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Warren Gerds/Critic at Large: Week ahead: A mid-winter flurry of theater in Northeastern Wisconsin

Critic At Large

Plus, Weidner Philharmonic with ‘Casablanca’

Cast members preparing for Sheboygan Theatre Company’s production of “The Nerd.” (Company photo)

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV)

Below is more information on “(M)iyamoto is Black Enough” in Green Bay, “Richard III” in Appleton, “Shrek The Musical” in Menasha, “Becky’s New Car” in New London, “Bus Stop” in Green Bay, “Disney on Ice Presents: Big Dream” in Ashwaubenon, “The Nerd” in Sheboygan, “Beast on the Moon” in Oshkosh, “Calendar Girls” in Manitowoc, “This Random World (The Myth of Serendipity” in Green Bay, “Arsenic and Old Lace” in De Pere, “Hamilton, Ltd. The Musical” in Green Bay, “Miss Saigon” in Appleton, “First Things First” in Oconto… performances involving Tim Albright, Nathan Krueger and Kirsten Ihde, St. Norbert High School Choral Festival, Lawrence Faculty Reed Trio, Copper Box, “A Grand Night: Duets,” The Brother Brothers, Weidner Philharmonic,  Peninsula Music Festival Winter Fest, Lawrence Faculty-Guest Recital, Terry Barber Trio, Bruce Atwell, Anna Hersey and Kirsten Ihde, Lawrence Jazz Band,  April Verch, Jake Owen.

ARRIVING

– In Green Bay, Weidner Center for the Performing Arts will host “(M)iyamoto is Black Enough” at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 20. Info: weidnercenter.com. The production is described as an amalgam of punk, funk new poetry punk, acid new music in combination with poems to form “complex musical compositions that, together, speak directly and forcefully to the issues of all our times with driving and hypnotic beats. Featured are the poetry of Roger Bonair-Agard and the compositions of Andy Akiho (steelpan and percussion) with Jeffrey Zeigler on cello and Sean Dixon on drums.

– In Appleton, Lawrence University Theatre Arts will present the Olivia Gregorich adapation of William Shakespeare’s “Richard III” in Cloak Theatre at 8 p.m. Feb. 20-21 and 3 and 8 p.m. Feb. 22. Info: https://www.lawrence.edu/conservatory/box_office/tickets. According to the website: The “misshapen” Duke of Gloucester seeks ultimate control of his environment as he perfects his capacity to achieve an ambitious list of ambitions, including: remove Clarence; marry Lady Ann; become Lord Protector of England; murder the young princes; marry niece; rule England forever. Along the way, the cast will speed-read 14 years into 80 minutes, “exploring how sheer will and adaptation can overcome limitations at significant personal and social cost.”

– In Menasha, University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, Fox Cities Campus Theatre will present “Shrek The Musical” in James W. Perry Theater at 7 p.m. Feb. 20-21; 1 and 7 p.m. Feb. 22; and 7 p.m. Feb. 27-29. Preview story: https://www.wearegreenbay.com/critic-at-large/warren-gerds-critic-at-large-shrek-the-musical-set-for-two-weekend-run-in-menasha/.

– In New London, Wolf River Theatrical Troupe will present Steven Dietz’s “Becky’s New Car” in Real Opportunities Outreach at 7 p.m. Feb. 20-22, 27-29. Info: wrtt.org. According to the website: Directing is Margie Brown.  Have you ever been tempted to flee your life?  Becky Foster is caught in middle age, middle management and in a middling marriage – with no prospects for change on the horizon. Then one night, a socially inept and grief-struck millionaire stumbles into the car dealership where Becky works. Becky is offered nothing short of a new life. The audience gets a chance to ride shotgun in on Becky’s twisting, turning ride. The play is a comedy with serious overtones.

– In Green Bay, Green Bay Community Theater will present William Inge’s “Bus Stop” in the troupe’s Robert Lee Brault Playhouse at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 20-21; 4 and 7:30 p.m. Feb. 22; 7:30 p.m. Feb. 26-28; 4 and 7:30 p.m. Feb. 29; and 2 p.m. March 1. Preview story: https://www.wearegreenbay.com/critic-at-large/warren-gerds-critic-at-large-noted-drama-bus-stop-opens-this-week-in-green-bay/.

– In Ashwaubenon, Resch Center will host eight performances of “Disney on Ice Presents: Big Dream.” Info: reschcenter.com. Performances are at 7 p.m. Feb. 20-21 and 11 a.m., 3 and 7 p.m. Feb. 22-23. Snapshot: Miguel aspires to be a musician and journeys through the Land of the Dead to unlock his family’s history. Moana and Maui bravely restore the stolen heart of Te Fiti. Anna and Elsa save their kingdom while the Disney Princesses inspire with stories of strength, determination and kindness.

– In Sheboygan, Sheboygan Theatre Company will present the Larry Schue comedy “The Nerd” in Leslie Johnson Theatre of Horace Mann Middle School at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 21-22; 2 p.m. Feb. 23; and 7:30 p.m. Feb. 26-29. Info: stcshows.org. According to a press release: In the cast are Emily Costa, Duncan Doherty, Daniel Hennell, Kim Koeppen, Michael Scott, Logan Winter and Timmy Wiverstad. The play centers on the comical dilemma of a young architect who is visited by a man he has never met but who saved his life in the Vietnam War. The visitor turns out to be an incredibly inept, hopelessly senseless “nerd” who out stays his welcome with a vengeance. “The Nerd” was written when Shue was playwright-in-residence at Milwaukee Repertory Theater. The play had its world premiere in Milwaukee in April 1981 with Shue in the role of the architect, Willum Cubbert. In the years since, “The Nerd” has been performed in theaters around the world, including a 1987-1988 Broadway run starring actor Mark Hammill of “Star Wars” fame. “The Nerd” is a favorite of director Owen Thompson, who once played the title role at a production in the Ivoryton Playhouse in Connecticut. Thompson, now living in Manhattan, is a veteran of the New York City theater scene. “Pretty much everything I know about theater begins with the fact that I was a professional actor for much of my life before transitioning into directing and teaching,” Thompson notes. In addition to his many stage credits, Thompson is an educator who has taught at several institutions of higher learning, including Fordham University, CUNY’s New York City College of Technology and Marymount Manhattan College, where he currently teaches script analysis.

– In Oshkosh, University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh Theatrewill present Richard Kalinoski’s “Beast on the Moon” in Experimental Theatre at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 27-29 and March 5-7 and 2 p.m. March 8. Info: https://uwosh.universitytickets.com/w/event.aspx?SeriesID=8. Directing is Kalinoski, playwright in residence at UW-Oshkosh. According to the website: Aram Tomasian is an Armenian immigrant living in 1920s Milwaukee who has escaped the massacre of 1.5 million Armenians in 1915 by the Turks in his homeland in Eastern Turkey. He wants a new start and a new family in America – to replace the family he lost to the genocide. He chooses a mail-order bride, and into his life comes an Armenian teenager, Seta, who has also escaped the vicious grip of the Ottoman Turks. The play is peppered with humor, irony and bittersweet surprise. It is a story of hope, healing, redemption and, finally, love. By 2019, “Beast on the Moon” has been translated into 20 languages and has been seen in more than 25 countries. The countries include Italy, France, Germany, Lebanon, Egypt, Estonia, Russia, Serbia, Czech Republic, Armenia, Crete, Belgium, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Bolivia, Japan, Greece, England, Puerto Rico, USA, Finland, Canada and India. More about the journey of the play: https://www.wearegreenbay.com/critic-at-large/warren-gerds-critic-at-large-extra-a-tale-of-a-uw-oshkosh-professors-play-that-keeps-on-giving/.

– In Manitowoc, The Masquers, Inc. will present Tim Firth’s comedy-drama “Calendar Girls” in Capitol Civic Centre at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 27-29. Info: cccshows.org. When Annie’s husband John dies of leukemia, she and best friend Chris resolve to raise money for a new settee in the local hospital waiting room. They manage to persuade four fellow WI members to pose nude with them for an “alternative” calendar, with a little help from hospital porter and amateur photographer Lawrence. The news of the women’s charitable venture spreads like wildfire, and hordes of press soon descend on the small village of Knapeley in the Yorkshire Dales. The calendar is a success, but Chris and Annie’s friendship is put to the test under the strain of their new-found fame. Based on the true story of eleven WI members who posed nude for a calendar to raise money for the Leukemia Research Fund. Directing is Patrick Schamburek. In the cast are Roger Bennin, Catherine Egger, Darcy Gravelle, J. Gravelle, Mary Hamachek, Chris Jenswold, Mary Kaufmann, Kathy Kowalski, Claran LaViolette, Jim Liddle, Ellen Peronto, Corrie Skubal, Dean Sleger and Ann Wolf.

– In Green Bay, University of Wisconsin-Green Bay Theatre will present Steven Dietz’ “This Random World (The Myth of Serendipity” in Jean Weidner Theatre at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 27-29 and March 4-7. Info: weidnercenter.com. Snapshot from website: Through a swirl of nearly missed connections, the play follows a series of intersecting lives: A mother determined to maintain her independence, two sisters seeking common ground, a daughter longing for adventure and a son falling prey to an internet prank gone awry. “In this funny and touching new play, playwright Steven Dietz investigates what it is to love, to lose, and be touched by the serendipity of life.”

ENDING

– In De Pere, Evergreen Productions will present its final performances of Joseph Kesselring’s “Arsenic and Old Lace” in Webb Theatre of Abbot Pennings Hall of Fine Arts at St. Norbert College 7 p.m. Feb. 20-21; and 2 and 7 p.m. Feb. 22. My review: https://www.wearegreenbay.com/critic-at-large/warren-gerds-critic-at-large-review-arsenic-and-old-lace-flows-comically-cleverly-in-de-pere/.

– In Green Bay, Let Me Be Frank Productions will present its final performances of “Hamilton, Ltd. The Musical” at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 20; 7:30 p.m. Feb. 21; and 1 and 7:30 p.m. Feb. 22 in Meyer Theatre. My review: https://www.wearegreenbay.com/community/warren-gerds-critic-at-large-review-hamilton-ltd-the-musical-a-merry-mix-of-much-in-green-bay/.

– In Appleton, Fox Cities Performing Arts Center will host a touring production of “Miss Saigon” at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 20-21; 2 and 7:30 p.m. Feb. 22; and 1 and 6:30 p.m. Feb. 23. My review: https://www.wearegreenbay.com/critic-at-large/warren-gerds-critic-at-large-review-miss-saigon-brings-intensities-of-vietnam-war-to-appleton/.

– In Oconto, The Machickanee Players will present its final performances of the Derek Benfield comedy “First Things First” at 7 p.m. Feb. 21, 6 p.m. Feb. 22 (dinner) and 1:30 p.m. Feb. 23 (dessert). My review: https://www.wearegreenbay.com/critic-at-large/warren-gerds-critic-at-large-review-no-lie-comedy-first-things-first-lives-on-lies-in-oconto/.

ON THE CONCERT SCENE

– In Appleton, Trout Museum of Art will continue its 10th season of Jazz at the Trout Thursday, Feb. 20, with trombonist Tim Albright. Info: troutmuseum.org. Opening at 6:30 p.m. will be a Lawrence University jazz trio. The series is curated by pianist/composer John Harmon and hosted by Chris Kuborn of Wisconsin Public Radio.

– In Oshkosh, University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh will host a faculty recital with Nathan Krueger, voice, and Kirsten Ihde, piano,at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 20, in Music Hall in the Arts & Communication Center. Info: uwosh.edu/music/community/calendar/.

– In De Pere, St. Norbert College will host High School Choral Festival 2020 at 4:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 21, in Walter Theatre of Abbot Pennings Hall of Fine Arts. Info: snc.edu/tickets.

In Appleton, Lawrence University will present a Faculty Reed Trio Recital with Nora Lewis, oboe; David Bell, clarinet; and Carl Rath, bassoon, at 3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 22, in Harper Hall.

– In Weyauwega, Gerold Opera House will host “Mardi Gras Bash with Copper Box” at 6 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 22. Info: wegaarts.org.

– In Algoma, Algoma Performing Arts Center will host “A Grand Night: Duets” featuring pianists Peter Nehlsen, Michael Swedberg and David Robertson at 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 22. Info: algomapac.com.

– In Fish Creek, Door Community Auditorium will host a Fireside Coffeehouse Concert with The Brother Brothers at 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 22. Info: dcauditorium.org.

– In Green Bay, Weidner Philharmonic will present “A Symphonic Night at the Movies: ‘Casablanca’” in Cofrin Family Hall of Weidner Center for the Performing Arts at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 22. Info: weidnercenter.com. A pre-show talk will be presented at 6:30 p.m. in Fort Howard Hall of the center with David Coury, director of the Green Bay Film Society and professor of humanistic studies at UWGB. The orchestra showcases UWGB music faculty and accomplished orchestral musicians who live and work in the region. Conducted by Scott Terrell, most recently conductor of the Lexington Philharmonic, the orchestra will play the lush, Oscar-nominated score by Max Steiner as Hollywood legends Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman and Paul Henreid play out the battle of love and virtue.

 – In Ellison Bay, Peninsula Music Festival Winter Fest will present its final concert of the year at 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 22, in Shepherd of the Bay Lutheran Church. Info: musicfestival.com. The concert features Stellio Trio: Yoorhi Choi, violin; Andrew Byun, cello; Hyejin Joo, piano. Yoorhi Choi is a member of the Festival Orchestra. Hyejin Joo performed in the festival’s 2019 Symphony Series. The program will be announced.

– In Appleton, Lawrence University will present a Faculty-Guest Recital with Matthew Michelic, viola; Elena Abend (of Venezuela), piano; and Orlando Pimentel (of Venezuela), clarinet, at 6 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 23, in Harper Hall.

– In Fond du Lac, Fond du Lac Concert Association will host Terry Barber Trio at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 24, in Fond du Lac Performing Arts Center. Info: http://concertassociation.net/fonddulacwi/concerts1920.cfm.

– In Oshkosh, University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh will host a faculty recital with Bruce Atwell, horn, Anna Hersey, soprano,and Kirsten Ihde, piano,at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 25, in Music Hall in the Arts & Communication Center. Info: uwosh.edu/music/community/calendar/.

– In Appleton, Lawrence University will present a Jazz Band Concert at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 26, in Memorial Chapel.

– In Fish Creek, White Gull Inn will continue its concert series with Canadian fiddler, singer and step dancer April Verch and her band at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 26. Info: whitegullinn.com. According to a press release: Verch play traditional fiddle styles from her native Ottawa Valley along with old-time American and Appalachian styles and beyond. She tours with a trio featuring acoustic guitar, bass and clawhammer banjo in addition to her vocals, fiddle and foot percussion. Verch started her full-time touring career in 2000 and has performed around the world, including festival, theater and performing arts center appearances in Canada, the United States, China, Australia, United Kingdom, Belgium, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, France, Spain, Czech Republic and the United Arab Emirates.

SOLD OUT In Green Bay, Meyer Theatre will host “Jake Owen: Down to the Tiki Tonk Acoustic Tour 2020” at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 27. Info: meyertheatre.org.

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