On Stage

Off the Wall dares to stage a chaotic, less saccharine ‘Spring Awakening’

Written by Matthew Reddin,
Staff writer
Thursday, 30 July 2015 06:27

The complex relationship between Wendla (Alexandra Bonesho) and Melchior (Claudio Parrone Jr.) drives the plot of Spring Awakening, Off the Wall’s summer musical.
—PHOTO: Off the wall theater

Spring Awakening has always been a challenging play to me. Its music is undeniably beautiful, but just about everything else leaves me uncertain — the book’s occasionally saccharine interpretation of its edgy, often-troubling source material (a early 20th-century play of the same name), the widely varying tone of its scenes, the presumably intentional uncertainty of whether the rebellious teens or restrained parents are right.

Musical ‘Parade’ sheds new light on an old injustice

Written by Matthew Reddin,
Staff writer
Saturday, 18 July 2015 19:51

In 1913, a young man named Leo Frank was accused of murdering a young girl he employed at his factory. But this was no everyday trial. Set amid the anxieties of a post-Reconstruction, early 20th century South, with a Jewish man originally from the North standing accused and the only other suspect a black man who becomes the key witness against his former employer, it could not be an everyday trial.

Phylicia Rashad encourages Ten Chimneys’ actors to soar

Written by Michael Muckian,
Contributing writer
Thursday, 16 July 2015 11:22

Phylicia Rashad is the latest master teacher to work at Ten Chimneys, where she’ll train 10 regional theater artists.—
Photo: Ten Chimneys

When Phylicia Rashad was filming her first scenes as Clair Huxtable on The Cosby Show in 1984, she had no idea she was a few years away from Emmy nominations for the role. A decade away from an NAACP Image Award for her follow-up role as Ruth Lucas in Cosby. Twenty years from her first Tony Award for playing Lena Younger in the 2004 revival of Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun.

‘Fairy Queen Fantasy’ enchants via song and dance

Written by Maddy Hughes,
Contributing writer
Thursday, 18 June 2015 10:20

Milwaukee Opera Theatre and Danceworks Performance Company know the magical possibilities that come from artistic collaboration. They will prove it in their upcoming show: Fairy Queen Fantasy, a romp through Milwaukee’s Lynden Sculpture Garden built around 17th century composer Henry Purcell’s adaptation of Shakespeare’s "A Midsummer Night’s Dream."

Edwin Booth play cycle seeks to redeem the name of America’s greatest actor

Written by Matthew Reddin,
Staff writer
Thursday, 30 July 2015 01:37

Edwin Booth is considered by many the greatest American actor of the 19th century, but his brother’s assassination of President Abraham Lincoln would haunt him to his dying day.
—PHOTO: David S. Shields

Edwin Booth is arguably the most acclaimed, most beloved and most talented American actor to ever strut the boards, a tragedian who was a pioneer of naturalistic acting. Yet today that reputation is buried beneath the weight of his brother’s name: John Wilkes Booth.

APT’s ‘Streetcar’ belongs to Blanche

Written by Michael Muckian,
Contributing writer
Friday, 17 July 2015 19:36

If a dripping-wet Marlon Brando, clad in a torn T-shirt screaming “Stella!” is your first and last impression of A Streetcar Named Desire, it may be time to let American Players Theater enlighten you with the rest of the story.

The Spring Green company has mounted a powerful retelling of Tennessee Williams’ most famous work, sticking to the roots of the original stage version but updating the setting to a slightly more contemporary 1963 New Orleans. 

World’s Stage brings ‘Bent’ back to Milwaukee

Written by Anne Siegel,
Contributing writer
Sunday, 05 July 2015 09:32

The World’s Stage Theatre Company is one of Milwaukee’s younger theater companies, both in its own age and in the relative youth of its artistic and creative team members. Its latest show is the opposite: an old play both in terms of when it was premiered (1979) and the time period it depicts (1930s Nazi Germany).

American Players’ Jim DeVita reconquers ‘An Iliad’

Written by Michael Muckian,
Contributing writer
Thursday, 18 June 2015 10:16

What is a teacher if not a storyteller? And what is an actor if not the embodiment of that story? 

Classic farce ‘Boeing Boeing’ kicks off MCT’s season

Written by Michael Muckian,
Contributing writer
Wednesday, 29 July 2015 23:32

Milwaukee Chamber Theatre takes a look back at the “swinging ‘60s” through the lens of classic French farce with Boeing Boeing, the opening production of its 2015–16 season.

‘Fugitive Songs’ cathartic for Karen Olivo

Written by Michael Muckian,
Contributing writer
Thursday, 16 July 2015 11:29

The song cycle Fugitive Songs features eight characters at a crossroads in their lives.
— Photo: University Theatre

Experienced actors know creating a character is a discovery process. For some actors, understanding and ultimately embodying those characters can be cathartic.

Misty Copeland named first black female principal at ABT

AP National Writer
Wednesday, 01 July 2015 12:55

Misty Copeland, the Missouri-born dancer who has become a forceful voice for diversity in ballet, was named a principal dancer at American Ballet Theatre on June 30 — the first African-American ballerina to achieve that status in the company’s 75-year history.

The company announced the promotion six days after Copeland made her New York debut in the role of Odette/Odile in “Swan Lake,” one of the most important roles in a ballerina’s repertoire. The emotional performance ended with Copeland being greeted onstage by trailblazing black ballerinas of earlier generations.

All In Productions hopes to inspire inclusive theater

Written by Maddy Hughes,
Contributing writer
Saturday, 06 June 2015 12:56

All In Productions is the newest theater company in Milwaukee, and they’ve already made a splash in their first season with productions of The Last Five Years and The Shape of Things. In their next production, Little Shop of Horrors, founders Mara McGhee, Robby McGhee and Alex Scheurell again will find an opportunity to pursue the company mission their name suggests: to produce plays with inclusiveness, respect and kindness.