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Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2010

Milwaukee Theater’s Holiday Alternatives

New offerings from Off the Wall, Carte Blanche and UWM

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Thanks to aggressive corporate marketing, many people start to tire of the holidays shortly after Thanksgiving. For those looking to enjoy theater offerings sans holiday fare, the city offers quite a few options this month.

Right across the street from the Milwaukee Rep’s huge annual production of A Christmas Carol at the Pabst Theater, Off the WallTheatre stages an intimate production of the classic Guys and Dolls. The show continues Artistic Director Dale Gutzman’s tradition of packing a tiny stage with a big, sweeping production. The considerable talents of Sharon Rise and Karl Miller join a large ensemble looking to recreate the sanitized Broadway version of New York’s seedy underground from more than 50 years ago.

Off the Wall’s Guys and Dolls runs Dec. 15-31. For tickets, call 414-327-3552.

The seediness continues with a depiction of a brothel on the other side of the Atlantic as Carte Blanche Studios presents Brendan Behan’s dark Irish comedy The Hostage. Written a decade or so after the playwright had last been in prison for activities involving the Irish Republican Army, the play tells the story of a British soldier who is taken hostage in an Irish brothel populated by the cultural fringe of the mid-20th century. Carte Blanche has a proven record for striking the right mood in its small studio space. The Hostage runs Dec. 10-29 at 1024 S. Fifth St. For tickets, call 262-716-4689.

Those interested in a less-seedy holiday alternative need look no further than UW-Milwaukee’s production of Lovers’ Quarrels. This mid-17th-century comedy by Molire was written entirely in verse. UWM associate professor Bill Watson directs a new Richard Wilbur translation of the script on UWM’s biggest stage. The university’s theater program is quickly regaining the prominence it had years ago. This take on Molire shows a great deal of promise.

UWM’s Lovers’ Quarrels runs Dec. 8-12 at the Peck School of the Arts’ Mainstage Theatre.

Theater Happenings


  • Andre’ Lee Ellis & Company’s ever-popular ’Sho Nuff Gospel Music graces the stage of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Center at 1531 W. Vliet St. This concert/musical history of African-American gospel music runs Dec. 9-19. For more information, call 414-344-5600.

  • The comic search for the Holy Grail returns to the city this week as the touring Broadway production of Monty Python’s Spamalot appears at the Milwaukee Theatre Dec. 10-11. For more information, call 1-800-745-3000.