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.
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.
Known for his folksy solo shows, many of them about life in Wisconsin, John McGivern is beloved for his ability to make audiences laugh and cry – sometimes simultaneously. A veteran character actor who’s worked in multiple media, McGivern will be seen next in the role of Stage Manager in UW-Whitewater Theatre/Dance Department’s production of Thornton Wilder’s “Our Town.” The production, which coincides with the classic play’s 75th anniversary, is also part of Southeastern Wisconsin’s fifth Big Read project. Sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest, the Big Read encourages communities to read and discuss great books and writers.
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.
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.
Given her legendary reputation for extravagance, Imelda Marcos seems a fitting subject for David Byrne’s splashy new disco musical “Here Lies Love,” a bright, novel production with a bold disregard for modesty and convention.
The price of admission will get you in the door, but you won’t get a seat in the standing-only, dancing-encouraged audience. Public Theater’s LuEsther Hall venue in New York, where the show opened on April 23, has been transformed into a beaming night club with strobe lights, flat-screen displays, wall-to-wall digital projections, artificial smoke and a DJ perched high above the dance floor.
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.
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.
Dixie Longate has two credos by which she lives: Never break character and never question the sanctity of re-sealable plastic food containers.
Prince Poppycock, aka John Quale, made one of the more enduring impressions on audiences and judges when he appeared as a contestant on “America’s Got Talent” in 2010. Attired in elaborate costuming as a baroque dandy – right down to the powdered wig and lacy sleeves – the prince was proclaimed “the male Lady Gaga” by judge Sharon Osbourne.