The South Milwaukee Performing Arts Center has announced its 2017-18 season series lineup, and it’s another terrifically unique collection of performers.
One reason I love that SMPAC is that it challenges our artistic sensibilities, broadening our horizons by bringing to town artists we may not otherwise get a chance to enjoy. From blues to community storytelling to swing to magic, this lineup does that.
The SMPAC is a competitive advantage for our city. Shows like this are why.
Subscriptions (four shows or more) are for sale, with individual tickets going on sale July 24. More details on the Performing Arts Series here.
From the press release …
Fri., Sept. 15, 7:30 pm – The Official Blues Brothers™ Revue
There have been many imitators, but there is only one duo in North America sanctioned by Dan Aykroyd and Judith Belushi to don the official hat and sunglasses and walk in the legendary footsteps of Jake and Elwood Blues. Discovered in Las Vegas, performers Wayne Catania and Kieron Lafferty capture the infectious humor and unbridled spirit of the Blues Brothers like no one since John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd walked the stage. Backed by a powerhouse band, they’ll give you a show to remember, packed with classic hits from the Blues Brothers catalog, including Soul Man, Rubber Biscuit, Sweet Home Chicago, and more. Join us pre-show in the lobby for our season premiere kick-off party and bring a few bucks for a pork sandwich before the show!
Thurs., Oct. 12, 7:30 pm – A.J. Croce in Croce: Two Generations of American Music
Adrian James Croce is a bluesman who performs primarily from the keyboard. His father was the artist responsible for Time in a Bottle (written for A.J.), Operator and Bad, Bad Leroy Brown. Two Generations of American Music presents a selection of A.J.’s own tunes alongside his father’s, plus vintage folk, blues, R&B and early rock ’n’ roll that inspired them both. A.J. honed his piano skills as a boy, while recovering from a brain tumor that left him partially blind. His career began at age 18 opening for B.B. King. Today, he strikes a fine balance between paying heartfelt homage to his father’s artistic legacy and injecting the songs with his own spin and personality. The performance will feature guitarist Michael Bizar, bassist David Barard and Tony Morra or Gary Mallaber on drums.
Fri., Nov. 17, 7:30 pm – Ex Fabula: Risking It
Ex Fabula is committed to strengthening community bonds through the art of storytelling. The organization was founded in 2009 when Adam Weise, Amy Schleicher, Leah Delaney, Matt Sabljak, and Megan McGee launched the storytelling series in Milwaukee. They agreed that true, personal stories have a unique power to create connections between individuals, and hoped to magnify that power through live events to provide meaningful local experiences. The fledgling organization was christened “Ex Fabula” – Latin for “from stories.” Risking It will feature Ex Fabula curated tellers, plus selected members of the community sharing their own true, personal stories. Community and student storytelling workshops will precede the event. While you may have attended an Ex Fabula StorySlam or workshop, or heard their radio show on WUWM, Risking It will feature stories never told before that you won’t want to miss!
Thurs., Dec. 7, 7:30 pm – Big Bad Voodoo Daddy: Wild & Swingin’ Holiday Party
Big Bad Voodoo Daddy jazzes up the season with their patented Wild & Swingin’ Holiday Party, boasting both original tunes and their own smokin’ hot versions of Yuletide favorites from their album It Feels Like Christmas Time. Fans in search of toe-tapping, brass-honking, high-energy holiday swing revival need look no further. Dressed to the nines in their trademark zoot suits and brandishing upbeat favorites like Go Daddy-O and Mr. Pinstripe Suit, as well as holiday classics such as Santa Claus Is Coming to Town, Merry Christmas Baby, and All I Want for Christmas (Is My Two Front Teeth), be ready to celebrate this holiday in swingin’ style! They’ve sold out concerts from the Hollywood Bowl to Lincoln Center and appeared on TV shows from Leno to Conan, and Dancing with The Stars to Superbowl XXIII.
Fri., Jan. 26, 7:30 pm – Vitaly: An Evening of Wonders
Master illusionist Vitaly Beckman has mystified fans from all over the world, including Las Vegas superstars Penn & Teller whom he successfully fooled in their TV show, Fool Us. From bringing pictures and drawings to life, to erasing people from their own driver’s licenses, Vitaly’s signature illusions leaves even the most jaded audience awestruck. Vitaly breathes innovation and artistry into the field of magic. He invented and designed every single illusion in his stage show, An Evening of Wonders, treating spectators to a theatrical entertainment not seen anywhere else in the world. You will witness the elegant rendering of the impossible, while being charmed by Vitaly’s engaging personality. An Evening of Wonders is ideal for audiences ages 8 and up.
Fri., Feb. 16, 7:30 pm – Turtle Island Quartet: Bird’s Eye View, The Legend of Charlie Parker
Turtle Island Quartet has been a singular force in the creation of bold, new trends in chamber music for strings since 1985. They fuse the classical quartet esthetic with contemporary American musical styles in a way that honors both. In Bird’s Eye View, the two-time GRAMMY® winning Turtle Island Quartet pays homage to the visionary brilliance of jazz saxophonist Charlie Parker. The genius of his improvisations almost single handedly catapulted jazz from pop style into art music, indelibly altering the musical landscape of America. Iconic Charlie Parker classics such as Ornithology, KoKo and Dewey Square are juxtaposed with original responses by quartet members, and intertwined with other thematic pieces from the bebop era and beyond such as Sonny Rollins’ Airegin, Bird Calls by Charlie Mingus and Too High by Stevie Wonder.
Fri., March 16, 7:30 pm – Federspiel
Federspiel is a seven-piece ensemble comprised of all students of the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna. They have utterly incredible technical skills combined with a youthful and charming freshness to their musical arrangements. Creativity, spontaneity and joy is high on the members of Federspiel’s list of priorities. Their particular style is defined by the origins and backgrounds of each individual musician and creates the unique sound of the band. Federspiel`s self-penned compositions contain pop-elements as well as arrangements of traditional Mexican music or the zither as a solo instrument. Some of their arrangements include percussive elements or even yodeling, which originated in the Alpine region of Austria, Federspiel’s home. Their genre of music doesn’t exist within the parameters of folk, world or traditional music, so the style of the ensemble is described best by the name: Federspiel or “feather game.”
Fri., April 13, 7:30 pm – Four Guyz in Dinner Jackets: Now in Technicolor
Wisconsin’s premiere four-part harmony group includes the sharp-suited foursome of Reginald T. Kurschner (high tenor), Don Lobacz (first tenor), Tommy Lueck (baritone), and Aaron Schmidt (bass) along with their live band. In Now in Technicolor, the Four Guyz revive musical memories from the 50s, 60s and 70s radio and TV. This high-octane show is delivered in the style expected from the Four Guyz, including charming choreography and comic banter. They’ve performed at numerous regional theatres throughout the midwest and appeared on Fox6’s WakeUp, WTMJ’s The Morning Blend, WISN’s Season To Celebrate Special, and WUWM’s Public Radio The Lake Effect.