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August 2021

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Volume 1, Number 8






TAKE A SIP | Theater Libations




By Ryan Albrechtson

By Amanda Finn

By Mike Fischer

A CELEBRATION OF MOVEMENT / A FEAST FOR THE EYES | Bike Path Dance Festival combines dancing, biking and outdoor fun By Shari Gasper



SUBSCRIBE FOR FREE to ArtsScene Magazine

STAFF Steve Marcus Greg Widener ART DIRECTOR Nicolette Bealhen VENUE RELATIONS/EDITOR Cathy Jakicic






ArtsScene is published by Marcus Promotions, Inc. The content of any article in this publication is based solely on the opinion of its writer and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Marcus Promotions, Inc., or its staff. | 4 | artsscene


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August2021 | 5

FROM THE Eating With Your Eyes A few issues back, I posed the question: What Is Art? Well, not only is it what we traditionally think of as art, but it can also include a window washer on State Street in Madison. Art is also in everything around us. In fact, we consume art on a daily basis —both literally and figuratively. I’m going to speak to the former —yes, we eat it! Do we not consume our food with our eyes before our mouths? If food doesn’t look pleasing to the eyes, do we want to taste it? As a sushi junky (professional eater and amateur chef ), I’m all about it. I love the details and colors on a plate of sushi. From the white shredded daikon radish formed into shapes on the plate to the strategically placed orange ikura (salmon roe) to make the eyes on a caterpillar roll. These creations are amazing art — which truly fascinates me! I often think to myself: “How did they do that?” It makes me want to learn more of the secrets behind this ancient artform so that I may be a better sushi apprentice. In this issue, we celebrate other feasts of the senses — sight, sound, taste and smell. Meshigare! (Bon appetite!) Publisher Steve Marcus 6 | artsscene




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TICKETS & INFORMATION | 608-588-2361 Clockwise from top: Kelsey Brennan, Twelfth Night (2019); Jamal James & Ty Fanning, She Stoops to Conquer (2019); Melisa Pereyra, Macbeth (2019). Photos by Liz Lauren.

August2021 | 7

Trodding (and arranging) the boards The Rep’s Kelley Faulkner turns her artistic eye to charcuterie By Ryan Albrechtson If music be the food of love, play on… Maybe no one knows that better than Milwaukee’s own Kelley Faulkner, a professional actor who is tackling another art form: charcuterie boards. 8 | artsscene

Milwaukee Rep’s production of Nunsense in January of 2020

“I was actually food blogging for the last few years under the name Butternut Posh,” said Faulkner, who had just closed the Milwaukee Rep’s production of Nunsense in January of 2020. “It was a bit of a happy accident. I changed my username to that because I thought it was kind of a funny pun. And then I started getting really passionate about food, documenting my food journey, and started dabbling in photography and those worlds kind of melded.” In the French tradition, charcuterie (pronounced "shahr-ku-tuh-ree") is the art of preparing and assembling cured meats and meat products. A charcuterie board is an assortment of meats, cheeses, artisan breads, olives, fruit, and nuts, all artfully arranged on a serving board. The term has also been used for other artfully displayed boards of desserts and other foods. “The charcuterie thing was just a natural extension,” said Faulkner. “I just started experimenting with creating beautiful food landscapes, if you will. I know that’s a trend that’s become really popular, which is cool to see because it’s such a fun trend. I feel it’s an accessible way to create beautiful food at home.” Faulkner’s professional acting career is quite an impressive one. “I actually started acting professionally as a kid,” said Faulkner. “I did some regional equity theatre in New Jersey, and I had an agent when I was in middle school — doing commercials, industrials, and television shows. I managed to lead a fairly normal childhood despite all of that. But I have been doing this professionally since forever.”

August2021 | 9

After graduating college, Faulkner continued her career in Philadelphia for five years, a place she describes as a “beautiful theatre community.” Then in 2010, Faulkner made Milwaukee her home, and has been delighting our audiences ever since. Once Covid-19 slowed down the performing arts industry, Faulkner was able to channel her creative energy in a new and unique way. “It sort of became a Covid-pivot by accident,” said Faulkner. I was making them for my family and for some friends and people said to me ‘You should sell these, you should actually try to do this.’ And so I’ve been dabbling in it and it’s actually been really fun. It’s definitely been a different kind of creative outlet for me.” When looking at the intricate designs and shapes of some of these boards, it’s clear that you need an artist’s eye to be a charcuterie board success. “I get as much information as I can about what the client’s preferences are, obviously allergies and that. But I do try to sort of figure out what people like, what they veer toward, and what kind of occasion it is, and then just go to work,” said Faulkner. I don't actually sketch things out before I do them. I just go ahead and do them, so they really are kind of like paintings — each one is original . I kind of know what works and what doesn’t work for me in terms of spacing and so I just let creativity take hold and make something unique for each customer.” 10 | artsscene

“It certainly scratches a creative itch in a different way,” said Faulkner. “Food is a way of expressing love! People can prepare food, even super simple foods, with love. I don’t eat to live, I live to eat. I’ve always loved creating a meal for my family, even if it’s just us at home and not necessarily a holiday. I get a lot of satisfaction out of creating these sort of mini experiences for people. And usually when people are ordering charcuterie boards it is their way of treating someone in their life (or maybe even just themselves) to a little extra love and care. And so it's been really gratifying from that standpoint.” While Butternut Posh continues to grow, Faulkner’s equally as excited to get back to the stage. “I would love to be able to balance both. I would love for this to be not just my side hustle but my parallel hustle, because I really love doing it,” said Faulkner. You can learn about Kelley, her food blogging, recipes, and (of course) her charcuterie boards by visiting:

Don't miss out on next month's issue of


SUBSCRIBE FOR FREE! August2021 | 11

Take a Sip:

Theater Libations

By: Amanda Finn As we begin to enjoy live theater again so too returns the much loved concession stand. Some audiences love to sip wine while adoring Shakespeare, others hunker down with some coffee as the autumn chill sets in for outdoor performances. No matter your potable preference, every show deserves its own refreshing companion. Here are just a few to make at home or to create yourself as a concession stand scientist.

A Paloma for the Journey: Sones De México Ensemble's Zulema August 5 - September 2, 2021 Multiple venues in Chicago, IL On a spectacular musical journey of many thousands of miles—from her Chiapas home in Mexico to Chicago—young Zulema zig-zags through the culturally diverse landscapes of her homeland and our fair city along the way. Exhilarating regional music and dance from the Grammy-nominated Sones de México Ensemble, in this collaboration with the Tony Awardwinning Goodman Theatre, make a joyous event for the whole family. This tasty mocktail will keep adventurers of all ages refreshed. With fragrant grapefruit at the center, this bubbly Paloma variation will take your tastebuds on a journey. • • • • •

Rim glass with salt, sugar or Tajín ¼ cup pink grapefruit juice ⅔ cup seltzer water or grapefruit Jarritos Grapefruit slice for garnish Crushed ice

(optional: ¼ cup tequila or mezcal)

12 | artsscene

Lola's KINKY Boots: Kinky Boots August 18 - 29, 2021 Paramount Theatre- 23 E. Galena Blvd. Aurora, IL Charlie Price is a reluctant shoemaker. Lola is a fierce drag queen. These two could not be any more different, but when they find common ground in footwear, they see a whole new world of possibilities open up to them that will turn their small town upside down, and just might save Charlie’s failing shoe factory. • • • • •

Muddled fresh strawberries ¼ cup KINKY red Club soda Ice Mint and strawberries for garnish

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Optimist Theatre’s The Lovers' Tale is a 75-minute version of the play, focusing on the four lovers and the fairies Puck and Oberon, and will run without intermission. The script originated with the 1976 Arden version and was edited by M.L. Cogar, Optimist’s dramaturg, who will co-direct along with Tom Reed, Optimist’s Associate Artistic Director. • • • • • •

1/4 cup dried lavender flowers 2 cups boiling water 1 cup honey Ice 1 cup lemon juice 5 cups water

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Maxwell's Silver Hammer: Mom, How Did You Meet the Beatles? September 9 - 26, 2021 Overture Center for the Arts - 201 State St. Madison, WI It’s the Swinging ‘60s in London, and American playwright Adrienne Kennedy finds herself among the rich and ultra-famous when she’s hired to write a stage version of John Lennon’s new book. Told in an interview-style conversation between Kennedy and her son, this autobiographical play shares her sense of awed wonder as she tries to hold her artistic ground in a patriarchal world of show business luminaries. • • • • •

1 1/2 oz vodka 1 tbsp vermouth 1 dash orange bitters 2 dashes of aromatic bitters Garnish with orange peel

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Charley and the Chocolate Factory (First Stage, 2012)

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“People ask me: Why do you write about food, and eating and drinking? Why don’t you write about the struggle for power and security, and about love, the way others do? . . . It seems to me that our three basic needs, for food and security and love, are so mixed and mingled and entwined that we cannot straightly think of one with the others. So it happens that when I write of hunger, I am really writing about love and the hunger for it, and warmth and the love of it and the hunger for it . . . it is all one.” – M.F.K. Fisher, The Gastronomical Me (1943) Hans Smit (interviewer): What is the future of theatre? Peter Brook (director being interviewed): What is the future of food? – Het Parool (Dutch newspaper), 2018 “This is not a theater blog, it’s a food blog,” wrote Adam Roberts in a December 2009 post to his blog, The Amateur Gourmet. “So why, on this Friday morning, am I writing a post about Our Town? Specifically, the production on Barrow Street in the West Village directed by David Cromer?” Having seen Cromer’s now legendary production in March of the same year, I’ll take a stab at answering Roberts’ rhetorical question. That answer has everything to do with bacon. Honoring Thornton Wilder’s opening stage direction – “no curtain, no scenery” – Cromer’s production is the most radically simplified Our Town I’ve ever seen. The actors (including Cromer himself, as the Stage Manager) were “costumed” in modern street clothes. The only props were two small tables, with chairs. The milkman drove a phantom wagon; coffee was sipped from imaginary cups. House lights remained up throughout the performance and there was almost no stage lighting, erasing the distinction between players and the audience. The actors lived in Grover’s Corners, but so did we; in Cromer’s production, the space we shared was our town. Then came Act III. The Emily who’d died giving birth asks to revisit a single day in the town where she’d lived all her life; Cromer’s Stage Manager obliges by taking her back to the bitterly cold February morning when she had turned 12. When actor Jennifer Grace’s Emily pulled back a black curtain, it was akin to Judy Garland’s Dorothy entering a world of technicolor. Now costumed in period clothes, Emily’s mother bustled about a vintage kitchen, preparing breakfast while a vividly lighted window evoked sunrise in wintry New England.

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On the cast iron stove where Mrs. Webb was making breakfast, real bacon was frying, its unmistakable smell wafting through the playing space and reaching us, along with the steam from freshly brewed coffee. As 12-year-old Emily and her family start their day, they barely notice one another; they’ve got things to do. “Oh, Mama, just look at me one moment as though you really saw me,” laments the older, now-dead Emily watching her younger self move through this ghostly scene. “Let’s look at one another,” she wails. “I didn’t realize,” Emily continues, speaking to the Stage Manager of all she’d once overlooked, including “food and coffee.” “So all that was going on and we never noticed . . . Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it?” “Going back and seeing everything, it articulates the idea in the play which is that you don’t notice things while they’re happening,” Cromer said, in Another Day’s Begun, Howard Sherman’s moving oral history of Our Town. “All of those moments, every day, that we fail to fully appreciate,” I wrote in my theater journal, the morning after seeing Cromer’s production. “Those moments that we fail to trust as worthy of a play in their own right.” Footlights Subscription Ad R3.pdf



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We Are What We Eat As Sherman notes in his book, Wilder himself identified the central theme of his play as “the relation between the countless ‘unimportant’ details of our daily life, on the one hand, and the great perspectives of time, social history, and current religious ideas, on the other.” Wilder analogizes his method to the archaeology he’d once studied; much like an archaeologist, his Stage Manager “reconstructs the very distant with the help of the very small” – such as the smell of frying bacon, every bit as evocative as Proust’s madeleine in recovering our memory of what we’ve lost, in a fragmented world where we fail to connect the dots between the various experiences that make us who we are. Long before the emergence of what we now call dinner theater – or, in the restaurant world, celebrity chefs performing the art of cooking in open kitchens – food and theater enjoyed an intimate relationship, with each other as well as other art forms involving song and dance. Their fusion was expressed through banquets and masques, tournaments and pageants, mystery play cycles and festivals. Food wasn’t an afterthought. It was integral to representing and expressing who we are. One gets a sense of this long-vanished world in extravagant productions like Cascabel, the literally spectacular 2012 Lookingglass Theatre production in which celebrity chef (and huge theater fan) Rick Bayless tries to cook his way into the heart of the woman he loves. As Bayless’ unassuming character tries to make the perfect mole, dancers and acrobats cavort around him, embodying the outsized emotions that food and love can inspire. But one also gets a sense of the relation between what we eat and who we are in Richard Nelson’s unassuming but even more powerful Rhinebeck plays, in which families quietly discuss their hopes, dreams, and fears involving life, death, art, and politics while preparing and eating a meal; most of these twelve plays are set in kitchens or around dining room tables. “The only real plot of each play is a meal being prepared from scratch,” Nelson said in a 2017 interview about The Gabriels, a trilogy in his larger Rhinebeck Panorama. “Human begins are the only animals that cook,” Nelson continued. “Therefore cooking is one of the things that makes us human. What better way to focus on the human being and its complexity but to focus on one of the things that defines us as human?” The Slow Theater Movement At first blush, nothing seems to actually be “happening” in a Nelson play; it’s quickly clear that everything does. August2021 | 19

By slowing things down to the time it takes to prepare a meal, Nelson allows his audience to do what Emily never fully could while she was alive: realize life while living it, by taking time to notice all that we ordinarily overlook, consumed as we are by the busy nothings of our blueprint lives. It’s no accident, in this context, that Cromer’s Stage Manager announced the start of each act in his production of Our Town by silently moving through the audience, holding up a cell phone; he couldn’t have more clearly told us that it was time to put those infernal machines away and pay attention. “People are much poorer at almost every task when they are close to a cell phone,” Timothy Snyder notes, in his book Our Malady. Lost in our phones, we regularly miss far more than Emily ever did. Cell phones are symptomatic of our failure to pay attention to the roads we drive, the food we eat, the plays we watch, and the people we love. Mindlessly scrolling while we eat, we reduce what ought to be a loving communion to a bodily function. Anxiously checking our phones while ostensibly watching a play, we wonder afterward why we couldn’t suspend disbelief and connect with the world on stage. Rewiring our brains, our phones make it harder to savor and appreciate a long meal and a more subtle play. “Our kitchens and other eating places more and more resemble filling stations,” Wendell Berry warns in What Are People For? “‘Life is not very interesting,’ we seem to have decided. ‘Let its satisfactions be minimal, perfunctory, and fast.’” We gorge on fast food; we crave intermission-free plays. In what we eat as well as how we watch, we increasingly turn to instantly gratifying, easily digestible meals, consumed with minimal thought, effort, or attention; even as they fill us up, they paradoxically leave us empty and hungry. We’re degrading our experiences. We’re shortening our lives. If we’re going to take the time to smell the bacon, we’ll need to slow down, whether we’re joined together around a table or in a theater, enjoying a meal or watching a play.

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Paying attention to all those small details we ordinarily overlook – in the world and with each other – won’t just foster empathy. Paradoxically, it will also expand our spatial and temporal horizons, allowing us to see and savor more fully. It may be true, as Emily laments, that the world is “too wonderful for anybody to realize you.” But surely, Wilder suggests, we can try. Perhaps we’ll then not only remember the smell of bacon. Perhaps on our very best days – our most attentive days – we’ll also be able to actually taste it. Dessert: Ten Wisconsin Treats “Food keeps one in the present,” writes former New York Times food columnist Molly O’Neill. “A good piece of food writing,” O’Neill continues, “is never just about the food; it is, among other things, about place and time, desire and satiety, the longing for home and the lure of the wider world.” Arranged chronologically in the order I saw them, here are the 10 Wisconsin stage productions featuring food that have done most to feed my soul and expand my mind (I’ve seen multiple Wisconsin productions of several of these shows; in those cases, I focus on the production I loved best). In each of them, food is a means rather than an end: not a fetishized object, but rather a way of expressing our relation to and connection with other people and the wider 2021-2world. 2 Season Furlan Auditorium Productions

RUN FOR YOUR WIFE – September 9–26, 2021 WAIT UNTIL DARK – October 21–November 7, 2021 SHE LOVES ME – December 2–19, 2021 4 WEDDINGS AND AN ELVIS – January 20–February 6, 2022 BAREFOOT IN THE PARK – March 3–20, 2022 SOMETHING ROTTEN – April 21–May 8, 2022 AN INSPECTOR CALLS – June 2–19, 2022 NEWSIES – July 14 – August 7, 2022

Musical MainStage Concert Series

THE BEAT GOES ON: ROCK CLASSICS – October 25–26, 2021 SIMON & GARFUNKEL – December 13–14, 2021 SURF’S UP! – January 24–25, 2022 GET READY! – March 7–8, 2022 IF YOU COULD READ MY MIND: ACOUSTIC SUPERSTARS – April 25–26, 2022 ABBA & FRIENDS – June 13–14, 2022

2021-22 Season SideNotes Cabaret Series 2021-F 22 Su easr onlan Auditorium Productions Furlan Auditorium Productions

NOBODY DOES IT BETTER: CHICK SINGERS – September 30–October 3, 2021 ELLA MEETS MEL – December 8–12, 2021 BOYGIRLBOYGIRL – February 10–13, 2022 YOU’VE GOT A FRIEND: CAROLE KING & JAMES TAYLOR – March 17–20, 2022 BEAUTY AND THE BEAT: PEGGY LEE – April 28–May 1, 2022 BROADWAY SINGALONG – June 8–12, 2022

RUN FOR YOUR WIFE – September 9–26, 2021 WAIT UNTIL DARK – October 21–November 7, 2021 Spec2021 ial Events SHE LOVES ME – December 2–19, DAVID SEEBACH: ILLUSIONS IN THE NIGHT – October 15–17, 2021 JAYNE TAYLOR CHRISTMAS SHOW – November 27, 2021 4 WEDDINGS AND AN ELVIS – January 20–February 6, 2022 ROCKIN’ IN A WINTER WONDERLAND – December 7, 2021 Musical MainStage Concert Series FUNNY GIRL: BOMBSHELL THEATER CO. – January 7–16, 2022 BAREFOOT IN 25–26, THE2021PARK – MONOLOGUES: March AFTER 3–20, THE BEAT GOES ON: ROCK CLASSICS – October THE VAGINA SUNSET 2022 STUDIO SERIES – March 24–27, 2022 SIMON & GARFUNKEL – December 13–14, 2021 SUNDAYS AT SUNSET – June 26–August 21, 2022 SURF’S UP! – January 24–25, 2022 FOUR GUYZ IN DINNER JACKETS8, – August 25–September 4, 2022 SOMETHING ROTTEN – April 21–May 2022 GET READY! – March 7–8, 2022 IF YOU COULD READ MY MIND: ACOUSTIC SUPERSTARS – April 25–26, 2022 b u g i n a R u g C h i l d r e n ’ s T AN INSPECTOR CALLS – June 2–19, 2022 heater ABBA & FRIENDS – June 13–14, 2022 TESSA’S TIP-TAPPING TOES – February 16–19, 2022 HEY DIDDLE DIDDLE – May 11–14, 2022 SideNoNEWSIES tes Cabaret Series – July 14 – August 7, 2022 RUN FOR YOUR WIFE – September 9–26, 2021 WAIT UNTIL DARK – October 21–November 7, 2021 SHE LOVES ME – December 2–19, 2021 4 WEDDINGS AND AN ELVIS – January 20–February 6, 2022 BAREFOOT IN THE PARK – March 3–20, 2022 SOMETHING ROTTEN – April 21–May 8, 2022 AN INSPECTOR CALLS – June 2–19, 2022 NEWSIES – July 14 – August 7, 2022

NOBODY DOES IT BETTER: CHICK SINGERS – September 30–October 3, 2021 ELLA MEETS MEL – December 8–12, 2021 BOYGIRLBOYGIRL – February 10–13, 2022 YOU’VE GOT A FRIEND: CAROLE KING & JAMES TAYLOR – March 17–20, 2022 BEAUTY AND THE BEAT: PEGGY LEE – April 28–May 1, 2022 BROADWAY SINGALONG – June 8–12, 2022

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Musical MainStage Concert Series

THE BEAT GOES ON: ROCK CLASSICS – October 25–26, 2021 Special Events DAVID SEEBACH: ILLUSIONS IN THE NIGHT – October 15–17, 2021 SIMON & GARFUNKEL – December 13–14, 2021 August2021 JAYNE TAYLOR CHRISTMAS SHOW – November 27, 2021

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The Nerd (Milwaukee Repertory Theater, 2007)

The Nerd (Milwaukee Repertory Theater, 2007): The obnoxious title character is promised “a good old Terre Haute dinner,” in which one puts sand in their tea and enjoys an appetizer of garbanzos with rusks before a main course of warm water and cottage cheese – all while discussing local customs like stuffing live sheep with spicy sausage. There’s a method to this side-splitting madness, in which preparing food is linked with staging a show, allowing emotionally starved souls to express and embody how hungry they are for love and fellowship. Crumbs from the Table of Joy (Renaissance Theaterworks and UPROOTED Theatre, 2011): In this tender Lynn Nottage play profiling a family that’s made the Great Migration, the crumbs from Godfrey’s work in a New York bakery never quite feed his daughters’ gnawing hunger for a better life. But dreams of such a feast play an integral role in this memory play, in which the narrator comes to realize that even the humblest meals can offer solace and escape when they’re made and shared with those we love. Omnium Gatherum (Windfall Theatre, 2011): As memorably staged by Carol Zippel’s Windfall Theatre, Theresa Rebeck and Alexandra Gersten-Vassilaros’s “Omnium Gatherum” involved a dinner party in which the actors – as characters suggesting celebrities like Tom Clancy, Christopher Hitchens, Edward Said, and Martha Stewart – consumed real food while sharing bracing conversation on topics such as feminism, Palestine, U.S. foreign policy, religion, race relations, and gourmet food. I can’t remember when I last attended a dinner party that was half as interesting – and in which a host willingly brought together guests harboring such wide-ranging and conflicting opinions. Would that there were more such dinner parties (and conversations!). 22 | artsscene

Charley and the Chocolate Factory (First Stage, 2012): Even as Grandpa Joe and Charlie were eating yet another bowl of cabbage soup, the audience was being overpowered by the tantalizing smell of chocolate being pumped into the theater, in a production that also delivered a gum-making machine and a flying Wonkavator. All the while, director Jeff Frank made sure such confections and contraptions served rather than overwhelming a story asking hard questions about the difference between what we want and what we need – while Ch arl ey underscoring that food and love must be and 2) the 201 ge, Cho colate Factory (First Sta shared rather than hoarded. Babette’s Feast (Acacia Theatre Company, 2012): Two buttoned-up and tampeddown sisters discover all they’ve been missing in life and love, thanks to the sumptuous feast prepared by the title character in this stage adaptation of Isak Dinesen’s justly famous short story. Dinesen’s fable brings the light of grace to a world gone dark; Acacia’s rendition reminded the sisters and us that we’re less sinners in the hands of an angry deity than the blessed inhabitants of a beautiful world, made to be enjoyed and loved. Bacchanalia (Quasimondo Physical Theatre, 2013): From a dreamy, freewheeling feeling of “complete oneness with the essence of the universe” to the cramped way we live now: One’s evening at Villa Terrace began with pita, olives, hummus, and cheese and ended by watching two onetime Olympian gods sitting primly at a modern cafe, bored out of their minds. Where did things go wrong? And since we're all going to die, why are we so afraid to live? As Bacchus might say, why not eat, drink and be prodigiously merry while we still can? While serving up a greatest hits version of Greek mythology, Quasimondo explored the relationship between how we eat and how we love, in a world where we no longer make sufficient time for either one. The Other Place (Forward Theater Company, 2015): Sharr White’s harrowing play, in which we witness the brilliant Juliana slowly lose her mind, includes one of the most poignant scenes I’ve ever seen on stage. Juliana stumbles into her former home and mistakes the current owner for her long-lost daughter; this never-named homeowner then proceeds to play along while feeding her helpless, would-be mother. As quietly presented by Tracy Michelle Arnold and Georgina McKee, Forward’s production did more than the most extravagant banquet to capture the intimacy of a shared meal – and all it can do to restore us to a full sense of what it means to be human. No Bones About It (Northern Sky Theater, 2016): My second helping of this popular Northern Sky show – an adaptation of “Romeo and Juliet” involving rival families at a competitive barbecue that I’d first reviewed during the world premiere run one year earlier – proved anew how much better something can taste when it’s August2021 | 23

had time to fully marinate. If the Montagues and Capulets had sat down together with barbecue this good, they’d have been too busy eating to waste time fighting. Waitress (Marcus Center Broadway Series, 2018): As with the gorgeous pies she makes, Jenna hopes she can hide her hot mess of a gooey center beneath a protective crust in this justly beloved Sara Bareilles musical. No such luck – not when those pies smelled as good as they did and when actor Desi Oakley sang as well and vulnerably as she did during this national tour’s January 2018 stop in Milwaukee. Jenna’s pies and Oakley’s voice brought warmth to the Marcus Center, allowing the audience to come in out of the cold.

Top Girls (Renaissance Theaterworks, 2018): Caryl Churchill’s best play opens with a banquet involving some of history’s most famous women, whose ostensible unity belies all the ways this sisterhood isn’t all that powerful. True to form, Churchill suggests that in focusing on patriarchy, too many women pay too little attention to class – driven home in Suzan Fete’s production through the addition of an additional, put-upon female server at this feast where only the privileged get to eat. A Milwaukee-based writer and dramaturg, Mike Fischer wrote theater and book reviews for the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel for fifteen years, serving as chief theater critic from 2009-18. A member of the Advisory Company of Artists for Forward Theater Company in Madison, he also co-hosts Theater Forward, a bimonthly podcast. You can reach him directly at

24 | artsscene


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Emily Shelton, Luella Shapiro, and Juan Carlos Diaz Velez photo by Erica Pinigis

A Celebration of Mov

Bike Path Dance Festival combines By Shari Gasper Exploring Madison’s miles of bike trails is a great way to learn about the city and surrounding communities. This Labor Day, it’s also a great way to learn about Madison’s vibrant dance scene. On Monday, Sept. 6, from noon to 6 p.m., the Isthmus Dance Collective, with funding from Dane Arts, presents the first-ever Shifting Gears Bike Path Dance Festival, a free event showcasing dance performances scattered along Madison’s bike paths. “Dance is not as accessible around the world as some art forms, especially with most dancing taking place indoors. By bringing dance outdoors, more people can access and enjoy it,” said Erica Pinigis, member and board president of Isthmus Dance Collective.

26 | artsscene

vement / A Feast for the Eyes

s dancing, biking and outdoor fun Isthmus Dance Collective, formed in June 2020, is composed of Madisonbased professional dance artists and aims to promote dance dialogue in the community and to provide accessible and inclusive dance education, community outreach and performances. Through this festival, the organization hopes to promote their dancers while sharing the joy of dance with members of the community. “We want to expose audiences to dance styles they’ve never seen before, to break down barriers and to bring people together on a broader scale around dance,” said Pinigis. The dance festival is modeled after the San Francisco Trolley Dances, in which people ride the trolley around town to various shows. Since Madison is connected by bike paths, it was a great tie-in for the festival. August2021 | 27

Tania Tandias and Liz Sexe - photo by Erica Pinigis

“Madison is known for its love of biking, and it has beautiful outdoor public spaces around the trails, open to the community at no cost,” said Pinigis. About 18 Madison-based dance companies will perform at the festival, split among three stages along the bike path network: Wirth Court Park, McPike Park and Olin Park Vantage. Bikers can move easily between the stages, which are 1.5 to 2 miles apart via the bike path. Live performances feature an array of dance groups sharing dance works in a variety of forms and styles, including Tania Tandias Flamenco and Spanish Dance, Scratch Dance, Liz Sexe Dance, DanzTrad, Swing State Aerial, Red Herrings, Trinity Irish Dance, Breakthrough Dance Company, Maritess Escueta, Juan Carlos Diaz Velez and more. “All the dance groups at each location will perform within two-hour segments repeated throughout the afternoon, so people moving between the parks can view several different groups,” said Pinigis. Flamenco Spanish dancer and Isthmus Dance Collective member Tania Tandias has helped recruit international dance companies for the festival. About a third of the participating groups represent international dances, such as India, Ireland, Mexico, Scotland and Spain. Dancers from Tandias’ company will perform a combination of solos and small group pieces. “Flamenco dance is well-suited for outdoor venues, like they have in Spain,” said Tandias. “The art form is exciting, colorful and has a lot of flair.” Emerging from a year of minimal live performance opportunities, the festival provides motivation for the dancers, giving them a goal to work toward, a performance opportunity to look forward to. “We have not had much of a chance to perform and share our art this past year,” said Tandias. “Shifting Gears is a great way to showcase what we do and what we offer the Madison community.” 28 | artsscene

Recycled and reused supplies will be provided at each park for bikers to decorate their bikes parade-style. Decorations will be color coded per location, making it easy to identify which park bikers have visited. Art and chalk supplies will also be on hand, giving participants the chance to express themselves creatively on the sidewalks and concrete areas. “We want as much audience participation as possible,” said Pinigis. “We’re coming up with ways to participate and move our bodies.” The festival will convene at McPike Park from 5:30-6 p.m. with all performers joining together for a percussive footwork jam curated by local tap dance icon Katherine Kramer. “It’s going to be really exciting!” said Tandias. “You’ll get to see all these different genres of dance together at one festival. It’s a great opportunity to sample various types of dance. You’ll get a big variety in small doses.” Pinigis agreed. “It’s going to be really fun!” she said. “The festival gives people the opportunity to come together and celebrate the end of summer, be outside, enjoy our city and experience the beautiful art we create here.”




August2021 | 29

E VE N T L I ST I NGS Check out some of Southern Wisconsin's best upcoming virtual and in-person arts offerings!

See an event you like?

All events are clickable, click on an event to get more information!

Events marked with

☀ are outdoors.





Buttermilk Creek Park American Players Theatre Fond du Lac, WI Spring Green, WI Through August 23 Through August 7 It’s again time to grab your lawn chairs or Here we have a play that hits all the notes with equal glee – a screwball comedy written blankets for those fabulous Monday evening “Music Under The Stars” band concerts. by one of the smartest playwrights of our time.

American Players Theatre Spring Green, WI Through August 15 This is a story you may think you know; a grand classic borne on the backs of gods and warriors.


East Side Club Madison, WI Through September Bring a blanket or lawn chair and enjoy the casual, backyard setting. The lineup features national touring acts paired with some of Madison’s best local bands.


Old Settlers Park Lake Country Playhouse West Bend, WI Hartland, WI Through September 2 Through August 15 Weekly, free, live music summer street festival The Revolutionists is a new play about four in beautiful downtown West Bend. very real women who lived boldly in France during the French Revolution’s Reign of Terror.


WEDNESDAY CONCERTS Pewaukee Lake Pewaukee, WI Through August 18 Listen to this weekly musical series along the beachfront of Pewaukee Lake or dine al fresco across the street; genres include rock, blues, reggae, and party music.


Downtown Waukesha Waukesha, WI Through September 3 Friday Night Live outdoor music event takes place every summer Friday night in downtown Waukesha.




I-94 State Line Kenosha, WI Fireside Dinner Theatre Through September 6 Fort Atkinson, WI Enjoy 16th Century merriment, music, Through September 5 Fresh from the success of OKLAHOMA, SOUTH food and games. Voted the number one Renaissance Faire in the nation! PACIFIC, and THE KING AND I, Broadway’s greatest composing team wrote an original musical comedy – the first of its kind – to be SUMMER CRAFTERNOONS performed live on TV in 1957. West Allis Downtown West Allis, WI ANIMAL SUPER POWERS Through September 11 MADE WITH LEGO BRICKS Arts and Crafts lovers, rejoice! Every second Saturday this Summer, West Allis Downtown Milwaukee County Zoo will be hosting our Summer Crafternoons, a Milwaukee, WI series of art and craft fairs on the side streets. Through September 6 The larger-than-life sculptures and exhibits WEDNESDAY NIGHT LIVE in Animal Super Powers invite visitors to explore the evolutionary, biological, and Wisconsin State Fair Park environmental reasons for these adaptations West Allis, WI and asks Zoo visitors to imagine themselves Through September 22 with the same abilities. Wednesday Night Live is a unique, FREE,

weekly summer concert series held exclusively at the Bud Pavilion.

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Museum of Wisconsin Art West Bend, WI DelecTable Through October 17 Madison, WI Carey Watter’s painstakingly and delicately August 6 – 21 cuts cast-off printed materials into thousands As Chef Lawler continues his quest to source of tiny pieces that begin a new life as part of only the very best local meats and produce, her paper reliefs. we are pleased to announce that the result of this ongoing mission is deliciously evident in WISCONSIN STATE FAIR the new August menu.

State Fair Grounds SUGAR MAPLE MUSIC FESTIVAL West Allis, WI August 5 – 15 Memorial Union Terrace The annual Wisconsin State Fair is the state’s Madison, WI largest agricultural showcase, offering endless August 6- 7 family entertainment at an exceptional value. Join the Wisconsin Union on the Terrace for an exploration of American roots music!


Milwaukee Art Museum Milwaukee, WI August 5 – September 5 Come to the Milwaukee Art Museum’s east lawn for Lakeside at MAM! Grab a seat, find a table, or bring your own picnic blanket— and relax with family and friends outdoors throughout the summer.


Marcus Performing Arts Center – Peck Pavilion Milwaukee, WI August 5 CWE is a progressive bluegrass band. Its five members have spent a lifetime honing their craft, with deep roots in bluegrass, jamband, classical, and other genres.


Thelma Sadoff Center for the Arts Fond du Lac, WI August 5 Maple Road is a high energy, four piece band out of the Washington County area that has been delivering a unique blend of blues and rock for over ten years.


Marcus Performing Arts Center Milwaukee, WI August 7 Milwaukee’s free Shakespeare in the Park returns to live, in-person performances with a traveling outdoor production.


SUMMERTIME MARKET & PUB CRAWL State Line Distilling Madison, WI August 7 Drink Local and Shop Local at the Madison Makers Summertime Market!

A WINDOW OF OPPORTUNITY: SONGS TO REMEMBER Sunset Playhouse Elm Grove, WI August 8 When opportunity knocks, answer the call! Talented teens who missed out on their high school musicals due to school closures are given the chance to show what they can do in this lively revue.






NagaWaukee Park Sunset Playhouse Delafield, WI Elm Grove, WI August 13 -14 National and local acts perform over two August 9 – 10 days, enjoy traditional and contemporary We’re going to rock the house as we Journey through Styx, Foreigner, Aerosmith, and more blues, rhythm and blues, soul, gospel and roots music, as well as country and rock and of your ’70s and ’80s favorites. roll influences. Art show also on grounds.

Sharon Lynne Wilson Center Brookfield, WI August 12 – 14 Established in 2013, it is the goal of the Wilson Center Guitar Festival to celebrate the greatest guitarists of today and tomorrow.


REUNION CONCERT Marcus Performing Arts Center – Peck Pavilion Milwaukee, WI August 13 Members of the cast from Milwaukee Rep’s hit production of Hedwig and the Angry Inch will gather to sing popular songs from bands like Heart, the Eurythmics and The Beatles as well as several numbers from Hedwig.

Riverside Park Watertown, WI August 12 – 15 AL FRESCO SERIES: A music, food and entertainment FAVORITE OPERA SCENES extravaganza in beautiful Riverside Park in the center of the city. Florentine Opera Milwaukee, WI SIEGMANN FAMILY BAND August 13 On a gorgeous 60-acre property abutting a Schauer Arts Center river, the summer concert residents will regale Hartford, WI us in their capstone performance with classic August 12 scenes from our favorite operas. Celebrate Filled with beautiful family harmonies, Mozart at sunset, anyone? skilled musicianship and a love for music, the Siegmann Family will be bringing the best of ART IN THE PARK bluegrass, acapella, acoustic and southern gospel to the Schauer! Flat Iron Park Lake Geneva, WI ALICE IN WONDERLAND – August 14 – 15 Along the beautiful shore of Geneva Lake, MISSOULA CHILDREN'S THEATRE the 41st annual Art in the Park, sponsored Schauer Arts Center by Geneva Lake Arts Foundation, spotlights Hartford, WI original fine art from talented artists from August 13 – 14 Wisconsin and throughout the US. Join Alice, the White Rabbit and a host of others when the Missoula Children’s Theatre presents an original musical adaptation of the Lewis Carroll classic, Alice In Wonderland. Performed by local youth.




Madison’s Central BID Madison, WI Breese Stevens Field August 19 – December 16 Madison, WI Madison Night Market is a celebration of August 15 Madison’s unique and inspiring creative The Kids From Wisconsin revue is produced culture. Vendors showcase handmade in collaboration with some of this country’s products, local art, artisan gifts, prepackaged best writers, arrangers, and choreographers. foods and fresh produce. The event includes Costumes are designed and created in Broadway style, adding to the already exciting live music, artists, special visiting food carts and pop-up restaurant experiences. performance.


Milton House Museum Milton, WI August 15 Shop the 80 arts & crafts vendors in this juried craft show, enjoy a pork BBQ, ice cream social and concert in the park at Milton’s famous community festival.

Marcus Performing Arts Center – Peck Pavilion Milwaukee, WI August 19 Simply put, Billy McGuigan & The Downliners present a non-stop, high energy, rock and roll extravaganza!

Barrie Park Fort Atkinson, WI August 16 & August 23 Sit back and enjoy music by the community band in beautiful Barrie Park. Each concert even has its own theme!

Henry Maier Festival Park Milwaukee, WI August 20 – 22 Milwaukee Irish Fest is the world’s largest celebration of Celtic music and culture.






Lake Country Playhouse Hartland, WI Cutler Park August 20 -22 Waukesha, WI In this hilarious, raucous, all-female “powerAugust 16 play” inspired by Shakespeare’s Shrew, Bring your blanket and chairs and enjoy family-friendly flicks under the stars at the Les contestant Katherine has political aspirations to match her beauty pageant ambitions. Paul Performance Center in Cutler Park.

Lake Country Playhouse Angell Park Hartland, WI Sun Prairie, WI August 20 August 19 – 22 Includes: Carnival, food and product vendors, Bring a lawn chair or blanket and enjoy music on the Playhouse lawn. kiddie korner, family entertainment stage, quad power jump, live bands, beer tent. Steamed corn served Sat/Sun.



Fowler Park Oconomowoc, WI August 21 -22 The Oconomowoc Festival of the Arts, an acclamied juried fine arts show set next to a sparkling lake in a beautiful wooded park is celebrating its 50th year.


Museum of Wisconsin Art West Bend, WI August 21 – 22 Art & Chalk Fest is a free, outdoor, live arts festival set amidst the Museum of Wisconsin Art’s four-acre campus.


MEMORIAL ART FAIR Glacial Drumlin Trail Wales, WI August 21 A juried art fair committed to the excellence in fine arts and crafts including photography, paintings, pottery, glass, wood, jewelry, metal, mixed media, drawings and fiber art; entertainment, kids area, food and used book sale also available.

THE WHISKEYBELLES Thelma Sadoff Center for the Arts Fond du Lac, WI August 26 Hank Williams passion, Carter family harmonies, with a little Hee Haw mixed in for good measure.


Marcus Performing Arts Center – Peck Pavilion Milwaukee, WI August 26 Exploring the intersectionality of the many genres rooted in Black Music, using imaginative reinterpretations of works from across the Black Diaspora intermixed with original works by Klassik.


Schauer Arts Center Hartford, WI August 26 The award-winning Comicality will leave you howling with laughter...or maybe howling at the moon. Join the court jesters as they hold comedy court in the new cultural courtyard.

GOD OF CARNAGE Lake Country Playhouse Hartland, WI August 27 – 29 Don’t miss the triple-Tony-Award-winning Broadway sensation God of Carnage, by Yasmina Reza (Art). The New Yorker calls this laugh-out-loud hilarity “ninety minutes of sustained mayhem.”


Marcus Performing Arts Center – Peck Pavilion Milwaukee, WI August 27 Black Arts MKE Welcomes You Back To The Arts With Shonn Hinton & Shotgun RELOADED


Lake Country Playhouse Hartland, WI August 27 Bring a lawn chair or blanket and enjoy music on the Playhouse lawn.

GLENN MILLER ORCHESTRA Schauer Arts Center Hartford, WI August 27 The World Famous Glenn Miller Orchestra, under the direction of Nick Hilscher, brings timeless classics like “In the Mood,” “Moonlight Serenade,” “Chattanooga Choo Choo,” “String of Pearls,” and “Tuxedo Junction” back to the stage.

August2021 | 35






Breese Stevens Field Madison, WI August 28 Curdfest will be a FREE admission event featuring fried cheese curds, fresh cheese curds, music, beverages, and a great time!


Capitol Square Madison, WI September 4 -5 Held each year on Sat/Sun of Labor Day weekend on the Capitol Square. The event showcases local restaurants, music stages, and admission is FREE!

Sunset Playhouse Sherman Avenue United Methodist Church Elm Grove, WI September 9 – 26 Madison, WI John Smith, a happy London taxi driver with August 28 CultivARTE is led by a multidisciplinary group an irregular working schedule, has one little problem. He is married. TWICE! of local Latinx artists who came together to connect our community to the arts.


Henry Maier Festival Park Milwaukee, WI September 2 – 18 Summerfest presented by American Family Insurance has evolved into what is now recognized as “The World’s Largest Music Festival” and Milwaukee’s cornerstone summer celebration.



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