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Performing Arts Weekly- 9.20

Sep. 20, 2016
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A Passage to India

Off the Wall Theatre, Sept. 22-Oct. 2

Dale Gutzman opens his company’s season with an original adaptation of a classic E.M. Forster novel that powerfully deals with Britain’s troubled, often contentious rule over India. As Gutzman explains, “Forster, an outsider and closet homosexual during his lifetime, often explored isolation and loneliness in his novels. He has a delicate and beautiful way with a story and a unique understanding of human nature.” A Passage to India, he continues, “is a play potent for today’s political climate,” and comprises “a grand, sweeping tale of love, sex, prejudice and politics.”

 

Reflecting on the fact that the average person would likely conjure thoughts of the epic 1980s film version of A Passage to India when hearing the title, Gutzman explains: “Although I love David Lean’s films, I think he misses some of the political and philosophical ideas that are so vital in the book. I also think the film misses Forster himself…” Summing up, Gutzman claims that this stage version of A Passage to India “is an exciting play that leaves us with much to think about after the show is over.” His production, appropriately enough, boasts a rather large cast for this epic telling, including Marilyn White, David Flores, James Strange and Lawrence J. Lukasavage, among several others. Gutzman himself portrays a Brahman mystic. (John Jahn)

 

Elect to Laugh! With Will Durst

Sunset Playhouse’s Furlan Auditorium, Sept. 23 & 24

Milwaukee-born political humor columnist and radio talk show host Will Durst brings his irreverent, no-holds-barred, no-politician-unscathed-and-unscorned one-man show to Elm Grove’s Sunset Playhouse amid one of the most bizarre presidential elections in U.S. history. Trump, Cruz, Clinton, Sanders…truly, as Sunset so aptly puts it, “both sides of the partisan aisle can’t help but agree that the 2016 election season has spawned one of the most fertile, febrile and fecund campaigns in history—for mocking and scoffing and taunting purposes, that is.” (John Jahn)

 

Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson

Soulstice Theatre, Sept. 23-Oct. 8

J. T. Backes directs Soulstice’s production of this history-based comedic rock musical with music and lyrics by Michael Friedman and book by Alex Timbers. Ever since opening in Culver City, Calif., eight years ago, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson has been staged all across the country, garnering both Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards along the way. True to its title, the plot revolves around America’s seventh president, Andrew Jackson—herein reimagined as an Emo rock star in contemporary times. Themes of populism, racism, nationalism and imperialism abound and are addressed through both dramatic-comedic action and several lively musical numbers. (John Jahn)

 

9 Circles

Cardinal Stritch University @ Joan Steele Stein Center Studio Theater, Sept. 22-Oct. 2

Written by a Jesuit priest, this dramatic play is certainly highly topical: The subject matter concerns contemporary life during wartime. Directed by John Kishline, this contemporary story that somewhat parallels the “nine circles” of Dante’s Inferno concerns the civilian trial of a formerly deployed soldier named Steven Dale Green. The Sept. 22 showing is a special preview open to the public, and the Sept. 23 performance includes an opening gala sponsored by the Genesians. The Cardinal Stritch University production of 9 Circles also coincides with a campus-wide reading of the new book Redeployment by Phil Klay. (John Jahn)  

 

MUSIC

 

“Haydn to Reger”

Frankly Music @ St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Sept. 26

“To many listeners, the music of Max Reger sometimes suggests a complexity and anti-Wagnerian, academic heaviness,” musicologist Leon Botstein once wrote, “but at his death [in 1916], he was widely regarded—along with Richard Strauss—as a true heir to the great legacy of German Classical and Romantic music.” It is, indeed, that great German legacy that will be on full display when the Frankly Music ensemble performs Joseph Haydn’s Trio in C Major, Johannes Brahms’ Op. 25 Piano Quartet and Reger’s String Trio No. 1. (John Jahn)

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