On March 2, various veterans arts group will convene at the Milwaukee County War Memorial Center to showcase their talents in a night dubbed Veterans Light Up the Arts. The free event from 7 – 9 p.m. features music, fine art and theater performances by veterans, including from the local Shakespearean veteran troupe Feast of Crispian.
As I wrote about in our September issue, Feast of Crispian is a nonprofit theater group that works with war (and peacetime!) veterans of all ages by using Shakespearean scenes to access emotions that are sometimes difficult to process. Their scene-reading – aided by acting pros Nancy Smith-Watson, Bill Watson and Jim Tasse – led to an original theater performance, with scenes from the Bard sprinkled in, called And Safe Comes Home. That September show will be excerpted for the March showcase, Tasse says.
The March showcase is a result of a meeting of the minds with Tasse, Saul Newton, executive director of the Veterans Chamber of Commerce, and Milwaukee Repertory Theater’s Nabra Nelson. “We came to recognize there are a lot of veterans contributing a significant amount to arts and cultural landscape of Milwaukee that haven’t been necessarily been recognized,” says Newton. And thus the event was born.
The evening will be emceed by 88Nine Radio Milwaukee DJ and Tarik Moody, who served in the Army Reserves. Hosted by Milwaukee Repertory Theater, the the evening happens in conjunction with the Rep’s performance of Grounded (Feb. 22-April 2) – a story of an Air Force pilot who takes over a job manning drones after she becomes pregnant. (And it’s one of culture critic Paul Kosidowski’s recommended shows of the week).