Les Misérables isn’t exactly traditional holiday fare. But Skylight Music Theatre’s production, which opened Nov. 22, is a true holiday gift — a thrilling night of musical theater.
Few musicals equal Les Miz in blending a strong storyline, a soaring musical score and a compelling cast of characters. No wonder the musical’s return to Broadway in March is being so eagerly anticipated by fans. An astonishing 65 million people worldwide have already seen a stage production of Les Miz, and millions more have seen the film version starring Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway.
When Mark Clements signed a new, four-year contract with Milwaukee Repertory Theater earlier this year, civic leaders should have breathed a sigh of relief. Like the Milwaukee Art Museum’s Calatrava addition, Clements has done wonders for the city’s cultural profile.
A good musical keeps you enthralled and stays with you afterward, as you find yourself humming refrains of new songs.
The Landing, a lovely, quirky new musical theater work by John Kander and Greg Pierce, has enchanting moments and leaves you wanting more, in the Vineyard Theatre’s world-premiere production that opened Oct. 23. Pierce is the nephew of David Hyde Pierce, who stars in the show. The elder Pierce, who is openly gay, is best-known for his role as Niles on the long-running TV sitcom Frasier.
Reese Madigan and Greta Wohlrabe in Milwaukee Repertory Theater’s production of Venus in Fur, playing through through Nov. 3 at the Stiemke Studio. –Photo: Michael Brosilow
Ask Milwaukee actor Norman Moses about his current role as Julius “Groucho” Marx in Next Act Theatre’s newly opened production of Groucho: A Life in Revue, and he is likely to wax comedic.
For baby boomers, Sally Struthers’ name conjures a host of memories from the groundbreaking 1970s television series All in the Family. Struthers played Gloria Stivic, the wholesome, idealistic wife of “meathead” Mike (Rob Reiner) and the daughter of armchair bigot Archie (Carroll O’Connor) and dingbat Edith Bunker (Jean Stapleton). Caught between a sitcom marriage and the emerging feminism of her day, Struthers gave the nation its first liberated version of Miss American Pie, cheerfully speaking out against sexism, racism and homophobia as she helped set the dinner table.
Dee Dee Bridgewater might have been a Broadway star were she not so successful as a jazz singer. She won a Tony Award in her Broadway debut as Glinda the Good Witch in "The Wiz." But she later rededicated herself to her jazz career, touring the world, winning three Grammys Awards and hosting NPR's nationally syndicated "Jazz Set."
Now the 63-year-old Bridgewater has put her jazz career on hold to return to the New York stage for the first time since 1979 in the off-Broadway musical play, "Lady Day," about legendary jazz singer Billie Holiday. The role not only involves more than 25 musical production numbers but also 16 monologues, or "regressions," that look at the brilliant singer's troubled life.
Interested in savoring a little Georges Bizet with your favorite brew? Some Humperdinck with your hamburger?
Then you’ll enjoy Opera on Tap, a new ensemble devoted to lowering the cultural highbrow with a little Miller High Life, bringing musical classics to the masses.
Opera has never excelled on the merits of plot, but composer Giuseppe Verdi’s La Traviata benefits more than most from the timeless, tragic tale at its heart.
Murder, mayhem and all that jazz has returned to Madison this month in the Tony Award-winning musical “Chicago.” Roxie Hart, Velma Kelly and the incomparable Billy Flynn have taken over the Overture Center for the Arts stage Oct. 1–6 as part of the Broadway at Overture series.