Some Choice Finales

The season winds down with three can’t-miss performances.

#3: Quasimondo Theater’s Giraffe on Fire at Studio G in the Grand Avenue

Why? Because if you’re new to Quasimondo–also known as Milwaukee Physical Theatre–there’s no better chance to sample group’s original eclectic style than this closer to its third season. An exploration of the ideas and imagery of surrealist Salvador Dalí, Quasimondo gathers composers, artists and choreographers to create a sensory collage that the group calls “an epic inter-arts collaboration.” Quasimondo regulars Brian Rott and Jenni Reinke take the reins as directors. And to celebrate the season finale, all performances are pay-what-you-can.

Nico Muhly
Nico Muhly

#2: The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra at the Pabst Theater

Why? Stay for the Beethoven, come early for the three contemporary works that will put the familiar Fifth Symphony into stark relief. Sean Shepherd’s These Particular Circumstances (2010) takes off from the composer’s Montana roots to create an atmosphere of open space and natural collisions. Nico Muhly’s So Far So Good (2012) is a recent and rare orchestral piece by one of the fresh voices in opera. And Morton Feldman’s Madame Press Died Last Week at 90 (1970) was a landmark in that composer’s move to his signature stillness and quiet textures. After these, that familiar “bah-bah-bah-bum.” Edwin Outwater conducts.

Woods Photo by Ross Zentner
Photo by Ross Zentner.

#1: The Skylight Theatre’s Into the Woods at the Broadway Theatre Center

Why? Because even as some of the area’s finest singers are next door tackling Richard Wagner’s Ring, the Skylight has assembled an impressive roster of talent for its season finale. And it needs it. Stephen Sondheim’s score is 1986 score is one of his most musically complex, and it takes a village of talent to pull it off. Yeah, they got that, right Karen Estrada, Ray Jivoff, Liz Norton, Susan Spencer, Joe Fransee and company? You bet. Edwin Cahill directs.



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.