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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Tuesday, Sept. 2, 2014

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The American Players Theatre reaches a large fund raising goal.
The American Players Theatre reaches a large fund raising goal.

The American Players Theatre pays for its Touchstone Theatre

The American Players Theatre in Spring Green continues to excel at raising money as well as producing superb theater. The company has successfully completed the $5 million capital fund raising campaign begun in 2008 to finance the construction of the 201-seat indoor Touchstone Theatre and a 10,000-square foot production support facility.

A total of $5,070,000 was collected from 781 donors.

The Touchstone Theatre debuted in 2009, and the productions it housed for its first two seasons played to 95 percent of capacity, according to director of communications Sara Young.

Previously only an outdoor theater company with a large venue seating more than 1,100 persons, the APT added another dimension when the Touchstone opened. The new space's smaller productions offer a more intimate theatrical experience to audiences, and the Touchstone gives more professional variety and opportunities to the company's actors and directors.

The APT also announced that David Kraemer has stepped down as president of its board, a position he has held for almost 25 years. He is being replaced by Barbara Swan, the retired former executive vice president, general counsel and chief administrative officer at Alliant Energy in Madison.

Brookfield Charro closes Saturday but executive chef Aaron Patin will remain to run the kitchen of the new restaurant replacing it.
Brookfield Charro closes Saturday but executive chef Aaron Patin will remain to run the kitchen of the new restaurant replacing it.

Brookfield Charro closing to make way for new restaurant

Charro Brookfield will close Saturday as its owners, the SURG Restaurant Group, prepare a new restaurant to open at its location in the fall.

"I am excited about our new concept, which will include beef and pork raised at Hidden Creek Farms," SURG co-owner Mike Polaski said in a statement. He also owns Hidden Creek, which is in New London.

"We feel this will be better suited for the suburban market and look forward to unveiling it to the community," he added. Details about the new eatery will be announced at a later date.

The change does not affect Charro's Downtown restaurant. The Brookfield Charro opened in 2009.

Aaron Patin, the executive chef at Charro Brookfield, will head the kitchen at the new restaurant.

SURG also owns Carnevor, Distil, Mikey's, Umami Moto and Ryan Braun's Graffito. The group announced that Justin Carlisle has been named executive chef at Umami Moto. Among his credits are Harvest Restaurant and executive chef at Restaurant Muramoto, both in Madison.

A diverse sampling of characters from the late Al McGuire to the Blues Brothers will be seen in the Marcus Center's Vogel Hall this coming theater season.
A diverse sampling of characters from the late Al McGuire to the Blues Brothers will be seen in the Marcus Center's Vogel Hall this coming theater season. (Photo: Marcus Center)

New shows coming to the Marcus Center's Vogel Hall

John McGivern, Al McGuire and the Blues Brothers will make appearances in Vogel Hall this coming theater season as the Marcus Center launches its off-Broadway series in the venue.

The Vogel season begins with "A Kodachrome Christmas Starring John McGivern," a holiday comedy written by Pat Hazell, who also authored "The Wonder Bread Years," a previous McGivern hit at the Marcus Center. The new show opens Nov. 18 and continues through Dec. 31.

"A Kodachrome Christmas" is separate from the Vogel flexible series subscription package, but subscribers are eligible for priority ticket purchases for the holiday show. Single tickets go on sale Aug. 28.

The relationship comedy "Miss Abigail's Guide to Dating, Mating & Marriage" will play Vogel Feb. 16-19, 2012, and "The Official Blues Brothers Revue," with Wayne Catania as Jake and Kieron Lafferty as Elwood, is scheduled for March 2-4, 2012.

Former Milwaukee actor Cotter Smith will return with his one-man show about the late Al McGuire, "Coach: The Untold Story of College Basketball Legend Al McGuire," March 28-29, 2012. The piece was written by sportscaster and longtime McGuire colleague Dick Enberg, and it was developed by Smith when he was living here.

Finally, the humorous marriage memoir "You Say Tomato, I Say Shut Up," will be presented April 26-29, 2012. It is based on the book of the same name written by actor-writer Jeff Kahn ("Curb Your Enthusiasm," "The Ben Stiller Show") and actor-author Annabelle Gurwitch.

Simma's, 817 N. 68th St.
Simma's, 817 N. 68th St. (Photo: Caroline Henning)
The bakery was purchased by Mark Carollo last week.
The bakery was purchased by Mark Carollo last week. (Photo: Caroline Henning)
 Cheesecakes, wedding cakes and more!
Cheesecakes, wedding cakes and more! (Photo: Caroline Henning)
Founded in 1982 by Russian immigrant Simma Yundov
Founded in 1982 by Russian immigrant Simma Yundov (Photo: Caroline Henning)

Simma's bakery is sold

Simma's, the upscale Wauwatosa bakery known for its cheesecakes, wedding cakes and other goodies, has been sold. Mark Carollo, the owner of Greendale-based Croissant Etc., confirmed he purchased Simma's, 817 N. 68th St., last week.

Croissant Etc. is a manufacturer and wholesaler of frozen dough and fully baked croissants, shipped from its Greendale facility. National food service providers and supermarket chains are its primary customers, with its products distributed as far away as Pennsylvania, according to Carollo. Some of its products are sold locally at Grasch Foods and Sendik's.

Simma's, founded in 1982 by Russian immigrant Simma Yundov, is mostly a retail bakery. "They are different businesses, and they are set up differently," Carollo said of Croissant Etc. and Simma's.

"I am making no changes at Simma's," he continued. "Why would you change anything? I have bought the best bakery in Milwaukee.

"Simma's is a great brand with a great reputation, and I won't jeopardize that."

Carollo said he is retaining Simma's staff and recipes. Irina Yundov, the founder's daughter, has owned Simma's since her mother died about 20 years ago, and she will stay for up to a year in an advisory and production capacity.

The new owner said Croissant Etc. and Simma's fit together well. "I was looking for opportunities to grow in the baking industry. Simma's retail business and my wholesale business complement each other."

Carollo said it was too early to know what synergies might develop between his two companies.