tenderness of that music.”

Oliveira: “It’s based on Leoncavallo’s opera Pagliacci, the story of a clown artist descending into madness. The music is by Charlie Chaplin for his movie The Circus, which has the same idea as Pagliacci, the love triangle. It’s very playful and funny in the beginning but by the end it’s very dark and emotional. It’s such an amazing story!”

Williamson: “I’m sort of facilitating the dancers’ creativity. The idea is a journey people take over years and years—multiple journeys being seen at the same time that go from a supernatural place to a more human one. The music is electronic at the beginning, classical at the end. Classical sounds are more human, I think.” (John Schneider)



Curse of the Apothecary @ Best Place, Feb. 16-19

Cabaret Milwaukee continues its “Apothecary” saga with this latest installment, taking place at Best Place in the Historic Pabst Brewery (901 W. Juneau Ave.). Cabaret Milwaukee describes itself as a live performance group that “writes and produces original cabaret content, blending elements of live music, theater and old-time radio drama.” Furthermore, this particular show is described as “a live theater event based off of 1940s radio programs, period news, jingles, house band, comics and, of course, the criminal trilogy of The Apothecary.” Tickets are available through brownpapertickets.com. (John Jahn) 

Fruition of a Delusion @ Marquette University, Feb. 10-25

An original performance piece presented by Cooperative Performance Milwaukee—along with Marquette University’s Opus College of Engineering MARVL visualization lab—Fruition of a Delusion follows Ruby (Molly Corkins) on her quest to solve the world’s energy crisis with the assistance of several noted scientists. Perhaps the names Nikola Tesla, Marie Curie, Albert Einstein and J. Robert Oppenheimer ring a bell? This one-of-a-kind performance will be held in room 028 of MU’s Engineering Hall, 1637 W. Wisconsin Ave. 3D glasses will be provided to audience members for this magical story—told via a fully immersive experience including movement, music, text and a Rube Goldberg machine. (John Jahn)

The Illusionists @ Uihlein Hall of the Marcus Center, Feb. 14-19

Simon Painter, creative producer of The Illusionists—Live From Broadway, says that his touring company “can’t wait to bring this electrifying show to Milwaukee for a truly entertaining experience for the whole family,” claiming that it’s “the most non-stop and powerful mix of outrageous and astonishing acts ever to be seen on the live stage.” A tad hyperbolic, perhaps, but even so, a show involving “America’s Got Talent” conjuror Dan Sperry; trickster Jeff Hobson; inventor, comedian and illusionist Kevin James; escape artist Andrew Basso, psychic savant Colin Cloud, stunt performer Jonathan Goodwin and magician An Ha Lim sounds most agreeable, indeed. A little escapism right now would do us all some good! (John Jahn)

Harriet the Spy @ Milwaukee Youth Theatre, Feb. 9-10

Louise Fitzhugh’s children’s novel, Harriet the Spy, was published in 1964 and has proven to be one of the most endurable such literary works: In the U.S., Harriet the Spy ranks quite highly for best children’s books even today—more than half a century after its debut. This famous and beloved children’s spy novel follows 11-year-old Harriet Welsch, a precocious girl who enjoys writing and “spying” on friends, classmates and just your ordinary people on the streets of her New York City Upper East Side neighborhood. The Lincoln Center for the Arts’ Ivory Hall is where up-and-coming actors will be presenting a live take on this story—adapted for the stage by Leslie Brody and directed by Maureen O’Hara. (John Jahn)

Love Letters @ the Brumder Mansion, Feb. 10-25

Childhood friends Andrew and Melissa (Tom Marks and Gladys Rhodes Chmiel) start a lifelong correspondence with birthday party thank you notes and summer camp postcards; they continue to exchange letters throughout the many ensuing years. Milwaukee Entertainment Group brings this intimate and insightful love-and-friendship story to Milwaukee’s Victorian Brumder Mansion, 3046 W. Wisconsin Ave. American playwright, novelist and academic Albert Ramsdell Gurney (b. 1930) wrote Love Letters in 1988; it’s one of several work by Gurney focused on members of the white upper-middle class—plays that the Wall Street Journal has called “penetratingly witty studies of the WASP ascendancy in retreat.” (John Jahn)


“Romance Español” @ Wilson Theater at Vogel Hall, Feb. 10-12

Alas, Valentine’s Day doesn’t fall on a weekend this year, but many events attuned to the celebration of love can be enjoyed just days before. One such is the Florentine Opera’s “Romance Español,” a musical tour through some of the world’s most famous romantic cities. The Florentine’s William Florescu hosts this special concert conducted by Florentine Studio Artists Ariana Douglas, Ashley Puenner, Thomas Leighton and Leroy Y. Davis. The rapturously rich music of (and inspired by) Spain and Latin America provides the central focus for excerpts from musical theater and opera—from Carmen to The Man of La Mancha and many points in between. Pre-concert dining is available in the Marcus Center for all three performances. (John Jahn)


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