On Stage

Here comes the sun
Summer's festival lineup

Written by Lisa Neff,
Staff writer
Friday, 31 May 2013 11:25

Photo: www.visitmilwaukee.org/visit

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.

Skylight presents the original 'Porgy and Bess'

Written by Mike Muckian,
Contributing writer
Thursday, 16 May 2013 12:15

Milwaukee’s Skylight Music Theatre closes its current season with a production of “The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess,” but artistic director Bill Theisen wants the city to know this isn’t the version that caused a stir on Broadway last year.

'Kinky Boots' nominated for 13 Tony Awards

Written by The AP Wednesday, 01 May 2013 03:36

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.

John McGivern visits 'Our Town'

Written by Gregg Shapiro,
Contributing writer
Thursday, 18 April 2013 14:45

John McGivern, Adam O’Neil and Alycia Ruge in rehearsal for UW-Whitewater’s production of “Our Town.” -Photo: Emily Webb

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.

Emily Saliers is psyched about PrideFest

Written by Gregg Shapiro,
Contributing writer
Thursday, 16 May 2013 12:31

Amy Ray, left, and Emily Saliers of the Indigo Girls.

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.

‘Spider Woman’ takes web of music and intrigue to Milwaukee’s Off the Wall Theatre

Written by Mike Muckian,
Contributing writer
Thursday, 16 May 2013 11:33

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.

David Byrne revisits disco in new theatrical work

AP writer
Sunday, 28 April 2013 19:55

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.

Awakening Shorewood audiences about youth issues

Written by Michael Muckian,
Contributing writer
Thursday, 18 April 2013 14:35

The Milwaukee suburb of Shorewood is known as an exceptionally well-educated and progressive community, and next month Shorewood High School will test the limits of the area’s progressive values when it stages “Spring Awakening.”

Bill Theisen leaving Skylight, joining Univ. of Iowa opera program

Written by Mike Muckian,
Contributing writer
Thursday, 16 May 2013 12:20

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.

Nathan Lane is a tour de force in 'The Nance'

Written by The Associated Press Thursday, 02 May 2013 14:45

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.

This Tupperware Party is not a drag

Written by Michael Muckian,
Contributing writer
Thursday, 18 April 2013 15:35

Kris Andersson as Miss Dixie Longate, one of the world’s foremost Tupperware salespeople. -Photo: Courtesy

Dixie Longate has two credos by which she lives: Never break character and never question the sanctity of re-sealable plastic food containers.

Milwaukee gets royal audience with Prince Poppycock

Written by Gregg Shapiro,
Contributing writer
Thursday, 04 April 2013 17:41

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.