The Friday Four: Rufus Wainwright and the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra at Marcus Center, "Back Home Again" at the Rep, Fine Arts Quartet, and Renaissance Theaterworks.
Why? Because Renaissance continues its work of creating and developing new plays, and this time, they are taking Br!NK on the road. They’ve presented readings of two plays in several locations this week. And this weekend, Katherine Glover’s murder mystery The Sweeter the Crime and Kelly McBurnette-Andronicos’s The Hall of Final Ruin, about the last days of a notorious Santa Fe gambler, settle in in at the Broadway Theatre Center. Come and see a work in progress, with some of the area’s best actors playing the parts.
Why? Because UWM’s esteemed quartet explores Russian music of the late 19th Century in this season’s opener: the rarely played, short-but-sweet first quartet of Sergei Rachmaninoff, and Alexander Glazunov’s virtuosic String Quintet (featuring guest cellist Denis Brott). The Mozart “dissonant” Quartet rounds out the program. Don’t forget to come early for the always fine introduction by UW-Milwaukee music historian Timothy Noonan.
Why? Because David Lutken is back again. Two years ago, he brought Woodie Guthrie to life on the Rep’s Stackner Cabaret stage in Woody Sez. Now, he explores a different kind of folk hero in this show about Mr. Rocky Mountain High himself, the late John Denver. It’s the brainchild of Randal Myler, the Tony-nominated writer-director who has penned similar shows about Hank Williams and Janis Joplin. And scored a considerable hit at The Rep last year with Low Down Dirty Blues.
Why? Because Wainwright loves Milwaukee. At least we think so. He brought in an A-list production crew to film a concert here in 2009, (snarkily?) calling the DVD release Milwaukee At Last! For some years now, he’s had a foot in the opera world while still crafting impeccable pop songs (he finished recording his opera, Prima Donna, last year). But his recent orchestra hall appearances have spotlighted lush arrangements of some of his best work, including some of the songs he has written about his legendary family. Francesco Lecce-Chong conducts the MSO.