On Stage

The 'Boys' gay mentors

Written by Michael Muckian,
Contributing writer
Friday, 04 October 2013 10:26

‘JERSEY BOYS’ RETURNS: Nick Cosgrove, Jason Kappus, Nicolas Dromard and Brandon Andrussing performing “Walk Like a Man” in “Jersey Boys,” which plays Oct. 16–27 at Milwaukee’s Marcus Center for the Performing Arts. -Photo: Jeremy Daniel

Out production designer Richard Hester has worked on “Jersey Boys” since its inception eight years ago. Still, he didn’t know what to expect on the show’s opening night in Amsterdam. How would audiences in the Venice of the North respond to the distinctly American musical about the lives and careers of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons?

In Tandem Theatre opens season with Milwaukee premiere of 'Burying the Bones'

Written by Michael Muckian,
Contributing writer
Friday, 20 September 2013 12:08

Some of the most frightening ghosts are not ectoplasms floating through haunted houses, but the spirits of dark ideas that return to threaten continued harm. It’s the ghost of South African apartheid that haunts the characters in M.E.H. Lewis’ “Burying the Bones,” which opens the 2013–14 season of Milwaukee’s In Tandem Theatre Co.

At the center of the play, a Wisconsin premiere, is the character Mae (Malkia Stampley), who seeks the truth behind the disappearance of her husband James (Di’Monte Henning), a member of the African National Congress.

StageQ presents a gender-bending 'Much Ado'

Written by Michael Muckian,
Contributing writer
Friday, 20 September 2013 09:51

StageQ, Madison’s LGBT theater troupe, will undertake Shakespeare for the first time this month with a “gender-queer” production of the Bard’s comedy “Much Ado About Nothing.” The production, which opens the group’s 2013–14 season, will put less emphasis on the comedy and more on the romance of the story, according to new artistic director Audrey Lauren Wax.

Wax says StageQ’s contemporary retelling of the story will be nothing like Shakespeare fans have ever seen. 

Rep welcomes new managing director

Written by Louis Weisberg,
Staff writer
Friday, 06 September 2013 14:34

Chad Bauman. - Photo: Jenny Kostreva

After he applied for the position of Milwaukee Repertory Theater’s managing director, Chad Bauman proceeded to check out the company’s reputation in the national theater community. His caution was understandable.

From Jersey Boys to Midtown Men

Written by Michael Muckian,
Contributing writer
Friday, 04 October 2013 10:17

Michael Longoria -Photo: Courtesy

Unable to attend the Milwaukee production of “Jersey Boys”? Need a little more doo-wop? Fuhgedaboutit! The Midtown Men are making two stops in Wisconsin during their current 77-city tour.

Pinter's 'Betrayal' bares the soul of deception

Written by Michael Muckian,
Contributing writer
Friday, 20 September 2013 11:07

English playwright Harold Pinter is the master of stripping characters to the nerve with disarmingly spare but astringent dialogue. The result can be a soul-cauterizing experience for the audience – an effect that’s made Pinter’s 1978 work “Betrayal” one of his most critically acclaimed.

“Betrayal,” which uses reverse chronology to tell a story inspired by one of the playwright’s extramarital affairs, was made into a 1983 film starring Jeremy Iron. It’s scheduled for a revival starring Daniel Craig and Rachel Weisz that opens on Broadway on Oct. 27.

'Prison Break' star Wentworth Miller attempted suicide as gay teen

Written by WiG Tuesday, 10 September 2013 06:19

'Prison Break' star Wentworth Miller attempted suicide as gay teen

In a video obtained by TMZ, the 41-year-old actor says:

Milwaukee Rep fills the stage with ‘Ragtime’

Written by Mike Muckian,
Contributing writer
Friday, 06 September 2013 14:26

Jessie Hooker and Gavin Gregory in Milwaukee Repertory Theater’s production of Ragtime -Photo: Michael Brosilow

The Milwaukee Repertory Theatre kicks off its fall season with its largest-ever production, the musical adaptation of E.L. Doctorow’s American epic “Ragtime.” And Rep artistic director Mark Clements, who is directing the show, doesn’t mind telling you he’s both enthralled and exhausted by the process.

Milwaukee Chamber Theatre's 'Detective's Wife' rivets with suspense

Written by Anne Siegel,
Contributing writer
Tuesday, 24 September 2013 09:18

Veteran Milwaukee stage actor Mary MacDonald Kerr fills the intimate Studio Theatre with suspense in the one-woman show “The Detective’s Wife.”

The play, by Chicago playwright Keith Huff, is a humdinger of a mystery. At intermission, audiences might think they’ve got the ending figured out. But when the lights finally fade to black, they’ll discover that more questions have been raised than answered.

Milwaukee theaters find new ways to fill seats

Written by Anne Siegel,
Contributing writer
Friday, 20 September 2013 10:10

Milwaukee is blessed with a wide array of theater venues and companies to suit almost everyone’s taste. But whether a theater company focuses on splashy, big-budget musicals or intimate dramas, every troupe has the same bottom-line interest: to stay in the black.

In order to achieve this goal, theater companies – like all performing arts groups – are getting more creative in designing ticket deals and special programs to attract new and/or young audiences. Their marketing efforts often require as much creative thinking as do their productions.

Margaret Cho brings ‘Mother’ to Milwaukee

Written by Gregg Shapiro,
Contributing writer
Friday, 06 September 2013 14:38

Margaret Cho in the Web series “In Transition.” -Photo: Courtesy

On stage
A glimpse behind this season's theater curtain

Written by Mike Muckian,
Contributing writer
Friday, 06 September 2013 13:39

September marks the official beginning of Wisconsin’s theater season. Following are nutshell previews of three provocative opening productions by southeastern Wisconsin theater companies, along with each company’s season schedule.