Fall theater ranges from classic to quirky

By JULIE McHALE - TimeOut Theater Critic

August 25, 2016


Joan Marcus
From left, Monica L. Patton, Ryan Bondy and Cody Jamison Strand in “The Book of Mormon.

Expect diverse shows when many professional theaters open their new seasons during fall.

In the next three months, there will be classic musicals, comedies, tributes to iconic artists, dramas, quirky returns to the past and a few provocative pieces that remind us of some societal issues.

Showing at area theaters:

- Aug. 25-Sept. 10 - “The Odd Couple” - SummerStage in Lapham State Park in Delafield. The still-popular comedy by Neil Simon about a mismatched pair of guys who try to live together without killing each other. (262-337-1560).

- Sept. 2-Sept. 17 - “The Wild Party” - All in Productions playing at Next Act Theatre at 255 S. Water St., Milwaukee. A party set in Manhattan during the Roaring Twenties where an amorous triangle emerges into jealousy and anger. (414-278-0765).

- Sept. 8-Oct. 30 - “Million Dollar Quartet” - The Fireside Dinner Theatre, 1131 Janesville Av., Fort Atkinson. A memorable jam session among four musical greats - Elvis, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins. A mix of country, Gospel, rock ‘n’ roll and pop.  (800-477-9505).

- Sept. 8-Sept. 25 - “Moon over Buffalo” - The Sunset Playhouse, 890 Elm Grove Road, Elm Grove. A farcical comedy about actors who are over the hill, but don’t know it. A play that brought Carol Burnett her first big hit. (262-782-4430).

- Sept. 9-Oct. 30 - “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar” - The Milwaukee Rep’s Stackner Cabaret Theater, 108 E. Wells St., Milwaukee. The memorable Billie Holiday’s last performance in her extraordinary career. (414-224-9490).

- Sept. 16-Oct. 2 - “Gypsy” - The Waukesha Civic Theatre, 264 W. Main St., Waukesha. The musical featuring the story of Gypsy Rose Lee, the domineering stage-mother who pushed her two daughters into show biz. (262-547-0708).

- Sept. 18-Sept. 21 - “Love, Loss and What I Wore” - The Lake Country Players, 221 E. Capitol Drive, Hartland. A series of monologues by five alternating women as they reveal their relationships and their wardrobe and the memories that clothes can evoke. (262-367-4697).

- Sept. 20-Oct. 30 - “Man of La Mancha” - The Milwaukee Rep, 108 E. Wells St., Milwaukee. The classic musical featuring Don Quixote with his sidekick Sancho and his beloved Dulcinea set during the Spanish Inquisition. (414-224-9490).

- Sept. 21-Oct. 6 - “A Lovely Sunday for Creve Coeur” - The Milwaukee Chamber Theatre, 158 N. Broadway, Milwaukee. A lesser-known Tennessee Williams work about a thirty-something schoolteacher hoping for marriage when an unexpected turn changes everything. (414-291-7800).

- Sept. 23-Oct. 8 - “You Can’t Take It with You” - Windfall Theatre, 130 E. Juneau Ave., Milwaukee. Still playing after almost 80 years, a comedy with quirky characters that encourages us to let everyone be happy in their own strange ways. (414-332-3963).

- Sept. 29-Nov. 6 - “The Royale” - The Milwaukee Rep’s Steimke Theatre at 108 E. Wells St., Milwaukee. From the award-winning writer of “Orange is the New Black” comes the story of Jay Jackson trying to break the color barrier in boxing during the Jim Crow era.  It packs a punch.  (414-224-9490).

- Sept. 30-Oct. 16 - “Violet” - Skylight Music Theatre, 158 N. Broadway, Milwaukee. A modern musical set in 1964 in the segregated South, wherein Violet, disfigured by an accident, is on a bus ride to see a faith healer and on the journey meets a passenger who helps her discover the true meaning of love and beauty. (414-291-7800).

- Oct. 1-Oct. 23 - “The Taming” - It’s at Next Act Theatre, 255 S. Water St., Milwaukee. A Miss America winner decides to change the world, recruiting the combined efforts of a conservative senator and a bleeding heart liberal. The play attacks the two-party political system and celebrates the flavor of America with laughter and insight. (414-278-0765).

- Oct. 7-Oct. 14 - “Lend Me a Tenor” - The West Allis Players, 8516 W. Lincoln Ave., West Allis. A farcical comedy about a wannabe performer who decides to fill in for an ailing opera singer on opening night. Filled with the usual comic mix-ups and lots of doors for coming and going.

- Oct. 7-Oct. 30 - “Dracula vs. the Nazis” - In Tandem’s Tenth Street Theatre, 628 N. 10th St., Milwaukee. A madcap comedy set in the 1940s when Count Dracula is dragged out of retirement to stop Hitler from using a magical device that will provide him and his army immortality. (414-271-1371).

- Oct. 7-Oct. 31 - “Jack of Hearts” - Milwaukee Entertainment Group in the Brumder Mansion, 3046 W. Wisconsin Ave., Milwaukee. In the steamy world of Jack of Hearts, a brothel and saloon suggestive of old Westerns, we get immersed in the choreography of fighting, singing and dancing where the themes of love, loyalty and truth are tested.  (414-388-9104)

- Oct. 7-Oct. 14 - “Suite Surrender” - The Patio Players, N88-W16750 Garfield Drive, Menomonee Falls. A farcical comedy set in the 1940s in which two of the biggest Hollywood divas end up in the same hotel suite. Chaos follows. (262-255-8372).

- Oct. 13-Oct. 30 - “Young Frankenstein” - The Lake Country Playhouse, 221 E. Capitol Drive, Hartland. Dr. Frankenstein’s grandson inherits his grandfather’s estate and his propensity for science, so another original “creature” emerges. We’re in for a wild ride in this one. (262-367-4697).

- Oct. 13-Nov. 16 - “Fiddler on the Roof” - Sunset Playhouse, 890 Elm Grove Road, Elm Grove. The beloved classic story of Tevye and his family’s struggle to maintain their Jewish tradition in the midst of change and turmoil in Russia. Wonderful music in this one.  (262-782-4430).

- Oct. 14-Nov. 12 - “Goosebumps” - First Stage Children’s Theatre at the Marcus Center, 929 N. Water St., Milwaukee. A musical about a pair of children who star in the school play “Phantom”  and soon begin to experience some spookiness in their own lives. (414-273-7121).

- Oct. 21- Nov. 13 - “Drowning Girls” - Renaissance Theatreworks, 158 N. Broadway,  Milwaukee. Reflects the sensational murder trial of George Joseph Smith, the British serial killer, from the perspective of three of the young women he drowned in a bathtub. A chilling, true-crime drama, perfect for Halloween fare. (414-291-7800).

- Oct. 21-Oct. 23 - “The Good Doctor” - The University of Wisconsin- Waukesha, 1500 University Drive, Waukesha. A combination of Neil Simon and Anton Chekhov in this series of vignettes with comedy and music that takes an affectionate look at Russian country life. (262-521-5212).

- Oct. 21-Oct. 23 - “The Glass Menagerie” - Carroll University Players at the Otteson Theatre, 238 N. East Ave., Waukesha. The classic Tennessee Williams play about a Southern Belle who lives in the past and tries to control her adult son and daughter. (262-524-7633).

- Oct. 22-Oct. 30 - “Where the Streetcar Bends the Corner” and “Zoo” - The Boulevard Theatre at the Plymouth Church, 2717 E. Hampshire St., Milwaukee. Boulevard begins its 31st season with two pieces of the cultural history in Milwaukee. Includes some of the icons of Milwaukee in the first piece and the story of two couples on the rocky road to love set in the Milwaukee Zoo. (414-744-5757).

- Oct. 25-Oct. 30 - “The Book of Mormon” - The Marcus Center, 929 N. Water St., Milwaukee. Back by popular demand, a musical that gently satirizes the Mormon religion and some of its practices. (414-273-7121).

- Oct. 27-Nov. 12 - “Bonny Anne Bonny” - Wisconsin Lutheran College in the Raabe Theatre at 8815 W. Wisconsin Ave., Wauwatosa.  A rare collaboration of professional actors from Theatre Red and college students  in an original script by local playwright Liz Shipe,  a play that explores two female pirates as they search for adventure, treasure and notoriety. (414-443-8800).

- Oct. 28-Nov. 13 - “To Kill a Mockingbird” - The Waukesha Civic Theatre, 264 W. Main St., in Waukesha. This story by Harper Lee still has relevance and appeal. Told from a child’s perspective, we experience both racial injustice and the nobility of those who fight to eradicate it. (262-542-0708).

- Nov. 4-Jan. 15 - “I Love a Piano” - The Milwaukee Rep’s Stackner Cabaret Theatre entertains us with a musical revue with more than 50 years of Irving Berlin’s best tunes.  A beautiful tribute. (414-224-9490).

- Nov. 15-Dec. 18 - “The Foreigner” - The Milwaukee Rep, 108 E. Wells St., Milwaukee. One of Larry Shue’s most popular hits. Shue spent seven years with the Milwaukee Rep as an actor and playwright-in-residence and is seen as an icon, partly because of his comic talent, but also because of his untimely death in a plane crash. (414-224-9490).

- Nov. 18-Dec. 23 - “La Cages aux Folles” - Skylight Music Theatre, 158 N. Broadway, Milwaukee. The combined talents of Jerry Herman (“Mame” and “Hello Dolly”) and Harvey Fierstein bring us this comic, relevant story of two gay partners trying to break the news of their orientation to a pair of straight-laced parents. (414-291-7800). 

- Nov. 23-Dec. 18 - “Lobby Hero” - The Milwaukee Chamber Theatre, 158 N. Broadway, Milwaukee. A security guard finds himself drawn into a murder investigation in which he has to make quick, significant decisions. A comedy, romance and a play of ideas all rolled into one. (414-291-7800).