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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2014

Wed
Hi: 61
Lo: 57
Thu
Hi: 71
Lo: 57
Fri
Hi: 60
Lo: 41
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1. "Identita" is a troubling mess from start to finish and in between
I hardly know where to begin with "Identita," which takes an idea that hardly anybody has ever heard of, wraps it in a confusing collection of ever increasingly incredible ideas and casts it with some of serious overacting.
2. In Tandem produces spectacular and intriguing staging of "The Glass Menagerie"
Sometimes you think you know everything there is to know about something. It's just about at that time that you become fodder for a surprise that just about knocks you off your perch. That's the experience I got when I saw a spectacular production of "The Glass Menagerie," the fabled Tennessee Williams play that opened over the weekend at In Tandem Theatre and runs through Oct. 19.
3. "The Color Purple" opens Rep season with powerhouse performances
The number "Hell No" may be at the heart of this play, but for the Milwaukee Rep's production of "The Color Purple," it's a "hell yes" if you want an evening of some of the best, warmest music you will see on stage all year.
4. Next Act's "Jenny Sutter" chronicles a troubling welcome home from Iraq
Next Act's "Welcome Home, Jenny Sutter" is a play that should be seen, worried over and savored by everyone who ever thinks about what it means to be an American.
5. Spectacular acting lights up MCT's "The Good Father"
"The Good Father," which opened over the weekend at the Milwaukee Chamber Theatre and runs through Oct. 12, was the first play by Irish playwright Christian O'Reilly, and it has rarely been produced in this country. But it's a first rate story about a young couple and their year-long journey that carries them from the ultimate casual to the significantly meaningful.
6. Cass Street Park creatures get new "clothing"
Sixteen years ago, Marina Lee sculpted and painted a group of whimsical public art "creatures" for Cass Street Park, 1647 N. Cass St. Lee is currently repainting five of the colorful animal hybrids.
7. Skylight's "Cinderella" joyously turns a Disney classic on its ear
In its recent past, the Skylight has moved almost exclusively into the world of musical theater, consistently producing stellar productions of musicals usually familiar to an audience. Friday night's performance of "Cinderella" was a clear indication that under the artistic direction of Viswa Subbaraman, opera is back. Thank God!
8. Off the Wall delivers a dark and stormy version of "Cabaret"
The Dale Gutzman version of "Cabaret," which opened Wednesday night and runs through Sept. 28, is a dark retelling of a story that mixed sex, violence, longing and fear into two and half hours of mesmerizing theater. The menace of the play at Off the Wall Theatre is as intimate as any I have seen before.
9. Theatre Unchained's "Addams Family" musical is frighteningly funny
Sometimes stepping off the beaten path, or outside of the mainstream, can be fraught with peril but on occasion it can turn into a wonderful surprise and you pat yourself on the back for taking the big step. Such was my reaction after stepping into the deliciously tiny space of Theatre Unchained in order to see the production of "The Addams Family Musical."
10. Raucous sketches light up Alchemist Theatre with hilarious laughter
The little Alchemist Theatre space is one of the real jewels in this city, and it comes alive in an amazing fashion with "Destiny, Deviltry & Dentistry," a hilarious collection of sketches running through Sept. 20.
11. "The Doyle & Debbie Show" rattles the rafters at The Rep
The Rep's new production is a rollicking start to the theater season and one that is full of everything that's great about country music: a sly sense of humor, an equally sly sense of what makes a good story and a devoted faithfulness to an era gone by and mourned.
12. American Players Theatre names new managing director
The Spring Green-based APT has announced that Carrie Van Hallgren, a highly respected theater administrator, will become the new managing director of the 35-year-old company.
13. "Seminar" is cute but goes astray with misdirection
Almost anyone who has ever gone to school, especially at the college level, can relate to a story about the pompous "I'm too good to be doing this" professor who takes a macabre delight in whittling his students down to size. That's the essence of "Seminar," the Broadway hit by Theresa Rebeck that opened this week at The World's Stage Theatre Company.
14. Wall Street Journal drama critic calls APT one of the best in the country
After a recent visit to review Anton Chekhov's "The Seagull," Wall Street Journal critic Terry Teachout called Wisconsin's very own American Players Theatre in Spring Green the "finest classical-repertory company in the U.S."
15. APT's "Travesties" is a joyful and crazy ride through history
When a play starts with a half hour monologue from a frail old man who looks like a gentle breeze might turn him to dust, you begin to think this is going to be a long, long evening. But after just a few moments, Marcus Truschinski got us into the rhythm, and off we went into the American Players Theatre production of Tom Stoppard's "Travesties."
16. APT's production of "The Seagull" flies to the front of the class
In a stunning and dashing production of the classic Anton Chekhov play, the cast and crew at American Players Theatre has captured every nuance - humor-filled and grief-laden - of this marvelous play about love unrequited, and unrequited, and unrequited and ... well, you get the point.
17. Chamber's "Master Class" is a triumph for two women
"Master Class" is truly a one woman play, even though there are other characters scattered about. They are all mere foils for a part that demands towering strength and passion, which Angela Iannone delivers in spades. But it is also a very special job by director Jill Anna Ponasik.
18. The legend of Robin Hood gets a revamping by Theater RED
In the adventures of Robin Hood, it is the capricious archer who is the center of all legends, and around him swirl the Merry Men (Little John and Will Scarlett) and the evil of Prince John and the Sheriff of Nottingham and Maid Marian, whom Robin loves. There is a way to look at this legendary story, however, through the eyes of a woman, and you can find a story with enough twists and turns to capture and hold your imagination.
19. New York fashion meets Milwaukee's Broadway
World-class fashion designer Cesar Galindo lights up the biggest runways in New York. These days, he's center stage on Broadway in Milwaukee's Third Ward.
20. The Janitor's back, but not for long
The Milwaukee Art Museum's most famous "staffer" is back in Gallery 1, but only until October, when the museum sends him to his broom closet while the galleries are renovated.
21. 5 pics that zoom in on "Phantom"
I had the chance to get behind the scenes of "Phantom Of The Opera" today to check out the famous, one-ton chandelier - created by Howard Eaton who designed the five fiery Olympic rings seen at the 2012 London opening - as well as a few of the props and costumes.
22. Milwaukee is at its tipping point
The Cultural and Entertainment Capital Needs Task Force hosted a panel Friday morning featuring guests from Denver, Oklahoma City and Cleveland - and while topics such as new arena, transit and taxation were covered - the main takeaway was that these visitors feel Milwaukee is at its tipping point culturally, and we need to decide soon which way we're going to go.
23. "God of Carnage" is an impressive debut for Umbrella Group
There is something about watching people just like us begin to unravel and shrink into desperation and desolation that demands our attention. That's the attraction of "God of Carnage," the Yasmina Reza play serving as the first production of the new Umbrella Group.
24. Peninsula Players breathe new life into classic Christie play
Across nearly 70 years, the Agatha Christie play "And Then There Were None" has become one of those old chestnuts, performed by high school and college drama clubs throughout the world. To say that it's a tired play is a massive understatement. But a sparkling new production that opened at The Peninsula Players Wednesday night and runs through July 27 proves that even the oldest of chestnuts can be reborn if all the pieces fit.
25. "Comedy," "King Lear" open an exciting Door Shakespeare season
"The Comedy of Errors" may well be the funniest of all of Shakespeare's plays, and "King Lear" may well be the most tragic. Getting to see both of them in one startling day at Door Shakespeare is to see the breadth of Shakespeare and the diversity of his canon that has given so much to the world for four centuries.