Marquette University Theatre will open the month with its production of The 25th. Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. (I typed that title to the sound of the title song rolling through my head. Haven’t heard it in a while, but it and so many other songs in the show are so very catchy.) It’s the story of a group of musical kids jump through the hoops at a spelling bee in a fun, little competition that should play well in the intimate, little environment of Marquette’s Helfaer Theatre. The show runs Oct. 7 - 16.
Sunstone Studios continues its season with the regional premiere of What Was Lost--a stage drama set on the stage, It's the story of a recovering alcoholic actress who returns to the stage to star in Tennessee Williams' The Glass Menagerie. Amanda J. Hull directs what should be a deeply moving drama in the intimate confines of the Sunstone's studio theatre space. Hull is no stranger to working on a smaller stage as she had done extensive work with Milwaukee Entertainment Group in the basement of the Brumder Mansion. The cast includes Leslie Fitzwater, Cory Jefferson Hagen, Chris Hart, Alyssa Higley, Ashley Oviedo, and Deshawn Thomas. The show runs Oct. 7 - 22 at the Sunstone's space on 127 E Wells Street. For ticket reservations and more, visit Sunstone online.
It’s been described as “a striking exploration into the nature of madness.” A Page of Madness is a surrealistic 1926 Japanese film by Teinosuke Kinugasa is an early piece of dreamy visual fantasy that predates so much in Western cinema. This month, Theatre Gigante presents a screening of the film featuring an original score by composer Frank Pahl on toy and hand-made instruments that are performed by Little Bang Theory. There was a similar show last year featuring Nosferatu. Gigante returns to the Kenilworth 508 Theatre at 1925 E. Kenilworth Place for a couple of performances Oct. 8 and 9. For more information, visit Theatre Gigante online.
Macbeth. That’s really all I need to say. It’s the single best-known drama in the history of the stage. And it’s being performed without any specific preparation by Boozy Bard. Well...the script will have been adapted to the format. And there are costume items and props and things. But I mean...none of the actors know what they’re playing until they show-up to The Best Place Tavern at the Historic Pabst Brewery on 901 W. Juneau Ave. It’s the perfect choice for the month of Halloween. The show runs Oct. 10 - 12. For more information, visit the show’s Facebook Events Page.
The Constructivists present Peter Sinn Nachtrieb’s 2015 political satire. It really is its own kind of weird horror. It’s a dark comedy about the nature of political discourse in the modern era set in Nebraska. The state is on the brink of revolution. Penny is a candidate for state office. Her aid Francine has nefarious plans for the state. The spoilery warning list reads a bit like poetry. This lookss like a lot of fun and it runs Oct. 15 - 29 at Interchange Theater Co-Op on 628 N. 10th St. For more information, visit
So here’s the deal with The Mystery of Edwin Drood: The guy who wrote The Piña Colada Song also wrote a musical. It was a musical based on an unfinished novel by Charles Dickens. And it’s a detective story. So...y’know...it’s an unfinished detective musical. And it’s being performed as the opening show for the UWM Theatre this season. The show runs Oct. 19 - 23. For more information, visit UWM online.
It’s...opera with puppets. It’s horror opera with puppets. And...it’s horror opera with puppets that celebrates the most universally-loved work by George Romero. And...it’s happening this Halloween. So...yeah. This is really, really cool. Milwaukee Opera Theatre teams-up with Angry, Young Men to present one of the most truly unique Halloween shows onstage this year...an opera with libretto by Milwaukee theater veteran Josh Perkins and music by Andrew Dewey. The show makes it to the Broadway Theatre Center Studio Theatre on 158 N. Broadway. It’s one weekend-only: Oct. 28 - 30.
“This play is not realism and should not be performed as such.”
That’s James Ijames in his script for Kill Move Paradise. I saw the play last night with Next Act. Loved it. Went back to the script that had been provided in the press kit and just...read...
Ijames’ prose style makes for a very sharp read in script format. He’s wields words with grace. The play is about a group of four guys hang out in an afterlife called...Kill Move Paradise. (That’s what it’s called.)
Seeing Each Other
The afterlife is...kind of dark. As the audience, we’re there to see it. Ijames talks about this in the script right after dialogue that is spoken to the audience. He says:
“We have to be willing to really see each other for a spell. Maybe a spell that feels longer and costs more than we are willing to spend.”
It might be the only place to leave Kill Move Paradise...at least for the characters.
“Daz tries to escape the space. He runs up the wall and slides down. Runs up. Slides down. Runs, slides. Runs, slides. RunsSlides...We let this happen as long as he can take it. Be generous with his agony.”
Said again: “Be generous with his agony.” (Wow.)
So...there’s this printer in the afterlife.
Here’s what Ijames says about it in the script:
“Somewhere onstage a printer spits out a name on an increasingly growing list. We used a dot matrix printer and that was fire.”
Next Act has the printer right out front and on the left. It’s right above a few bottles of water, a few bottles of Perrier and a plate of brownies. (There are evidently complimentary brownies and carbonated water in the afterlife.) The rest of the set includes a fantastic collage of stuff...a TV with a built-in VCR next to a doorless mini-fridge full of VHS tapes. A bicycle, a football, a dartboard, a clock, a wheelbarrow, an Atlantic Record 45, a pair of lime green Nikes, a saxophone right next to a painting of a guy playing a sax, another clock, a solid body electric guitar and so much more. All of it is way at the back of the stage. The afterlife is alive with...stuff.
The list of names keeps growing. We all know what it is. No need to explain it. Tamir Rice. Trayvon Martin. Reginald Doucet. And so many more. The list in the script goes on for four pages. Here’s what Ijames says about it...just before it’s read...
“The impulse will be to make the list less agonizing...It should be speaking the names as an attempt to keep those bodies alive...This list has grown each time. I have done a revision of this play and, I fear, will continue to grow. Add the names of the newly fallen. We must say their names as well.”
Next Act’s production of Kill Move Paradise runs through Oct. 16 at the space on 255 S. Water St. For ticket reservations and more, visit Next Act Online.