Saturday, April 18, 2009

Finer Details on Milwaukee Chamber's Brooklyn Boy.

By Russ Bickerstaff
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Somewhere in the midst of things, my wife and I had forgotten that last night was Gallery Night. We ended up parking a bit farther from the Broadway Theatre Complex than we might’ve expected. We had dinner at the public market and milled about a bit before going in. It’s a bit strange seeing the marquee over the Studio Theatre completely blank. The season is ending. I’m told the final performance of Pink Banana’s One-Acts  was well-attended . . . I would’ve liked to have seen it a second time, but there’s only so much time in the schedule.

Opening night of   Milwaukee Chamber Theatre's   Brooklyn Boy was also well attended. My wife and I spotted actor Brian Mani and Milwaukee Chamber co-founder Ruth Schudson in attendance, among others . . . there was a reception after the show, but there’s no way I would’ve had the energy for that . . . I’ve still got three more shows left this weekend . . .

It’s the last show in Milwaukee Chamber’s 2008-2009 season. A comprehensive review of the show appears in the Shepherd this coming week The show is very episodic and it’s a real pleasure to see DeVita as a central character in a show with less of an immense ensemble feel to it than DeVita’s usual sage appearances. There are seven people in the cast, but no more than any three onstage at any one time. The one constant is DeVita, who appears in every single episode in the show as author Eric Weiss—a successful novelist.

I didn’t have a chance to mention R.H. Graham’s set in the print review. Graham handled the challenges of multiple scene changes with a cleverly rotating stage. Hospital room becomes hospital cafeteria becomes fully-realized, cluttered apartment becomes hotel room/ becomes Hollywood office and so on as things with smooth, delicate rotations of the stage. As I recall, the only time we actually see stage crew passing through the set between scenes was graceful and minimalist. We briefly see wardrobe Supervisor/Dresser Jessie Moffat enter stage right, walk across the stage, adjust a few things on the hotel room bed and then exit stage left. The movement was smooth and contant without seeming at all rushed. This is the kind of attention to detail that defines the finer points of a thoroughly entertaining show.

Milwaukee Chamber Theatre’s Brooklyn Boy runs through May 3rd at the Broadway theatre Center.

 

 

        
Here's some detail on RH Graham's very lived-in looking set. (That's DeVita and Julie Swenson in the foreground.)

 



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