A Wonderful Weekend of Music and More

Many tunes of different stripes in this week’s Friday Five.

#5: Peter Pan at Soulstice Theatre

Why? Because we’re all a little curious about the boy who wouldn’t grow up. And if you’ve seen Peter and the Starcatcher, you have some idea of how it all began (at least Dave Barry’s idea), but Soulstice offers the chance to see everything through to the end: Peter, Wendy, Captain Hook and the whole gang. This special weekend-only reading honors the 100th anniversary of the story with a reading, a discussion, and something for the kids to go while the grown-ups are pontificating. And, of course, a bar that opens one hour before show time.

Claudio Parrone, Jr. and Robert Hirschi Photo by Dale Gutzman

#4: Camino Real at Off The Wall Theatre

Why? Because Dale Gutzman and his intrepid company tackle one of the Great American Plays, Tennessee Williams’ wild and woolly snapshot of mid-twentieth century America. After Uprooted Theatre’s fine production of Suddenly, Last Summer, and American Players Theatre’s upcoming Streetcar Named Desire, this should be another rest stop on your springtime Williams journey. Gutzman directs and stars, along with Claudio Parrone, Jr., Marilyn White and James Strange.

Composer Guillaume Connesson
Composer Guillaume Connesson.

#3: The Fine Arts Quartet at UWM’s Zelazo Center

Why? Because you might have caught the Aeolian String Quartet’s knockout reading of Debussy’s String Quartet last month, at the season finale of Frankly Music. Well here’s a chance to compare notes, so to speak. The FAQ tackles this modern French masterpiece along with an early Beethoven quartet (Op. 18, No. 1) and the 2010 String Quartet by the French Composer Guillaume Connesson.

Soprano Lisa Vroman
Soprano Lisa Vroman.

#2: The Milwaukee Symphony Pops at the Marcus Center

Why? Because S’Wonderful and S’Marvelous. The music of the Gershwins that is, and this weekend is definitely George and Ira’s moment. Come to the final MSO pops event of the season, and hear some of the gorgeous Gershwin songs that are the backbone of American popular song. Then tune in to the Tony Awards and watch the Broadway production of An American in Paris—featuring an all-Gershwin score—clean up. In addition to the songs (sung by Lisa Vroman), conductor Michael Krajewski will lead the MSO in that beloved tone poem, and pianist Michael Chertock joins the crowd for a performance of Rhapsody in Blue.

The Present Music Ensemble Photo by Jessica Kaminski
The Present Music Ensemble. Photo by Jessica Kaminski.

#1: Present Music at the Hot Water Wherehouse, 818 S. Water St

Why? Because Present Music Nation has spoken, and Kevin Stalheim and the Present Music ensemble will honor its every wish. No, it’s not some Game of Thrones spin-off. It’s PM’s “listener choice” concert, where it’s audience has selected the program over the last two months from a list of choices available on the Present Music website. Sorry, it’s too late to vote now, but you can come hear the results in the casual and intimate confines of the Wherehouse—a fitting space to bridge the transition into the summer of casual, outdoor concerts.



Paul Kosidowski is a freelance writer and critic who contributes regularly to Milwaukee Magazine, WUWM Milwaukee Public Radio and national arts magazines. He writes weekly reviews and previews for the Culture Club column. He was literary director of the Milwaukee Repertory Theater from 1999-2006. In 2007, he was a fellow with the NEA Theater and Musical Theater Criticism Institute at the University of Southern California. His writing has also appeared in American Theatre magazine, Backstage, The Boston Globe, Theatre Topics, and Isthmus (Madison, Wis.). He has taught theater history, arts criticism and magazine writing at Marquette University and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.