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Performing Arts Weekly 10.6

Oct. 4, 2016
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Photo by Maral Sosi Images


Sardarabad Dance Ensemble

@ South Milwaukee Performing Arts Center, Oct. 8

Chicago’s Sardarabad Dance Ensemble brings ethnic dance traditions to the level of artful expression. Not unlike Riverdance’s rendition of Ireland, Sardarabad offers a brightly choreographed interpretation of Armenia—an ancient land perched on the rim of Europe and Asia. The ensemble puts on a spectacle of sound, light and motion drawn from rhythmic traditions familiarized in the outside world by composer Aram Khachaturian’s Sabre Dance. Sardarabad will be joined by Detroit’s Arax Dance Group, bringing an ensemble of 85 colorfully costumed dancers to the stage during some of the numbers. (David Luhrssen)


Real Time

Andrea and Daniel Burkholder @ Danceworks, Oct. 7

Andrea and Daniel Burkholder continue their monthly First Friday Series of aerial arts, dance, music, improvisation, free drinks and conversation. “We had such a fantastic summer in the Swing Park, Alfons Gallery and at the groundbreaking of Za’Layia’s Legacy Garden at 15th and Meinecke that we’re taking this month to pull all those disparate events together,” Andrea said. Against projected videos of their danced responses to Eddee Daniel’s photos of the Kinnickinnic River at Alfons, they’ll dance new responses. A hand-holding duet about partnership made for Za’Layia’s garden will break into pieces to show new facets and Andrea will perform her aerial solo, “The Distance Between.” The pay-what-you-will show runs 8:30-9:30 p.m. (John Schneider)


“In Nomine”

Early Music Now featuring Fretwork @ Helene Zelazo Center for the Performing Arts, Oct. 8

Fretwork is a quintet of globetrotting viol-playing musicians, and quite fortunate we are that they come to play in our city frequently under the fine auspices of Early Music Now. Their upcoming concert at UW-Milwaukee is comprised of Renaissance and Baroque Era works for viol ensemble by English composers. The viol, incidentally, also called the viola da gamba, is an early fretted, stringed, bowed musical instrument; a violin-viola ancestor. The better-known composers on the program are John Taverner, William Byrd and Henry Purcell. (John Jahn)

“Peace and Awe”

Bel Canto Chorus @The Basilica of St. Josaphat, Oct. 9

Unlike many a requiem mass, that of British composer John Rutter is not a mere personal musical setting of the traditional verses. “The music is not a complete setting of the Missa pro defunctis,” he once explained, “but instead a meditation on themes of life and death using a personal compilation of texts.” Rutter’s Requiem will be performed at this concert along with shorter choral works by Dan Forrest and local composer Penny Corris. (John Jahn)


A Life in the Theatre

Alchemist Theatre, through Oct. 15

James Pickering and David Sapiro star as a pair of stage actors in David Mamet’s A Life in the Theatre. Longtime Milwaukee Repertory Theater resident Pickering plays an established stage talent showing a younger protégé the ropes in a comic drama that is as much about the cyclical passage of time as it is about the lives of actors. Milwaukee Opera Theatre artistic director Jill Anna Ponasik directs a non-musical for the first time. Here she’s working with a couple of guys who are going to be onstage in an intimate portrayal that moves across the stage for 90 minutes without intermission. It’s a very, very close look at the lives of two people that speaks to universal issues beyond theater to address subjects of time, authority, ambition and so much more. (Russ Bickerstaff)

Dracula vs. The Nazis

In Tandem Theatre @ Tenth Street Theatre, Oct. 6-30

As In Tandem’s Ann Ricca sets up Michael Neville’s comedy for us: “It’s the 1940s and Hitler has discovered a device that will make him and his armies unstoppable and immortal! The British government turns to the only person that can stop Hitler before it is too late—Count Dracula.” Quite a plot! In Tandem’s season opener offers veteran of film, TV and theater Doug Jarecki as Dracula—but that’s just the start of it. Certainly part of this production’s mayhem will stem from the fact that Jarecki and fellow actor Chris Flieller will portray more than 15 different characters between them. (John Jahn)

An Enemy of the People

Company of Strangers Theater @ Underground Collaborative, Oct. 7, 8, 14, 15

Today we’d call Henrik Ibsen’s An Enemy of the People a dramedy. With a combination of comedic and dramatic elements, it addresses serious themes, such as reality versus idealism and sibling rivalry writ big, but it manages to do so in a not-altogether-serious manner. The siblings I write of consist of a doctor on a mission and a town mayor—the latter’s public position putting him at odds with his crusading brother. This production is a Milwaukee first for The Company of Strangers, a theater troupe recently relocated to our neck of the woods from Virginia. (John Jahn) 

Jack of Hearts

Milwaukee Entertainment Group @ Brumder Mansion, Oct. 7-31

The Brumder Mansion is the perfect setting for a truly intimate, you-are-there theatrical performance. As Jack of Hearts’ assistant director, Amanda Hull, explains it: “We focus on works that make people think and send a good message, as well as pieces that can thrill and be immersive for an audience.” Jack of Hearts—set in a steam-powered dystopia sure to be popular with steampunks—is a play written and directed by young Milwaukee-based actor J.J. Gatesman. Its themes of loyalty, love and revenge are dramatically, even violently, explored in a place called the Heart’s Club—an Old West-emulating brothel-saloon. (John Jahn)


Wilson Theater @ Vogel Hall of the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts, Oct. 11-16

Disenchanted is a major off-Broadway hit musical that serves as kind of a reality-checking exposé of the familiar stories of princesses, valiant heroes on white stallions and ugly, old, evil stepmothers. This not-for-children, subversive riff on such time-honored pillars of childhood fantasy brings famous and beloved characters to life—real life! The touring professionals in this production of Disenchanted include Daniella Richards as Sleeping Beauty, Merritt Crews as Snow White and Madison Heyes-Crook as Cinderella. (John Jahn) 

This is Washington Park. This is Milwaukee.

UWM Theatre Department @ Kenilworth Five-0-Eight, Oct. 12-16

UW-Milwaukee Professor Alvaro Saar Rios had his students collect accounts of life in Milwaukee’s Washington Park neighborhood right from its residents to form the basis of this compelling and highly prescient docudrama. What emerged from that assignment is a story of life in a racially diverse, but still quite segregated, major urban area—our urban area. Given the events of this past summer, a “play” such as This is Washington Park. This is Milwaukee., a world premiere student production, is urgently relevant to us all. (John Jahn)


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