On Stage

‘End of the Rainbow’ chronicles final days of Garland’s stormy career

Written by Michael Muckian,
Contributing writer
Saturday, 11 January 2014 19:50

Photo: Courtesy Judy Garland with her new husband Mickey Dean in 1968, the year in which 'End of the Rainbow' is set. -PHOTO: Mickey Dean

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.

Year in Review: Top 10 in U.S. theater in 2013

Written by The Associated Press,
WiG reports
Wednesday, 18 December 2013 12:05

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.

Creature feature is Off the Wall’s holiday season choice

Written by Michael Muckian,
Contributing writer
Wednesday, 27 November 2013 09:08

Off the Wall inspiration.

Had one too many Nutcrackers? Been Scrooged enough for a lifetime? Try celebrating the holiday season this year with an amphibious man-creature in love with a woman who is actually a man.

Opera on Tap blends Mozart and Manhattans

contributing writer
Thursday, 14 November 2013 16:21

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.

Hollis Resnik faces her greatest challenge as Judy Garland in ‘End of the Rainbow’

Written by Gregg Shapiro,
Contributing writer
Saturday, 11 January 2014 19:33

Actor/singer Hollis Resnik portrays the legendary Judy Garland in The Milwaukee Rep’s 'End of the Rainbow.'

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.

Skylight’s ‘El Cimarrón’ is gay composer’s take on true story of runaway Cuban slave

Written by Michael Muckian,
Contributing writer
Friday, 13 December 2013 07:42

Hans Werner Henze based his 1970 work El Cimarrón on this book.

More than a play and less than an opera, Skylight Music Theatre’s production of El Cimarrón is an entertainment that almost defies categorization. It kicks off the Skylight’s New Year on Jan. 3 in the Studio Theatre at Broadway Theatre Center, 158 N. Broadway, Milwaukee.

Skylight succeeds with a personalized ‘Les Miz'

Written by Anne Siegel,
Contributing writer
Sunday, 24 November 2013 17:01

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.

WiGOUT Cover: Mark Clements is filling seats, creating dialogue

Written by Louis Weisberg,
Staff writer
Thursday, 14 November 2013 13:42

Mark Clements of the Milwaukee Repertory Theater.

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.

Theatre LILA debuts in Madison with production of 'No Child'

Written by Michael Muckian,
Contributing writer
Saturday, 11 January 2014 18:53

Marti Gobel

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.

Wisconsin holiday stages sparkle with tradition

Written by Michael Muckian,
Contributing writer
Wednesday, 27 November 2013 09:16

Valerie Harmon in The Nutcracker. Photo: Jessica Kaminski

It’s time to celebrate the season onstage, and Wisconsin offers a theatrical Christmas stocking full of choices to get you in the holiday mood.

The pain and pleasure of ‘Sons of the Prophet’

Written by Michael Muckian,
Contributing writer
Thursday, 14 November 2013 16:23

Kahlil Gibran, the Eastern mystic poet, once said, “Pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.” 

Next Act channels Marx Brothers in new show

Written by Michael Muckian,
Contributing writer
Thursday, 14 November 2013 13:39

Next Act channels Marx Brothers in new show.

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.