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Monday, April 6, 2009

Theater Preview

The Rolling Stones were named after a song by bluesman Muddy Waters, who also inspired the Yardbirds. It's well known that blues music formed one of the main roots of rock 'n' roll, but the connection has rarely been covered in contemporary drama. British author Stephen Jeffreys' 2000 stage play I Just Stopped By to See the Man explores the effect of the blues on rock with fictitious characters based...
03.08.2009 | | Posted at 12:00 AM
By Russ Bickerstaff
It was with something of a heavy heart that I went to the Milwaukee Rep’s Stackner Cabaret for Fire On The Bayou. It had been a very busy few weeks, with something like 14 openings in 3 weeks. It’s difficult to describe the feeling when going to that 14th show—you go in kind of fatigued from everything that you’ve seen recently, but you know that, what with the clustering of openings in l...
Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Theater Preview

In 1797, a publisher rejected a novel by the young British author Jane Austen. The book, titled First Impressions, was destined to be Austen's second published novel, but only after considerable revision. The revised version was called Pride and Prejudice and has become one of the most beloved works in literary history...
03.03.2009 | | Posted at 12:00 AM
By Russ Bickerstaff
It’s another rather heavy week for openings with four more shows opening this week. Here’s a glance at what’s ahead:Oedipus Rex at UWM—In  the past several years, I’ve seen something like 100 shows per year. It’s kind of surprising to think back over all of that theatre and realize that the oldest script I’ve seen brought to the stage in the past three years was a Marquette producti...
02.12.2009 | | Posted at 12:00 AM
By Russ Bickerstaff
Every now and again, I’ll write something for blog or print that’s almost exclusively for my wife. Usually it’s a stray sentence or two, but this whole entry is written with her in mind. She’s a huge fan of Pride and Prejudice. Yesterday the Milwaukee Rep announced the cast and crew for its upcoming production of a stage version of the Jane Austen novel. Owing to the fact that there are pr...
02.05.2009 | | Posted at 12:00 AM
By Russ Bickerstaff
The stage is filled with sheets hanging from lines. There are a few doors, windowsills and pieces of furniture. Just enough there to suggest something like a domestic setting. Actually it is a hotel. An Inn in Florence, Italy run by a Carlo Goldoni character. It’s a cleverly minimalist set by Noele Stollmack. With nearly all of the walls represented by sheets, Stollmack must’ve saved the Rep ...
01.23.2009 | | Posted at 12:00 AM
By Russ Bickerstaff
Another play about theatre makes it to a Milwaukee stage this month as the Milwaukee Rep stages its production of Trouble In Mind. Here we see actors onstage playing actors backstage who are preparing to play characters in a play they don’t particularly like. While I quite enjoy the existential vertigo of thinking about a group of modern Equity actors rehearsing scenes of actors rehearsing s...
01.11.2009 | | Posted at 12:00 AM
By Russ Bickerstaff
Opening night of DOGPARK: The Musical appeared to be sold-out. The relatively small cabaret space was packed for the first ever non-preview performance of the new cabaret show by Jahnna Beecham, Malcom Hillgartner and Michael J. Hume—the creative team behind the Rep Cabaret’s well-received 2005 production of Chaps!Susannah M Barnes’ set features a distant, stylized vision of the Seattle s...
11.02.2008 | | Posted at 12:00 AM
By Russ Bickerstaff
Given the opportunity to do a review of a Rep show for online, I’ve decided to give my opinions a little more breathing room than I usually do. This will, undoubtedly be somewhat long and rambling, but what follows is an unbridled, unedited stream of consciousess piece about the Milwaukee Rep’s latest main stage offering. Sarah Ruhl’s EURYDICE There’s passion, poetry and emotion, bu...
10.25.2008 | | Posted at 12:00 AM
By Russ Bickerstaff
Dealing with a fluctuating economy and all of the other concerns of contemporary theatre, The Milwaukee Rep has been doing various things to try to make its high-end shows more affordable. Notably, it has extended an offer to those of us born after 1968: the under 40 discount. Starting this year, all the Rep’s shows at the Quadracci Powerhouse Theatre are $10 for people under 40. This make the R...

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