Thursday, Nov. 12, 2009

Send In The Comedies

Four Comedies Open On The Edge of the Holiday Theatre Season

By Russ Bickerstaff
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The local theatre season concludes its journey to the holidays this weekend. For me, this is the last great stop before the deceptively easy challenge of covering all of the holiday shows—quite a few of which are repeats of shows from previous years, including Patrick Schmitz’s Rudolph the Pissed-Off Reindeer, Neil Haven’s Who Killed A Santa? and the Rep’s long-running production of A Christmas Carol, among others. Before the holiday theatre season arrives, there are four comedies opening in Milwaukee this weekend. Here’s a quick look:

November 12th
(Tonight) : Carte Blanche Studios opens the first of two local productions of The Producers this weekend. The Mel Brooks comedy is one of two musicals opening this weekend.



November 13th
In addition to the Shorewood Players’ production of The Producers, the Milwaukee Rep opens the world premiere of a new musical based on the stories of Sherlock Holmes. Holmes And Watson is written by the same team that created Dogpark: The Musical and Chaps! Jahnna Beecham and Malcolm Hillgartner immersed themselves in the literature in the process of writing the show. Sherlock Holmes in a cabaret musical might be really good, but it could also end up being pretty misjudged as a premise. Either way it’s going to be really interesting. And Beecham and Hillgartner have a really good track record for putting together solid musicals, so even if it’s not a perfect match for the format, it’s going to be enjoyably well executed.

Also opening Friday are a couple of contemporary comedies from two really good theatre companies. Both shows have pre-opening previews  tonight.  Next Act’s production of  7 Stories is easily the one show I’ve been looking forward to more than any other this month and talented actress Angela Iannone directs her first show for Milwaukee Chamber in the romantic comedy Moon Over the Brewery. Iannonne is working with a really tight ensemble of four (Amanda J. Hull, Dan Katula, Travis A. Knight and Melinda Pfundstein.) in a comedy with considerably more depth than most without losing track of the fun spirit that animates lighter comedies.

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