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Performing Arts Weekly 12.15

Dec. 13, 2016
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Suzie Surreal

DANCE:

The Nutcracker

Anita’s Dance Company @ WestPAC, Dec. 17 & 18

New Berlin’s West Performing Arts Center is one of the local venues with an annual performance of Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s beloved Christmas-themed ballet, The Nutcracker. This may be a surprise to some; yes, there is more than one option to enjoy this classic dance piece in southeastern Wisconsin. At the WestPAC—a multi-disciplinary, state-of-the-art theatrical auditorium less than a decade old—The Nutcracker takes on a decidedly youthful appearance, thanks to staff and students of Anita’s Dance Company.

The namesake of this company is Anita Olson, who brought her hard-earned terpsichorean experiences from New York and Los Angeles with her to Muskego, Wis. There, she runs a professional dance studio for area youth, with special classes for every grade from kindergarten to high school. Anita’s Dance Company boasts a 50-year legacy of dance instruction, master classes with visiting choreographers and instruction in all kinds of dance—from jazz to classical ballet and from ballroom to hip-hop. With a total of six performances of The Nutcracker over one upcoming weekend, students and faculty members alike will surely be put through their paces.

“For the past nine years, Anita’s Dance Studio has been performing The Nutcracker at WestPAC,” comments the facility’s Managing Artistic Director Judith Smith. “It’s a partnership that I hold with high regard.” Continuing, Smith states that, “along with exceptional choreography, [Anita Olson] brings so much more to the program. She has worked with students for many years and supports the mindset and mission of West Theatre Arts Program. The Nutcracker has become an annual tradition for West Performing Arts Center,” says Smith. “We hope they stay with us for years and years.” (John Jahn)
 

MUSIC:

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone in Concert

Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra @ The Riverside Theater, Dec. 15-17

This event combines the thrill of seeing the very first of the now-legendary Harry Potter films in high-definition on a giant screen with a simultaneous live performance of its unforgettable score by the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. The MSO won’t just punctuate the action scenes; it will be performing every note composed for the film by the inimitable John Williams (who wrote the scores for the first three Potter films). Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone went on to spawn seven sequels and made more than $970 million at the worldwide box office. It received many Academy Award nominations, including Best Art Direction and Best Costume Design. More at point, Williams’ music for the film was nominated for Best Original Score. (John Jahn)
 

The Search for Suzie Surreal

Milwaukee Metropolitan Voices @ Next Act Theatre, Dec. 16-18

Milwaukee playwright Jason Powell has written a characteristically dreamlike holiday tale for the whole family about young Suzie who disappears from school, sending her friends on a search that leads to another dimension. Powell has written hugely entertaining works for Milwaukee Opera Theatre and Danceworks Performance Company and this is the first of two premieres from him this season with MMV, a small, powerful choral group with an eclectic repertory. You may know them from the Wisconsin Labor History Society’s annual May Day remembrance in Bay View. Powell chose a mix of traditional holiday songs, classic pop and psychedelia for this fanciful story. The cast of seven features Sheng Lor, Izetta Rees and Joe Picchetti. The excellent Mallory Metoxin directs. Performances are Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m. For tickets, visit call 414-278-0765 or visit milwaukeemetrovoices.org. (John Schneider)

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