The Arts are Coming Back! – Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Milwaukee, Wisconsin 2021-09-21 19:35:39 –

The 2021 Fall Arts Guide is presented by the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra.

During the past year and a half, performing arts groups and museums found creative ways to use new technology to reach their audiences. But useful as that technology can be, it cannot replace the core values of live performance and the appreciation of human creativity in a physical space.

This September, we’re happy to report that most museums are open to visitors and many performing arts groups are planning shows. The season for many companies will start later than usual, in October or even late fall or early winter, but before long there will be few dark weeks on the arts calendar.

For updates and ongoing coverage of the arts, visit and look for our Holiday Arts Guide in November.

David Luhrssen
Managing Editor

Acacia Theatre Company

Alfons Gallery

All In Productions

Aperi Animam

Art Gallery at Concordia University Wisconsin

Arts @ Large

Aura Theatre Collective

Bach Chamber Choir

Bel Canto Chorus

Black Arts MKE

Beautiful You Beautiful Me, September 25

Boulevard Theatre

Brew City Opera

Bronzeville Arts Ensemble

Cabaret Milwaukee

Carthage College Arts

Betrayal, Oct. October 1-9

Performing Arts Series: Janus Adams, October 5

2021 Homecoming Concert, October 17

Fall Choral Concert, October 31

Catey Ott Dance Collective

Cedarburg Cultural Center

Dave Geisthardt, September 4

Ja Dufner, September 11

Vince Condella, September 25

Demetra Prochaska, October 2

Ja Dufner, October 9

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Cedarburg Performing Arts Center

Ricky Nelson Remembered Starring Matthew and Gunnar Nelson, September 25

The Texas Tenors, October 8

Chant Claire Chamber Choir

Charles Allis Art Museum

The Company of Strangers Theater

Concord Chamber Orchestra

Cooperative Performance

Covered Bridge Art Studio Tour

October 8-10


Danceworks Performance Company

David Barnett Gallery

Dead Man’s Carnival

Early Music Now

Ex Fabula

“Welcoming Week Story Slam” at Haggerty Museum of Art, September 14

Falls Patio Players

Things My Mother Taught Me, September 24-Ocober 3

Disney’s Moana Jr., October 22-24

Festival City Symphony

Fall Pajama Jamboree, September 22

“Passion, Faith, and Fate,” October 23

First Stage

Frank Juarez Gallery

Frankly Music

“Back To Basics,” September 22

Greendale Community Theatre

Grohmann Museum

The Railroad and the Art of Place: Photographs by David Kahler,” September 10-December 19

Architect David Kahler, designer of Milwaukee Art Museum’s 1975 addition as well as the Haggerty Museum of Art, is also an accomplished photographer and noted railfan. His black and white photographs illustrate the ebb and flow of communities dependent on railroad traffic amidst the decline of a once powerful industry. “Historically, the railroad and industry go hand in hand—and given our tradition of showcasing the art of industry at the Grohmann, we regularly feature the images of railroading as a part of our program,” says museum director James Kieselburg. (David Luhrssen)

11th Annual Lost Arts Festival, October 9

Grove Gallery

Haggerty Museum of Art

“Mary L. Nohl Fellowships for Individual Artists,” through May 22, 2022

“Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons: Sea and Self,” through December 19

“Double Vision: Art from Jesuit University Collections,” through December 19

Harley-Davidson Museum

“Off-Road Harley-Davidson,” continuing

During Harley-Davidson’s first 65 years, couldn’t most of the Milwaukee company’s motorcycles be called “off-road bikes”? “That’s exactly right and that’s the point of the exhibit,” says David Kreidler, exhibition curator at the Harley-Davidson Museum. In the early days, one of Harley’s selling points was enabling riders to travel into places where automobiles couldn’t go—into woods for camping and fishing and across rugged landscapes more suitable for horses than rickety four-wheeled cars. They were built with a Germanic pride of mechanical craft coupled with the latest developments in engineering. “They needed to handle all different kinds of road conditions,” Kreidler says. (David Luhrssen)

Building a Milwaukee Icon: HD’s Juneau Ave. Factory, continuing

Tsunami Motorcycle Display, continuing

H. F. Johnson Gallery of Art

“Natural History,” September 8-October 15

 “Declassified,” October 27-December 5

Hyperlocal MKE

Hyperlocal MKE #25: Gathering as Experience at Milwaukee Art Museum lakeside, September 4

The performers agree to a verbal prompt, something broadly evocative, suggestive of action and open to interpretation. They keep it in mind, to whatever degree, for inspiration as they improvise the entire performance, creating it on the spot.  The prompt is the show’s title; in this case, “gathering as experience.” The seasoned musicians and choreographer/dancers also respond imaginatively to their particular environment—in this case, the lawn between the Milwaukee Art Museum’s backside and the lake. They respond to their impulses, urges and lifetimes in artmaking. Listening, watching, sensing, they respond to and inspire one another. Each moment is hyper-alive. (John Schneider)

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Inspiration Studios

Irish Cultural and Heritage Center

Jazz Gallery Center for the Arts

Don Linke Trialogue, September 3

Led by guitarist-vocalist Don Linke, the trio includes bassist Todd Richardson and features Victor Campbell, one of Milwaukee’s most experienced drummers. He’s performed with many local and national musicians, including Manty Ellis, Berkeley Fudge, Melvin Rhyne, Carlos Santana, Brian Lynch, Delfeayo Marsalis, Nicholas Payton, and classic R&B groups The Drifters, The Platters, and The Coasters. He is also one of Milwaukee’s notable musicians who received funding from the Jazz Foundation of America during the pandemic. (Kevin Lynch)

Jewish Museum Milwaukee

“Brother, Can You Spare a Dime: Jewish artists of the WPA,” through September 5

The exhibition focuses on federally funded art from the Great Depression produced for the WPA agency. Assembled are some 70 works by 41 artists including paintings, lithographs, prints and sculpture. Wisconsin’s Aaron Bohrod and Alfred Sessler are among the artists represented. Most WPA art reflected the prominent visual movement of the day, social realism, whose proponents sought to accurately depict immediate reality through compositions in simplified lines suggesting motion and strength. (David Luhrssen)

Greendale: A New Deal Greenbelt Town, September 5

John Michael Kohler Arts Center

“Detours and Side Roads: A Tribute to Ruth DeYoung Kohler II,” through September 5

The Claudettes, September 9

“Communities in Conversation: Cultural Asset Mapping in Sheboygan,” through September 26

The Belle Weather, September 30

“Barnard Langlais: Live and Let Live,” through October 3

“Annabeth Marks: Extender,” through January 9, 2022

“Jennifer Levonian: Cinnamon, Thunderstorm,” through January 23

“Allison Wade: The Good Parts,” through February 6

“High Touch,” through March 13

“On Loan: Objects from Barbara Rossi’s Home Collection and Selected Works,” ongoing

KACM Theatrical Productions

Kettle Moraine Symphony

Ko-Thi Dance Company

Latino Arts, Inc.

“Mauricio Ramirez: Poly Wave Seeds of Color & Shape,” September 2-October 1

“Day of the Dead Ofrendas,” October 15-November 12

Day of the Dead Concert: Las Cafeteras, October 29

Lily Pad Gallery West

“Patterson and Patterson,” through September 26

Lynden Sculpture Garden

“Daniel Minter: Root Work,” through September 26

Marcus Performing Arts Center

De La Buena, September 2 (Peck Pavilion)

DLC Dance, September 9 (Peck Pavilion)

Terrance Simien & The Zydeco Experience, September 16 (Peck Pavilion)

Hamilton, October 13-14 (Broadway Series)

Lin-Manuel Miranda’s audacious reimagining of the American Revolution and its aftermath is a multi-ethnic spectacle of music and dance. In this musical theater production, no one stands still for long—there is a revolution to win and a country to define once the battle is won. Yes, there is a love story. But the main thrust of Hamilton is on the body politic. The struggle against the British and over the authoring of the Constitution is neatly summarized. Rapping on “The Federalist Papers” and the need for a national bank? Miranda shows how those arguments continue to resonate today. (David Luhrssen)

Marquette University Theatre

Master Singers of Milwaukee

Material Studios + Gallery

Memories Dinner Theatre

Milwaukee Art Museum

“Americans in Spain: Painting and Travel, 1820-1920,” through October 3

The exhibit features over 100 individual works–paintings, photographs and prints–drawn from institutions as renowned as the Prado and the Musée d’Orsay, as well as dozens of other lenders from around the world. There’s even a recently discovered portrait by Mary Cassatt from a private collection in Spain. Co-curators Brandon Ruud and Corey Piper avoid an airtight categorical articulation of this sprawling subject, choosing to break up the story into a number of sub-sections that highlight its most compelling and colorful individual chapters. (Shane McAdams)

Music and Dance: Hyperlocal MKE Jam Open Rehearsal, September 2

Virtual In Conversation: “Travel in Spain with Rudy Maxa and Brandon Ruud,” September 9

Virtual In Conversation: “Spanish Art and American Portraiture,” September 30

Story Time in the Galleries: “At Home,” October 2

“The Quilts of Pauline Parker,” through December 5

“American Memory: Commemoration, Nostalgia, and Revision,” through January 16

“First Impressions: Early Printed Books in Europe,” through December 12

Milwaukee Ballet

Connect, October 28-31

“It’s called Connect because we’re reconnecting with everybody, we’re doing what we do best, and we’re reconnecting with our space at the Marcus PAC which has just been renovated. That’s a big thing,” says artistic director Michael Pink. Another big thing is the program: contrasting world premieres by two exciting choreographers, the American Darrell Grand Moultrie and the Australian Danielle Rowe, and the revival of Purple Fools, a wildly creative and hilarious work made for Milwaukee Ballet by the Italian Mauro de Candia in 2012, that Pink has wanted to bring back ever since. (John Schneider)

Milwaukee Chamber Theater

Where Did We Sit on the Bus?, October 22-November 7

Milwaukee Children’s Choir

Milwaukee Comedy

Todd Barry at Shank Hall, October 22

Milwaukee Entertainment Group

Facebook page

Milwaukee Festival Brass

Free Summer Park Series Concerts, September 1 & 15

Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design

“Mary L.Nohl Suitcase Exhibition,” through September 25

Milwaukee Makers Market

Discovery World, September 26

Ivy House, October 31

Milwaukee Musaik

Milwaukee Opera Theatre

Milwaukee Repertory Theater

Dad’s Season Tickets, October 29-January 2, 2022

Fall in Wisconsin can only mean one thing: the Green Bay Packers! And there’s nothing more coveted then season tickets to Lambeau Field. Dad’s Season Tickets is a new musical comedy that tells the story of the three Kosinski sisters as they each scheme to get ahold of their father’s treasured tix—up for inheritance. With book, music and lyrics by Matt Zembrowski, audiences who loved Guys On Ice and Lumberjacks in Love can revisit that wacky regional humor with songs like “When You Live in Green Bay” and “What Do You Do With Bye Week.” (Harry Cherkinian)

Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra

Open House: Free Community Day of Music, September 26

“A Grand Opening,” October 1-3

“Grand Opening Gala, October 9

“Frank Almond Plays Bruch,” October 15-16

“Dance & Delight,” October 22-23

“Prohibition,” October 29-31

Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra

Jazz Combo Performance at Summerfest, September 2, 9, 16 & 17

Steel Pans Performance at Summerfest, September 11

Museum of Wisconsin Art

“Carey Watters: Tiny Cuts,” through September 12

“Claiming Space: A New Century of Visionary Women,” through October 3

2021 Members’ Show, September 18-October 17

“Sixty Years of Wisconsin Glass: The Hyde Collection,” October 23-January 16, 2022

MOWA | DTN (Saint Kate—The Arts Hotel)

“Anwar Floyd-Pruitt: Retina Records,” through November 14

Sun Ra’s sci-fi big band may have been an early manifestation of Afrofuturism, but it has grown since then into a full-fledged movement embracing literature and visual art. Anwar Floyd-Pruitt’s Afrofuturist visual language evokes time travel through layered representations of overlapping realities in an “improvised alchemy of unassuming materials including found paper, spray paint and brass eyelets.” (David Luhrssen)

Next Act Theatre

Three Viewings, September 23-October 17

Jeffrey Hatcher’s Three Viewings interweaves three stories taking place in a Pittsburgh funeral parlor: there’s Emil, the mild-mannered undertaker who will go to great lengths to win the love of a woman who attends all his funerals; Mac, a drifter who steals jewelry off corpses and returns home to reclaim a family heirloom; and Virginia, a recent widow, left to pick up the pieces of her late husband’s shady business dealings.

“David [Cecsarini, Producing Artistic Director] and I ran through a number of ideas before he suggested this one. I knew some other plays by Jeff Hatcher, though not this one, but when I read it, I liked it,” explains director Ed Morgan. “We both wanted something good for bringing people back into the theatre. So that meant something with some popular appeal, but yet really theatrical. I think the play, the space and the cast are an excellent combination, and I’m optimistic that people will come see it live.” (Harry Cherkinian)

Nō Studios

Photo MKE, early September

North Shore Academy of the Arts

“Inclusion,” through Oct. 10

Oconomowoc Arts Center

Oil Gallery Milwaukee

Optimist Theatre

A Midsummer Night’s Dream: The Lovers’ Tale Bristol Renaissance Faire, September 4-6 

Outskirts Theatre

Over Our Head Players

Portrait Society Gallery

Wisconsin Prison Art Exhibition available online now

Present Music

Season opener, October 14-15

“It will be a blow-out with a big party afterward,” said Present Music’s Co-Artistic Director Eric Segnitz of the opening concert in the ensemble’s 40th anniversary season. The focus is on the world premiere of a new commission by Latvian composer Krists Auznieks. Segnitz describes him as “young, brilliant with a special sound—high on the sensitivity meter, into coloristic things, fine textures.” Appropriately for an anniversary, the program’s music forms a meditation on the passing of time. (David Luhrssen)

Racine Art Museum

RAM Artist Fellowship and Emerging Artist Exhibition 2021,” September 1-November 27

“Collection Focus: Mara Superior,” through January 15

 “Alien Invasion: (Un)Familiar Forms in Contemporary Art,” through January 22, 2022

“Alien Invasion: RAM Virtual Community Art Show,” through January 22, 2022

“Get a Bead On: Jewelry and Small Objects,” through January 22, 2022

“Component Parts: Artworks Made of Multiple Elements,” through February 12, 2022

“Playful/Pensive:  Contemporary Artists and Contemporary Issues,” through July 9, 2022

Racine Symphony Orchestra

“Fall Masterworks,” October 30

Renaissance Theaterworks

Br!nk New Play Festival, September 7-8

The Cake, October 22 – November 14 

Playwright Bekah Brunstetter was inspired by the news story a few years back about a baker who refused to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple. In this play, the baker, a God-fearing Christian woman, is asked to make a cake by her beloved goddaughter, who is marrying a woman. Director Susan Fete says, “What I love is that it shows what happens when people think really differently but love each other. It’s about the journey everyone in the story takes. They come out better at the end, I think. And there’ll be cake for everybody in the audience.” (John Schneider)

Saint Kate—The Arts Hotel

“Hanging Out the Laundry by Maeve Jackson,” through September 6

“The Money $how curated by Frank Juarez and Ric Kasini Kadour,” through September 12

“The Seed Collection,” through September 30

Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts

Skylight Music Theatre

The Full Monty, September 24-October 17

“Less” (clothing) will be so much “more” (comedy) as the Skylight kicks off its return to live performance with The Full Monty. The Tony Award nominated musical and hit film features a group of out of work friends that take to stripping to pay the bills. Director Jason Danieley starred in the original Broadway cast. So, expect some serious bump and grind from someone who’s been there. (Harry Cherkinian)

South Milwaukee Performing Arts Center

Madtown Mannish Boys, September 9

Extra Crispy Brass Band, September 23

In 2011, the Extra Crispy Brass Band debuted at the Uptowner, the Riverwest tavern that would not seem out of place on Bourbon Street. In relocating the sound of New Orleans to Milwaukee, the horn-centric band mixes traditional jazz sounds with the pulse of funk—a take on “St. James Infirmary Blues” moves from the familiar minor-key lament into a celebratory second-line rave-up. As the saying goes, if they don’t move you, check your pulse. Bandleader, vocalist, and trombonist Gregory Cramer formed the band because he missed New Orleans. (Blaine Schultz)

Big Band, Big Club, Big Night!, September 24

Steven Wright, October 1

ComedySportz Halloween Hoot-Tacular, October 23

Knightwind Ensemble, October 31

Sunset Playhouse

Run for Your Wife, September 9-September 28

Theatre Gigante

Theatrical Tendencies

Third Avenue Playhouse, Sturgeon Bay

Gutenberg: The Musical, October 6-October 31

Thrasher Opera House, Green Lake

Tory Folliard Gallery

“Summer in Wisconsin,” through Septmber 4

Laurie Hogin, September 10-October 9

Michael Noland, September 10 – October 9

Rodger Bechtold, October 15-November 13

Aniela Sobieski, October 22 – November 20

UW-Milwaukee Peck School of the Arts

“2021 Sum Total: Department of Art & Design Faculty Exhibition,” September 8-22

Street Signs, October 20-30

Guest Artist Recital: Paul Cohen and Anna Keiserman, October 17

UW-Whitewater Theatre

The Fabulous Equinox Orchestra, October 2

EmiSunshine, October 7

Magic Morgan and Lilliana, October 9

A Place with the Pigs, October 12-15

Var Gallery & Studios

Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum

“Villa Incognito: Latent Narratives in the Permanent Collection,” through September 26

Voices Found Repertory

A Midsummer Night’s Dream, September

Walker’s Point Center for the Arts

Featured Member Exhibition: Andrea Lira-Landa, through Sept. 24

Annual Members Show, September 3-October 1

Waukesha Civic Theatre

Miss Holmes, September 10-26

Film Series: Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella, September 11

“A Sparkling 65th Season Cabaret,” September 15

Film Series: Knives Out, October 11

Deathtrap, October 22-November 7

Cabaret Series: Villains, Monsters and Ghouls, October 27-28

West Performing Arts Center

WICA Dance Recital, October 9

The Children’s Playhouse Presents, October 24

New Berlin Community Band Concert, October 29

Wild Space Dance

Windfall Theatre

Wisconsin Lutheran College – Center for Arts and Performance

Wisconsin Philharmonic

“Classic Jewels – A concert to honor the memory of Don Taylor,” September 26

 “Facets of Broadway with John McGivern,” October 28

Woodland Pattern Book Center 

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