Theater

Milwaukee Rep

Of all the great jazz singers across the decades – and there have been some incredibly great jazz singers – Billie Holiday stands on a very special musical pedestal.

Almost six decades after her untimely death in 1959, Lady Day’s music remains fresh and immediate. Her phrasing, her musicality, her ability to reach into a song and hand it back to you as something brand new; they all combined to make her voice unique and her music timeless.

Summit Players Theatre / facebook.com

Shakespeare in the Park is a pretty well-established concept, and one that puts the idea of "All the world's a stage" into practice. A Milwaukee-based theater troupe is now into its second season of putting its distinctive spin on the concept.

This weekend, a relatively young performing arts organization will present the play Emergency at a relatively unusual venue: the Body and Soul Healing Arts Center on North 48th Street. The group, Lights, Camera, Soul, is working to provide performing opportunities for young artists.

Express Yourself Milwaukee / Flickr

For the last fifteen years, a project called Express Yourself Milwaukee has tried to break the cycle of violence and change hearts and minds through the arts. Every year, the group’s activities culminate in a public performance. This year's performance is called Illuminate and it aims to shine a light on the positive things going on in the lives of people. 

Tim Fuller

The Milwaukee Rep closes its season with a powerful production of August Wilson’s 1987 Pulitzer Prize-winning play, Fences.

kate gabrielle / Flickr

Sir Noel Coward was a jack of all trades. He was an actor, a composer and a singer - but he’s most remembered for his plays. The English playwright wrote dozens of plays during his life, including: Private Lives, Blithe Spirit and Hay Fever, just to name a few.

Marcus Center/Patrick Dewane

The Accidental Hero is a one-man show detailing the true story of an American officer in World War II.  It’s written and performed by Patrick Dewane, the grandson of the play’s protagonist.

For years, Dewane would visit his grandparents' house and see WWII memorabilia decorating the house. He would beg his grandfather, Matt Konop, to tell him war stories, but he wouldn't talk.

Konop died in 1983 and Dewane "figured that we buried grandpa with his stories."

The Children's Aid Society

Although orphan trains operated in the U.S. for decades, the legacy of the trains has gone relatively unnoticed. Over the course of 75 years, hundreds of thousands of children from cities like New York and Boston were shuttled onto trains headed West in search of a new home. But not much is known about these children, or what happened to them after they left the trains. A new play at UWM is hoping to change that.

Paul Ruffolo Photography

Milwaukee’s First Stage Children’s Theater is known for commissioning and producing new works by some cutting edge playwrights. But they probably went as far as they could go to find the writer for their current world premiere production, The Snowby playwright Finegan Kruckemeyer

Mark Frohna / Skylight Music Theatre

What is a crown? To some, it’s a symbol of royalty. To others a crown is a hat, but not just any hat. Skylight Music Theater’s production of Crowns: A Gospel Musical is about the African American tradition of wearing flamboyant and ornate hats to church.

Tom Margie / Flickr

The late Yip Harburg wrote the words to more than 600 songs in his life, but the one he’s probably known for more than all the rest is the iconic Over the Rainbow, from The Wizard of Oz, for which he won an Academy Award.

Paul Ruffolo

Where do you go when you’re trying to escape your troubles? Well, Costa Rica, of course - at least that’s true of the main characters in Slowgirl.

The play opened this week at the Milwaukee Chamber Theatre.

Eric Appleton / UW-Whitewater

If all the world’s a stage, someone has to set it. In Shakespeare’s day there may not have been much in the way of scenery – some banners and backdrops, and probably some hand props. But even now that set designers have more materials at their disposal, the goal of modern set design remains the same: to translate the text for present day audiences and make the play's words come to life.

Ryan Blomquist

Among the holiday offerings that reliably come around this time of year – like the Milwaukee Ballet’s Nutcracker, the symphony’s Holiday Pops concert, and the Milwaukee Rep’s “A Christmas Carol,” there’s always one that swims against the tide.

Acacia Theatre Company / facebook.com

We’ve probably all wondered what we might talk about if a compelling figure from history dropped by for coffee, and Acacia Theatre's latest production puts two historical figures together for one last conversation.

Freud’s Last Session envisions a meeting between Sigmund Freud, the father of much of contemporary psychology; and the writer C.S. Lewis.  The two were actually contemporaries, but never met in real life.

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