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Performing Arts Weekly: April 27-May 3, 2017

Apr. 25, 2017
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‘Junie B. Jones is Not a Crook!’

Playwright Allison Gregory adapted Junie B. Jones is Not a Crook! from a popular book series by Barbara Park. Gregory recently reflected on her work thusly: “What’s so engaging and joyful about these stories and Junie B. herself: her scrappy resourcefulness, her unbridled sense of right and wrong, her bull-in-a-china-shop zest and imagination. Barbara Park got Junie B. so right because, well, she was Junie B., and luckily, I get to keep telling her stories.”

Adult professional and young up-and-coming actors take on the roles in this First Stage production of Junie B. Jones is Not a Crook!—a story whereby a kindergarten-age girl, through a series of lost-and-found events, discovers whether or not the age-old adage “finders keepers” really is a correct way to look at things. James Fletcher—who is the founder and artistic director of Bunny Gumbo Theater Co. and who has been involved with First Stage for some 17 years as director, teacher, fight choreographer and actor—directs this production.

April 28-June 4, Todd Wehr Theater at the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts, 929 N. Water St. For tickets call 414-273-7206 or visit firststage.org.

The Drowsy Chaperone

A parody of escapist Roaring Twenties’ musical comedies, Bob Martin and Don McKellar’s Tony Award-winning play, The Drowsy Chaperone, involves such time-honored plot devices as dream sequences, mistaken identities and a deus ex machina. Directed by Matt Zembrowski, staged and choreographed by Mary McLellan and with music and lyrics by Lisa Lambert and Greg Morrison, Waukesha Civic Theatre hosts this “charming and bombastic” musical within a comedy.

April 28-May 14 at the Margaret Brate Bryant Civic Theatre, 264 W. Main St., Waukesha. For tickets call 262-547-0708 or visit waukeshacivictheatre.org.

On the Spectrum

The “spectrum” of this show’s title refers to the autism spectrum. Quasimondo Milwaukee Physical Theatre presents On the Spectrum, written and performed by its own ensemble member, Thom J. Cauley. This piece, which premiered at last year’s inaugural Milwaukee Fringe Festival, is described by Quasimondo as an “intimate solo show [using] physical acting and personal experience to tell the inner monologue of a young boy with an unidentified learning disability.”

May 5-14, Milwaukee Cooperative at the Shops of Grand Avenue, 161 W. Wisconsin Ave. For tickets visit quasimondo.org/on-the-spectrum.html.

Arcadia and Alchemy

The age-old theater exhortation “The Show Must Go On!” is surely in the minds and on the lips of many UW-Milwaukee Peck School of the Arts faculty and students these days: There was a major fire recently in UWM’s Mainstage Theatre building, destroying set pieces and costumes and filling the place with sooty smokiness. Even so, Arcadia—Tom Stoppard’s celebrated play, retains its original run dates but moves to the Milwaukee Repertory Theater’s Stiemke Studio, 108 W. Wells St. Meanwhile, Springdances: Alchemy, which features new choreographic works by UWM Dance faculty, will be presented in the Kenilworth Square East Gallery, 2155 N. Prospect Ave.

Arcadia runs May 3-7; for tickets call 414-224-9490 or visit milwaukeerep.com. Springdances: Alchemy runs April 27-May 1; for tickets call 414-229-4308 or visit uwm.edu/arts/box-office/tickets.



Express Yourself Milwaukee presents what they describe as “an inspiring, family-friendly event featuring dance, music, spoken word and visual arts.” SOUL is Express Yourself Milwaukee’s culminating event for their professional artists and young apprentices. As the performance company’s Founder and Executive Director Lori Vance explains: “The young people and adult artists who have worked on SOUL have created for Milwaukee an energetic, immersive experience that will surprise audiences with its creative comingling of artistic forms.”

6:30 p.m., Thursday, May 4, Milwaukee Theatre, 500 W. Kilbourn Ave. This event is free and open to the general public.

aLL wRoNg

Devised and directed by Posy Knight, Kirk Thomsen and Joelle Worm (all of whom are also cast members), this physical performance piece looks at “being wrong, making mistakes [and] failing over and over” as “the definition of being alive.” After all, humanity’s greatest achievements only occur after many letdowns. Through a variety of Treteau vignettes (a theatrical form unearthing innovative creativity and revealing that performance can be achieved without extraneous elements), Cooperative Performance Milwaukee’s aLL wRoNg examines the possibilities of the unknown.

April 28-29, Danceworks, 1661 N. Water St.; May 4, Best Place, 901 W. Juneau Ave.; May 5, Charles Allis Museum, 1801 N. Prospect Ave. For tickets call 414-277-8480 or visit cooperformke.com.


Vienna, City of Dreams

Pianist Sahun Hong performs Ludwig van Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3 at PianoArts’ annual music gala and dinner event to support their next North American Competition. The concerto will be heard in a new arrangement by Hong for piano and string quartet—the latter consists of violinists Margot Schwartz and Dylana Leung, violist Robert Levin and cellist Scott Tisdel.

Friday, April 28, Woman’s Club of Wisconsin, 813 E. Kilbourn Ave. For tickets call 414-962-3055 or visit pianoarts.org.


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