On Stage

Andy Bell shares his Pride with Milwaukee

Written by Gregg Shapiro,
Contributing writer
Monday, 03 June 2013 13:59

Out and HIV-positive pop star Andy Bell has logged more than a quarter of a century as the charismatic vocalist of Erasure, one of electronic music’s most enduring and groundbreaking duos. Notorious for his dance moves as well as his penchant for eye-catching costumes – ranging from elaborate to skimpy – Bell has recently released a couple of solo discs and made a name on the DJ circuit.

Emily Saliers is psyched about PrideFest

Written by Gregg Shapiro,
Contributing writer
Thursday, 16 May 2013 12:31

Amy Ray, left, and Emily Saliers of the Indigo Girls.

Since bursting onto the music scene more than 20 years ago, the Indigo Girls have inspired many imitators. But few of them have achieved the songwriting success or harmonic perfection of lesbian duo Emily Saliers and Amy Ray. Individually and collectively, the two lifelong friends have created some of American folk rock’s most unforgettable tunes. Their signature classics, including “Closer to Fine,” “Galileo,” “Power of Two” and “Get Out the Map,” still have devoted followers singing along, swaying in their seats and dancing in the grass.

‘Spider Woman’ takes web of music and intrigue to Milwaukee’s Off the Wall Theatre

Written by Mike Muckian,
Contributing writer
Thursday, 16 May 2013 11:33

Life lived out of balance is difficult at best, but a life lacking purpose is destined to end quickly.

That’s the sort of existential message at the heart of “Kiss of the Spider Woman,” says Dale Gutzman, whose Off the Wall Theatre is mounting a production of the John Kander/Fred Ebb musical this month. The plot follows the unlikely love that blossoms between two men sharing the horrors of an Argentine prison.

Melissa Ferrick to perform at women's music festival in Middleton

Written by Gregg Shapiro,
Contributing writer
Thursday, 13 June 2013 14:50

Melissa Ferrick, once known as the other Melissa – arriving, as she did, just a few years after Melissa Etheridge – has been out from the beginning of her career, unlike Etheridge. Ferrick made a name as a riveting live performer, famous for busting strings as she worked over her guitar. Initially a major-label artist in the early to mid-1990s, when the record execs thought it was profitable to have female singer/songwriters on their rosters, Ferrick later did time on an indie label, as well as her own.

Amanda Palmer brings musical theatrics to PrideFest

Written by Gregg Shapiro,
Contributing writer
Monday, 03 June 2013 13:50

Versatile, prolific performer Amanda Palmer made history by raising a ton of money through a Kickstarter campaign to finance her latest project – “Theater Is Evil by Amanda Palmer & The Grand Theft Orchestra.” Solo, leading the Grand Theft Orchestra or as one half of The Dresden Dolls or Evelyn Evelyn, Palmer is always riveting.

Bill Theisen leaving Skylight, joining Univ. of Iowa opera program

Written by Mike Muckian,
Contributing writer
Thursday, 16 May 2013 12:20

At one point in his life, Bill Theisen thought he might become a priest. But the universe had other plans for him. 

The Milwaukee native and Milwaukee Technical High School graduate was pursuing a career as a metallurgist when he saw a newspaper notice announcing an audition for “Man of La Mancha.” He tried out, got the part and soon left his other career aspirations behind.

Nathan Lane is a tour de force in 'The Nance'

Written by The Associated Press Thursday, 02 May 2013 14:45

Douglas Carter Beane’s play “The Nance” opens with Nathan Lane hungrily looking around an automat. It is 1937 in New York and he’s not there for the food.

Lane, who portrays a lonely burlesque performer in the play, is there on his off-hours to try to pick up a man – any man, really. It’s an assignation that city officials frown upon in these closeted times and so everyone has to be careful or they’ll end up in jail.

Russell Brand to launch 'Messiah Complex' roadshow

Written by The AP Tuesday, 11 June 2013 11:33

Russell Brand has a "Messiah Complex," and he's taking it on the road.

The British comedian announced that he's launching a world comedy tour focusing on Che Guevara, Gandhi, Malcolm X and Jesus Christ. Brand says the show examines "the importance of heroes in this age of atheistic disposability."

Here comes the sun
Summer's festival lineup

Written by Lisa Neff,
Staff writer
Friday, 31 May 2013 11:25

Photo: www.visitmilwaukee.org/visit

The skies are bluer. The grass is greener. And the mercury is rising. It’s festival season, and Wisconsin takes pride in providing an outdoor offering for just about every day of summer. A look at the lineup and some highlights in bold.

Skylight presents the original 'Porgy and Bess'

Written by Mike Muckian,
Contributing writer
Thursday, 16 May 2013 12:15

Milwaukee’s Skylight Music Theatre closes its current season with a production of “The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess,” but artistic director Bill Theisen wants the city to know this isn’t the version that caused a stir on Broadway last year.

'Kinky Boots' nominated for 13 Tony Awards

Written by The AP Wednesday, 01 May 2013 03:36

The Cyndi Lauper-scored "Kinky Boots" has earned a leading 13 Tony Award nominations, with the British import "Matilda: The Musical" close behind with 12. Tom Hanks, making his Broadway debut, earned a nod as leading man in a play.

"Kinky Boots" is based on the 2005 British movie about a real-life shoe factory that struggles until it finds new life in fetish footwear. Lauper's songs and a story by Harvey Fierstein have made it a crowd-pleaser.