Longtime Pabst Theater house manager dies in auto accident in South Africa
If you've been to The Pabst Theater, you were in Tom DuBuque's home. He had a conventional residence in Wauwatosa, and until two years ago he practiced dentistry there, too.
But Tom began working at The Pabst 46 years ago, and he never stopped. The indefatigable house manager died Monday while vacationing in South Africa.
The U.S. State Department has told friends that he was driving in a car in the mountains when a freak snow storm struck. DuBuque's auto was involved in an accident with another vehicle, and he was killed.
Madly in love with theater and opera, DuBuque went to work in house management at The Pabst at the age of 18. He would tell people that his first job was scraping gum off the back of seats.
The gregarious DuBuque became the face of the Pabst, always wearing a tuxedo and frequently darting from one end of the house to the other, resolving problems. Ticket snafus, unruly customers and backed up toilets were all in his domain. He spoke fast and smiled often.
DuBuque relished telling Pabst Theater stories. Among his favorites was the couple who repeatedly stormed into the lobby to argue during a performance. Finally the woman bolted from the theater, quickly followed by her companion.
The man jumped onto the hood of the woman's car, and DuBuque watched the auto drive east on Wells Street. That was a dramatic exit.
Dentistry was DuBuque's day job, and more than one traveling performer with an aching tooth wound up in his office in the Wauwatosa village. But running the public side of The Pabst was his passion.
Travel was DuBuque's other love, and he died immersed in it. A memorial service will be held at The Pabst on a date to be announced.
The Milwaukee Chamber Theatre's "Crimes of the Heart"
Thirty years after "Crimes of the Heart" was the toast of Broadway, it has lost its sheen. The Southern Gothic comedy about a trio of sisters from a deeply dysfunctional family won the Pulitzer Prize in 1981 and enjoyed a two and a half year run on Broadway.
That production had a memorable cast that included Mary Beth Hurt, Mia Dillon, Lizbeth MacKay and Peter MacNicol. The play's popularity and honors did not seem misplaced.
But the world has profoundly changed in three decades. We as a people are older and maybe wiser. We carry scars from shared public tragedies and a culture that seems meaner, harsher and less forgiving.
Broad over-the-top jokes about parental suicide and debilitating personal defects are no longer funny. There is still a place for dark humor, but it must be smarter and not rely on stereotypes.
That is why the Milwaukee Chamber Theatre's production of "Crimes of the Heart" that opened last weekend falls flat. At least two of the Magrath sisters of Hazelhurst, Miss. are brazenly self-destructive, and the consequences make them candidates for pity. That's assuming we care, and I'm not sure we do.
The script is far from subtle, but it does provide an opportunity to sculpt the principal characters into more than caricatures. Unfortunately, only Neil Haven's portrayal of an inexperienced but earnest attorney accomplishes that. Everyone else is simply a type.
"Crimes" revolves around a reunion of the three sisters at their grandfather's small town Mississippi home. He's in the hospital and the siblings are in a tizzy after one, Babe, shoots her husband.
The play has a subtext that seeks to make the Magrath women poignant, but all of the broad-brush behavior smothers that here.
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