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Performing Arts Weekly: June 15-21, 2017

Jun. 13, 2017
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Photo credit: Denise Leitner

Tessellate 2017’s Mosaic of Performance

Tessellate (verb): to form into a mosaic. “Tessellate 2017” (noun):  a free festival of new performances commissioned by The Battery Factory, a rebirth of NYC’s Holderness’ Theatre Company by founding artistic director Rebecca Holderness who moved here a decade ago to join UW-Milwaukee’s theater faculty. Battery Factory projects include the veterans’ Shakespeare company Feast of Crispian, “pop-up performances” such as the 2014 Drama at the Depot in South Milwaukee and last year’s 20FOR20, in which 20 diverse community artists spent 20 hours together over three days to create a performance from nothing. Exile emerged as a theme, so this year The Battery Factory commissioned four works about exile, freely interpreted, to tessellate.

“We’re interested in supporting artists who want to make something different and also want to be in process,” Holderness says. “What’s unique is that we gave people money to do this. We’re hoping that each step can gather enough support and interest to go another step. The support we garner this year will tell us what we can do next year. We’re not trying to build an empire. We’re just trying to keep people working.”

The festival starts on Thursday, June 22, with an open rehearsal at 7 p.m. Two are short works: Joelle Worm’s dance theater piece about a Holocaust survivor in an immigration camp after Word War II and Nabra Nelson’s play about her Egyptian family’s forced exile in the 1970s. Two are slightly longer: Maria Gillespie's multimedia look at how memories shape movements and Holderness’ language and movement juxtaposition with actress Angela Ianonne based on Irish playwright Honor Molloy’s And In My Heart, about rebel love and politics. Performances are at 7 p.m., June 23 and 24. Twenty teenage artists complete the mosaic at 3 p.m., June 25 with 20UNDER20. It’s all free at Studio 508 in UWM’s Kenilworth Square East. Visit thebatteryfactory.org for more information.

 

Beautiful—The Carole King Musical

The Marcus Center’s Molly Sommerhalder describes this show as a “story of four songwriters, their friendship and the hit songs they created,” and an “inspiring, true story of Carole King’s remarkable rise to stardom—along with her close relationships with songwriters Gerry Goffin, Cynthia Weil and Barry Mann.” Julia Knitel plays the eponymous singer-songwriter in this Marcus production—as she has done now for two years on stages across the country. King has written or co-written 118 songs that have made Billboard’s Hot 100; her breakthrough album, Tapestry, crowned U.S. album charts for 15 weeks after its 1971 debut.

June 20-25, Uihlein Hall of the Marcus Center, 929 N. Water St. For tickets, call 414-273-7206 or visit marcuscenter.org.

 

MUSIC:

Opera’s Greatest Hits

Milwaukee’s Riverwest neighborhood will resound with some of the greatest arias in opera in the Florentine Opera Company’s “Opera’s Greatest Hits” concert, featuring their Summer Quartet: soprano Rachel Blaustein, mezzo-soprano Jessica Blau, tenor Thomas Leighton and baritone Leroy Y. Davis. They’ll be accompanied on this musical journey through opera’s long history of show-stopping arias by pianist Ruben Piirainen.

June 16 and 17 at the Wayne and Kristine Lueders Opera Center, 926 E. Burleigh St. For tickets, call 414-291-5700 ext. 224 or visit florentineopera.org.

 

Beer! Brats! Mozart!

No, we’re not playing a game of “Which one doesn’t belong?” That is how the Wisconsin Philharmonic labels its upcoming “Winds of the Philharmonic” concert—ensconced in the verdant hills of Kettle Moraine State Forest. “We are excited to be performing for the first time at SummerStage of Delafield,” says Charles Grosz of the Wisconsin Philharmonic. “The Philharmonic is committed to expanding our audiences, and this wonderful outdoor venue is a perfect opportunity to spend time with the family, celebrate Fathers’ Day and hear some great music.” Regarding the music—the orchestra’s winds will perform Wolfgang Mozart’s Serenade, K. 375, as well as works by Scott Joplin, John Philip Sousa, Malcolm Arnold and others. This event also offers free beer tasting for dads and free hot dogs for children.

June 18 at SummerStage of Delafield, W329 N846 County Highway C. For tickets, call 262-547-1858 or visit wisphil.org/summerstage-of-delafield.

 

Rachel Barton Pine Returns!

“Rachel and I are performing four of Johann Sebastian Bach’s Six Sonatas for Violin and Harpsichord [BWV 1014-1019],” says Great Lakes Baroque’s Artistic Director (and harpsichordist) Jory Vinikour. “We will be recording the entire cycle of six sonatas in September for Cedille Records.” This concert gives the audience a preview of that upcoming recording when Rachel Barton Pine and Jory Vinikour perform Bach’s B Minor, G Major, F Minor and E Major sonatas—compositions likely from his last years in Cöthen (1720-1723).

June 16 at North Shore Congregational Church, 7330 North Santa Monica Blvd., Fox Point. For tickets, visit greatlakesbaroque.org.

 

DANCE:

Feathers: A Tango Journey

“Argentine Tango is so much more than the sexualized glitz and glamor seen on stage and screen,” observes Tango 21 Dance Theater’s Sarah Robertson. “It is an art form with a proud history from its South American roots with a rich tapestry of poetic lyrics and classical music.” This splendid blend can be enjoyed by Milwaukee-area residents as Robertson’s Chicago-based troupe brings its expertise to our neck of the woods. She fascinatingly depicts Tango 21’s own make-up thus: “A diverse group of people with artists including the great-grandson of Frank Lloyd Wright, an SVP at a large bank, a professional ballet dancer, an opera singer and people who just love to dance tango.”

June 17 at 7:30 p.m. at Next Act Theatre, 255 S. Water St. For tickets, call 414-278-0765 or visit nextact.org.

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