On Stage

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.

Director approaches 'Anne Frank' with documentary precision

Written by Jody Hirsh Friday, 02 November 2012 08:55

Emily Berman, Jonathan Gillard Daly, Larry Neumann Jr., J. Alexander Coe, Deborah Staples, Lee E. Ernst, Laura Gordon and Lauren Hirte in “The Diary of Anne Frank.” -PHOTO: Michael Brosilow

“The Diary of Anne Frank,” produced in 1955, only 10 years after the Holocaust won both the Tony Award and the Pulitzer Prize in 1956. Playwrights Frances Goodrich and Albert Hacket based their work on the actual diary of Anne Frank, a Jewish girl living in Amsterdam who, at 13, went into hiding from the Nazis with her family.

Beckett's minimalism a maximum challenge

Written by Michael Muckian,
Contributing writer
Thursday, 18 October 2012 10:01

Chris Damen and Kailen Fleck in “Ohio Impromptu,” part of UW-Madison University Theatre’s “I Can’t Go On. I’ll Go On,” playing Oct. 18-Nov 4. - PHOTO:Brent Nicastro

Playwright and poet Samuel Beckett believed that the less there is to say, the better it is said. What the Nobel Prize-winning Irish author had to say and how he said it, especially in the plays of his later period, were remarkable and jarring to actors and audiences alike.

Family dynamics at the heart of Chamber Theatre season opener

Written by Mike Muckian,
Contributing writer
Friday, 21 September 2012 10:01

Madison playwright Kurt McGinnis Brown, like most authors, was originally counseled to write about what he knew. One of the results of that advice is “Broken and Entered,” a play with roots in his figurative as well literal experiences.

Wanda Sykes brings her trenchant brand of hilarity to The Riverside on Nov. 10

Written by Louis Weisberg,
Staff writer
Wednesday, 07 November 2012 18:59

Wanda Sykes appears at 7 p.m. on Nov. 10 at The Riverside in Milwaukee. –Photo: Courtesy

Out actor, comedian and Emmy Award-winning writer Wanda Sykes was feeling “quite relieved” today, following President Barack Obama’s re-election last night.

Is Milwaukee ready to stand up and dance?

Written by Mike Muckian,
Contributing writer
Thursday, 01 November 2012 10:08

The Pointer Sisters, with Ruth in the center.

Ruth Pointer “was a struggling single mother trying to raise two children and living with my parents,” she says, when she joined her sisters’ singing group. “I realized how much money I could make in a short amount of time singing and said, ‘Wow! I can support my children doing this,’” says Pointer, now 66. 

‘Titanic: The Musical’ surfaces at Milwaukee Theatre

Written by Mike Muckian,
Contributing writer
Friday, 05 October 2012 13:30

One of the early 20th century’s greatest tragedies may seem an unlikely subject for a musical, but that didn’t stop the producers of “Titanic: The Musical” from setting sail on Broadway in 1997. The show, which won five Tony Awards, docks at the Milwaukee Theatre Oct. 13-14 for two performances.

Forward Theater's '44 Plays' takes on nation's chief execs

Written by Mike Muckian,
Contributing writer
Tuesday, 11 September 2012 07:13

Theater has always been a political medium, and never more so than in a presidential election year. Madison’s Forward Theater plans to increase the political quotient this month by opening its 2012-2013 season with “44 Plays for 44 Presidents.” The production debuts Sept. 20 at The Playhouse at Madison’s Overture Center for the Arts.

Broadway lights up Wisconsin theater season

Written by Mike Muckian,
Contributing writer
Friday, 02 November 2012 10:45

The national touring company of “Rock of Ages.”

From an oversized elf to a creepy TV family from the 1960s, from ”hair bands” of the 1980s to doo-wop legends of the 1950s, from an English nanny who can fly to witches who wish they weren’t, Broadway hits are headed to at least three Wisconsin performing arts venues this season. 

Soulstice turns to comedy with 'Blithe Spirit'

Written by Mike Muckian,
Contributing writer
Thursday, 01 November 2012 09:37

Actress Kay Hammond portrayed Elvira in the 1945 Technicolor British film version of “Blithe Spirit,” also starring Rex Harrison and directed by David Lean. - Photo: dvdbeaver.com

What could be funnier than watching the spirit of a departed socialite, mistakenly conjured by a séance gone wrong, torment her re-married husband? Noel Coward found the concept so funny that he wrote the play “Blithe Spirit” – possibly his best-known work – around it.

Lovers battle for their man in In Tandem Theatre's season opener

Written by Mike Muckian,
Contributing writer
Friday, 21 September 2012 12:51

In theater, as in life, love triangles can be messy affairs – especially when they involve a vengeful spouse, a soundproof cell and a bottle of poison.

On the town: Events on our calendar

Written by Gregg Shapiro,
Staff writer
Sunday, 09 September 2012 09:01

Events coming up of interest to WiG readers: