Here Are Your October Performing Arts Previews

Lots of music, and some choice theater openings are coming up this month.

Belgian Guitarist Raphaella Smits.

After opening its season with three separate programs in September, the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra eases up in October, settling for a Pops performance featuring the doo-wop stylings of Frankie Valli and the like (Oct. 13-15). But it’s a good month to sample concerts from other classical folks.

Fine Arts Quartet

The Fine Arts Quartet starts its season — its final one as a resident ensemble at the UW-Milwaukee — with a solid program featuring Haydn’s “Sunrise” quartet, Beethoven’s formidable 14th quartet, and the quartet of Samuel Barber famous for it’s “Adagio for Strings” (Oct. 8).

Philomusica Quartet

There’s another all-star program on tap with the season opener of the Philomusica Quartet, which features music of Haydn, Gabriel Fauré, and Mendelssohn (Oct. 23).

Early Music Now

Early Music Now also kicks off its season with a not-to-be-missed visit from the Dutch vocal quartet, Cappella Pratensis (Oct. 21), who sing music from the 1500s the way it was sung in the good old days, crowded around a single music stand (no Xerox machines back then, you know).

Alyson Cambridge is “The Merry Widow.”
UWM’s Classical Guitar Concert

And if classical guitar is your thing, UWM’s Classical Guitar concert series offers a pair of solo performances this month, the Belgian Raphaella Smits (Oct. 6) and Finnish guitarist Timo Korhonen (Oct. 29).

Florentine Opera

Opera lovers, meanwhile, will have a chance to revel in the glories of Franz Lehar’s The Merry Widow, featuring Alyson Cambridge, who thrilled audiences in the Florentine Opera’s recent productions, Madama Butterfly and La Boheme. She’s back to play Hanna Glawari opposite another Florentine regular Corey McKern (Oct. 20 & 22).


Jazz fans are also in for a busy month. It kicks off with former local star David Hazeltine, who will start the month off with a trio date at the Jazz Estate (Oct. 1). Wunderkind pianist Joey Alexander (he’s 14 years old) brings his trio to Brookfield’s Sharon Wilson Center (Oct. 21). And the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra makes a Milwaukee stop at the Marcus Center as part of its national tour (Oct. 11).

The Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra.
Marti Gobel stars in “Sex with Strangers.”
First Stage

Theater-wise, most stages are still occupied after a flurry of September openings, but three new shows are worth spots on your calendar. First Stage kicks off its season with the charming musical, Chitty-Chitty Bang Bang, featuring choreography by the Milwaukee Ballet’s Michael Pink and Jayne Pink. And starring Robert Spencer, Drew Brhel and Malkia Stampley as Truly Scrumptious (Oct. 6-Nov. 5)

Renaissance Theatreworks

Take the kids to that one, but not to Renaissance Theatreworks’s Sex with Strangers, Laura Eason’s tale of two writers who strike up a steamy relationship. Marti Gobel and Nick Narcisi star (Oct. 20-Nov. 12).

In Tandem Theatre

And brush up your Shakespeare (and Dickens and Melville and Austen) with In Tandem’s production of the madcap All the Great Books (Abridged), from the same authors who brought you the other whirlwind tours from the “abridged” series (Oct. 5-29).

Have a great month, and get out there and see some shows!



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.