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Performing Arts Weekly: Sept. 14, 2017

Sep. 12, 2017
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Guys and Dolls

The backstory to the original Broadway production of Frank Loesser, Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows’ great American musical Guys and Dolls reminds us that political interference in artistic expression is nothing new. The 1950 musical won the Tony Award for Best Musical and was the winner of a Pulitzer Prize for drama. Unfortunately, co-author Burrows was a target of the notorious witch hunting of the so-called House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC); the win was nullified. Thankfully, the musical has far outlasted the “scandal.” 

Many may conjure the superb 1955 film version of Guys and Dolls starring Jean Simmons, Vivian Blaine, Marlon Brando and Frank Sinatra. The latter would make the musical’s most memorable number, “Luck Be a Lady,” a hit song and highlight of his live concerts for decades to come. Cast albums and revivals of Guys and Dolls abound, and the musical has, for the most part, never left the world’s stages—its music, writing and New York City underworld setting never growing old. 

The Milwaukee Repertory Theater brings Guys and Dolls into the intimate Quadracci Powerhouse Theater, with direction by Mark Clements and featuring a plethora of Rep veterans.

Sept. 19-Oct. 29. For tickets, call 414-224-9490 or visit the box office at 108 E. Wells St. or milwaukeerep.com.

Boeing Boeing

A popular 1962 farce by French playwright Marc Camoletti (with English translation by Beverly Cross) that won the 2008 Tony Award for Best Revival of a Play, Boeing Boeing’s premiere production in London in 1962 ran for seven years, earning a Guinness Book of World Records entry as the most performed French play.

The story centers on Bernard, a swinging bachelor with no less than three fiancées—each a stewardess for a different airline and each totally unaware of each other’s existence. Bernard manages this female-juggling act well enough until all three women arrive in town concurrently. What’s more, Bernard’s friend Robert arrives and is staying with him; while Bernard enlists Robert’s help, will he be able to keep all of Bernard’s stories straight? The play’s title is obviously that of the famous airline company, but it very well might be the sound of relationships impacting the tarmac.

Boeing Boeing runs Sept. 15-Oct. 1 at the Racine Theatre Guild, 2519 Northwestern Ave. For tickets, call 262-633-4218 or visit racinetheatre.org.


Haydn, Brahms, Lajtha Trios

Prometheus Trio, chamber music ensemble residents of the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music, embark upon their 18th season with a concert embracing both familiar go-to hits of the Classical repertoire as well as the more obscure. Classical music is such a vast treasure trove that even the most ardent aficionados thereof can find new pieces in every genre on an almost routine basis. Prometheus Trio’s program makes it easy.

Joseph Haydn’s piano trios are among his most harmonically adventurous works. His three-movement Piano Trio No. 5 in G Minor (1766) stems from his earlier efforts in the genre (he’d eventually pen 45 of them). Johannes Brahms’ Piano Trio No. 2 in C Major, Op. 87 (1882) prompted its obviously proud creator to write his publisher: “You have not yet had such a beautiful trio from me and very likely have not published its equal in the last 10 years.”

Finally, Hungarian composer Lázló Lajtha’s Trio Concertant, Op. 10 (1928) is a fine work that, alas, has suffered (along with the rest of his admirable catalogue) from undue neglect. Lajtha’s home country’s former communist regime suppressed his oeuvre and that, unfortunately, has to this day kept it from much of the rest of the music-loving world. 

Sept. 18-19 at the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music, 1584 N. Prospect Ave. For tickets, call 414-276-5760 or visit wcmusic.org.


The Clockwork Man

Cabaret Milwaukee opens their third season with the first part of a new trilogy of staged, old-time radio dramas: The Clockwork Man—described as “a raucous romp” that takes us back to 1937. Sept. 14-28 at the Astor Hotel Pub. Facebook.com/cabmke.

Sex Please We’re Sixty

Mistaken identities, bad backs of a certain age, slammed doors and an experimental libido-enhancing drug are the ingredients for Michael and Susan Parker’s farcical Sex Please We’re Sixty. Sept. 15-Oct. 1 at Waukesha Civic Theatre. Waukeshacivictheatre.org

Get It Out There

Two dance performances with different choreographers and dancers from a variety of disciplines present new, locally created works. Saturday, Sept. 16. Danceworks Studio Theatre. Danceworksmke.org.


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