Summer is upon us, and it's time for Culture Club to step aside for a while and regroup to get ready for the next arts season. But there's plenty to think about this week. And I'll still post one last column that will alert you to some of the big performing arts events happening during the remainder of the summer. Until then, here's some choices for this week.
#5: SummerStage’s Don’t Drink the Water at Lapham Peak, Delafield.
Why? Because the official, celestial start of summer is upon us, and since not all of us can attend the biggest event of the summer—the World Cup—it’s great that there are plenty of big events closer to home. Down the road in Delafield, SummerStage is launching its eight season of outdoor theater at Lapham Peak Park. There may not be changes of “ole, ole,” but there will be plenty of laughs in this production of Woody Allen’s classic comedy. Bring picnics, a little beer and perhaps some skeeter repellent. But be ready for a good time.
#4: The Fine Arts Quartet at the Zelazo Center.
Why? Because it’s a great month for great music, and the third concert in the FAQ’s Summer Evenings of Music series should be one of the highlights of the year. Not only will the group play quartets by Haydn and Tchaikovsky. Pianist Alon Goldstein and bassist Rachel Calin join them to play a rarely performed quintet version of Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 21, the well-known “Elvira Madigan” concerto. The New York Times called Goldstein “an irresistible powerhouse of a performer.” But his softer side should be on display for Mozart’s elegant concerto.
#3: Oleanna at Alchemist Theatre.
Why? After Next Act’s fine production of Race earlier in the season, you might be hungry for another of David Mamet’s provocative takes on a hot-button social issue. Oleanna is one of his best plays, a powerful “duet” between a male professor and a student over a charge of sexual harassment. Erin Nicole Eggers directs David Sapiro and Kendell Arbrand.
#2: American Players Theatre in Spring Green.
Why? Because it’s crunch time in central Wisconsin, as the venerable Spring Green troupe opens its 34th season. By Tuesday, the company will have opened five plays in the span of a few weeks. And they are busy rehearsing four more that will open later in the summer. Right now, choose between Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet or Much Ado About Nothing, Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest. Or modern classics like David Mamet’s American Buffalo or The Year Of Magical Thinking, Joan Didion’s theatrical treatment of her moving memoir about the death of her husband. Riches aplenty. Matt Schwader and Cristina Panfiglio--Photo by Carissa Dixon.
#1: Present Music Home Place at the Broadway Theatre Center’s Cabot Theatre.
Why? Because you’d expect the final concert of the season by one of Milwaukee’s most innovative performing groups to be special, but this concert is unique. A collaboration with Milwaukee Opera Theatre, the pieces on the program explore ideas of home and shelter, and they include works by familiar names like David Lang, Julia Wolfe and Caroline Shaw. But the concert event also includes music from the “Four Communities” Home Place Project, which worked with Reginald Baylor’s Typeface Project to send PM musicians into the community to work with students and seniors to create original music and art about where they live.