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Books
Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Evan Thomas satirizes Roosevelt, Lodge and Hearst

The War Lovers (Little, Brown), Evan Thomas’ provocatively titled, satirical look at three colorful individuals who became prime movers in the birth of American imperialism...
A&E Feature
Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Intense drama in Verdi’s first great opera

For many aficionados, Rigoletto serves as the blueprint for what a great opera is all about. It appeals equally to the most patrician and plebeian tastes, yet remains firmly rooted in the sultry, ribald warmth of Verdi’s Italian homeland, merging grassroots earnestness with blood-and-guts intensity. Its catchy melodies remain invulnerable to bad performances. Verdi is very much a man for those...
A&E Feature
Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Piano prodigy to perform with Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra

New generations of concert prodigies appear with predictable regularity, receiving numerous honors at young persons’ international competitions, yet too often they wear out their early promise by having to compete with a pop-culture environment that treasures youth but whose musical sensitivities are pervasively undermined by the likes of the embarrassing “American Idol” and the flamboyant tackiness of “Dancing With the Stars...
Books
Monday, April 12, 2010

From Hollywood royalty to princess of Monaco

According to Donald Spoto’s provocative new biography, High Society: The Life of Grace Kelly (Harmony Books), the actress was full of grace, a trait that defined her every movement on screen. No actress boasting such delicate patrician features had ever radiated such warmth. But the girl hovering over a sleeping James Stewart in Rear Window was every man’s fantasy...
Theater
Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Theater Review

Seven Keys to Slaughter Peak is Joseph Hanreddy’s original new take on the classic mystery comedy Seven Keys to Baldpate. The final production of Hanreddy’s 17-year tenure at Milwaukee Repertory Theater...
A&E Feature
Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Florentine Opera’s modern classic

Many contemporary composers fail to realize that opera is not a play with music or a score for a film, but a hybrid drama using the full potential of the human voice to ignite emotions within the musical score that would otherwise remain unrealized. On the other hand, a libretto unsubstantiated by a distinctive score, which ignores or minimizes its interdependence with the vocal line, is one of the many pitfalls...
Film
Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Will the Oscars get it right this time?

Will wonders never cease? Or have the Oscars redressed their sometimes-dubious reputation by nominating an unheralded, gritty, independent war film of unlikely audience appeal—a film barely screened before being rushed to DVD and that grossed only $12 million? With nine nominations, The Hurt Locker has not only become the prestige favorite among reviewers...
Theater
Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2010

Theater Review

The Seafarer takes its title from an ancient English poem hearkening to man’s spiritual struggle for peace and endurance. The Milwaukee Rep’s new production comes courtesy of talented Irish playwright Conor McPherson, whose early years of alcoholism are not lost in this Irish morality play. Card-playing men at a whiskey-besotted Christmas Eve celebration...
Books
Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2010

Schickel, Perry explore the mystique of a great star

Judging a book by its cover could not be more gratifying than with a quick glance at the imposing coffee-table book Bette Davis: Larger Than...
Books
Monday, Nov. 30, 2009

Remembering a Hollywood class act

Claude Rains, this most patrician and elegant of screen actors, still sustains a fascination for the average filmgoer. And his life story is full of surprises: He spoke cockney and had been abused as a child. In Mr. Skeffington, he tells Bette Davis that his success is a rags-to-riches story. In David Skal’s Claude Rains: An Actor’s Voice (University Press of Kentucky) that parallel is made...