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 fourth 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 hilarious Twelfth Night and they are certain to have the audiences in stitches. 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 11th. The workshop is at 5:30 p.m., and the show is at 7; note that you will need a vehicle admission sticker to get into the park. You can also join them for their launch party at the Marquette campus, behind Raynor Library at 1355 W. Wisconsin Ave. in Miwaukee, on Friday, June 22nd at 6 p.m. To see the Summit Players full schedule and learn more, go to: www.summitplayerstheatre.com/
Optimist Theatre in Milwaukee has been doing Shakespeare in the Park in Milwaukee since 2010, and they return this season with King Lear, starring the amazing Jim Pickering, and including a cast of some of Milwaukee's finest, such as Jonathan Wainwright, Malkia Stampley, Robert Spencer, and Kat Wodtke. Last year, the group moved from its old home at Kadish Park to the Marcus Center's outdoor stage, the Peck Pavilion, as part of the Center's Live at the Peck Pavilion Series, which was a brilliant decision. With seating, a roof overhead, and the ability to purchase food and drink on site, the new location brought many more theatre-goers into the fold, and is sure to attract even more this summer. The production opens the evening of Thursday, July 5th, and runs through Saturday, July 21st. 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 17th. 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 Much Ado About Nothing and The Comedy of Errors from June 28th through August 18th and, as it happens, two of the cast members hail from Oz: brothers John and Luke Brotherhood of Mequon.
John, who recently completed his Freshman year of college at Fordham University, made his start at Door Shakespeare at the age of 10 in their summer camp, now called Camp Will, and his Door debut at the age of 16 as Balthasar in Romeo and Juliet. This summer, John will play the Jailer in Comedy and be a Musician and member of the Watch in Much Ado. Describing Door County as his favorite place in the world, John said it is the unique environment at Door that has kept him coming back: "The opportunity to tell stories in such an organic, beautiful, and fresh environment connects us as actors with nature in a very effective way, which allows for a deeper level of intimacy and honesty between the actors and the audience, and allows Shakespeare's beautiful text to resonate in a way that it may not be able to in other spaces."
John's involvement in Door inspired his younger brother, Luke, who will be a Junior at University School in Milwaukee this fall, to get involved. Luke made his Door debut at the age of 14 in Julius Ceasar and A Midsummer Night's Dream, and is now returning for his third summer with Door. He echos his brother's sentiments regarding his involvement with the company: "The thing I love most about Door Shakespeare is the impact it has on both audiences and actors, alike. As cheesy as it sounds, being in the woods all day without cell connection makes people connect with each other more, and I think it is part of the reason lasting friendships are built within the company. With all of the natural beauty surrounding the theater, actors often go to the waterfront or walk a trail while practicing their lines. While many actors argue that their job is enjoyable regardless of location, I think being able to work in such a gorgeous location makes the job even more enjoyable."
Both brothers shared some worthy tips for those thinking of making the trip: bring blankets and wear multiple layers, because it is often cold; come early to give yourself time to walk the trails and enjoy the lake view; and finally, the 5 p.m. Saturday performances are best for patrons with children. 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. APT has multiple productions, both modern and classic, throughout the summer on two different outdoor stages, but they never fail to perform at least one of Shakespeare's plays. This year, APT has selected two by the Bard: As You Like It and Measure for Measure. The APT season opens Friday, June 15th, and runs through Sunday, October 7th. 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 itinery of your camping trip, or go just for the show, but make sure you add one of these performances to your summer calendar!
Richard Taylor, who is represented by Tory Folliard Gallery, Milwaukee, never took a class on making sculptures, however, he completed his undergraduate degree in Art History at UWM in the 1980’s and went on to receive his MFA in painting and printmaking from UWM. As the Artist in Residence at Quad Graphics in the early 1990’s, Taylor made huge murals for the company. Founder, Harry Quadracci gave Taylor free reign to experiment with the various tools and resources at Quad Graphics. Taylor learned to use the computers and related design software, and he began working with metal, especially aluminum, in the metal fabrication shop.
Music plays a big role in Taylor’s life. He plays saxophone and his love of jazz is revealed in his work though titles, shapes and suggestions of rhythms, harmony, syncopation, and through color. Other recognizable shapes in Taylor’s works include chess symbols, which represent choices in life. Well-known artists who have influenced him artistically are David Smith, Frank Stella, Alexander Calder, and Stuart Davis.
The sculptures on view are just a slice of Taylor’s current artistic endeavors. Last year he started a residency at Studio 224 in Port Washington, where he has returned to print making, using found objects for his inspiration. Many of the shapes in his prints resemble the motifs on view in the Cedarburg Art Museum’s courtyard.
Taylor has done site-specific works and enjoys working in series. He is working collaboratively with engineers at UWM to create solar panel sculptures. Some of his colorful aluminum works are wall mounted, for display indoors. These include a series of “farmscapes” that all have similar components in variable arrangements and colors, echoing the subtle differences between farms that consist of fields, barns and silos.
The museum is proud to present five exhibitions this summer, including Paul Yank: Process and Perspective, From China with Love: Hand-Colored Photographs and Letters Home, 1919-21, Gifts of Carl Marr’s Milwaukee Family, and Selections from the Plein Air Best of Show Collection. The opening reception for Altered Scale: Sculpture by Richard Taylor and all of the other summer exhibitions at the museum is June 9th starting at 4pm. The Beer Garden will be open from 5-8pm to kick off the season. For the full Beer Garden schedule visit Cedarburgartmuseum.org/beergarden.
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, June 1st from 6-9 p.m., Belgium's Community Park will feature live music and family fun for all, starting with Tuesday Afternoon and DocRube. Food and drinks are available for purchase, and sign up for kickball! Two more concerts are TBA on August 3rd and 31st.
Summer Sounds in Cedarburg The 16th Season of Summer Sounds kicks off Friday, June 15th, at Cedar Creek Park with Con Brio from San Francisco, and special guest, Mic Over Matter, and continues every Friday through August 17th. 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!
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 7th is Five Card Studs,, July 12th is the Alex Wilson Band, and August 2nd 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 Pack on June 13th, and ending with Our House on August 22nd. Food and beverages are available for purchase on site.
Gathering on the Green at Mequon's Rotary Park returns for its 23rd year on Friday, July 13th with American Authors, and Saturday, July 15th with Denis DeYoung and the music of Styx, and Lou Gramm, the original voice of Foreigner. New this year is 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 2nd with Midlife Oasis, and going through September 22nd with the Shane Dar Band.
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 7th with Marcell &Friends, and continues through August 30th with the Jackie Brown Trio.
Cedarburg Art Museum Beer Garden will have live music and food Thursday evenings from 5:30-8:30 p.m. beginning on June 14th and through September 13th, as well as during Strawberry Festival and Wine & Harvest Festival, and for a special Opening Reception on June 9th from 5-8 p.m. and a Beer Garden Party on July 3rd.
If you don't mind the drive, Sheboygan has the amazing Levitt AMP Sheboygan Music Series kicks off on Thursday, June 21st at 7 p.m. with Boogát. Most performances are Thursday evenings beginning at 7; however, the Series also incorporates the Midsummer Festival of the Arts on Saturday and Sunday, July 21st and 22nd, 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 8th from 11 a.m. - 9 p.m., with The Coulee Boys, Trapper Schoepp, The Freques, Faux Fawn, Redshift Headlights, Driveway Thriftdwellers, and Nickel & Rose. 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
While Shakespeare wrote a number of histories, there has been a bit of a revival of the eight plays concerned with the War of the Roses (the battles between the House of York and the House of Lancaster for the throne of England), in large part because of the BBC Television Film Series, The Hollow Crown, which was released in 2012 and featured a number of famed British actors, such as Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Hiddleston, Dame Judi Dench, and Jeremy Irons. Earlier this season, the Bard & Bourbon Theatre Company took on Shakespeare's Henry V, the final play in Shakespeare's second tetralogy (series of four plays), which was preceeded by Richard II and Henry IV Part I and Part II. Now, they're on to Richard III which, although was written as the final play of the first tetralogy (after Henry VI, Parts I-III), actually comes later in chronological history. Is this all too confusing? Don't worry - just have a drink and enjoy B&B's telling of this monumental history.
While it may seem confusing to jump three plays in a series, it actually works very well. Henry V dies at the end of his play, leaving his son, Henry VI, too young to properly run the Kingdom. The land his father won in France is quickly reclaimed by the French armies, led by Joan of Arc, and the throne of England is being disputed over by two men: the Duke of York and the Duke of Somerset. The nobles take sides and wear the colors of their champions: white roses for York and red for Somerset; thus, the War of the Roses. Meanwhile, King Henry VI marries princess Margaret of France, and Somerset and his supporters align with the king, who is of the House of Lancaster, and the feud is now between the York and Lancaster Houses and their supporters.
To make the long story of Henry VI Parts I-III short, York's sons, Edward and Richard, take up the cause against the Lancasters. Richard kills Somerset in battle, and Henry VI, wanting to keep his seat, promises the throne will pass to the Yorks after his death. His wife, Queen Margaret doesn't like that plan and attacks the house of York, killing the eldest York and his youngest son. Edward and Richard's brother, George, joins the fight, and Edward is pronounced King at the battle of Towton, while Richard is named the Duke of Gloucester and George the Duke of Clarence. Edward marries Lady Elizabeth Grey and, within a couple of battles, Henry VI is imprisoned in the Tower of London, the three York brothers kill Henry and Margaret's son, the Prince, and Richard kills Henry VI. Edward's throne, at last, seems secure, but Richard has bigger plans than just helping his brother succeed.
Richard, the Duke of Glouscester (Ian Tully) is the lame, hunchbacked brother of the newly crowned Edward (Dylan Sladky); a cripple who has already been the cause of a number of royal deaths, but who nobody really takes seriously as a threat — a mistake that the remaining houses of York and Lancaster will come to regret. As it turns out, Richard has a vicious, remorseless, and cunning mind inside his broken body, and he uses it to get rid of everyone who stands in the way of his path to the throne, beginning with his brother, George, the Duke of Clarence (Bryant Mason). The widowed Queen Margaret (Maura Atwood) tries to warn them all about Richard but, as a Lancaster, she is ignored. Eventually, Richard can trust no one; even his closest confidants, Lord Buckingham (Sean Duncan), Lord Hastings (Bryant Mason) and Lord Catesby (Amber Regan). Even those who once supported him are hoping his evil reign will be defeated by Henry Tudor, Earl of Richmond (Maggie Arndt).
Richard III is the second longest play in Shakespeare's works, after Hamlet, but the text and the characters are pared down as far as they can be in this production while still keeping the heart of the story. Although the premise of the play is dark, there is always humor to be found where the Bard is concerned, and even more so when Bard & Bourbon gets a hold of it (I watched Bryant Mason drink over 16 shots of bourbon through the course of the play, which was good fun, though — to his credit — it didn't seem to affect him much). Ian Tully, who was also seen in B&B's Henry V, was delightfully twisted, but strong, as Richard, and the only actor to play just one character. Watch for Sean Duncan's smaller part as "Murderer 1" — he's simply brilliant. Dylan Sladky, who directed B&B's Twelfth Night (drunk) at the beginning of the season, demonstrates that he can act as well as he can direct, playing four different characters (one being a woman). Both Maggie Arndt and Maura Atwood make an impressive B&B debut as the valiant Earl of Richmond and the bitter Queen Margaret, respectively, among others, while Samantha Martinson and Amber Regan return to the B&B stage after both appearing in The Merry Wives of Windsor (drunk).
If you're new to, or intimidated by, Shakespeare, the Bard & Bourbon Theatre Co. is a good place to get acquainted, but even hardcore fans will enjoy these productions. The alcohol adds a fun unpredictability-factor to each performance, but the actors have to know their play well in order to accomodate that, and it's clear that they do. Besides, Shakespeare, didn't take himself too seriously — why should we? It's Shakespeare, it's history, and I promise it's a really good time!
Richard III runs through June 2 at the Tenth Street Theatre, located at 628 N. 10th St. in Milwaukee. Tickets can be purchased online at www.bardandbourbon.com.
Back for the third year under new management, the Port Washington Pirate Festival returns to downtown Port Washington this June 1-3 with a new attitude, and a new name to reflect it: Pirate Family Daze.
Tracy Ripple, one of the event organizers, said that there was concern that the event was not really for families, and the new name would hopefully reflect their commitment to education and fun for the whole family. "There were some who felt that it was more of an adult event, to dress up and drink, but there are bouncy houses, educational opportunities, and all kinds of other activities for kids.
The event opens on Friday, June 1st, at 5 p.m. The Thieves Marketplace will have both modern and themed vendors to shop, and the Gruel Galley features a number of food trucks and concessions. This year, there will be a variety of live music opportunities. On Friday evening, the Kenny James Duo opens the Island Bar, 16 Paces is at the Buccaneer Bar, and Mumblemouth is at the Barnacle Stage and Mini-Bar. At 7 p.m., Vinyl Groove takes the stage at the Island Bar, and Hearthfire takes over at the Buccaneer Bar. Live music continues through the weekend, with Block Party at 1 p.m. at the Buccaneer Stage and Hey! Captain Knight at 1 p.m. on the Island Stage. Saturday evening, Left on Sunset takes the Buccaneer Stage at 7 p.m., and The Pillage People are at the Island Stage at 7 p.m. On Sunday, Riding Shotgun is at 2 p.m. at the Buccaneer Bar, and Shut the Front Door plays the Island Stage at 2 p.m. Besides music on the event grounds, everyone's favorite a capella sea shanty group, Bounding Main, will be performing at 3, 5 and 7 p.m. at the Smith Bros. Coffee House on Saturday.
There will be both an Adult and Children's Costume Contest again, this year; the Children's Contest happens on Saturday and Sunday at noon at the Dockside Stage, while the Adult Contest happens at 6 p.m. at the Buccaneer Stage on Saturday night. As in past years, there will be a Parade at 1 p.m. on Sunday on Washington Street, which runs east and west past the north slip and to the Marina parking lot.
The Tall Ship Denis Sullivan will be in the harbor for sails and deck tours throughout the weekend. Sail tickets can be purchased through the Port Exploreum, an interactive historical museum that tells the story of Port Washington and Lake Michigan, located in Port Washington's historic downtown. The Port Exploreum's newest exhibit, Not A World Apart: How We Lived, tells the stories of 8 individuals who lived in the local poorhouse or were buried in nearby Potter's Field at the turn of the century. Port Washington's 1860's Lighthouse and Light Station Museum and the Historic Judge Eghart House will also be open for tours.
Besides bouncy houses and hamster balls, there will be a lot of fun entertainment around the grounds — some of it with a Rennaisance theme, such as the Courtesan and the Cabin Boy, a music and comedy duo; Gryphon Poursuivant, a reenactment group that portrays a seige encampment in the 16th Century; and, GSM Bristol, which is another 16th Century military reenactment group. Those familiar with the festival may remember the bellydancing Stellamani Caravan, the entertaining antics of Knotty Bits and Cutlass Cooking, the River Valley Fife & Drum Corps, Thee Bluebeard, and Alice Wilson the Living Statue. New this year is the magician Shandini, who hails from Central Wisconsin and has performed at many area festivals and events.
Volunteers are needed to help work the Children's Activities and more. If you are interested, contact Tracy Ripple at (262) 323-6612. For more information, visit the Pirate Family Days website, www.piratefamilydaze.org, or the Facebook Page.
Memorial Day is a time to honor those who gave their lives in military service to our country, but it wasn't always that way. The tradition began after the Civil War, for honoring soldiers of both sides who had died. After World War I, the tradition was changed to honor all those Americans who died fighting in any war. It was officially made a holiday in 1971, giving us the three day weekend that has come to be associated with the beginning of summer, store sales, and barbecues. In recent years, communities have returned to the roots of this holiday, and it has regained some of the solemn feel of its origins. Oz has several parades and ceremonies to attend -- here are the details:
Fredonia The Warren Kane American Legion Post 410 will hold a ceremony at Veterans Park at 9 a.m., with a flag raising and the playing of taps by area students. This year's guest speaker will be Vietnam War Veteran, Farmer, and Author, Mr. John Riordan. In addition, there is a Memorial Day Celerbration at the Fillmore Turner Hall, located at 523 County H, from 11-2:30, featuring food and refreshments, and live music by the Ozaukee County Jam Band.
Belgium Memorial Day will begin with Mass at 8:30 a.m. in Lake Church. The parade beings at 10:30 a.m. on East Lane Street, due to construction, followed by a program at Community Park at 11 a.m., located at 106 Beech St. A cookout will be held afterwards by the American Legion Melvin Wester Post 412. Remember: Main St. on the west side of Belgium is closed. You will need to come in from the East using Main or Park St.
Saukville The Landt-Thiel American Legion Post 470 will have a prayer service at the Union Cemetery on South Main St. in Saukville at 8 a.m., and the parade begins at 9 a.m. from nearby Riverside Park and ends at Veterans Park on East Green Bay Ave. for a ceremony. Lunch will be served following the ceremony at the Legion Post at 601 S. Dekora St.
Port Washington The parade begins at 10:30 a.m. at City Hall, and continues to Veterans Park on the lakefront for a program, where the Port Washington High School Band will play patriotic songs. The Van Ells-Schanen American Legion Post 82 will provide soft drinks and ice-cream to children following the program.
Grafton The parade will begin at 10 a.m. at the Grafton American Legion Rose Harms Post 335 and continue to Veteran's Memorial Park for a ceremony and performances by the Grafton High School band and Kennedy and Woodview Elementary School choirs.
Cedarburg The parade begins at 9 a.m. at the corner of Bridge St. and Washington Ave, followed by a ceremony and reception at the Peter Wollner Post 288 at 10 a.m., located at W57 N481 Hilbert Ave.
Mequon/Thiensville The parade begins at 10 a.m. at Grace Lutheran Church, and continues to Mequon City Hall for a ceremony. An observance and free will lunch will follow at the Howard J. Schroeder American Legion Post 457's Clubhouse located at 6050 W. Mequon Road.
For a slightly different kind of Memorial Day Celebration, the Cedarburg Bog is having a Memorial Day Bird Walk from 6:30-9 a.m. There is no fee, but a $5 donation is suggested. To register, call (262) 675-6844 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Happy Memorial Day, everyone.
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
Judy Moody is an unusual girl: she has a cat named Mouse, a brother named Stink, and one of her hobbies is collecting scabs. Nonetheless, this eccentric third grader has been a favorite character in the world of children's books ever since author Megan McDonald and illustrator Peter H. Reynolds brought her to life eighteen years ago. Now, through a collaboration of seven children's theatres throughout the country, Judy and her family have been brought to life on the stage, and they're making their World Premiere here in Milwaukee at First Stage in Judy Moody & Stink: The Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Treasure Hunt.
Adapted to the stage by Allison Gregory, who has written several plays based on books for young children, the play is actually a combination of both the book McDonald wrote that shares the name of the play, as well as her first book in the series, Judy Moody. Beginning this past October, and going through February of 2019, the seven collaborating theatres will each take a turn unveiling their production; First Stage is 5th in the series. Perhaps nobody is more excited about it than the author, herself.
“I’m thrilled readers will get to see my books make the leap from page to stage,” McDonald, creator of the Judy Moody & Stink series, said. “Judy Moody has been to Antarctica, the Freedom Trail, Artichoke Island and college. She has gone around the world in eight (and a half) days. But never before has she been on stage!”
Driected by Jeff Frank, the Artistic Director of First Stage, the play features several adult actors who are very familiar to First Stage and Milwaukee theatre audiences: Todd Denning and Kay Allmand play Judy and Stink's parents, and Bo Johnson is delightful as Scurvy Sam. Justin Lee, who is this season's Artistic Fellow at First Stage, was recently in Antarctica, WI and The Cat in the Hat, and returns to the stage to play Mr. Todd, Judy's third grade teacher.
The youth performers are double cast:
In the Porcupine Cast, Eloise Field from Oconomowoc, who played Annie in Annie at Skylight Music Theatre this past season, plays Judy, and Thatcher Jacobs of Fox Point plays Stink. They are accompanied by Abby Schaufler (as Smart Girl) from Milwaukee, Liam Jeninga (as Tall Boy) from Delavan, and Benny Skwierawski (as Rocky) from Shorewood, along with Rachel Young from Greendale, Zephaniah Ponder from Brookfield, Zaire Key from Milwaukee, Evie Patrick from Whitefish Bay, Gianna Zampino from Milwaukee, Henry Dizard from Wauwatosa, Yan Luis Lebron from Milwaukee, Katie Buettner from Whitefish Bay, Lauren Edwards from Greenfield, and Bethany Martin from River Hills rounding out the ensemble.
In the Turtle Cast, Judy is played by Hope Stiverson of Nashota, while Stink is played by Abram Nelson of Whitefish Bay, along with Abby Hanna (as Smart Girl) from Franklin, Saul Ramirez (as Tall Boy) from Milwaukee, and Trygve Gundersen (as Rocky) from Madison. The rest of the ensemble is Hannah Fedor from New Berlin, Ezekiel (Zeke) Harris from Milwaukee, Elena Harms from Whitefish Bay, Lina Singh from Bayside, Sarai Santiago from Milwaukee, Ryan Vanselow from New Berlin, Oliver Kelley from Germantown, Phoebe Mann from Wauwatosa, Ellora Rangel from Germantown, and Sanaiah Hibbler from Oak Creek.
Being a fan of the books isn't necessary to enjoy this production; Judy, Stink, and their parents are fun and quirky, but still very relatable characters who exhibit typical sibling and parent-child behaviors that anyone can empathize with. Judy's entry into third grade, and her worries about new things and not fitting in, is something familiar to most children. Judy's frustration with her parents, teacher, and little brother sometimes makes her roar, but we all need to roar, sometimes. Most importantly, Judy's love for her family, and theirs for her, is what makes everything turn out right, and that's a message we can all stand to hear.
Judy Moody & Stink: The Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Treasure Hunt runs through June 3rd at the Todd Wehr Theater, located behind the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts at 929 N. Water Street in downtown Milwaukee. Tickets can be purchased at www.firststage.org, in person at the Marcus Center box office, or by phone at (414) 273-7206 or toll free at (888) 612-3500. The number for TDD (for deaf and hard of hearing patrons) is (414) 273-3080.
Group Sales – Groups of 10 or more receive 15% off main floor, regular single ticket prices on most First Stage performances at the Marcus Center’s Todd Wehr Theater. Call (414) 267-2964 or email email@example.com for more information.
Pay What You Choose performance: Tuesday, May 8, 2018 at 7:00 p.m.
Pay What You Choose tickets are available on a first come, first served basis, with a minimum suggested donation of $5 per person. Doors open at 6:00 p.m. on the day of the performance. Patrons are encouraged to arrive early.
ASL Interpreted Performance: Sunday, June 3 at 3:30 p.m.
This performance will be sign language interpreted for patrons who are deaf or hard of hearing. Assistive listening devices are also available at the Todd Wehr Theater.
About First Stage
First Stage is one of the nation’s leading theaters for young people and families. First Stage touches hearts, engages minds, and transforms lives by creating extraordinary theater experiences through professional theater productions that inspire, enlighten, and entertain. Its Theater Academy, the nation’s largest high-impact theater training program for young people, fosters life skills through stage skills and serves over 2,100 students each year. As Wisconsin’s leader in arts-integrated education in schools, First Stage’s dynamic Theater in Education programs promote literacy, character building, and experiential learning throughout the curriculum, serving over 20,000 students each year. First Stage was selected to participate in the Partners in Education program of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (2012), and was the recipient of the Milwaukee Business Journal’s Eureka Award, recognizing creativity and innovation in business, education, and the arts for its Next Steps program for students with autism (2013, 2015). First Stage is a member of TYA/USA, the American Alliance for Theatre and Education, the Wisconsin Alliance for Arts Education, Theatre Wisconsin, Milwaukee Arts Partners, and is a cornerstone member of the United Performing Arts Fund (UPAF).
Over 100 years ago (in 1914, to be exact), President Woodrow Wilson made Mother's Day an official holiday. As one might guess, it didn't take long for restaurants, florists, and confectioners to get in on it. In fact, the woman who campaigned for the holiday, Anna Jarvis, was so disgusted by the commercialization of the holiday that she spent the rest of her life fighting to remove it from the calendar. Of course, Mother's Day is here to stay, so if you're going to spend your money, you may as well do it locally, and there are plenty of good restaurants, florists, and confectioners in Oz to choose from!
Twisted Willow is serving up a special brunch menu from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., featuring a build your own Bloody Marys and Mimosas, special dishes, and a dessert menu that any Mom would love, as well as a special menu for kids. Eating gluten-free? There are good options on all of the menus! Reservations are suggested -- call (262) 268-7600.
Newport Shores serves brunch from 9:30-2:30, with a special Mother's Day dinner Menu from 4-9 p.m. featuring lobster tail and prime rib. Brunch is $15.95 for adults, $7.95 for children under 12 and $4.95 for children under 6 (children under 2 are free).
Ashley's (formerly Port Hotel) has a full mothers day brunch, including ham, cod florentine, baked chicken, roast beef, barbeque pork, macaroni-and-cheese, and more for $23.99. Reservations are needed - call (262) 284-9474.
If you're looking for chocolates in Port, Chocolate Chisel has fresh, chocolate covered strawberries available for the occasion, as well as a wide variety of milk and dark chocolates to choose from. You could also try CoCa LeNa for treats, cards and gifts. Jewelry can be found at Sharbuno Jewelers. Also, moms (and grandmothers) are free at the Port Exploreum!
Firehouse Restaurant has a Breakfast Buffet, featuring a made-to-order omelette bar and more, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for $16.95/person (Children 10 and under are half price, and children 2 and under are free). Call for reservations at (262) 284-8886.
For flowers, try Lighthouse Florist.
A mother is a person who, seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie.
Atlas BBQ will have their very first Mother's Day Brunch, from 10 a.m. - 3 p.m., featuring carved beef brisket, smoked ham and salmon, and more. The cost is $25.95 for adults and $12.95 for kids 12 and under. Reservations are recommended; call (262) 618-2181.
Flannery's at Fire Ridge in Grafton has Brunch from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., featuring a free mimosa with the purchase of an adult buffet. Adults are $19.99, and kids 8 and under are $8.99, while children under 4 are free. Reservations are required; call (262) 375-2977.
The Bloomin Olive is where to go for flowers in the Grafton area, and Sweet Trio has all the sweet treats mom might want.
Mr. B's, A Bartolotta Steak House, has a Brunch Buffet from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. for $39.95 adults, and $17.95 for kids 12 and under. A Bloody Mary Bar is available, as well as gluten-free options. Call (262) 518-5500 to make reservations.
Cafe 1505 is serving brunch beginning at 9 am, with each seating lasting an hour and a half. Bubbles and Bloodys are on the menu, along with a special menu for kids. Reservations are required -- call (262) 241-7076).
Nine's American Bistro will have a Mother's Day Brunch from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m., featuring $5 unlimited mimosas, as well as a chef-attended carving and omelette station, and a separate buffet for kids. The cost is $42.95, $18.50 for kids 12 and under, and $7.95 for children under 5. Call for reservations at (262) 518-0129.
A Floral Affair is the place to go for blooms and Get Happy is the place to get chocolate or candy.
The Stilt House in Cedarburg will be having specials all day, along with a free "mom"osa and flower for each mom.
There's always a special caramel apple from Amy's Candy Kitchen or classic candies from Ashley's Confectionery to make mom's day, and flowers from Rachel's Roses.
No No's has brunch from 11:30 a.m. - 6 p.m. For reservations, call (262)675-6960.
The The Islands at Waubeka Fire Hall offers a Mother's Day Buffet from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., featuring beef tips, ham, turkey, breakfast items, and more. Adults are $14.95, children 10 and under are $7.95, and children 3 and under are free. Call for reservations at (262) 692-5642.
If Mom is an outdoorsy type, she may prefer a hike at Lion's Den Gorge in Grafton, Sauk Creek Nature Preserve in Port, Harrington Beach in Belgium, or a special hike for Moms, such as the Mother's Day Spring Migrant Bird Walk at the Cedarburg Bog, or the Wildflower Hike at Riveredge.
Happy Mother's Day to all from Ozaukee Living Local!
By Mary Boyle
Hucklebee and Bellamy are fathers, gardeners, neighbors—and enemies. The high wall between their properties is a sure sign of their feud, but it won't keep their children, Matt and Luisa, apart! How like Romeo and his Juliet they are, whispering sweet nothings to each other over the wall; knowing all along that their fathers would be so angry if they knew what they were up to...or would they? Perhaps there is no feud at all. Perhaps the wall is only there to create a sense of drama. Perhaps these two fathers have learned that the quickest way to get children to do something you want them to do is to tell them "No!" This is the premise behind Off-Broadway's longest running musical, The Fantasticks, and you'll understand why it's been so popular when you see the fantastic production of it by In Tandem Theatre Company in Milwaukee.
The Fantasticks was the first musical written and composed by the American songwriting duo of Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt, but this Off-Broadway production outshone their two Broadway shows that followed: 110 in the Shade, which won the duo a Tony Award nomination for Best Composer and Lyricist, and I Do! I Do!, which gave them another nomination for Best Composer and Lyricist, as well as a nomination for Best Musical. Despite its small cast, simple staging, and positively tiny orchestra, the Off-Broadway production ran from 1960 to 2002, charming audiences over 17,000 times.
Directed by Jane Flieller, Co-Founder of In Tandem, and with Music Direction by Josh Robinson, In Tandem's production of The Fantasticks is excellently cast, and features some of Milwaukee's best talent. Andrew Varela (who was seen earlier this season in The Rep's Guys & Dolls, and last season in Skylight's Sweeny Todd) makes his In Tandem debut as El Gallo, the narrator and suave, debonair actor the two fathers hire to help stage a dramatic ending to the feud that will bring their two children together, at last. Matt Daniels (who was also seen in Guys & Dolls, as well as in A Charlie Brown Christmas and The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane at First Stage this season) is Hucklebee, the father of Matt, played by Keegan Siebken (seen in Twelfth Night (Drunk) at Bard & Bourbon earlier this season). Chris Flieller (who was seen in Scrooge in Rouge with In Tandem this past season) is Bellamy, the father of Luisa, played by Susan Wiedmeyer (who was a hit in Carnival with In Tandem last season). Robert Spencer, who played Matt in the Off-Broadway production for two years, comes full circle as Henry, an aged actor who, along with his assistant, Mortimer, played by Austin Dorman, are hired by El Gallo to assist in the staging. Finally, although she says nothing at all, Mary C. McLellen is the Mute, an on-stage stage manager who helps move the production along.
Although The Fantasticks could be considered vintage, the story is timeless, and the music is compelling, though it is accompanied only by Mary E. Keppeler on the harp and Josh Robinson on piano at the side of the stage. Ranging from outrageously funny to poignantly beautiful, the songs are truly a reflection of the musical, itself. Daniels and Flieller, as Hucklebee and Bellamy, work wonderfully together, and their duet, "Never Say No," is a laugh-out-loud anthem every parent can relate to. Varela is the perfect El Gallo: comedic, yet appropriately somber when needed, and so very smooth in both voice and attitude. Wiedmeyer's voice is angelic, and pairs beautifully with Siebken's, but her ability to play the engenue and to be both thoughtless and thoughtful is what makes her shine in this production. Robert Spencer's Henry is priceless, and he utterly steals the show when he takes the stage, while still managing to allow Dorman's Mortimer to stand out in his In Tandem debut.
"Popular" is a bit of an understatement when describing The Fantasticks: this Off-Broadway hit had a successful Off-Broadway revival in 2006—only four years after its first, record-breaking run—that only just ended last year. See it for yourself, and you'll understand why: like all great stories, this story has a simple truth hidden underneath—though it really sneaks up on you unexpectedly, in this one. Everything is fun and funny and then, quite suddenly, $#!+ gets real, so to speak. Just as in life, The Fantasticks teaches us a hard lesson, but we come back all the wiser and, while we see the world more clearly, it still manages to be as beautiful as we only imagined it to be before.
The Fantasticks runs through May 20th at the Tenth Street Theater, located at 628 N. 10th Street in Milwaukee. Tickets are available by calling the Box Office at (414) 271-1371, or online at www.intandemtheatre.org.
About In Tandem Theatre
In Tandem Theatre, a 501(c)3 nonprofit theatre located in Milwaukee, was founded in 1998 by Chris and Jane Flieller with the commitment to produce exciting, innovative and professional live theatre by presenting creative and eclectic programming that enlightens, inspires, provokes, and entertains a diverse audience in an intimate atmosphere. Its name, In Tandem Theatre, reflects the connection between audience and actor, the audience and the written word – an intimate experience obtained when live audiences are engaged in strong storytelling. In Tandem Theatre is committed to creating innovative, exciting live theatre designed to inspire, enlighten, provoke and entertain a diverse audience through comedy, drama, musicals, classics and new works.