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The Friday Five for Oct. 10
A banner weekend for contemporary music.

Shrek at First Stage Children’s Theatre

Why? Because you may bemoan Broadway’s recent reliance on blockbuster movies for inspiration, but the 2008 musical Shrek has more going for it than most. With roots in William Steig’s terrifically subversive children’s books, and the Dreamworks movie that has stood the test of time on family friendly DVD shelves, Shrek has a lot to live up to. And mostly it does. And this First Stage production—starring John MacClay as the big green guy—should make the old ogre proud.

Kimberly Megna Yarnall

Waiting at Milwaukee Chamber Theatre

Why? Because you like to get in on the ground floor, so to speak. You go to Brewer’s Spring Training, watch all the Packer exhibition games, and love the behind-the-scenes outtakes from Breaking Bad. The MCT’s Montgomery Davis Play Reading Series gives you a chance to see a play in progress, and even tell the playwright about the experience. First up this season is Kimberly Megna Yarnall’s Waiting, a story about a couple who are trying to conceive a child.

Kurt Ollmann

Kurt Ollmann and Jeffry Peterson at UWM Recital Hall

Why? Because Ollmann gives recitals all over the world, and occasionally appears on opera stages here. But his local recitals are something special, and here he surveys the connection between French and American music at the turn of the 20th century. “La Belle Epoque” includes music by Faure, Debussy, and Amy Beach. And features the Ollmann’s rich baritone, sensitively accompanied by Peterson.

Kronos Quartet at Wilson Center for the Arts

Why? Because after nearly 40 years, Kronos has defined the “hip” side of classical music—both in their style and their eclectic musical selection. You may remember their recordings of Jimi Hendrix and Thelonius Monk, but stop by to hear what they’ve been up to lately, including a recent album of composers under the age of 30, and their continuing exploration of music from around the world.

Present Music at the Marcus Center

Why? Because it’s a good weekend for contemporary music. After visiting Kronos on Friday, stop by Marcus Center’s Vogel Hall to hear more music from the last decade, including the centerpiece of this concert, Steve Reich’s Daniel Variations, a tribute to the kidnapped and murdered journalist Daniel Pearl. The featured guests for this concert are Chicago’s Third Coast Percussion, who were among the 99 players in last month’s Inuksuit. Here they get more of the spotlight, performing music by John Cage and Augusta Reed Thomas.

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