Warren Gerds/Critic at Large: Week Ahead: Christmas and More Fill the Area Performance Calendar

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Below is more on “Sorry! Wrong Chimney!” in Oshkosh, “Forever Plaid: Plaid Tidings” in Oshkosh, “Riot Act” in Green Bay, “Let’s Tell the Story” in Sturgeon Bay, “The Nutcracker Ballet” in Manitowoc, “Clara Takes Flight: An Aerial Nutcracker” in Sheboygan, “Spirits of the Holidays – A Celebration of Dance” in Appleton, “Christmas with the Knights on Broadway” in De Pere, “Santa Claus Conquers the Martians” in De Pere, “Christmas Cabaret” in De Pere, “Velvet Gentleman” in Sturgeon Bay, “It’s a Wonderful Life” in De Pere, “Miracle on 34th Street, The Musical” in Sheboygan, “A Christmas Story, The Musical” in Abrams, “Nunsense” in Port Washington, “A Wizard’s Christmas” in Oconto, “A Christmas Carol, The Musical” in De Pere, “Mistletoe Musings” in Tisch Mills, “A Frank’s Christmas: Schroder’s Department Store” in Green Bay, “Daddy D’s Christmas” in Green Bay… performances involving Paul Spencer Jazz Band, Boogie & The Yo-Yoz, Big Mouth & The Power Tool Horns, newVoices, “Christmas by the Bay,” The Chantelles, Lightwire Theater, “The Hagan Family Christmas,” Green Bay Boy Choir, Oshkosh Area Community Band, Allouez Village Band.

ARRIVING

– In Oshkosh, Acts of Peace Players will present its debut production, the Leo W. Sears and Jack Sharkey comedy “Sorry! Wrong Chimney!” at 7 p.m. Dec. 13, 14 and 15, plus 2 p.m. Dec. 15 at Peace Lutheran Church, 240 W. 9th Ave. Snapshot: David Tuttle is moonlighting as a department store Santa so that he can buy his wife a fur for Christmas. He tells her he’s working late at the office, but she finds out he isn’t at the office. A suspected other woman, hypnotism, the notorious Santa burglar Kris Kreigle and his gun-toting fiancée, and a confused policeman add up to a comical tale. Directing is L. Douglas Bord-Pire. The cast consists of Nate Scheuers, Danielle Rudesill, Anne Caylor, Brad Dokken, Timothy James Young, Sommer Johnson-Loar and L. Douglas Bord-Pire. Acts of Peace Players was founded to give actors a chance to do a Christmas show and to offer a production in the summer based in Oshkosh, said Brad Dokken of the troupe. “We are using a stage in the social center – the lower part of the building – at Peace Lutheran Church that has recently gone through a facelift and remodel,” Dokken said. “We extended out the stage, gave the walls a fresh coat of paint and hung some stage lighting. We are still getting our feet underneath us since we are starting from scratch, but we have good support from other troupes in the area as well as from Peace Lutheran Church. This troupe isn’t affiliated with Peace other than we use the space to put on our productions. Perhaps down the road we might look to do more directly with the church but for right now our only affiliation, other than me as the pastor, is that we use this space.”

– In Oshkosh, Timber Mill Theatre Company will present the musical “Forever Plaid: Plaid Tidings” Dec. 13-15 and 20-22 at The Howard. Info: timbermilltheatre.com. The setup: Forever Plaid is the name of a fictional male quartet that sings in the doo-wop style. In this sequel, the four, decked in flashy plaid suits, performs hits on TV’s fabled “The Ed Sullivan Show” of a bygone era. The cast consists of professional actors out of New York City – Brian Krinsky as Smudge, Bryce Dutton (a University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point graduate) as Frankie, Carver Duncan as Sparky and Gabe Ford-Dunker as Jinx. The package includes an upscale meal.

– In Green Bay, University of Wisconsin-Green Bay Theatre Studio and Alternate Theatre will present Ranca Rame’s Riot Act,” directed by Haley Ebinal, at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 13-15 in University Theatre of Theatre Hall on campus. According to a press release: “Riot Act” is a performance piece featuring four monologues by Italian actor, playwright and apolitical activist, Franca Rame, and an original piece devised by the company. Ebinal, a senior theater and philosophy double major, chose “Riot Act” to shed light on society’s objectification of women. Rame’s monologues, written more than 40 years ago, are remarkably relevant today. Ebinal previously directed “Boiling People in My Coffee” at UWGB. She focuses her work on social action theater and related community outreach. A discussion follows each performance for audience members and the cast to discuss the production. The performance contains mature themes, strong language and potential trigger material. It is recommended for ages 18 and older. The cast: Kylie Lynn Heisz, freshman (business administration, theatrer performance) from Gays Mills; Megan Jones, senior (education), Iola; Talor L. Sohr, UWGB graduate (musical theater), Bonduel; and Nina Stoneham, senior (theater performance), Sturgeon Bay.

– In Sturgeon Bay, Rogue Theater will present Trisha Dean’s “Let’s Tell the Story” at 7 p.m. Dec. 14 and 2 p.m. Dec. 15 at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, 1756 Michigan St. Info: (920) 818-0816. As a group of kids gathers to sing Christmas songs. The youngsters start to talk about what Christmas is all about. Many think Santa and toys, but others know the real story. Together they tell the Nativity Story along with many favorite Christmas songs. Directing is Lola DeVillers.

– In Manitowoc, Jean Wolfmeyer Dance Company will present its 43rd annual production of “The Nutcracker Ballet” at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 14 and 3:30 p.m. Dec. 15-16 in Capitol Civic Center. Info: cccshows.org. Guest artists from Ballet San Antonio are Sally Turkel and Luis Javier Corrales. Snapshot: Clara tiptoes into the parlor, drawn to her broken toy. Frightened by the dark, she hears sounds and scratches, but is not sure what is causing it. Then the old owl clock strikes twelve and Drosselmeyer waves his magic cape and the fantasy begins. Clara dashes to the couch and huddles there watching as the mice run away with all her lovely presents. She scolds them and threatens them and finally chases one who is escaping with several beautiful boxes. Suddenly, her Nutcracker becomes life-size and comes to her aid.

– In Sheboygan, John Michael Kohler Arts Center will host Warped Dance Company of Sheboygan Falls in “Clara Takes Flight: An Aerial Nutcracker” in six performances, five of which are SOLD OUT. Available (added): 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 15. The full run is 7:30 p.m. Dec. 14, 2 and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 15, 2 p.m. Dec. 16, 7:30 p.m. Dec. 21 and 2 p.m. Dec. 22. Aerial feats replace pirouettes in this new take on “The Nutcracker Ballet.” With Maria Hackbarth as artistic director Warped Dance Company is a collective of aerialists and professional dancers.

In Appleton, Barb’s Center for Dance will present its annual “Spirits of the Holidays – A Celebration of Dance” at 1 and 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 15, at Xavier Fine Arts Theatre. Info: barbsdance.com. According to the website: The performance features the studio’s holiday dance ensembles along with its competition dance troupes, lines and teams. The young dancers will perform original tap, jazz, lyrical and ballet works to traditional and contemporary holiday music. The second half will feature a section from “The Nutcracker” presented by the studio’s Ballet 360 Academy. As is tradition, profits generated by the shows and silent auction are donated to local charities. This year’s beneficiaries will be The Golden House, The Freedom House, Colton’s Cure, Muscular Dystrophy Association and The Pillars (formerly Homeless Connections). The studio’s total charitable contribution from last year’s Green Bay and Fox Valley locations was $32,001.50. During the past 19 years, the combined shows have raised more than $277,000 for local charitable organizations.

– In De Pere, Knights on Broadway, a student singing ensemble at St. Norbert College, will present its 2018 holiday show, “Christmas with the Knights on Broadway,” at Dudley Birder Hall on campus. Performances are at 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 14; 1 and 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 15; and 7 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, Dec. 18-19. Info: snc.edu/tickets/. The show is cabaret-style musical theater. Director and pianist is Kent Paulsen.

– In De Pere, The Green Room Players will present the live radio play “Santa Claus Conquers the Martians” at 7 p.m. Dec. 18 and 19 at The Green Room Lounge. Info: thegreenroomonline.com. According to a press release: The troupe is going in a slightly different direction this holiday season with its version of the 1964 sci-fi movie “Santa Claus Conquers the Martians.” As with previous productions, this one will feature live actors, music and sound effects. In the one-hour story, Martians kidnap Santa Claus, and all kinds of out-of-this-world fun ensues. The script was adapted by Mare Freed of the Post-Meridian Radio Players of Boston. Following the radio play, a sing-along will feature songs of the season. A portion of each ticket will benefit a local charity. The crew and cast is made up of Maggie Dernehl, Sydney Eserkaln, Patricia Jagodinsky, Steve Havlicheck, Mike Eserkaln, Tom Harter, Carrie Platten Liebhauser, Meghan McSweeney, Jennifer Pettit ,Gary Radke, Scott Roemaat and Nick Wallander.

– In De Pere, Birder Players will present “Christmas Cabaret” in Broadway Theatre at 7 p.m. Dec. 19-20. Info: birderstudio.org.

– In Sturgeon Bay, Third Avenue Playhouse will present a repeat presentation of “Velvet Gentleman” Dec. 19-31 (7:30 p.m. Wednesdays-Saturdays, plus Dec. 31, and 2 p.m. Sundays). Info: thirdavenueplayhouse.com. Created and performed by James Valcq, co-artistic director of Third Avenue Playhouse, the play is a colorful journey into the mind and music of witty and eccentric composer Erik Satie. The music is sometimes comical, sometimes beautiful. Valcq created the multimedia piece using Satie’s music, words and drawings.

ENDING

SOLD OUT: In De Pere, Evergreen Productions will present its final performances of the James W. Rodgers adaptation of “It’s a Wonderful Life” at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 13, 14 and 15 in Webb Theatre of Abbot Pennings Hall of Fine Arts at St. Norbert College. My review: https://www.wearegreenbay.com/critic-at-large-wearegreenbay/warren-gerdscritic-at-large-review-iconic-its-a-wonderful-life-is-a-labor-of-love-in-de-pere/1650022019.

– In Sheboygan, Sheboygan Theatre Company will present its final performances of composer Meredith Willson’s “Miracle on 34th Street, The Musical” Dec. 13-15 in Leslie W. Johnson Theatre. Info: sheboygantheatrecompany.com. Snapshot: Single mother Doris Walker (Tracie Wessels) doesn’t want her 6-year-old Susan’s (Juliana Wetzel) head filled with romantic notions. Their neighbor, Fred Gailey (Adam Guenther), tries to woo Doris by charming Susan and taking her to see Santa Claus at Macy’s, where Doris works. Doris is not impressed, but when it turns out that Macy’s Santa may, in fact, be the real Kris Kringle (Steve Myers), a wave of love spreads across New York City that melts even the most cynical hearts. Amanda Ellis directs, with Dan Ognavic as musical director. Songs include “Pinecones and Hollyberries” and “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas.”

SOLD OUT: In Abrams, Abrams Spotlight Productions will present its final four performances of “A Christmas Story, The Musical” Dec. 14-16 in Byng Community Theatre. My review: https://www.wearegreenbay.com/critic-at-large-wearegreenbay/warren-gerdscritic-at-large-review-sellout-a-christmas-story-the-musical-big-lively-in-abrams/1648506703.

– In Port Washington, Memories Ballroom will its final eight performances of the Dan Goggin musical comedy “Nunsense” Dec. 14-16. Info: memoriesballroom.com. Snapshot: The nuns of The Little Sisters of Hoboken suddenly need to raise money to get their convent back in order and to bury their dear sisters who were accidentally poisoned by their convent cook, Sister Julia (Child of God). To raise money to bury the dead sisters, the remaining nuns put on a revue packed song and dance numbers. 

– In Oconto, The Machickanee Players will host this year’s final performances of “A Wizard’s Christmas” at 1:30 p.m. Dec. 15 and 16 in Park Avenue Playhouse. Info: themachickaneeplayers.org. Guinness World Record holder Monty Witt and other performers present a family show filled with illusions, magic and sleight of hand.

– In De Pere, Birder Players will present its final performances of “A Christmas Carol, The Musical” in Broadway Theatre at 7 p.m. Dec. 13-14 and 2 and 7 p.m. Dec. 15. My review: https://www.wearegreenbay.com/critic-at-large-wearegreenbay/warren-gerdscritic-at-large-review-a-christmas-carol-the-musical-scores-again-in-de-pere/1629161895.

– In Tisch Mills, The Forst Inn Arts Collective will present its final performances of its holiday cabaret “Mistletoe Musings.” Info: forstinn.com. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 13, 14, 15 (unavailable) and 16 and 2 p.m. Dec. 16. The show returns with new songs and new stories. Included are “amazing a cappella harmonies, rousing carols and quirky and poignant readings.” The event includes a sandwich and appetizer buffet before the show and dessert served at intermission.

ONGOING

– In Green Bay, Chilton and Manitowoc, Let Me Be Frank Productions will be in action during December with “A Frank’s Christmas: Schroeder’s Department Store.” My review: https://www.wearegreenbay.com/critic-at-large-wearegreenbay/warren-gerdscritic-at-large-review-2018-edition-of-a-franks-christmas-showcases-beloved-songs/1640524853.

– In Ashwaubenon, Green Bay and Marion, Daddy D Productions will present performances of “Daddy D’s Christmas” to Dec. 21. My review: https://www.wearegreenbay.com/critic-at-large-wearegreenbay/warren-gerdscritic-at-large-review-2018-daddy-ds-christmas-blends-reverence-bits-of-corn/1642725024.

ON THE CONCERT SCENE

– In Sheboygan, Weill Center for the Performing Arts will host Paul Spencer Jazz Band at 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 13. Info: weillcenter.com.

– In Appleton, Fox Cities Performing Arts Center will host “Boogie & The Yo-Yoz Christmas with You” at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 14. Info: foxcitiespac.com

– In Ashwaubenon, Ashwaubenon Performing Arts Center will host Big Mouth & The Power Tool Horns in a Christmas show at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 14. Info: ashwaubenonpac.org.

SOLD OUT: In Green Bay, newVoices will present “Christmas at the Cathedral” at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 14, at St. Francis Xavier Cathedral. Info: newvoiceschoir.org.

– In Marinette, the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, Marinette Campus Office of Continuing Education will present its second annual “Christmas by the Bay” at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Dec. 14-15, in Herbert L. Williams Theatre on campus. Info: purplepass.com. The show will feature holiday favorites accompanied by musicians and dancers from the First Street Academy of Dance. Songs include “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree,’ “The First Noel,” “The Chipmunk Song” and “Winter Wonderland.”

– In Appleton, newVoices will present “Christmas at the Chapel” at 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 15, at Lawrence University Memorial Chapel. Info: newvoiceschoir.org.

– In Green Bay, The Chantelles women’s pop chorus will present “A Glad Noel” Christmas concert at 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 15, in First Presbyterian Church, 200 S. Ashland Ave. Info: thechantelles.org.

– In Sheboygan, Weill Center for the Performing Arts will host “Lightwire Theater’s A Very Electric Christmas” at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 15. Info: weillcenter.com.

– In Sturgeon Bay, Third Avenue Playhouse will host a return visit of “The Hagan Family Christmas” at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 15. Info: thirdavenueplayhouse.com.

– In Green Bay, the Green Bay Boy Choir will present “Rejoice and Sing” at 4:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 16, at Grace Lutheran Church, 321 S. Madison St.

– In Oshkosh, Grand Opera House will host Oshkosh Area Community Band in the annual “Christmas Carol Sing” at 7 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 17. Info: ocab.org.

– In Green Bay, the Allouez Village Band will present its annual Christmas concert, “Once Upon a Time… Visions of Sugar Plums Danced in My Head,” at 7 p.m. Monday, Dec. 17, in Cofrin Family Hall of the Weidner Center for the Performing Arts at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. According to a press release: Admission is free, with donations appreciated. The band’s annual collection of nonperishable food items for Paul’s Pantry will be taken prior to the concert. Canned and dry goods, please. See allouezband.org for more information. Pre-concert lobby entertainment will be the Dixieland jazz band Talk of the Town led by Kevin Van Ess. “We’re so excited to be performing our annual Christmas concert at the Weidner Center during its 25th anniversary season,” said Mike Ajango, director of the 75-member Allouez Village Band. “If you haven’t been to the Weidner Center for a while, you’re in for a treat when you see the renovations they’ve done in the lobby for the anniversary,” he said. “The theater itself has 2,000 seats, so there’s room for all your family and friends – and as always, the concert is free. So everyone can afford to celebrate the season and enjoy the setting of one of Wisconsin’s premier theater, the Weidner Center.” The band, along with vocalists Amanda Rose Abegglen and Tim Olejniczak, will perform many Christmas favorites, both popular and traditional. Also conducting will be assistant director Paul Oleksy. This is the fourth time Abegglen and Olejniczak have performed with the band. Abegglen graduated from UWGB with a degree in music history and literature and spent many years in local theater. Olejniczak is a 30-year veteran of the stage, including Music Theatre of St. Norbert College, Calvary Players and Birder Players. The concert opens with the joyous “A Festive Christmas,” featuring many well-known traditional carols. Other selections include “White Christmas,” “Themes from the Nutcracker Suite,” “Snow Day Celebration,” “Still, Still, Still,” “Do You Hear What I Hear,” “Santa Baby” and “On with the Snow,” featuring “Sleigh Ride,” “Winter Wonderland” and “Let It Snow.” Also on the program are “Minor Alterations: Christmas Through the Looking Glass,” “Ode to Greensleeves,” “Carol of the Night” (based on “Silent Night”) and “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” The evening always the traditional Christmas sing-along. The Allouez Village Band performs free concerts the third Monday of the month September to December and February to May. The next concert is Feb. 18 at the Meyer Theatre featuring the Allouez Village Big Band in an evening of Big Band and jazz music.

Contact me at warren.gerds@wearegreenbay.com. Watch for my on-air Critic at Large editions on WFRV-TV at 6:20 a.m. Sundays.

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