LAKESHORE REGIONAL NEWS: Door County, Kewaunee County, Manitowoc County, and Sheboygan County

FOX VALLEY AREA REGIONAL NEWS: Calumet County, Fond du Lac County, Outagamie County, Winnebago County

NORTHWOODS REGIONAL NEWS: Florence County, Forest County, Langlade County, Marinette County, Menominee County, Menomonie County, Oconto County,  Shawano County


WEST OF WINNEBAGO REGIONAL NEWS: Green Lake County, Marquette County, Waupaca County, Waushara County

Warren Gerds/Critic at Large: Week ahead: ‘Hamilton’ and a whole lot more buzzing on region’s stages

Critic At Large

Thirteen+ theatrical productions

Mallory Lewis and her puppet Lamb Chop will open a family series at Ashwaubenon Performing Arts Center.


Below is more information on “Nat Turner in Jerusalem” in Oshkosh and Fond du Lac, “A Night with Edgar Allan Poe” in New London, ComedyCity in Abrams, “Love, Sex & the IRS” in Shawano, “The Addams Family: A New Musical Comedy” in Sheboygan, Green Bay Improv Festival in De Pere, “Mallory Lewis & Lamb Chop” in Ashwaubenon, “Rent – 20th Anniversary Tour” in Green Bay, “Oh Boy! Buddy Holly” in Green Bay, “Do Black Patent Leather Shoes Really Reflect Up?” in Tisch Mills, “Hamilton: An American Musical” in Appleton, “Frank Fontaine’s Bandstand USA” in Green Bay, “George Washington’s Teeth” in Fish Creek, “Tomfoolery” in Sturgeon Bay, “Dad’s Season Tickets” in Fish Creek… performances involving Tech N9ne, Brooklyn Rider, Carol Rosing, Civic Symphony of Green Bay, Sheboygan Symphony, Big Mouth and the Power Tool Horns, “Ghost: The Ultimate Tour Named Death,” Heritage Week Sacred Music Concert, Phil Pierick and Kurt Galvin, Chicken Wire Empire… news about Dudley Birder Chorale, Lakeshore Wind Ensemble, UWGB Lawton Gallery, Mike Gallagher and Anne Horak.


– In Oshkosh and Fond du Lac, University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh Theatre will present the Nathan Alan Davis drama “Nat Turner in Jerusalem” at 7:30 Oct. 3-5 and 2 p.m. Oct. 6 in Fredric March Theatre at UW-Oshkosh and at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 10-12 in Prairie Theatre, UW-Oshkosh, Fond du Lac Campus. Preview story:

– In New London, Wolf River Theatrical Troupe will present “A Night with Edgar Allan Poe” at 7 p.m. Oct. 3-4, 2 p.m. Oct. 5 and 7 p.m. Oct. 10-12. Preview story:

– In Abrams, Abrams Spotlight Productions will host ComedyCity of greater Green Bay for an evening of improvisational theater at 7 p.m. Oct. 4. Info:

– In Shawano, Box in the Wood Theatre Guild will present six performances of the comedy “Love, Sex & the IRS” starting this week in Mielke Theatre. Performances are at 7 p.m. Oct. 4-5, 2 p.m. Oct. 6, 7 p.m. Oct. 11-12 and 2 p.m. Oct. 13. Info: According to the website: Written by Billy Van Zandt and Jane Milmore, the play is the story of Jon and Kate, who are engaged to be married in two weeks. Kate, however, has been having an affair (but without sex – that’s for after marriage) with Jon’s roommate and best friend, Leslie. Since Jon had a reputation back in college for jealous rages, Leslie hesitates to tell him of their infidelity. Besides, there is also the matter of Connie, Leslie’s girlfriend. Also, unbeknownst to Leslie, Jon, a chronically underemployed musician, in an attempt to make ends meet, has been claiming a tax exemption using Leslie as his wife. Now a representative from the IRS wants to come and audit their returns. In addition, Jon and Leslie live in an apartment building that does not permit unmarried couples and is run by a nosy landlord who keeps an eye out for live-in females. And then Jon’s mother unexpectedly comes for a visit to help out before the wedding. In classic farcical style, Leslie masquerades as a housewife, aided by Jon’s fiancée, Kate, to fool the IRS agent. 

– In Sheboygan, Sheboygan Theatre Company will open its 86th season with “The Addams Family: A New Musical Comedy.” Performances in Leslie W. Johnson Theatre of Horace Mann Middle School are at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 4-5, 2 p.m. Oct. 6 and 7:30 p.m. Oct. 9-12. Preview story:

– In De Pere, The Green Room will host the 8th annual Green Bay Improv Festival this weekend. Info: According to a press release: A note that any festival performance may contain adult language, content or themes. Oct. 4, 7:30 p.m. – The Backlot Comedy House, Oshkosh. The in-house troupe consists of teachers, social media managers and sales people by day, actors by night. Flower Shop Bangers, Chicago. Ill. The troupe met while participating in the Gorilla Tango Theater Improv Zoo. RadioOctave, Kansas City, Mo. The troupe has performed for the Kansas City Improv Festival, Omaha Improv Festival and the Compass Improv Festival in St Louis, Mo., and in frequent shows in Kansas City. Oct. 4, 9:30 p.m. – ComedyCity, De Pere, the festival host. ComedyCity is a troupe of improvisational comedy performers that feature four shows each week. Because it’s improvisation, you never see the same show twice. ComedyCity is the longest running comedy club in Northeastern Wisconsin, performing in and around the area for more than 30 years. Bad Spiders, Minneapolis, Minn. This young married couple has slightly more experience doing long-form improv than they have sharing a last name. Their first performance was in 2018, on the eve of their first wedding anniversary. During their set, they use the meaning of an audience member’s name to deeply examine the elements of relationships, and then starburst those elements into a kaleidoscope of chemistry-filled chaos. Playtime with Patrick & Preston, Chicago, Ill. Two-person improv. jorts!, Minneapolis, Minn. A long-form improv trio that formed in 2014. Oct. 5, 7:30 p.m. – OMG Improv, Des Plaines, Ill. Since its inception in 2011, the troupe has showcased unapologetic “short form” games similar to those seen on the hit show “Whose Line is it Anyway.” The has performed on such stages in Chicago as Judy’s Beat Lounge at The Second City, The Annoyance, The Playground, Comedy Sportz and Laugh Out Loud Theatre. Liquor & Sweatpants, Green Bay. The two “will take you on a journey of sight and sound as they explore the challenges of life on the road and your everyday world. Murder Clown, Minneapolis, Minn. Butch Roy and Erin Kennedy take the audience on a journey that quickly moves from bad to worse, all while exploring how the most seemingly harmless things have the potential to become our greatest fear. Oct. 5, 9:30 p.m. – Tim & Mike Rule the World, Los Angeles, Calif. Longtime friends and improvisers, Tim Stoltenberg (Second City Touring Group, NBC’s “Chicago Fire” and USA’s “Sirens”) and Mike Eserkaln (author, ComedyCity creative director, Beer and Board Games, Cardboard Theatre) bring their wealth of improv experience to the festival. Hot Fries, Chicago, Ill. Performing together for three years, Hot Fries “takes on the challenge of bringing an audience members’ memorable day to the stage through an onslaught of mis-directions.” “ANARCHY: an Improvised Rock Opera,” Chicago, Ill. “ANARCHY” is a completely sung, completely improvised rock opera. Organ Donors, Green Bay. This is a select feature set of the 2019 festival talent and instructors.

– In Ashwaubenon, Ashwaubenon Performing Arts Center will host “Mallory Lewis & Lamb Chop” as part of its family series at 2 p.m. Oct. 5. Info: The show is a continuation of a legacy started by Mallory Lewis’ mother, Shari Lewis, who was a puppeteer, ventriloquist, dancer, musician, author, storyteller and actress. Shari Lewis’ famed puppet, Lamb Chop, was introduced to a large audience on TV’s popular children’s show, “Captain Kangaroo.” Shari Lewis’s PBS show “Lamb Chop’s Playalong” which won five Daytime Emmys between 1992-1995. Mallory Lewis was very much part of her mother’s life as producer and co-writer of “Lamb Chop’s Playalong.” After Shari Lewis died in 1998, Mallory Lewis brought Lamb Chop back to the spotlight. She has since appeared with Lamb Chop at thousands of venues around the world. Intended for audiences of all ages, “Mallory Lewis & Lamb Chop” is a trip down memory lane. In a 1996 interview with me, Shari Lewis spoke of Mallory: “The minute she was born, I put Lamb Chop into the crib with her, so she believes in Lamb Chop in a very different way. Lamb Chop is her sister.”

– In Green Bay, Weidner Center for the Performing Arts will host the musical “Rent – 20th Anniversary Tour” at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 9. Info: In 1996, the original rock musical by a little-known composer Jonathan Larson opened on Broadway and changed the landscape of American theater. “Rent” continues to speak loudly and defiantly to audiences across generations. A re-imagining of Giacomo Puccini’s “La Bohème,” the show follows an unforgettable year in the lives of seven artists struggling to follow their dreams without selling out. Its message is of joy and hope in the face of fear as it celebrates friendship, creativity and love. The show’s famous song is “Seasons of Love.”

– In Black Creek, Daddy D Productions show troupe of Green Bay will present “Those Were the Days” Oct. 10 (6 p.m. dinner, 7 p.m. show) at Romy’s Nitingale as a benefit for the Rural Health Initiative. Info:


– In Green Bay, Daddy D Productions will present its final performance of “Oh Boy! Buddy Holly” Oct. 3 (dinner 6 p.m., show 7 p.m.) at Riverside Ballroom. My review:

– In Tisch Mills, The Forst Inn Arts Collective will present its final performances of “Do Black Patent Leather Shoes Really Reflect Up?” at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 3-5. Info: Here is my review of the 2018 production (realizing some things have changed):


– In Appleton, Fox Cities Performing Arts Center is hosting a touring production of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s sensational “Hamilton: An American Musical” to Oct. 20. A local feature story:

– In Green Bay, Let Me Be Frank Productions show troupe of Green Bay is continuing its run of “Frank Fontaine’s Bandstand USA” as its 20th anniversary show at the Meyer Theatre. Performances continue to Oct. 12 in Green Bay, with another performance Oct. 23 in Manitowoc. My review:

– In Fish Creek, Peninsula Players Theatre is presenting the Midwest premiere of the Mark St. Germain comedy “George Washington’s Teeth” in the company’s Theatre in a Garden. Performances to Oct. 20 are at 7 p.m. Tuesdays-Sundays except 3 p.m. Sept. 29 and Oct. 20. My review:

– In Sturgeon Bay, Third Avenue Playhouse is presenting “Tomfoolery,” the words and music of Tom Lehrer, to Oct. 20 at 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays-Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays. My review:

– In Fish Creek, Northern Sky Theater is presenting the world premiere of the Matt Zembrowski musical comedy “Dad’s Season Tickets” Mondays-Saturdays to Oct. 26 in the new Barbara and Spencer Gould Theater. My review: Additional performances are 10 a.m. Oct. 11, 1 p.m. Oct. 16 and 10 a.m. Oct. 25. The public may join Door County high school students at the 10 a.m. performances if seats remain. Each 10 a.m. performance will be followed by a short talk back with the author, Matt Zembrowski, or the company’s artistic directors. Additionally, the company scheduled an open house opportunity following the performance Oct. 14.


– In Oshkosh, Menominee Nation Arena will host Tech N9ne at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 4. Info:

– In Appleton, Lawrence University will host the string quartet Brooklyn Rider as part of its Artist Series and New Music Series at 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 4, in Memorial Chapel. The group will perform its new project, “Healing Modes.” According to the website: The healing properties of music have been recognized from ancient Greek civilization to the field of modern neuroscience and expressed in countless global traditions. The slow movement of Ludwig van Beethoven’s “Opus 132, a ‘Song of Holy Thanksgiving From a Convalescent to the Deity in the Lydian mode’,” is among the most profound expressions of healing in the string quartet repertoire. This autumnal masterwork is presented in its entirety alongside five compact new commissions which explore the subject of healing from a wide range of historical and cultural perspectives. Composers include Reena Esmail, Gabriela Lena Frank, Matana Roberts and recent Pulitzer Prize winners Caroline Shaw and Du Yun.

– In Oshkosh, University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh Music will present a faculty recital with Carol Rosing, bassoon, at 1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 5, in Music Hall in the Arts & Communication Center. Info:

– In Green Bay, Civic Symphony of Green Bay will open present “Season Opener with Beethoven & Lalo” at 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 5, in the Meyer Theatre. Preview story:

– In Sheboygan, Sheboygan Symphony Orchestra will open its season with “Triumphs” at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 5, in Weill Center for the Performing Arts. Info: and Conducted by Kevin McMahon, the program: John Paul Corigliano, “Promenade Overture;” Francis Poulenc, “Concerto for Two Pianos” with guest artists Diana Shapiro and Stanislava Varshavski in an inaugural performance on the Bemis Steinway & Sons Model C Grand Piano; and Igor Stravinsky, “Petrushka.”

– In Fish Creek, Door Community Auditorium will host Big Mouth and the Power Tool Horns as part of the Blues, Roots and American Stories Fest at 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 5. Tributes to Ray Charles and other blues favorites featuring Jay Whitney, Rick Piumbroeck and vocalist Woody Mankowski. Info:

– In Ashwaubenon, Resch Center will host “Ghost: The Ultimate Tour Named Death” at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 7. Info:

– In De Pere, St. Norbert College will present its Heritage Week Sacred Music Concert at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 8, in Dudley Birder Hall. Admission is free. A lecture will follow at 7 p.m.: “The Lost Women of Premontre: Finding and Following in the Footsteps of Medieval Women” presented by Yvonne Seale, assistant professor of history, SUNY Geneseo.

– In Oshkosh, University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh Music will host a guest recital with Phil Pierick, saxophone, and Kurt Galvin, piano, at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 8, in Music Hall in the Arts & Communication Center. Info:

– In Sheboygan, Weill Center for the Performing Arts will host a Backstage Pass event with Chicken Wire Empire at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 10. Info:


– In De Pere, The Dudley Birder Chorale of St. Norbert College announced its 2019-20 season of four concerts: All Saints & Veterans Day Concert, Oct. 25 at 7 p.m., Walter Theatre; “Holiday Pops,” Dec. 20 at 7:30 p.m. and Dec. 21 at 2:30 p.m., Weidner Center; “Mozart Masterworks,” March 20 at 7 p.m., Weidner Center; and “America Sings XV,” May 8 at 7:30 p.m. and May 9 at 2 p.m., Walter Theatre. Info:    The All Saints & Veterans Day Concert and America Sings XV Concert will be held at the Walter Theatre on the St. Norbert College campus. The Holiday Pops Concert and Mozart Masterworks Concert will be held at the Weidner Center for the Performing Arts on the UW-Green Bay campus. Tickets can be purchased at Led by Kent Paulsen, artistic director, the chorale is a 150-voice community choir entering its 46th season.

– In Manitowoc, the Lakeshore Wind Ensemble announced its 2019-2020 season and guest artists. According to a press release: Members of the University of Wisconsin Green Bay, Manitowoc Campus Lakeshore Wind Ensemble (conductor Prof. Marc Sackman) and the Lakeshore Big Band, (Paul Sucherman, conductor) are marking the ensemble’s 36th concert season. Performances are at Capitol Civic Centre and start at 7:30 p.m. on Saturdays except where noted. The schedule: Oct. 19 – Featured is the music of Ralph Vaughan Williams and other masters of music of the mid-20th century. Lawrence University professor of tuba Marty Erickson will perform Vaughan Willams’ “Concerto for Tuba” and “English Folk Song Suite” and “Flourish for Wind Band.” Also on the program are works by Bela Bartok, Vincent Persichetti and Paul Hindemith. Friday, Nov. 1 – The program is music of romance, love found and lost. Guests are invited to bring someone they love and share such songs as “My Romance,” “Isn’t It Romantic” and “Fever.” Aerialist Linda DiRaimondo will wow guests as she performs above the stage. Guest for the evening is the Manitowoc Roncalli High School Jazz Band. Dec. 7 – The Lakeshore Wind Ensemble hosts its traditional Festival of Christmas with holiday favorites including “The Saints’ Hallelujah” and David Bourgeois narrating “T’was the Night Before Christmas.”  Joining is the Festival of Christmas Children’s Choir. The program is narrated by WFRV-TV anchorman Tom Zalaski. Jan. 18 – Featured is music of Vienna and the Strauss family, including “Overture from Fledermaus,” “Kaiserwaltz,” “Thunder and Lightning Polka” and “Radetzky March.” The Lakeshore Big Band will play “Anything Goes!” and the audience will be treated to tunes from the big band era with movie music. Vocalists David Bourgeois and Kim Hofmann will join the band on “Somewhere Out There.” Guest conductor Chris Woller will share a trumpet solo with the band on Roy Eldridge’s “Rockin’ Chair.” March 7 – Featured is music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and performances by the winners of the Lakeshore Wind Ensemble Association Young Artist Competition. April 4 – “Spring Fever” is the theme as the ensemble offers “Stormy Weather,” “Blue Skies,” “Here’s That Rainy Day” and “I’ll Remember April.” Joining is the Manitowoc Lincoln High School Jazz Band. May 2 – The Capitol Civic Center Community Chorale directed by Jim and Susie Miller will offer a celebration of our nation. Info on performances and scholarship program:


– In Green Bay, University of Wisconsin-Green Bay Lawton Gallery will host “ZAM: Oscar Ly”Oct. 10-Oct. 31, with an opening reception 4:30-6:30 p.m. Oct. 10. According to a press release: The exhibition in the gallery in Theatre Hall is of contemporary fashion inspired from traditional Hmong patterns and clothing by Hmong French American fashion artist Oscar Ly. The exhibition features selections ranging from conceptual fashion art to wearable arts. Inspired by Hmong couture aesthetics, these works are rooted in traditions and yet they are energized by creating new futures.

– In Green Bay, Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.) married actress Anne Horak, a Green Bay native, Sept. 28. Horak, who performed on Broadway in the premiere run of “Irving Berlin’s A White Christmas The Musical,” has been acting since childhood. The daughter of Richard and Ellen Horak, she has been seen locally by audiences of Notre Dame Academy productions, St. Norbert College Music Theatre, Performers Workshop, Evergreen Productions and Green Bay School of Dance. In an interview with me, she once said, “I remember when the touring production of ‘Crazy for You’ came through the Weidner Center when I was in grade school, and I thought, ‘That’s what I want to do’.” As a child, she performed in two productions of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” with St. Norbert College Music Theatre. She is a graduate of the University of Michigan.

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