Home / Articles / By Russ Bickerstaff
Saturday, Jan. 17, 2015
Two neighboring fathers trick their kids into falling in love by manufacturing some kind of feud. Sounds like something that might happen on a sitcom of some sort. If it also sounds a lot like a musical, that’s because it is. The Fantasticks is one of those musicals the simply will not die. The original production on Broadway ran for well over 40 years. There’s real appeal in the...
Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2015
My favorite song in Spring Awakening began to wash over the stage at the Greendale High School Auditorium. There was a pop rock beat and there’s frustration and there’s adolescent singing about the bitch of living. The cast of the Greendale Community Theatre’s production had all the motions and emotions right, but the anger and frustration seemed a little muted. The explosive e...
Tuesday, Jan. 13, 2015
It’s never too soon to start thinking about Valentine’s Day. There’s something really romantic about the notion of planning for a little excursion out of town to someplace out of the way and unexpected without getting carried away and going on some blindfolded cruise on the other side of the world. How about Manitowoc? Local comedy ladies Kathy Kowalski and Liysa Callsen are putting together...
Monday, Jan. 12, 2015
The playwright describes The Colored Museum as a cross between a party and an exorcism. George C. Wolfe’s 1986 exploration into African American culture and history makes it to an intimate staging at UWM this month courtesy of Milwaukee-based organization Lights! Camera! Soul! It’s been just under 30 years since Wolfe’s collection of “exhibits” was first staged. Race...
Sunday, Jan. 11, 2015
Milwaukee-based Folky Bluesy Jazz pop group Panalure is putting out a new album. The music has a delicious melancholy about it. Some of the lyrics might not seem entirely out of place in goth rock or death metal, but Panalure’s stuff has a much more casual Sunday afternoon cleaning the house kind of a feel about it that feels a lo...
Saturday, Jan. 10, 2015
Shaw had described J.M. Barrie’s 1904 Peter Pan play as "ostensibly a holiday entertainment for children but really a play for grown-up people.” There’s no questioning that there’s a darker side to Peter Pan...something I’m reminded of every time my 3-year-old daughter watches a contemporary animated Disney film starring Tinkerbell. Kelly Coffey is embracing the darker side of Bar...
Friday, Jan. 9, 2015
Patrick Schmitz’s Sketch 22 has had a long and evidently quite healthy life. The inspiration-through-perspiration sketch comedy format plays like long, slow improv. 10 writing teams work with 10 directors and 40 actors to present a sketch comedy show that gets put together from all-new materials (sort of) in the course of 22 hours.

Audiences are then encouraged to come to t...
Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2015
The Off The Wall Theatre opens 2015 with Dale Gutzman’s stage adaptation of the cult classic film Valley of the Dolls. The show pieces together scattered bits of comedy and drama in an often
Monday, Jan. 5, 2015
Mentalists and magicians can be exceptionally annoying. In an age of information, we’re not necessarily impressed when people do things that we don’t understand. Ages ago it was impressive, but somewhere along the line, we all started carrying the internet in our pockets and magic stopped being cute. Mentalism is actually a stage art that’s something other than traditional magic. Blindfolded...