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Warren Gerds/Critic at Large: Week ahead: Variety spices life at theaters in Northeastern Wisconsin

Critic At Large

From silly comedy to opera

Rehearsal scene for Evergreen Productions Young Actors production of “Treasure Island.” (Company photo)


Below is more information on “Beast on the Moon” in Oshkosh, “Calendar Girls” in Manitowoc, “This Random World (The Myth of Serendipity” in Green Bay, “The Best of The Second City” in Green Bay, “Treasure Island” in De Pere, “Someplace Different” in Oshkosh, “Words on Fire” in Fish Creek, “Haunted: The Great Lakes Ghost Project” in Fish Creek, The Tap Pack in Appleton, “The Marriage of Figaro” in Appleton, “Shrek The Musical,” in Menasha, “Becky’s New Car” in New London, “The Nerd” in Sheboygan, “Bus Stop” in Green Bay… news of “Chess” and “Tommy” in De Pere and “The Thugs” in Sturgeon Bay… performances involving… Jake Owen, UWGB Wind Ensemble, Orchestra and Symphonic Band, Tine Thing Helseth, Project Pink, a very small consortium,  Zoofunkyou, Dead Horses, Lawrence Wind Ensemble, Horacio Contreras and Catherine Kautsky, Lawrence University Brass, Pro Arte String Quartet, Lawrence Jazz Ensemble, The Wisconsin Singers… news of Artigras and two St. Norbert art exhibitions.


– 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: 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:

– 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: 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. Preview story:

– In Green Bay, Meyer Theatre will host “The Best of The Second City” at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 28. Info: Based in Chicago, The Second City is celebrating nearly 60 years of producing satirical revues and launching the careers of such stars as Tina Fey, Stephen Colbert, Steve Carell, Gilda Radner and Bill Murray – and the company’s trademark improvisation.

– In De Pere, Evergreen Productions Young Actors will present “Treasure Island” adapted as a musical at 7 p.m. Feb. 28 and 1 and 1 p.m. Feb. 29-March 1 in Webb Theatre of Abbot Pennings Hall of Fine Arts at St. Norbert College. Info: or Based the classic Robert Louis Stevenson novel, the adaptation is by Mary Donnelly and George L.O. Strid. Snapshot: Young Jim Hawkins longs for adventure and finds plenty. This is the classic tale of pirates, pigaloos and buried treasure as Jim sails away aboard the Hispaniola to a remote island looking for Captain Flint’s gold.

– In Oshkosh , Oshkosh Community Players will present local writer Bradley Dokken’s new comedy “Someplace Different” in The Grand Oshkosh at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 28-29; 2 p.m. March 1; and 7:30 p.m. March 5-7. Preview story:

– In Fish Creek, Door Community Auditorium will present a Fireside Coffeehouse Concert event titled “Words on Fire” at 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 29. Info: Performers from near and far share the fruits of their labors as musicians pair with poets – with “nothing decaf.”

– In Fish Creek, Peninsula Players Theatre will present a reading of Joseph Zettelmaier’s “Haunted: The Great Lakes Ghost Project” at 7 p.m. Monday, March 2, at Björklunden. Info: Limited general seating is available, and admission is free. According to a news release: Several years ago, Zettelmaier, a Michigan-based playwright, began a journey across the Great Lakes states to collect ghost stories – otherworldly encounters by Midwesterners from Indiana to Wisconsin. From these stories came a theatrical piece, weaving tales of the supernatural with one person’s journey to answer the question, “Do you believe in ghosts?” Zettelmaier needed a framing device to weave the collected stories together, so he created the character of an author who serves as the narrator connecting the stories. “The play is the story of me collecting the stories and me coming to terms with my own ghost story,” Zettelmaier said in an interview with WEMU, a Michigan public radio station. “I have several pieces of horror theater because that is what people wanted.” Zettelmaier’s other supernatural plays include “Dr. Seward’s Dracula,” “Ebenezer,” “Do Not Disturb(ed)” and “The Gravedigger: A Frankenstein Play.” In 2018, Peninsula Players Theatre produced Zettelmaier’s two-person drama “Salvage.” His other plays include comedies such as “All Childish Things” about a group of friends who are “Star Wars” fans and “Invasive Species” about a lonely fisherman who becomes the target of a DNR investigation. In 2011, his play “Dead Man’s Shoes” won the Edgerton Foundation New American Play Award. Cast in the reading are Peninsula Players veteran performers from the 2019 world premiere of “A Trick of the Light,” Cassandra Bissell (“Silent Sky,” “Miss Holmes”), Neil Brookshire (“Silent Sky,” “A Murders is Announced,” “The 39 Steps”) and Hayley Burgess. Joining them is Door Shakespeare’s managing director, Amy Ensign (“Almost, Maine.”) Bissell, Brookshire and Ensign call Door County home and have numerous professional stage credits, including Bissell and Brookshire’s recent performance as Elizabeth and Fitzwilliam Darcy in “Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley” for Company of Fools in Idaho. The cast is under the direction of Greg Vinkler, the Peninsula Players’ artistic director. “Haunted: The Great Lakes Ghost Project” is part of the Peninsula Players winter program, The Play’s the Thing, and is funded in part by a grant from the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the State of Wisconsin and grants from Door County Medical Center, Friends of Door County Libraries and operating funds from Peninsula Players Theatre.

– In Appleton, Fox Cities Performing Arts Center will host The Tap Pack at 7:30 p.m. March 3. Info: The show is a blend of tap dancing, vocals, a swing jazz band and banter. Formed in 2013, the group got its inspiration from The Rat Pack, nicknamed for the Las Vegas teaming of Frank Sinatra, Sammy David Jr. and Dean Martin. Performing in the same style, the group features such songs as “Lady is a Tramp,” “Come Fly with Me” and “Putting on the Ritz.”

– In Appleton, Lawrence University Opera will present Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s “The Marriage of Figaro” or One Crazy Day”at 7:30 p.m. March 5-7 and 3 p.m. March 8 in Stansbury Theatre. Info: Info: Advisory: Adult themes and situations. The work features a libretto by Lorenzo Da Ponte and English translation by Andrew Porter. Directing is Copeland Woodruff, with Andrew Crooks as conductor and music director. Snapshot: Figaro and Susanna’s upcoming wedding is soured when she tells him of the Count’s plan to reinstate a law that would allow the ruling monarch (him) to share the bride’s marital bed before the groom. Figaro and Susanna enlist the aid of the Countess to catch her philandering husband red-handed.


– In Menasha, University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, Fox Cities Campus Theatre will present its final performances of “Shrek The Musical” in James W. Perry Theater at 7 p.m. Feb. 27-29. My review:

– In New London, Wolf River Theatrical Troupe will present its final performances of Steven Dietz’s “Becky’s New Car” in Real Opportunities Outreach at 7 p.m. Feb. 27-29. My review:

– In Sheboygan, Sheboygan Theatre Company will present its final performances of the Larry Schue comedy “The Nerd” in Leslie Johnson Theatre of Horace Mann Middle School at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 27-29. My review:

– In Green Bay, Green Bay Community Theater will present its final performances of William Inge’s “Bus Stop” in the troupe’s Robert Lee Brault Playhouse at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 27-28; 4 and 7:30 p.m. Feb. 29; and 2 p.m. March 1. My review:


– In De Pere, St. Norbert College Music Theatre will present “Chess” June 11-17 as its Summer Stage presentation and “The Who’s Tommy” Aug. 13-16 as its Next Stage presentation.

– In Sturgeon Bay, Isadoora Theatre Company scheduled Adam Bock’s “The Thugs” March 20-22 and 27-28.


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:

– In Green Bay, University of Wisconsin-Green Bay Music will present its Wind Ensemble, Orchestra and Symphonic Band at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 28, in Cofrin Family Hall of Weidner Center for the Performing Arts on campus. Info: Marches, movie scores, contemporary compositions and Romantic symphonies are on the program conducted by Kevin Collins of the faculty.

– In Appleton, Lawrence University will present an Artist Series concert with Tine Thing Helseth, trumpet,at 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 28, in Memorial Chapel. Info: According to a press release: The musican from Norway has been buzzed about for a decade. She jumped onto the international map with a 2013 performance with the BBC Scottish Symphony. Challenging the boundaries of expected repertoire for a trumpet soloist, Helseth has explored a variety of genres, from classical Johann Sebastian Bach pieces to arrangements of songs by the Beach Boys. “She makes such a beautiful sound on the trumpet, and phrases so expressively that you really don’t care what she’s playing, it’s captivating,” said John Daniel, associate professor of trumpet at Lawrence. “I would be happy to listen to her practicing scales or long tones.” Helseth teaches trumpet at the Norwegian Academy of Music and is a regular TV and radio presenter in her community. She also continues to tour extensively as a solo artist, chamber musician and orchestra collaborator, having worked with some of the most significant orchestras across Europe. In a 2018 interview, Helseth said, “I’ve spoken to a lot of my string colleagues, especially violinists, and in some aspects they envy me a little bit, that I play the trumpet, because I can do more different stuff. We don’t have all the traditional big concertos, so I’m a bit more free to do commissions…  It’s just a very different type of career.”

– In Sheboygan, Weill Center for the Performing Arts will host a double-edge weekend with Project Pink – 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 28: “Greatest Hits and Dark Side of the Moon” and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 29: “The Wall.” Info:

– In Green Bay, University of Wisconsin-Green Bay Music will present a 6:30 Concert Series program of “miniature” compositions performed by the ensemble a very small consortium at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 29, in Fort Howard Hall of the Weidner Center for the Performing arts on campus. According to a press release: Admission is free and open to the public. The ensemble consists of UWGB music faculty and friends. A miniature composition is defined as a piece containing 100 or fewer notes or lasting one minute or less. This is the 10th anniversary of these concerts of miniatures. “Writing a miniature is the closest thing to instant gratification a composer can get,” says Michelle McQuade Dewhirst, UWGB professor. “And yet, working in miniature form is surprisingly challenging and raises many fascinating questions about the nature of music. What sounds should or shouldn’t ‘count’ in your allotment of 100 notes? How can a composer express something meaningful in such a short amount of time, or with such limited materials? To work effectively in this format, a composer needs to refine their ideas; the best miniatures feel to me as if they might have started as lumps of coal that were compressed into diamonds.” The miniatures that will be performed come from compositions submitted from all over the world. Receiving more than 200 submissions annually, the collection is curated by McQuade Dewhirst.

– In Tisch Mills, The Forst Inn Arts Collective will present Leap Fest featuring Zoofunkyou Saturday, Feb. 29, with food/beverages at 6:30 p.m. and music at 7:30 p.m. Info: forstinncom.

– In Green Bay, Meyer Theatre will host Dead Horses with Field Report (solo) at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 29. Info:

– In Appleton, Lawrence University will present its Wind Ensemble Concert at 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 29, in Memorial Chapel.

– In Appleton, Lawrence University will present a Faculty Recital with Horacio Contreras, cello, and Catherine Kautsky, piano, at 6:30 p.m. Sunday, March 1, in Harper Hall.

– In Appleton, Lawrence University will present a Lawrence University Brass Concert with Jeffrey Stannard, trumpet; John Daniel, trumpet; Ann Ellsworth, horn; Tim Albright, trombone; and Marty Erickson, tuba, at 8 p.m. Monday, March 2, in Memorial Chapel.

– In Oshkosh, University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh will host a Chamber Arts Series concert with Pro Arte String Quartet at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 3, in Music Hall in the Arts & Communication Center. Info:

– In Appleton, Lawrence University will present its Jazz Ensemble at 8 p.m. Wednesday, March 4, in Memorial Chapel.

– In Green Bay, Meyer Theatre will host “The Wisconsin Singers: Hold on to Your Dreams!” at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 5. Info:


– In Green Bay, Mosaic Arts, Inc. will present the annual Artigras fine arts festival 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Feb. 29-March 1 in KI Convention Center. Info: Along with performances, the event features more than 100 artists and craft persons from the Midwest.

– In De Pere, St. Norbert College Bush Art Center will present two exhibitions March 2-April 1. One: “Negotiating Space: Recent Paintings by Ginnie Cappaert and Marjorie Mau” in Baer Gallery. Two: “(Re)Fashioned” in Godschalx Gallery.

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