Gotta Sing, Gotta Dance

Two big events headline this weekend’s cultural offerings.

Just two events on tap this weekend, but if they’re not your cuppa, I suggest you look into the shows that have opened in the last few weeks. See previous editions of The Friday Five for details, but here are a few that come to mind. Milwaukee Opera Theatre’s The Mikado, The Rep’s Five Presidents, The Skylight’s The Snow Dragon, and Another Tale of Eddie.

Otherwise get thee downtown to one (or both) of the following:

The Milwaukee Ballet’s Giselle at the Marcus Center

Why? Because Michael Pink’s version of Giselle is something of an emotional homecoming for many people in the ballet. Pink’s wife, Jayne, who danced in the premiere production, has been active in teaching the title role to Luz San Miquel and Annia Hidalgo. Several members of the company remember the MB’s first staging over 10 years ago. And for Michael Pink, it’s a bittersweet memory of his longtime collaborator Christopher Gable, who died shortly after they collaborated on this production at England’s Northern Ballet Theatre. Even without the nostalgia, the production should pack an emotional punch for audiences. Pink has updated this classic of romantic ballet to an unnamed 1941 World War II ghetto, where the themes of love, death and forgiveness should have a potent and modern edge.

The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra Chorus
The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra Chorus

The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra Chorus at the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist

Why? Because it’s a rare occasion to hear the fine MSO chorus go it alone. And unlike its collaborations with the MSO instrumentalists, in which the chorus typically is there for a single, major work, this program features a variety of music, from the 17th-century polyphony of Orlando Gibbons to contemporary innovations of Olivier Messiaen. Four soloists and two organists join director Lee Erickson for what promises to be a great two hours of music.

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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.