Monday, Nov. 24, 2008

Milwaukee Theatre Holliday Season

By Russ Bickerstaff
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The morning of the first snow is probably as good a time as any to make mention of the Milwaukee Christmas/holiday theatre season. This season brings with it a few new items to mingle with the standard series of shows that tend to pleasantly plague my schedule beginning with November’s End. Here’s a brief list of what’s coming-up:

A CHRISTMAS CAROL

The Milwaukee Rep is one of the first theatres to holiday this year with the opening of its annual production of its adaptation of the Dickens classic at the Pabst Theater on November 28th. This years cast includes Laura Gordon, Torrey Hanson, James Pickering and Peter Silbert. I’ll be reviewing this one for the Shepherd. This will be my . . . fifth (?) . . . time reviewing a Rep production of the show. Of course, Lee Ernst and Gerard Neugent will not be appearing in the show this year as they are in Greater Tuna at the Rep Cabaret this holiday season, which brings me to . . .

A TUNA CHRISTMAS

Also on the 28th, Soulstce Theratre opens its production of a special Christmas play set in Texas’ third smallest town. The first of two Tuna sequels, Soulstice’s production of A Tuna Christmas will be performed in a slightly smaller space than the Rep Cabaret across town. The production will be staged at the Keith Tamsett Studio Theatre in the Marian Center.

THE HAPPY ELF



Also, also on the 28th The First Stage Children’s Theatre opens its production of a musical by Harry Connick Jr. It’s the tender story of the title elf finding himself in Bluesville. He tries to bring the magic of the holidays by bringing a Christmas Tree to Bluesville Town Square.

A CUDAHY CAROLERS’ CHRISTMAS

The ever-popular In Tandem Theatre hit will take a break after this year, which means this will be the last time for a while that audiences will be able to see Stasch and company pull together fort he big local telecast. The production opens mid-week December 3rd.

THE SHOW

The sketch comedy stylings of Doug Jarecki, Jason Powell, Karen Estrada Andréa Moser, and Matt Huebsch come to In Tandem's 10th Street Theatre for the holidays starting December 4


RUDOLPH THE PISSED-OFF REINDEER


The Alchemist Theatre in Bay View presents a parody of the classic Rankin and Bass stop motion animation TV specials. The independently produced comedy is the brainchild of Patrick Schmitz, who has assembled a cast featuring both adults and non-adults in what should be by far the most offbeat offering on local stages this season. Opens December 5.

IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE


The Sunset Playhouse in Elm Grove presents the James W. Rodgers adaptation of the classic Frank Capra film. The show opens December 5.

IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE: LIVE RADIO PLAY

And, as if by magic Acacia Theatre also opens a production based on Frank Capra’s classic. This one uses the radio play script written by contemporary playwright Joe Landry—also known for his live staged radio adaptation of old Hitchcock stories and, of the propaganda film Reefer Madness. . . oddly enough. Opens December 6.

SEXY ST. NICK’S ARTIST BUFFET

Not actually a show per se, Pink Banana Theatre hosts this interesting little showcase of local artists’ work at Darling Hall. It’s an opportunity to buy offbeat, hipster artist gifts from the offbeat, hipster artists themselves. Also featuring a “sexy Christmas Sweater Contest,” which one would probably have to see to understand. Also featuring turkey sandwiches and mashed potatoes in what’s probably the strangest holiday atmosphere in greater Milwaukee. December 6th only 3pm - later.

THE NUTCRACKER

Once again on December 12, Michael Pink’s Milwaukee Ballet staging of the classic by Tchaikovsky opens one of the biggest budget productions of any kind in Milwaukee for another round of performances.

WINTER TALES WITH JOHN MCGIVERN

Not more than two days after Next Act closes Murderers!,Next Act’s home at the Off-Broadway Theatre hosts a series of Holiday stories about growing-up n Milwaukee by local theatre celebrity John McGivern. Opens December 16.

HOLIDAY PUNCH

The usual suspects at the Off The Wall Theatre open their annual holiday show on December 18. This year’s sketches are scheduled to include a tribute to Ikea, Christmas in Prison, a soft shoe number between McCain and Palin and ObamaMia!

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