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Concert Reviews
Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Friday, June 27, 2008

John Hiatt knows how to show an audience a good time, as evidenced by an evening he christened “Summerfest Indoors” to an enthusiastic Pabst Theater crowd Friday. “Hello, young people,” Hiatt said as a greeting to his mostly older but jubilant fans. “Your mayor said this week is all about fellowship, beer and entertainment, and that’s what we’re about tonight.” The entertainment part, which kicked off at 9 p.m., lasted about 2 hours and went a long way toward creating fellowship between the audience and Hiatt’s band, The Ageless Beauties, with or without . . .
Music Feature
Wednesday, July 2, 2008
The Brahms symphony, considered to be one of the 19th-century com poser’s most emblematic works, gave Lesh a musical appreciation and grounding in a broader compositional discipline unusual to rock musicians. It also led the Berkeley, Calif. native on an impressive musical journey that preceded his chance mid-1960s...
Theater
Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Theater Review

For author Eugene O’Neill, Ah, Wilderness!, his only comedy, was clearly a catharsis of fancy. The Pulitzer and Nobel Prize-winning American playwright was best known for dramas doting on dysfunction and addiction based on personal experience. Scholars cite Wilderness, a warmly nostalgic snapshot of a New England family Fourth of July circa 1906, as the life O’Neill, born to an acting couple in a Broadway hotel room in 1888, probably wished he had.
Theater
Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Theater Review

American Players Theatre (APT) has been known for breaking boundaries during its 29-year tenure, and not always successfully. However, the Spring Green troupe’s opening production for the 2008 season, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, proves why this noble effort should continue unabated. The Shakespearean comedy, which dodged the ongoing siege of torrential rain plaguing southern Wisconsin to open Saturday night, is a loosely woven collision of three separate stories familiar to Shakespeare fans . . .
Music Feature
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
It’s not hard to get Kenny Wayne Shepherd to talk about cars, especially the Detroit muscle machines of the early 1970s. The Shreveport, La., blues musician, in fact, seems to have as much respect for Chrysler and Plymouth products from the V8 era as he does for some of the blues giants that inspired the searing, rapid-fire guitar riffs that have become his trademark. “I grew up with Hot Wheels and Matchbox cars,” says Shepherd, 31. “As an adult, I’ve had the chance to indulge that interest.” Shepherd’s passion for high-performance autos led him to join the 2008 Hot Rod Power Tour, a public driving event sponsored by Hot Rod magazine that left the Arkansas State Fairgrounds . . .
A&E Feature
Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Milwaukee actor Jonathan Smoots

Milwaukee actor Jonathan Smoots had a gift for reading aloud when he was growing up in the Chicago suburb of Elmwood Park in the 1950s. That talent pleased his mother, the daughter of a Lutheran minister. “My mother always thought I was going to be a minister,” says Smoots, 54, the husband of fellow actor Laura Gordon, who is a company member of the Milwaukee Repertory Theater. “Of course, there are a lot of parallels between acting and preaching.” For the past 28 years, Smoots has practiced his dramatic ministry on stages in New Jersey and Wisconsin, both in Milwaukee and, especially . . .
A&E Feature
Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Martin Short makes them laugh

To Martin Short, comedy is more of an art than a science. But comedy’s proper execution sometime carries with it all the rigors of scientific enterprise, at least for the performer engaged in the pratfall. To do comedy well, you have to have a natural talent and ability,” says the Canadian-born Short, 58, in a recent interview. “But the execution has to be precise, which means it probably has elements of both art and science.” Short will test his thesis for Milwaukee fans when he brings his act to the Pabst Theater. Unlike other comedy acts, however, Short will be sharing the stage with a band, the stand-up portion comprising just part of the evening. “It’s like a party with Marty,” Short says. “I sing, I dance, I do characters. I’ll probably bring three guys up on stage. . .
Concert Reviews
Wednesday, March 19, 2008

March 17, 2008

To borrow a title from the artist’s own songbook, Bruce Springsteen once again “proved it all night” as he and a reunited E Street Band rocked the Bradley Center for a near-capacity crowd Monday night. There were a few empty patches of seats, mostly behind the sports arena’s stage, but they were hard to see amid the joyous audience’s dancing and singing during an aggressive two-and-a-half-hour set. Springsteen, 58, and his eight-member, black-clad band have slowed a little since their earlier days. Some have put on weight, others have lost their hair . . .
Album Reviews
Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2008

River: the joni letters (Verve)

Joni Mitchell may be more revered by jazz players than by her pop-music peers. Pianist Herbie Hancock is the latest acolyte, releasing River: the joni letters, a tribute disc that delivers at a high, innovative level. Hancock’s assimilation of the material is unexpectedly introspective. His performance—which boasts the now-requisite guest artists, including Norah Jones, Tina Turner and, surprisingly, Leonard Cohen, in addition to Mitchell herself—is one of the pianist’s best efforts.

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