For the week of April 9-15…
Spring Series, April 11-14, Marcus Center, 929 N Water St (milwaukeeballet.org)
Following up their hit Genesis show at the Pabst Theater back in February, the Milwaukee Ballet return to their Uihlein Hall home for a program of three exciting new pieces that’s sure to have something for everybody. One is a World Premiere from Milwaukee Ballet dancer Timothy O’Donnell called Children of the Wall, which includes echoes of “Que Sera, Sera” and Nina Simone in its score; a new setting of Mozart’s Requiem from choreographer Amy Seiwert; and Darrell Grand Moultrie’s Simply Sammy, a tribute to legendary song and dance man Sammy Davis Jr. Sammy will also feature guest artist, master tap dancer Marshall Davis Jr. Will we get Sammy standards like “I’ve Gotta Be Me,” “Candy Man” or “What Kind of Fool Am I?” You’ll just have to come see for yourself. But rest assured that the MBC will provide another eclectic program that explores the many facets of the art of dance.
Jeeves In Bloom, April 11-28, Cabot Theater, 158 N Broadway (milwaukeechambertheatre.com)
MCT’s previous production Jeeves Intervenes was such a huge success that a sequel was inevitable. So Matt Daniels (also a hit in In Tandem’s productions of Scrooge in Rouge) is back as PG Wodehouse’s beloved valet, with Chase Stoeger as the befuddled Bertie Wooster. It’s said that Jeeves knows everything (Heck, they named a search engine after him!), and once again he comes to the rescue in Margaret Raether’s adaptation (she also did Jeeves Intervenes). Along for the ride in director Tami Workentin’s production are Milwaukee favorites Karen Estrada, Norman Moses, Marcy Kearns and Matt Koester. In fact, Marcy’s written an informative essay called “Carrying On: Why Wodehouse Sticks” that you can read at the website listed above. Though it may not feel like it outside, Jeeves In Bloom promises to deliver lots of springtime fun!
Jackie and Me, April 12-May 5, Vogel Hall, 929 N Water St (firststage.org)
With the arrival of baseball season and a new movie about the legendary Jackie Robinson, First Stage concludes its season with Dan Gutman’s fable (adapted by Steven Dietz) about contemporary boy Joey Stoshack, whose magical baseball card allows him to travel through time. He returns to 1947, when Robinson became the first African-American to break major league baseball’s color barrier. Joey gets to experience the terrible treatment Jackie receives from players, coaches, and fans during this era of segregation, as well as his resiliency and determination to see it through. Once again, First Stage has a production that will engage the entire family.
Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street, April 12-28, Carte Blanche Studios, 1024 S 5th St (carteblanchestudios.com)
Following their recent hit production Fawlty Towers, the feisty folks at Carte Blanche Studios present more notorious Brits in Stephen Sondheim’s Tony-winning musical Sweeney Todd. It must be noted that this is the third Sondheim musical to be staged in Milwaukee in a year’s time, following last spring’s Skylight production of Sunday in the Park with George and last fall’s Rep production of Assassins, a pretty remarkable feat. I’d have to say this show has more in common with Assassins in that murders play a key role in both musicals. In fact, I’d say one might be vigilant in the friendly confines of the Carte Blanche theater for the possibility of splattering blood during the performance! Seriously, this is a special opportunity to experience one of the most acclaimed works of this master of American Musical Theater in such an intimate venue.
Henson Alternative: Stuffed and Unstrung, April 13, Pabst Theater, 108 E Wells St (pabsttheater.org)
Henson Alternative, the “adult” division of the Henson Co. empire, first visited Milwaukee in September, 2010. A few folks may have missed that show, as it was on the same night the Milwaukee Brewers clinched their very first National League Central Division crown (I was at Miller Park). Saturday night, you get another chance when the troupe returns to the Pabst Theater. Eight comedians and 80 puppets populate this production, which should delight those who enjoyed the Skylight’s hit production of Avenue Q last fall. Lots of improv (a la ComedySportz), but with a very adult twist! The whole enterprise is overseen by Brian Henson, son of the late Muppetmaster Jim Henson. But don’t call them Muppets!
Prometheus Trio, April 15-16, Bader Recital Hall, 1584 N Prospect Ave (wcmusic.org)
The Wisconsin Conservatory of Music’s original chamber ensemble concludes another exciting season of concerts with this program. And typical of most PT programs, it’s an eclectic mix of music both familiar and new. 20th century composer Joaquin Turina’s Circulo opens the program, followed by trios from Beethoven and Mendelssohn, all given stimulating performances from violinist Timothy Klabunde, cellist Scott Tisdel and pianist Stefanie Jacob in the splendor of the Bader Recital Hall. Classical chamber really just doesn’t get better than this!