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Thursday, May 2, 2013

Musical Comedy History in Triplicate

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Musical revues can be kind of repetitive. They add a nice contrast to the rest of what inhabits local stages, but the format can feel forced no matter how it's dressed up. The Harmonettes has some unique angles, however. The show, to be staged in the studio theater of Elm Grove’s Sunset Playhouse, features three women—who are very talented in musical comedy—doing a history of music in concert.

One thing distinguishing the show is its scope. The three performers come out singing a "bouncy" Gregorian chant and end the show with tunes by contemporary girl groups. Granted, most of the 10 centuries within that time span will be glossed over (or ignored altogether), but the range they're going for sounds like a fun exploration for a comic musical revue.

The three Harmonettes have enjoyed impressive performances elsewhere. Karen Estrada is a comic talent who has appeared in memorable roles with Renaissance Theaterworks, First Stage and, most recently, Milwaukee Chamber. She has remarkable instincts for comedy. Alison Mary Forbes is probably the most recognizable of the three in musical theater, having appeared in several productions with the Skylight over the years and as the drunken librarian in In Tandem's A Cudahy Caroler Christmas. Ericka Wade rounds out the cast with impressive vocal capacity. She put in an electrifying performance some years ago in Soulstice Theatre's production of Chicago.

The Harmonettes runs May 9-19 at Sunset Playhouse’s Studio Theatre, 800 Elm Grove Road. For ticket reservations, call 262-782-4430 or visit sunsetplayhouse.com.

 

Theatre Happenings

  • Next Act Theatre hosts the latest incarnation of The Mystery of Irma Vep with John McGivern and Norman Moses in multiple comic roles, May 3-26 at Next Act's space on 255 S. Water St. For ticket reservations, call 414-278-0765 or visit nextact.org.
  • Jordan Gwiazdowski stars in the title role of Smithereen Productions' staging of Hedwig and the Angry Inch, May 3-11 at Carte Blanche Studios, 1024 S. Fifth St. For ticket reservations, visit brownpapertickets.com/event/356562.