As vaudeville heaved its last breaths in the late 1920s, RKO's Riverside Theater opened in 1928 and served as a performance hall for just a few years before Warner Brothers took it over to screen their films. Decades of neglect followed, reaching a nadir in 1966 when a carelessly tossed cigarette butt incinerated the proscenium's drapery, prompting the cash-conscious owners to replace the opulent teal velour with workmanlike duvetyn. A slated demolition in 1982 nearly replaced the theater with a shopping mall before a coalition of citizens convinced philanthropist Joseph Zilber to save the space. In the subsequent renovations, craftsmen installed plush red drapery, overhauled the obsolete lighting, and repainted the faded French Baroque gilding of the auditorium, restoring the elegant space to its former glory and inspiring it to get back out on the theater dating scene.
Skaters circle around Slice of Ice in Red Arrow Park—part of the Milwaukee County Parks system—amid trees strung with lights and the arched façade of the 1000 North Water Street building. The refrigerated oval rink accommodates 100 skaters at a time, making it ideal for family outings and confusing games of super-hockey. And inside the rink’s warming house, visitors can hide from the chill with a cup of coffee.
Milwaukee's Festival City Symphony has been symphonizing the city's air with harmonic waves of mellifluous masterpieces for more than 75 years. With this deal, you'll get to witness the symphony's exquisite melodies, the conductor's expressive gestures, and the violin section excitedly trying to start the wave at one of the following Symphony Sundays performances:
Until science allows customized breezes to play concertos through trees and tuned blades of grass, people must fetch their concertos from live musicians. Today's Groupon sings to the ears with premium orchestra-seat tickets to Ohlsson Plays Chopin by the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra for $20, a $57 value. In two performance dates at the stunning Uihlein Hall on Friday, April 2, and Saturday, April 3, at 8 p.m., pianist Garrick Ohlsson will capture and tame Frédéric Chopin's famous Piano Concerto No. 2 and two other solo piano pieces in celebration of Chopin's 200th birthday.
Led by artistic director Joan Parsley, Ensemble Musical Offering floods ear canals with faithful period renditions of music from the Renaissance, Baroque, and Classical eras. A Chain of Love commemorates Valentine's Day with a program of romantic pieces by such composers as Bach and Biber, played on meticulously restored period instruments including the lute, viola d'amore, and hand-cranked Gregorian monk. Soprano Sarah Richardson lends her honeyed vocals to love songs from Purcell and Stoetzel while English translations of German and Italian poetry from the period fill heads with vintage lovey-dovey thoughts. The Cathedral Church of All Saints houses the beautiful melodies in Gothic revival elegance, with a recently restored hardwood floor that dampens distracting reverb and gives reformed termites a chance to prove themselves.
In "From France to Spain," the Wisconsin Philharmonic ends a season that paid tribute to the great French composers with a border-breaching grand finale that links the Gallic tradition to Spain and the U.S. Joined by award-winning young Spanish soloist Jose Franch-Ballester, the orchestra leads with Debussy's Clarinet Rhapsody, followed by Copland's Clarinet Concerto, whose quintessentially American character shows up in the score's jazzy passages, which Copland composed in a star-spangled tuxedo. A suite of Spanish-flavored pieces from Basque composer Maurice Ravel concludes the evening, beginning with the notoriously difficult Alborada del Gracioso and culminating in the satisfying rhythmic thrum of Bolero.