April showers coincide with April arts and culture openings.
Directed by Sheri Williams Pannell, this play by local writer Michelle Dobbs (also a novel) weaves together fact and fiction. The story of Dobbs’ uncle, a gay black painter and famous woodworker, figures prominently. Dobbs, who grew up in the Borchert Field area of Milwaukee, knew the man as simply “Uncle Jimmy.”
Milwaukee Chamber Theatre
This is one of those dramas that magically condenses continent-wide historical struggles down to a parlor room’s scale, or a gesture. Ben Butler is a Union general who must decide what to do about an escaped slave, Shepard Mallory, who tries to sway the soldier’s mind. In 2014, The New York Times called Richard Strand’s surprisingly funny play “exceedingly enjoyable.”
April 12-May 5
This is an unusually interactive and not overly long play about a little boy who learns that his mother is clinically depressed, and everything that follows from there. It’s a one man show (Scott Greer), but the script involves the audience and small group discussions follow. According to director Terrence Nolen, the show is charming and affirming despite the heavy subject matter.
April 16-May 12
Playwright August Wilson died in 2005, but since then, his work has only grown in stature in the American consciousness. His Two Trains Running is about a Pittsburgh diner owner who must decide between selling the establishment to an urban renewal program or a more exploitative businessman. The cast is strong, and the director is Timothy Douglas, who directed the premiere of Wilson’s Radio Golf in 2005.
April 26-June 2
Tinker Bell, who was always the best part of Peter Pan anyway, is the focal point of this children’s show blending puppetry and music. What are Tink’s thoughts on Neverland, Pan as a leader and other questions? Even adults might want to find out.
Milwaukee Art Museum
MAM welcomes spring with an annual mini-festival each year, where “art inspired” floral arrangements will grace the three main floors. Basically a long weekend, it runs from April 11-14, and guided tours will happen Friday-Sunday. Different events are planned, including an afternoon tea, farm-to-table dinner and floral fashion show where flowers will walk a catwalk with a little assistance.
All MIAD galleries
April 19-May 11
Illustration! Industrial design! Painting! Drawing! Sculpture! Sure, it’s a student show, featuring the new BFAs, but where else are you going to find a non-festival art show with 130+ artists and designers? You’re not, and MIAD’s annual senior extravaganza is almost always a good time.
Florentine Opera for Kids!
It’s never too early to expose the kids to opera. Three different performances are planned for three different venues: the Milwaukee Public Library, the Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts and The Florentine Opera Center.