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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014

Wed
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Tami Rentmeester (left) and Doug Jarecki in "Triumph of the Still," one of the Combat Theatre plays that will be revived Saturday night.
Tami Rentmeester (left) and Doug Jarecki in "Triumph of the Still," one of the Combat Theatre plays that will be revived Saturday night.

Combat Theatre's greatest hits

Since February of 2000, Bunny Gumbo Productions has produced nearly 400 spanking new 15-minute plays using the following recipe: Eight playwrights, eight directors and 30 actors take eight original scripts from initial concept to performance in 24 hours.

Play topics, circumstances, settings, directors and actors are randomly drawn from hats. Some of Milwaukee's premier theater artists have been involved. It's called Combat Theatre.

Beginning early last summer, Bunny Gumbo co-founder Jim Fletcher and several associates read every script that has been produced to choose the best eight, and those are being revived for one night only this Saturday. The event, which will include a silent auction, is a fund raiser for the company.

Playwrights represented are Patrick Holland, Michelle Hoffman, Jim Thibodeau, Doug Jarecki, Randy Rehberg, John Van Slyke, Julie Pandl and Tony Wood. The versatile Jarecki is also among the 26 actors who will performing at the fund raiser. His colleagues will include Karen Estrada, Toni Fletcher, Libby Amato and Tami Rentmeester.

Bunny Gumbo also runs a high school student version of Combat Theatre, and a play written by Jolie LeBell from that project will be performed.

The event begins at 8 p.m. at Combat Theatre's home space, the Milwaukee Youth Arts Center, 325 W. Walnut St. Tickets are $25 and available only at the door.

Bo Johnson and Amy Geyser onstage with the puppets of "Who Killed Santa?"
Bo Johnson and Amy Geyser onstage with the puppets of "Who Killed Santa?"

Theater tidbits for the holidays

The holidays are all about tradition, and that applies to theater, too. Two comedies that have become audience favorites in Milwaukee have returned for another year.

Local playwright Neil Haven's "Who Killed Santa?" is back for those of us whose attitude toward Christmas is deliciously twisted. Haven calls the show "a one-of-a-kind alternative holiday puppet murder mystery." Humans perform in the comedy, too, and let's just say that Mr. Claus and a crew of other holiday icons are not on their best behavior.

"Who Killed Santa?" is splitting its run between two cities this year. It can currently be seen through Dec. 17 at the Sixth Street Theatre in Racine. The production then moves to Carte Blanche Studios in Walker's Point for a Dec. 20-30 engagement.

Alison Mary Forbes has joined the cast this season.

In Tandem Theatre has revived the delightfully irreverent "Scrooge in Rouge" for what it says is the show's final season. Raucous and bawdy, the musical runs through New Year's Eve at the company's Tenth Street Theatre.

Rep Holiday Artisan Crafts Fair

The folks who make the costumes, props and scenery at the Milwaukee Rep are artisans who also create on their own time. Original hats, beaded jewelry, resin jewelry, hand-painted scarves, hand-dyed linen bags, watercolor greeting cards, leather crafts, hand-bound books and other items made by the Rep staff will be on sale from 1 to 8 p.m. Saturday at the Rep Holiday Artisan Craft Fair.

The sale will be in the Stiemke Studio Theatre at the Baker Theatre Complex, 108 E. Wells St.