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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Sunday, April 20, 2014

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1. Rep's "History of Invulnerability" suffers from an identity crisis
Ever since he made his debut into the American pop culture world, Superman has been a character who made people wonder what he really was. After all, he's technically an alien disguised as a human. That was kind of the way I felt walking out of the opening night of "The History of Invulnerability" at the Milwaukee Rep. I wasn't totally sure what I had just watched, but I knew whatever it was had made me a little uncomfortable.
2. Gareth Reynolds talks comedy and more
For the first episode of the Scatterbrains Podcast Alia Janine brings you Milwaukee native and comedian, Gareth Reynolds.
3. Breast cancer awareness event hopes to project positivity
Nikki Panico, executive director of Susan G. Koman for the Cure Southeastern Wisconsin and Clai Green, owner of Luci Boutique, are hosting the Beauty Is... premiere, Pink Balloon Project photo exhibit and Cut Out Cancer event on May 4 from 4 to 9 p.m. at Milwaukee's Intercontinental Hotel, 139 E Kilbourn Ave.
4. Are you "Milwaukee's best" of anything?
A photographer is in town working on a Milwaukee Art Museum-commissioned project and he's looking for "Milwaukee's best" of anything and everything. Are you Milwaukee's best citizen or oldest citizen or dog owner or girl scout or ...? Jim wants to meet you.
5. Milwaukee Art Museum introduces new curator
It's been a busy news week for the Milwaukee Art Museum. First, it announced a Plan for the Future; now, this morning, it announced that Brandon Ruud is the museum's new curator of American art and decorative arts.
6. Expansion plan opens up space for museum "bursting at the seams"
Two days ago the Milwaukee Art Museum officially announced its Plan for the Future, including an expansion of the 1975 Kahler building, which sits beneath and to the east of the 1957 Eero Saarinen-designed War Memorial Center. Yesterday, MAM director Dan Keegan hosted a media event at which he offered more details on the plan.
7. "Mr. Marmalade" is a troublesome proposition for Splinter Group
In a way, the theory behind "Mr. Marmalade" is admirable. Take Lucy - a 4-year-old with an imaginary friend - and give her a whole bunch of experiences that are more suited to adults on massive drug cocktails than to a child, no matter how precocious. Unfortunately, the show itself - which runs through April 19 - is just too much of a one trick pony.
8. MAM announces Plan for the Future
Milwaukee Art Museum has released its plan for the future, called, well, Plan for the Future.
9. Renaissance rings the right bells with moving "Skin Tight"
Ten years ago, I saw the Renaissance production of "Skin Tight," a story of love and life. A decade later, the company brought back the original cast and its original director, Laura Gordon. This new version, running through April 27, is even richer and more nuanced than the original.
10. Next Act's "Three Views of the Same Object" soars on shoulders of giants
"Three Views of the Same Object," the Henry Murray play that opened Friday night at Next Act Theatre and runs through April 27, is a story is of honor and betrayal, truth and lies, the things we do either for or to the people we love. And in this production, it's a story told on the shoulders of giants.
11. Alchemist's "Use No Place Soon" provides a disappointing night
When I walk into a theater, there are several things on my wish list. I hope that if the play has faults, the actors will carry it. I hope that if the actors aren't up to snuff, the play is of such quality that even weak performances can't bring it down. I hope that if neither of the above happens, then the director will find something upon which we can all hang our hats. Unfortunately, none of those things come true in "Use No Place Soon."
12. Creaky bones can't stop Off The Wall's "Romeo and Juliet"
When you hear about a retirement home, the vision comes easily. But not in the eccentric, many times brilliant and always interesting mind of Dale Gutzman, artistic director of Off The Wall Theatre. Gutzman's vision of a retirement home comes to life in "Romeo and Juliet," which opened Thursday night and runs through April 6. And to say this version of the Shakespeare classic love story is unusual is a massive understatement.
13. Goodbye, "witch's house"
No Milwaukee high school experience, including my own, was complete without a trip or two to the "witch's house."
14. Potawatomi Bingo Casino announces name change
This summer, Potawatomi Bingo Casino will change its name and logo to Potawatomi Hotel & Casino. The name change reflects the addition of the new hotel that will open this fall.
15. Rep's cast of musicians prove they "Ain't Misbehavin'"
"Ain't Misbehavin'" doesn't pack a massive emotional wallop, but like jazz itself, it's got a strong intellectual appeal and some of the brightest, cleverest songs you'll ever hear.
16. Glass and Ginsberg are out of tune in "Hydrogen Jukebox"
Philip Glass is revered by many as one of the most influential composers of the 20th century, and he has a reputation that rivals that of Allen Ginsberg, whose words would change America forever. It is against that background that the curtain went up on "Hydrogen Jukebox" at Skylight. From the opening moments, it was clear that this was not a Rogers & Hammerstein musical.
17. PrideFest Milwaukee announces 2014 headliners
PrideFest Milwaukee announced this morning its batch of headliners for the annual three-day festival, the nation's largest showcase of LGBT talent.
18. New "Flashdance" misses flash, dance and a sense of drama
Think back to the famous 1983 movie "Flashdance" and answer the question, "What was it about?' You will probably respond that it's about a young girl named Alex, a steelworker who dances in an almost strip club and wants to get into an elite-level ballet school. But that's not the right answer if someone asks you about the busy stage musical adaptation of "Flashdance" that opened Tuesday night at the Marcus Center.
19. Wrestling comedy "Cementville" trips on weak characters in the ring
If you are going perform a play about women's professional wrestling, it's a good idea to determine whether the characters are going to be real people or caricatures. That's one of the problems afflicting "Cementville," the dark comedy by Jane Martin that opened at UWM's Peck School of the Arts over the weekend.
20. "Lion King," "Book of Mormon" highlight upcoming Marcus season
The highest grossing musical in history and a Tony award winning, laugh-a-minute riot highlight the 2014-15 season of Broadway shows announced by the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts Thursday night.
21. The Milwaukee Rep announces its 2014-15 season
Milwaukee Repertory Theater artistic director Mark Clements has developed a home run reputation for the bookings in the Stackner, which has been home to wonderful musical productions, and next year seems like no exception.
22. As man, woman or dog, Daniels impresses in "Chesapeake"
"Chesapeake" by Lee Blessing draws its title from a Chesapeake retriever that plays an integral role in the story. But the production truly belongs to Matt Daniels, the actor who brings alive a string of disparate characters, all of whom have a role in this discussion of the value of art.
23. First Stage's "Anatole" gives the audience plenty to believe in
It was a little girl in the audience who provided proof that belief ran strong at the Todd Wehr Theater during the opening weekend of "Anatole." That little girl was in full belief that what she was seeing in front of her eyes was really a very funny mouse who had a wife, a bunch of kids, a good friend, a cat, big lumps of cheese and all sorts of magic created by John Maclay and Lee Becker.
24. Great acting carries Chamber's "October" production
Just as bad acting can take even a great play and drag it into the scrum of boredom and inattention, so too can great acting lift even a slightly wanting script into high cotton. That's the story of "October, Before I Was Born," written by Lori Matthews.
25. Niki Johnson named next artist at The Pfister
Multi-media sculptor Niki Johnson will serve as The Pfister Hotel's sixth artist in residence, replacing current artist, Stephanie Barenz. Johnson, who was one of six finalists, will work in The Pfister's art studio for one year, starting April 1.