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Since their eponymous sketch comedy show ended in 1995, all five members of the Kids in the Hall have stayed visible, albeit TV personality-visible, not major-star visible. Mark McKinney spent a few years on “Saturday Night Live;” Scott Thompson became the host of “My Fabulous Gay Wedding;” Kevin McDonald guest starred in over a dozen sitcoms and Bruce McCulloch made the oc...
  A 1,500-year-old vampire and a modern-day witch again join forces in the long-awaited final installment of Deborah Harkness’ award-winning All Souls Trilogy, The Book of Life. Following the success of A Discovery of Witches and Shadow of Night, historian and witch Diana Bishop and vampire...
 Gabriele Münter was young, rich and restless, traveling widely at the turn of the 20th century and living unconventionally. She was drawn to painting and fell into intense relations with her art tutor, the then little-known Wassily Kandinsky. Although Milwaukee author Mary Basson titled...

Julie Melby’s comic memories at Boswell Books

 Quirky putt-putt courses dot the landscape of Wisconsin, and these popular fair-weather establishments have hosted many a family vacationer. Julie Melby’s Tom Thumb mini-golf course, family owned and operated in Waupaca for 30 years, and her clever, outrageously funny My Family...

Tom August’s history of our multicultural city

 Milwaukee is among America’s most historically unique cities, and yet, the problems that pervaded the U.S. throughout its history, especially the crucial issue of racism, arrived with the early settlers. Milwaukee historian...

Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus at Boswell

 Let’s face it: Americans have a ubiquitous connection to “stuff.” While intrepid individuals like Henry David Thoreau and Mahatma Gandhi are revered...

‘Recycled’ is the theme as dancers work with music, film

 Milwaukee choreographers team up with non-dance artists to create experimental performances in Art to Art, the worthy centerpiece of the annual Danceworks...

Caroline Shaw octet provided a break in the gloom

 Present Music presents a smorgasbord of composers and styles, with some degree of hit and miss as part of the nature of performing new music. The season finale, performed Friday evening at the Cabot Theatre (normally home to Skylight) was decidedly more miss than hit...

Present Music and Milwaukee Opera Theatre join with Reginald Baylor’s TypeFace Project

 Present Music joins forces with Milwaukee Opera Theatre in Home Place, a multi-media exploration promising to challenge our views of home and place. The event is cast in three segments beginning outside the Broadway Theatre Center in Catalano Square with new works by local students...

Gilbert Varga conducts Tchaikovsky and Mozart

 Guest conductor Gilbert Varga returned to conduct the final classical concert of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra season last weekend. The highlight was Karen Gomyo’s account of Tchaikovsky’s Concerto for Violin, with every note and nuance emerging with clarity and exquisite taste....

New choreography by faculty, students and guests

 The UW-Milwaukee Dance Department closes each school year with an edition of “Summerdances,” a concert of new work by faculty and guest choreographers created...

A great ensemble hits its stride as season nears end

 A member of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra I have wanted to hear more from as a soloist is principal cellist Susan Babini. After her first featured solo in the orchestra a few seasons ago, I paraphrased the famous line from Jerry Maguire: “She had me at hello.” I have heard her only...
 The end-of-the-school-year concert of the UWM Dance Department is always enjoyable and you can also learn a lot. Lineage will close the department’s 50th year...
 Kalliope Vocal Arts presents “Faith, Hope & Love,” a concert of three fully staged, not-often-performed opera scenes showcasing 12 young vocalists, string quartet and piano. “What’s cool about this event is all the stories are very compelling—these don’t drag and are very dramatic. And translations...

New American opera in the Florentine’s @ The Center Series

 In the small, high-ceilinged Florentine studio in Riverwest, a kind of chapel for opera, the audience sits within arm’s reach of the singers whose resonant voices penetrate...
I have always admired the continuing exploration of literature that is a fundamental aspect of the Prometheus Trio. Over the years I have heard quite a bit of music on their concerts never before encountered. Such was the case with Frank Bridge’s Trio......
I knew violinist Ilana Setapen was good. I had heard her in recital and in chamber music. But I didn’t realize how wonderfully and exceptionally good she is until hearing her play Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto with Milwaukee Symphony last Saturday night. Setapen is associate concertmaster of the orchestra. I would guess that there are few......

Present Music with Margaret Leng Tan

Margaret Leng Tan, the world’s first toy piano virtuoso, was the star of Present Music’s concert “Toys!” She was perfectly accompanied by the Present Music string ensemble......

Classical Review

“Shining Stars” was the appropriate title of the Wisconsin Philharmonic's May 2 concert. In addition to the orchestra's usual instrumentalists there appeared the winners of its youth concerto competition as well as a smattering of youth orchestra members. Another “shining star” was Joseph Schwantner, the American composer of the first work, Chasing Light. This four-movemen...
There was an exciting revelation at Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra last weekend: the bandoneon featured in a concerto by the Argentinian master of the tango, Astor Piazzolla (1921- 1992). Piazzolla's tangos show up regularly in diverse contexts....
Two seasons ago Vladimir Feltsman commented negatively about the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra Steinway and urged its replacement on a live local public television broadcast. That concert was re-broadcast, and apparently eventually led to the donors' gift of a new piano. The old MSO Steinway has a resonant ring, but also a loose rattle and unevenness. It was time to move on....

Classical Review

The snowstorm last week forced a cancelled rehearsal of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, and prevented the arrival of the guest soloist, pianist Andreas Haefliger. Conductor Andreas Delfs quickly revised the plans to something the orchestra could do with just one rehearsal. William Schuman’s Symphony No. 5, which the MSO has never before played, and a Mozart piano concerto were scrapped. In...

Classical Review

The ludicrous production of La Traviata that opened at Skylight Opera last weekend proved that a great Verdi melody is indestructible. This unbelievably misguided venture only works in the final scene, when all its incompetence, bad direction and quarter-baked ideas mercifully recede enough for focus on the bare . . ....

Classical Preview

American composer John Adams (b. 1947) once stood under the same Minimalist umbrella as Steve Reich and Philip Glass, but as the ’90s wore on, he developed into something of a “post-post-modernist,” as demonstrated by such works as The Death of Klinghoffer (1991) and the Violin Concerto (1993)....

Classical Review

It is irresistibly interesting to speculate what goes on in guest conductor rehearsals with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. Were ideas persuasively delivered, spoken or unspoken?...
 Long the anchor of the Danceworks DanceLAB summer series of dance experiments, Danceworks on Tap enjoys upending preconceptions about tap dance. According to Artistic Director Amy Brinkman, this year’s...

Wild Space opens its season with ‘Milwaukee 360’

You are apt to be quite taken with the beauty of Downtown Milwaukee and its environs as they appear in a wraparound panorama from atop the eight-story parking structure of the former Pabst Brewery, set high on......

Dance Review

Three was the straightforward title of the Milwaukee Ballet's spring program of three dances in three styles by three choreographers. More than anything, it demonstrated artistic director Michael Pink's devotion to his dancers, showcasing them individually......
All artists need the opportunity to fail. Risk-taking is indispensable. What serious opportunities for trial and error exist for artists in Milwaukee after they leave the relative safety of a college program? This is not an idle question. Danceworks recognizes that it is a community’s job to provide laboratories for artists and they have accepted their share of the responsibility. Liz Hilde...

Dance Preview

One would be hard-pressed to conjure up a name more closely associated with the Milwaukee dance scene than Ed Burgess. Burgess, currently marking his 20th year on the UW-Milwaukee dance faculty, has directed, choreographed or performed with just about every arts group in town, including the Milwaukee Ballet, Milwaukee Shakespeare, Wild Space Dance......
We thought that was fun and decided to make these evenings combinations of environmental work and traditional theater work. The range of the work that our choreographers were bringing to the process demand ed that we present the performances in this way.” The theater’s lobby, courtyard and stage are of equal importance for performances created specifical ly for these spaces. A piece by...

Sterling production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical at the Marcus Center

 Those familiar with a more sentimentalized approach to Andrew Lloyd Webber’s much-loved The Phantom of the Opera may find themselves pleasantly surprised by Cameron Mackintosh’s lavishly mounted, spectacularly detailed production at the Marcus Center. A subtle reorchestration...
 Commissioned to write an adventure play for Theatre Red, Milwaukee’s Liz Shipe delivered an unconventional reimagining of the well-known Robin Hood legend told through the eyes of Maid Marian’s servant, Aria. A Lady In Waiting includes Shipe as Marian, Zachary Thomas Woods as...
Halloween comes early thanks to Peninsula Players. The Mystery of Irma Vep: A Penny Dreadful is a madcap romp that takes us on a journey through multiple settings in which two actors play eight characters of both sexes and take on more than 40 costume changes. The show runs July...
 Defined by its sordid sensuality and macabre hedonism, Off the Wall Theatre’s intimate rendition of Rope, by Patrick Hamilton, tells the story of two gay college students who decide to commit motiveless and passionless murder, just to see if they can pull off the “perfect crime....
 Sunset Playhouse’s production of Gypsy is chock full of all the flashy, gaudy and bombastic pageantry one would expect from the celebrated musical by Jule Styne, Stephen Sondheim and Arthur Laurents, while staying true to the original intention of Gypsy Rose Lee’s memoirs and conveying a...

Boulevard Theatre’s final show at its Bay View location

 Often cited as a key factor in the revival of the Kinnickinnic business district and a kick-starter of the Bay View renaissance, Boulevard Theatre—founded by Artistic Director Mark Bucher nearly 30 years ago—presents a staged reading of Enid Bagnold’s The Chalk Garden to serve as the...

Acacia presents ‘Persuasion’

 Using Jennifer Le Blanc’s recent award-winning adaptation, Acacia Theatre presents an engaging production of Jane Austen’s Persuasion. The script fluidly combines direct address and dialogue to keep the audience abreast of the characters’ locations and intricate social and familial ties. Although there were some...
 Umbrella Group brings the Milwaukee premiere of God of Carnage to life in an aggressively clever little combustion that lights up the Downtown Milwaukee theater scene. A deft cast slices through Yasmina Reza’s dark, destructive comedy. Under the direction of Bo Johnson, four talented actors swiftly articulate the...

Acacia Theatre presents Jane Austen’s last novel

Jennifer Le Blanc’s adaptation of Jane Austen’s Persuasion, winner of the Silicon Valley Small Theatre Association 2013 Standout New Works Award, is praised for preserving the author’s intellect and wit and Acacia Theatre Company will present this rich version of Austen’s last...