Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2009

Odds and Ends at the End Of January

By Russ Bickerstaff
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SHORTENED RUN FOR THE NEXT THEATRE GIGANTE SHOW

Isabelle and Mark at Theatre Gigante (formerly Milwaukee Dance Theatre) have just announced that their March show, an update on the 18th century social satire A Beggar’s Opera has been reduced from two weekends to one. What was originally scheduled to run March 5 – 21 at the Off-Broadway Theatre is now scheduled for only 3performances.


PAY WHAT YOU CAN NIGHT FOR WITNESS

First Stage Children’s Theatre recently sent out a press release to remind everybody about tomorrow night’s Pay What You Can night for its production of the historical drama Witness. It’s an excellent opportunity to pack the Marcus Center for a fascinating, complex story about race relations in a small town during the height of the KKK’s influence.


DREAMS OF A NEO-VAUDEVILLE


Seeing the Neo-Futurists onstage in Chicago this past weekend got me thinking about the appeal of small, experimental theatre shows that consist of a diverse variety of short segments. There’s enough talent in town to make it work . . . the idea would be to have a bunch of bars and cafes all over town hosting weekly and bi-weekly shows run by people not necessarily directly associated with the venues. . . shows would consist of songs by loca musicians, skits, monologues, hipster puppet shows, stand-up or whatever . . . cheap shows that would only cost $5 or so . . .enough money to make it worth the performers’ time when split evenly between everybody (particularly as a mix-venue to cross-promote other shows the artists were involved in...ones that pay better.) and cheap enough that people could head out and see them if they knew someone involved or there was nothing particularly interesting on TV that night . . . enough of these little weekly and bi-weekly gigs would open-up at places all over town that there could be a modern version of a sort of Vaudeville circuit . . . one night there’s be a variety show at a bar in Riverwest, the next night there’d be a completely unrelated show at a café on the south side . . . this type of thing is already sort of going on with genre-specific open mics for poetry, music and whatnot. The concept already works in principal in less organized format for music open mics. With the right structure, it could open people to different types of performance who might normally not consider performing at. It’s probably an idea a lot of people have had over the years, but it’s worth mentioning again . . .

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