Milwaukee History and Sullivan without Gilbert

Oct. 19, 2016
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boulevard streetcar

History in Wisconsin has quite a few strange dichotomies. In the first half of the 1950s, a senator from Appleton led a Communist witch hunt. As Joseph McCarthy’s Red and Lavender Scares were being conducted,  Milwaukee city government was held by Socialist Frank Zeidler. The same state that elected and anti-communist conservative also elected a Socialist mayor. By 1955, McCarthy’s influence had burned-out as everyone realized the damage he was doing. Zeidler continued to serve as Milwaukee’s mayor through the end of the decade. 

Boulevard Theatre explores the neighborhoods of Milwaukee in the mid-’50s as it presents Where the Streetcar Bends the Corner--a tour of the neighborhoods of Milwaukee circa 1955 in a piece devised by local stage talent David Flores and Boulevard Theatre Artistic Director Mark Bucher. It sounds like an interesting journey into an era of civic growth and strength through Sewer Socialism. 

The new piece is presented in conjunction with a production of B.C. Stephenson and Arthur Sullivan’s The Zoo. It’s a one-act musical comic folly featuring two pairs of couples. A nobleman looks to impress a girl who sells snacks at the zoo while a pharmacist is concerned that he may have inadvertently poisoned the girl he loves. Director David Flores directs the production, relocating it to from late 19th century England to 1955 Milwaukee. (The Milwaukee County Zoo would have been...a little over 60 years old at the time.) It should work well with the historical tour of Milwaukee in music presented as it is in Plymouth Church: a cozy east side Neogothic Revival construction that’s a little over 100 years old. Lots of history comes together in this show. Sounds like fun. 

Boulevard Theatre’s Where the Streetcar Bends the Corner by the Zoo runs Oct. 22 - 30 at Plymouth Church on 2717 E. Hampshire Road. For ticket reservations, visit Brown Paper Tickets online.

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