On Stage

Milwaukee Rep's 'An Iliad' recounts the horrors of war

Written by Michael Muckian,
Contributing writer
Friday, 07 March 2014 19:49

James DeVita in The Milwaukee Rep's 'An Iliad.' -PHOTO: Michael Brasilow

You probably remember reading The lliad, Homer’s epic poem about the Trojan War, in high school. Who could forget those 15 pages of Greek generals’ names?

Chamber Theatre play explores tragic uncertainties

Written by By Michael Muckian,
Contributing writer
Friday, 21 February 2014 10:40

The front page of the Kingsport News after the October tragedy that heavily influenced playwright Lori Matthews –Photo: Wikipedia

Budding authors are encouraged to write what they know, but such counsel often leads writers to also explore what they need to understand. For Wisconsin author Lori Matthews, personal catharsis is the seed of the narrative in October, Before I Was Born at the Milwaukee Chamber Theatre.

'It Gets Better' brings message of hope to Marcus Center

Written by Michael Muckian,
Contributing writer
Friday, 14 February 2014 11:30

The cast on stage for

The simplest message often strikes the most profound chord and rings with the greatest truth. Out author and columnist Dan Savage came upon such a message in 2010 and found a way to spread the word that “it gets better” around the world.

‘Whipping Man’ takes rare look at Confederate Jews

Written by Matthew Reddin,
Contributing writer
Sunday, 09 February 2014 14:34

Josh Landay and Ro Boddie in Milwaukee Repertory Theater’s 2013/14 Stiemke Studio production of

The Whipping Man begins like a lot of other fictional works set in the post-Civil War South: The scion of a slave-holding family returns home, wounded in defeat, to find that two of his family’s former slaves are the only remaining residents of the plantation. The three spend the next few days pondering their futures in a radically altered world.

Westbrook’s new show skates into personal territory

Written by By Matthew Reddin,
Contributing writer
Friday, 07 March 2014 19:33

Timothy Westbrook

A fashion event that features origami, unicorns and figure skaters gliding across the Pfister Hotel ballroom sounds like a typical Timothy Westbrook event. The Project Runway alum and former Pfister artist-in-residence has made a name both for his commitment to sustainable practices, including his reuse of discarded materials, and also for his out-of-the-box fashion show ideas. For example, Paleontology of a Woman, his dinosaur-themed fashion show at the Milwaukee Public Museum last fall, featured elaborate triceratops headpieces and garments made of plastic bags.

So many characters but only one actor make ‘Chesapeake’ a challenge

Written by Matthew Reddin,
Contributing writer
Thursday, 20 February 2014 12:39

Matt Daniels in

Lee Blessing’s play Chesapeake presents a stable of colorful characters. The challenge to presenting them all? There’s only one actor.

'Shooting Star' dredges up former lovers' memories

Written by Matthew Reddin,
Contributing writer
Sunday, 09 February 2014 15:37

We’ve all done it: You’re minding your own business, walking down the street, and then you see that person from your past — ex-lover, former best friend, old neighbor who hated you — whom you’d do anything to avoid. And because you’re free, just walking down the street, you can brush right past, pretending not to see, avoiding the terrifying prospect of having to dredge up all those old memories.

The characters of Shooting Star, onstage at the Boulevard Theatre, don’t have that luxury. They’re two former college sweethearts, decades past their messy breakup, and they’re trapped together in a small airport bar by a cruel, inconvenient snowstorm that’s grounded their respective flights home. And so they’re forced to dredge up those old memories — possibly, as it turns out, for the better.

Skylight's 'In the Heights' is rousing, if sometimes faltering

Written by Matthew Reddin,
Contributing writer
Sunday, 02 February 2014 15:19

The Skylight Music Theatre has embarked on the second leg of its season-long journey exploring the concepts of freedom and revolution with In the Heights, a Latin-infused journey set in New York City’s Washington Heights neighborhood. The music and lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda — infused with salsa, rap, hip hop and other Latin genres — broke new ground for the Broadway musical and earned 13 Tony Award nominations in 2009.

Work of Philip Glass and Allen Ginsberg come together in Skylight's 'Hydrogen Jukebox'

Written by Michael Muckian,
Contributing writer
Thursday, 06 March 2014 20:56

Baritone Dan Kempson, left, and tenor Ben Robinson. —PHOTO: Mark Frohna

In 1988, modernist composer Philip Glass ran into out beat poet Allen Ginsberg in St. Mark’s Bookshop in New York City. Glass had agreed to perform at a benefit for the Vietnam Veterans Theater and asked Ginsberg to accompany him.

MSO presents 'Valentine Romance' program

Written by Matthew Reddin,
Contributing writer
Friday, 14 February 2014 13:50

Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra

“When you get booked for a Pops concert in the middle of February,” John Morris Russell says, “the theme seems a little obvious.”

Florentine Studio artists 23 enchant in ‘Opera’s Greatest Hits’ program

Written by Tom Strini,
Special to WiG
Sunday, 09 February 2014 15:02

The Florentine Studio Artists. - PHOTO: KAYLA BRUSS/FLORENTINE OPERA

Before Julie Tabash, Erin Gonzalez, Aaron Short and Pablo Siqueiros even sang a note the evening of Feb. 1, happiness filled the Florentine Opera Center.

‘Glengarry Glen Ross’ is Mamet at his very best

Written by Michael Muckian,
Contributing writer
Friday, 24 January 2014 14:38

HOLLYWOOD’S VERSION: Alec Baldwin was typecast as the smug, smarmy sales manager in the film version of playwright David Mamet’s 'Glengarry Glen Ross.' Milwaukee’s Off the Wall Theatre presents the Pulitzer Prize-winning play on which the 1992 movie was based.

Milwaukee theatergoers have the rare opportunity to see two plays by one of America’s foremost living playwrights in February, including one local premiere. On Jan. 30, Next Act Theatre presents the Milwaukee premiere of David Mamet’s Race (click here to read preview).