Home / Articles / By Russ Bickerstaff
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...
Sunday, Jan. 4, 2015
Uprooted Theatre continues its cabaret series this month as it welcomes Chicago stage talent Melody Betts. The soprano’s performance will be a musical program illustrating the sturggles, joys and triumphs of a young actress pursuing her dreams. Songs featured on the program will include show tunes from Wicked, Dreamgirls and more. Uprooted presents Melody Betts at Nex...
Saturday, Jan. 3, 2015
Fresh, new theater company Outskirts Theatre brings a thoughtful, little comedy to the stage of the Underground Collaborative this month. Paula Vogel’s And Baby Makes Seven is an interesting premise. Two women in a loving, committed relationship have always wanted to have a child. With the help of a gay friend names Peter, they are able to conceive. It becomes apparen...
Friday, Jan. 2, 2015
Several years before Spring Awakening, a musical debuted in LA which covered similar themes in a similar milieu. Bare: A Pop Opera concerns itself with the two gay high school students struggling through life in a private Catholic boarding school. The Jon Hartmere, Jr./Damon Intrabartolo musical will be produced next month with Soulstice Theatre. This month local audiences get...
Thursday, Jan. 1, 2015
Old time radio drama group Cabaret Milwaukee is looking to cast for its upcoming show next month, which runs Feb. 12 - 15. The group is seeking: “2 males, 30-40 (1 1930's gangster and 1 1940's smooth talker) 1 female, 30-40 (brothel madam)” This is a fun group of people. The Cabaret Milwaukee performance I’d seen had a fresh, crisp rhythm to it that was just rough around the ed...
Tuesday, Dec. 30, 2014
At year’s end, I’m looking forward to the next couple of months. There are few shows I’m looking forward to more than the UWM Theatre production of She Kills Monsters. Written by Gen X playwright Qui Nguyen, the story’s premise seems to be kind of a fascinating look at fantasy, reality and the emotions that tie them together. It centers around Agnes. She has left her midweste...
Monday, Dec. 29, 2014
Some time ago, I saw the touring production of Altar Boyz when it rolled through town. I liked the spirit of the show, which satirized Christian rock by way of a troubled boy band, but I felt it played the satire a little safe all too often. It may have been trying to appeal to both actual Christians who wanted to have a laugh at religion AND people who were a lot less sympathetic. I...
Sunday, Dec. 28, 2014
The Hartford Players brings the popular contemporary musical Forever Plaid to the Schauer Arts & Activities Center in January. The production has Jim Gottfried, Ben Funk, Tim Dondlinger and Matthew Beier starring as the fictitious 1950s vocal quartet who, after an ill-fated car crash give a performance in the afterlife. Fittingly sponsored in part by a local Funeral Home, ...