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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014

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A delicious dish of beef, chicken and pork with pancit and garlic rice.
A delicious dish of beef, chicken and pork with pancit and garlic rice.
Meat on the Street serves up Filipino food in Milwaukee.
Meat on the Street serves up Filipino food in Milwaukee.

Food Truck Week: Meat on the Street

Wait up, summer's not over yet. You can tell because the streets are still lined with the ever-growing food truck culture in Milwaukee. It's Food Truck Week here at OnMilwaukee.com and all week long we're stopping at some of Brew City's best restaurants on wheels in search of the most interesting dishes on offer.

One of the more difficult choices in life is when you want to experience a new kind of food but don’t want to go and pay restaurant prices for something you are unsure about.

Welcome to Meat on the Street, the first place dedicated to Filipino food in the city and a place where it won’t cost you an arm and a leg to try this delightful stuff. And you never have trouble getting a table because the service is one of a legion of food trucks cruising the city this summer.

Meat on the Street is the brainchild of Alexa Alfaro, a Filipina who was born in Alaska and grew up in Oak Creek with her parents, both engineers, and her two younger brothers, Matt and Christian.

"Our goal in three to five years is to open a Filipino restaurant in Milwaukee, and this is a test to see how people respond to what we have to offer," Alexa said from the window in the truck parked outside the U.S. Bank Plaza Downtown.

My wife and I spent two years in the Philippines and learned to enjoy the food, especially the street food you could find on every corner. It’s much like looking for a hot dog or hot pretzel on the streets of New York, with endless choices.

The most popular item on the streets of Manila is a wide variety of meats on a stick (they could be at State Fair), grilled to a wonderful crusty bite. In Manila, you can get monkey or cat or dog on a stick, but here you can get a selection of pork, beef or chicken.

The meat is flavored for traditional Filipino preparation, where meals often mix something sweet tasting with something a bit sour. The flavors are subtle but unique in Asian cultures.

The other Filipino staple you can sample is pancit, a noodle that is cen…

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Laura Rook and Jim DeVita star in American Players Theatre's production of "The Seagull."
Laura Rook and Jim DeVita star in American Players Theatre's production of "The Seagull." (Photo: Carissa Dixon)

APT's production of "The Seagull" flies to the front of the class

Three Russian musicians – a guitar, accordion and violin – prance about the stage, filling the evening air with the raucous words of upbeat Slavic cheer that can’t help but put a smile on your face, and after each tune, the applause thunders.

The three music players are joyous in their appreciation of their crowd, and the lights of the theater glitter off the smiles all around as the musicians exit stage left.

Get ready for Anton Chekhov’s "The Seagull" at American Players Theatre because these three players are the only happy people you are going to see for the next two and a half hours.

In a stunning and dashing production of this classic, the cast and crew 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.

Director John Langs leads this cast through each individual space in his or her life, all the while ensuring that we all understand the concept of "family," no matter how disparate, dysfunctional or dispersed.

Tracy Michelle Arnold leads this pack of players with a performance so powerful and inspiring that she is both larger than life and so tiny we need to squint to see each sideways glance or flutter of a finger.

Arnold plays Irina, a glamour-addicted aging actress who flits between the urbanity of Moscow and the bucolic lakeside country estate of her brother, the rapidly aging and cantankerous Sorin (Robert Spencer).

The two are central to this gaggle of grumps, but are far from the only attention grabbers. This is Chekhov so you know that every single person on the stage demands attention.

Let me draw the love stories.

Irina’s son, Konstantin (Christopher Sheard) is a budding young playwright who is hopelessly in love with Nina (Laura Rook), a landowner's daughter who wants to be an actress or anything that will make her famous.

Nina, however, has her sights set on Trigorin (Jim DeVita), a popular writer who is tempo…

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Angela Iannone stars as opera star Maria Callas in Milwaukee Chamber Theatre's "Master Class."
Angela Iannone stars as opera star Maria Callas in Milwaukee Chamber Theatre's "Master Class."

Chamber's "Master Class" is a triumph for two women

When you decide to produce "Master Class," the gushing Terrence McNally slice of the life of famed soprano Maria Callas, there are temptations that need to be fought off.

One of them is allowing the play to get out of hand, and that is the function of a masterful directing job by Jill Anna Ponasik, who is the artistic director of the Milwaukee Opera Theatre. 

Angela Iannone reprised her role as the great opera singer when Milwaukee Chamber Theatre opened its 40th season with a production of the play Friday night at the Broadway Theatre Center. The show runs through Aug. 24. 

The show 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 Iannone delivers in spades.

But it is also a very special job by Ponasik, who co-directed with James Zager of Carroll College.

Your normal opera has dozens of people running around a stage, all singing or dancing even, and an opera director is as much a traffic cop as an artistic muse. Not in this production.

Ponasik displayed a remarkable sense of tender grace in letting the story be told without interference from outside events. It paid off in a night of theater that climbed well beyond the limits of the play and rode on the shoulders of these two women who have met in some kind of special place for this special role.

The story is about Callas, near the end of her career, no longer singing but instead teaching a master class at Juilliard School. Three singers come to learn, but for Callas, each encounter is merely an excuse for her to journey back in time to when she was the toast of the world and the mistress of Aristotle Onassis, until being overthrown for a younger woman, Jackie Kennedy.

Iannone is imperious and very funny, most often at the expense of others. But she makes a constant case for art and reveals that both her life and her career were pitched battles. Battles she happily won.

"Performance is a…

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Liz Shipe and Zachary Thomas Woods star as the legendary Maid Marian and Robin Hood in "A Lady in Waiting."
Liz Shipe and Zachary Thomas Woods star as the legendary Maid Marian and Robin Hood in "A Lady in Waiting."

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.

That’s the case with "A Lady in Waiting," the production being staged by Theatre RED which opened Thursday night at the Soulstice Theatre and runs through Aug. 23. The play is an adaptation of the traditional story by local playwright Liz Shipe.

The story opens with Robin Hood (Zach Thomas Woods) at the edge of his beheading for crimes of murder and thievery. But before the axe can fall, we are moved in flashback to the time when this story began.

It is told by Aria, the handmaiden to Maid Marian (played by Shipe), and it is a bravura performance by Kelly Doherty, who with great good humor and grace takes us from the combativeness of her Scottish lady to the gathering of the Merry Men to the first tentative steps toward love between Robin and Marian in Sherwood Forest.

Doherty has a special ability to be funny, with a comedic timing that is enviable, and then to become stern in moments of high drama. She is a joy to behold on stage and stands out in a staging that features a number of good performances.

Jake Lesh plays the callow and treacherous Prince John with a precious air capturing all that is trouble in Nottingham. Meanwhile, Woods gives us a Robin Hood who is less crusading philanthropist and more cherubic and troubled warrior, conflicted about his place in the world.

Robin and his men, however, all take a back seat to the trials and travails of the two women, who are determined to flee to the Holy Land to rescue King Richard from prison. Their quest is the heart and soul of this story.

Shipe’s play is a wonderful nifty idea…

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