Hosted by WBAY's chief meteorologist George Graphos and Frank Hermans of Let Me Be Frank Productions, Starstruck showcases talented local performers in “A Starry, Starry Night." Comprising horns, keyboards, and percussion, Bay City Swing accompanies performers, recalling that golden era of music before the Electric Slide squashed the jitterbug. Audiences can aim ears at St. Norbert College’s Knights on Broadway, an apple-cheeked band of student crooners that don fetching formalwear when oscillating between Broadway showstoppers and holiday ditties. The program features vocals from local talents such as Dino Biloti and Jennifer Stevens, a dulcet remedy for ears still ringing from that morning’s space-shuttle launch, as well as jazz clarinet from Kevin Van Ess of The Talk of the Town.
Eschewing the cramped quarters that pubs so often try to pass off as coziness, The Ravine Pub & Grill pairs a low-key, neighborly vibe with a dining room that can accommodate banquets or wedding receptions of up to 500 people. The restaurant’s servers put that space to good use as they ferry large plates of American comfort fare back and forth from an expansive island bar, where hanging overhead lights cast their glow on homemade soups, 6-ounce burgers, and fisherman dangling baited forks over plates of steamed haddock. Draft brews and stacked sandwiches teeter as Packers fans slam tables after touchdowns, and hot slices of homemade pizza make for satisfying late-night snacks on Fridays, when the restaurant stays open until 11 p.m.
For more than 60 years, the Attic Theatre has culled the talents of local actors to stage thrilling community theater productions of classic and contemporary masterpieces. Featuring lines and lyrics penned by Fantasticks librettist and lyricist Tom Jones, I Do, I Do chronicles 50 years in the lives of married couple Michael and Agnes Snow with intimacy and poignancy. Audiences witness the lovebirds' wedding-night nerves, midlife crises, spats, and, ultimately, abiding love for each other while relishing tender tunes such as "My Cup Runneth Over," a song about Michael's tragically impaired depth perception. The original 1966 production earned multiple Tony nominations including Best Musical, and Robert Preston won Best Actor in a Musical. The Attic Theatre's production is directed by Julie Martin.
In 1976, educator, musician, and kinesiologist Robin Wes opened The Little Gym based on his new take on physical education. His curriculum emphasized motivating children to achieve instead of pressuring them to win. As a result, The Little Gym became a noncompetitive, positive, nurturing environment where young ones could develop physically, socially, emotionally, and intellectually. Since then, The Little Gyms have sprouted up across the country. The programs and classes aim to help kids develop skills such as rhythm and coordination, and kids camps during winter, spring, and summer breaks prevent children from creating finger paintings that express the existential ennui they feel when school is out of session.
There aren't a lot of theater stages that can claim to have hosted presidential speeches—and fewer yet for which that president was William Howard Taft. Opened in 1883, the Grand Opera House has seen performances by the likes of Mark Twain, Harry Houdini, and John Philip Sousa, among other culture-makers of distant generations. Across a century and a quarter, the magnificent auditorium has played the parts of a vaudeville venue and a movie theater, and it wasn't until the mid-'80s that the stage resumed its duties as an opera house. After a sweeping referendum, the city acquired and restored the building, and in 1986 it reopened with a new staging of The Bohemian Girl—the same work that had first lifted its curtains more than a 100 years earlier. Today, 660 can enjoy the opera house's historic magnificence: an enormous, staggered chandelier, cherubic murals across the ceiling and flanking the balcony, and an unmatched ambiance of crimson and gold grandeur.
In the 1930s, big bands and lauded musicians played a famous bar called Weilers and would one day become Memories Dinner Theater. The music bounced off the very same 2,500-square-foot maple dance floor, tamarack log ceiling, and twin stone fireplaces that remain today, though Memories has since expanded its entertainment options beyond song and dance.
As guests feast on three-course meals, the theater's roster of top-notch actors tackle dramas, musicals, audience-interactive murder mysteries, and comedies. The laughs continue on Chicken Comedy nights, when funnyman Rob Haswell hosts renowned comedians whose jokes keep diners chortling in between bites not of rubber, but of broasted chicken and food from an unlimited buffet.