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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014

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1. 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.
2. "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.
3. 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."
4. 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."
5. 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.
6. 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.
7. 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.
8. 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.
9. 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.
10. 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.
11. 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.
12. "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.
13. 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.
14. "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.
15. "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.
16. 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.
17. 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.
18. "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.
19. 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.
20. "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.
21. 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.
22. 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.
23. "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?
24. 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.
25. 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.