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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Tuesday, July 29, 2014

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How much will it cost me to keep getting these in my mailbox?
How much will it cost me to keep getting these in my mailbox?

My letter from Netflix

At the top of my email queue when I turned on my laptop at about 7 yesterday morning was a note from Reed Hastings. Now I don't know anyone named Hastings, but the email was titled "An Explanation and Some Reflections," and my curiosity got the better of me. I clicked.

"Dear Damien P," was the greeting. The P, which is my middle initial, was the giveaway that this heart-to-heart chat was really computer-to-computer spin, and the next two sentences – "I messed up. I owe you an explanation." – should be read with a skeptical eye.

It turns out that Hastings is the co-founder and CEO of Netflix, which has been bleeding customers for the past couple of months since it introduced a complicated scheme of price increases involving its two products – movies delivered by DVD through the mail and movies delivered via streaming through the Internet. The announcement was handled so awkwardly, Reed was offering his "sincere apology" for the way it was done.

The company is projecting 24 million subscribers at the end of September. That's a loss of about 600,000 customers since June.

Netflix had been a Wall Street darling with a stock price that was stupidly high. That's history. The stock has lost more than half of its value in two months.

No wonder Hastings is eating humble pie.

The CEO's rambling email went on for 12 confusing paragraphs, announcing Netflix is splitting in two. One company, which will retain the brand name, will provide films only through streaming technology. A new entity, called Qwikster, will continue to deliver DVDs the old fashioned way, by snail mail.

If you want to get your movies through both mediums, as we Netflix customers have been doing, you will have to buy two separate subscriptions.

OK, I understand that streaming is the future and DVDs will eventually be as relevant as 8-track tapes. Technology changes so fast, each new content delivery system has the life of a shooting star.

Netflix knows better than anyone what happens when a cor…

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Broadway may be home to a new musical being created by the Eagles.
Broadway may be home to a new musical being created by the Eagles. (Photo: Barb Tabak)

Are the Eagles headed to Broadway?

Are the Eagles headed to Broadway? Rumors are circulating that an Eagles-created musical titled "Hotel California" has Broadway as its destination.

Playbill.com reports that Live Nation head honcho Irving Azoff told Deadline.com that the band is working on a musical that riffs off of the famous Eagles hit. Read the brief story here.

Want to feel old, baby boomers? It has been 35 years since the Eagles released the "Hotel California" single and album. Really.

Sunset Playhouse goes pro on Mondays and Tuesdays

For 50 years, the Sunset Playhouse has been synonymous with community theater, and community theater is synonymous with unpaid performers. But the Sunset has been remaking itself, and it no longer is exclusively amateur.

Exhibit A is the Musical Mainstage revue series the Elm Grove company mounts on Mondays and Tuesdays in its Furlan Auditorium. Those are days and nights Milwaukee's professional theaters are dark, and series producer Susan Dwyer Loveridge can lure the pros into the 'burbs to put on a show. Many of the performers have Skylight Opera Theatre credentials.

The first production of the 2011-12 season will be presented next week. Titled "Dynamic Duos," it features pop songs made famous by twosomes -- in this case, Sonny and Cher, the Everly Brothers and the Righteous Brothers, among others.

Later in the season the series will salute music from the 1950s (Oct. 24-25), spotlight the holidays (Dec. 12-13), feature road songs (March 5-6, 2012), focus on folk song hits (April 30-May 1, 2012) and concentrate on Broadway show tunes (June 4-5, 2012).

Musical Mainstage shows follow a format. Loveridge, who has been involved at the Sunset since being cast in "West Side Story" in 1972, chooses a theme and writes a thread of a script. She casts the revue with two male and two female professionals and a lone high school "rising star." The performers pick the songs they sing.

Loveridge and rotating guest partners co-narrate the revue. Alison Mary Forbes, Peggy Peterson Ryan, Neil Haven and Bob Hirschi are in the "Dynamic Duos" cast with Wauwatosa East High School student Wenie Lado. Jack Shaw is narrating with Loveridge.

The Musical Mainstage series began as single night performances on Mondays. Its success has led to adding the Tuesday matinee and evening shows.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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