Fine Arts Quartet
Fine Arts Quartet at UWM’s Zelazo Center
Why? Because the hardcore classical music fans of Milwaukee will be out in force for the opening of the FAQ’s concert season. Particularly those who are fond of the old Ludwig Van. The quartet has devoted its first two concerts almost exclusively to Beethoven, here bookending an early (Op. 18, No. 4) and late quartet (“Serioso”) with the third quartet of Krzysztof Penderecki.
Youngblood Theatre’s Dying City at the Lincoln Warehouse, 2018 S. 1st St.
Why? Because Christopher Shinn is one of those stellar playwrights you probably haven’t heard of. His vision is probing and often dark, but his sense of character and the deep layers of human interaction make him one of the finest writers working today. Youngblood introduces Shinn to Milwaukee with this 2007 play about the fraught relationship between a twin brother and sister. Tess Cinpinski and Andrew Voss star in a production directed by Benjamin Wilson.
The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra at the Marcus Center
Why? Two masterworks of the early 20th century should put the orchestra through its paces. Ravel’s expansive ballet, Daphnes et Chloè, showcases the best of his sense of harmony and orchestration, mixing orchestra and chorus. If you think you know it from recording, don’t miss the chance to hear it live. And the phenomenal violinist, Augustin Hadelich, returns to play Stravinsky’s Violin Concerto, known for its spiky melodic lines and occasionally soaring lyricism.
The Milwaukee Rep’s Venus in Fur at the Steimke Theatre
Why? Because David Ives is a go-to talent for theater comedy, both in his adaptations and original plays. And he recently scored a palpable Broadway hit with this sexy comedy about a playwright-director adapting the 19th century novel, Venus in Furs, by Leopold von Sacher-Masoch (that’s Masoch as in as in Masochism). A last-minute audition takes unexpected direction when an actress starts to truly inhabit the character she’s eager to play. Pay no attention to the Rep ad campaign that likens the play to 50 Shades of Gray. Venus is sexy, sure. But it’s smart, literate and funny, too. Reese Madigan and Greta Wohlrabe act under the sure (leather gloved?) hand of director Laura Gordon.
"Wings of Desire"
The Milwaukee Film Festival, various locations
Why? Because nothing beats the buzz that the MFF generates in the throngs hungry for good movies. Not Blockbuster. Not Netflix. Thousands of fans will be milling around East Side theaters (the Downer, the Oriental and the Fox Bay) to check their schedules, exchange thoughts and page through the program book. And there’s more than celluloid (or megapixels). Four critics from the film website Dissolve will discuss “The State of Cinema” on Saturday afternoon. And for those who like a sure thing, don’t miss a screening of Wim Wenders’s masterful Wings of Desire on Sunday afternoon.