By Mary Boyle
John Cramer, the Managing Artistic Director of the Waukesha Civic Theatre, is admittedly a holiday nut. His family, he says, goes "more than a little crazy" when it comes to celebrating the holidays, from their Santa collection, to their elf collection, to decorating six different Christmas trees in their home. It's his family's love of the holidays that inspired the show Candy Cane Tales and Holiday Carols at Waukesha Civic Theatre.
"The show started out in 2005 as a musical revue performed at the Waukesha State Bank holiday party by me and my wife Kelli, and accompanied by Abby Lorenz," Cramer explained on the WCT blog. "I put the show together featuring our favorite music and stories, with a little bit of history thrown in, and entertained the WSB employees for an hour."
Cramer realized he had the makings of a holiday show that could offer something different than the traditional holiday fare that filled area theaters each season and, in 2009, Candy Cane Tales began its holiday tradition; a tradition that spanned seven straight seasons, changing a bit every year. After a two year hiatus, the show returns to WCT, directed by both Cramer and Kelly Goeller, with music direction by Josh Parman-Thao, and featuring a massive cast of talented area residents, several of whom are related to each other.
The show is one-part play, which follows the Bickford family: Bill (Mike Owens) and Judy (Jen Hull Anderson), and their four children, Louisa (Cecilia Fleischer), Augie (Tristan Harris), Stella (Emily McCaskey), and Daisy (Violette Anderson). Their story is one any modern family can relate to — the struggle to maintain family traditions between busy schedules and growing children. Louisa wants to spend time with her first boyfriend, Derek (Aidan Thiele), Augie would rather spend time in his room, and even the two youngest and Judy seem to always have something to do that foils Bill's plan for the perfect family holiday evening. The play is interspersed with carols, song and dance numbers, and scenes from popular holiday television classics, such as How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, and Santa Claus is Coming to Town.
The Waukesha Civic Theatre is, first and foremost, a community theatre, and a well-loved one, at that, which is why it is an especially nice place to visit around the holidays. This show is fun and family-friendly, and it does an amazing job of sampling almost every aspect of the holidays that people love. The cast, itself, is full of family — parents and children, as well as siblings — that add to the community feel of the production. All in all, Candy Cane Tales is just like a candy cane: sweet and reminiscent of the season.
Candy Cane Tales and Holiday Carols runs through December 16th at the Waukesha Civic Theatre, located at 264 W. Main Street in historic downtown Waukesha. Tickets are available by calling the Box Office at 262.547.0708, by email at email@example.com, or online at http://www.waukeshacivictheatre.org/.
The Waukesha Civic Theatre, Inc. is a non-profit corporation whose mission is to provide quality live theatre performances and educational opportunities that will enrich, challenge and entertain both participants and audience members. In July of 2006, the Waukesha Civic Theatre began its 50th season. With that historic season, WCT joined an elite group: according to the American Association of Community Theatres, of the roughly 7,000 community theatres in the United States, only about 100 can claim 50 years of continuous operation. It has undergone many positive changes from its beginnings in 1957 with productions at Waukesha High School. In 1999, WCT moved from a former church to a beautiful new facility in the heart of historic downtown Waukesha. The building, a former historic PIX movie house, was donated to WCT by Bryce Styza, a prominent local developer who saw the power that the theatre could exert in revitalizing downtown. Since the theatre opened in 1957 to the start of its 51st season in September of 2007, over 10,000 people have volunteered and 200,000 audience members have been entertained.
'The Best Christmas Pageant Ever: The Musical' at First Stage Really is The Best Christmas Pageant Ever
By Mary Boyle
If you've never read the 1971 early reader book The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson, I'm here to tell you that you're missing out. This is the perfect story for your elementary school-aged child, when they're wanting a bit more than Dr. Suess, but they're still too young for Charles Dickens. This holiday season, though, Milwaukee area audiences are in for a great treat, because First Stage has an incredible new way to experience this holiday classic with The Best Christmas Pageant Ever: The Musical at Todd Wehr Theater though December 26th.
What's so wonderful about this story is it relates to just about any small community. The Herdman kids — Ralph, Imogene, Leroy, Claude, Ollie, and Gladys — are the kids that nobody likes: unruly, rude bullies who destroy everything they come near. Luckily, the kids in the community have one safe haven: their church. Well...they did, until one day at school when the Herdmans were stealing everyone's lunches, as usual, and Charlie Bradley snapped; trying to get the upper hand, he tells the Herdmans to go ahead and take his lunch, because he has something better: Sunday School, where there are all the snacks that you can ask for. Unfortunately, Charlie's plan backfires horribly. It's bad enough that his mother, Grace, was dragged into directing the annual Sunday School Christmas Pageant when Mrs. Armstrong ended up in the hospital, but now the Herdmans insist on being a part of it, and they took all the leading parts! The whole community is certain that it will be the worst Christmas Pageant in history — especially those snooty, gossipy church ladies!
Directed by Molly Rhode, whose career started with First Stage and who played Mindy the narrator in the 1990 version, the new Pageant features an adult cast full of Milwaukee favorites, such as Jonathan Gillard Daly, seen recently in The Eagle in Me: An Evening of Carl Sandburg at In Tandem, as Reverend Hopkins, and Laura Gordon, who has graced just about every stage in Milwaukee but makes her First Stage debut as Luanne. Karen Estrada, a frequent First Stage collaborator who actually got her start in acting with First Stage in the 1992 production of Pageant as Imogene, is perfectly cast as Grace Bradley. Lachrisa Grandberry as Helen Armstrong and Bree Below as Betty are both regulars at First Stage, and Cynthia Cobb as Connie was seen last season as Glinda in The Wiz.
The young performers are double cast. The Holly Cast includes: Liam Jeninga as Ralph Herdman; Isabella Hansen as Imogene Herdman; Iker Velasco as Leroy Herdman; Benjamin Nowacek as Claude Herdman; John Daniels IV as Ollie Herdman; Lina Singh as Gladys Herdman; Ryann Schulz as Beth; Miranda Cecsarini as Alice; Sanaa Harper as Ivy; Abram Nelson as Charlie; Zachary Nowacek as Elmer; Edward Owczarski as Teddy; and, Adelaide Schaetzke, Ailie Synder, Amalia Cecsarini, Sydney McElroy, Shawn Parish, Layton Lal, Zoah Hirano, Marguerite Van Slyke, Sophia Ruddock, and Maryanna Esten as ensemble. The Jolly Cast includes: Derrick Sanders as Ralph Herdman; Lily Miller as Imogene Herdman; Arlo Sturrock as Leroy Herdman; Deyki Miller as Claude Herdman; Brayden Schroeder as Ollie Herdman; Olivia Vitrano as Gladys Herdman; Harper Navin as Beth; Eloise Field as Alice; Nala Patel as Ivy; Thatcher Jacobs as Charlie; Henry Dizard as Elmer; Augie Poppert as Teddy; and, Abby Szolyga, Magdalyn Rowley-Lange, Zaria Johnson, Stella Metcalfe, Oliver Kelley, Reece Davis, Silvia Stoeger, Maura Kuhnen-Grooms, Pietja Dusek, and Quinn Sison as Ensemble.
Although the play has been done a number of times over the years at First Stage, the musical is a first, and I think audiences will appreciate the change. The music, directed by Jeff Schaeztke, is very well-written and fits perfectly with the story, expressing big emotions in the way that only music can. I particularly loved the hysterical "Die, Herod, Die!," but "On A Night Like This" was so beautiful it brought tears to my eyes. Director Molly Rhode has been involved, in various ways, in several versions of the play at First Stage, but she is really excited to be a part of this one.
“I’m excited to work on a new adaptation of this story that I love so much! I’m very impressed with this new version and am eager to share the show’s message with a new generation of young actors and audiences. I’ve always found this story compelling because of its message of compassion, empathy, inclusion and the power of community. These are critical life skills; and we all need to be reminded of their value. It’s a joy and an honor to work on this material with this group of young people.”
This is a holiday theatre opportunity that is truly for the whole family; full of laughs and fun for everyone, but also just the right dose of the real meaning of Christmas: remembering those less fortunate, and the birth of a baby in Bethlehem, long, long ago.
THE BEST CHRISTMAS PAGEANT EVER: THE MUSICAL runs November 23 – December 26, 2018 at the Marcus Center’s Todd Wehr Theater, located at 929 N. Water Street in downtown Milwaukee. Tickets can be purchased in person at the Marcus Center Box Office at 929 N. Water Street, by phone at (414) 273-7206 or online at www.firststage.org.
Special events for THE BEST CHRISTMAS PAGEANT EVER: THE MUSICAL
Pay What You Choose Performance: Tuesday, November 27, 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.
Grandparent Holiday Brunch: Sunday, December 16, 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Gather the grandparents, parents and children to enjoy a festive holiday brunch at the Bradley Pavilion at the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts, followed by a performance of THE BEST CHRISTMAS PAGEANT EVER: THE MUSICAL at 1 p.m., just steps away from the Marcus Center’s Todd Wehr Theater. Along with a delicious brunch, families will enjoy a special visit from some of the cast, fun activities for the kids and more! To make your reservations and for more information, please visit: www.firststage.org/brunch
Tech Talks: Sunday, December 16 and December 23 following the 3:30 p.m. performance
Following select performances, learn more about the behind-the-scenes magic at the Tech Talks, a 20-minute extended talkback with the First Stage creative team.
ASL Interpreted Performance: Sunday, December 16, 2018 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 on the autism spectrum (2013, 2015). First Stage is a member of TYA/USA, the American Alliance for Theatre and Education, the Wisconsin Alliance for Arts Education, Milwaukee Arts Partners and is a cornerstone member of the United Performing Arts Fund (UPAF).
By Mary Boyle
The Tony-Award winning Broadway Musical, Hairspray, is part of the film to stage club (musicals that are based on films) and, in the case of Hairspray, it was far more successful on the stage than it was on the screen. The 1988 film of the same name directed by John Waters and starring Ricki Lake, Debbie Harry, Sonny Bono, and Jerry Stiller, was only moderately successful, but the musical won 8 Tony Awards in 2003, including one for Best Musical. It did so well, in fact, that it caused a film remake in 2007, starring John Travolta, Queen Latifah, and Zac Effron, among others. The second film did far better than the first, but it is truly on the stage that Hairspray shines, and Skylight Music Theatre brings out the best of it at the beautiful and intimate Cabot Theatre in Milwaukee's Historic Third Ward this holiday season.
With music by Marc Shaiman, book by Mark O'Donnel and Thomas Meehan, and lyrics by Scott Wittman and Marc Shaiman, Hairspray is set in Baltimore in 1962 and tells the story of Tracy Turnblad (Maisie Rose), an overweight teen who dreams of being on the Corny Collins Show (think Dick Clark's American Bandstand with teenagers). When she learns the show has an opening, Tracy and her best friend, Penny Pingleton (Ann Delaney) head to the studio to audition. The show's producer, Velma Von Tussle (Samantha Sostarich), her snooty daughter, Amber (Amber Smith), and most of the cast makes fun of Tracy's weight, but the show's male star and Amber's boyfriend, Link Larkin (Colin Schreier) captures Tracy's heart, and Corny Collins (Doug Clemons), himself, accepts Tracy for the role. Tracy returns home triumphant, and her parents, Edna (Tommy Novak) and Wilbur (David Flores), share in her new celebrity status. Unfortunately, Tracy still has an uphill fight to get others to accept her, and an even bigger battle to get her friend, Seaweed (Gilbert Domally), his mother, Motormouth Maybelle (Bethany Thomas), and Seaweed's little sister, Inez (Terynn Erby-Walker), along with the whole of the black community in Baltimore, to be accepted on the Corny Collins show, too.
Directed by Lili-Anne Brown, with music direction by Cindy Blanc, Hairspray is as fun and campy as it's meant to be, but also incredibly powerful and uplifting. Maisie Rose, Ann Delaney, and Colin Schreier all nail their Skylight debuts as Tracy, Penny, and Link, respectively, while Tommy Novak returns to Skylight to create a memorable reprise of his role as Edna Turnblad. Skylight favorites, Rick Pendzich and Rhonda Rae Busch, are absolute scene-stealers in their various "Male and Female Authority Figure" roles. Samantha Sostarich and Amber Smith are no strangers to the Skylight stage, and are brilliant as Velma and Amber Von Tussle, along with a talented, locally based youth ensemble; however, it is the talented Bethany Thomas as Motormouth Maybelle who brings the audience to their knees. During the song, "I Know Where I've Been," Thomas sings, "There's a struggle that we have yet to win," and though the song is referring to segregation that was still common in the 1960's, the truth is that we are still struggling for equality. While audiences will laugh and clap their way through this production, the message of acceptance is loud and clear, and perfectly timed.
Hairspray, The Broadway Musical, runs through December 30th at the Cabot Theatre, located within the Broadway Theatre Center at 158 N. Broadway in Milwaukee's Historic Third Ward. Tickets may be purchased in person at the Broadway Theatre Center BoxOffice, 158 N. Broadway, by calling (414) 291-7800, or visiting www.skylightmusictheatre.org
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.
By Mary Boyle
One of the best ways to experience the magic of the holidays is to take in one of the many wonderful live theatre opportunities in the greater Ozaukee area, and there are many! Yearly standards, such as The Nutcracker Ballet and A Christmas Carol, are wonderful traditions, of course, but there are truly shows for all ages and tastes, from an outing for the whole family to an evening out with your spouse or a friend. Here's the line-up:
Sanders Family Christmas with Acacia Theatre Co. Bluegrass fans will love this sequel to Smoke on the Mountain, which follows the Sanders family as they return to Mount Pleasant, NC for Christmas in 1941. With seasonal music, plenty of fun, a bit of drama and most of the cast from Acacia’s recent production of Smoke, bring your whole family to join the Sanders in a celebration of faith. November 17-December 2 at Concordia's Todd Wehr Auditorium in Mequon.
A Nutcracker Ballet with Lakeshore Dance This is the perfect introduction to the ballet for young children, as well as being a holiday favorite, and it's close to home! Get into the holiday spirit as Clara, the Sugar Plum Fairy and Herr Drosselmeyer take you an a magical journey one winter's night. November 30th and December 1st at the Cedarburg Performing Arts Center.
McMann & Tate's Holiday Shows at the CCC McMann and Tate Productions will bring its brand of adult comedy back to the Cedarburg Cultural Center on December 1st for its annual Holiday Show. A great way to laugh through the holidays with family, friends and coworkers, CCC’s resident comedy cast is still tickling funny bones after 19 years of holiday skit shows.
John McGivern's Holiday Tales at the CPAC John McGivern serves up a steady stream of stories from his Wisconsin childhood that recall an age of innocence bounded by snow days and Thanksgiving dinners, handcrafted Christmas toys, trees purchased at the Odd-Lot-Tree-Lot, the annual WE Energies Christmas Cookie Book, New Years Eves in the finished basement and life in the McGivern Household around the Holidays. Saturday, December 15 at the Cedarburg Performing Arts Center.
The Milwaukee Ballet's Nutcracker I have taken my children to see this every year since they were four years old, and it is one of our most cherished holiday traditions. Keep your eye out for the goose that lays the golden egg and, especially, the sassy clowns, whose antics change with every performance. December 8-26 at the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts.
The Rep's A Christmas Carol In 2016, The Rep completely overhauled this Milwaukee Christmas tradition, including a new set design that will knock your socks off. The show admittedly had some bugs that first season, but those were largely resolved in 2017. This season, the production is under the direction of Leda Hoffman, so the evolution will continue. Regardless, nothing quite captures the heart of Christmas as this timeless tale by Charles Dickens. November 27-December 24 at the Pabst Theater in Milwaukee.
Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley at The Rep This relatively new production has the feel of a holiday classic, and is a perfect performance to take in for date night this Christmas season. Based on Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, Miss Bennet is the sequel Austen, herself, may have written: sweet, romantic, and delightfully funny from start to finish. November 13-December 16 at The Rep's Quadracci Theater in Milwaukee.
Dr. Suess' How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical Part of the Broadway at the Marcus Center's 2018/19 lineup, Grinch is the perfect holiday musical for the whole family, especially with the new digitally-animated film narrated by Pharrell Williams coming out this season. In fact, stick with the theme and be sure to watch the 1966 animated version narrated by Boris Karloff and the 2000 live-action film with Jim Carrey, for good measure. While you're at it, read the book; there's a reason it's been such a popular story to remake. November 20-25 at the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts.
The Greatest Christmas Pageant Ever: The Musical at First Stage Based on the 1971 book by Barbara Robinson, Greatest Christmas Pageant is the tale of the six notorious Herdman children, who only show up to church for the first time because they heard they have free snacks and somehow wind up in the Sunday School Christmas Pageant. Perhaps more meaningful than ever, this story reminds us to love all of our neighbors, and is likely to be a family favorite this season. November 23-December 26 in the Todd Wehr Theater at the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts.
Merry Chris-Mess with In Tandem Theatre If you're looking for some grown-up holiday laughs, look no further than Merry Chris-Mess! Silly songs, hilarious comedy sketches, and a parody of It's A Wonderful Life, all at the comfortable and casual Tenth Street Theater; you can't go wrong. November 29-January 6.
Candy Cane Tales and Holiday Carols at Waukesha Civic Theatre This local holiday tradition returns to the WCT stage, following a family through the holiday season. Celebrate with a cast of all ages acting, singing, and dancing through classic seasonal songs and stories. The original production was written by WCT’s own John Cramer, but the show changes each year, adding new material to keep the show fresh and new. This WCT family tradition is a must-see part of the holiday season. November 30-December 16.
Black Nativity 2018 Milwaukee’s newest holiday favorite, Black Nativity by Langston Hughes is a testament to the power of gospel music, telling the story of the Nativity through a combination of African American scripture, poetry, dance, and song. December 7-16 at Milwaukee's Vogel Hall.
Holidays on Ice with Door Shakespeare Though it is a bit of a drive, for those who would enjoy another reason to head to Door County for a holiday weekend, this is it. Door Shakespeare's Producing Artistic Director, Michael Stebbins, will bring to life - with simply a chair, podium, boom box and a bottle of water - holiday stories by American humorist David Sedaris on December 8 and 9, 2018, at Vail Hall, on the grounds of Björklunden, just south of Baileys Harbor. The readings are free-of-charge, but donations are welcome. Parental discretion is advised, as the holiday offerings do contain adult content.
By Mary Boyle
As a child of the 70's and 80's, it's difficult for me to warm up to any version of Dr. Suess's classic story, How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, that isn't the 1966 animated Christmas special narrated by Boris Karloff. I did not care for the 2000 live-action film starring Jim Carrey, and while I've yet to see the digitally-animated version that just hit the theaters, narrated by Pharrell Williams, I will be going into it with a massive amount of skepticism. Live theatre, though, is an entirely different scenario. Like listening to live music as opposed to the radio, being able to see this holiday classic on the stage is a rare treat, and the Broadway at the Marcus Center series makes it possible, with Dr. Suess' How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical from November 20-25.
With music by Mel Marvin and book and lyrics By Timothy Mason, Grinch! The Musical made its Broadway debut in 2006, topping Broadway Box Office grosses. While the Broadway show utilizes some of the songs from the original animated feature, as well as some of the original text from the book, there are 8 new songs that help to emphasize the differing holiday experience for both the Grinch and the citizens of Whoville. Unlike the book, this story is narrated by Old Max, the Grinch's dog, as he reflects back on this most memorable Christmas, and there is more focus on Cindy Lou Who's immediate family than in the original tale, as well.
Philip Huffman plays the Grinch, himself, and dedicates his performance to the memory of Stefán Karl, an Icelandic actor who played the iconic role for 7 seasons before succumbing to cancer this past August. Huffman is a sassy Grinch, who has just enough off behavior to appeal to grown ups and also your average 5-7 year old. Young Max is played by Jared Starkey, and the relationship between him and the Grinch is far more complex, and a little bit more unhealthy, than in the original tale. W. Scott Stewart, who plays Old Max, has a voice that is reminiscent of Boris Karloff's, which really ties the production into the classic that most parents in the audience will remember. Then, of course, there's little Cindy Lou Who, is double cast and played by either Fiona Quinn or Lily Tamburo. Keep an eye out for Grandpa Who, Michael L. Parks, who is good fun.
The Grinch is an excellent holiday show for the whole family in that it is geared to be fun for the grown ups in the audience; however, because of that, I wouldn't recommend it for children under 5, both because of content and because it is a long production with no intermission. That being said, for families with children 5 and older, this is a fun holiday romp and a great way to introduce kids to a Broadway production with a story that is already familiar to them. More importantly, Dr. Suess' touching reminder that Christmas doesn't come from a store is as needed as ever, and working to understand and include people — even the grumpy people who almost ruined the holiday — is a message we all need to hear right now.
Dr. Suess's How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical runs through November 25th at the Marcus Center's Uihlein Hall, located at 929 North Water Street in downtown Milwaukee. There is no performance on Thanksgiving. Tickets may be purchased by calling the Box Office at (414) 273-7206 or online at www.marcuscenter.org/show/how-the-grinch-stole-christmas/
The 2018/19 Broadway at the Marcus Center series has an exciting lineup! Join them for The Book of Mormon, Fiddler on the Roof, Phantom of the Opera, The King and I, Come From Away, and Anastasia.
By Mary Boyle
Jane Austen's 1813 novel, Pride and Prejudice, is still widely considered one of the most popular novels of all time. Romantic, witty, and an insightful look at the Regency period in Great Britain, the story tells the tale of the five Bennet sisters and their parent's quest to get their daughters safely wed, thus ensuring a male heir to secure the Bennet estate. Now, over 100 years later, popular American playwright Lauren Gunderson, along with Margot Melcon, have given Austen fans a sequel to this beloved tale, creating an entirely new holiday play that feels as familiar and quintessential at A Christmas Carol. Milwaukee audiences can get their very first taste of this instant classic with The Milwaukee Repertory Theater's production of Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley.
While the focus of Pride and Prejudice is on the relationship between Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy, Miss Bennet brings attention to one of the minor and still unwed Bennet sisters: Mary. Described in the novel as the plainest of the sisters, Mary (Rebecca Hurd), is a serious and intellectual middle child, who has always seemed to prefer books and her piano to the company of people. Pemberley is the home of Mary's elder sister, Elizabeth (Margaret Ivey), and her husband, Mr. Darcy (Yousof Sultani), and where Mary is visiting for Christmas, along with her sister Jane (Sarai Rodriguez) and Jane's husband, Mr. Bingley (Fred Geyer), who are expecting their first child at any moment. Mary is feeling like a fifth wheel until Mr. Arthur de Bourgh (Jordan Brodess), a distant cousin of Mr. Darcy's who recently lost his wealthy aunt but acquired an estate and a title, arrives. The two find that they have a lot in common, but Mary's younger and troubled sister, Lydia Wickham (Netta Walker), who arrived at Pemberley without her husband, is determined to make the newly titled Lord notice her instead of her wallflower sister. Just when it seems as though Mary might have found her match, Miss Anne de Bourgh (Deanna Myers), a cousin of both Mr. Darcy and Arthur, shows up at Pemberley and announces that she is already engaged to Arthur.
Directed by Kimberly Senior, Miss Bennet utilizes the same sarcastic and witty banter Austen was famous for, and is sweet and romantic without being sappy; moreover, the play is incredibly, delightfully funny from start to finish. Hurd and Brodess both make an impressive Milwaukee Rep debut, and are wonderfully awkward and nerdy introverts as Mary and Arthur, respectively. Yousof Sultani, who was recently seen in The Rep's Guards at the Taj, is a confident and droll Mr. Darcy, while his counterpart, Margaret Ivey as Elizabeth Darcy, was an easy choice after playing the title role in Jane Eyre in The Rep's 2016/17 season. Altogether, Miss Bennet is a perfect addition to the holiday theatre line-up in Milwaukee, filling a hole we didn't even know existed, much less one that needed filling; if The Rep doesn't pick it up as a holiday tradition alongside A Christmas Carol, it would be wise for one of the other local theater companies to consider it. See it while you can.
Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley runs through December 16th at the Quadracci Theater, located located within the Patty & Jay Baker Theater Complex at 108 E. Wells St. in Milwaukee. Tickets can be purchased by calling (414) 224-9490, in-person at the Box Office, or online at www.MilwaukeeRep.com.
About Milwaukee Repertory Theater
The Milwaukee Rep is the largest performing arts organization in Wisconsin, in terms of audiences served, and one of the largest professional theaters in the country. Each year, The Rep welcomes up to 275,000 people at nearly 700 performances of 15 productions, ranging from compelling dramas, powerful classics, new plays, and full-scale musicals in its three unique performance venues: the Quadracci Powerhouse, Stiemke Studio, and Stackner Cabaret. Now in its 65th Season, The Rep has gained a national reputation as an incubator of new work, an agent of community change, and a forward-thinking provider of .vital arts education programs. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Mark Clements and Executive Director Chad Bauman, Milwaukee Repertory Theater ignites positive change in the cultural, social, and economic vitality of its community by creating world-class theater experiences that entertain, provoke, and inspire meaningful dialogue among an audience representative of Milwaukee's rich diversity.
Bridge the Divide
For quite a few years, Cedarburg has been known for the Live Nativity presentations on the Festive Friday Eves in December, when local churches take turns to present the classic Christmas story of Jesus’ birth. This year, a bit of traditional Mexican Christmas celebration will be adding a new flavor to that local tradition.
“Las Posadas” is a community or neighborhood celebration in which participants re-enact Mary and Joseph’s search for shelter just before Jesus was born. “Mary” and “Joseph” travel to several locations, stopping to ask for shelter in the music of a traditional song. “Innkeepers” at each location sing verses of the same song, turning the Holy Family away.
Finally, Mary and Joseph arrive at an inn where they are given shelter in a stable. Along the way, more people from the community join the singing procession. When they finally are granted shelter, a celebration begins, with traditional punch, food and maybe a piñata.
So, how will this traditional event look in downtown Cedarburg? Participants from several churches and the community will gather at Immanuel Lutheran Church at 6:00 to learn more about Las Posadas traditions as it is celebrated in Mexico and Hispanic communities. Then, about 6:45, the “journey” will begin, as Mary and Joseph and friends travel to the first of their stops, The Student Union. They will be singing as they walk, and any curious onlooker is invited to follow along and see how the journey unfolds.
The other stops will be outside the Washington House Inn, Cedarburg’s City Hall, and finally, Advent Lutheran church. At each of the four stops, Mary, Joseph and friends will sing the traditional song asking for shelter and, at all but the last stop, they will be refused.
Finally, the whole group will end up at the Live Nativity, outside Advent Lutheran Church. This time they will be welcomed, and the story will shift to the telling of the birth of Jesus. This will be at about 7:30. Everyone is invited inside Advent to warm up and enjoy some traditional food, drink and fun! Traditionally, this is a family-friendly event for all ages.
If you are interested in participating, call Pastor John, Faith Lutheran Church at 262-377-0960.
About Bridge the Divide
A forum for discussion and action around racial reconciliation, Bridge the Divide seeks to identify instances of inequity, foster empathy, and educate others to recognize their part in the problems and solutions in Ozaukee county...and beyond. Join the monthly discussions on the first Monday of each month at the Cedarburg Public Library, led by Erica Turner, Cedarburger and the group facilitator, who gained unique perspective regarding social justice growing up in poverty as a person of color, experiencing racial injustice in adulthood, and overcoming both to become a passionate advocate for treating all humanity with respect. To learn more, email:
Ozaukee County is the place to be for the holidays! From Thanksgiving through the New Year, there are festive events happening everywhere you turn. Here's the complete listing:
Saturday, November 17th
Sunday, November 18th
Saturday, November 24th
Monday, November 26th
Thursday, November 29-Friday, November 30
Thursday, November 29-Saturday, December 1
Saturday, December 1st
Sunday, December 2nd
Tuesday, December 4th
Wednesday, December 5th
Friday, December 7th
Saturday, December 8th
Sunday, December 9th
Saturday, December 15th
Friday, December 21st
Don't miss the magic of A Cedarburg Christmas, including Festive Friday Eves at the Cedar Creek Settlement and the Holiday Film Fest at the Rivoli. If you don't see your event listed, let us know! Happy Holidays from Ozaukee Living Local.
By Mary Boyle
Over thirty years ago, Cedarburg resident Susie Morter started a business at her kitchen table making hand-made lampshades. Shady Lady Lighting became an industry leader, as well as a family business, when Susie's husband, Guy, added lamps and lighting to the product line. Their farmhouse workshop evolved to a much larger facility in Grafton, and the Morter's son, Andy, joined the business and brought in outdoor lighting. Then, in 2011, when Andy was lured away to Vermont to be a designer for Hubbardton Forge, one of the country's oldest and largest commercial forges and a leader in lighting design, the family decided that Shady Lady Lighting would close their doors. The lighting business may have stopped, but Susie's need to design did not and, once again, she set to work at her kitchen table — this time, with her sister, Sheere Pollitt — and that's when Shady Lady Floral was born.
The sisters tested out their unique, hand-made floral creations last holiday season, selling a variety of fresh wreaths from Susie's porch, and they knew they were on to something, but the window for fresh is limited, and they wanted to do something bigger. Using artificial greenery and unique items, such as vintage bike tires, tobacco baskets, whiskey barrel rings, and even outlandish footwear, the sisters make long-lasting creations that work for both home and commercial uses, such as restaurants and bridal events, and they can even do custom orders using family heirlooms that seem to have no practical purpose, such as a silver tea pot or great grandfather's bronze baby shoes.
"Thirty years later, and here I am, starting all over again at my kitchen table," Susie laughed. "We're having so much fun!"
Shady Lady Floral will kick off their opening with another Christmas on the Porch at Susie's Cedarburg home, happening the first and second weekends in December, as well as an event called Christmas at the Church, which is happening at Susie's daughter Molly's home, that was formerly a church, in the Logan Square neighborhood of Chicago on November 23rd and 24th. These events will feature fresh Christmas wreaths, as well as their other creations.
Learn more about Shady Lady Floral at their website, www.shadyladyfloral.com/, or visit their facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/shadyladyfloral/.
Small Business Saturday has been giving Black Friday a greater run for its money each year since 2010, when it was conceived by American Express. Supporting local businesses helps to keep main street communities, like those Ozaukee is made of, vibrant and unique. We are so lucky to have so many independent businesses to choose from when it comes to holiday shopping in Oz, and we'd like to highlight some of our favorites!
Lakeside Music & Naturals This interesting little shop — one part music store, one part natural children's boutique — began as Creekside Music in Cedarburg, then Grafton, and now has found itself in downtown Port Washington, hence "Lakeside." Inside, you will find everything a musician might need, from reeds to microphones to ukeleles, along with cloth diapers and wooden toys. Aaron Rossmiller and Kat Chronis, along with their soon to be two children, run this delightful and eclectic shop. Kat is heavily involved in the Ozaukee Chapter of the Holistic Moms Network, and will offer Music Together classes for young children beginning in January.
Pear & Simple This delightful little gift shop has a wonderful collection of personalized gift options, Port Washington-themed items, and a great selection of ornaments for all tastes. Head over to their sister store across the street, Coca Lena, for some holiday candy.
Cedarburg Toy Co. This delightful little independent toy store in the heart of Cedarburg has been a hit with the community and visitors, alike, for years. Find American-made toys, games, puzzles, and more, for all ages, and get them wrapped, to boot!
Weeds and Lillies Focusing on Fair Trade and Locally-Made goods, Weeds is the place for homegoods, while Lillies is where to go for clothing and jewelry, as well as an excellent children's section. You can cover just about anybody on your shopping list within these two stores!
The Arts Mill Located on the Milwaukee River, The Arts Mill is an amazing and unique collection of goods by local artists that you won't find anyplace else. If you miss them for Small Business Saturday, be sure to join them for their Holiday Open House on November 29th.
Riveredge Nature Center The gift shop in Riveredge Nature Center is full of wonderful things for all ages, including Riveredge's own maple syrup, and what could be better for the nature lover in your life than a Riveredge membership?
Glaze Pottery Glaze makes it easy to make your own Christmas gifts. Located in historic Thiensville, WI. Glaze is a hands-on art studio offering various types of art medium including pottery, glass fusing, raw clay, wine glass painting, silver clay & acrylic painting. Walk in or schedule a group outing for the whole family!
Where to get your Christmas Tree in Oz
Speaking of shopping small, why not get your Christmas tree from one of the many wonderful farms and small businesses throughout Oz? Here's a great selection to choose from!
Useldings Christmas Trees on Western Rd. in Cedarburg, just west of Washngton Ave.
Stumpf Tree Farm in Cedarburg (cut your own)
Noffke Tree Farm in Mequon (cut your own)
Trees for Less Nursery in Mequon and Grafton (cut your own)
Gene Fransee & Sons Nursery in Port Washington
First Congregational Church in Port Washington
Buechler Farms in Belgium
Greenview Tree Farm in Random Lake (cut your own)