By Dave Begel Contributing Writer Published Nov 09, 2011 at 8:15 AM

Milwaukee is a city blessed with a lot of great professional theater.

We probably have more professional theater than most cities our size and the quality is almost uniformly top tier. We get great plays and wonderful acting as well as excellent direction, a combination that makes for a wonderful experience at the theater.

You can now add one more theater to the list of places to check out if you love live theater, Sunset Playhouse.

For years Sunset, which is a beautiful building in Elm Grove, was the cream of the crop as far as community theater goes. With good leadership and a dedicated base of volunteers, you could always count on a great time.

But under the new leadership of Jonathan West, who used to run the fabled Bialystock & Bloom theater company, Sunset has taken a big leap forward. He has broadened the corps of directors with such outstanding professionals as Matt Daniels, Bryce Lord, Ray Jivoff and Mark Metcalf. These new directors have brought a new demanding level of style to Sunset.

The selection of plays is still guided more by box office potential than by experimentation or efforts to expose Milwaukee to new and unfamiliar plays. But that is a curse that is shared by every theater company in town. If you don't get an audience, you don't last very long.

West, though, has broadened the offerings at Sunset to a variety of performances, ranging from holiday concerts to jazz performances and wonderful plays for children as well as the high level of theatrical offerings.

Sunset has always been close to that line that separates community from professional theater and under West's direction the place has now crept so close that it's hard to tell the difference. It is more than worth the trip to Elm Grove to check them out.

Dave Begel Contributing Writer

With a history in Milwaukee stretching back decades, Dave tries to bring a unique perspective to his writing, whether it's sports, politics, theater or any other issue.

He's seen Milwaukee grow, suffer pangs of growth, strive for success and has been involved in many efforts to both shape and re-shape the city. He's a happy man, now that he's quit playing golf, and enjoys music, his children and grandchildren and the myriad of sports in this state. He loves great food and hates bullies and people who think they are smarter than everyone else.

This whole Internet thing continues to baffle him, but he's willing to play the game as long as keeps lending him a helping hand. He is constantly amazed that just a few dedicated people can provide so much news and information to a hungry public.

Despite some opinions to the contrary, Dave likes most stuff. But he is a skeptic who constantly wonders about the world around him. So many questions, so few answers.