By Mary Boyle
There are percussionists, and then there is Michael (Ding) Lorenz. A resident of Oak Creek, Lorenz has been playing and collecting percussion instruments since the age of 5, beginning with being a member of the Cavaliers Drum and Bugle Corps and moving on through a variety of music groups, from R&B bands to orchestras, including over 40 years at Skylight Music Theatre where, in 2012, Artistic Director Ray Jivoff and their friend and musician, Jamie Johns, put together a special show featuring Lorenz's passion for percussion called Things That Go Ding! The show was such a hit, it is returning to Skylight for a limited engagement (and even more percussion instruments!) through March 3rd in Milwaukee.
One part concert, one part vaudeville act, one part theatre, and one part variety show, Things That Go Ding! is really an homage to the three performers common roots in musical theatre, combined with some classical favorites, a bit of musical history, a good dose of comedy, and a liberal amount of percussion instruments, "Liberal" actually doesn't cover it; the entire stage of the Cabot theatre is packed full with every kind of percussion instrument you can imagine (and some you couldn't possibly) — they literally even threw in the kitchen sink! All of the instruments belong to Lorenz, and it took about a week to get them all set up on stage.
Jamie Johns, a talented musician and composer who hails from Milwaukee but is currently making a stop from over 5 years on tour with Phantom of the Opera, plays both organ and piano, as well as contributing a bit of singing and witty banter. Skylight regulars are used to seeing Artistic Director Ray Jivoff at performances, but seeing him perform was a special treat: he has an incredible voice, and you simply don't want to miss his performance of the Modern Major-General's Song from Pirates of Penzance or taking his turn at being Mister Rogers. The camaraderie between the three performers makes for a fun show, and the sheer amount of combined talent is breathtaking, but properly leveled by a heavy dose of rubber chickens and terrible puns. This is a one-of-a-kind, not-to-be-missed production.
Things That Go Ding! runs through March 3rd 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.