For the week of May 17-23…
Alice (in wonderland), May 19-22, Marcus Center, 929 N Water St (milwaukeeballet.org)
What’s that you say? You can’t wait to see Disney’s upcoming flick Alice Through the Looking Glass? Well, following up their hit productions of Peter Pan, Cinderella and Mirror Mirror, the Milwaukee Ballet again turns to classic fairytales for their season finale this weekend. And rest assured that this rendering of Lewis Carroll’s tale (which was first staged by the Washington (DC) Ballet) will be just as spectacular as those previously mentioned shows. AND it’s the perfect family-friendly show! It should also be noted that this will be the final MBC production for veteran dancers Susan Gartell, Valerie Harmon and Marc Petrocci. A heartfelt congrats and thank you to these talented performers and much success in their future endeavors! Milwaukee’s arts scene is a better place because of you!
Pirates of Penzance, May 20-June 12, Cabot Theater, 158 N Broadway (skylightmusictheatre.org)
First off, let’s just say that nobody, but nobody, does Gilbert & Sullivan operettas better than the Skylight. It’s a thread that runs throughout the long history of this organization. This 1879 gem is arguably the most enduring of the G&S operettas, and many people are familiar with it through the 1980’s filmed version which starred Kevin Kline, Linda Ronstadt and Rex Smith (remember him?). In fact, this is Skylight’s ninth staging of the show, and it’s loaded with gorgeous costumes and sets, catchy songs (easy to see where the Marx Brothers got their inspiration), snappy repartee, political satire (much of it tailored to fit current events and personalities!), and the usual G&S plot twists (see the film Topsy Turvy, the docudrama about librettist WS Gilbert and composer Sir Arthur Sullivan). Throw in the fact that it’s about pirates, after all, and thanks to the wildly successful Pirates of the Caribbean movie series, they’re more popular than ever, making this another great family-friendly show! I’ve been informed tickets are moving quickly, so don’t wait too long to get yours…Performances later in the run will sell out!
So everybody, all together now: Eye….Arrrrr…..Eye….Arrrrr!
Impressions of Switzerland, May 22, Pius XI High School, 135 N 76th St (mfbrass.org)
Milwaukee’s premiere brass ensemble (which recently took First Place at the National Brass Convention in Fort Wayne!) concludes its season with this program consisting entirely of works, both classical and contemporary, by Swiss composers. Yes, Harry Lime, there’s definitely more in Switzerland than cuckoo clocks! Come help this award-winning group celebrate their achievement with this enjoyable Sunday afternoon program in the perfect venue for brass music!
1776, May 23, Turner Hall Ballroom, 1034 N 4th St (milwaukeeoperatheatre.org)
Although this 1969 musical won three Tony awards (including Best Musical) and was made into a movie in 1972, you just don’t see it performed very often compared to other classic musicals that seem to be revived every few years. But then again, it’s pretty difficult to get one’s arms around a musical about the creation of the Declaration of Independence. Enter Jill Anna Ponasik, the intrepid Artistic Director of Milwaukee Opera Theater, whose previous productions included a staging of Gilbert & Sullivan’s (there they are again!) Mikado with toy instruments and a recent co-production with In Tandem Theater of a musical based on Oscar Wilde’s Importance of Being Ernest. With veteran local director Paula Suozzi (formerly of Milwaukee Shakespeare) in charge, MOT will be presenting a concert staging of 1776 at Turner Hall Ballroom this Monday night. This immersive production features a raft full of familiar Milwaukee theater talent, including Alison Mary Myers, Jonathan West, David Flores (who was also in Ernest in Love), Karen Estrada, Marti Gobel and Natalie Ford (the Skylight’s Eliza in My Fair Lady), many of them playing roles you might not expect. And throw in Jack Forbes Wilson (Liberace in not one, but two hit Rep productions!) on piano for good measure. Turner Hall Ballroom will be set up so the characters will be actually sitting and performing alongside audience members…even the violinist and cellist are cast as congressional delegates! It’s a pretty safe bet this one night only performance will be a one-of-a-kind theatrical experience!