Good theater makes a compelling statement, while great theater carries with it truths that stand the test of time. That’s the measuring rod that Mark Clements, artistic director for Milwaukee Repertory Theater, uses frequently.
Stephen Sondheim’s “Assassins” – a musical revue featuring history’s most infamous U.S. presidential assassins – received mixed reviews when it first opened in 1990. But its characters’ search for sudden celebrity and the show’s celebration of the country’s growing gun culture has more relevance today than ever before, Clements says. The Rep opens its 2012-13 season Sept. 4 with the controversial work.
Chubby chasers, men in drag, men in towels, men out of towels and other assorted denizens of the bathhouse world will fill the small stage in Off the Wall Theatre’s production of “The Ritz” this summer. Out playwright Terrence McNally’s 1975 comedic collision of gangster spoof and bedroom (OK, bathhouse) farce well stands the test of time and is perfect summer fare, according to Dale Gutzman, the theater’s famously innovative artistic director.
Being dropped by her record label was one of the best things that ever happened to Broadway star Idina Menzel. The experience was painful at the time, but it empowered the performer to redirect her energy to the stage, where she’s achieved an enviable career as both a singer and an actor.
Legend has it that Georges Seurat, the French neo-impressionist painter, may have saved the Broadway career of out superstar composer Stephen Sondheim.
Madison’s Perfect Harmony Men’s Chorus and Milwaukee’s City of Festivals Men’s Chorus perform at PrideFest Milwaukee on June 9. The ensembles present the world premiere of Arthur Durkee’s “Heartlands” on June 16 at the Madison Masonic Center Auditorium and June 17 at Milwaukee’s Plymouth Church UCC. Details at www.perfectharmonychorus.org. - Photo: Ken Forney
Rocker and equality advocate Belinda Carlisle opens PrideFest Milwaukee’s 25th anniversary weekend with an 8 p.m. performance on Friday, June 8. Other event headliners include Taylor Dane, Berlin and GOD-DES & She.
Renaissance Theaterworks, Wisconsin’s only women-founded-and-operated theater company, recently received its first national grant. And it only took 20 years.
Singer Michael Cunio loves his work and his enthusiasm is distinctly palpable. “We look at each other when we’re on stage and think, ’Holy shit! This is our job!’ ”the out former rock singer exclaims. “We’re clocked in. Can you believe this?”
Great storytellers are like magicians. With a twinkle of an eye and a few words, different times and places suddenly become real.
Politics, as the saying goes, makes for strange bedfellows. In the case of “Veronica’s Position,” the season-closing production for Milwaukee’s In Tandem Theatre Co., the phrase is explored literally as well as figuratively, often with hilarious results.