Saturday, Feb. 18, 2012

Mary Poppins and the Blues Brothers

Marcus Center’s Broadway series continues with a couple classic shows

By Russ Bickerstaff
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Touring Broadway shows tend to promote themselves more heavily when tickets go on sale than when they actually open. So ask the average person who has seen advertising what’s at the Marcus Center right now, they’re likely to tell you West Side Story . . . which doesn’t hit the Uihlein Hall until April. No . . . the next show to make it to the main stage is Mary Poppins.

The beloved Walt Disney Camerocn Mackintosh machine crunches through town at the end of the month. February 28th – March 4th.

What may be overlooked in the general run of things with a production as huge as this is the fact that, yes, there ARE children amongst the characters (this is the story of a nanny, right?) So the production uses real child actors . . . professional touring child actors. The dynamic of a touring production is often referred to as a big family moving around the country and performing the same show countless times on stages everywhere, but with Children added into the mix, that family dynamic has to be just a bit more expansive. Could make for more of a welcoming feel than the usual soulless touring Broadway show . . .

Also making its way to the Marcus Center is The Official Blues Brothers Revue.

It’s kind of weird to think at this stage that what had become a series of sketches, a pair of movies and a touring show started off 40 years ago as Dan Aykroyd’s love of the blues. It mutated into something much bigger than what it was. I seem to remember reading somewhere a media critic trying to use the Blues Brothers as an example for when the joke gets taken seriously and becomes something more than it had been . . . but The Blues Brothers wasn’t a joke about white guys who thought they could sing the blues . . . it came right from the heart.

The Blues Brothers had become something of a cultural icon . . . a couple of guys get some black suits, white shirts and fedoras. They learn the basics of how to sing some of the songs and they’re in. Tribute acts popped-up all over the place. Aykroyd capitalized on this with his ill-fated Blues Brothers 2000 movie, which embraced the desire to emulate the band. And now Aykroyd and the estate of the late John Belushi are endorsing an official band officially on tour as The Blues Brothers. Wayne Catania and Kieron Lafferty come to Milwaukee to play the Marcus Center’s Vogel Hall March 2nd – 4th. This run leads-in to a special March 5th performance in Joliet remembering the 30th anniversary of the loss of John Belushi. 

 

For tickets to any chow at the Marcus Center, call 414-273-7206.

 

 

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