On Stage

Splinter Group revives Jim Farrell’s inner artist

Written by By Michael Muckian,
Contributing writer
Friday, 24 April 2015 04:29

Jim Farrell (left), Splinter Group’s founder and artistic director, will play a father who has a complicated relationship with his cloned sons (Joe Picchetti) in A Number.
— PHOTO: Ross Zentner

When it comes to theater — or any art form — there’s a big difference between an artist and an arts administrator. 

"Nightmares and Lullabies" more than just sweet fairytales

Written by Anne Siegel,
Contributing writer
Friday, 17 April 2015 09:02

With its tongue-twisting title, Nightmares and Lullabies: The Darker Side of Peter Pan sounds like a spoof. But the new work presented by Cooperative Performance Milwaukee in conjunction with Pink Banana Theatre Co. is far from a comedy.

Christopher Durang blends Chekhov’s style with autobiography in ‘Vanya & Sonia & Masha & Spike’

Written by Michael Muckian,
Contributing writer
Monday, 30 March 2015 15:22

Playwright Christopher Durang’s most famous work, "Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike," may be strongly influenced by the plays of 19th-century Russian writer Anton Chekhov. But it’s the contemporary elements he’s woven in, including quasi-autobiographical details pulled from his life and that of friends like Yale Drama School classmate Sigourney Weaver, that gives its characters the energy, vitality and pathos needed to rise above stereotypes and give the play its lasting comedic appeal.

Winner of the 2013 Tony Award for best play, Durang’s classic/contemporary mashup will conclude Forward Theater’s 2014–15 season, running April 9-26 at the Overture Center.

Skylight’s 'Snow Dragon' succeeds at illuminating uncomfortable subject

Written by Anne Siegel,
Contributing writer
Tuesday, 17 March 2015 12:38

Based on The Fallen Country, a 1986 young adult novel, The Snow Dragon takes on the difficult subject of family abuse. The world premiere opera, currently playing at Skylight Music Theatre, is set partially in an abused boy’s fantasy world and partly in his grim reality.

Musical version of 'Duck Dynasty' opens in Las Vegas

Written by Kimberly Pierceall,
AP writer
Sunday, 19 April 2015 17:29

There is no shortage of beards, camo, hunting and God alongside a bit of recent real-life scandal in Duck Commander Musical.

‘Ten Questions’ asks us to balance science and faith

Written by Matthew Reddin,
Staff writer
Friday, 10 April 2015 11:41

Shawn Douglass will direct Stephen Massicote’s world premiere about a teen who challenges his teacher on evolution.
— Photo: Courtesy

It’s been almost a century since the Scopes “Monkey” Trial so famously fictionalized in "Inherit the Wind," yet the battle over teaching evolution and/or creationism in schools still rages on. But while the central question may have remained the same, the cultural landscape has changed since the 1925 trial that challenged a state law against the teaching of evolution, or that 1955 play that revived its themes and conflicts.

The Rep’s short play series celebrates its 5th year

Written by Matthew Reddin,
Staff writer
Sunday, 29 March 2015 15:19

While it’s one of the newest additions to the Rep interns’ duties, the annual Rep Lab short play festival has been delighting audiences since its debut in 2011. Now in its fifth year, the festival provides acting, directing and design interns an opportunity to show what they’ve learned in a season.

Milwaukee Rep's 'Five Presidents' successfully campaigns for the votes of politics lovers

Written by Matthew Reddin,
staff writer
Sunday, 15 March 2015 15:06
Photo by Tim Fuller.

Five Presidents is an exemplary — perhaps even near-perfect — play for its intended audience, even if there are no surprises in the wings that make it a strong American play in its own right.

Milwaukee Chamber stages a supreme encore for "Jeeves"

Written by Matthew Reddin,
staff writer
Saturday, 18 April 2015 15:06
Jeeves (Matt Daniels, right) counsels Ruby (Anna Cline), Knuckles (Stephen Koehler, left) and his employer Bertie (Chris Klopatek). Photo by Paul Ruffalo.

Milwaukee Chamber Theatre has proven the success of playwright Margaret Raether’s Jeeves series twice now, with productions of both Jeeves Intervenes and Jeeves in Bloom that were wildly successful for the company. So it makes sense they’d go for the trifecta with Jeeves Takes A Bow, the third and final adaptation, which takes this brilliant valet and his dense employer to the Big Apple.

As MCT’s Jeeves, Matt Daniels takes a final ‘Bow’

Written by Michael Muckian,
Contributing writer
Friday, 10 April 2015 10:35

Few characters in 20th-century literature have quite as much intellectual and comic clout as Reginald Jeeves, better known as the personal valet, or “gentleman’s gentleman,” to hapless, dim-witted Bertram Wilberforce “Bertie” Wooster. As one of the last of the idle rich in England’s post-Edwardian era, Wooster has little to do other than get himself into trouble and then rely on Jeeves to get him out of it again.

At 50, Milwaukee Rep's internship has evolved into one of the nation’s best
WiGOUT Cover Story

Written by Matthew Reddin,
Staff writer
Thursday, 26 March 2015 15:07

Alumni from prior years of the Rep internship program gather at the company’s 2014 gala. Interns are a vital element of each season — and increasingly, regional theaters nationwide.
— PHOTO: Courtesy Milwaukee Rep

There’s a saying around the Milwaukee Rep that “the company is built on the backs of interns.” That sentiment might come off as a joke if the people saying it weren’t so appreciative, or acutely aware that it’s true. 

The Rep goes behind closed White House doors

Written by Matthew Reddin,
Staff writer
Friday, 13 March 2015 13:09

The five presidents alive at the time of Richard Nixon’s funeral swap stories and grievances in Rick Cleveland’s world premiere play.
— Photo: Tim Fuller

It’s rare when every living U.S. president gets together in a room. In the nation’s history, it’s only happened a handful of times, when either political obligation or tragedy summons the country’s current and former commanders in chief to the same physical location.