By Mary Boyle
In the world of theatre, the genre of farce goes back to ancient times. From Shakespeare's A Comedy of Errors to the brilliance of Monty Python, and on to modern-day versions such as television sitcoms like Seinfeld, a farce utilizes exaggerated verbal and physical humor, as well as a series of improbable events, to set the audience roaring and, though it may seem simple, it is possibly the most difficult type of theatre to pull off well: too much exaggeration and it's stupid slapstick, and one missed cue or delayed door slam can throw the whole joke into the gutter. Luckily for Milwaukee audiences, Milwaukee Chamber Theatre's Unnecessary Farce is just the ticket for an evening of laughs.
The location of a farce is often key to the comedy, and playwright Paul Slade Smith called for this one to take place in a town outside of a major city so, of course, director Ryan Schabach simply had to set it in Sheboygan, the city we Milwaukeeans and suburbanites love to make fun of. The year is 2006 and the place is two adjoining motel rooms at the Sheboyg-Inn (clever, no?), where rookie cops Eric Sheridan (Ben Yela) and Billie Dwyer (Rachael Zientek) are on an assignment to use video surveillance to catch the Mayor (Jonathan Gillard Daly) admitting to embezzlement during a meeting with his new accountant, Karen Brown (Amber Smith). Everything seems to get off to a good start until Eric and Karen can't keep their hands off each other, and then Agent Frank (Tim Higgins), the Mayor's security guard, interrupts the interview, followed by the Mayor's wife (Jenny Wanasek), and where did the guy with the thick Scottish accent (Rick Pendzich) come from?!
Unnecessary Farce features a well cast group of Milwaukee favorites, including Jonathan Gillard Daly, who was recently seen in Skylight's production of Kiss Me Kate and delivers a great performance as Sheboygan's Mayor, and Jenny Wanasek, an MCT regular who is fabulous as the Mayor's wife. Rachael Zientek, who was splendid as Medium Alison in last season's Tony Award-winning musical Fun Home at Forward Theatre in Madison, is equally splendid in Farce, and takes the brunt of most of the physical comedy alongside the hysterical Rick Pendzich (Skylight's Hairspray; In Tandem's The Fabulous Lipitones), who is certainly no stranger to comedy on Milwaukee stages, and who gets a record number of doors slammed into his face over the course of his brilliant portrayal of "the Scottsman." Amber Smith, who shared the stage with Pendzich in Skylight's Hairspray this last season as the obnoxious Amber Von Tussle, is well suited to be the feisty accountant, Karen Brown, as are Ben Yela and Tim Higgins well suited to their roles as Officer Sheridan and Agent Frank.
A classic farce often utilizes doors on the set to create chaos; in fact, they are sometimes referred to by the number of doors (a four-door farce, a six-door farce, etc.); Unnecessary Farce has eight of them. Director Ryan Schabach explained that just getting the doors straight (how far each one needs to be opened, when they are shut, etc.), was the most challenging part of the play. Gillard Daly, who has been in a number of farces in his time, offered this on the nature of the play: "It's math. The timing of the laughs doesn't work if you mess with the math." Clearly, this cast is good with numbers.
Unnecessary Farce runs through August 25th at the Broadway Theatre Center's beautiful Cabot Theatre, located at 158 N. Broadway in Milwaukee's Historic Third Ward. Tickets may be purchased at the Box Office, online at www.MilwaukeeChamberTheatre.com or by calling 414.291.7800.
About Milwaukee Chamber Theatre
Milwaukee Chamber Theatre, Milwaukee's third largest non-musical theatre company, has long been recognized as producing first-rate, thought-provoking drama and a major contributor to the rich cultural and economic life of the community. One of the city's oldest, professional theatre companies, MCT was co-founded in 1975 by two local actors, Montgomery Davis and Ruth Schudson, who envisioned a space where audiences could open their minds to new theatrical ideas and Milwaukee's theatre professionals could broaden their skills and apply their craft. C. Michael Wright, a local director and actor, was appointed as the company's second artistic director in September of 2005 and, under his leadership, MCT has produced smaller, more intimate productions that feature emerging local talent, expanding its programming in order to develop new voices, such as the annual Young Playwrights Series and the Montgomery Davis Play Development Series, honoring the company's founding artistic director.
Join MCT for their 45th anniversary season, and C. Michael Wright's 15th and final season as producing artistic director, as they present Unnecessary Farce, Fires in the Mirror,Jeeves at Sea, No Wake and Gently Down the Stream.
By Mary Boyle
Sometimes it's fun to make fun of a tragedy. Well, as long as the tragedy is 400 years old, anyway. Milwaukee's Patrick Schmitz knows a thing or two about comedies, having worked as an improv teacher at both First Stage and Comedy Sportz, as well as performing comedy throughout the state, and turning Shakespeare's tragedies into comedies is something of a passion of his. Hamlet, Othello, and Macbeth have all been reworked by Schmitz, and now the most famed of the Bard's tragic plays, those star-crossed lovers from Verona, have been written into yet another of his playful parodies in The Comedy of Romeo & Juliet...Kinda Sorta.
Romeo Montague (Josh Decker) could not be more depressed: his true love has lost interest in him. His cousin, Benvolio (Haley San Fillippo), and friend, Mercutio (Joey Chelius) are determined to cheer him up by crashing the party of their family's greatest enemy, the Capulets, where Romeo promptly falls in love with the Lord and Lady's only daughter, Juliet (Karah Minelli). With help from Friar Lawrence (Rollie Cafaro) and Juliet's nurse (Beth Lewinski), the young lovers wed in secret. Unfortunately, Lord and Lady Capulet (Rich Laguna and Laura Holterman) have already decided on another husband for their daughter: the much older Paris (Erik Koconis), and Juliet's cousin, Tybalt (Chris Goode), is determined to make Romeo pay for showing up at the Capulet's party.
Of course, we all already know what becomes of our unlucky couple (they say it right in the prologue, for Heaven's sake!), but this version of the tale is far less tragic than the original. Schmitz does a good job of exploiting both the language and the customs of Elizabethan times that seem strange to our modern sensibilities and poking fun at it, and this comes through best with the character of Paris, played by a hysterically creepy Erik Koconis, whose duet with Rich Laguna's Lord Capulet might be the highlight of the show. Josh Decker's over-the-top despair makes for a very entertaining, if not pathetic, Romeo, while Karah Minelli's Juliet is about what you'd expect a 13 year old girl to be. Rollie Cafaro as Friar Lawrence and Beth Lewinski as Juliet's nurse are well-written characters and fun to watch. Puns and pop culture references abound and, overall, the production is a good way to pack a lot of laughs into one evening and still feel as though you got a little bit of culture.
The Comedy of Romeo & Juliet...Kinda Sorta runs through Saturday, August 10th at the Wilson Theater at Vogel Hall, located on the west side of the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts at 929 N. Water St. in downtown Milwaukee. Tickets may be purchased online at https://www.marcuscenter.org/show/comedy-romeo-and-juliet-kinda-sorta or at the theater Box Office prior to the show.
By Mary Boyle
In the late 90's, 20th Century Fox released a very popular animated film based on the legend of Anastasia, the youngest daughter of Tsar Nicholas II, the last sovereign of Imperial Russia, who was rumored to have escaped the murder of her family by a group of Bolsheviks in 1918. Part of the success of the film was due to an all-star cast, featuring Meg Ryan, John Cusack, Kelsey Grammer, Christopher Lloyd, Kirsten Dunst, Angela Lansbury, and others, but the music earned composer David Newman, whose father composed the soundtrack for the 1956 live-action film of the same name starring Yul Brynner, an Academy Award nomination. Twenty years later, in 2017, Anastasia, the Broadway Musical, with music and lyrics by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty, and a book by Terrence McNally, premiered on Broadway, and now the national tour has made its way to Milwaukee for the Broadway at the Marcus Center series.
Directed by Darko Tresnjak, with Musical Direction by Lawrence Goldberg, the storyline remains largely the same as the animated film. We meet Anya (Lila Coogan) in St. Petersburg Russia, an orphaned young adult with amnesia who is only sure of one thing: someone is waiting for her in Paris. She is directed to Dmitry (Stephan Bower) and Vlad (Edward Staudenmayer), two con-men who are hoping to find an actress good enough to fool the Dowager Empress (Joy Franz) into believing it is her granddaughter, Anastasia, so they can collect the reward she is offering. Luckily, Vlad has an in with the Dowager's lady-in-waiting, Countess Lily (Tari Kelly), if they can just manage to get out of Russia and into Paris, where the Dowager, and many other Russian imperialists, now reside. The supernatural aspects of the animated film are removed, and the villains Rasputin and Bartok are replaced by a Bolshevik soldier named Gleb (Jason Michael Evans), who is in charge of investigating any claims to the Romanov family.
Those who remember the animated film will be happy to know that the best songs were preserved for this production, including "Once Upon a December," "A Rumor in St. Petersburg," "Learn to Do It," and "Journey to the Past," but adds over a dozen new songs to make it a true musical. Coogan, as Anastasia, has an excellent voice, and her and Brower, as Dimitry, make an excellent duo, but the show stealers are Edward Staudenmayer and Tari Kelly, as Vlad and Lily, who deliver incredible performances — watch for their hysterical antics during their duet, "The Countess and the Common Man." Audiences should also be delighted by the show within the show: a mini-performance of the ballet, Swan Lake, which is very cleverly entwined into the music of the show. Fantastic costumes and a clever screen at the back of the set make for an all-around wonderful and entertaining production.
Anastasia runs through July 28th at the Marcus Center for Performing Arts Uihlein Hall, located at 929 N. Water St. in Milwaukee. Tickets may be purchased by calling 414.273.7206, or online at: https://www.marcuscenter.org/show/anastasia
Broadway at the Marcus Center has an incredibly exciting 2019-2020 season, including Hamilton, Dear Evan Hansen, My Fair Lady, and Miss Saigon! Learn more at https://www.marcuscenter.org/series/broadway-marcus-center-2019-2020
By Mary Boyle
Like many families in Oz, the Brotherhood family of Mequon spends time in Door County during the summer; but, while others spend their time in the shops, woods, or water, brothers Luke (16), Elliott (18) and John (20) spend most of their time on the stage — Door Shakespeare's stage, in particular.
While all three boys have been regulars in Milwaukee theatre for years, appearing frequently with First Stage and the Milwaukee Rep, the unique outdoor theatre experience in Baileys Harbor, nestled next to the Garden of Björklunden on the shore of Lake Michigan, is a venue that the brothers are particularly drawn to.
"My favorite part about working with Door Shakespeare is the special bond formed by the cast," explained Luke. "While casts tend to form a strong bond at every theatre, working at Door Shakespeare causes the company of actors to be put into situations together that would likely not happen at other theatres (such as doing shows in the rain, being stuck on a peninsula with not much around, etc.) which causes the cast to have shared unique experiences and strengthens its bond."
"Being out in the woods, we have no control over the uncontrollable," added John. "There's rain, there's wind, car alarms go off, bugs fly into actors' faces, animals creep around and, when those things happen, we get to play with them and add them to the show — that is so much fun!"
Not only do the brothers get the rare opportunity to work on the same productions, the shows, themselves, are a bit of a Shakespearean anomaly. Each season, Door Shakespeare chooses two classical plays to be performed on alternating days, and this season they chose Henry V and The Merry Wives of Windsor. which feature several shared characters: Bardolph, Pistol, Nym, Falstaff, and Mistress Quickly. The opportunity to see these two plays performed within the vicinity of each other is already quite rare, but the Directors, Milwaukee's Matt Daniels and Marcella Kearns, respectively, take it a step further and cast the same actors in those shared parts, meaning the actor that plays Bardolph in Henry V is also Bardolph in Merry Wives.
Elliott was cast as Henry in the First Stage Young Company's production of Henry V last year, which was also directed by Matt Daniels; Door Shakespeare was so impressed with that production, they asked Daniels to move it to the woods, which was quite a contrast from the stark, modern production in Milwaukee.
"This production of Henry is quite similar to the one I had the opportunity to do with Matt [Daniels] last year," said Elliott, who plays multiple characters in this show. "Our cast is simply incredible and the layers that my fellow actors have explored in their characters, and the story as a whole, has made the process really fascinating. The company itself is what truly makes this production so different and special. Everyone is just where they should be and placed strategically to heighten the dynamic on stage at all times. Working in the beautiful Garden at Bjorklunden is also a huge change and definitely a plus, as this time around our 'wooden O' can arguably cram at least a part of the 'vasty fields of France.'"
Unfortunately, Elliott will need to leave the run just three shows from the close of the season in order to start school at Ohio University, but John, who returns for his 4th season at Door Shakespeare after performing in both Much Ado About Nothing and Comedy of Errors with Luke last season, was able to take over for Elliott after he leaves.
"I have some big shoes to fill," John said. "Elliott is a truly terrific actor, and I am so grateful to get to learn from him in this way."
"I’ll hate to leave this band of brothers before we’re done," Elliott lamented, "but they’re in good hands with my brother, John and every single one of them is supporting me as I transition into this next big phase of life. They truly are just that: a band of brothers. A better group of people I could close out my time in Wisconsin with could never be assembled."
Though all three of the brothers will not be appearing in either of the productions together at the same time, they'll still have an opportunity to share the Door Shakespeare stage together before the August 14th production of Merry Wives at "Will in the Woods," a pre-show interactive event featuring special guests who will give more insight into the productions. During the event, audience members will "meet the Brotherhood brothers, learn about their life in the arts, and enjoy some of their musical harmonies."
While the plays share characters, they are completely different: Henry V is the final play of Shakespeare's tetralogy, which begins with Richard II and continues with Henry IV, Part I and Henry IV, Part II. In these histories, we meet the future king as Prince Harry, and see the development of his "wilder days" as he befriends the flawed but lovable Knight, Falstaff, and the commoners Pistol, Bardolph and Nym. By the time we get to Henry V, our newly crowned king has cast off his inappropriate companions, which causes the death of old Falstaff, who is mentioned, but never actually appears in the play. Henry V is all war, with a bit of romance and humor to take the edge off, but the Bard wrote The Merry Wives of Windsor just for Falstaff, who is perhaps the most beloved of all his comedic characters. In this play, the old Knight's faults are on full display and, as he tries to chase after two married women, he is made a fool of again and again, which makes for non-stop fun from start to finish.
When asked if they preferred one show over the other, all three of the brothers had a difficult time choosing. "This company specifically has a very unique and spontaneous chemistry," Elliott stated. "It goes without saying that the shows are well cast and the ranges that the company displays between the two shows are highly impressive, but everyone works off of each other in a very special way that makes for a slightly different and unpredictable show every night. I honestly can’t say that I have a favorite, since both are so good for different reasons. Merry Wives is witty and whimsical, while Henry is fast and intense. That’s a really interesting thing about the two pieces: they both captivate audiences by being fast paced and engaging, but for entirely different reasons."
"I think Door Shakespeare’s production of Henry V is unique due to our space," Luke decided. "While being in the woods adds a unique element to any production, I find it makes Henry V seem more accurate. Shakespeare wrote the majority of Act II in an outdoor setting, and I think Door Shakespeare’s space brings a new perspective on the story that can be lost in a traditional space."
John offered a good solution: "Not being onstage yet, I can only speak from an audience perspective. I absolutely love watching both; Matt's directorial style for Henry V is so appropriate to Door Shakespeare, in terms of the veil between actor and audience being torn, but Merry Wives, in large part thanks to Marcy's brilliant direction, is some of the best comedy I have seen in any Shakespeare play, ever. As mentioned above, this company is so playful, and there is a pace to the dialogue that makes it so understandable, I think, for anyone, regardless of one's knowledge of Shakespeare. This is a good, good, GOOD pair of plays and I highly encourage audience members to see both."
The Merry Wives of Windsor runs on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 7:30 p.m. through August 23rd, and Henry V runs Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7:30 p.m. and Saturdays at 5 p.m. through August 24th at Door Shakespeare, located at 8093 State Highway 57 in Baileys Harbor, Wisconsin. Tickets can be purchased online or by calling 920.839.1500. Learn more about Door Shakespeare and all of their programs at https://www.doorshakespeare.com/.
There's nothing quite as Americana as the 4th of July in the small town communities of Oz. Looking for a celebration near you? Look no further!
Belgium The celebration begins early in Belgium, with fireworks at 9:45 p.m. on Friday, June 28th at Heritage Park, following the baseball game.
Thiensville Family Fun Before the 4th is a nearly all-day event, and a great day for the whole family! On Saturday, June 29th, the massive parade kicks off at 10:30 a.m. Follow it to the Village Park, where free ice-cream, live music, and a variety of events await, followed by fireworks at dusk.
Grafton Grafton has a brand new event to celebrate Independence Day called Holidaze Where The Music Plaze, which begins at 8 a.m. on Saturday, June 29th, and runs through 10 p.m. The morning starts healthy at the Lumberyard Plaza with Yoga from 8-9 followed by a Family Workout. The parade begins at 11 a.m. followed by a performance by the UW Madison Marching Band at Paramount Plaza, where the celebration continues from noon-6 p.m. with a beer tent, live music, and food and drink specials throughout downtown Grafton businesses. The celebration then moves to Lime Kiln Park from 6:30-10 p.m., with more live music and fireworks at dusk!
Rotary Music Festival in Cedarburg The Drum Corps International Tour will return to Cedarburg on Wednesday, July 3, at 7 p.m. for the 20th Annual Rotary Music Festival. Cedarburg High School Stadium is set to play host to a lineup of 7 World and Open Class corps during this event that will take place on the eve of Independence Day.
Freistadt It doesn't get any more Americana than Trinity Freistadt's 4th of July Parade and Picnic! Spend your day enjoying one of Ozaukee County's best kept secrets, beginning with an outdoor worship service at 10 a.m. (weather permitting), an 11 a.m. picnic (complete with root beer floats), a tour of the Trinity Historical Grounds, and a 1 p.m. parade, followed by a flag raising, and the very German music of the Alte Kameraden Band and dancing by the Pommersche Tanzdeel Dancers.
Port Washington Port's parade begins at 10 a.m. on the 4th; follow it to Veteran's Park on the lakefront for an old fashioned ice cream social, bicycle judging, a watermelon seed spitting contest, and live music by The Verdict from noon-2. Head over to Pirates’ Hollow Waterpark from 1-4 p.m., where they will be having a Biggest Splash Contest and Family Relay Race at 3 p.m. The only fireworks over the lakefront in Oz begin at dusk, and are best seen from Rotary Park or Coal Dock Park.
Saukville Saukville's parade begins at 1 p.m. on the 4th, going through downtown and ending at Grady Park for a picnic from noon-5 and music from 2-4. There will be music and food from 5 p.m. until dusk, and fireworks are at dusk over Peninsula Park.
Cedarburg Cedarburg's 4th of July Hometown Celebration boasts the largest parade in Ozaukee (roughly 2 hours long!), which begins at Fireman's Park at 10 a.m., and heads south along Washington Ave., making its way to Cedar Creek Park, where a picnic, music, and activities can be found until 9:30 p.m., when the fireworks begin.
Happy Independence Day, Ozaukee!
One of the best parts of summertime in Ozaukee County is the plethora of outdoor concerts to attend. From Summer Sounds to Gathering on the Green, there's something for everyone. Here's the 2017 lineup:
Belgium Summer Nights LIVE Beginning Friday, May 31st from 6-9 p.m., Belgium's Community Park will feature live music and family fun for all. Food and drinks are available for purchase, and sign up for kickball! Join them again on Friday, July 12th and Friday, August 16th.
Summer Sounds in Cedarburg The 17th Season of Summer Sounds kicks off Friday, June 14th, at Cedar Creek Park with Castlecomer and special guest, Mic Over Matter, and continues every Friday through August 16th. Each concert begins 6:30 p.m., and there is plenty of food and drink available on site, as well as a playground for the kids nearby. Bring a blanket or chairs, find your spot, and plan on an evening of fun!
GALA in the Park On Thursday nights at 6:30, beginning July 11th with the SenSations and running through August 22nd with The Cheap Shots, the Grafton Area Live Arts Concert Series will return to Veterans Park on the Milwaukee River. Popcorn and beverages will be for sale by the Grafton Lions, and John's Pizzaria will be serving food.
Shully's River Sounds in Thiensville will have free concerts on the first Thursday of each month from 6:30-10 p.m., rain or shine, with some delicious food available, made (of course!) by Shully's. June 6th is Five Card Studs, July 11th is De La Buena, and August 8th is the Eddie Butts Band. Attendees are encouraged to bring two non-perishable food items for Family Sharing's Food Pantry.
Live at the Triangle in Saukville's Veteran's Park will return with 6 free concerts this summer on Wednesday evenings from 7-9:30 p.m., beginning with Leroy Airmaster on June 19th, and ending with Otto Day and the Nites on August 21st. Food and beverages are available for purchase on site.
Gathering on the Green at Mequon's Rotary Park returns for its 24th year on Friday, July 12th with Lee Brice and special guest Ashley Elle, and Saturday, July 13th with Pat Benetar and Neil Giraldo. For the second year, there is also a Battle of the Bands, with the top 5 Industry and local bands competing the weekend of the event.
Newport Shores in Port Washington has bands scheduled all summer long on their outdoor stage, right on the shore of Lake Michigan, beginning on June 15th with Xeno & Joe, and going through August 31st with Max & the Invaders.
Beanies Summer Rock the Patio concert series happens every Sunday evening from 5:30-7:30 p.m. from June 30th to August 25th. Grab a famous Beanies Margarita, relax, and listen to some great tunes!
Climb the hill to the iconic St. Mary's church on Fridays from noon to 12:30 for the St. John XXIII Summer Music Series: Music on the Hill! The perfect accompaniment to your lunch break, with an eclectic mix of music from June 14th to August 30th.
Nines Live on the Sunset Deck is an outdoor concert series on Thursday nights from 7- 10 p.m. at the Nines American Bistro in Mequon. The series begins on June 13th with Lou Menchaca Jazz Express, and continues through August 29th with Lovin' Kind.
Cedarburg Art Museum Beer Garden will have live music and food Thursday evenings from 5:30-8:30 p.m. beginning on June 6th and through September 22nd, as well as during Strawberry Festival and Wine & Harvest Festival, and for a Beer Garden Party on July 3rd.
the cheel Thiensville's Nepalese restaurant, located at 105 S. Main St., has live music all summer long, both in the restaurant and the baaree, the outdoor beer garden. For up to date listings, see their facebook page.
If you don't mind the drive, Sheboygan has the amazing Levitt AMP Sheboygan Music Series kicks off on Thursday, June 20th at 7 p.m. with Viento Callejero. Most performances are Thursday evenings beginning at 7; however, the Series also incorporates the Midsummer Festival of the Arts on Saturday and Sunday, July 20th and 21st, on the JMK Arts Center Festival Green.
Also not too far from Oz, the Homegrown Music Festival returns to Regner Park in West Bend on Sunday, July 7th from 11 a.m. - 9 p.m., with The Freques, Wise Jennings, No Name String Band, Red Hawks, Chris Haise Band, Brett Newski, and The Mascot Theory. Parking is free, and a $10 donation is recommended.
To stay informed about all of the great live music happening in and around Oz, make sure to stay tuned to the Ozaukee Living Local Events Page, and subscribe to our Friday Newsletter!
By Mary Boyle
Most of the area theatre companies take a break over the summer months, when everyone would rather be outdoors and soaking up the sun, but there are a few whose season only coincides with Wisconsin's warmest months, and they bring their performances outdoors, with an almost exclusive focus on the most famous of playwrights: William Shakespeare.
Now entering their fifth season, the Summit Players are a group of mainly Marquette Alumni who are determined to make Shakespeare accessible to families by performing for free at State Parks throughout Wisconsin. This year, the production is the Bard’s best-known tragedy, Romeo and Juliet. Their plays use the original language, but they are edited for time and to be as family-friendly as possible, while still retaining the brilliance that the Bard intended – they even offer a pre-show workshop that is perfect for school-aged kids. The Players will be just north of Oz at Kohler-Andrae State Park on Saturday, August 3rd, with a workshop is at 5:30 p.m. and the show at 7. You will need a vehicle admission sticker to get into the park, which you may purchase at entry. To see the Summit Players full schedule and learn more, go to: www.summitplayerstheatre.com/
Optimist Theatre has been doing Shakespeare in the Park in Milwaukee since 2010, and they return for their third season at the Marcus Center’s Peck Pavilion with A Comedy of Errors. Milwaukee’s James Pickering and Robert Spencer, who were brilliant in last season’s production of King Lear, will grace the OT stage again this summer. The production opens for a preview the evening of Wednesday, June 26th at 8 p.m., with Opening Night the following evening at 8 p.m., and runs through Saturday, July 13th. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday performances begin at 8 p.m., with Sunday performances at 7:30 p.m. There is one noon matinee on Tuesday, July 9th. Performances are free, and it is recommended to arrive no later than a half hour before the performance to claim your seats. To see the full schedule and learn more about Optimist Theatre, please visit: http://www.optimisttheatre.org
Door Shakespeare has been doing Shakespearean productions, as well as works by Moliere and Oscar Wilde, in the Garden of Björklunden’s 405-acre estate on Lake Michigan in Baileys Harbor for over 20 years. This season they will perform the Bard's Henry V, Directed by Matt Daniels, and Merry Wives of Windsor, Directed by Marcella Kearns, from June 18th through August 24th. Both Directors are well-known to Milwaukee audiences, both for directing and on the stage, but are making their Door debuts, and join a cast of several other Milwaukee favorites, including Elyse Edelman, James Carrington, Carrie Hitchcock, and Mark Corkins, who were all on the Door’s stage last summer. To learn more about Door Shakespeare, their play schedule, and their other programs, visit http://www.doorshakespeare.com.
For those willing to travel just a bit further, one of the best outdoor theatre experiences in Wisconsin is just outside of Spring Green at the American Players Theatre, the country’s second largest outdoor theater devoted to the classics. Celebrating their 40th year this season, APT has multiple productions, both modern and classic, throughout the summer on two different stages, one outdoor and one indoor, but they never fail to perform at least one of Shakespeare's plays. This year, APT has selected two by the Bard: Twelfth Night and Macbeth. The APT season opens Friday, June 15th, and runs through Sunday, October 6th at the outdoor theater and into November for the indoor. To learn more about APT's complete season, including free concerts, go to: https://americanplayers.org/
There is a reason that Shakespeare in the Park can be found in outdoor spaces throughout the country: in William Shakespeare's time, his plays were mainly performed in open-air theaters, so it feels right to recreate those conditions for today's audiences. The outdoor theatre experience, much like an outdoor concert, has an energy all its own that must be experienced to be understood. While every live theatre performance is unique, the weather and nature are crucial and unpredictable parts of the outdoor theatre production that give an entirely different, and highly individual, dimension to a play, and make for an unforgettable performance. Add to the itinerary of your camping trip, or go just for the show, but make sure you add one of these performances to your summer calendar!
Hames Nature Preserve is a 7 acre property in Waubeka along the Milwaukee River. This Ozaukee Washington Land Trust property is new to Treasures of Oz and features artist-in-resident Hal Rammel, who is using pinhole photography and field recordings during ARTservancy. Visitors at the Eco Tour will learn about water safety with Kettle Moraine YMCA and check out the kayak and canoe launch
Treasures of Oztreasuresofoz.org
Fine art in nature, hiking, birding, raptors, getting in the water, just being there - however you like to connect to nature, you will find it at Treasures.
Treasures of Oz celebrates its tenth year with another wonderful eco-tour filled with six
treasures sites, some new and some favorites - all with an infusion of art. This free, family-friendly event happens on June 15th. All sites are open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Celebration headquarters at Forest Beach Migratory Preserve stays open until 4:30p.m.
The art infusion comes from an artist-in-residence program between the Ozaukee Washington Land Trust and Gallery 224 in Port Washington. Called ARTservancy, the program places artists in land trust preserves for a year to create work that evolves from their interaction with nature. Virmond Park, an Ozaukee County site, has its own art installation, the largest in Ozaukee parks and preserves, created by artist Sally Duback with many of Ozaukee’s school children.
New sites to the tour include the Hames Preserve on the Milwaukee River in Waubeka and Birchwood Hills Nature Preserve in the City of Port Washington. One of the favorites is the Cedarburg Environmental Study Area, which boasts an amazing ant village. Well-known and well-loved naturalists Kate Redmond and Tom Kroeger will once again
teach and showcase the inter-workings of nature. This team is both brilliant and totally
delightful to hear.
Another favorite, Sauk Creek Nature Preserve, with its stunning trails along an iconic creek, will feature artist-in-residence Risé Andersen, Milwaukee Riverkeeper, OWLT, two former Port mayors who are devoted to this preserve, and KleenTest Products, the neighbor across the street. Visitors will learn how this local manufacturing company utilizes company-wide sustainability efforts to make a positive difference in our community.
Forest Beach will have multiple exhibits to see. There are trail walks the through multiple bird habitat areas, music, and an always-fun, always unique silent auction. The Raptors of Pine View Wildlife Rehabilitation will do a live raptor talk at 1:00 and Randy Hetzel with be there all day with his array of wild critters. Butterfly lovers will enjoy learning to raise monarch butterflies at Forest Beach Migratory Preserve; the Monarch Workshop is the second in a series of three that culminates with a butterfly release party in August.
Attendees can find a map, directions and download a passport after May 1st at
treasuresofoz.org and get their passport stamped at each location. Passport stamps can be traded for free raffle tickets at Forest Beach at the end of their tour.
Treasures of Oz is sponsored by Sweet Water, the Junior Woman’s Club of Mequon Thiensville and the WeEnergies Foundation. It is a collaboration between the Ozaukee Washington Land Trust, Ozaukee County Parks and the many organizations in the Ozaukee Treasures Network.
Food: it's something we all have in common, seeing as everyone needs to eat. Luckily, we have a plethora of Farmers Markets to get fresh, local food all over Ozaukee County; and, if you do it right, you can hit one almost every day of the week! Here are the details:
Port Washington Port's Farmers Market will be the first to open for the season on Saturday, June 2nd, during the Port Family Pirate Daze. Main Street is closed between Franklin and Wisconsin Streets from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. every Saturday from June 2nd through October 27th, except July 14th (because of Fish Day), with fresh produce, honey, soaps, bakery, live music, and more.
Saukville Located at Veterans Park in the center of downtown, Saukville's Farmers Market happens every Sunday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., beginning on June 24th and going through October (except September 3rd), with fresh produce, flowers, and arts and crafts.
Thiensville Thiensville's Village Market opens Tuesday, June 12th at Village Park, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and will continue every Tuesday through October 16th. Live music and The Best "Dam" Chef Competition are some of the highlights of this market, aside from fresh food, flowers, and more.
Cedarburg The Cedarburg Makers & Growers Market, which features a variety of artisans and locally grown produce, happening every Friday from June 8th through October 26th from 9 a.m. - 2 p.m. in the Cedarburg Cultural Center parking lot. located at the corner of Washington Ave. and Mill St.
Grafton Grafton's Farmers Market happens Thursdays from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. at Veteran's Park beginning July 12th and through September.Vendors include many varieties of farm-fresh, home grown produce, flowers, honey, fresh-baked breads, Seasonings, Cheese Curds, Hand-made soaps, Balms, and sprays, popcorn, gourmet chocolates and more. Mel's Charities will be serving pulled pork sammys, hamburgers, cheeseburgers, brats and hot dogs, as well as food trucks selling cupcakes, crepes, tacos and more. In addition, the Grafton Public Library will be joining the Market each Thursday for Story Time with songs, rhymes and stories for young children and their families, and Riveredge Nature Center will be doing Kayaking and Tree Climbing on certain dates.
Fredonia A relative newbie on the Farmers Market scene, the Fredonia Farmers Market takes place at the Fredonia Government Center from 2-6 p.m. every Wednesday from June 13th through October 31st.
If you just can't make it to the market, there are other ways to get your local food! Outpost in Mequon is committed to local and regional produce and products, with several of their items coming from producers within 100 miles of the co-op. There are also a number of farms in Oz that sell directly to consumers, including Witte's Vegetable Farm and Kay's Home Farm (which has pasture-raised beef) in Cedarburg, Rare Earth Farm in Belgium (which is a CSA, but also has an online store), Polzin Farms in Grafton (which has pick your own strawberries, and more!), The Victory Garden Farm (which is hoping to add CSA shares soon), Willoway Farm CSA (which even has flower shares) in Fredonia, and Wellspring CSA in Newburg.
Do you see something we've missed? Contact us, and we'll add it to the article! Mary@OzaukeeLivingLocal.com
By Mary Boyle
The music of Cole Porter is part of the fabric of American culture. From Broadway musicals to film, even if you don't recognize his name, I can almost guarantee you've heard his music: "I've Got You Under My Skin," "Anything Goes," "It's De-Lovely," "I Get a Kick Out of You," "Let's Do It," and "Don't Fence Me In," to name a few. His most popular musical took Broadway by storm in 1948 and won the very first Tony Award for Best Musical. Now, Milwaukee audiences have their chance to see Porter's gem, Kiss Me, Kate, with Skylight Music Theatre through June 16th.
Skylight's season finale, and the final show for longtime Artistic Director Ray Jivoff, Kiss Me, Kate was based on the infamous bickering of the famous husband and wife actors Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne during their 1935 production of Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew. Fun fact: Lunt was a Wisconsin native, and the couple owned Ten Chimneys, which is now a popular tourist attraction and museum in Genesee Depot.
Inspired by Shakespeare's frequent use of plays within plays, Kiss Me, Kate is a musical within a musical. Set in the 1930's, actors Fred Graham (Andrew Varela) and Lilli Vanessi (Rána Roman) are a divorced couple who find themselves working together again in a musical production of The Taming of the Shrew. Sparks still fly between them, but they turn to fury when Lilli finds out the flowers she received from Fred on opening night were really meant for their beautiful co-star, Lois Lane (Kaylee Annable). Meanwhile, Lois's gambling-addicted boyfriend, Bill Calhoun (Joe Capstick), is in trouble with the Mob and, to save himself, tells them his name is Fred Graham so, besides having to deal with his furious ex-wife who announced she was leaving mid-show, Fred also has a couple of gangsters show up in his dressing room threatening him. To save the show, Fred tells the gangsters that he can only pay back the money if the show goes on, but the show can't go on without Ms. Vanessi who, much like the Shrew, must be forced to cooperate.
With exceptional Music Direction and Choreography by Kurt Cowling and Amy Brinkman, respectively, Kiss Me, Kate, has the bold and brassy jazz vibe of the 1930's, along with the rampant sexism that came with it; but, as long as you can chalk that up to the time period, this musical is still witty and lots of fun. As Jivoff says, "Here's hoping we can learn from the past and appreciate that things have changed a lot since Shakespeare and Porter's time!"
Roman and Varela, both Skylight regulars, have incredible chemistry together and deliver brilliant performances among a very talented cast, including Milwaukee's Jonathan Gillard Daly, who is well-cast as Howell and Baptista. One of the highlights of the show, however, are the antics of the two gangsters, played by Doug Jarecki and Kelly Doherty (who recently played Miss Trunchbull in Matilda with First Stage); their performance of "Brush Up Your Shakespeare" is absolutely fabulous. Besides being a musical with great historical significance, Skylight's production of Kiss Me, Kate is a perfect end to an excellent season and a smashing farewell to Ray Jivoff, whose leadership at Skylight has been an asset to Milwaukee theatre. This show is not to be missed.
Kiss Me, Kate runs through June 16th at the Broadway Theatre Center's beautiful Cabot Theatre, located at 158 N. Broadway in Milwaukee's Historic Third Ward. Tickets may be purchased at the Box Office, online at www.SkylightMusicTheatre.org, or by calling (414) 291-7811.
About Skylight Music Theatre
Skylight Music Theatre's mission since 1959: To bring the full spectrum of music theatre works to a wide and diverse audience, in celebration of the musical and theatrical arts and their reflection of the human condition. Skylight presents productions "Skylight Style" –bringing fresh approaches or interesting twists to music theatre works, creating meaningful connections, not only between the characters on stage, but with the audience, as well.