#5: God of Carnage at Off the Wall Theatre.
Why? Because Yasmina Reza’s celebrated play is one of the most celebrated comedies of the century so far: best play in London and on Broadway; Tony award nominations for everyone in the Broadway cast (including the late James Gandolfini). And artists attracted to either the stage or film version include Ralph Fiennes, Jeff Daniels, Hope Davis, Marcia Gay Harden, Jodie Foster, Kate Winslet, Christopher Waltz. Our own Off the Wall Theatre promises a little less star-power, perhaps, but the intimacy of the theater and some fine local talent do justice to Reza’s story about two couples who meet to discuss a playground scuffle involving their children. Jeremy Welter directs.
#4: East Side Chamber Players at Bay View United Methodist Church.
Why? Megumi Kanda, that’s why. The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra’s stellar trombonist steps up from brass’s place in the back row to play chamber music. Two contemporary works are highlights: Lars-Erik Larsson’s Trombone Concertino and an excerpt from Amy Mills’ Red Dragonfly. And Kanda also shows her stuff on three baroque showpieces. After a Saturday night show in Bay View, Kanda and friends do it all again at North Shore Presbyterian in Shorewood.
#3: Uprooted Theatre’s The Brothers Size at Next Act Theatre.
Why? Because Marti Gobel just doesn’t quit. No Child, featuring her acclaimed solo performance closes Sunday. And Monday, she brings a staged reading of Tarell Alvin McCraney’s play (one of a trilogy called “The Brother/Sister Plays”), a retelling of an West African myth set in the Louisana bayou. Gobel staged another part of the trilogy, In the Red and Brown Water at Marquette University in the fall. And with good reason: McCraney is one of American theater’s best kept secrets. But not for long.
#2: Keigwin + Company at the Wilson Center.
Why? Because according to various critics, Larry Keigwin’s dance company is “just right”: modern, but not too modern; accessible, but not too accessible. He brings the company, which includes Brookfield native Emily Schoen, to town with a mixed program of its greatest hits, including the fashion-week inspired “Runway,” and the audience pleaser “Contact Sport.”
#1: Present Music’s Connecting In the Chamber at various locations.
Why? Because it’s your chance to hear a Grammy award-winning pianist (Cory Smythe) in a room not much bigger than your local coffee shop. In fact, you can hear him in your local coffee shop, if that shop happens to be the new Anodyne Roastery in Walker’s Point. Kevin Stalheim brings a program of solo and chamber music to three different locations, allowing audiences to get up close and personal. The program includes some of the best-known composers working today—John Zorn, Sofia Gubaidulina. Nico Muhly, and frequent PM collaborator Kamran Ince. And it includes contemporary takes on old-timers like Mozart and Gesualdo.