For more than two decades, laughs have permeated the space within Comedy Cafe. On its stage, a rolling list of local and nationally acclaimed comedians—such as Tommy Chong and Bobcat Goldthwait—launch into schticks or go about repairing minor damage to brickwork. Audiences can work on their spit takes thanks to a menu of margaritas, martinis, and snacks such as popcorn.
Amid the tangy aroma of buffalo wings and the clink of beer glasses, patrons at Karma Bar & Grill gather around 20 HDTVs with MLB, NHL, NFL, and UFC packages, eyes locked on the match. Servers keep the atmosphere inviting as they deliver pitchers of beer, hefty 1/2-pound Angus steak burgers, plates of six-cheese mac or house-smoked brisket and pork, Friday fish fries, and other from-scratch specialties. During baseball season, Karma offers patrons a Brewer shuttle during every home game, and stand-up comedians appear on select Wednesdays and Fridays. The private Karma Lounge is also available for rental for groups of 10?80, and sports a giant projection screen along with a private bar.
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.
First Stage recently celebrated its 26th anniversary as a children's theater, producing professional productions and developing new plays. It has hosted 40 world premieres and worked with renowned artists and authors including Stephen Schwartz and Cornelia Funke.
Through its theater academy and education program, First Stage aims to inspire a love of learning amongst young people with active teaching tools and a curriculum that emphasizes imagination. The theater-in-education programs reach roughly 20,000 students every year through theater residencies and in-classroom workshops such as the Bully Ban workshop, which teaches students how to respect one another and prevent harassment through improvisational exercises. Schools can also partner with First Stage to bring the arts into their facilities with field trips, workshops, and arts-integrated teaching.
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.
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.