For the week of August 24-30…
Boeing Boeing, now-August 30, Cabot Theater, 158 N Broadway (milwaukeechambertheatre.com)
The approach of autumn is in the air…Cooler temperatures have settled into the area, kids are heading back to school…and Milwaukee’s new arts season has gotten underway with the Milwaukee Chamber Theater’s hilarious production of the 1960’s classic Boeing Boeing, which is playing at the Third Ward’s gorgeous Cabot Theater through Sunday.
Director Michael Cotey’s staging of this retro comedy tells the story of American bachelor Bernard (Brian J Gill) who’s enjoying the good life living in Paris, a life enhanced by the fact he’s engaged to three different women! And they’re air hostesses: American (New Yawker) Gloria (Anne Walaszek), Italian Gabrielle (Amber Smith) and German Gretchen (Samantha Sostrich). Thanks to nimble use of the airlines’ timetables (Who needs the Internet??), Bernard is able to juggle schedules so only one girl shows up at his apartment while they’re on layover, often within hours of each other. And it’s up to Bernard’s befuddled housekeeper Berthe (a deadpan but hysterically funny Marcy Kearns) to keep everything in order and prepare meals catering to each fiance’s preferences (and also wear aprons to match the specific guest!).
To add a little spice to the proceedings is a surprise visit by Bernard’s longtime buddy Robert (Ryan Schabach), who can hardly believe his friend’s incredible skill (and luck) in pulling off this scheme. That is, of course, until one of the trans-Atlantic flights encounters nasty weather and is forced to return to Paris.
To reveal any more of the plot would only spoil the fun, but suffice it to say the entire cast does a splendid job in maintaining the high energy of the script throughout the entire three hour show. Please don’t let the show’s length scare you as the time literally “flies” by! In fact, things get so crazy you will welcome the midpoint intermission when it arrives! Also, special kudos on the set design (including Eleanor Cotey’s fabulous stewardess costumes), an eye-popping retro delight.
So if you can use a load of laughs (and who wouldn’t?), hurry down to the Cabot Theater before the show closes on Sunday! It may be, to quote Berthe, a “bumpy ride,” but one you’ll love taking!
So after taking a break for summer holiday, it’s great being back and looking ahead to what looks to be a great fall season. I would like to take a moment to express my appreciation for all involved with Milwaukee’s recent Irish Fest XXXV. Despite the oppressive heat wave gripping the area plus competition from the Wisconsin State Fair, the PGA Championship at Whistling Straits, and a Milwaukee Brewers homestand, the fest was well-attended which no doubt inspired the many acts to deliver performances that went well beyond the “call of duty,” to which audiences responded in kind. Many favorites, old and new, were here to help celebrate the occasion, but special mention must be made of the return appearance by the Omagh Community Youth Choir from Northern Ireland. The group was born of a tragedy, the 1998 terrorist bombing of the town marketplace, resulting in scores of casualties. A group of local music educators (including director Daryl Simpson) set about to form a group of local youth, both Catholic and Protestant, not only to help the healing process in the aftermath of the bombing, but to demonstrate these young people could not only coexist, but actually thrive through the power of music. From Day One, the choir has had a special relationship with Milwaukee Irish Fest, and it was truly inspiring and thrilling to have them back with us for this very special Irish Fest. Hopefully, the heat and humidity wasn’t too much of a strain, and I understand the group was overwhelmed by the fireworks show (disguised as a whopper of a thunderstorm) that swept through the grounds on Friday night! You can read more about the choir at ocyc.co.uk.