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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

 

Sunset Playhouse named Theater of the Year! 2016 Broadway World Awards

The Sunset Playhouse has been named THEATER OF THE YEAR in the Milwaukee BroadwayWorld Awards!

Votes were cast; polls are closed; and results have been tabulated! This was the biggest year yet! After a record number of voters in more than 75 regions worldwide, BroadwayWorld announced the 2016 Milwaukee winners!

We are excited to announce that Sunset Playhouse received four awards this year!

THEATER OF THE YEAR

BEST DIRECTOR OF A MUSICAL – ADAM STEFFAN FOR THE ADDAMS FAMILY

BEST ACTOR IN A PLAY – BRIAN ZELINSKI FOR A CHRISTMAS CAROL

BEST ACTRESS IN A PLAY – DONNA DANIELS FOR STEEL MAGNOLIAS

BroadwayHD is exclusive Presenting Sponsor for this year’s awards, representing a record-breaking 75 theater regions. Voters participating in this year’s awards receive special offers and subscription opportunities to BroadwayHD, whose co-branding will extend through the voting and winners announcements.

Since its launch in 2015, BroadwayHD aims to extend the reach of Broadway to fans old and new, anytime and anywhere. BroadwayHD is the only online streaming service of its kind, offering viewers an unprecedented Broadway experience and access to exclusive live streams. In addition to exclusive live streamed content, BroadwayHD offers subscribers unlimited access to an on-demand library of over 160 Theater Productions from the comfort and convenience of their own homes-or wherever streaming is possible. It’s the Broadway you know and love, curated from the stage to your screen.”

In June of 2016, BroadwayHD made history with the live stream of Roundabout Theatre Company’s “She Loves Me,” marking the first-ever Broadway live stream. On January 14, BroadwayHD will live stream Roundabout Theatre Company’s “Holiday Inn, The New Irving Berlin Musical.”

Click here to view a complete list of the Milwaukee BroadwayWorld Awards

CHRISTMAS PAGEANT & HOLIDAY BELLES to perform 12/16 -18 – The show must go on!

Yes, both THE BEST CHRISTMAS PAGEANT and HOLIDAY BELLES will be performed tonight, Saturday and Sunday. The Show must go on!

Friday, 12/16 – CHRISTMAS PAGEANT AT 7:30 & HOLIDAY BELLES at 8PM

Saturday, 12/17 – CHRISTMAS PAGEANT at 3PM & 7:30 & HOLIDAY BELLES at 8PM

Sunday 12/18 (PAGEANT at 2PM and BELLES at 3PM)

SideNotes Cabaret Rings in the Season with the HOLIDAY BELLES

Sunset Playhouse continues its ninth season of its popular SideNotes Cabaret Series with a sleigh full of jazzy harmonies and delicious melodies in a production titled HOLIDAY BELLES, December 14-18, 2016.

 

Area favorites LAURA MONAGLE, PEGGY PETERSON RYAN, and BECKY SPICE combine their talents to create a sparkling vocal confection of swing, jazz, and boogie-woogie.  Together with a trio of outstanding backup musicians, Laura, Peggy, and Becky pay tribute to classic standards popularized by groups like the Andrews Sisters, the McGuire Sisters, and other legends of the swing era. Also included will be a hearty helping of seasonal music to promote the festive holiday spirit.

 

All three vocalists have extensive performing experience in and around the Midwest and bring a wealth of talent and professionalism to the production.  LAURA MONAGLE has been seen locally with Boulevard Theatre, Windfall, Off the Wall, and Optimist Theatre.  PEGGY PETERSON RYAN is known to audiences for her work with Skylight Theatre and First Stage Children’s Theatre.  BECKY SPICE has appeared with Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, Skylight Theatre, and Madison Rep. The performers will be accompanied by Mark Mrozak on piano, Tom Burgermeister on bass, and Jim Ryan on drums.

 

Performances are Wednesday, December 14 at 8:00 p.m., Thursday, December 15 at 8:00 p.m., Friday, December 16 at 8:00 p.m., Saturday, December 17 at 8:00 p.m., and Sunday, December 18 at 3:00 p.m.

1641d1003c9d84bfc1c18910b9c51f25     peggy-peterson   becky6

                 

Giving Tuesday – November 29, 2016

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Sunset Playhouse Joins the Global #GivingTuesday Movement

 Sunset Playhouse has joined #GivingTuesday, a global day of giving that harnesses the collective power of individuals, communities and organizations to encourage philanthropy and to celebrate generosity worldwide. Occurring this year on November 29, #GivingTuesday is held annually on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving (in the U.S.) and the widely recognized shopping events Black Friday and Cyber Monday to kick-off the holiday giving season and inspire people to collaborate in improving their local communities and to give back in impactful ways to the charities and causes they support.  

92Y ÔêÆ  a cultural center in New York City that, since 1874, has been bringing people together around its core values of community service and giving back ÔêÆ conceptualized #GivingTuesday as a new way of linking individuals and causes to strengthen communities and encourage giving. In 2015, the fourth year of the movement, #GivingTuesday brought together over 45,000 partners in 71 countries and helped raise nearly $117 Million online in the US alone.

For more details about the #GivingTuesday movement, visit the #GivingTuesday website (www.givingtuesday.org), Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/GivingTuesday) or follow @GivingTues and the #GivingTuesday hashtag on social media.

 

As a non-profit theater, Sunset depends on donations to continue to thrive and survive.  Every donation, no matter the size, is highly appreciated.  Please consider a donation to Sunset Playhouse on Giving Tuesday

To donate to Sunset Playhouse, please click here

Sunset Fundraiser at ParkSide 23 on November 15

Sunset Playhouse will be having a fundraiser on November 15th at one of Brookfield’s best restaurants: ParkSide 23.  

Please join us and enjoy lunch or dinner at ParkSide 23 and 25% of your food purchase will be donated back to Sunset Playhouse.  This is a great way for you to enjoy a wonderful meal and contribute to the playhouse.  

Please note:  you must present a flyer to your server when you order your lunch or dinner in order for Sunset to receive the 25% donation.  See below

Click here to view ParkSide 23’s menu.     

ParkSide 23 serves food from 11AM – 9PM    We hope you will join us at this event.  

ParkSide 23,  2300 North Pilgrim Road, Brookfield, WI 53005  262-784-7255

(click on form below to print)

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Costume Designing Through Time

Costume Designing Through Time

By Joanne Cunningham, Costume Designer

 

Certainly one of the most challenging and interesting aspects of designing costumes for a show is creating a look that is appropriate to the era in which the story takes place. Most scripts specify the time (sometimes the exact year, sometimes just a decade) when the action occurs. Sometimes the director has his or her own idea for the era they want to use.

Most designers have some eras with which they feel the most comfortable. For those shows, not a lot of research is involved. For example, I have a pretty easy time envisioning the look of the 1950s and 1960s, probably because I grew up in that era. I can close my eyes and see what the clothes looked like back then, and this makes it easier to find suitable costumes for shows that take place at that time.

Other decades…or centuries, for that matter…take research to understand. Women’s silhouettes, for instance, have changed drastically over time. Appropriate accessories, types of fabrics, sometimes even color choices need to be understood in order to create the proper mood on stage. In the past year or so I’ve designed a number of shows that took place in the Victorian era, a time I knew little about until I started researching it. Fortunately for me (and other designers, I’m sure!), it’s now pretty easy to Google “1890s women’s evening wear” or any other topic and get hundreds of images to start my research. I usually also seek out articles that explain more about the do’s and do not’s of fashion at that time, mainly because an online image search can just as easily lead to inaccurate examples as it can to accurate ones.

On rare occasions, a play or musical will cover a span of more than one time period, whether by chronological action (as THE DIXIE SWIM CLUB will do later this season) or by other theatrical devices. In the case of MOON OVER BUFFALO, there are two plays that take place within the play itself. The actual time period of the play is post-WWII, so the day-to-day costumes need to evoke a 1940s/50s feel. But embedded within the play there are two completely different eras as well. Some of the characters become actors in a scene from CYRANO DE BERGERAC, which takes place in the 1600s, and some are in a scene from PRIVATE LIVES which calls for 1920s evening wear.

Moon-costumesIn other words, this show has taken a whole lot of research on my part to figure out how to portray those three eras with some degree of accuracy so that they each evoke a certain “feel”. Make plans to come see MOON OVER BUFFALO to see if I’ve been able to pull it off!

Moon Over Buffalo Auditions are coming up!

Audtion Reminder: Sunset Playhouse
MOON OVER BUFFALO
Why not try out for this exciting comedy? You will be a part of a quality production, meet new friends, and get out of the house! MOON OVER BUFFALO will be directed by Michael (Paco) Pocaro. Please come to Sunset Playhouse on one of the audition dates listed above. Auditions will consist of readings from the script.
Auditions: Monday, July 18th & Tuesday 19th 7:00-10:00 pm*
Callbacks: Wednesday, July 20th (if necessary) 7:00-10:00 pm
Rehearsals: Monday, August 1st, 2016 – Wednesday, September 7th, 2016**
Performances: September 8th – 25th, 2016
Scripts are available for check-out at the box office for a $10 deposit.
Box Office hours are Tuesdays 1 pm – 7 pm
Wednesdays-Fridays 1 pm – 5 pm & Saturdays 1 pm- 4 pm
Contact Ann Mather at amather@sunsetplayhouse.com or 262-782-4431, ext 221 if you have any further questions or
if you plan to arrive later than 8:30 pm for auditions.
SYNOPSIS
A hilarious comedy, MOON OVER BUFFALO centers on a couple of over-the-hill actors trying to keep their marriage and their ragtag touring company afloat. In Buffalo, New York, there’s suddenly one last shot at stardom — film director Frank Capra is rumored to be arriving for their matinee and might sign them to a Hollywood contract. But this is fun-filled farce at its finest so everything that can go wrong does go wrong. It’s the perfect recipe for an evening of madcap, door-slamming, belly-laugh adventures.
If you saw BOEING BOEING and enjoyed it, why not audition for MOON OVER BUFFALO. This show will be directed by Paco, the same person who directed the hit BOEING BOEING. Hope to see you at the auditions.