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Since their eponymous sketch comedy show ended in 1995, all five members of the Kids in the Hall have stayed visible, albeit TV personality-visible, not major-star visible. Mark McKinney spent a few years on “Saturday Night Live;” Scott Thompson became the host of “My Fabulous Gay Wedding;” Kevin McDonald guest starred in over a dozen sitcoms and Bruce McCulloch made the oc...

Detective Stride returns in Brian Freeman’s new thriller

 Duluth, Minn., police Lieutenant Jonathan Stride returns in another rousing tale of suspense and intrigue in Brian Freeman’s fast-paced new thriller, The Cold Nowhere. Set in a snowy, freezing winter on Lake Superior, The Cold Nowhere is a crime drama that involves a terribly damaged...

New biography on a musician who defied definition

 The shorthand for Alex Chilton is that he experienced his career in reverse. In 1967, as the 16-year-old singer for The Box Tops, Chilton had a number-one hit with “The Letter.” He followed that group with the critically...

Activists reflect on the struggle for civil rights in the ’60s

 The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) and other civil rights groups were instrumental in changing the face of American society during the 1960s. Largely student-based, these grassroots organizations tackled issues from the early...

The deep love of 'An Unnecessary Woman'

Beautifully narrated by the educated and clever 72-year-old divorcee Aaliya Sohbi, An Unnecessary Woman by Rabih Alameddine is a tribute to the power of the written word. Aaliya feels at times as if her life is “unnecessary,” but her deep love of books and her work translating texts into her native...

The flight from abundance to extinction

 The passenger pigeon was abundant in early America but, astonishingly, was extinct by the first years of the 20th century. These broadly muscled birds lived in massive flocks and could be seen covering the skies. Sadly, hunting and habitation loss led to their demise and by 1914, the last...

Present Music and Early Music Now featured great singers

 Two very different, terrific singers were featured in concerts this weekend. Both sang old music, and both sang in highly evolved style. The similarities end there...
 The Four Nations Ensemble, Early Music Now’s current artists in residence, brings the music of Jean-Philippe Rameau, Jean-Marie LeClair, François Couperin and Louis-Nicolas Clérambault to stage for the one-night-only show The Paris of LeClair and Rameau. Special artists include...

Outstanding world premieres and a celebrated work

 In Passing, a one-act ballet by San Francisco-based choreographer Amy Seiwert and the first of two world premieres presented by Milwaukee Ballet in its “Spring Series”...

MSO gives a blended, balanced, nuanced concert

 The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra again performed in the Pabst Theater, for the last time this season, for the final program in its three-concert Beethoven Festival, which has also featured the music of John Adams and Igor Stravinsky. Hearing Beethoven symphonies in this context made...

A tribute to dance and ‘The Incomparable Hildegarde’

 In her hour-long dance theater piece LIVING IT UP (and dOWN), choreographer/dancer Catey Ott playfully compared aspects of her own life with that...
 When they started in the experimental early 1970s, Pilobolus seemed less a dance company than a physical theater group—a band of graceful gymnasts who, with the...

Great acoustics for a challenging repertoire

 Years ago the Pabst Theater was a regular venue for classical performance. The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra is playing two concerts there, the first of which took place last weekend. I realized how much I’ve missed hearing classical music at the Pabst...
 I was introduced to stepping as a street dance form relished by the teens participating in my theater program at the Boys & Girls Clubs. Often done by teams in tight unison, the insanely rhythmic, fast-paced whole-body...

Deathless story in the Florentine’s production of Handel’s opera

 George Frideric Handel’s great baroque opera, Julius Caesar (1724), may come as an exhilaratingly provocative and tempestuous treat to those more familiar with the composer’s later choral and orchestral works such as the perennial (and justly acclaimed) Messiah. Although German born...
I have always admired the continuing exploration of literature that is a fundamental aspect of the Prometheus Trio. Over the years I have heard quite a bit of music on their concerts never before encountered. Such was the case with Frank Bridge’s Trio......
I knew violinist Ilana Setapen was good. I had heard her in recital and in chamber music. But I didn’t realize how wonderfully and exceptionally good she is until hearing her play Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto with Milwaukee Symphony last Saturday night. Setapen is associate concertmaster of the orchestra. I would guess that there are few......

Present Music with Margaret Leng Tan

Margaret Leng Tan, the world’s first toy piano virtuoso, was the star of Present Music’s concert “Toys!” She was perfectly accompanied by the Present Music string ensemble......

Classical Review

“Shining Stars” was the appropriate title of the Wisconsin Philharmonic's May 2 concert. In addition to the orchestra's usual instrumentalists there appeared the winners of its youth concerto competition as well as a smattering of youth orchestra members. Another “shining star” was Joseph Schwantner, the American composer of the first work, Chasing Light. This four-movemen...
There was an exciting revelation at Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra last weekend: the bandoneon featured in a concerto by the Argentinian master of the tango, Astor Piazzolla (1921- 1992). Piazzolla's tangos show up regularly in diverse contexts....
Two seasons ago Vladimir Feltsman commented negatively about the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra Steinway and urged its replacement on a live local public television broadcast. That concert was re-broadcast, and apparently eventually led to the donors' gift of a new piano. The old MSO Steinway has a resonant ring, but also a loose rattle and unevenness. It was time to move on....

Classical Review

The snowstorm last week forced a cancelled rehearsal of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, and prevented the arrival of the guest soloist, pianist Andreas Haefliger. Conductor Andreas Delfs quickly revised the plans to something the orchestra could do with just one rehearsal. William Schuman’s Symphony No. 5, which the MSO has never before played, and a Mozart piano concerto were scrapped. In...

Classical Review

The ludicrous production of La Traviata that opened at Skylight Opera last weekend proved that a great Verdi melody is indestructible. This unbelievably misguided venture only works in the final scene, when all its incompetence, bad direction and quarter-baked ideas mercifully recede enough for focus on the bare . . ....

Classical Preview

American composer John Adams (b. 1947) once stood under the same Minimalist umbrella as Steve Reich and Philip Glass, but as the ’90s wore on, he developed into something of a “post-post-modernist,” as demonstrated by such works as The Death of Klinghoffer (1991) and the Violin Concerto (1993)....

Classical Review

It is irresistibly interesting to speculate what goes on in guest conductor rehearsals with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. Were ideas persuasively delivered, spoken or unspoken?...

Wild Space opens its season with ‘Milwaukee 360’

You are apt to be quite taken with the beauty of Downtown Milwaukee and its environs as they appear in a wraparound panorama from atop the eight-story parking structure of the former Pabst Brewery, set high on......

Dance Review

Three was the straightforward title of the Milwaukee Ballet's spring program of three dances in three styles by three choreographers. More than anything, it demonstrated artistic director Michael Pink's devotion to his dancers, showcasing them individually......
All artists need the opportunity to fail. Risk-taking is indispensable. What serious opportunities for trial and error exist for artists in Milwaukee after they leave the relative safety of a college program? This is not an idle question. Danceworks recognizes that it is a community’s job to provide laboratories for artists and they have accepted their share of the responsibility. Liz Hilde...

Dance Preview

One would be hard-pressed to conjure up a name more closely associated with the Milwaukee dance scene than Ed Burgess. Burgess, currently marking his 20th year on the UW-Milwaukee dance faculty, has directed, choreographed or performed with just about every arts group in town, including the Milwaukee Ballet, Milwaukee Shakespeare, Wild Space Dance......
We thought that was fun and decided to make these evenings combinations of environmental work and traditional theater work. The range of the work that our choreographers were bringing to the process demand ed that we present the performances in this way.” The theater’s lobby, courtyard and stage are of equal importance for performances created specifical ly for these spaces. A piece by...

DANCE PREVIEW

Lately it seems that everything from window displays to theater bills are heavily doused in Christmas spirit....

The Rep’s spectacular ‘History of Invulnerability’

 The Milwaukee Repertory Theater closes its 60th season with David Bar Katz’ brilliant play, The History of Invulnerability. The story is conceived as the deathbed reflections of Superman’s creator Jerry Siegel, a gifted writer who, with illustrator Joe Shuster created Superman, sold all rights for a mere $130 and...

Milwaukee Chamber Theatre keeps it light with ‘Lend Me a Tenor’

 Milwaukee Chamber Theatre tightly executes a classic work of light comedy with a production of Ken Ludwig’s Lend Me a Tenor. Rick Pendzich shows considerable comic mastery in the role of Max, the nebbishy assistant who has dreams of performing opera...
 The Marquette University’s College of Engineering and Diederich College of Communication’s Department of Performing Arts bring the play Zoo Story to Marquette’s Visualization Lab (1637 W. Wisconsin...

Love transcends death in 'Three Views of the Same Object'

 Next Act Theatre closes its season with a tour de force from playwright Henry Murray and a cast of veteran Milwaukee actors. Three Views of the Same Object explores, through three separate iterations, the story of Poppy and Jesse, an elderly couple who made a suicide pact and now face...

'Skin Tight' returns to Renaissance Theaterworks

  Renaissance Theaterworks retraces steps already taken by returning to Skin Tight, an intimate, hour-long play about two lovers’ lives that RTW first produced 10 years ago. The creative ground remains fertile. RTW has brought back everyone they could from that earlier, wildly successful...

Soulstice brings 'Still Life' to an intimate stage

 Soulstice Theatre presents the Wisconsin premiere of Alexander Dinelaris’ sophisticated contemporary drama Still Life. An emotionally irresistible Amber Smith plays Carrie Ann, an accomplished photographer going through a rough time in her life. Mateo Genovesi plays Jeffrey, a trend analyst...

First Stage brings Jerry Spinelli’s story to life

 First Stage brings award-winning author Jerry Spinelli’s best-selling book for young adults to life in Crash. The play, a growing-up story of a teenage boy who wants nothing more than for his...

Age doesn’t matter in Off the Wall’s production

 Off the Wall Theatre conjures an interesting atmosphere for its production of Romeo and Juliet. The audience is welcomed into its intimate studio space by residents...

C. Michael Wright directs ‘Lend Me a Tenor’

  The year is 1934 and we are introduced to the Cleveland Grand Opera Company in a swanky hotel suite. They are awaiting the arrival of world-famous tenor Tito Merelli, the star in their production of Otello. The company is scheduled to perform in the evening, but, as Milwaukee Chamber...

Laura Gordon directs 'Skin Tight' with original cast

  Inspired by Denis Glover’s “The Magpies,” a poem well known in playwright Gary Henderson’s homeland of New Zealand, Skin Tight explores the passionate and extraordinary love shared between Tom and Elizabeth. We are drawn into their relationship, reliving with them the journey of their...