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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Saturday, July 26, 2014

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1. 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.
2. 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.
3. "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.
4. 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.
5. "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.
6. "Talley's Folly" provides a moving opening for Third Avenue Playhouse
We all have secrets that are held close in dark places, kept from stretching into the light of day for fear that only trouble will come our way. But sometimes, shining light on a secret blazes a new path and opens a door that may well have been nailed shut for a long, long time. That is the heart of "Talley's Folly," the Pulitzer Prize-winning romantic comedy by Lanford Wilson that opened the season at Third Avenue Playhouse in Sturgeon Bay.
7. APT's "The Year of Magical Thinking" is no trick but the genuine article
There is no sound to the crushing of a heart, and although you may see it happening to somebody, it is an event full of silence. And it is in that fullsome silence that the true measure of grief shows its depth and sorrow. And it is the silences that mark "The Year of Magical Thinking," the Joan Didion play - based on the novel of the same name - that opened this weekend at American Players Theatre.
8. APT's "Much Ado About Nothing" is an absolutely perfect play
The American Players Theatre opened an absolutely perfect production of "Much Ado About Nothing" under clear and warm skies Saturday night at its beautiful theater in Spring Green.
9. "Packer Fans" mesmerizes with laughs and heart at AFT
The team of Frederick Heide and Lee Becker has created such outrageously funny plays like "Belgians in Heaven" and "Guys and Does." "Packer Fans from Outer Space" could well be expected to follow in that same slapstick vein, but it doesn't, as director Molly Rhode finds a heart in this play and puts it on full display with a marvelous cast of actors.
10. Shock gimmick spoils Alchemist's look at sexual exploitation
There are few things in the world I dislike more than when I feel I am being manipulated or when I am stuck in the middle of something designed to shock for shock's sake. That's the feeling I walked away with after opening night of a solid production of "Oleanna" at Alchemist Theatre.
11. "Dog Sees God" a divine summer miracle at Splinter Group
It was over six decades ago that Charles Schulz put pen to paper and created the Peanuts comic strip, featuring a mixed bag of kids who tumbled through life clutching blankets, sucking thumbs, playing tricks and staying kids. They are all grown up, however, in the dark play "Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead," the final play of the season for Splinter Group.
12. What are those waves of brick on Ogden & Prospect?
The undulating forms are the faBRICK Pavilion, winner of the Marcus Prize, a temporary pavilion designed and built by UWM architecture students along with Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto and associate dean Mo Zell.
13. MPL gets the go ahead to discuss lending "The Bookworm" to Grohmann
The Milwaukee Public Library's Board of Trustees has green-lighted discussions between the library and the Grohmann Museum, 1000 N. Broadway, at Milwaukee School of Engineering, that could bring $1 million to MPL in exchange for loaning Carl Spitzweg's painting, "The Bookworm," to the museum.
14. "Phaedra's Love" has lots of sex and shock, but not much else
Let's look at the seven deadly sins: lust, gluttony, greed, laziness, wrath, envy and pride. "Phaedra's Love," the new production from World Stage Theatre Company which opened Friday night in an empty store space in Grand Avenue Mall, has six of the seven, with envy somehow getting a pass. Sounds like your basic Friday night at the theater, huh?
15. Two more awards for MOWA
The Museum of Wisconsin Art (MOWA) received two prestigious building awards within the last two weeks: a 2014 Honor Award for Design Excellence from AIA Wisconsin and a Top Project of 2013 Award from The Daily Reporter.
16. Skylight's "Hair" is a tangled retelling of a slice of Americana
The tribal musical "Hair" has returned to Milwaukee almost half a century after it first sent shockwaves through the country.
17. Chatting with Caldecott-winning author and artist Faith Ringgold
The day just got cooler today at two MPS schools. This morning, renowned author and artist Faith Ringgold read her 1992 Caldecott-winning children's book "Tar Beach" to students at Hampton Elementary School. Then tonight at 6, Ringgold will give a public lecture at North Division High School. OnMilwaukee got a chance to quick sit down with Ringgold and chat about her lecture this evening, "Tar Beach" and the importance of sharing stories.
18. USA Today: Third Ward one of the "best city art districts"
Another day, another list. Today, it's USA Today that has Milwaukee in its "10 best city art districts around the USA." Milwaukee's Historic Third Ward appears among neighborhoods in Dallas, San Diego, Raleigh and other cities. Here's what the story had to say about the Third Ward...
19. Theatre Gigante finds big success with "Midsummer in Midwinter"
It was one of those message moments when the message didn't slide by, but landed with full force in the middle of your mind. "We live only as much as our imaginations will allow." And that line perfectly sums up "Midsummer in Midwinter," the imagination sojourn being staged by Theatre Gigante.
20. New developments for Art Museum's expansion design
A revised design of the eastern end of the Milwaukee County War Memorial will be revealed at the Lakefront Development Advisory Commission at 5:30 p.m. today. The meeting is open to the public.
21. Remember when the Green Sheet dished up local flavor?
Once upon a time Milwaukee had a vibrant newspaper culture. And you don't even have to travel back to the days of the German-language newspapers, nor even to the era of the Evening News and Leader, to find it. A Milwaukee Public Library event this week celebrates a disappeared beloved Milwaukee newspaper icon.
22. First Stage sends Nancy Drew on a big adventure
"Nancy Drew and Her Biggest Case Ever," imaginatively directed by artistic director Jeff Frank, is the kind of show you've come to expect from First Stage. But even with all the wondrous elements of a typical First Stage production, there was something missing from this effort.
23. Windfall's "Storefront Church" deserves a full collection plate
John Patrick Shanley, who won a Pulitzer Prize for "Doubt," takes on the whole financial mess and mixes it with an examination of personal ethics, politics, faith and religion in "Storefront Church." Then, he tosses in some of his funniest writing ever. Luckily, Windfall Theatre does justice to a work that has tremendous ambition.
24. Kpolly brings "Fake A$$ Rappers" to reality
Until now the "Fake A$$ Rappers" series of illustrations has only been shown for limited runs throughout Milwaukee. However, since the project has grown in scope, a new medium was necessary. "The book seemed like the best venue for them, especially since I'm adding so much more content 'about' the rappers," says artist Kristopher "Kpolly" Pollard. "Their albums, songs and sample lyrics. It'll be a lot of fun."
25. Stage Time Podcast: Comedians Nick Firer, Patrick Schmitz and Johnny Beehner
Host Frankie Fairmane leads off-the-cuff interviews with Milwaukee comedians as they cram as much funny and self-promotion into 10 minutes as humanly possible. Like a stand-up set, there's a "one-minute warning" for the comedians to wrap-up the conversation. Hold onto your butts, because none of this will be educational, but boy, will you laugh!