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).
In 1975, I had dinner with Judy Garland’s fourth husband Mark Herron at the sagging Hollywood bungalow he shared with his partner — veteran character actor Henry Brandon. The invitation came via my boyfriend du jour, who’d appeared with Herron in a summer stock production.
Acclaimed Chicago actress Hollis Resnik resurrects Judy Garland at the Milwaukee Rep through Feb. 9 in the Tony-nominated play End of the Rainbow. Taking a leave of absence from the national tour of Sister Act (in which she portrays the Mother Superior), Resnik adds Garland to the long list of real people she has portrayed onstage over the years, including Edie Beale (in Grey Gardens), Patsy Cline (in Always Patsy Cline) and Eva Peron (in Evita). A familiar face to theatergoers from her many national tours, as well as the recipient of multiple acting awards, Resnik spoke with me about Garland, her career and gay fans in November 2013.
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.
Few plays announce their intention as clearly and quickly as John Logan’s Red, which kicks off the New Year for Madison’s Forward Theater Co.
Great promise surrounds this month’s debut of the newly formed Theatre LILA (pronounced “lee-lah”) in Madison. In addition to its New York connections and local roots, the new group has chosen a timely opening production that features one of Milwaukee’s most popular actors.
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.
In the winter of 1968, Judy Garland was on the ropes personally and professionally. Plagued by addictions, drowning in debt and just entering her fifth marriage, she desperately hoped that a six-week engagement at London’s Talk of the Town would revive her dying career. She planned to recapture the energy of her 1961 Carnegie Hall comeback performance, which had catapulted the former star from obscurity back into the limelight.
This year's best-in-theater list is overstuffed: There are revolting children, classic plays and circus acrobats. There are two knights playing two clowns and a guy in a one-man show, which somehow also features Barbra Streisand. Even a production that never actually made it onstage gets some applause. What? Our Top 10 list of the best in theater in 2013:
1. "The Glass Menagerie": There's magic from start to finish in this new production of Tennessee William's great play about regret starring a superb Cherry Jones and a revelatory Zachary Quinto. It's evocative, sometimes surreal and sublimely organic - the perfect package for a play about faded and frayed memories.