It’s time to celebrate the season onstage, and Wisconsin offers a theatrical Christmas stocking full of choices to get you in the holiday mood.
Ask Milwaukee actor Norman Moses about his current role as Julius “Groucho” Marx in Next Act Theatre’s newly opened production of Groucho: A Life in Revue, and he is likely to wax comedic.
For baby boomers, Sally Struthers’ name conjures a host of memories from the groundbreaking 1970s television series All in the Family. Struthers played Gloria Stivic, the wholesome, idealistic wife of “meathead” Mike (Rob Reiner) and the daughter of armchair bigot Archie (Carroll O’Connor) and dingbat Edith Bunker (Jean Stapleton). Caught between a sitcom marriage and the emerging feminism of her day, Struthers gave the nation its first liberated version of Miss American Pie, cheerfully speaking out against sexism, racism and homophobia as she helped set the dinner table.
Had one too many Nutcrackers? Been Scrooged enough for a lifetime? Try celebrating the holiday season this year with an amphibious man-creature in love with a woman who is actually a man.
Interested in savoring a little Georges Bizet with your favorite brew? Some Humperdinck with your hamburger?
Then you’ll enjoy Opera on Tap, a new ensemble devoted to lowering the cultural highbrow with a little Miller High Life, bringing musical classics to the masses.
Opera has never excelled on the merits of plot, but composer Giuseppe Verdi’s La Traviata benefits more than most from the timeless, tragic tale at its heart.
Les Misérables isn’t exactly traditional holiday fare. But Skylight Music Theatre’s production, which opened Nov. 22, is a true holiday gift — a thrilling night of musical theater.
Few musicals equal Les Miz in blending a strong storyline, a soaring musical score and a compelling cast of characters. No wonder the musical’s return to Broadway in March is being so eagerly anticipated by fans. An astonishing 65 million people worldwide have already seen a stage production of Les Miz, and millions more have seen the film version starring Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway.
When Mark Clements signed a new, four-year contract with Milwaukee Repertory Theater earlier this year, civic leaders should have breathed a sigh of relief. Like the Milwaukee Art Museum’s Calatrava addition, Clements has done wonders for the city’s cultural profile.
A good musical keeps you enthralled and stays with you afterward, as you find yourself humming refrains of new songs.
The Landing, a lovely, quirky new musical theater work by John Kander and Greg Pierce, has enchanting moments and leaves you wanting more, in the Vineyard Theatre’s world-premiere production that opened Oct. 23. Pierce is the nephew of David Hyde Pierce, who stars in the show. The elder Pierce, who is openly gay, is best-known for his role as Niles on the long-running TV sitcom Frasier.
Reese Madigan and Greta Wohlrabe in Milwaukee Repertory Theater’s production of Venus in Fur, playing through through Nov. 3 at the Stiemke Studio. –Photo: Michael Brosilow