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Sunday, Nov. 24, 2013

‘Bromance’ at Milwaukee Chamber Theatre

Two Men and Many More Laughs

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Billed as a “bromantic comedy,” Things Being What They Are has all the indicators of being a fun two-man show. Dan Katula and Ryan Schabach star in Milwaukee Chamber Theatre’s production of the contemporary piece by Wendy MacLeod. Schabach plays Bill, a man waiting for the arrival of his unfaithful wife and his furniture. Katula plays Jack, an older divorced neighbor dealing with the loneliness of life after marriage. It’s something of an unlikely setup for a lighthearted comedy, but laughter is perhaps best when it is found in unexpected places.

Youngblood Theatre co-founder Michael Cotey directs the play. Here he is working with a couple of actors who have shown a fascinating capacity for depth in comedy. Though he showed considerable comic range with In Tandem’s shorts program “Romantic Fools” a few years back, Schabach’s strengths lie in bringing characters to the stage that an audience can identify with. His sympathetic stage presence should work remarkably well in the role of a man who might be waiting for the rest of his life to arrive.

Dan Katula is similarly charming, but his charisma comes from quite a different place than Schabach’s. There’s a casual kind of a working-class feel about his comic aptitude as witnessed onstage countless times over the years. What’s more, there’s a soulful resonance to the quiet end of his characterizations that should serve this production quite well.

Things Being What They Are runs Nov. 20-Dec. 15 at the Broadway Theatre Center’s Studio Theatre, 158 N. Broadway. For tickets, call 414-291-7800 or visit chamber-theatre.com.

 

Theatre Happenings

The Milwaukee Repertory Theater continues its longstanding holiday tradition with A Christmas Carol. This year, Joseph Hanreddy and Edward Morgan’s adaptation of Dickens’ classic is directed by the man behind the Rep’s recent production of To Kill A Mockingbird, Aaron Posner. Nov. 22-Dec. 24 at the Pabst Theater, 144 E. Wells St. For tickets, call 414-286-3663 or visit pabsttheater.org.

First Stage visits the holidays with an adaptation of the beloved ’80s comedy The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. The disharmonious Herdman kids star in a church Christmas pageant. Expect pleasantly comic discord from one of the best children’s theater companies in the country, Nov. 29-Dec. 29 at the Todd Wehr Theater, 929 N. Water St. For tickets, call 414-267-2961 or visit firststage.org.

The talented Molly Rhode stage directs the Skylight Music Theatre’s ambitious staging of Les Misérables. The production fills the stage of the Broadway Theatre Center’s Cabot Theatre, Nov. 22-Dec. 29. For tickets, call 414-291-7800 or visit skylightmusictheatre.org.
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