By Rachel Sorce

South Milwaukee PAC Announces 2017-2018 Performing Arts Series

(South Milwaukee, WI) – South Milwaukee Performing Arts Center (SMPAC) announced its 2017-2018 Performing Arts Series during a Preview & Tasting Party featuring SMPAC sponsors Skyline Catering & Express Deli, Azteca Restaurant, Barbiere’s Italian InnScrappy’s BBQ and Parkway Floral at the theatre on Wednesday, May 24. Approximately 200 people attended the preview that featured hearty food samples and a sneak peak of the professional touring artist series line-up.

“We strive to present a mix of artists and performers not featured elsewhere in our area, along with providing educational opportunities for our students. We’ve become a cultural destination for Milwaukee’s south shore communities, presenting performances that entertain and inspire people of all ages and aesthetics. This season, we’re excited to present performances that appeal to our sense of nostalgia and the familiar, as well as performances whose impeccable musicians or intriguing artists enchant or surprise us,” says Rachel Sorce, Executive Director. Read more

South Milwaukee PAC Voted 2016 Milwaukee A-List Top Theatre

Thanks to all of you who voted for us, and thanks to Wisconsin Gazette for publishing our exciting news about being voted 3rd Best Theatre in the 2016 Milwaukee A-List contest.

“It was a terrific surprise to be voted among the top theatres in the Milwaukee area,” said Rachel Sorce, executive director at SMPAC. “We have many wonderful and loyal patrons, and we thank them for supporting us and posting comments about their experiences during the contest voting period.”  Read more

Silent Movies & Live Gypsy Swing at SMPAC in November

South Milwaukee Performing Arts Center is proud to present The Hot Club of San Francisco: Cinema Vivant, on Saturday, November 21 at 7:30 p.m. Cinema Vivant celebrates the imagination and innovation of the 1920’s and 30’s with the music of Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli, and three silent movie shorts created by the pioneers of animated filmmaking, Ladislaw Starewicz and Charley Bowers.

“With Cinema Vivant, we want audience members to feel as if they are transported back to the French countryside of the 1930’s, where gypsy caravans would set up camps outside of town and lure locals out for an evening of music and silent movies, which flickered to life on the side of a barn,” says Rachel Sorce, Executive Director. “It was magical for audiences of the time, because the musicians would play guitars and fiddles, matching every movement on the screen and creating live soundtracks to the silent movies, which had never been seen or heard before.”

The Hot Club of San Francisco is an ensemble of accomplished and versatile musicians performing the music of Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli’s pioneering Quintette du Hot Club de France. Called gypsy jazz, the swinging, bouncy beat has entranced audiences for decades. The ensemble borrows the all-string instrumentation of violin, bass, and guitars from the original Hot Club, but breathes new life into the music with innovation arrangements of classic tunes and original compositions from the group’s superb lead guitarist, Paul Mehling. Acoustic Guitar hailed Hot Club of San Francisco’s sound as, “intricate, scorching and often brilliant.”

In Cinema Vivant, three short films are projected during the show. Two are by a European pioneer of stopaction animation, Ladislaw Starewicz, including The Cameraman’s Revenge, and The Mascot. A third film, There It Is, is by American Charley Bowers, who helped revolutionize the industry in the 1920s by combining animation with live action.

On Sat., Nov. 21 from 1-2 pm, South Milwaukee Performing Arts Center will host a Gypsy Swing Guitar Masterclass for all ages by instructor and HCSF founder Paul Mehling. Cost is included in the price of a midlevel ticket to the evening performance. Pre-registration is required by calling 414-766-5049.

Show starts at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $20-45 for adults, with discounts for seniors and students. For tickets, visit www.southmilwaukeepac.org or call (414) 766-5049.

Get Bold & Brassy Sept. 17 & 19!

We’re so excited to kick off our 2015-16 Performing Arts Season THIS WEEK with not one, but TWO fantastic brass bands of contrasting styles. Starting Thursday, the city of South Milwaukee will be filled with the amazing sounds of supremely talented brass musicians who thoroughly enjoy entertaining their audiences.

A Haiku in Honor of SMPAC’s 10th Anniversary & Poetry Month

A Toast to Ten Years

Ready to express
emotion for all senses
they will converge here.

Musicians, dancers,
singers and comedians
to entertain us.

Hands, feet, words, bodies
move expertly with practice
sharing their passion.

Tradition, trade, job
hobby, pastime, obsession
avocation, craft.

A showcase on stage
of twenty acts in one night
a toast to ten years.

RMS

Friday, May 1st Talent Extravaganza: A Toast to Ten Years

The 10th Anniversary Gala: An Extravaganza of Local Talent will be an event like no other in the 10 year history of our theatre. More than 20 different acts comprised of over 100 amateur and professional performers will take the stage on Friday, May 1st, led by our Master of Ceremonies, Tomas Kubinek, aka, Certified Lunatic and Master of the Impossible!

The event will be preceded by a social starting at 6:00 pm in the downstairs commons. There will be entertainment, arts and crafts and food, so bring the entire family! The SMHS a cappella ensembles Delta V and The Pop Rockets will perform during the social to get everyone ready for the show. Emerald City Catering is selling their famous pulled pork sandwiches and cole slaw and the SM high school students will be selling baked goods. So, don’t worry about going hungry during the show. Plus, Milwaukee Art Museum presents Kohl’s Color Wheels. It’s a mobile arts and crafts activity perfect for people of all ages and artistic abilities. The SMPAC Council is hosting a mini silent auction, and you’ll have a chance to meet many of the performers, too.

The performance starts at 7:30 and will feature local talent and talent from far away places such as Siberia. Our Master of Ceremonies is an internationally-touring performer who will make you smile and laugh, and who may even throw in a few unexpected surprises! You won’t want to miss the acts we discovered through our audition process that started last October. We auditioned dozens of performers, which made the selection process challenging and also fun. For the Gala, we’ve arranged for a wide variety of acts, from opera to uni-cycling, and even a four-legged performer named “Rosie.”

Won’t you join us for some fun? Get your tickets today, while they last!

2013-14 artist Jason Moran scores the movie “Selma”

Congratulations to Jason Moran, who performed at South Milwaukee Performing Arts Center as a 2013-14 Performing Arts Series artist. He recently scored his first narrative feature, Ava DuVernay’s “Selma,” about Martin Luther King Jr.’s push to pass the voting rights act in Alabama. Here’s what one reviewer had to say about the movie: “Selma reminds us to honor not just the heroic figure making speeches, but the collective will of so many who made progress possible.” Peniel E. Joseph, Professor of History at Tufts University. 

Variety magazine’s Steve Chagollan has this to say about Moran and his work:

And now with “Selma,” Moran — no stranger to audio visual collaborations with such artists as Adrian Piper, Joan Jonas and Kara Walker — strikes out into more populist territory. “I didn’t know the intellectual approach to music that he was taking until I started to research him,” says DuVernay. “And it was just a meeting of like minds very quickly.”

Read more

2014 Retrospective & Look Ahead

As I write this, it is New Year’s Eve Day. The sun is streaming through my home office window and steam is wisping from my cup of tea. It’s the perfect backdrop for a moment of retrospection and gratitude.

While many during this time of year are looking back at the past twelve months, I’m looking back at the past 10 years. We are, after all, celebrating our 10th Anniversary Season. With support from you, our patrons, contributors and sponsors, South Milwaukee Performing Arts Center has presented hundreds of creative, innovative and diverse artists from around the world and from our own community. These artists are people who have entertained and connected us. They’ve sparked conversations and created memories that have drawn us together. I’m thankful to be part of an organization that provides people of all ages with reasons to gather, be inspired and become transformed. Read more

Christopher McIntyre Perceptions is Journal Sentinel 2015 Artist to Watch

In Mary Louise Schumacher‘s Journal Sentinel article, The Year In Art and Architecture, she poses the question, “What is the role of artists in a time of political and social tumult?” While Schumacher doesn’t attempt to answer the question herself in the article, she identifies several artists and architects who grappled with the subject this year. Among them is Christopher McIntyre Perceptions and his work, Br(OK)en Genius, which premiered at South Milwaukee Performing Arts Center as part of our 2014-15 Performing Arts Series in November. Schumacher names C.M.P. as 2015 Artist to Watch, and had this to say about Br(OK)en Genius:

Read more

WindSync Simple Gifts: A Holiday Sampler

We are proud to present the creative and energetic wind ensemble, WindSync, performing Simple Gifts: A Holiday Sampler, on Thursday, December 11th at 7:30 p.m.

Hailing from Houston, Texas, the legendary quintet is internationally recognized for their unique performances that are unlike any other. WindSync dresses up in costumes, organizes choreography to go with their tunes, and does not use sheet music. They perform strictly from memory. The ensemble loves to perform in many different settings, from concert halls to local schools. They give back to the community by offering innovative and interactive educational programs with hour long sessions during classes. WindSync is the recipient of the Sylvia Ann Hewlett Adventurous Artist Prize and was proclaimed the 2012 Victor Elmaleh Concert Artists Guild Competition winner.

The performance will feature works such as Copland: Simple Gifts, Prokofiev: Overture on Hebrew Themes, Resphigi: Three Botticelli Pictures, Valerie Coleman: Umoja, Three Folk Song Settings for Wind Quintet, Tchaikovsky: The Nutcracker and Twas the Night Before Christmas (including popular melodies: Little Dummer Boy; The Christmas Song, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and Sleigh Ride) with arrangements by WindSync. Read more