Dance performances

18 Milwaukee Theater, Music and Dance Shows to See in Fall 2022

As the Milwaukee Performing Arts seasons kick off in September, some important questions need to be asked:

  • It will be titanic?
  • It will be unforgettable?
  • Will there be a touch of Madness?

A look at the calendar answers yes, yes and yes to these questions, literally. Only you, dear spectator, can answer it figuratively.

Truth be told, local music, theater and dance groups yearn for your appraising eyes and listening ears in their seats. The United Performing Arts Fund recently reported that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, its 14 member groups “have experienced a collective revenue loss of nearly $38 million over the past three seasons.”

Fortunately, many promising works are on the schedule by early November. These are listed in chronological order of date of first performance.

“Unforgettable”: Singer John-Marc McGaha perform Nat King Cole’s upbeat music on the Milwaukee Repertory Theater season opener, including “Unforgettable” and “Mona Lisa.” Sept. 9-Nov. 6. Stackner Cabaret, 108 E. Wells St. Visit milwaukeerep.com or call (414) 224-9490.

Present Music will perform the music of French composer Christophe Chassol on September 11.

“The beauty and the Beast”: Present Music embarks on a season of unusual associations with this humdinger, screening Jean Cocteau’s 1946 film “Beauty and the Beast” while performing the new score composed by Phillip Glass in 1994. But wait, there’s more: the music from “Big Sun.” The backdrop for this concert: The “Posters by Jules Chéret” exhibition at the Milwaukee Art Museum, 700 N. Art Museum Drive. 7:30 p.m. Sep 11 Visit presentmusic.org or call (414) 229-4308.

“Titanic”: Milwaukee Rep is bringing back their production from this rarely performed musical, who lost the last two weeks of his run in May due to COVID-19 concerns. In My opinion of the show last season, I wrote that “sometimes I felt like I was inside a movie about this transatlantic tragedy, with the narrative pulling back for long shots, then zooming in for intimate times”. Most of the 30 actors are back, including Andrew Varela, Emma Rose Brooks, Matt Daniels and Carrie Hitchcock. But a few new performers in key roles will give this journey its own personality. Sept. 20-Oct. 23. Quadracci Powerhouse Theater, 108 E. Wells St. Visit milwaukeerep.com or call (414) 224-9490.

The cast members wave "titanic the musical," staged by the Milwaukee Repertory Theatre.

“Kill Move Paradise”: In James Ijames’ drama, four black men who have been killed find themselves in the afterlife with many questions, some of them provocative for the viewing audience. Marti Gobel directs this Next Act Theater production. Sept. 22-Oct. 16. Visit 255 S. Water Street nextact.org or call (414) 278-0765.

AFTER:Next Act Theater frontman David Cecsarini to retire after 2022-23 season

Ozomatli: For nearly three decades, this high-energy band has blended Latin music with rock, hip hop, funk, and even reggae in a sound that Rough Trade has dubbed the soundtrack of Los Angeles. 7:30 p.m. September 22. Marcus Performing Arts Center’s Uihlein Hall, 929 N. Water St. Visit marcuscenter.org or call (414) 273-7206.

“Mom Mia!” : Who’s your daddy? The young woman about to get married would like an answer in this musical jukebox filled with Abba songs, including “Dancing Queen”, “Knowing Me, Knowing You” and the title number. Skylight Music Theater recommends this show for ages 10 and up. Sept. 23-Oct. 16. Broadway Theater Center, 158 N. Broadway. Visit skylightmusictheatre.org or call (414) 291-7800.

“A Salesman’s Wife”: Eleanor Burgess’ piece begins with a riff on Arthur Miller’s “Death of a Salesman,” with a 1950s woman confronting her husband’s mistress. It then takes a surprising turn. The Milwaukee Repertory Theater has co-commissioned this new feminist drama with Chicagoland’s Writers’ Theatre. Sept. 27-Nov. 6. Stiemke Studio, 108 E. Wells St. Visit milwaukeerep.com or call (414) 224-9490.

Milwaukee Symphony: Overture by Music Director Ken-David Masur orchestra season with a program of sparkling and enticing names. These concerts begin with “Herald, Holler and Hallelujah!”, a new fanfare composed by Wynton Marsalis and co-commissioned by the MSO. Madison-raised twin sisters Christina and Michelle Naughton will perform Mendelssohn’s Concerto for Two Pianos. And the orchestra expands for Richard Strauss’ symphonic poem “Eine Alpensinfonie” (“An Alpine Symphony”). Sept. 30-Oct. 1. Bradley Symphony Center, 212 W. Wisconsin Ave. Visit mso.org or call (414) 291-7605.

Klassik will create live music for the Milwaukee Chamber Theater "Where did we sit on the bus?"

“Where did we sit on the bus?” : In Brian Quijada’s play, a young Latinx who can’t seem to get a straight answer to this question in school searches for his own answers. In the Milwaukee Chamber Theater production, Isa Arciniegas plays the youngsters, while local hip-hop star Klassik provides live music. Sept. 30-Oct. 23. Broadway Theater Center, 158 N. Broadway. Visit milwaukeechambertheatre.org or call (414) 291-7800.

“Arthur and his friends are making a musical!” : A world first musical from First Stage, adapted from the books and characters by Marc Brown about elementary school student Arthur (an aardvark), his little sister DW and his friends Buster, Brain, Francine and Muffy. John Maclay and Brett Ryback wrote and composed the show, which First Stage offers for ages 5 and up. Oct. 7-Nov. 6. Todd Wehr Theater at the Marcus Center, 929 N. Water St. Visit firststage.org or call (414) 267-2961.

Aaron Diehl: The Milwaukee Symphony welcomes back its artistic partner and pianist Diehl for an all-American program, including Gershwin’s Concerto in F, Copland’s “Rodeo” and Symphony No. 2 (“Song of a New Race”) by black composer William Grant Still. October 7-9. Bradley Symphony Center, 212 W. Wisconsin Ave. Visit mso.org or call (414) 291-7605.

“A page of madness”: Theater Gigante screens the intense Japanese silent film “A Page of Madness” (1926), with live narration by benshi (storyteller) Yamauchi Nanako and live music from the toy instrument band Little Bang Theory, composed by Gigante BFF Frank Paul. October 8 and 9. UWM Kenilworth 508 Theater, 2155 N. Prospect Ave. Visit www.theatregigante.org.

Whitefish Bay High School graduate Emily Pogorelc returns to sing lead role in Florentine opera "Romeo and Juliet."

“Romeo and Juliet”: Florentine opera features French composer Charles Gounod’s adaptation of Shakespeare’s romantic tragedy. A bonus: soprano Emilie Pogorelc returns to her hometown to sing the role of the heroine. October 14 and 16. Marcus Performing Arts Center’s Uihlein Hall, 929 N. Water St. Visit florentineopera.org or call (414) 291-5700 ext. 224.

“Faces of a Woman”: In this Early Music Now concert, the vocal ensemble from Boston Tapestry carried out a program of music and lyrics by and about women from the 12th century (mystical Hildegard von Bingen) to the 20th century (Russian poet Anna Akhmatova). 5 p.m. Oct. 15. St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 914 E. Knapp St. Visit earlymusicnow.org or call (414) 225-3113.

“The Totalitarians”: Just in time for what is sure to be a wild and bitter ride into Wisconsin’s November election, The Constructivists perform Peter Sinn Nachtrieb’s savage comedy about elections and shenanigans. October 15-29. Interchange Theater Co-Op, 628 N. 10th St. Visit theconstructivists.org.

“The How and the Why”: Renaissance Theatreworks performs Sarah Treem’s drama about two female biologists of different generations who confer and clash personally and professionally – over the science and meaning of menstruation. 21 Oct-Nov 13. Visit 255 S. Water Street www.rtw.com or call (414) 278-0765.

Third Coast Percussion will perform on October 28 at the Wilson Center in Brookfield.

“Archetypes”: Chicago Third rib percussion teams up with father-daughter duo Sergio and Clarice Assad for a concert that explores the power and heritage of universal symbols. 8 p.m. Oct. 28, Wilson Center, 3270 Mitchell Park Drive, Brookfield. Visit wilson-center.com. At 10 a.m. that day, TCP will present a performance by students and school groups. E-mail [email protected] for information.

“Swan Lake”: The Milwaukee Ballet performs one of the great works of the classical repertoire, with a memorable score by Tchaikovsky. November 3-6. MB recommends this show for people ages 4 and up. Visit milwaukeeballet.org or call (414) 902-2103.

Contact Jim Higgins at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter at @jhiggy.

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