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What’s Going On

For January 2-14…

After taking a hiatus for the holidays, it’s time to get rolling in 2018!  Here’s a peek at some of the first events of the New Year!

Waitress, January 2-7, Marcus Center, 929 N Water St (

The 2007 film starring Keri Russell and Andy Griffith has become a hit Broadway musical, thanks to Sara Bareilles’ great score, and the touring production is now in town as part of the Marcus Center’s Broadway in Milwaukee series.

The show stars Desi Oakley as Jenna, a waitress at a small town Southern diner who’s a wiz at creating great pie recipes, but is stuck in an abusive marriage.  Trust me, this is a fantastic story that’s inspiring and empowering, and Bareilles’ score brilliantly enhances the story, thanks to the energetic performances from Oakley and a strong supporting cast.  Come see why Waitress has become the toast of Broadway!

Steely Dane, January 5, Pabst Theater, 144 E Wells St (steelydane .com)

Regular readers of this blog know that title is no misprint, but the name of a remarkable musical aggregation from Dane County.  Comprised of nearly two dozen members of other Madison area bands, their label as “the ultimate Steely Dan tribute band” doesn’t really do them justice.  Their ability to replicate the complex arrangements of the Dan’s original classic records is nothing short of amazing!  Their Milwaukee visits are always cause for celebration, so break out the hats and hooters and head for the Pabst this Friday night!  This show is guaranteed to chase those post-holiday blues!  Take note:  Due to high demand, the show has been moved from Turner Hall Ballroom to the historic Pabst Theater!

Animal Farm, January 12-February 11, Quadracci Powerhouse Theater, 108 E Wells St (

This political fable about a group of barnyard who banish their abusive farmer and take over the farm for themselves is arguably George Orwell’s most enduring work (and also the inspiration for animators John and Faith Hubley’s 1954 milestone adaptation).  It’s also Milwaukee Rep’s first Powerhouse Theater production for 2018.  Director May Andrales’ strong cast is led by Rep favorites Jonathan Daly and Deborah Staples, and the allegorical tale is perfect for these volatile times.  Remember:  “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”

Edo de Waart Conducts American Masters, January 12-13, Marcus Center, 929 N Water St (

The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra continues its season-long celebration of American music legend Leonard Bernstein’s 100th birthday with this all-American program led by MSO Conductor Laureate Edo de Waart.  The program opens with Bernstein mentor Aaron Copland’s haunting Quiet City, continues with Bernstein’s own Serenade after Plato’s Symposium featuring guest violinist Philippe Quint, and concludes with John Adams’ (arguably America’s greatest living composer) Harmonielehre, a 1985 piece for which de Waart himself conducted the world premiere, on which the composer commented:  “…the rare instance when a composer, a conductor and an orchestra create an inexplicable bond among each other.”

And speaking of the MSO, here’s some great news to start the New Year:  It’s now official, the MSO has taken control from Marcus Corporation of the downtown building that houses the Grand (formerly Warner) Theater, and will commence renovation work that will result in the Fall 2020 opening of the MSO’s new home, the Warner Grand Theater!  A new era in Milwaukee’s performing arts scene is just around the corner!



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