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Performing Arts Weekly Week of April 6, 2017

Apr. 4, 2017
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‘The Violet Hour’

Quirky comedy concludes Renaissance Theaterworks’ season

By John Jahn

“One thing that really appealed to me about The Violet Hour was the genre of magical realism and the fact that it’s a comedy,” says Renaissance Theaterworks Co-Founder and Artistic Director Suzan Fete about this play. “I’ve always been drawn to stories that are rooted in reality but incorporate fantastic or mythical elements. This will be the first comedy that I’ve directed in my 30-plus years of theater.” 

Playwright Richard Greenberg in The Violet Hour penned an enigmatic tale set in the early days of the Jazz Age. Here we find a struggling publisher named John Pace Seavering receiving a manuscript from a strange machine—an event that changes his life forever. Renaissance Theaterworks’ The Violet Hour features Milwaukee stage notables Marti Gobel and David Flores, Chicago-based actors Neil Brookshire (as Seavering) and Nicholas Harazin and Milwaukee stage newcomer Cara Johnston.

April 7-30, Studio Theatre at the Broadway Theatre Center, 158 N. Broadway. For tickets, call 414-291-7800 or visit r-t-w.com. 

Shakespeare Raw: Much Ado About Nothing

Lest you think that attending a William Shakespeare play would just be too boring and high-falootin’ for your tastes, Boozy Bard Productions offers just the right thing to dispel you of such silly notions. So, how do they bring the lofty and artsy down to earth? A group of actors with not much more than a furtive knowledge of Much Ado About Nothing pull character names from a bucket to learn who they’ll be playing. Thus, each actor has perhaps five minutes to get into character and go from there, scene after scene, to the end of the play. Much Ado is a comedy to begin with; we can only image what this unique approach will do to it!

April 10-12, Best Place at the Historic Pabst Brewery, 901 N. Juneau Ave. Tickets are $10 at the door or $5 if you arrive in wedding attire.

Post Comedy Theatre

The eponymous “Post” here refers to Robert Post, once described by Matt Lauer (longtime co-host of NBC’s “The Today Show”) as “insane…completely insane.” The SMPAC welcomes Post for his one-man variety show of “hilarious, poignant, physically dazzling and meticulously crafted sketches” that are populated by “bumblers, dreamers and cartoonish heroes of every stripe.” Post serves as his own emcee throughout his show and, whenever he ducks off stage, video clips of his travels around the world and ensuing quirky encounters keep the audience entertained. 

7:30 p.m., Friday, April 7, South Milwaukee Performing Arts Center, 901 15th Ave. For tickets, call 414-766-5049 or visit southmilwaukeepac.org. 

Men Are From Mars…Women Are From Venus: LIVE!

This famous Off-Broadway hit comedy, based upon a best-selling book by John Gray, comes to the Wilson Theater at Vogel Hall as a one-man theatrical comedy. The actor is Amadeo Fusca of Pittsburgh, who won the legendary Friars Club “So You Think You Can Roast?” competition four years ago by beating out 55 other comedians. In addition to his stand-up and sketch comedy work, the New York City-based Fusca can also be seen in various TV and film productions: to wit, “Boardwalk Empire,” “Marvel’s Daredevil” and “As the World Turns.”  Men Are From Mars…Women Are From Venus examines the loves and lives of men and women—most assuredly fertile ground for comedy!

April 6-9, Wilson Theater at Vogel Hall, 929 N. Water St. For tickets, call 414-273-3080 or visit marcuscenter.org.

Circle Mirror Transformation

“When we were talking about shows we wanted to do this year, we knew we wanted to focus more on humanity, interpersonal relationships and the things that bring us together in a time in which there is so much discord,” says All In Productions’ Creative Director Robby McGhee. This goal brought McGhee and company to Annie Baker’s Circle Mirror Transformation which, as he explains, “is a wonderful, genuine, well-written story of a group of seemingly average yet fascinating people” and acts as a decent character study—the human character, that is. 

April 6-15, Alchemist Theatre, 2569 S. Kinnickinnic Ave. For tickets, visit allin-mke.com.

Anything Goes

Cole Porter’s 1934 musical comedy Anything Goes, populated with colorful characters and filled with witty songs, docks in Marquette Theater. Herein, we find Wall Street broker Billy Crocker, debutante Hope Harcourt, lounge singer Reno Sweeney, gangster Moonface Martin and prim Sir Evelyn Oakleigh, all of whom are aboard the ocean liner, S.S. American. And this is no one-hit-song musical. Timeless Broadway hits like the title song, “It’s De-Lovely,” “I Get a Kick Out of You” and “You’re the Top” just keep popping up throughout the unfolding, “de-lightful” story.

April 6-23, Marquette University Helfaer Theatre, 525 N. 13th St. For tickets, call 414-288-7504 or visit marquette.edu.


The Miró Quartet Returns

This vibrant string quartet (Daniel Ching, William Fedkenheuer, John Largess and Joshua Gindele) performs classical music around the world, gaining praise and accolades along the way from audiences and critics, alike. Milwaukee’s Frankly Music ensemble is proud to bring them back to our area (having enjoyed a great success with Miró in 2014) for an exciting concert of three great chamber pieces: Joseph Haydn’s String Quartet in D Major, Op. 20, No. 4; Béla Bartók’s String Quartet No. 4, Sz. 91; and Johannes Brahms’ String Quartet in C Minor, Op. 51, No. 1. 

April 10, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 914 E. Knapp St. For tickets, visit franklymusic.org.

Florentine After Dark

Florentine Opera Company Studio Artists soprano Ariana Douglas, mezzo-soprano Ashley Puenner, tenor Thomas Leighton and baritone Leroy Y. Davis present a cabaret-style program of French, American and German songs both familiar and obscure in the ongoing and popular “After Dark” series. This popular concert series allows lovers of light opera, operetta, musical theater and classic popular song to enjoy glorious music in a relaxed atmosphere. Leave your suit and tie and opera glasses at home and get ready to enjoy some great music—not in Uihlein Hall but ensconced right in Milwaukee’s Riverwest neighborhood.

April 7-8, Wayne and Kristine Lueders Florentine Opera Center, 926 E. Burleigh St. For tickets, call 1-800-32-OPERA or visit florentineopera.org.


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