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)
By Mary Boyle
Audiences today may believe they have no connection to the pop music of the first half of the 20th Century, but the brilliance of musicians such as the Gershwin brothers, Charlie Parker and Duke Ellington have become a hidden soundtrack to our lives, popping up in the background of films and commercials, and continuing to contribute to the backbone of American culture. This is the music of the Roaring 20's and the Great Depression, bookended by World War I and II, when Jazz, in all its variations, transformed the musical landscape in America, and some of the very best of it is showcased by some of the very best performers around in The All Night Strut! at The Rep's newly remodeled Stackner Cabaret through January 13th in downtown Milwaukee.
Anyone who saw Ain't Misbehavin' at The Rep four years ago will appreciate The All Night Strut! While Ain't Misbehavin' focused specifically on the music of Fats Waller, the two shows are alike in that they both feature five, triple-threat performers (some are even quadruple-threat — they sing, dance, act, and play instruments), and that's not the only similarity: Dan Kazemi, who does the music direction for Strut, was the director of Ain't Misbehavin'; and, the talented Bethany Thomas, who was one of the performers in Ain't Misbehavin', is sister to Katherine Thomas, who makes her Rep debut in Strut. In fact, Waller's song, "Ain't Misbehavin'," made the playlist for Strut.
Conceived and originally directed and choreographed by Fran Charnas, The All Night Strut! is a tour de force of talent. The Stackner Cabaret is transformed into an Art Deco train car, with Jonathan Spivey acting as Conductor (a Conductor who sings, as well as playing piano and trombone, really well). Milwaukee favorite, Kelley Faulkner (who was seen last season in Always...Patsy Cline and Guys & Dolls) looks and sounds like she stepped out of the big band era, anyway, but her vocal, dance and even drum-playing skills are on full display in this production. Brian Russell Carey and Nygel D. Robinson both make their Rep debut and, between the two of them, they play the stand-up bass, trumpet, guitar, drums, violin, and piano. Though Katherine Thomas also makes her Rep debut, her resemblance in both looks and vocal talent to her sister, Bethany, who has made herself familiar on The Rep stage and opened the Stackner's season with Songs for Nobodies, makes Katherine seem familiar, as well.
Songs like "Chattanooga Choo Choo" and "It Doesn't Mean A Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing)" are easily recognizable, even by their titles, but I believe younger audience members will be surprised how many of these songs, from a time long before they were born, are familiar; nonetheless, it's the sheer level of energy and talent from the performers that really make this show a hit. I wish I could say that the new Stackner Cabaret is better than ever, but change is always difficult. Though there are many more seats, and they've made much better use of the space, the harsh new lighting and stark modern decor are greatly lacking in the character and warmth that the old space had, and that loss is tangible. Still, the small tables, close quarters, and the ability to get a drink, snack, or dessert while you enjoy the show continues to make the Stackner Cabaret an intimate and unique theatre experience.
The All Night Strut! runs through January 13th at the Stackner Cabaret, 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.
By Mary Boyle
Back in 1992, Starbucks, a coffee shop chain that began in Seattle in 1971, had just gone public, and though the cafe culture had taken the West Coast by storm, it was largely unheard of in the Midwest until David Monroe opened Ozaukee's very first one on Washington Avenue in Cedarburg that same year. Twenty-six years later, the Java House has remained a mainstay on Cedarburg's main street, despite the addition of three more coffee houses in downtown Cedarburg, including a Starbucks, and despite the fact that there have been three different owners over that period of time; now, there's a fourth one.
When Lisa and Dan Bostrack and their two daughters, Ali and Annika, arrived in Cedarburg in 2010, the circumstances were not ideal; the urgent need to be close to Dan's aging parents and major health issues within their own family forced them to abruptly leave behind a very close-knit community and Lisa's family in Colorado. To say they were homesick was an understatement, but they found one place in town that felt like a home away from home in the Java House, which reminded Lisa of the coffee shops in Boulder that she spent time in as a teenager and young adult.
"We have some serious food sensitivities in our family and, at the time, Java House was one of the few places that had gluten-free bakery, and it was good. It was a great place to connect with the kids, and a safe place they could go to and work or read a book," Lisa said. "Every time we would go, we would daydream about what we would do with it if we owned it, but I didn't mean it. I'm still shocked when people ask and I say, 'Yes, I own Java House.'"
Then again, Java House had felt like "their place" for years; in fact, when Ali went off to Madison for college, Lisa knew she was going to be fine when she called home to tell her mother the news that she had found her Java House. This past summer, Lisa began working part-time at the Java House to make a little extra money at a place she loved being at and, when the current owner offered her the chance to take over, she realized it was something she could be good at. "I take care of people. My children are about to fly, and I want to continue doing what I do best, which is being a hostess and taking care of people, and I can do that here."
Java House has always roasted their own coffee, and this information has been passed from owner to owner. Lisa's husband, Dan, and one of their employees, Brad, have taken over the roasting, and they are gradually making the place their own, while trying to maintain consistency where it matters. They've brought in Anodyne for their espresso, new bakery and food options, and they just brought in gluten-free soups that are made fresh each day.
Moving forward, Lisa hopes to make the place even more family-friendly and teenager-friendly, along with continuing to add more healthy food options, particularly for people with food sensitivities. The relationships, though, are the part of Java House that she has already come to value the most. "The relationships with the kids that work for me, the regulars, and everyone who comes in the door; I love witnessing their life and their connections, and getting to be a part of that."
The Java House is located at W63N653 Washington Avenue in historic downtown Cedarburg. Hours are 6 a.m. - 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 7 a.m. - 6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
By Mary Boyle
The British playwright, screenwriter, and director, Martin McDonagh, has a flare for writing black comedies; dark, violent, works that, like a Grimm's fairytale, sometimes seem to have no point but to illustrate the evil in the world. Like an English version of Quentin Tarantino, McDonagh has a strong following of devoted fans of both his plays and his films, and he tends to attract famous names to act in both. His play, The Pillowman, made its world premiere in 2003, and starred David Tennant and Jim Broadbent. When it made its Broadway debut in 2005, Billy Crudup and Jeff Goldblum were among the cast. Clearly, there is an audience for this type of work, but it takes a unique theatre company to be up to the challenge of a play of this nature. The Constructivists, a relatively new company that was recently named the 2018 Best New Theatre by Milwaukee Magazine, were up to the task, and their production of The Pillowman at the Underground Collaborative in Milwaukee is shocking a whole new generation of audience members.
Katurnia (Rose Grizzell) sits under the light in a concrete block-walled interrogation room in an unnamed Totalitarian State. Menacing Detectives, Tupolski (Jamie Jastrab) and Ariel (Rob Schreiner), seem to be in no hurry to explain to her why she's been hauled in for questioning, but since a file with all of the stories she's written sits on the table in front of her, she has an inkling: Totalitarian States don't like writers. As the play progresses, we learn that Katurnia has written many stories, nearly all of which involve horrific abuse and violence against children; the detectives have discovered three dead children whose deaths are eerily similar to two of Katurian's stories; and, the detectives also have her intellectually disabled brother, Michal (Logan Milway), in custody.
Though I'm no stranger to violence in a play, this one was particularly difficult for me. Grizzel and Milway's acting, in particular, was stellar. The costumes and lighting were spot on. The set was enhanced by the gritty intimacy of the basement theater space that is the Underground Collaborative. The writing is engaging and thought-provoking, with a sustained suspense that is almost uncomfortable and situations that require the viewer to wrestle with topics such as free speech, morality, and more. They hit all the marks of a great production, and yet this level and type of violence is, to me, almost too difficult to bear. I walked out of the theater feeling more disturbed than anything else; I didn't like it, yet I didn't hate it and, because it raises so many questions, I feel compelled to see it again.
Directed by Jaimelyn Gray, who has worked with a number of small, avant garde theatre companies in the Milwaukee and Chicago area and is the Founder and Artistic Director of The Constructivists, The Pillowman is suited to The Constructivists' mission to create "accessible, viscerally-driven live theatre, exposing and exploring the complexity of human nature and the perils it creates." If you want to be entertained by theatre, this may not be your production; but, if you wish to be challenged and pushed out of your comfort zone, this show will do the trick.
The Pillowman runs through November 10th at the Underground Collaborative, located in the basement of the Grand Avenue Mall in Milwaukee at 161 W. Wisconsin Ave. Tickets are $15 in advance and are available by calling (414) 858-6874 or online at www.theconstructivists.org/. If seats remain, tickets may be purchased for $18 at the door. The three final performances are Friday, November 8th through Sunday, November 10th at 7:30 p.m.
By Mary Boyle
When we think of Broadway, we usually think big: big song and dance numbers, Fosse hands, shiny sequins, and pure entertainment; but, every once in awhile, a show comes along that follows a "less is more" motto; a show that is brilliant in its understatement; a show that is quietly profound, a cultural marker, and a testament to the power of theatre to make difficult topics accessible, to create social change, and to bring people together. This was the 2015, five-time Tony Award-winning Broadway musical, Fun Home, which has finally made its way to the Midwest with Forward Theater Company's production at the Overture in Madison through November 25th.
Based on the 2006 autobiographical "tragicomic" of the same name by Alison Bechdel, Fun Home is the story of Allison's struggle to reconcile her own coming out in the 1970's and her father's death by suicide shortly after, not long after Alison finds out that her father was also gay. While the topic doesn't sound like Broadway Musical material, or that it would be any "fun" at all (especially when you realize that the "fun" in Fun Home is the nickname the family uses for their funeral home business), Bechdel's a witty cartoonist, and the book and lyrics by Lisa Kron and music by Jeanine Tesori alternate between laugh-out-loud hysterical to heart-swelling, tear-inducing wonders.
In the show, Alison (played by Tony Award-winning actress, Karen Olivo) is writing her cartoon memoir as a 40 something looking back on both her childhood self (played by Chantae Miller) and her college self (played by Rachael Zientek). Sitting in her Pennsylvania childhood home, looking at old objects and reading her old diary, Alison revisits her relationship with her father, Bruce (played by Matt Daniels), an accomplished and well-respected historic home renovator, English teacher, and part-time funeral director who demanded the same relentless excellence from his wife, Helen (played by Clare Arena Haden), and his three children, as he does from himself. To all the world, the family appears as polished as their historic home on Maple Avenue but, as is often the case, appearances are deceiving.
While growing up, Alison always knew she was different, but didn't realize until college that she was gay. With a new love named Joan (Solana Ramirez-Garcia) and a supportive community on campus, Alison breaks the news to her parents, fretting that her perfectionist father will never accept or understand her, only to discover that her father had been having secret affairs with other men since before he married her mother. Hoping to finally have a genuine connection, Alison soon realizes that her experience and her father's were nothing alike; unlike her, her father had struggled to hide his true self and, in doing so, lived with private shame and anger that destroyed his relationship with his wife and, ultimately, caused him to take his own life.
Directed by Jennifer Uphoff Gray, Fun Home is Forward Theater's very first musical, but follows their 10 year tradition of choosing "stories that speak to what we struggle with today." Uphoff Gray points out that the three Alisons look nothing alike: "one is black, one is white, and one multiracial. The truth is, we took great care to cast our Fun Home this way, because, in fact, it felt urgent to do so. Though Alison's journey is one of assuming a specific sexuality while a specific authority in her life models an opposing path, the heart of Fun Home feels intensely universal now. Because now feels like a time in which we're all a lot freer to...love who we truly love and to pursue that love with the intensity and passion and clarity that only song can rightly capture."
With a live orchestra directed by Mark Wurzelbacher, The Playhouse at the Overture Center is the perfect, intimate setting for this production, which is overflowing with talent. Now a resident of Madison, Karen Olivo, who originated the role of Vanessa in Lin Manuel Miranda's first hit musical, In the Heights, and played Angelica Schuyler in the Chicago production of Miranda's Hamilton, shines as the elder Alison, but Rachael Zientek and Chantae Miller are equally talented; while Zeintek's "Changing My Major" and Miller's "Ring of Keys" are the highlights of the show (the first made me laugh out loud, and the second made me cry), absolute magic happens when the three Alisons sing together. Milwaukee favorite, Matt Daniels, demonstrates his vocal chops are as good as his acting, and delivers an incredible performance as Bruce. I would be remiss if I failed to mention Donovan Lonsdale, who is an absolute scene-stealer as Alison's youngest brother.
Fun Home truly is a fun time, but it's so much more than that; as the world seems to become more and more divided, it's shows like this that shine a light in the darkness and give us all hope that we can love each other, despite our differences. Alison's father, Bruce, is a testament to what becomes of intolerance, while Alison is a testament to what becomes of acceptance; we have come a long way, but we can, and we must, do better. Forward Theater's production makes it easy to see how this unusual little show won the Tony Award for Best Musical — do not miss your chance to see it!
Fun Home runs through November 25th at The Playhouse at the Overture Center, located at 201 State Street in Madison. Tickets are available by calling the Box Office at 608-258-4141, in person at the Box Office, or online at https://www.forwardtheater.com.
About Forward Theater
Forward Theater Company is a not-for-profit professional theater company founded to provide exceptional theater experiences for area audiences and give professional actors, designers, and directors an artistic home. Forward Theater Company is proud be a resident organization in the beautiful Overture Center for the Arts, providing opportunities for artists and audiences to explore great dramas and provoke conversations about the issues that matter the most.
By Mary Boyle
Though the mindset is thankfully changing, our culture has not always been very supportive of boys who want to dance, and this was especially true in the 1980's, when the Aids Epidemic, which villainized the gay community, was in its height. The mid-1980's was also the time of a massive coal miner's strike in North East England, which pushed thousands of families into poverty. This was the setting of the 2000 film, Billy Elliot, in which eleven year old Billy discovers he has a passion and talent for ballet, but is scorned by members of both his family and his community. The critically-acclaimed film was adapted for the stage and made its West End debut in 2005, and its Broadway debut in 2008; now, you can get your taste of Billy Elliot, The Musical at the Waukesha Civic Theatre through November 11th.
Featuring music by Elton John, Billy Elliot, The Musical is every bit as inspirational and moving as the film. Billy (Ryan Vanselow) has lost his mother (Gwen Ter Haar), and his father, Jack (Corey Patrick), and older brother, Tony (Ben Bartos), are immersed in the miner's strike, leaving Billy and his Grandmother (Maggie Wirth) mostly on their own. When Billy is made to stay late after his boxing class, he finds himself swept up in Mrs. Wilkinson's (Caroline Miller-Bayer) dance class. Though he'd never admitted it, Billy secretly loves to dance, and though Mrs. Wilkinson's mouthy daughter, Debbie (Maddie Dixon), doesn't see it, Mrs. Wilkinson notices Billy's talent. When Billy's father finds out that Billy is using his boxing class money for dance class, he bans Billy from both classes. Thankfully, Mrs. Wilkinson refuses to give up on Billy, and offers to train him, anyway, so he can audition for the Royal Ballet.
Directed by Mark E. Schuster, Billy is not as well cast and set as last season's Hunchback of Notre Dame), which Schuster also directed, but its lack of a live orchestra and a few rough edges are made up by the apparent dedication of the cast and crew, some stellar individual performances, and the support of this delightful little community theatre in the heart of historic downtown Waukesha. Ryan Vanselow is clearly a talented tap dancer, actor and singer; despite the fact that his ballet was a bit rough, he makes an admirable WCT debut, and the entire show is filled with magical moments. Corey Patrick, who was fantastic as Cogsworth at Sunset Playhouse's Beauty and the Beast last season, gives a wonderful performance as Billy's father in this production. Maggie Wirth's "Grandma's Song" is brilliant, and both her, Billy and Caroline Miller-Bayer shine when they all sing together in "The Letter." The absolute stars of the show are the kids: besides Vanselow, Maddie Dixon is priceless as Debbie, and Liam Thomas, who plays Billy's friend, Michael, gives a brave, exceptional performance. The adorable award goes to Reece Dixon, Maddie's little brother, who makes his scene-stealing WCT debut.
While I found it hysterical to hear foul language coming out of the mouths of babes (and Grandmothers), audiences should be prepared for mature language and tweens exploring their sexuality. Aside from that, a community and family putting aside their prejudices and struggles to come together and help a young boy with a dream is a story that needs to be heard, right now, and this cast does a fine job of telling it.
Billy Elliot, The Musical, runs through November 11th at 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 firstname.lastname@example.org, 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.
By Mary Boyle
Eighteen years ago, two twenty-somethings met while working at Rock Bottom Brewery in Milwaukee and became fast friends; the restaurant world was their world, and they thought it would be cool if someday they opened a restaurant together. Seven years later, they became Mr. and Mrs. Michael and Siobhan Mesenbourg. Fast forward to 2013, and the couple had two kids and opened their very first restaurant...on wheels: the Yellowbellies Food Truck. Finally, this February, they'll make their original dream a reality when they open the Fork & Tap in the Harbour Lights building in downtown Port Washington.
Michael went to MATC for Hospitality Management, but it was while he was a Manager at the Chocolate Factory in Cedarburg that he realized he wanted to be on the food side of the business instead of the management side. "I liked making simple food look good," he explained. Instead of going back to school, Michael took a position as a chef at the Grafton Sendiks, which is where he got used to making food in large quantities.
In the meantime, Siobhan went from being a supervisor at Louise's in downtown Milwaukee to the Events Manager at iPic in Bayshore Mall, but what she really wanted was to work with Michael and own their own place. The Food Truck was trending, and the couple saw it as an inexpensive way to get started on their dream, so they found a truck, left their jobs, and never looked back.
"The best thing about a food truck," Michael said, "is that it's just yourselves, and the worst thing about a food truck is that it's just yourselves — you don't have to employ a team, but you also have nobody else to fall back on." Not only that, but the truck breaks — a lot— and, unlike a brick and mortar restaurant, when the truck breaks, it's over. Weather, too, is a constant problem, and it keeps the truck basically closed from December through March. Then, there's the parking...
"Parking it is a nightmare," Siobhan interjected. "I have to fight to go to work almost every time we take the truck out."
Still, they love their restaurant on wheels, and their menu, consisting mainly of a variety of pulled chicken sandwiches (the name "Yellowbellies" comes from the yellow belly of a rotisserie chicken) on flatbread has developed quite a following, and though their new restaurant will offer a different menu than their food truck, they know that people who like the truck will probably like the restaurant; in fact, the food truck inspired the name of the new restaurant. Each Yellowbellies sandwich is served with their trademark yellow fork, and since they are also focusing on Wisconsin craft beers at the restaurant, they decided on the name that combines the two: the Fork & Tap.
The new restaurant will serve lunch and dinner, and will have a casual, fun, family-friendly atmosphere. "The menu is inspired by memories of holidays and family meals," said Michael, "So there will be a lot of 'shareables' — things like Swedish meatballs with mashed potatoes and chicken and biscuits." Because the couple has many friends and family with dietary restrictions, they will also offer gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan options on the menu, including a gluten-free fish fry.
Once the food truck closes for the season, work will start in earnest in their new place, putting months of planning into action. "We love entertaining and having people over," Michael said, "and the restaurant is an extension of that." An extension that happens to have an excellent view of Port's harbor and Lake Michigan, as well as a large outdoor patio for dining, which the couple hopes will be a popular place this summer. "This is what we love to do," Michael said, "and we love the instant gratification that comes from seeing people happy with what you do."