For the week of April 21-27…
Peter and the Starcatcher, April 24-May 24, Quadracci Powerhouse Theater, 108 E Wells St (milwaukeerep.com)
In 2003, composer Stephen Schwartz concocted a musical described as a prequel to The Wizard of Oz. The show, called Wicked, has gone on to become a Broadway classic. For its season finale, the Milwaukee Rep has turned to a similar show called Peter and the Starcatcher, a prequel to Peter Pan which itself was a big Broadway hit that garnered a load of awards. The show tells the story of the boy who became Peter Pan and it has connected with audiences of all ages, similar to the appeal of the Pixar animated classics. And like Pixar, it’s the story that hooks audiences at different levels. Elements as diverse as Monty Python, swashbuckling adventure and the operettas of Gilbert & Sullivan weave their way into the show’s fabric. Staging remarkable musical productions has been a major highlight of Mark Clements’ tenure as Rep Artistic Director, and I’d be willing to bet Peter and the Starcatcher will continue that run!
Disney In Concert, April 24-26, Marcus Center, 929 N Water St (mso.org)
If you need a surefire winner for an orchestra’s Pops season, you can’t go wrong with a program of classics from Disney films. And that’s what the Milwaukee Symphony will be serving up this weekend. Four veteran vocalists will join former MSO Associate Conductor Stuart Chafetz (himself a veteran of Disney programs) for this show that includes songs from Tangled, Aladdin, Princess and the Frog, The Lion King and oodles more. The show also features the Mickey Mouse classic The Band Concert (the cartoon that inspired conductor Leopold Stokowski to seek out Walt Disney for a collaboration that would eventually become the animated classic feature Fantasia) which will feature the cartoon projected on the overhead screen. And of course the program includes songs from the latest Disney classic Frozen, including the Oscar-winning “Let It Go.” If you think big crowds will be on hand for the three performances, you’re right. The Sunday matinee is already sold-out, so hurry to grab remaining tickets for this special Disney treat!
Italian Film Festival, April 24-26, Union Cinema, 2200 E Kenwood Blvd (italianfilmfests.org)
Let’s see…In recent months, the UWM Union Cinema has hosted festivals featuring films in French and movies from Latin America. Now it’s time to showcase movies from another great moviemaking tradition, Italian cinema. Seven recent films will be screened, and thanks to the good folks at Transfer Pizzeria, all the screenings are FREE! My personal recommendation is the 2013 documentary Oro Macht Frei, which tells the story of the Jewish experience during the Nazi occupation during World War II, and includes interviews with nine survivors mixed with footage from the period. Check the link above for the full festival schedule…there’s something for everybody!