From Previews

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

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.

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

Shepherd Express Previews Pal Joey Opening Sept. 26

In Shepherd Express writer John Schneider’s preview of The Boulevard Theatre’s Pal Joey opening at South Milwaukee PAC, he describes what concert staging means and gives a bit of history about the piece. Here’s an excerpt:

“Concert staging” means a script-in-hand but fully acted performance accompanied by piano and staged efficiently. The focus is entirely on script, music and performers. It’s an excellent and now-popular way to experience the best rarely produced works of the American musical theater. Pal Joey has a special place in that history as the last complete show by the seminal team of Rodgers and Hart (Rodgers soon teamed up with Oscar Hammerstein). It’s a knockout work that’s both of and well ahead of its time. Panned by uncomprehending New York critics at its 1940 opening (an experience from which Hart never recovered), it was deemed a work of genius by some of the same critics at its 1950 revival, seven years after Hart’s demise. Read the full preview.