5. Ex Fabula’s “Off the Hook” at Hot Water Wherehouse, 818 S. Water St.
Why? Because it’s not “Off the Hook” as in: “Doooode! That skateboard move was off the hook, man!” It’s “off the hook” as in narrow escape, avoiding a sticky situation, close calls. The popular, always entertaining and sometimes profound series of storytelling returns for another StorySlam event that offers surprise and delight. And a full bar to loosen the tongue if necessary.
4. UW-Milwaukee Theater’s Cementville at Kenilworth Studio 508.
Why? Because the prolific playwright Jane Martin may or may not be legendary regional theater director Jon Jory, but we don’t really care as long as Martin keeps cranking out plays like this 1991 dark comedy, set in a locker room for female wrestlers. With characters like Bobby Jack “One-Eye” Deanavue, Dottie and Dolly Crocker (known as “The Knockout Sisters”), and, of course, Mother Crocker, Cementville looks to tell you everything you wanted to know about the underbelly of the entertainment world, and probably some things you didn’t want to know. Michael Cotey directs this student production.
3. The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra at the Marcus Center.
Why? Because Edo de Waart is back on the podium for an Impressionist/Modern program before he hunkers down at the end of March for his trifecta of Beethoven/John Adams concerts. Here, he hosts pianist Orion Weiss for the jazzy 1931 Piano Concerto by Maurice Ravel, and leads the orchestra in the colorful and equally jazzy 1947 Suite from Stravinsky’s ballet, Petrouchka.
2. Unlooped Presents: Marvin Gaye at Alverno College’s Pitman Theatre.
Why? Because collaboration is king at Alverno Presents these days, and AP Director David Ravel has teamed up with DJ and producer Tarik Moody to explore the legendary and somewhat infamous Here, My Dear, Marvin Gaye’s painfully autobiographical 1978 album release. Moody assembles an impressive roster of local musicians to pay tribute and give added meaning to a monument in music history.
1. An Iliad at The Milwaukee Repertory Theater.
Why? One man, one war. But this celebrated play (by Lisa Peterson and Denis O’Hare) goes beyond retelling Homer’s classic story of the Trojan War. It aspires to be the story of all wars, their pettiness, adventures and, ultimately their grave cost. It’s a monumental story, a monumental play, and calls for a monumental actor. Early word on James DeVita’s performance is that he lives up to the story in extraordinary ways. His frequent collaborator at American Players Theatre, John Langs, directs.