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The Friday Five for Jan. 17th
Relief for the cold weather blues, i.e., Martin Short and Rica Obsesion.

The World’s Stage Theater’s Learner’s Permit at The Underground Collective, Grand Avenue Mall

Why? Because there are a million stories in the big cities, and we always need new playwrights to tell them. Enter Liz Leighton, the writer behind this new project, which will receive a full production as part of WST’s Project: “Working Title.” The play explores the aftermath of a car crash, with a psychiatrist helping the driver to unpack some unresolved family dynamics. Stacey Gerard directs a cast that includes Sasha Katherine Sigel, Brooke Maroldi and Brianna Borouchoff.

Rica Obsesion

MAM After Dark: ¡Baile! at the Milwaukee Art Museum

Why? Because in January, the minds and hearts of many a Milwaukeean drift south, toward the land of beaches, golf communities and Early Bird dinner specials. But if you don’t yet have that Florida time-share, you can beat the winter blues with our own little swath of tropical paradise. This dance-fest features the Gifted Souls Milwaukee dance troupe, DJ Slym, and live music by the Chicago’s Latin jazz band, Rica Obsesion. Margaritas will be served.

Martin Short at the Pabst Theatre

Why? Because he has a way with over the top characters that never seem to go out of style: Ed Grimley (don-cha know!?), Jiminy Glick, and Father of the Bride wedding planner Franck Eggelhoffer. It’s been nearly 30 years since Short revived Saturday Night Live, but he has kept busy on stage, screen and television. And on the stand-up circuit. This appearance, an annual sponsored by Laugh It Up Milwaukee, benefits the MACC fund and the Harry and Rose Samson Family Jewish Community Center.

The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra at the Marcus Center

Why? Because it is concerts like this that make the MSO indispensable to the community, not to mention the national music scene. The program focuses on those persnickety members of the Second Viennese School, who were trying to find a new direction for music in the early 20th century. But instead of an entire evening of serial delights, Edo de Waart will conduct some works by other composers arranged by members of that early avant-garde. So we’ll here Anton Webern’s orchestration of Bach, Arnold Schoenberg’s symphonic treatment of Brahms’ First Piano Quartet (sometimes called Brahms’ “Fifth Symphony”). And for those of you who need your annual dose of twelve-tone music, Jennifer Koh will play the Berg Violin Concerto.

Theresa Rebeck

Renaissance Theatreworks The Understudy at the Broadway Theatre Center

Why? Because Theresa Rebeck knows a little something about the intersection of Broadway and Hollywood. As the creator of Smash, she saw her promising idea give way to network TV group think and earn the shadenfreude of millions. Even before that debacle, she was certainly thinking about the unholy mixture of theater and celebrity. The Understudy tells the story of a Hollywood action star who joins the cast of a Broadway play. There’s satire, farce, and some juicy roles. Here, it’s all orchestrated by the talented young director, Malory Metoxen in her pro-theater debut.

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