Performing Arts Weekly 10.27
Victory for Victoria, Milwaukee Opera Theatre @Wauwatosa Womanâs Club, Oct. 27-30
When it came time for fall programming, Milwaukee Opera Theatre couldnât resist a world premiere musical by Milwaukee writers on a woman running for presidentâVictoria Woodhull, who tossed her bonnet into the 1872 race. Her chances were nil, given that women wouldnât have voting rights for nearly 50 years.
Although overshadowed by Susan B. Anthony, Woodhull was a leader among the suffragettes, the movement that finally won women the vote in 1920. âShe was deeply interested in social freedom,â says MOT Director Jill Anna Ponasik. âThis meant the ability for women to choose their husbands, to have custody of their children, to own property.â
Susan Peterson Holmes and Peggy Peterson Ryan wrote the words to Victory for Victoria in an echo of 19th-century American English. Ponasik describes Alissa Rhodeâs music as âdeeply rooted in American musical theater with an Americana feel.â The cast of 10 present the musical as if they were an itinerant theater troupe from the early 20th century, desperate to tell Woodhullâs story at a time when womanâs suffrage was drawing closer to reality.
Ponasik takes satisfaction in the venue, a period-appropriate Georgian ballroom. âThe Wauwatosa Womanâs Club is my polling place,â she says. âI found the venue for Victory for Victoria by votingâas a woman!â (David Luhrssen)
Folk Songs, Tales and Legends
Master Singers of Milwaukee, Oct. 29 & 30
Several folk songs comprise the program of the next concert by the fine choristers of the Master Singers of Milwaukee. One of the more well-known composers featured is Benjamin Britten; the men of the MSM performing his World War II-era âBallad of Little Musgrave and Lady Barnard.â The women perform âLes SirĂšnes,â a piece written by French composer Marie-Juliette âLiliâ Boulanger. Other works by lesser-known composers include Jack Halloranâs âNelly Bly,â and an elegant and beautiful setting of the traditional Christian hymn âShall We Gather at the Riverâ by Matthew Culloton. Sure to be of interest will be the unique Latvian folk song âKalejs kala debesisâ and the Halloween-ready âThat Old House is Haântedâ by Jester Hairston. The Oct. 29 concert takes place at North Shore Congregational Church in Fox Point; the Oct. 30 performance is at St. Johnâs Lutheran Church in Brookfield. (John Jahn)
Cooperative Performance Milwaukee @ Cooperativa Gallery, Oct. 28-30; Nov. 4-6
Earthâs Cambrian periodâstarting some 545 million years ago and lasting for around 50 million yearsâwitnessed the onset of a rapid proliferation of lifeâa phenomenon often called the âCambrian Explosion.â Cambrian, a modern Homo sapiensâ artistic view of that period, is devised by Brennen Steines, choreographed by Liz Faraglia, composed by Olivia Valenza and starring Kelly Radermacher and Don Russell. Cambrian is described as âa sound and movement-based performance [exploring] themes of life, evolution and physical form.â (John Jahn)
To Kill a Mockingbird @ Waukesha Civic Theatre, Oct. 28-Nov. 13
Harper Leeâs 1960 novel To Kill a Mockingbird hit the literary world like an earthquakeâa book taking a dramatic and troublingly insightful look at issues of race, gender roles and class that arrived right at the beginning of the culturally tumultuous â60s. It won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction and, in 1962, was the subject of an Oscar-winning feature film starring Gregory Peck in the pivotal role of lawyer Atticus Finch. It has been widely taught in literature classes throughout the country ever since its publicationâand not without controversy. Waukesha Civic Theatre, under director Rhonda Schmidt, presents a fairly faithful staged production of To Kill a Mockingbird originally adapted by Iowa City-born playwright Christopher Sergel. (John Jahn)
Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown
UW-Milwaukee Theatre Department @ Kenilworth Five-0-Eight, Nov. 2-9
Raeleen McMillion directs a staged production of the classic film by Spanish director, producer and writer Pedro AlmodĂłvar. The 1988 film starred Antonio Banderas and won quick acclaim for AlmodĂłvar; it went on to win an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film. Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown is best described as a black comedic-drama that focuses a sharp, observant eye upon the lives of men and women in a modern-day urban setting. (John Jahn)