If you're a child of the 70's, as I am, you may remember Gilda Radner's performance of a medley of songs from the famous operetta, The Pirates of Penzance, on The Muppet Show. Very likely, it was your first exposure to this bit of musical theater, but it was probably not your only exposure. Although The Pirates of Penzance, the most famous operetta by the amazing duo of Gilbert and Sullivan, was written in 1879, it is still widely performed throughout the world, and often borrowed from in all forms of art, literature, and entertainment.
Playwright, W.S. Gilbert, and Composer, Arthur Sullivan, are often credited for inventing modern musical theater, as they were the first to do what really amounts to a parody of an opera. They also used this form of entertainment to make commentary about politics and society (all in a very witty manner, of course).
There is certainly no shortage of political satire or witty social commentary in the Skylight Music Theatre's production of The Pirates of Penzance, and audiences are certain to recognize, and enjoy, this most loved and enduring musical.
Skylight has been celebrating women throughout their season and, although it may seem out of place to end with a show about pirates, if you're familiar with the tale, you'll see that the women in the story are quite the powerful forces.
Our tale begins with Fredric (Ben Robinson), who was accidentally apprenticed to a band of rather soft pirates until his 21st birthday when his nursemaid, Ruth (Diane Lane), mistook the word "pilot" for "pirate." Now that Fredric is free of his duty, he announces to the Pirate King (Andrew Varela), and the rest of the band, that he despises them and is leaving the pirate life. Fredric then comes across a group of fair sisters, and falls in love with the boldest of them: Mabel (Julie Tabash Kelsheimer). The pirates return with plans to run off with the other sisters, but they are foiled when the girls' father, the Major General (Drew Brhel), arrives to sing his well known, tongue-twisting song. With the help of a group of cowardly policemen, Frederic intends to arrest the band of pirates and return home to marry Mabel, but the Pirate Captain and Ruth discover a loophole in Fredric's agreement that they know will change his plans.
Directed by Shawna Lucey, with Musical Direction by Robert Linder, The Pirates of Penzance is wildly entertaining, and the perfect show to bring the whole family to (though, not recommended for children under 6 years old). Audience members will agree, it is with good reason that this Gilbert and Sullivan production is still so popular, nearly 140 years after it made its debut.
Performances run through Sunday, June 12th, in the Cabot Theatre in the Broadway Theatre Center (158 N. Broadway, in the Historic Third Ward of Milwaukee). For more information visit www.skylightmusictheatre.org, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call the Box Office at (414) 291-7800.
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 audiences, as well.
Memorial Day is when we remember those who died while serving in our country's armed forces, as well as a wonderful reason to gather as a community. There are a number of events throughout Oz to attend:
In Saukville, the parade begins at 9 a.m., with a ceremony to follow at Veteran's Park. Contact American Legion Post #470 at 262-284-2787 for details.
Port Washington's parade begins at 10:30 a.m. on Grand Avenue at City Hall, and travels east to N. Franklin Street and north to E. Jackson St. There will be a program immediately following the parade at Veteran's Memorial Park on North Lake Street. The Port Exploreum is open on Memorial Day from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m., and active military and veterans receive free admission.
Fredonia will have a Memorial Day observance at 9 a.m. at Veteran's Park, sponsored by the American Legion Post #410. For more information, contact Kim Steffen at 262-692-2171.
Cedarburg's Memorial Day Parade is organized by American Legion Peter Wollner Post 288. It begins at 9 a.m. on the corner of Bridge and Washington, goes south on Washington Avenue, and ends at Post 288 on Hilbert Avenue. The parade will be followed at 10 a.m. by a Remembrance Ceremony memorial service at Legion Memorial Park, comprising the US Navy Silent Drill Team, a wreath-laying ceremony, and keynote speaker, Major Marcea Weiss, WIANG.
In Mequon, the Memorial Day Parade and Observance begins at 10 a.m., and is sponsored by Howard J. Schroeder American Legion Post 457. The parade starts at Grace Lutheran Church in Thiensville, and proceeds south along Main St. to City Hall for observances. A free will offering lunch at the new Post Clubhouse, 6050 W. Mequon Road, is available after the ceremony at Mequon City Hall and a special observance at the Post Clubhouse.
Happy Memorial Day to all!
By Adam Azzalino
May 2016 marks the 140th anniversary of the construction of one of Cedarburg’s prominent and picturesque landmarks, the covered bridge. In addition to being a historic landmark, the bridge documents a design long past. Estimates range that between 34 and 50 covered bridges were once scattered across the state. The covered bridge in Cedarburg is the sole survivor of this style.
Why bridges were covered in the late 19th century is not known. Lore and legend abound. Some say that they were covered to give shelter in storms. Others suggest that it was to provide protection from attacks by Native Americans, although this has largely been discounted by most architectural historians as myth. More likely, the covering was to protect the bridge’s structure from rain and snow.
The Cedarburg Bridge is not only unique for being the last of its kind, it is also unique in how it was erected. The lattice truss style of building bridges is rarely used in construction projects today. Three-by-ten-inch planks were webbed together and held together by two-inch pins. Three-inch planks were laid to create a floor. Sources indicate that the pine planks and lumber to construct the bridge were milled in Baraboo, Wis. At its completion, the bridge was 120 feet long and 12 feet wide. In 1927, a center abutment was added to handle the weight of cars.
The push to construct a covered bridge was a community effort. After flooding in Cedar Creek washed away several primitive bridges, nine farmers approached the Board of Supervisors of the Town of Cedarburg with a petition to build a covered bridge on May 18, 1876. Their petition proclaimed that the bridge was a “comfort for all the citizens in the north part of town…” Indeed, sources suggest that after its opening a dance was held to celebrate the new bridge, which was dubbed “The Red Bridge,” by townsfolk, as it was once painted a glossy red.
Its opening day would not be the last time the bridge was publicly recognized. In 1940, bridge maintenance was transferred to the Ozaukee County Board. As the twentieth century reached its midpoint, and covered bridges around the state began to fall into disuse and disappear, there were calls to preserve Cedarburg’s covered bridge.
The first group to recognize the bridge’s historical significance was the Port Washington chapter of the Daughters of The American Revolution (D.A.R.). On October 1, 1955, the ladies of the D.A.R., accompanied by the Port Washington High School band, dedicated a historical marker on the spot. The speaker at the dedication urged his audience to “…keep in memory those sturdy pioneers who, through patience and fortitude, finally overcame the elements and built a covered bridge which will endure for many years to come.” In 1961 an uncovered bridge was constructed west of the old covered bridge as a replacement to handle vehicle traffic. This led to the covered bridge being taken out of service in 1962. In 1965, the bridge was recognized with an official Wisconsin state marker presented by the Ozaukee County Historical Society. It read in part: “Last Covered Bridge—retired 1962.”
Jeanette Barr, the secretary of the Ozaukee County Historical Society, was one of the speakers at the dedication in 1965. Barr pondered what the future held for the covered bridge in a closing statement: “Who can guess what the scene will be at the last covered bridge in another 89 years--in the year 2054 A.D.?” The distance from that date is no longer so far-flung into the future, but little can be accurately predicted about the years ahead. As with any century, shocks and surprises and social advancements are sure to come. One thing can be said for certain, however; no matter how the future shapes the landscape—as long as the community of Cedarburg displays the same level of dedication and stewardship it has in the past—the bridge will remain a treasured part of the town.
*Originally published on the Ozaukee County Historical Society website, and reprinted with permission from the author.
Fans of the popular Wisconsin children's book author, Keven Henkes, might be surprised to know that his tale of the precocious mouse named Lilly turns 20 years old this year. The best way to celebrate is with First Stage, who has made a wonderful adaptation of the story for the stage in Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse, which opens on Friday, May 13th, and goes through June 12th at the Todd Wehr Theater in Milwaukee.
The story is actually a combination of three of Henkes' stories: Chester's Way; Julius, The Baby of the World; and, Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse. Henkes has written numerous picture books for young children that feature mice as the main characters, including Lilly and her best friends, Chester and Wilson. The New Yorker called Henkes, “One of the best writers of contemporary picture books,” and the New York Times has called him a "genius." I must agree. If you haven't introduced your children to Kevin Henkes' books yet, now is the time!
In the play, Lilly (Emily Harris/Abigail Hanna) is not only the main character, she is also "the queen!" That is, until her new baby brother, Julius (Lina Singh/Madison Jones) arrives on the scene. Luckily, Lilly has her friends, Chester (Ben Usatinsky/Carlos Meyers) and Wilson (Spencer Tomich/Trevor Schmitt-Ernst), to occupy her, and her favorite new teacher, Mr. Slinger (Bo Johnson). When Lilly's Grammy buys her a sparkly new purple plastic purse, Lilly is sure that everyone will be wowed, but when she takes it to school, things don't go as she imagined.
The characters in Henkes' books are so loved, in part because they are so familiar. Lilly makes the mistakes that we all make as children, but her mother (Elyse Edelman) and father (Chike Johnson) help guide her through. Any child with a younger sibling will relate to Lilly's reaction to her new baby brother and, perhaps, will be comforted to know that Lilly eventually realizes he might not be so bad, after all.
Here's a fun fact: Elyse Edelman, who plays Lilly's mother, played Lilly in the 2001 production of the play at First Stage, and it was her very first stage performance!
Tickets for Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse can be purchased on the First Stage website: www.firststage.org, or by calling (414) 273-7206. Performances take place at the Marcus Center’s Todd Wehr Theater, 929 N. Water Street, Milwaukee.
About First Stage
Since 1987, First Stage touches hearts, engages minds, and transforms lives by creating extraordinary theater experiences for young people and families through professional theater productions that inspire, enlighten, and entertain; unparalleled Theater Academy training that fosters life skills through stage skills; and dynamic Theater in Education programs that promote active learning in our schools and community. In 2012, First Stage was selected to participate in the Partners in Education program of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. First Stage is a member of TYA/USA, the American Alliance for Theatre and Education, the Wisconsin Alliance for Arts Education, Theatre Wisconsin, and Milwaukee Arts Partners, and is a cornerstone member of the United Performing Arts Fund (UPAF).
Water makes civilization. People need water to survive, of course, but in the Midwest, Native Americans and, later, European settlers used the rivers and lakes as roads - roads that were far easier to travel through than thick forests. The communities of Ozaukee exist, mainly, because of two bodies of water: Lake Michigan, and the Milwaukee River.
The Milwaukee River begins in Fond du Lac County (there are three branches, but they all begin there). It becomes a significant river just north of Kewaskum, flows through West Bend, and eventually makes its way into Ozaukee county via Newburg, where it crosses County Y right near Riveredge Nature Center. It makes its way north, though the quaint little village of Waubeka, runs along the west side of Fredonia, and proceeds south through downtown Saukville. Most Ozaukeeans meet the Milwaukee River as they pass over it on Highway 60 in downtown Grafton. Just a little ways south of Lakefield Road, Cedar Creek, which runs through downtown Cedarburg, becomes one with the Milwaukee River, and it continues south through Thiensville and Mequon. It winds its way, 104 miles in total, eventually reaching the city that its name inspired, merging with the Menomonee and Kinnickinnic Rivers, and entering Lake Michigan just south of the Summerfest grounds.
Nearly every community in Ozaukee County, besides the communities of Port Washington and Belgium, are a part of the Milwaukee River Basin, which means we are partially responsible for the health of the Milwaukee River. Luckily, there is a great organization working hard to make it easy to do our part: Milwaukee Riverkeeper. There organization has a number of events coming up that you may want to take part in.
From Friday, May 20th to Sunday, May 22nd, Milwaukee Riverkeeper is one of Lowland Grand Cafes’ featured charities for their Cafe Hollander Mequon Grand Opening Benefit! When you dine at Cafe Hollander Mequon for brunch, lunch or dinner Friday, May 20 - Sunday, May 22, 2016, all food and Van Steenberge bier sales will go directly to Milwaukee Riverkeeper and two other charities. Help train Cafe Hollander Mequon's staff and sample their menu, while helping the Milwaukee River - who knew it could be so easy?
In keeping with the beer theme, on Sunday, June 5, from 11:00 am - 2:00 pm, join Milwaukee Riverkeeper and Lakefront Brewery for Barrels and Beer, an afternoon of decorating your own rain barrels, while sampling some of Lakefront's finest, all while enjoying a relaxing riverfront view. For just $30, you get a 60 gallon, blue barrel and all of the supplies you need. Register early, as supplies are limited.
If you love getting outdoors - and especially on the water - Milwaukee Riverkeeper and Clear Water Outdoor has a series of summer Paddle Tours led by a Milwaukee Riverkeeper staff member:
Monday, June 27, 2016 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm (Fish & Fish Habitat)
Monday, July 25, 2016 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm (River Health Advocacy)
Monday, August 29, 2016 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm (Water Quality)
You might also be interested in the 11th Annual Milky Moonlight Paddle on Monday, July 18th, from 6:15-9:30. This is an urban river adventure that is not to be missed! Bring your canoe/kayak, paddles, pdf's, and a light - drinks and sandwiches will be provided - and float down the Milwaukee River to where it meets Lake Michigan!
Find out more about these great events, and others, at www.MilwaukeeRiverkeeper.org, and learn more about how you can help the Milwaukee River!
Cedarburg's popular summer concert series, Summer Sounds, unveiled their 2016 lineup this past week. Held at Cedar Creek Park on Friday evenings, people from near and far bring picnic blankets and lawn chairs and converge on the lawn in front of the band shell (which was rebuilt over the winter) for a unique community experience. Here is the lineup:
The Hip Abduction (St. Petersburg, FL) with special guest Jay Matthes
Tubby Love Tribe (Anahola, HI) with special guest Bryn McCardle
Wild Child (Austin, TX) with special guest Bascom Hill
Muddy Magnolias (Nashville, TN) with special guest Ben Wagner
The Suffers (Houston, TX) with special guest Shirley Green
Major and the Monbacks (Norfolk, VA) with special guest Comfort Shag
Reckless Remedy (Milwaukee, WI) with special guest The Bluffs
Ripe (Boston, MA) with special guest Claire Kelly
Cha Wa (New Orleans, LA) with special guest Solid Cedar
Very Special Guest (TBA)
Food and drinks are available to purchase on site, but picnics are welcome; the music starts at 7 p.m. Go to http://www.summersounds.net/ for more information.