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Warren Gerds/Critic at Large: Week ahead: The surge of seasonal shows is still on in our region

Critic At Large

Two 'Nutcracker' ballets

Scene from previous production of “Jean Wolfmeyer’s The Nutcracker” (Troupe photo)

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV)

Below is more information on “Daddy D’s Christmas” in Ashwaubenon, Manitowoc and Green Bay, “A Christmas Carol” in Oshkosh, “The Eight: Reindeer Monologues” in Sheboygan, “Christmas with the Knights on Broadway: Finding Hope” in De Pere, “A Tuna Christmas” in Sturgeon Bay, “Sister’s Christmas Catechism: The Mystery of Magi’s Gold” in Brussels, “Get Dancing” in Sheboygan, “The Nutcracker” in Sheboygan, “Something’s Rotten in the State of Denmark in Baileys Harbor, “Jean Wolfmeyer’s The Nutcracker” in Manitowoc, “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” in New London, “Holidays on Ice” in Baileys Harbor, “Snowed In” in Manitowoc, “A Rogue Family Christmas” in Sturgeon Bay, “The Phantom of the Opera” in Appleton, “A Christmas Carol: The Musical” in De Pere, “It’s a Wonderful Life” in Sheboygan, “FrUiTCaKes” in De Pere, “Elf The Musical Jr.” in Abrams,  “It’s a Wonderful Life, A Live Radio Play” in Port Washingon, “A Frank’s Christmas” in Green Bay… performances involving The OK Factor, Capitol Civic Centre Community Chorale, “Mistletoe Musings,” “Christmas by the Bay,” Academy of Music Girl Choir, Clipper City Chordsmen, Sheboygan Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, Oshkosh Area Community Band, Allouez Village Band, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, John Kelley, Steve March-Tormé… news of René Auberjonois.

ARRIVING

– In Ashwaubenon, Manitowoc and Green Bay, Daddy D Productions show troupe of Green Bay will present variations of “Daddy D’s Christmas” in various venues. Info: daddydproductions.com. Places and dates: Ashwaubenon (Stadium View, Dec. 12 (sold out), 13, 14 (sold out), Manitowoc, (Dec. 17), Green Bay (Riverside Ballroom, Dec. 18-21), Ashwaubenon (PAC, Dec. 22).

– In Oshkosh, Timber Mill Theatre will present a dinner theater presentation of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” Dec. 12-14 (6:30 p.m. dinner, 7:15 p.m. dessert and show arrival, 7:30 p.m. show) at Becket’s, 2 Jackson St. Info: timbermilltheatre.com. Professional performers act, dance and sing as they tell the tale of the penny-pinching Ebenezer Scrooge as he is led on a journey to rediscover the meaning of the Christmas season.

– In Sheboygan, Sheboygan Theatre Company Studio Players will present Jeff Goode’s “The Eight: Reindeer Monologues” at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 12-14 in Paradigm Coffee and Music. Info: stcshows.org. According to a press release: The production is intended for a mature audience and is not recommended for children. Scandal erupts at the North Pole when one of Santa’s reindeer accuses him of sexual harassment. As mass media descends upon the event, the other members of the sleigh team demand to share their perspectives and a horrific tale of corruption and toxic masculinity emerges. With each deer’s confession, the truth behind the shocking allegations become clearer and clearer and seem to implicate everyone from the littlest elf to the tainted Saint himself. The Studio Players’ production features Randy Stache as Dasher, Devin Bayer as Comet, Leah Bischoff as Dancer, Levi Kohlmann as Hollywood (Prancer), Alyssa Mares as Cupid, Karen Quicker as Blitzen, Ty Wesley as Donner and Nanette Bulebosh as Vixen. The production is not for the faint of heart. Sheboygan native Hilarie Mukavitz is making her directing debut. Mukavitz says, “Since the era of the court jester, comedy has helped us face difficult truths. The magic of the laugh is it gets past our defenses, and we find ourselves thinking about and talking about some of the darker aspects of our society and ourselves. This is the darkest of dark comedies, with frank discussions about sexual assault, corruption and toxic masculinity. Prepare to be entertained, and prepare to be thinking about the ideas for a long time afterwards.” Mukavitz was most recently co-producer and playwright for the annual MadCap 24 Hour Theater Festival (Mad Yarn Theatre). In 2017, Mukavitz published her American history audiobook “Game Changers, Caretakers and Dunderheads” featuring local actors playing the American presidents.

– In De Pere, Knights on Broadway of St. Norbert College show troupe will present “Christmas with the Knights on Broadway: Finding Hope” in Dudley Birder Hall at 7 p.m. Dec. 12-13; 1 (sold out) and 6:30 p.m. Dec. 14; 6:30 p.m. Dec. 15; and 7 p.m. Dec. 17. The production is cabaret style musical theater with songs of the season. Included are contemporary versions of “O Come All Ye Faithful,” “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” and “Angels We Have Heard on High.” Individual singers are featured in such standards as “What Child Is This?” and “Whatever Happened to Christmas?” made famous by Frank Sinatra.

– In Sturgeon Bay, Third Avenue Playhouse will present the Ed Howard, Joe Sears and Jaston Williams comedy “A Tuna Christmas” Dec. 12-31 (7:30 p.m. Wednesdays-Saturdays, 2 p.m. Sundays) in the playhouse’s Studio Theatre. Preview story: https://www.wearegreenbay.com/critic-at-large/warren-gerds-critic-at-large-a-tuna-christmas-set-for-14-performances-in-sturgeon-bay/.

– In Brussels, Southern Door Community Auditorium will host the touring “Sister’s Christmas Catechism: The Mystery of Magi’s Gold” at 7 p.m. Dec. 13. Info: southerndoorauditorium.org. Employing her own scientific tools, assisted by a local choir as well as a gaggle of audience members, Sister creates a living nativity unlike any other. The show is by “Late Night Catechism” creator Maripat Donovan, with Marc Silva and Jane Morris.

– In Sheboygan, John Michael Kohler Arts Center will host “Get Dancing” at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 13. Info: jmkac.org. According to the website: The performance is an adaptation of “get dancing,” a program that Catherine Galasso created with Andy de Groat for Danspace Project. The program is composed of one original work by Galasso, “notes on de groat,” and “Get Wreck” and “Fan Dance,” two de Groat works that will feature Sheboygan community members.

– In Appleton, Makaroff Youth Ballet will present “The Nutcracker” in Stansbury Theatre of Lawrence University at 7 p.m. Dec. 13, 4 p.m. Dec. 14 and 1 p.m. Dec. 15. Info: makaroffyouthballet.org. The company is under the artistic guidance of Jeannette Makaroff. Snapshot: Be part of a Victorian Christmas party visited by Uncle Drosselmeyer, who presents Clara with her Nutcracker. Dolls come to life and Clara’s brother, Fritz, causes mischief. Once Clara falls asleep, her vivid dream includes a battle of mischievous mice and toy soldiers, a blizzard of ballerinas and a journey that takes Clara and her prince to fascinating, faraway lands.

– In Baileys Harbor, Door Shakespeare Youth Theatre will present Joseph Wallace’s “Something’s Rotten in the State of Denmark” in Vall Hall of Bjorklunden at 7 p.m. Dec. 13-14 and 2 p.m. Dec. 15. Info: doorshakespeare.com. Admission is free, with donations accepted. According to a newsletter: The play follows young actor Tom, who, is utterly exhausted from playing the title role in “Hamlet,” closes his eyes for just a minute and opens the audiences eyes to a dreamed-up version of William Shakespeare’s masterpiece. Uncle Claudius can’t seem to remember anyone’s name, and the ghost of Hamlet’s father exhibits multiple personalities reminiscent of other famous literary phantoms. This is a comedy, from the mysterious council of rabbits to Hamlet covering up Polonius’ death with ventriloquism. Amy Ensign, Door Shakespeare’s managing director, directs this cast: Beatrix Dramm, Director/Player 2; Dalena Pakalske, Queen Gertrude; Theresa Kaiser, Polonius/Laertes; Briana Braganz, Ophelia; Scout Feldman, Tom/Hamlet; Molly Hall, Fortinbras/Ghost/Player 1; Brynleigh Ash, Francisco/Lady/Player 4; Delaney Skiba, Fairie/Rabbit/William Shakespeare; Rylan Locke, Marcellus/Child; Cade Marit, Horatio; Leeland Hubers, Referee/Player 3; Miya Nell, Bernardo; Madison Tlachac, King Claudius; and Calla Rose Defere, Messenger.

– In Manitowoc, Capitol Civic Centre will host “Jean Wolfmeyer’s The Nutcracker” at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 13 and 3:30 p.m. Dec. 14-15. Info: cccshows.org. This is the 44th annual production presented by Wolfmeyer, 90. According to the website: It is Christmas Eve in a small European town. As the curtain rises, the hallway of the home of the wealthy Dr. Stahlbaum and his wife. Their children, Clara and Fritz, are anxiously peeking through the keyhole of the door leading to the parlor. Inside, the parents are putting finishing touches to the tree and arranging presents. There is to be a party, and soon their cousins and friends begin to arrive with their parents. All rejoice in the large, lighted tree. During the evening’s festivities, the children open presents, play games and dance. The last to arrive is Herr Drosselmeyer, an eccentric but kindly old man who is also Clara’s godfather. Accompanying him is his handsome nephew and protege. Herr Drosselmeyer is a mysterious man, a magician and a marvelous inventor of moving toys. He brings with him life-size mechanical dolls to entertain the children. Then, Drosselmeyer produces still another gift “for you,” he says to Clara. “He is a Nutcracker.” Thus the 44-year tradition begins. “Not only is the production spectacular, but it is, truly, amazing that Jean continues as artist director of this beautiful holiday show,” says Lori Kirby, marketing director of the center. “And, she remains as hands-on and vibrant as always. It’s quite a magical story, indeed.”

– In New London, Wolf River Theatrical Troupe will present Joseph Robinette adaptation of the C.S. Lewis story “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” at 7 p.m. Dec. 13-14; 2 p.m. Dec. 15; and 7 p.m. Dec. 18 and 20-21 in Real Opportunities Outreach. Info: wrtt.org. Snapshot: Four young English siblings are sent to live in the country with eccentric Professor Kirke to escape the bombings during World War II. Bored, the children explore a huge house. Lucy, the youngest, finds a huge wardrobe. Lucy steps inside and discovers the wardrobe to be a gateway to a magical land called Narnia. Directing are Chris Renner and John Zhang. Cast members include Jenna Beckman as Peter, Trae Young-Procknow as Edmond, Thressa Voight as Lucy, Anastasia Miles as Susan, Carolyn Brent as Elf and adult Lucy, Travis Voight as Ulf and adult Peter, Dorie Attoe as the White Witch, Trevor Bohringer as Father Christmas and adult Edmond, Marisol Hernandez as Queen’s minion, Mia McCartney as Tumnus, Ruby McCartney as Dwarf, Mauricio Hernandez as Centaur, Halle Peterson as the White Stage, Cougar, Kathryn Tiegs as Unicorn, Shelby Ice as adult Susan, Wood Nymph, Cindy Bohringer as Mrs. Beaver, Jim Sexton as Aslan and Darrien Renner as Mr. Beaver.

– In Baileys Harbor, Michael Stebbins, producing artistic director of Door Shakespeare, will present selected essays from David Sedaris’ “Holidays on Ice” as part of a holiday party at 7 p.m. Monday, Dec. 16, in Bjorklunden Lodge. Info: doorshakespeare.com.

– In Manitowoc, MantyDance will present the “Snowed In” at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 18. Info: cccshows.org. Dances are set to winter holiday movie songs. Santa will be in the lobby.

– In Sturgeon Bay, Rogue Theater will present “A Rogue Family Christmas” as dinner theater Dec. 19 (The White Birch Inn), 20 (Union Supper Pub) and 21 (Prince of Peace Church). Info: (920) 818-0816. The performance includes comedy skits, seasonal music, “a little Lambeau fun” and improvisational comedy.

ENDING

– In Appleton, Fox Cities Performing Arts Center will host the final performances of the touring production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “The Phantom of the Opera”at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 12-13; 2 and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 14; and 1 and 6:30 p.m. Dec. 15. My review: https://www.wearegreenbay.com/critic-at-large/warren-gerds-critic-at-large-review-the-phantom-of-the-opera-formidable-as-ever-in-appleton/.

– In De Pere, Birder Players will present its final performances of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol: The Musical” in Broadway Theatre at 7 p.m. Dec. 12-13 and 1 p.m. Dec. 14. My review: https://www.wearegreenbay.com/critic-at-large/warren-gerds-critic-at-large-review-a-christmas-carol-the-musical-keeps-on-ticking-in-de-pere/.

– In Sheboygan, Sheboygan Theatre Company will present its final performances of the James Rodgers adaptation of the film classic “It’s a Wonderful Life” in Leslie W. Johnson Theatre of Horace Mann Middle School at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 12-14. My review: https://www.wearegreenbay.com/critic-at-large/warren-gerds-critic-at-large-review-sheboygan-cast-captures-spirit-of-its-a-wonderful-life/.

– In De Pere, Evergreen Productions will present its final performances the Julian Wiles comedy “FrUiTCaKes” in Webb Theatre of Abbot Pennings Hall of Fine Arts at St. Norbert College at 7 p.m. Dec. 12-13 and 2 and 7 p.m. Dec. 14. My review: https://www.wearegreenbay.com/critic-at-large/warren-gerds-critic-at-large-review-fruitcakes-blends-warm-fuzzies-comedy-meaning-in-de-pere/.

– In Abrams, Abrams Spotlight Productions will present its final performances of “Elf The Musical Jr.” at 7 p.m. Dec. 13, 1 and 7 p.m. Dec. 14; and 1 p.m. Dec. 15. Info: abramsspotlightproductions.com. The show is based on the 2003 film and features songs by Matthew Sklar and Chad Beguelin and a book by Thomas Meehan and Bob Martin. Story: A young orphan mistakenly crawls into Santa’s bag of gifts and is transported to the North Pole. The would-be elf is given the name Buddy and raised by elves in the North Pole. Buddy lives happily unaware that he is actually a human until his enormous size and poor toy-making abilities cause him to face the truth. With Santa’s permission, Buddy embarks on a journey to New York City to find his birth father and discover his true identity. Faced with the harsh reality that his father is on the naughty list, and his stepbrother doesn’t even believe in Santa, Buddy is determined to win over his new family and help New York remember the true meaning of the holidays. Featured as Buddy is Bella Frank. She will be joined by KK Blau, Kael Richard James, Myah Jane Mlnarik, Natalie Pera, Paityn Keller, Nick Blaser, Brynna Moody, Lauren Herison, Emma Ronk, Brady Cox, Sophia Wonz, Sadie Smith, Faith Marquardt, Sydney Surber, Ashlynn Vanderheyden, Cora Heinecke, Mary Peterson, Hailey Marquardt, Jaycie Norman, Hannah Nicholson, Darcin Wright, Eden Kuchta, Alexa Samsa, Maria Ronk, Sawyer Norman. The youth-driven production staff includes Jr. director Sydney Surber; Jr. production coordinator Ellie Finger, Jr. stage manager Allie Brehmer and Jr. choreographer Bella Frank. The Young @ Heart production staff includes director Liz Jolly, production coordinator Ali Carlson and choreographer Debra Jolly.

– In Port Washington, Memories Ballroom will present its final performances of “It’s a Wonderful Life, A Live Radio Play” Dec. 13-15. Info: memoriesballroom.com. The story is adapted by Joe Landry, with music by Kevin Conners.

ONGOING

– In Green Bay, Let Me Be Frank Productions of continue its performances of its 20th annual “A Frank’s Christmas” in Meyer Theatre. My review: https://www.wearegreenbay.com/critic-at-large/warren-gerds-critic-at-large-review-year-20-for-a-franks-christmas-in-green-bay-a-keeper-too/.

ON THE CONCERT SCENE

– In Sheboygan, Weill Center for the Performing Arts will host The OK Factor as a Backstage Pass event at 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 12. Info: weillcenter.com.

– In Manitowoc, Capitol Civic Centre Community Chorale will present its second and final performance of its “Coolest Coast Chorale Concert” at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 12, in University Theatre of Lakeside Hall of University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, Manitowoc Campus. Info: cccshows.org.

– In Tisch Mills, The Forst Inn Arts Collective will present its final performances of its new edition of “Mistletoe Musings” cabaret show with area performers at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 12-13. Info: forstinn.com.

– In Green Bay, newVoices choir will present “Christmas at the Cathedral: Light of the World”at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 13, in St. Francis Xavier Cathedral. Info: newvoiceschoir.org.

– In Marinette, UW-Marinette Children’s Theatre will present the third annual “Christmas by the Bay”concert featuring local singing talent and First Street Academy of Dance at 7 p.m. Friday-Saturday, Dec. 13-14, and 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 15, at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, Marinette Campus. Info:

– In Appleton, Lawrence University will host the Academy of Music Girl Choir in “Yuletide Carols” at 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14, in Memorial Chapel. Info: lawrence.edu.conservatory/box_office.

– In Manitowoc, Clipper City Chordsmen barbershop chorus will present “Da Yooper Who Stole Christmas!” at 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14, in Endries Performance Hall on the campus of Holy Family College. Info: clippercitychordsmen.org. Performing along with the chorus and chapter quartets is Vintage Mix, a champion quartet.

– In Sheboygan, the Sheboygan Symphony Orchestra and Chorus will present a sing-along of George Frideric Handel’s “Messiah” for the first time at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14. Info: weillcenter.com.

– In Oshkosh, Oshkosh Area Community Band will present the 34th annual “Christmas Sing” at 7 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 15, in The Grand Oshkosh. Info: thegrandoshkosh.org. Performing are the band directed by David Bernt, Oshkosh North High School Madrigal Singers directed by Bridget Duffy-Ulrich, Lourdes High School Madrigal Singers directed by Julie Ringlien and Oshkosh West High School Madrigal Singers directed by Bethany Meyer.

– In Green Bay, the 80-member Allouez Village Band will present “Hooked on a Feeling… Wonder and Delight!” at 7 p.m. Monday, Dec. 16, in Cofrin Family Hall of the Weidner Center for the Performing Arts at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. Admission is free, with donations accepted. According to a press release: Prior to the concert, the band’s annual collection for Paul’s Pantry will be held in the lobby. Boxed and canned goods accepted. This is one of the larger collections of the year for Paul’s Pantry, which in 2019 marks its 35th anniversary of service to the community. “We’ve planned a very special evening of music,” said Mike Ajango, director of the all-volunteer band. Also leading the band on several selections will be Paul Oleksy, associate director. “We will be joined by two outstanding vocalists, Kaara McHugh and Ben Olejniczak,” Ajango said. “They just completed their run with Play-by-Play Theatre in Green Bay of ‘The Gift of the Magi’ and are looking forward to an evening of singing some of your Christmas favorites.” The evening begins with the rousing “Hark, the Herald Angels Sing” with vocalists McHugh and Olejniczak leading the audience in song. Both recently completed master’s degrees in vocal pedagogy from Boston Conservatory and are widely known in the music community locally. The couple also recently married. Olejniczak is a teacher at Green Bay East High School and is also a musical theater teacher. One of his students recently made it to the second round of auditions for NBC’s “The Voice.” Soprano McHugh has performed throughout New England and in Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic and France. Along with being a teacher, she manages the social media and marketing for Studio 12, a Green Bay music instruction and performing arts studio. “Away in a Manger” and “Ave Maria” will be sung by McHugh. Olejniczak will perform “Gesu Bambino.” During “Holiday Favorites,” the two will perform “Let It Snow,”  “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” “Silver Bells” and “Frosty the Snowman.” The audience sing-a-long led by the vocalists includes “Angels We Have Heard on High,” “I Saw Three Ships” and “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.” McHugh and Olejniczak will also perform “The Little Drummer Boy,” which was arranged by Ajango, and “Auld Lang Syne.” The band will also perform “Festive Fanfare for the Holidays,” “Chanukah Collage,” “Christmas Sketches (Fantasy on Good King Wenceslas),” “Celtic Carol,” “Toboggan Ride” and “Santa Claus is Coming to Town.” Ajango said, “It’s going to be a fun evening. Santa and I have been texting, and it looks like he will be able to make it to the concert.” The band performs free concerts the third Monday of the month September to December and February to May. The next concert will be Feb. 17 at the Meyer Theatre featuring the Allouez Village Big Band in an evening of big band and jazz music. Info: allouezband.org.

– In Chilton, Endries Performing Arts Center will host the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra presenting “Hometown Holiday Pops” at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 18. Info: endriespac.com.

– In Ashwaubenon, Ashwaubenon Performing Arts Center will host “John Kelley & the Fusion Xpress Orchestra-FXO: A Not So Silent Night” at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 19. Info: ashwaubeonpac.org.

 – In Appleton, Trout Museum of Art will continue its 10th season of Jazz at the Trout Thursday, Dec. 19, with vocalist “Steve March-Tormé’s Snazzy, Jazzy Christmas.” 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.

A PASSING

– In Los Angeles, actor René Auberjonois died at age 79. He was especially known playing Odo on “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.” His notable film roles were Father Mulcahy in “M*A*S*H,” (1970), the expedition scientist Roy Bagley in “King Kong” (1976) and Chef Louis in “The Little Mermaid.” (1989). Early in his career, Auberjonois acted with Door County’s prestigious Peninsula Players Theatre. He was a member of the professional company’s national advisory board for many years.

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