During the day, the concrete heights of the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts tower over the waters of the Milwaukee River like an imposing, postmodern fortress. As night falls, however, and patrons meander toward their evening's entertainment, the building’s façade glows with colorful, scintillating lights that hint at the eclectic performances inside. The elegant Uihlein Hall regularly hosts such august organizations as the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra and Florentine Opera Company, whereas smaller, more intimate venues such as the Todd Wehr Theater situate audiences close to the stage so they can immerse themselves in dramas or hear the wail of a set builder who smashed his thumb with a hammer.
Since 1960, the nonprofit Sunset Playhouse has grown and flourished alongside the community who helped build it, paying them dividends in lively musicals and family-friendly classics. In Craig Lucas’s Prelude to a Kiss, Rita and Peter’s seemingly perfect wedding takes a turn as unexpected as the end of Titanic, when a mysterious old man interrupts the celebration to request a kiss from the bride. The gesture causes their souls to trade places, leaving Peter to unknowingly take a total stranger on a honeymoon. As the groom realizes his error, he seeks out his beloved, who is now trapped in an aged body, forcing the couple to navigate through unexpected challenges involving commitment, physical appearance, and arguments over how much to tip at Denny's.
Established in 1926, The Eagles Club was recognized by the National Register of Historic Places 60 years later. Today, the theater’s six distinct venues, from the vast, opulent Eagles Ballroom to the gritty and intimate Rave Bar, leave room for a half-dozen acts every night, and more on nights when the musicians spontaneously embark on solo careers midshow.
The Sweetest Swing in Baseball, written by acclaimed playwright Rebecca Gilman, is the story of Dana, a heralded artist who checks into a mental ward after a disastrous gallery opening. Happy at the hospital but running out of insurance, Dana cooks up an elaborate scheme to pretend that she thinks she is actually baseball legend Darryl Strawberry so that she can stay in the mental ward. The Sweetest Swing in Baseball is directed by Milwaukee Chamber Theatre's producing artistic director, C. Michael Wright. Despite rave reviews for his work as Guildenstern to Dwight Gooden's Rosencrantz in a recent West End production of Hamlet, Darryl Strawberry himself will not be appearing in this show.
Summerfest is the pride and joy of Milwaukee's music scene, attracting between 800,000 and 1,000,000 people a year with bands playing on 11 stages. The first day of the festival features a variety of general-admission shows, with the first Groupon listening opportunity kicking off at 4:15 p.m. with the Mechanical Kids on the U.S. Cellular Connection Stage. Headlining acts that begin at 8 p.m. include Tokyo Police Club and Colbie Caillat. At 10 p.m., the big hitters emerge from the bullpen with the sultry rhythms of Sheryl Crow, the smooth jamz of The Wailers, the electro-fun of Passion Pit, and more, creating a musical-chairs game of concert options. Check the Summerfest website to view the full music schedule for June 24 (please note that your general-admission ticket does not get you into the Tim McGraw performance in the Marcus Amphitheatre).
For $14, you get two adult tickets in the yellow section (rows U–Z) for the Saturday, July 2, 7 p.m. game against the Cleveland Gladiators (a $28 value). For $18, you get two adult tickets in the green section (rows J–T) for the Saturday, July 2, 7 p.m. game against the Cleveland Gladiators (a $36 value). For $30, you get two adult tickets in the orange section (rows C–H) for the Saturday, July 2, 7 p.m. game against the Cleveland Gladiators (a $60 value). For $10, you get two adult tickets in the light-blue section (back end zone) for the Friday, July 15, 7 p.m. game against the Iowa Barnstormers (a $20 value). For $14, you get two adult end-zone tickets (seated in the first seven rows) to the Friday, July 15, 7 p.m. game against the Iowa Barnstormers (a $28 value).