On Stage

Conference asks: What is the best Broadway can be?

Written by MARK KENNEDY,
AP writer
Friday, 25 January 2013 18:07

Before long plane flights, Thomas Schumacher likes to download talks from some of the world’s brightest and creative minds speaking at TED conferences, watching them on his iPad while thousands of feet in the air. 

“I marvel at the range of stuff. I like the passion of the speakers and love the content,” says the president of the Disney Theatrical Group about the various conferences dedicated to technology, entertainment and design. “I am a giant TED freak.”

Top 10 theater moments of 2012

Written by MARK KENNEDY,
AP writer
Monday, 31 December 2012 05:42

Al Pacino came back again and Jessica Chastain showed up for the first time. “Annie” returned and so did “Evita” and “Elf.” Katie Holmes made a second appearance and that old stalwart “The Lion King” celebrated its 15th anniversary. Yes, 2012 was a year of old and new, theatrically speaking.

It also was a year in which the theater community tried to keep the show going despite several disasters – a natural one in Superstorm Sandy and two man-made ones in misleading monologist Mike Daisey and the phantom investors of “Rebecca.” None of those, of course, made our Top 10 list of the best moments in 2012:

"Gigi' is the perfect holiday Champagne musical

Written by Mike Muckian,
Contributing writer
Thursday, 13 December 2012 16:56

Lavish costumes, romance, familiar songs and a storyline about a young girl training to become a high-class prostitute – what better way to ring in the holidays?

Nothing, according to Dale Gutzman, whose Off the Wall Theatre celebrates the season with “Gigi.” The 1958 Lerner and Lowe musical about a Parisienne courtesan and her “vieux protecteur,” which opens Dec. 14, is designed to be an engaging theatrical holiday truffle, but one with complexities at its center, Gutzman says.

’Tis the season on Wisconsin stages

Written by Mike Muckian,
Contributing writer
Thursday, 29 November 2012 16:08

Don your gay apparel and get ready to “ho, ho, ho.” The holiday season is fast upon us – and with it comes a wealth of theatrical fare designed to make your yuletide gayer than ever. Local theatrical companies are doing their best to put you in the holiday spirit and, God bless them everyone, the entertainment is as rich as the holiday meals that you’ll vow to work off in January.

Leslie Fitzwater returns to Skylight as Edith Piaf

Written by Mike Muckian,
Contributing writer
Thursday, 24 January 2013 17:14

The legendary singer Edith Piaf, whose voice was called the “soul of Paris.” -Photo: musicadalpianetaterra.ne

Milwaukee actor and singer Leslie Fitzwater did not know who Edith Piaf was when she was asked to perform one of the French chanteuse’s songs during the Bastille Days celebration in 1987. Twenty-five years later, no area performer has a stronger connection to “The Waif Sparrow” than Fitzwater.

‘Memphis’ dancer says his life imitates the play’s heart

Contributing writer
Thursday, 27 December 2012 13:41

Kyle Leland.

For every loss, there is equal gain, and for every gain equal loss, according to Kyle Leland. That life philosophy has helped the out dancer and choreographer through difficult times, but his current role as dance captain for the traveling production of “Memphis” is most definitely a time of gain and increased self-awareness.

'Collected Stories' questions the ownership of personal information

Written by Mike Muckian,
Contributing writer
Thursday, 13 December 2012 16:44

Sarah Day as Ruth Steiner and Laura Frye as Lisa Morrison in “Collected Stories.” -PHOTO: Mark Frohn

One repays a teacher badly by remaining only a pupil, according to philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. But if the pupil plucks a plum that the teacher unintentionally offers and then capitalizes on it for her own gain, has the teacher been honored or betrayed?

Even wild girls get the blues

Written by Mike Muckian,
Contributing writer
Thursday, 29 November 2012 15:57

Lili Thomas, Zonya Love and Halle Morse in the Milwaukee Repertory Theater’s “Blues in the Night,” playing in the Stackner Cabaret. -PHOTO: Michael Brosilow.

Wild women don’t have the blues, or so composer Ida Cox wrote in 1924. But the Milwaukee Rep’s staging of Sheldon Epps’ “Blues in the Night,” now playing at the Stackner Cabaret, suggests otherwise.

Life is the lesson in 'Educating Rita'

Written by Mike Muckian,
Contributing writer
Tuesday, 15 January 2013 19:32

Life is an educational experience, and everyone we meet is part of a series of lessons through which we learn about others and ourselves. That’s the premise driving “Educating Rita,” which continues Milwaukee’s Renaissance Theaterworks’ 2012-13 season starting Jan. 18.

The 1980 play by British author Willy Russell concerns the relationship that develops between Liverpool hairdresser Rita (Cristina Panfilio) and her tutor Dr. Frank Bryant (Jonathan Smoots) after Rita enrolls in the U.K.’s Open University, the nontraditional school in which Frank teaches.

Gilbert & Sullivan return to the Skylight New Year’s Eve with a wacky revue that takes a modern approach

Written by Michael Muckian,
Contributing writer
Thursday, 27 December 2012 13:37

History tells us that librettist W.S. Gilbert and composer Arthur Sullivan hated each other so much that they wouldn’t communicate for years at a time. When they finally did collaborate, many of their works were left unfinished because they were unsatisfactory to one or the other – or both of them.

Ricky Martin finds new home on small screen

Written by AP Tuesday, 04 December 2012 04:25

Ricky Martin is saying goodbye to Broadway’s “Evita.” But don’t cry for him.

The Latin superstar has a slew of new projects in the works, including two television series and a children’s book. 

Written during the Depression, 'The Cradle Will Rock' resonates with today's struggles

Written by Mike Muckian,
Contributing writer
Thursday, 15 November 2012 15:20

Chris Fechtelketter as Larry Foreman and Stuart Mott as Editor Daily in UW Madison University Theatre’s production of “The Cradle Will Rock,” running Nov. 16 through Dec. 8 in the Mitchell Theatre. -PHOTO: COURTESY UNIVERSITY THEATER

In January 1964, openly gay composer Marc Blitzstein was enjoying a much-needed vacation on Martinique when he made a decision that would cost him his life.