In 1988, modernist composer Philip Glass ran into out beat poet Allen Ginsberg in St. Mark’s Bookshop in New York City. Glass had agreed to perform at a benefit for the Vietnam Veterans Theater and asked Ginsberg to accompany him.
“When you get booked for a Pops concert in the middle of February,” John Morris Russell says, “the theme seems a little obvious.”
Before Julie Tabash, Erin Gonzalez, Aaron Short and Pablo Siqueiros even sang a note the evening of Feb. 1, happiness filled the Florentine Opera Center.
Milwaukee theatergoers have the rare opportunity to see two plays by one of America’s foremost living playwrights in February, including one local premiere. On Jan. 30, Next Act Theatre presents the Milwaukee premiere of David Mamet’s Race (click here to read preview).
Budding authors are encouraged to write what they know, but such counsel often leads writers to also explore what they need to understand. For Wisconsin author Lori Matthews, personal catharsis is the seed of the narrative in October, Before I Was Born at the Milwaukee Chamber Theatre.
The simplest message often strikes the most profound chord and rings with the greatest truth. Out author and columnist Dan Savage came upon such a message in 2010 and found a way to spread the word that “it gets better” around the world.
The Whipping Man begins like a lot of other fictional works set in the post-Civil War South: The scion of a slave-holding family returns home, wounded in defeat, to find that two of his family’s former slaves are the only remaining residents of the plantation. The three spend the next few days pondering their futures in a radically altered world.
Next Act Theatre doesn’t normally shy away from controversial subject matter, but staging a play about race relations that’s literally titled Race is a bit blunt, even for this group.
Lee Blessing’s play Chesapeake presents a stable of colorful characters. The challenge to presenting them all? There’s only one actor.
We’ve all done it: You’re minding your own business, walking down the street, and then you see that person from your past — ex-lover, former best friend, old neighbor who hated you — whom you’d do anything to avoid. And because you’re free, just walking down the street, you can brush right past, pretending not to see, avoiding the terrifying prospect of having to dredge up all those old memories.
The characters of Shooting Star, onstage at the Boulevard Theatre, don’t have that luxury. They’re two former college sweethearts, decades past their messy breakup, and they’re trapped together in a small airport bar by a cruel, inconvenient snowstorm that’s grounded their respective flights home. And so they’re forced to dredge up those old memories — possibly, as it turns out, for the better.
The Skylight Music Theatre has embarked on the second leg of its season-long journey exploring the concepts of freedom and revolution with In the Heights, a Latin-infused journey set in New York City’s Washington Heights neighborhood. The music and lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda — infused with salsa, rap, hip hop and other Latin genres — broke new ground for the Broadway musical and earned 13 Tony Award nominations in 2009.
Music direct to your ears from the singers’ lips and from plucked strings — without electrical intervention — is crucial to the aura of naturalness that permeates Woody Sez. Amplification, if there is any for this Milwaukee Rep Stackner Cabaret revue, is so subtle as to be undetectable.