Sunday, Sept. 26, 2010

Free Milwaukee Rep, Milwaukee Chamber and First Stage Tickets

Three Milwaukee Companies Participating in National Free Theatre Night

By Russ Bickerstaff
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The Theatre Communication Group’s Free Night Of Theatre offers potential theatergoers all over the country to see live performances. This year’s October 14th Free Night offers audiences a chance for those who wouldn’t normally spend money on local live theatre to see what they might be missing. Local Milwaukee theatre groups involved in the program have a chance to dispel some of the misconceptions likely plaguing people averse to local Milwaukee Theatre:

Local musicals aren’t as good as touring Broadway shows:

While not possessing the kind of budget afforded to a touring Broadway show and its absurdly over-priced tickets, local theatre companies are capable of crafting really good shows tailr-fit to the spaces they are being performed in. Milwaukee Chamber Theatre is presenting an opportunity for local theatergoers to see its production of Main Traveled Roads

it’s a quaint romantic musical set in a small town during the early history of Wisconsin. The group at the well-funded Chamber Theatre staging the production includes a few people from locally-based Milwaukee Theatre family that’s very dedicated to local theatre. Molly Rhode directs a cast including her husband Chase Stoeger that features musical direction by her sister Alissa Rhode. These three are quite familiar with the Cabot Theatre they’re performing in, which makes for a deeper intimacy between actor, theatre and audience that is often overlooked. No traveling show can approximate this quality. It’s worth checking out if you haven’t seen a locally produced musical.

Milwaukee Chamber is opening its doors to the production on Free Night of Theatre, which happens to coincide with the productions’ pre-opening preview night on October 14th.

Musicals are campy comedy—not my kind of thing:


Wrong. (At least some of the time.) Take a look at The Milwaukee Rep’s production of Cabaret. There’s a kind of dark sexiness to the production that the average non-musical theatergoer would be familiar with. The production values on a Quadracci Powerhouse Theatre show featuring impressive performances by Lee Ernst, Jonathan Gillard Daly and more should open anyone’s eyes to the stylishly darker end of local musical theatre.

Children’s theatre is only of interest for children and parents of the kids onstage.

While this tends to be the case quite often, Milwaukee is home to First Stage--one of the best children’s theatre programs in the U.S., featuring work by professional actors and designers. Think of the best props, scenery and lighting you’ve ever seen onstage in an intimate theatre space at the Marcus Center—stylish elements in the service of a show that’s made to engage children.

The sole company in town not engaging in Free Night of Theatre on October 14th, First Stage’s free performance of Peter Pan And Wendy will take place on October 29th.

Here’s a link to First Stage’s production-oriented promo video for the show.

Reservations for any of the above shows become available at noon on Friday, October First. Reservations can be made directly on the Free Night Of Theatre Website.

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