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Wednesday, Feb. 9, 2011

Dark Romantic Comedy in Boulevard’s ‘Becky Shaw’

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Threats of blackmail, an attempted suicide, a trip to the police station—finding love is never easy. And a play involving those elements breaks the mold of what one might expect from a comedy. So it is with Gina Gionfriddo’s romantic comedy Becky Shaw, the contemporary story of a young couple that decides to set up two friends on a blind date. It’s kind of dark—not exactly a feel-good trip down the greeting-card aisle with Nora Ephron—but it’s had some very positive reviews in other markets. The challenge of bringing this nuanced comedy to Milwaukee falls to Mark Bucher and the intimate Boulevard Ensemble Studio Theatre. One of the smallest stages in the city plays host to this delicate interpersonal comedy of bad manners in a production that opens Feb. 16—just after Valentine’s Day.

The close proximity of the actors to the audience in the Boulevard amplifies the human connection in a romantic comedy—the company’s production of Almost, Maine had some brilliant moments—but there are potential dangers, too. If the emotion doesn’t seem authentic, it can crush the connection an audience needs to feel in such close quarters. Fortunately, Boulevard’s production includes some remarkable young talent, including Joe Fransee, Anne Miller and Christine Horgen, all of who have tread the thin stage at the Boulevard in past comic performances.

The Boulevard Theatre’s production of Becky Shaw runs through March 20. To reserve tickets, call 414-744-5757.

Theater Happenings


  • Enjoy a fake wedding for Valentine’s Day weekend and beyond as the popular dinner-theater comedy Tony & Tina's Wedding makes it to Turner Hall Ballroom Feb. 11-19. With food from a popular Italian chain restaurant, this could be a fun date for those interested in interactive comedy. To reserve tickets, call 414-286-3663.

  • The local silent-film comedy troupe The M.U.T.E.S. joins the golden-age-of-radio comedy troupe Radio WHT and early-20th-century vintage musical group the Bootless Betties for a classy evening of comedy with A Very Vintage Valentine’s Day at Swig. The dinner-theater-optional show begins at 6:30 p.m. Seating for dinner opens at 4:30 p.m. For reservations, visit http://radiowht.ticketleap.com/very-vintage-valentines-day.

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