Marcus Center Announces 2009/2010 Broadway Season

Mar. 26, 2009
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I found myself at Marquette last night seeing what must’ve been my second production of The Spitfire Grill. (I’d first seen it at Acacia some time ago.) I was sitting waiting for the show to start when I overheard that there was a girl in the row behind me who was seeing the performance for a class on he history of the American Musical . . . and I always find it vaguely odd going to university shows knowing that there are people there who will be required to write far lengthier papers about these shows than I am . . . as a print review is only allowed some 300 words or so . . . the student said she wanted to go straight home and write the paper, which I wouldn’t have the luxury of doing. Having seen another production of the musical, I was pretty familiar with it. Actually, as musicals go, The Spitfire Grill is really good. It’s a musical for people who aren’t particularly fond of musicals. It’s not cloyingly stagy. The music comes as a strikingly natural outgrowth of actual emotion and . . . well . . . a full review of the show appears in next week’s Shepherd-Express. Marquette’s The Spitfire Grill runs through April 5th.

For people who DO like traditional musicals, The Marcus Center has announced its upcoming season . . . here’s what’s coming to town next season:


 The new rock musical that won a lot of awards for being a catchy, pop exploration of the nature of sexuality and such comes to Milwaukee October 6 – 11. Not exactly as edgy as Sharman and O'Brien's Shock Treatment, but this IS Broadway . . . and the tunes are actually much less offensively bad than most of what comes out of Broadway, so this one might have a crossover audience . . .


With renewed popularity following the blockbuster 2006 film adaptation, this 1981 Broadway R&B musical hits the road with renewed energy. It comes to Milwaukee January 5 – 10 of 2010.


Grease: 2010 sounds kind of like the title of a weird sci-fi film from the early ‘80’s, but the classic musical comes to Milwaukee directly from the ‘80’s by way of a recent Broadway revival featuring reality TV star/recording puppet Taylor Hicks. February 23 -28, 2010.


Uhh, yes . . . the 2001 comedy starring Reese Witherspoon made a huge profit at the box office for a film that only cost some $20 million, but it comes across as something of a strange choice for the Broadway musical treatment. The Broadway hit makes it to Milwaukee April 13 – 18 . . . of next year (not next month.)


The big hit musical based on the best-selling book . . . finally makes its southeastern Wisconsin debut July 14 – August 8 2010. Guaranteed to be a big sell-out once the tickets go on sale.

Right now they’re promoting the subscription series, which have kind of an impressive price tag . . . without getting into specifics, the equation ends up looking like this:  

One season of the best seats for the Broadway season 09/10


a full season of Next Act tickets


a full season of Renaissance Theaterworks tickets


a full season of In Tandem tickets


a full season with the Skylight


every DIY show in town for at least the next 5 years


a sizable donation to each DIY company . . .


True, this is only a rough estimate (and probably a bit of an exaggeration,) but it IS frustrating seeing this kind of money spent on touring shows. Pop theatre IS pop theatre, however, and there’s a good chance that the people who go to touring Broadway shows probably wouldn’t be going to theatre at all otherwise . . . still . . . it was a bit disconcerting standing by the merchandise table for CATS when it came through town. Just about every sale there could’ve sold-out a performance of any kind at the Alchemist . . . and that’s just merchandise . . . there’s got to be some way to get these people into the idea of seeing local stuff . . . that’s the only way that the local scene is going to expand . . . if there’s a concerted local interest in it . . .


The U.S. Supreme Court announced that it will hear the case to determine if Wisconsin Republicans’ redistricting maps are too partisan. Do you believe the U.S. Supreme Court will order Wisconsin to redraw our legislative maps so the majority of legislative districts are competitive and voters will actually have a real choice between a Democrat and Republican?

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