New "Flashdance" misses flash, dance and a sense of drama
Think back to the famous 1983 movie "Flashdance" and answer the question, "What was it about?' You will probably respond that it's about a young girl named Alex, a steelworker who dances in an almost strip club and wants to get into an elite-level ballet school. But that's not the right answer if someone asks you about the busy stage musical adaptation of "Flashdance" that opened Tuesday night at the Marcus Center.
Wrestling comedy "Cementville" trips on weak characters in the ring
If you are going perform a play about women's professional wrestling, it's a good idea to determine whether the characters are going to be real people or caricatures. That's one of the problems afflicting "Cementville," the dark comedy by Jane Martin that opened at UWM's Peck School of the Arts over the weekend.
"Lion King," "Book of Mormon" highlight upcoming Marcus season
The highest grossing musical in history and a Tony award winning, laugh-a-minute riot highlight the 2014-15 season of Broadway shows announced by the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts Thursday night.
The Milwaukee Rep announces its 2014-15 season
Milwaukee Repertory Theater artistic director Mark Clements has developed a home run reputation for the bookings in the Stackner, which has been home to wonderful musical productions, and next year seems like no exception.
As man, woman or dog, Daniels impresses in "Chesapeake"
"Chesapeake" by Lee Blessing draws its title from a Chesapeake retriever that plays an integral role in the story. But the production truly belongs to Matt Daniels, the actor who brings alive a string of disparate characters, all of whom have a role in this discussion of the value of art.
First Stage's "Anatole" gives the audience plenty to believe in
It was a little girl in the audience who provided proof that belief ran strong at the Todd Wehr Theater during the opening weekend of "Anatole." That little girl was in full belief that what she was seeing in front of her eyes was really a very funny mouse who had a wife, a bunch of kids, a good friend, a cat, big lumps of cheese and all sorts of magic created by John Maclay and Lee Becker.
Great acting carries Chamber's "October" production
Just as bad acting can take even a great play and drag it into the scrum of boredom and inattention, so too can great acting lift even a slightly wanting script into high cotton. That's the story of "October, Before I Was Born," written by Lori Matthews.
Niki Johnson named next artist at The Pfister
Multi-media sculptor Niki Johnson will serve as The Pfister Hotel's sixth artist in residence, replacing current artist, Stephanie Barenz. Johnson, who was one of six finalists, will work in The Pfister's art studio for one year, starting April 1.
Youngblood stages triumph with "The Edge of Our Bodies"
Youngblood Theater has developed a history of presenting brave and unique shows. Their latest, "The Edge of Our Bodies" by Adam Rapp, certainly fits.
Windfall's "Petrified Forest" is petrifyingly lacking
It was half a century ago when Bob Dylan released an album titled "The Times They Are A-Changin'." The song is an eloquent testimony to how different the world had become in 1964. The same song could well be used as theme music for the production of "The Petrified Forest," the Robert Sherwood play that opened Friday night at the Windfall Theatre.
Strong performances power through faults in "The Whipping Man"
Outside of a small handful, there are no perfect plays. But one of the unique and wondrous aspects of live theater is that great actors, great directors and great designers can lift any play into such rarefied air that whatever imperfections in the script are largely forgotten and ignored. Such is the story of "The Whipping Man."
Milwaukee artist Ray Chi wins East Library art commission
Today, The Milwaukee Public Library announced the commission award for a public art installation outside the new East Branch, currently under construction. Milwaukee multimedia artist Ray Chi has been selected to create the art project on North Cramer Street and East North Avenue that will reflect the ideas of community, literature, storytelling and learning.
Off The Wall's "Glengarry Glen Ross" captures excess of the '80s
David Mamet won a Pulitzer Prize for his searing story about men and their lust, their savagery to each other and the personal wilderness they often find themselves stuck in. The play has been done often at all levels since its Broadway debut in 1984, and the version that opened at Off The Wall Theatre Thursday night is a production that matches the explosive power of the script.
New "Body Worlds" show focuses on life cycle
"Body Worlds & The Cycle Of Life" opens Friday, Feb. 7, and will run through June 14, 2014. In this new show - which is different from the Body Worlds exhibit that premiered six years ago - visitors see the body throughout the human life cycle from embryo to end of life.
"Race" asks questions, but the answers are difficult
Questions, it's been said, are easy; it's the answers that are hard. That may well be a general truth, but the questions are very difficult in the production of the David Mamet play "Race," which opened over the weekend at Next Act Theatre.
Deadline approaches for State Fair's first poster contest
State Fair is currently on the lookout for unique poster artists to compete in its first Wisconsin Fairtastic Poster Competition.
The Woody Allen comedy "God"
is no laughing matter at Soulstice
Woody Allen's "God" may well be a very funny play, somewhere. But the one I saw Friday night at Soulstice Theatre left me almost totally without so much as a grin, much less an outright laugh.
Potawatomi celebrates Chinese New Year
Potawatomi Bingo Casino will celebrate Chinese New Year from Friday, Jan. 31 through Friday, Feb 14. The 15-day extravaganza marks the Year of the Horse with traditional food specials in RuYi and entertainment.
Renaissance's behind the scenes comedy "The Understudy" is a riot
For over half a century, I have been in and around the world of live theater, as an actor, critic, spectator and lover. And in all those five decades, I can honestly say I have never met anyone quite like the three characters in "The Understudy," the Theresa Rebeck ode to the sacred life of live theater that opened Saturday night at Renaissance Theaterworks.
The Moth lands in Milwaukee
On Friday, Jan. 31, 10 Milwaukeeans will share their stories live and unscripted when The Moth, a nationally acclaimed storytelling organization, hosts its GrandSLAM championship event at Turner Hall.
First Stage's "A Midnight Cry"
is an explosive powerhouse
The slogan of First Stage, and it is much more than just a slogan dreamt up by some marketing committee, is "Transforming Lives Through Theater." It's latest production, "A Midnight Cry," is an example of just how important and powerful those words are to First Stage.
Rep's "End of the Rainbow"
is a magical evening
There is one brief moment when we stop wondering, and we see Judy Garland in all she ever was during "End of the Rainbow," which opened Friday night at the Milwaukee Rep. The moment is exquisite and reflects the soaring majesty that made Garland what some people call the greatest American entertainer, ever.
Daniel named Menomonee Valley artist in residence
Photographer and writer Eddee Daniel will be the first artist in residence with the Menomonee Valley Artist in Residency Pilot Program. The program focuses on interconnections between culture, community and ecology in the Menomonee Valley.
Golden sheen of technology disguises soap opera in "War Horse"
The horse puppets were absolutely spectacular. And it's a good thing, because besides the horses - and I know I'm in a real minority here - I felt like I was trapped in the middle of a soap opera for 12-year-olds when "War Horse" opened at the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts Tuesday night.
Skylight's "El Cimarron"
should be on your must-see list
"El Cimarron" is one of those "oughta" events. People tell you about them all the time. And Viswa Subbaraman, the artistic director at Skylight Music Theatre, talked about how people ought to see "El Cimarron." In one video piece, he said the play would "change you forever." I don't know about changing me forever, but it's probably as close as the next best choice for changing me forever.