Director Sarah Zapiain has put together a really, really cool production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream for Voices Found Repertory. Nestled into the cozy, little Imagination Studios space in West Allis, Zapiain has fostered a remarkably open environment for the cast of the show to develop some really, really fun portrayals of a whole bunch of characters that don’t always shine in every production of the comedy. In the space of a Shepherd-Express print review, there’s only so much room to get into things and there is much in the cast that I simply didn’t have room for in 300 words. Here’s a look at some of what I didn’t have the space for:
Brandon Haut is a towering presence as both Oberon and Theseus. Beard not withstanding, there’s no questioning that the guy is young...but he has such a clever grace about him that he DOES seem suitably royal.
Amber Weissert really loses herself in the energy of love in the role of Titania. When she falls for the donkey-headed Bottom, she goes full-blown obsessed rock star groupie on him which works a LOT more than one might expect.
Haley Ebinal is something like a force of nature as Hermia...playing her as the popular girl who everyone loves. She’s playing a beautifully assertive personality with so much self-confidence that when she gracefully takes her earrings out before a fight, she bestows them like mana from heaven on someone in the front row...it’s a really, really fun take on the character’s energy.
Grace DeWolff is intoxicating as the lover Lysander...but she also plays the rarely-prominent fighter in him. Phillip Steenbekkers towers over her as his rival Demetrius, but DeWolff’s Lysander fearlessly stands-up to him in deeply comic form.
Maya Danks is remarkably attractive as Helena. A woman so completely taken with someone like Demetrius is...well...it’s usually difficult to bring that across with any strength, but Danks portrays Helena’s love for Demetrius with an intoxicating adoration. Danks plays Helena looking to Demetrius almost like he’s a pet...which gives her a sense of agency that makes the character that much more appealing.
Kyle Conner may not be my favorite Puck this summer, but he IS really, really good in the role. The scene where Puck is taking-out the lovers at the end of the comedy and bringing them to sleep plays-out with a delightfully crazy Chuck Jones energy. This is Puck-by-way-of Wile E. Coyote and it’s a really fun addition.
It’s really, really difficult to make the Mechanicals work in ANY production. The pacing of the script always feels a little awkward by the time Pyramus and Thisbe show-up. With Ben Yela as Bottom/Pyramus and Jessica Trznadel as Flute/Thisbe, there’s a smart energy about the play at the end of the play...amplified as it is by kazoo. Hannah Kubiak, (who plays Peter Quince and Mustardseed provides tight, little comic punctuations throughout the play,) wittily kazoos My Heart Will Go On at a particularly tragic moment for Pyramus. It’s a fun ending to a fun evening that’s only 90 minutes long.
Voices Found Repertory’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream runs through Sep. 12 at Imagination Studios on 1500 S. 73rd St. For more information, visit www.voicesfoundrep.com. A concise, comprehensive review of the show will be available shortly through Shepherd-Express.
Outdoor summer shows begin to come to an end with another Summer of COVID. Things still seem to be waking-up in the midst of the Delta Variant. September approaches. There’s a bit more going on in and around small stages in and around Milwaukee than there was in September 2020.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Voices Found Repertory recently posted a video promo for their upcoming production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The cast looks really, really good for the show, which opens the month at Imagination Studios in West Allis. Response has already been impressive with the first performance nearly selling-out very quickly. The video promo feels a lot like an opening of a 90s Xer-based comedy like Singles or Reality Bites or...I dunno...Friends or something like that. If director Sarah Zapian takes this direction with the production, it could make it really, really interesting. The show runs Sep. 2 - 12.
Run For Your Wife
Seasoned director Brian Zelinski opens the season for the Sunset Playhouse. Phil Stepanski plays a London cabbie in Run For Your Wife. Tanya Tranberg plays his wife Mary. Allison Chicorel plays his wife Barbara. Mary doesn’t know about Barbara. Barbara doesn’t know about Mary. Two separate wives give the cabbie two separate lives that come crashing into each other as the cabbie is mugged and winds-up in the hospital. The 1983 Ray Cooney comedy runs Sep. 9 - 26 at the Furlan Auditorium in Elm Grove.
Pitch & Play
So...the idea is this: people get together to throw around ideas for new programs.
An open atmosphere might be a good place to make connections and introduce new ideas.
What better place to do this...than at a boxing studio?
This has got to be one of the more novel ideas for generating new work.
Cooperative Performance’s Pitch & Play takes place Saturday, Sep. 18 at Dropout Fight Club on 830 E. Keefe. Ave. from 4-6 pm.
Next Act Theatre opens its season with a production of Jeffrey Hatcher’s program of monologues. Three people tell three stories drawn from a small midwestern funeral parlor. Next Act brings to the stage stories of a widow, a jewelry thief and a man going to great lengths to win a woman’s heart. It’s dark, intimate comedy. An evening with three characters in Next Act’s theatre space. Next Act is limiting each performance to half capacity and requesting that everyone in attendance be masked and vaccinated. The show runs September 23 - October 17.
Season Preview Gala Fundraiser
Bombshell Theatre closes the month with a fancy-dress season preview fundraiser gala. Bombshell has already announced their first show: Bryanna VanCaster in a production of Funny Girl. Preview performances from the show will be staged alongside an appetizer buffet from Apple Spice, a drinks station, a silent auction and more. The gala happens September 29th at Inspiration Studios in West Allis.
Milwaukee-based actress/playwright Cara Johnston graces the internet this month with a sharply clever, little dramatic historical comedy. The Little Glass Slipper as Performed by the Queen of France and Her Friends imagines a quaint, little production of a classic fairy tale with an ominous background. Marie Antoinette plays Cinderella in a production staged in her own, personal theatre on July 14th of 1789. (This turned out to be kind of a big day in history.) Johnston puts together an ingeniously intricate, little comedic drama with dizzying thematic balance. Johnston also directed the piece, which was shot on July 14th of 2021. (Oh...and she also plays Marie Antoinette...and did some set painting...)
The premise has some basis in history. Marie Antoinette was a great lover of the theatre and even had a performance space built on which she would, in fact, perform. She evidently loved playing people who weren’t queen. And I mean...these were characters who REALLY weren’t queen: farmer’s wives and soubrettes and things like that. And she would play alongside her royal friends with her own servants in the audience diligently (and perhaps nervously) playing along in the role of the claque. (It's true. Take a look at Muriel Zagha's “Drama queen: a peek inside Marie Antoinette’s private theatre,” Apollo ) So there’s actual history here that’s fascinating. Johnston’s decision to have herself play Marie Antoinette playing Cinderella on the day of the storming of the Bastille is kind of a brilliant one thematically. In light of growing inequities between the wealthy and the poor in the contemporary world, this is a particularly fun angle on the show.
Johnston is delightfully awkward in the role of a queen who is quite oblivious about the nature of her own privilege. Johnston’s work is deeply comic on a variety of levels...many of which have to do with the cluelessness of the ruling class. There’s greater depth in it all, though. Marie’s desire to escape the pressures of queendom find her fantasizing about being a servant girl as all around her disintegrates. A would-be assassin even finds himself thrust into a role onstage. Knowing full well that they’re doomed, a number of Marie’s fellow cast members abandon the show mid-performance. Cinderella ascends to royalty as the woman playing her descends into a darkness that will inevitably see her executed. It’s impressively well-balanced and poignant.
Local actresses Alicia Rice and Jennifer Vosters play with opposing energies in the heart of the cast. Rice is warm and sympathetic well-meaning Princess onstage with Marie who is genuinely concerned for her wellbeing. Vosters is comically cold as the naturally talented Duchess in the cast who is far more concerned for her own survival. It’ a nice contrast that rests at the center of a tight, little ensemble.
The Little Glass Slipper is a very, very intimate production, but there’s a delicious feeling of excess about it as it was shot on the stage of a rather nice theatre in Texas. Production design by Cara’s sister Courtney Miles includes sumptuous costuming by Jerry Miles. Jun Kang did an excellent job of shooting and editing the production. I didn’t see any one specifically credited for the lighting, but it’s gorgeous. The visual reality of the ruling class fumbling on its way to the guillotine is absolutely stunning in a fun, little one-hour comedic drama.
The Miles Sisters’ production of Cara Johnston’s Little Glass Slipper is available online from two different outlets:
--the Edinburgh Fringe Festival is hosting it online for free, but there IS a registration fee of a little more than £1. They’re hosting it through Aug. 30.
--the Milwaukee Fringe Festival is also hosting the show online. Tickets are $15. They carry the show through Aug. 28.
Lenny Magrath the oldest. She’s called her middle sister Meg to come back to her hometown of Hazlehurst, Mississippi. There’s a family emergency involving their baby sister Becky. Becky shot her husband in the stomach because she, “didn’t like his look.” The police know she shot him. She told them. She doesn’t wanna talk about it, though. So she’s going to need a really good lawyer. Only problem is she just shot the best lawyer in town. Once again, playwright Beth Henley’s classic 20th century drama Crimes of the Heart makes an appearance in a local production courtesy of SummerStage of Delafield. Director Kelly Goeller helps a talented cast balance on nuance in a staging bed rather definitely straddles the line between comedy and tragedy.
Brigid O’Brien plays the oldest sister Lenny with a somewhat heroic sense of duty and competence that manages to amplify the characters solitude and desolation. She’s been looking after her ailing grandfather forever. He hasn’t really had a life of her own. O’Brien illuminates the character With a very sturdy, well grounded life that feels very organic. Near the opening of the play, transferred to Lenny is trying to light a candle on the smallest piece of cake imaginable. She’s having difficulty doing so. Still manages to almost sing happy birthday to herself, though. O’Brien captures a very sad moment with the heart and humor that sharply introduce A very sophisticated script.
Abbi Minessale is casually irresistible as middle sister Meg. She’s a free spirit who moved up to Hollywood to pursue musical career that seems to have stalled. The character has a rookie term that Minissale has a little difficulty bringing to the stage. As she is such a dumb and personality, she’s one of the more difficult characters in the play to render with any sense of sophistication. It would be way too easy to just let the script guide the character. Minessale Find the screen unique heart and comedy of a fish out of water in her hometown and inhabitant with tenderness and grace.
Madison Penzkover might have one of the biggest challenges in the ensemble as Becky Before she even appears on stage, we know that her character has shut her husband in the stomach. When she shows up, she quite casually says that she meant to shoot him in the heart. She says that without even the slightest remorse. And yet Penzkover is able to Come across as a sweet, endearing personality who seems quite open even in her on mysteries. The chemistry between her and Logan Milway might be one of the cutest things on a local stage all summer. Milway has an earthbound valiance in the role of the man looking to represent Becky in court.
Drama and comedy wash over a late summers afternoon In the process of the coming evening. An open domestic setting arrests in a very beautiful park somewhere in the periphery of Milwaukee County. Southeastern Wisconsin becomes a 20th century Mississippi however briefly.
SummerStage of Delafield’s production of Crimes of the Heart runs through Sep. 4th at Lapham Peak State Park. For ticket reservations and more, visit Summerstage online.
Milwaukee Irish Fest makes a return to Maier Festival Park this weekend. Once again, Milwaukee Irish Arts makes a return to the festival with Sebastian Barry’s casual, heartfelt dramatic comedy Fred and Jane. Directed by Lindsey Gagliano, the show features Amanda J. Hull and Margaret Casey as a couple of Irish nuns who have been friend forever.
In and amidst all of the activity of a typical ethnic festival on the Milwaukee’s lakefront, there’s a cozy, little theatre tent. This year it’s tucked away far from the noise of neighboring bands and other noisy acts. Comfy plastic chairs sit around tables in the shade in the presence of a stage with a couple of far more comfy-looking chairs. A tea set rests on a table. After a brief introduction, a couple of nuns who have come-in to the festival from a convent in Ireland in 1996. They rest there telling the stories of their lives for a brief time whilst sipping tea.
Margaret Casey is engrossing as the older of the two nuns: Beatrice. She just might have heard the calling to a life of service having seen Fed Astaire glowing larger than life on a movie screen. Amanda J. Hull plays Anna, who had aspired to being an actress in her youth, but found the habit instead. The two tell tales of having grown-up, met, become quite close and then forced to be apart. Tales of two lives quickly whisk across the stage and soon find rest at the end of a performance brief enough to sweetly linger in the mind even amidst the bustling activity of the large festival beyond the tent.
It’s really, really difficult to bring a couple of extremely well-acquainted characters onstage. It’s really difficult to fake the kind of intimacy a couple of good friends have...especially if they’ve known each other for a decade or more. Casey and Hull do a brilliant job of allowing Barry’s script to weave the story of the two characters together with the mutual warmth and respect of a couple of charming actresses onstage. The memories of a couple of characters lightly fill a quiet, little tent on the edge of the festival.
Casey and Hull do such a good job of delivering the familiarity of two character onstage. The illusion feels pleasantly believable. It’s not difficult to imagine Milwaukee Irishfest welcoming a couple of Irish nuns to a small stage to tell stories. Casey and Hull sell the charming presence of these characters so well that it’s difficult not to look around the festival and expect the two of them to be casually strolling around with a couple of scones talking about which stage they’re going to visit next.
Milwaukee Irish Arts’ Milwaukee Irish Fest production of Fred & Jane has two more performances: Saturday, Aug. 21 at 7:00 pm and Sunday, Aug. 22 at 6:00 pm. All performances take place in The Theatre Pavilion at Henry Maier Festival Park.For more information, visit Milwaukee Irish Arts online.
Late this month, The Milwaukee Entertainment Company hosts an evening of three one acts by seasoned local actor/director/playwright Bill Jackson. Once again, t’s refreshing to see live theatre in an indoor setting after lockdown. The three shorts are presented with a single intermission. Brief dramatic comedies about truth and identity open and close a program also featuring a comedy of a couple of pairs of sisters. It’s all very small, intimate and well-executed. One of the first big returns to traditional indoor theatre in Milwaukee turns out to be a casual evening with nine characters. Conversation are had. People learn a bit more about each other. And everyone goes home.
The program opens on a dreamily resonant note courtesy of Bill Jackson, who begins the show directing his own work. Coffee With Doug imagines a chance meeting between two strangers who turn out to be more than strangers. Joe Ferrie has a ragged, frazzled charisma as a guy who has come to edit some poetry in peace and quiet. Scott Sorenson summons a fair amount of earnest curiosity as the guy who ends up distracting him for the course of the drama. It’s a pleasant, little dark fantasy that delves into the nature of celebrity in the heyday of the baby boomer...the last era of the enduringly resonant mega-celebrity demigods. It’s a short that might be lost to those without some passing familiarity with the rock and roll of the era. Celebrity is a hell of a lot more cheap and disposable in the age of the internet than it was back then. Playwright/actress Deanne Strasse makes a fun, little cameo as a waitress at the coffee shop.
The music of The Doors lingers as the scene changes for the second one act: Nut Ring. Becky Cofta and Hayley San Filippo play a couple of sisters slipping into a conversation about sex with a pair of older sisters played by Kim Emer and Leslie Fitzwater. Open and honest discussion of sex has a tendency to be awkward to begin with, but the one pair of sisters in this case just happens to be mother and aunt to the other pair. Jackson plays an interesting, little chamber symphony of comedy directed by Raven Dockery. Everyone has a chance at a slightly different angle on the sex-based comedy conversation. Filippo is sweet. Cofta is sensual. Elmer is earnest. Fitzwater is a little bit of everything. It’s a nice, little four-part harmony of ribald comedy.
The program returns after intermission with Nate Press and Ashley Oviedo as fiancees Ash and Cassie in Immortal. The two characters have only been together for a brief period of time when she comes home to accuse him of being immortal. What might seem absurd on the surface gradually delves into greater and greater thematic depth as Jackson explores truth and identity. Press has a brilliantly layered sense of comedy that serves the short well. He’s as good with obvious punchlines as he is with far more subtle and nearly imperceptible shades of humor. Oviedo is crushingly vulnerable and courageous as someone who isn’t afraid to sound crazy to someone she loves in order to get the truth. Director Robert A. Zimmerman cleverly sets tone and mood while sharply directing the flow of traffic in a script that could all-too-easily feel overwhelmingly weighty. Oviedo is remarkably magnetic. Press is appealingly restless. It’s a truly enjoyable end to a really, really fun evening of shorts.
Table For Three: An Evening of One Acts by Bill Jackson runs through August 14th at the Brumder Mansion on 3046 W. Wisconsin Avenue. For ticket reservations and more, visit Milwaukee Entertainment Company online.
A quick recap: There was a lot going on online. Then there was a lot going on in outdoor spaces. Now with the 2021-2022 Milwaukee Theatre Season beginning to look into opening itself up, Milwaukee stages look to begin responsibly returning to indoor spaces as an open house, fundraisers and quite a lot of other events begin to populate the calendar at the close of the summer of 2021.
It was one of the smallest of the small stages in Milwaukee (which I’m pretty sure would make it one of the smallest of the small stages in the world, but I really have no idea.) The space re-opens as Sunstone Studios: an entirely different theatre this month with a completely new group of people in charge of it and a really, really ambitious set of ideals. Lots of work has been done. Lots of plans have been made. And now the tiny little space across the street from the Pabst Theatre opens to the general public. The newly imagined space will be open for viewing. Events are being planned for the whole day of August 6th on 127 East Wells St. For more information as it becomes available, visit the grand openings’ Facebook Events page.
This September, Voices Found Repertory will present a staging of A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Imagination Studios in West Allis. Sarah Zapian directs. In advance of that opening, the group is hosting a little fundraiser on August 7th at Bad Moon Saloon on 4035 S. Clement. It’s a casual evening of games, socializing and drinks with a silent auction and live music performed by cast members for the upcoming production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. It’s a cleverly subtle dreamlike preview of some of the talent that will manifest in West Allis at the beginning of next month in a production that will open Sept. 2nd. For more information, visit the fundraiser’s Facebook Events Page.
Generation X is...aging. I mean...I realize that Green Day had a musical and everything, but every now and then something like Rock of Ages or Don’t Stop Believin’ rolls around and it just feels weird. Music I remember hearing on WAPL as a young kid beginning to grow-up in the early 1980s is now making its way to the Musical Mainstage at Sunset Playhouse in Elm Grove. Music from late ‘70s/ early ’80s vintage bands like Journey, Rush, Styx, Boston and Foreigner will be performed on the big stage by local musical theatre talents like Rana Roman, Bob Hirschi, Tommy Hahn and others. Don’t Stop Believin runs August 9th and 10th at Sunset. For more information, visit the Sunset Playhouse online.
Summerstage of Delafield opens the second show of its outdoor season this month as it presents the mid-20th century Beth Henley drama Crimes of the Heart. Kelly Goeller directs Brigid O’Brien, Abbi Minessale and Kelly Goeller as three sisters who have returned to Hazelhurst, Mississippi to await news of their ailing grandfather. The touching family drama runs Aug. 19th - Sept. 4th at Lapham Peak State Park. They peaceful, idyllic atmosphere of a gorgeous outdoor space should serve as a powerfully resonant home to Henley’s thoughtful drama. All shows start at 7:30 pm. For more information, visit Summerstage online.
Optimist Theatre hosts a restless green forest this summer as it wanders about to various locations performing an abbreviated Shakespearian experience in the middle of summer. A Midsummer Night’s Dream: The Lovers’ Tale. Is a fun focus on Athenian love lost amidst the meddling of a couple of fairies. The 90-minute show is a perfect little nap of a narrative that makes the dizzying, convoluted trips and swings through complex romance easy and enjoyable for audiences of all ages.
The set is simple. Just a couple of backdrops dotting the stage area. Costuming is bright and cheery with character is paired up in their ideal romantic connection by matching colors. The physical comedy of the show is amplified and exaggerated in a way that does not detract from the depth and sincerity of the romantic drama being presented. The directors have maintain a delightful balance that keep everything moving very quickly from beginning to end as the sun migrates towards the western horizon of whatever outdoor space they happen to be performing in at the time.
Rebeka Farr and Susie Duecker play to their strengths as two young women struggling with love, life, family and death threats. Farr’s sweet earnestness in love makes her a perfect fit for the fair Hermia. Duecker’s something of a genius with physical comedy, which fits the role of Helena quite well. As this is an intimate, small-stage affair, Farr has an opportunity to get into subtleties of romantic love while Duecker deftly explores a range of physical comedy from subtle confusion to passionate physical exaggeration.
Fabian Guerrero and King Hang play the ore aggressive, dramatic ends of the male end of the comedy in very robust dramatic motions that occasionally delve into greater subtlety. Libby Amato and Seth Hale each play dual roles. Hale is charismatic and subtly witty as both Theseus and Oberon. Amato is captivating as both Puck and Hippolyta.
Focussing as it does on the lovers, the only two speaking fairies of note in the play are Puck and Oberon. Hale’s sense of humor brilliantly filters in around the edges of his portrayal of Oberon. Amato is endlessly fun as the heroically confident trickster Puck. Amato’s grasp of physical humor is immensely enjoyable from subtle annoyance every time her talents are questioned to her blinding glee at causing confusion and chaos.
Not everything about the production is perfectly smooth. There IS some really, really engaging scoring that plays through one of two large speakers. This adds to the fully-rendered feeling of the outdoor production and really adds to the comedy, but I made the mistake of sitting right underneath an amp and the amplification was kind of deafening. Also: the wind in the mics caused static and distortion that was a bit wince-inducing in places.
Micheal Pettit does a little bit of puppetry for the show including a very pretty, ethereal Titania and the a pleasantly cute little bald-headed walking Egeus voiced from elsewhere by Optimist’s Tom Reed. The problem is that little Egeus’ head doesn’t articulate and Reed’s voice comes in more powerfully than anything else onstage even though the little puppet never appears to be speaking. So it’s like this little, bald puppet is...telepathically projecting his dialogue...which makes him seem a bit more supernatural than the two superhuman fairies who are in the show. A bald-headed mortal apparently capable of telepathic communication doesn’t quite fit the production. It would seem more at home in a school for gifted youngsters in Westchester County.
The Optimist Theatre’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream: The Lovers’ Tale runs through September 6th at various locations in and around Southeastern Wisconsin. For more information, visit Optimist Theatre online.
Larry Shue had the ability to be an actor’s writer of comedy. In The Foreigner, he wrote an incredibly intricate, little pseudo-language for the title character in a plot populated by a lot of interesting characters. In The Nerd, he constructed an entire ensemble of people who are totally grounded and realistic while all being a bit mad. This summer that madness comes to the outdoor space at Summerstage in an enjoyable production that opens the summer season in Lapham Peak State Park. Dustin J. Martin directs a capable cast in a comedy of bad manners of a house guest who rapidly wears out his welcome and can’t seem to get the idea that everyone wants him to leave.
Scott Fudali plays an architect who is a bit too timid to take what he really wants out of life. Patrice Hood is charmingly engaging as Tansy: the meteorologist who loves him, but must move across the country in pursuit of her dreams in front of a map on in the Washington DC television market. Nicholas Callan Haubner is cleverly droll as a good friend of both of them who only wants to make sure that the two of them are happy. Matters between the three of them are slowly. established over the course of a few moments at the opening of the comedy. Then there’s a call from Rick Steadman.
Steadman had saved the architect’s life back in Viet Nam. He’d never met the guy, but he corresponded with him over the years since they both re-entered their civilian lives. And now Steadman is dropping by quite unannounced to spend some time with the guy who owes his very life to him. Everyone seems excited to meet the hero. Their excitement quickly sours when it turns out that Steadman is a comically obnoxious human being who is quite unaware of a great many things.
James Sevens is great as Steadman. The title role could end up being a flat stereotype of a 1980s nerd exaggerated to comic excess. As written by Shue, the character has strange layers that rest within stranger layers that could easily be overlooked in the pursuit of laughter. Sevens is well aware of these layers and manages a portrayal of Steadman the is just annoying enough to be funny and just vulnerable enough for an audience to care about him. There’s a careful execution of the comic amplification of Steadman’s annoying habits that Sevens sometimes wields like a scalpel.
Martin has directed the flow of comic traffic across the stage in a way that makes for a very appealing show...the gradual increase of comic energy amplifies over the course of the play as things increase into a pleasantly surreal attempt to get Steadman to leave of his own accord. I’ve seen a few different productions of the play...this one seems to have a really solid handle on the bizarre otherworldly quality of that climactic scene. It’s refreshing to see this kind of madness outdoors in the middle of summer after a long lockdown.
Summerstage’s production of The Nerd runs through July 31. For ticket reservations and more, visit Summerstage online.
Post-COVID lockdown theatre continues to develop into July with a number of productions on live stages. There’s Broadway cabaret in Elm Grove, a contemporary drama, comedy and, as always, Shakespeare. Here’s a look of a few items on local small outdoor stages in and around the greater Milwaukee area:
Broadway Hits Cabaret Sunday at Sunset
Bombshell Theatre Company and Sunset Playhouse team-up for an outdoor cabaret right outside the theatre on Sunday, June 27th. Talent includes Marcy Doherty-Elst, Erich Welch, Tim Albrechtson and more. The performance is taking place right outside the Sunset Playhouse, so in the event of rain, the show can scamper indoors. The sleepy, little commercial area of Elm Grove that Sunset inhabits can be really beautiful this time of year as I well know having bussed it to the venue from the south side on more than one occasion. A light musical cabaret show outdoors in Elm Grove amidst the nearby hum of light Sunday afternoon traffic sounds idyllic.
Ghost Bike in the Park
The Milwaukee Rep’s Professional Training Institute welcomes audiences to a free outdoor performance of Laura Jacqmin’s Ghost Bike. The PTI features actors from grades 9-12 experiencing professional stage for the first time. Ghost Bike is the story of Ora, who travels into a strange afterlife to meet her best friend Eddie who tragically died in a biking accident. The show runs July 8 - 11 at the Selig-Joseph-Folz Amphitheater in Kadish Park on 701 E. Garfield Ave. For more information, visit The Milwaukee Rep online.
Shakespeare Auditions Intensify
Voices Found Rep continues its search for a cast for A Midsummer Nights Dream through June 28th. Its video auditions remain open for the next couple of days. The production runs in September. The director is Sarah Zapian who is a talented, young actor in her own right. She' also got a very clean, crisp, precise, professional presence that would likely be a lot of fun to work with. For more information, visit Voices Found online.
Also: Fleeing Artists Theatre will be escaping to the stage in Kenosha with a production of Hamlet which will run in early September. Auditions take place July 6th and 7th. For more information, visit the auditions’ Facebook Events page.
The Nerd in the Park by the Peak
It’s said the Larry Shue came-up with the name for The Nerd before he ever had an idea of what it was going to be about. The early 1980s sitcom continues to appeal decades after its original appearance. It’s got everything: a man making-up his own language. A theatre critic. The schemes of the KKK are foiled. There’s even a rousing game of Shoes and Socks. This coming month, Summerstage opens its season with a production of the comedy directed by Dustin J. Martin. The show runs July 15-31 in Lapham Peak State Park. For more information, visit Summerstage online.
Oedipus in the Garden
Ancient Greek tragedy...in Kenosha. One of the most durable pieces of drama ever written makes it to the Lincoln Park Flower Gardens July 16th - 25th. The tragedy makes it to the stage by way of a production directed and adapted by Kimberly Laberge. It’s Free Outdoor Oedipus in late July. Shakespeare gets a lot of attention from parks all over the U.S. It would nice to see more of the ancient Greek stuff prowling around for free in parks. It’s nice to see Fleeing Artists Theatre trying a different kind of classic. For more information, visit Fleeing Artists online.
Shakespeare Gets Mobilized
This year, Optimist Theatre will be going mobile with its Shakespeare in the Park program.
They will be performing Midsummer Nights Dream...on the road at various places across Milwaukee. The 60-75 minute version of the show will be great for families with little kids looking to hang out with Oberon, Titania and the rest of Arcadia. The show will consist of 12 matinee performances beginning the week of July 24-25. For more information as it becomes available, visit Optimist Online.