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Sunset’s ‘Sister Act’ gets into the habit of laughter

By Marilyn Jozwik

Published Oct. 16, 2017

When it comes to theater, nuns are fun to watch. Virtually every time we see them on stage, they are doing something outrageous and outrageously funny.

In ‘Sister Act” at the Sunset Playhouse the nuns are more fun than a barrel of church chimes as they depart from their usual habits, dancing and singing in 70s style, from disco to hand jive.

Perhaps next to “Mama Mia” this is my favorite musical for sheer joy and enjoyment. When that gaggle of nuns starts swaying their arms and lifting their voices heartily you’d have to be Ebenezer Scrooge not to smile.

And there was a lot of smiling going on at Sunset’s version of the show, set in 1977-78 Philadelphia. The show opens with our protagonist, Deloris Van Cartier (Ashley Levells), performing at a nightclub owned by her gangster boyfriend, Curtis (Nick Zuiker).

Deloris sees Curtis, who has connections to a record producer, as her ticket to stardom, which she craves. But when she catches Curtis in the middle of a murder, she panics and runs to the police station, where she meets a cop and former classmate, Eddie (Ernest Bell). Eddie believes that Curtis and his gang, including nephew T.J. (Greg Malcolm), Joey (James Ramos) and Pablo (Manuel Lupian), are out to kill Deloris and arranges for her to hide out in a convent while the police try to track the killer down.

Mother Superior (Sharon Sprague) reluctantly agrees, but soon finds that Deloris’ lifestyle is hardly a good fit for the convent. Deloris – who is introduced to the nuns as Sister Mary Clarence – takes over musical direction for the lackluster nun choir and turns them into a singing sensation patterned after her nightclub act. Mother Superior is dismayed at the influence Deloris has on the sisters as she sings, “I’ve got celibate nuns shaking their buns.” But when Monsignor O’Hara (Mark Batory) sees the church filled with people and donations needed to maintain the church pouring in, she has no choice but to let Deloris stay, much to the delight of the other sisters who have grown fond of her.

In the meantime, the nun choir under Deloris’s direction has gotten so good, it’s attracted the attention of the pope, who is coming to town to hear the nuns perform. Curtis and his gang recognize Deloris when her nun choir is featured on the TV news, so he and his trio of thugs plot to take her from the convent. But with the close bond Deloris has created, she’s found a new peace and persona in the convent as she sings, “I’ve got my sisters by my side. I’ve got my sisters’ love and pride. And in my sisters’ eyes, I recognize the star I want to be.”

Director Diana Alioto has this cast performing at a high-octane level, but none higher than Levells, whose Deloris delivers attitude in every song and move. She has all the star quality her character possesses. Levells loves the spotlight – as her character does – and vice versa. Every line is pure Deloris, as is every look, such as the look of smugness she wears when the monsignor tells the doubting Mother Superior of Deloris’ value to the convent. She can drip with sarcasm on a line like “Ain’t this my lucky day – I got a man who wants to kill me and a cop with a gun. Goody. Goody.” Or, really ham up a sequence, like the Lord’s Prayer she ad libs to the nuns, her version containing fragments of famous non-religious speeches instead of the usual text.

Sprague’s Mother Superior is the perfect counterpoint to Levell’s Deloris. Sprague has an appropriate no-nonsense attitude in her scenes with Deloris and really shines with pitch perfect vocals on songs like “Here Within These Walls” and a wonderfully nuanced “Haven’t Got a Prayer,” in which she prays for a sign from God to know what to do about Deloris.

One of the most popular tunes of the evening was Bell’s “I Could Be That Guy,” wherein his Eddie character muses about what it would take for him to win Deloris.  Bell displays a range as wide as a Nebraska prairie and a romantic, soulful, Barry White style. Adding to the scene’s appeal is the nifty outfit transformation Eddie undergoes with a little help from several other performers. It is a beautifully delivered piece and well-executed scene.

Another audience pleaser was “Lady in the Long Black Dress,” in which Curtis’ three henchmen, played by Malcolm, Ramos and Lupian, describe in song and dance how they’re going to woo the nuns. It’s a cute bit that the three execute admirably. The trio’s crowd-pleasing antics balanced out some uneven vocals.

But the stars of the show are the nuns. Vocally this ensemble had a nice full sound on opening night, and really excelled in performing Nancy Visintainer-Armstrong’s choreography with precision and energy. It is just a hoot watching a dozen or so nuns do a hand jive!

Allan Menken’s pleasant music and Glen Slater’s clever lyrics give each song bounce and appeal. Mark Mrozek and a handful of musicians produce a hearty sound, much of it reminiscent of the ’70s and “Saturday Night Fever.”

The Act 1 and Act 2 endings were especially joyous celebrations, sending audience members out to the lobby and out into the parking lot with smiles.

If you go:

Who: Sunset Playhouse

What: “Sister Act”

When: Through Nov. 5

Where: 800 Elm Grove Road, Elm Grove

Info/Tickets: sunsetplayhouse.com/262-782-4430

YOU’VE GOT A FRIEND opens the SideNotes Cabaret Series

SIDENOTES CABARET SERIES AT SUNSET PLAYHOUSE CELEBRATES TEN YEARS – Limited seating remains!

SideNotes Cabaret opens its season with YOU’VE GOT A FRIEND, a tribute to Carole King and James Taylor, October 5-8, 2017. Audiences will enjoy an assortment of compositions by two renowned singer-songwriters of the Baby Boom era in Sunset’s intimate Studio Theatre.  

The cabaret features the combined talents of three outstanding performers well known to audiences in southeastern Wisconsin. KERRY HART BIENEMAN (Music Director, piano, vocals) received a Master’s Degree in Vocal Performance from Northwestern University and served as a voice professor at Carthage College and University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.  For the past several years she has been Music Director for Sunset’s popular Musical MainStage Concert Series. CASEY OLSON (guitar, vocals) received his Bachelor of Fine Art in Finger-Style Guitar from UWM’s Peck School of the Arts.  In addition to his solo performances, Olson appears regularly with ACOUSTICATS, a duo specializing in music of the 60s and 70s. MELISSA KELLY CARDAMONE (piano, vocals) has vocal performance degrees from The Eastman School of Music and Lawrence University.  She has performed with Milwaukee Opera Theatre, Florentine Opera, Milwaukee Chamber Theatre, and will make her debut with Skylight Music Theatre in 2018.

Sunset’s SideNotes Cabaret Series is proud to provide one of the few cabaret venues in southeastern Wisconsin.  Now in its tenth year, SideNotes continues to offer a unique assortment of musical entertainment presented by talented professionals in a relaxed, comfortable setting.

Performances are Thursday through Saturday, October 5-7 at 8:00 p.m. and Sunday,

October 8 at 3:00 p.m.

To reserve tickets, call 262-782-4430 or visit www.sunsetplayhouse.com.  

Sunset serves up delicious Italian food for thought – OVER THE RIVER AND THROUGH THE WOODS

By Marilyn Jozwik

I was told that there would be laughter and there would be tears during Sunset Playhouse’s presentation of Joe DiPietro’s “Over the River and Through the Woods,” my first viewing of the show.

I didn’t quite get to the tears part – though there were some wonderfully done, emotion-filled scenes – but there was plenty of laughter. In fact, throughout most of the first act, there was a constant array of laughter, ranging from tittering to belly laughs.

The theme of the show is family. Nick (Ben Braun) is the 29-year-old, single grandson of Frank (Scott Kopischke) and Aida (Joan End), as well as Nunzio (Raffaello Frattura) and Emma (Linda Wirth). Nick’s parents have moved to Florida, but Nick still lives in New Jersey and has Sunday dinner with both sets of grandparents every week. Nick is often reminded of the importance of his family. “Tengo familia” his grandparents repeat to him often, impressing upon their grandson his role in the family.

Nick loves his family dearly but is frustrated by their old ways and lack of empathy for his generation. They don’t want to learn how to use the new devices he gives them as gifts, they argue endlessly about minutiae and they fuss over him like mother hens, especially his grandmother Aida, whose first remark when he arrives – or when most anyone arrives, for that matter – is “You look hungry.” She moves in and out of her kitchen, bringing splendid meals and desserts like a short order cook. “That’s their secret – they suck you in with the food,” says Nick.

Food is a big part of the play. And these are some of the most relatable moments. Early on, Aida asks Nick what kind of cheese he wants on his sandwich, “chedda” or “Muensta,” as they say with their New Jersey accents, in a hilarious bit. Next comes the crumb cake that Aida serves as Nick tries to make a big announcement. “This is a one-sentence announcement. You don’t have to cater it,” says Nick. The grandparents make a production  of serving the cake and coffee, chattering about who wants what, how good the cake is, and on and on. Nick is becoming more and more frustrated with their habits.

When Nick finally tells them news they don’t like – which seems like a betrayal of family, to them — the grandparents set in motion a whole series of events to try to undo Nick’s plans. Along the way, Nick learns a lot more about his grandparents and their past that gives him an even deeper appreciation of this incredible gift of family.

DiPietro, the playwright, has a gift for comedy, as he also displays in “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change.” There is lots to laugh at in both these shows, with “I Love You” having perhaps a meatier script.

This cast, under the direction of Brian Zelinski, does a fine job with the comedy and capturing the emotional pitches the show attains.

As the tightly-wound Nick, Braun has all the right qualities. In the first act, he is in a near constant state of annoyance as his grandparents’ whirl around on a merry-go-round of small talk, food presentations and petty arguments. He communicates with his hands, his face, his whole body, conveying his emotions. His is a demanding role and Braun is up to the challenge. In Act II, Nick sees a different side of his grandparents, and we see a different side of Nick. Braun plays the transformation beautifully.

Kopischke and End as Frank and Aida are the more subdued set of grandparents, while Raffaello and Wirth as Nunzio and Emma have only one volume to their conversations – loud.

I have loved Joan End in every play I’ve seen her in, most recently in “The Foreigner.” Here, she plays a sort of Edith Bunker character that knows only one mode – maternal. End has such warmth and sweetness about her character that Aida draws you in. She beams at every compliment about her culinary skills and unabashedly shows the joys of service.

As her husband, Frank, Kopischke seems to always be in the center. His emotional stories of leaving his home in Italy when he was 14 are touching and his slightly out-of-touch and myopic view of the world is endearing.  Kopischke gives Frank an introspective quality, a thoughtful manner. Nunzio, played by Frattura, is just the opposite. He’s boisterous and demonstrative, and says what he thinks when he thinks it. Nunzio’s wife, Emma, played by Wirth, rivals her husband in tone and passion. These two, as are End and Kopischke, are a perfect pairing.

As Caitlin O’Hare, a family friend, Deanna Strasse brings just the right amount of bemusement as she meets Nick’s warm and expressive Italian family. While Nick is visibly angered at his family’s mealtime conversation, Caitlin is charmed. Strasse’s pleased look is a nice contrast to Nick’s look of exasperation. The two handle wonderfully a pivotal scene in which Caitlin helps Nick learn to appreciate just what he has.

The ensemble cast is first-rate, tackling some of the tricky exchanges expertly. When playing Trivial Pursuit, Nunzio has a hard time coming up with a name and the grandparents go off on a rollicking discussion of “the guy with the ears” and “the woman with the hair” without ever coming up with names. It’s hilarious, with Wirth and Frattura verbally dueling as if in a tennis match.

Nick Korneski’s set of Frank and Aida’s living room is warm and inviting, but I just couldn’t take my eyes off the big picture above the window. It just seemed an odd place to put it. Marty Wallner’s lighting is spot on, highlighting various characters and scenes to home in on the emotions.

You don’t have to be Italian to appreciate the messages delivered so well here, mainly that family matters. But the need to succeed and to reach our potential is important, too, as long as we don’t lose sight of those who formed us. Those values are articulated with humor and emotion in Sunset’s presentation of “Over the River and Through the Woods.” If nothing else, it will make you want to start a tradition of Sunday family dinners.

If you go

Who: Sunset Playhouse

What: “Over the River and Through the Woods”

Where: 800 Elm Grove Road, Elm Grove

When: Through Sept. 24

Tickets: (262) 782-4430; www.sunsetplayhouse.com

 

Meet the cast of ELVIS!

Our first Musical MainStage of the 2017-18 Season is ELVIS!  The show runs September 18-19, 2017. 

Are You Lonesome Tonight? Then put on your Blue Suede Shoes ’cause we’ll be rockin’ and a-rollin’ all the way to Graceland. 

Meet our cast:

RYAN CHARLES’ (lower left) credits include In Tandem Theatre’s JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR (Jesus) and CARNIVAL (Grobert), Skylight Music Theatre (LES MISERABLES, PIRATES OF PENZANCE), and the Boulevard Theatre (TWELFTH NIGHT, THIS IS OUR YOUTH). He’s also lead singer of the rock band “Independent Idols.”
 
SARALYNN EVENSON (upper left) made her Sunset debut in the concert version of SHE LOVES ME. Favorite NYC credits include Off-Broadway workshops DEX! (Laguerta) and YEAST NATION (Jan). Regional credits include INTO THE WOODS (Witch), URINETOWN (Pennywise), CHICAGO (Velma), SECRET GARDEN (Martha), TAMING OF THE SHREW (Kate), and the national tour of A CHRISTMAS CAROL.
 
After a short break to tackle a new career as a medical assistant, HEATHER REYNOLDS (upper right) is thrilled to return to Sunset, where she appeared most recently in THE ADDAMS FAMILY (Alice). This is her second Musical MainStage concert and she’s particularly delighted since she grew up listening to Elvis with her dad.
 
DOMINIC RUSSO (lower right) is excited to make his Musical MainStage debut. No stranger to the Sunset stage, his recent appearances include LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS and JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT. Dominic also performs as one half of THE RUSSO BROTHERS.
 
Rising Star TRAVIS CHEEVER (right) is a Jr. at Oak Creek High School. Credits include LOVABYE DRAGON and CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG at First Stage Children’s Theatre, Village Playhouse of Wauwatosa, Milwaukee Youth Theater, and the Oak Creek Production Company (Harold in FLY BY NIGHT and Dobie in THE MANY LOVES OF DOBIE GILLIS).
 
Our talented cast also includes KERRY HART BIENEMAN on the keyboard, TIM KARTH on drums, BOB MONAGLE on guitar, along with narrators SUSAN LOVERIDGE and BOB HIRSCHI.
 
Note:  This production does not feature an Elvis impersonator.

Share Your Heart!

When you play the Canal Street Bingo game at Potawatomi Hotel & Casion now through Dec. 14, you’re helping raise funds for area children’s charities, giving them the gift of a promising future.  Half of each $3 or $7 Canal Street Bingo game purchased goes to the Heart of Canal Street fund, which totaled more than $1.1 million last year!  SUNSET PLAYHOUSE is excited to be in the running to be a benefiting charity.  Visit paysbig.com/heart to learn more. 

Volunteer Appreciation Night, August 12, 2017

Sunset held a wonderful Volunteer Appreciation Night on Saturday, August 12th.  The event kicked off with cocktails from 6 – 7PM, followed by the entertainment/awards emceed by Spencer Mather and Brian Zelinski, culminating with a wonderful food buffet.  Over 150 people attended the event which was themed Old New York.  Many thanks must be extended to co-chairs Jennifer Allen and Nikki Lueck as well as their entire committee for creating this fabulous evening!  

    

Thanks to all who attended. We hope to see you next year on August 11, 2018.

    

The volunteers that were recognized at this event are listed below:

Trouper recipient Georgia Yanicke

Supporting Actress in a Play recipients Susan Zuern in AND THEN THERE WERE NONE and Frances Klumb in AND THEN THERE WERE NONE

Supporting Actress in a Musical recipients Ava Thomann in LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS and Mikhela Rosko in LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS

UnSung Hero recipient Dick Katschke

Above and Beyond the Call of Duty (ABCD) recipient Erika Navin

Newcomer recipient Donna Harris

Supporting Actor Play recipients Zach Zembrowski in MOON OVER BUFFALO and Ralph Fattura in MOON OVER BUFFALO

Supporting Actor Musical recipients Dominic Russo in LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS and Eric Safdieh-Nelson in LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS

No Small Parts recipient Kevin Fuller in LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS

Professional Series recipient Mary Gensler

Principal Actress Play recipients Harper Navin in THE BEST CHRISTMAS PAGEANT and Caitlin Elftman in AND THEN THERE WERE NONE

Principal Actress Musical recipients Liz Norton in HELLO, DOLLY! and Katie Katschke in LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS

Principal Actor Play recipients Michael “Paco” Pocaro in AND THEN THERE WERE NONE and James Boylan in AND THEN THERE WERE NONE

Principal Actor Musical recipients Rick Richter in FIDDLER ON THE ROOF and Landon Quinney in LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS

Alan Furlan Legacy Award recipient Paul Armstrong

Rudy Award recipient Duane Bauer

Play of the Season recipient THE BEST CHRISTMAS PAGEANT

Musical of the Season recipient FIDDLER ON THE ROOF

 

Building “The DRESS” – HELLO, DOLLY! July 13 – August 6, 2017

Building “The Dress”
by Joanne Cunningham 
There are costumes, and then there are costumes. Some shows have iconic outfits that everyone automatically pictures when they think of a specific character. Ask someone to describe Mary Poppins, for example, and it’s almost a sure thing that they will mention her white dress with its red sash. BEAUTY AND THE BEAST? How can Belle wear anything other than her yellow ball gown? And for HELLO, DOLLY!…well, most people can probably describe the red dress that Carol Channing wears to perfection as she descends the stairs at the Harmonia Gardens.
 
 
 
While there is certainly nothing wrong with trying to recreate a well-loved look (costume designs are not copyrighted, so they are fair game to reproduce), as a costume designer I prefer to try and add something new and refreshing to shows I design. The director, of course, has final say in what sort of look they want, but I greatly appreciate the opportunity to add some of my own creativity to a show.
 
 
Of course, building a dress that is meant to be a show-stopper is no easy task. There are many different styles to consider, especially while trying to remain true to the time period without devoting 95% of available time to working on a complicated vintage pattern. Ease of movement for the actor is important, as is her comfort on stage since she will be in that dress for an extended period of time. The dress has to hopefully elicit a few “wow” reactions and look especially good under stage lights. And, of course, budget restrictions must be taken into consideration. (This is one area where I’m pretty certain neither Hollywood nor Disney has many concerns!)
While many of the incredible dresses you will see on stage in our production of HELLO, DOLLY! are ones that Sunset owns or that we have rented, Dolly’s red dress is one that has come from my own imagination and hard work. Pictures don’t do it justice, but here are a few hints of how it has been progressing. I hope that when you come to see the show this summer, there will be a “wow” or two in the audience when Dolly makes her appearance!

BROADWAY BLOCKBUSTERS AT THE SIDENOTES CABARET

Doug-Clemons-Sunset-PlayhouseClassic ballads, timeless showstoppers, and signature songs by legendary belters will be featured at the SideNotes Cabaret as DOUG CLEMONS and ANNE VAN DEUSEN present BELTERS, BALLADEERS, AND BROADWAY, June 15-18, 2017.

Clemons and Van Deusen have assembled a splendid collection of tunes from classic composers such as Cole Porter, Rodgers & Hammerstein, and Lerner & Loewe. Audiences also will enjoy selections from contemporary musicals including Les Miserables, Beauty And The Beast, and Phantom Of The Opera.

The SideNotes Cabaret is presented in the intimate Studio Theatre of Sunset Playhouse.

DOUG CLEMONS is a regular at Sunset’s Musical MainStage Concert Series and a favorite of audiences throughout Wisconsin, having appeared with Skylight Music Theatre, Milwaukee Opera Theatre, and First Stage Children’s Theater. His concert credits include soloist for The Utah Light Opera, Florentine Opera, Racine Symphony Orchestra, and The Door County Opera Festival.

ANNE VAN DEUSEN is active as a pianist, accompanist, and music director in and around the greater Milwaukee area. In addition to her duties as vocal coach at St. Thomas of Canterbury in Greendale, she has worked with Skylight Music Theatre, Milwaukee Ballet, In Tandem, Off The Wall, and many other local theatre groups.

Performances are Thursday through Saturday, June 15-18 at 8:00 p.m. and Sunday, June 19 at 3:00 p.m.

Sunset Playhouse is proud to be celebrating its 57th season, and now offers eight productions in the Furlan Auditorium, six Musical MainStage concerts, and three shows in the bug in a rug Children’s Theater series. To reserve tickets, call 262-782-4430 or visit sunsetplayhouse.com. For group sales, contact Stephanie at 262-782-4431,
ext. 291.

Musical MainStage 2017-18 Auditions: May 9, 2017

Musical MainStage 

Concert Series 2017-18

Tuesday, May 9th from 6:30-9:00 pm

 

 

 

 

SUNSET PLAYHOUSE SEARCHING FOR PROFESSIONAL SINGERS AND RISING STARS
Musical MainStage is a series of six concerts requiring four professional singers and one Rising Star per show. Styles needed this season include rock, pop, standards, folk and Motown.  Rehearsals are minimal and performances take place on Mondays and Tuesdays.  Students who will be enrolled in any area high school from September, 2017 – June, 2018 are eligible to be named a Rising Star.  All singers should bring 32 bars of sheet music in their key; an accompanist will be provided.  Adults will be paid. 

Candidates should fill out either a RISING STAR Audition Sheet or PROFESSIONAL Audition Sheet. Please call the Box Office prior to May 9th to schedule a 5 minute time slot between 6:30 – 9:00pm. Arrive 15 minutes prior to your scheduled audition time with a copy of your completed audition sheet.

 

Here is the rehearsal and show lineup for the 2017-18 season:

 

ELVIS! 

 

Rehearsals: August 28, September 4 (LABOR DAY) and 11

Tech: Sunday, September 17

Performances: September 18 – 19, 2017

 

THE BRITISH INVASION: Beyond the Beatles

 

Rehearsals: October 2, 9 and 16
Tech: October 22
Performances: October 23-24, 2017

 

HOMEWARD BOUND: The Sounds of Simon & Garfunkel 

 

Rehearsals: November 13, 20 and 27
Tech: December 3
Performances: December 4-5, 2017

 

ELTON JOHN: ROCKET MAN!

 

Rehearsals: January 8, 15 and 22

Tech: January 28

Performances: January 29-30, 2018

 

HEARD IT THROUGH THE GRAPEVINE: The Magic of Motown

 

Rehearsals: February 19 and 26, March 5

Tech: March 11

Performances: March 12-13, 2018

 

BAND ON THE RUN 

(A TRIBUTE TO THE BEST BANDS OF THE ’60S & ’70S-EAGLES; CHICAGO; BLOOD, SWEAT & TEARS; EARTH, WIND & FIRE; DOOBIE BROTHERS…)

 

Rehearsals: April 9, 16, and 23
Tech: April 29

Performances: April 30-May 1, 2018

 

For further questions please contact Ann Mather at 262-782-4431 ext 221 or or check the FAQ on our website.

TRIBUTE TO ELLA FITZGERALD AND MEL TORMÉ

ELLA MEETS MEL  AT THE SIDENOTES CABARET

 

Award-winning vocalists ELLEN WINTERS and JOHNNY RODGERS pay tribute to jazz legends Ella Fitzgerald and Mel Torm in ELLA MEETS MEL, May 18-21, 2017 in the SideNotes Cabaret at Sunset Playhouse. Along with a trio of outstanding musicians, Winters and Rodgers interpret the distinctive styles of two indisputable superstars of the jazz genre.  Fresh from sold-out appearances in Chicago, reviewers have described their performances individually and collectively as heartfelt, freewheeling, and filled with high-flying vocal pyrotechnics.

 

ELLEN WINTERS is a past winner and 2017 nominee for the Jazz Artist category of the Wisconsin Area Music Industry (WAMI) Awards.  A student of trad-jazz, Ellen has studied with Phil Mattson, Steve Zegree,  Ron McCurdy and others. In addition to many local performances, she has been featured at Danny’s Skylight Cabaret and Rose’s Turn in New York City, The Jazz Showcase and The Abbey in Chicago, and The Dakota in Minneapolis. A native of Florida, JOHNNY RODGERS attended Florida State’s prestigious Musical Theatre program before graduating from Western Michigan University.  He toured with Liza Minnelli as a featured singer, dancer, pianist, and songwriter in the Tony Award-winning Liza’s at The Palace, which played on Broadway in 2009-10.  Johnny also serves as Ambassador of American Music on behalf of the U.S. State Department, and has visited Russia, Malaysia, North Africa, Middle East, and Southeast Asia.

 

Winters and Rodgers will be backed by an exceptional three-piece band, The SideMen. The trio features three-time WAMI winner SAM STEFFKE on keyboards. Bassist HAL MILLER has performed with many jazz notables and is Associate Music Professor at MATC. Drummer JIM RYAN has been playing regionally for decades, appears with several local groups, and also maintains a private drum instruction studio.

 

Performances are Thursday through Saturday, May 18-20 at 8:00 p.m. and Sunday, May 21 at 3:00 p.m.

 

Sunset Playhouse is proud to be celebrating its 57th season, and now offers eight productions in the Furlan Auditorium, six Musical MainStage concerts, and three shows in the bug in a rug Children’s Theater series.  To reserve tickets, call 262-782-4430 or visit www.sunsetplayhouse.com.  For group sales, contact Stephanie at 262-782-4431, ex. 291.

BURT BACHARACH TRIBUTE: SIDENOTES CABARET

WHAT THE WORLD NEEDS NOW – BEST OF BURT BACHARACH AT SIDENOTES CABARET

Syncopated rhythms, unique chord progressions and jazz harmonies will be front and center as SideNotes Cabaret presents WHAT THE WORLD NEEDS NOW: A TRIBUTE TO BURT BACHARACH, March 30 to April 2, 2017 at Sunset Playhouse in Elm Grove. Highlighting a career that spans more than fifty years, vocalist CYNTHIA COBB and pianist/vocalist BRIAN MYERS will star in this exciting retrospective of Bacharach’s compositions.

 

As part of the professional SideNotes Cabaret Series, Cobb and Myers will be joined by drummer Jim Ryan to present four performances in the intimate, relaxed atmosphere of Sunset’s Studio Theater. Bacharach, a six-time Grammy Award winner and three-time Academy Award winner, composed dozens of popular hit songs, many with lyricist Hal David. Known for their collaborations with Dionne Warwick, the Bacharach/David team also scored numerous successes with Perry Como, Dusty Springfield, Tom Jones, The Carpenters and other artists. The cabaret is written and directed by BECKY SPICE.

 

CYNTHIA COBB is well known to audiences in and around the Midwest. In addition to her many appearances with Skylight Theatre, she has performed at Candlelight Dinner Playhouse, Drury Lane Theatre, Marriott Theatre at Lincolnshire and Gateway Playhouse. BRIAN MYERS is a versatile pianist and singer with performance credits in musical theatre, opera, drama and choral music. He works regularly as a music director and has collaborated with Milwaukee Opera Theatre, First Stage Children’s Theatre and Soulstice Theatre. JIM RYAN appears regularly at Sunset Playhouse and performs locally with several big bands, small combos and theatre companies.

Cynthia-Cobb    Brian-Myers

Performances are Thursday through Saturday, March 30th to April 1st at 8:00 p.m. and Sunday, April 2nd at 3:00 p.m.

 

To reserve tickets, call 262-782-4430 or visit www.sunsetplayhouse.com. For group sales, contact Stephanie at 262-782-4431, ex. 291.

FAMILY TIES Rising Star: Emma Borkowski


Brookfield resident Emma Borkowski has been named a Rising Star for Musical MainStage, a professional concert series at Sunset Playhouse in Elm Grove.

The daughter of Nicole Krebs and Jeff Borkowski, Emma is a senior at Brookfield Central High School where she’s active in the Chamber Choir, leads an all-female a cappella group, and has been seen in OLIVER! (Nancy), CRAZY FOR YOU (Polly) and PETER PAN (Tiger Lily). With singer-dancer-actor credits at Skylight Music Theatre, First Stage Children’s Theatre, Waukesha Civic Theater, and the KIDS from Wisconsin, her favorite roles include Annie (ANNIE), Dorothy (THE WIZARD OF OZ), Louisa (THE SOUND OF MUSIC) and Rosie (BYE BYE BIRDIE). After graduation, Emma plans to study marketing and performance.

Sunset Playhouse, now in its 57th season as one of the area’s premier community theaters, is also home to three professional series, including Musical MainStage. Each of its themed concerts offers one promising high school student an opportunity to work alongside professional singers and musicians.

Emma will join Doug Clemons, Karen Estrada, Matt Zeman and Grace Bobber in a show called Family Ties. The 90-minute concert will feature songs from musical families like the Everly Brothers, the Jackson Five and the Bee Gees.
Performances are on Monday and Tuesday, March 6th and 7th. For more information about the production or tickets, you can CLICK HERE or call its box office at 262-782-4430.