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The Friday Five for Jan. 10
Judy, Judy, Judy ...

“Enacting Acting” at INOVA

Why? Because this new show at UWM’s Institute of Visual Arts explores the most basic ideas of “acting,” or at least as much as you can without live actors around to look at. Video works by Robert Arndt, Vishal Jugdeo and Alix Pearlstein deconstruct the act of looking at a person performing a scene or a drama, and ask you to think about the way we look at images of people on YouTube, film, and all those other screens we can’t seem to take our eyes off of.

I’m Not a Pilot at the Wilson Center

Why? Because it’s one of the city’s most innovative bands, and not just because it includes Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra cellist Peter Thomas. Mark Glatzel likes his music literate and lyrical, and bassist brother Matt and keyboardist Steve Vorass, Jr., help surround his lyrics and melodies with rich textures and rhythms. And because it’s a chance to hear them in concert hall, where the songs won’t be punctuated by the bartenders refilling their ice bins or tapping another keg.

First Stage’s A Midnight Cry at the Marcus Center

Why? Because this 2004 play with music is one of the great show of First Stage’s recent history. And no wonder, with a script by American Players Theatre start James DeVita, music by award winner Josh Schmidt, musical arrangements by the multitalented Sherri Williams Pannell. It’s a powerful story of a young girl’s journey from slavery via the Underground Railroad, inspired by the story of Caroline Quarlls-Watkins. For the opening weekend, a direct descendent of Quarlls-Watkins, Kimberly Simmons, will participate in post show discussions of the play.

Dasha Kelly

Present Music’s Women in the Chamber at Anodyne Coffee, 224 Bruce St.

Why? Because one time a year, Present Music likes to get small, presenting chamber music in, well, chambers—rooms that bring you up close to the music and the performers. This year, the “In the Chamber” concert focuses on contemporary women composers from all over the world, including Milwaukee’s own Dasha Kelly, who makes music with words through her performance poetry. And Judith Moy, a performer with the Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra who was recently a fellow in the John Downey Creation Project.

Hollis Resnik (photo by  Michael Brosilow)

End of the Rainbow at the Milwaukee Rep

Why? Because say what you will about the Kardashians or Britney Spears, celebrity watching has definitely lost some of its gravitas since the glory days of Hollywood Babylon. And for stargazing luxuriance, there was no American icon like Judy Garland. Peter Quilter’s play looks at Garland’s final days and final performances, and was a celebrated hit in London and New York. With Chicago star Hollis Resnik playing Garland, it should be the same for this Rep production, directed by the theater’s artistic director, Mark Clements. 

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