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12.31.1969 | | Posted at 06:00 PM

Yankee Tavern and Pearl Bailey make for an interesting contrast

By Russ Bickerstaff
It's about this time that I find myself a bit off schedule and it’s not just the holidays. This time of year, it’s been a while since the last heater opening. The last time I was in a theatre it was a multiplex. This week brings with it a number of new openings. I regret that I most likely will NOT be able to attend the Greendale Community Theatre show opening this week. The big openings in to...
12.31.1969 | | Posted at 06:00 PM

The Actor Hosts Fundraising Event For Renaissance Theaterworks

By Russ Bickerstaff
As talented as he is experienced, local actor Brian Mani has had countless impressive performances over the years in a number of different theatre groups. His most memorable performance last year was the male lead in Renaissance Theaterworks’ The Dig. There was a brilliant subtlety to his portrayal of a brilliant man who has retreated within himself as seen on the intimate stage of the Broadway...
12.31.1969 | | Posted at 06:00 PM

James DeVita’s Latest Adaptation Opens This Month With First Stage

By Russ Bickerstaff
German author Cornelia Funke isn’t nearly as well known internationally as more successful children’s authors like J.K. Rowling and Stephenie Meyer. The author of the Inkheart trilogy is far better known in Europe than she is in the rest of the world. Far from being any kind of fantasy visionary, Funke has a love of storytelling not all that visible in the work of Meyer and a literate sense o...
12.31.1969 | | Posted at 06:00 PM

Greendale Community Theatre presents the 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee

By Russ Bickerstaff
A few days ago, I found myself sinking into a show on the documentary channel. Jeffrey Blitz’s 2002 documentary Spellbound was one of the first films I’d ever seen on critics’ advance screening. The story of eight teenagers competing in the national spelling bee remains an interesting, well-executed documentary. It was a film I was reminded of when I first saw the touring Broadway production...
12.31.1969 | | Posted at 06:00 PM

Another Conversation About The Future of Theatre In A Pleasant, Little Bar In Bay View

By Russ Bickerstaff
My wife and I had arrived at the Alchemist Theatre’s Bay View Lounge in the first hour of the New Year. We’d come there straight from another party in Bay View. A song by Journey was playing when we’d gotten there. It was a generally hip atmosphere populated with a fair number of comic theatre people. Being relatively late in the evening, there was a fair amount of inebriation in the room. I...
12.31.1969 | | Posted at 06:00 PM

Sketch Comedy Show At Alchemist Theatre Early Next Year

By Russ Bickerstaff
Of all the theatrical genres, comedy is probably the simplest. It’s also one of the most challenging. Laughter is the easiest reaction to try to attain in an audience. You know right away whether or not you’re successful. At the same time, silence can be ominous and really painful to have to sit through onstage as an actor. Improv can be really responsive to the silence and often involves com...
12.31.1969 | | Posted at 06:00 PM

The Milwaukee General Auditions Approach

By Russ Bickerstaff
As the end of the first half of the theatre season approaches, the late December lull in openings brings with it some planning for future shows. Ben Turk recently sent out to a few people a copy of a one-act he’d written that may never get produced.  (Writing a play without really having a clear idea of how it might get produced reminds me of something screenwriter Charlie Kaufman said in ...
12.31.1969 | | Posted at 06:00 PM

The Optimist Theatre Welcomes James Pickering for Inaugural Shakespeare In The Park Show This June

By Russ Bickerstaff
A group of friends met at a pizza place in Kenosha in early 1992. There they started plans that ultimately developed into The Midwest Children’s Theatre. The educational theatre group has worked extensively with area schools over the years. The group evolved as creative groups tend to do. Now the group is known as Optimist Theatre. The Optimist Theatre recently decided that it might be a good...
12.31.1969 | | Posted at 06:00 PM

David Harrower’s Blackbird opens next month

By Russ Bickerstaff
Renaissance Theaterworks continues its season next month. They'll be following-up a well-executed comedy (one of the best to be staged so far in a year drenched with locally-produced comedies) with a really serious drama as they open a production of David Harrower’s 2007 drama Blackbird. A woman (played by Carrie Coon) approaches a man (played by Brian Mani) 15 years after the affair that ...
12.31.1969 | | Posted at 06:00 PM

Chicago Comedy to be Staged in Milwaukee

By Russ Bickerstaff
One of the biggest drinking holidays of the year approaches. It’s recently been announced that Just a couple of months after New Year’s Eve, a Chicago theatre group will be bringing its runaway hit drinking comedy to brew city. Opening February 12th, The Pub Theater’s Bye Bye Liver comes to Milwaukee. The popular Chicago comedy is a series of skits that explore  the culture of inebriation. ...

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