Plenty of great arts performances to be thankful for , including a bunch coming up this Thanksgiving week, so let’s see what’s up…
For the week of November 24-30…
Colors and Chords, November 24, Turner Hall Ballroom, 1040 N 4th St (pabsttheater.0rg)
Testa Rosa members Damian and Betty Strigens are the prime catalysts for this show, which brings together eight of Milwaukee’s best acts in a benefit for Islands for Brilliance, a group which brings together autistic kids and young adults with professional creative mentors. Some results of their work will unfold as the concert proceeds, as group members will create visual art projected on a backdrop to the musicians on stage as a response to their music; which in turn may influence the music being heard on stage. An exciting concept, and a great way to start the Thanksgiving holiday.
Doghouse Flowers, November 25, Fire Pit Side Bar, 1721 W Canal St (thedoghouseflowers.com)
So you’ve got a pile of out-of-town guests arriving Wednesday for the holiday, and you’re in a quandary about what to do on Thanksgiving Eve. Here’s a solution: Bring everybody over to Potawatomi Hotel Casino and head to the Fire Pit Side Bar for a special (FREE) show from Milwaukee’s best Americana band, the Doghouse Flowers. WMSE “Chicken Shack” DJ Jonny Z is a featured member of the group, who are celebrating the release of their new CD Cold Comfort. Rest assured, a splendid time will be had by all…and you may not even hit the slots!
Love Stories, November 27-December 20, Studio Theater, 158 N Broadway (milwaukeechambertheatre.com)
Real life couple Jim Pickering and Tami Workentin are longtime fixtures of the Milwaukee theater scene, and Milwaukee Chamber Theater’s holiday production is a special treat which features the duo in stories by George Bernard Shaw, Bertolt Brecht and Dorothy Parker. While it may appear that you’re watching a staged rehearsal, director Paula (Milwaukee Shakespeare) Suozzi definitely gives the show shape and direction. In this fun production, it will be difficult to tell when reality ends and the onstage theatrics begin!
Charlie Brown Christmas, November 27-January 3, Todd Wehr Theater, 929 N Water St (firststage.org)
If ever there was a story that was a perfect match for Milwaukee’s First Stage family theater, it’s this TV special which had its premiere 50 years ago this year. In keeping with the spirit of the TV show, which had real kids doing the voices of the child characters, the First Stage production will have young actors portraying the “Peanuts” kids. In fact, the only adult actor in the cast is Matt Daniels (director of First Stage’s recent hit James and the Giant Peach) as Snoopy. And the show’s trademark Vince Guaraldi jazz score will be played by Milwaukee favorite Jack Forbes Wilson (the Rep’s “Liberace”). After last season’s great production of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, many wondered what First Stage would do for an encore this holiday season. Here’s the answer!
Home Alone, November 27-28, Marcus Center, 929 N Water St (mso.org)
Since its 1990 release, the John Hughes-written, Chris Columbus directed film Home Alone has gone on to become a Christmas classic. To celebrate its 25th anniversary, this weekend the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra presents two showings on the Marcus Center’s big screen, while the MSO plays the John Williams score live! A fun treat for the holiday weekend, and a great way to warm up for next weekend’s MSO Holiday Pops shows!
Frogwater CD Release Party, November 28, Anodyne Coffee Roasting Company, 224 W Bruce St (frogwater.us)
It’s been a long time since Milwaukee’s favorite Celtic/folk duo Frogwater released their last CD Sparkle and Shine. During last summer’s Irish Fest, copies of a new Frogwater CD surfaced at the festival. And this Saturday marks the official release of Wide Rivers, a generous sampling of the group’s original (including the infamous “Opal’s Runaround” and “Waiting for Flynn”) and traditional reels, jigs and airs. With the setting being Anodyne’s new cafe in Walker’s Point, it should make for a grand night of revelry and working off that Thanksgiving turkey!
2nd Annual Big Band Bandstand, November 29, Turner Hall Ballroom, 1040 N 4th St (wmse.org)
And if Frogwater didn’t help totally work off those calories, head over to Turner Hall Ballroom Sunday evening for WMSE Radio’s 2nd annual Big Band Bandstand show! Following up last year’s great Cab Calloway band show, this year we have Festa Italiana favorite Louis Prima Jr and his band, playing the high energy swing of Louis Sr (“Just A Gigolo,” “Jump Jive An’ Wail,” “I Wanna Be Like You” (from Dinsey’s Jungle Book, where Louis did a memorable turn as the voice of King Louie!), as well as the band’s originals. Opening the show will be Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra’s Rhumba ensemble. And between sets, veteran WMSE Sunday Big Band DJ Dewey Gill will be spinning tunes from from his exhaustive collection of Big Band 78’s! With appetizers from Braise and a cool silent auction benefiting the station completing the scene, it’s a great way to wrap up the long holiday weekend!