October's always a fun month for local theatre. There's a little uptick in weird, offbeat shows that mix horror with more traditionally popular local stage fare. This month puppets and music and a healthy sense of exploration going on in and around local stages for a very promising month ahead.
There’s murder. There’s hallucination, There’s paranormal activity and a few witches who just might be fate itself. Macbeth rests quite comfortably somewhere between cliche and tradition in October theatre schedules all over the place. Boozy Bard presents a twisted improv-fueled mutation of Shakespeare’s classic as actors draw roles from a hat before each performance. Oct. 9 - 11 at The Best Place Tavern on 917 W Juneau Ave. For more information, visit the show’s Facebook Events Page.
Back in the middle of the 1700s, French author philosopher Voltaire wrote an absurdist episodic adventure. (Those are the best kind.) It’s the tale of a strange adventure of a man who had been living in a kind of paradise who is suddenly forced into the chaos of the world beyond his bubble. Back in the middle of last century, Leonard Bernstein wrote an operetta based on the classic. Over half a century later, Skylight Music Theatre stages a production of Bernstein’s classic. James Ortiz designed the set, the puppets (yes, there are puppets) and directed what should prove to be a whimsically erratic tale smoothed over by Bernstein, Ortiz and the Skylight. Skylight's Candide runs Oct. 13 – 29 at the Broadway Theatre Center on 158 N. Broadway, For more information, visit Skylight online.
Local playwright Deanna Strasse is hosting a virtual pitch for three of her plays this month. Everyone’s invited. It’s free. It’s acutally a very casually clever idea: she’s written plays. She wants to see them produced. She’s getting together a group of actors to do readings of excerpts online. It’s a cool opportunity to hang out with a bit of drama and comedy online. The pitch starts at 7pm on Oct. 14. For more information, visit the pitch’s Facebook page.
It’s been way too long since Theatrical Tendencies did a show. The group had produced some of the more memorable productions to be placed on the Milwaukee small stage over the course of the past. Stop/Kiss, The Temperamentals, The Laramie Project and [Title of Show]. This month they return to the stage with a production of Harvey Fierstein’s Torch Song. The show includes some great talent including Kevin J. Gadzalinski as Arnold (the Harvey Feirstein role) and Mark R. Neufang as Ed (Arnold’s lover.) The show runs Oct. 20 - 29 at Inspiration Studios on 1500 S. 73rd St. in West Allis. For more information, visit Inspiration Studios online.
Suzan Fete directs a decidedly supernatural show for the coming Halloween season as Renaissance Theaterworks presents Witch: a comedy by Jen Silverman. A devil shows-up in a small town to bargain for the souls of its residents. The ensemble assembled for the show features som exquisite local talent including Marti Gobel, Reese Madigan. James Carrington, Joe Picchetti and Eva Nimmer. It’s just...a phenomenal cast. Also...Maria Pretzl’s Facebook marketing campaign for the show has been great fun so far. She’s got some clever ideas for engaging an audience before the show. Very cool stuff. Looking forward to more before the show on Renaissance’s feed. The show runs Oct. 22 - Nov. 12 at the space on 255 S Water Street. For more information, visit Renaissance Online.
Not too long ago, Milwaukee Opera Theatre teamed-up with the puppet people of Angry Young Men Ltd. to produce Night of the Living Opera--a live operatic stage adaptation of George Romero’s classic Night of the Living Dead. Zombie puppets have been kicking around Milwaukee for a number of years now. They largely only come out around Halloween. (I would imagin it’s kind of difficult for them to get work the rest of the year. I can’t help but wonder how they might perform at an audition.) Anyway...the show (as done in concert with MOT last year) is...staggeringly good. It sticks perfectly to Romero’s plot and embellishes it with opera. (So cool.) The show runs Oct. 27 - Nov. 5 at the Broadway Theatre Center’s Studio Theatre on 158 N Broadway. For more information, visit MOT online.
So there was this guy named Robb White. He was the son of Episcopal missionaries. He was kind of a prankster as a kid, but he went on to write A LOT of stuff for various magazines back in the mid-20th century. Somewhere along the line he started writing screenplays. One of them got produced as a cheap horror film directed by William Castle starring Vincent Price. The House on Haunted Hill is a cute idea: a diverse group of people are offered a large sum of money ($10,000, which would be like...$100,000 in today's money) for surviving overnight at a haunted mansion. The script may have been clever, but the movie?...it was bad. Boozy Bard presents an irreverent staging of the screenplay just in time for Halloween Oct. 31 - Nov. 1 at The Best Place Tavern on 917 W Juneau Ave. For more information, visit the show’s Facebook Events Page.