One of our favorite Christmas stories – or anytime, really – is the classic “A Christmas Carol,” by Charles Dickens.
Especially in the video form, the tale takes on so many interpretations: Mr. Magoo, Alastair Sim, The Muppets, George C. Scott, Arthur Fonzarelli – and on and on.
It is such an endearing and timeless yarn that anything invoking the name of Dickens gets our attention, which brings us to the Alchemist Theatre, in Milwaukee’s Bay View.
“Kick in the Dickens” is back for another run, with original songs, comedy routines, improvisation and a one-act holiday play based on audience suggestions.
From Facebook: “Some of Milwaukee’s top improvisers, comedic actors, playwrights and songwriters have come together to create this fun filled evening of holiday mayhem!”
Dickens has 14 shows beginning Thursday, Dec. 6, and running through Saturday, Dec. 28. Please click here for more information and to order $19 tickets.
With the end of August comes the last three nights of “The Burden of Being” a coming-of-age puppet musical, written by Robby McGhee.
You know Robby from the Tall Boys improv group and Sketch 22 improv and Greendale Community Theatre productions such as the recently completed “Les Miserables” and, of course, The Improvised Musical (T.I.M.).
Now Robby has created a musical – using puppets – performed by some of Milwaukee’s finest talent, including cast and band members from T.I.M.
Mike Fischer, in a review in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, says, “we see the promise of a writer who combines a wonderfully offbeat sense of humor with a heartfelt awareness of what such humor often hides or deflects, in a world where a brave smile is often our only defense against the burden of being.”
Russ Bickerstaff, in the Shepherd Express, calls “The Burden of Being” “a light, quick musical” punctuated by “sparkling performances in the ensemble.”
The final performances are at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, Friday and Saturday, Aug. 29-31, at the Alchemist Theatre, 2569 S. Kinnickinnic Ave. Click here for $17 tickets.
And now for something completely different: An improv troupe will be performing at an open mic for standup comedians.
Look for it at 9 p.m., Tuesday, Aug. 6 – Tuesday Night Comedy – The Down & Over Pub, 2535 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., in Milwaukee’s Bay View. It’s an open mic. Performers need to sign up at 8:30 p.m. Steve Breese is the emcee. And there’s a special appearance by Tall Boys improv. And it’s free.
Tall Boys includes James Boland, Erik Koconis, Robby McGhee and Lee Rowley. They’ll be having a show of their own at 8 p.m., Friday, Aug. 9, at the Alchemist Theatre, 2569 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., Bay View. Admission is $5, but there’s a free Tall Boy beer for the first 10 people in the door.
And for poetic justice, the Tall Boys improv show will include standup comedy from Greg Bach, Steve Breese and Scott Boremen.
Because they support one another – because that’s what friends do – the whole entire monthly T.I.M. show is shifting in August to accommodate one of its own.
Robby McGhee is busy debuting his original show, The Burden of Being, at the Alchemist Threatre the last three weekends (Thursday, Friday and Saturday) of August. And because he’s relying on his collaborators from The Improvised Musical, that means T.I.M. can’t perform on the third Thursday of the month – as it has for the last two years.
But here’s the good news: T.I.M. will improvise a full-hour musical from audience suggestions with its veteran thespians and in-house band on Thursday, Aug. 8.
As usual, the show begins at 7:30 p.m. and will be at ComedySportz Milwaukee, 420 S. 1st St. It’s still only $5, and the bar and restaurant will be open. Call Mary at (414) 272-8888 to make reservations.
For years, Patrick Schmitz has made a reputation for himself in Milwaukee teaching improvisational comedy at such venues as ComedySportz and First Stage children’s theater. Now, he’s making a living for himself teaching drama at Brown Deer High School, which he discusses in the YouTube video above.
But, as most teachers, Patrick Schmitz is more than a teacher. He’s a performer. He’s a mentor. And he’s a presenter.
Because at 7 p.m. on Saturday, July 13, Patrick Schmitz presents the 11th edition of his Sketch 22 show.
That’s the one where Milwaukee’s top comedy and theater talent get together and within a 22-hour period create a show featuring 10 genuinely original comedy sketches. Do the math. That’s less than a day.
Sketch 22 unfolds at ComedySportz, 420 S. 1st St. Bring $10 (or a friend with $20) so you can join in the fun. Don’t bring children younger than 14.
Milwaukee comedy has been getting so big that it’s spilling over to greater metropolitan area. For months now, Greg Bach has been showcasing some of the region’s funniest standup comedians in Racine.
And he’s doing it again at 7 p.m., Wednesday, June 26, at the envi lounge, 316 Main St., Racine.
Greg calls the show Comedy Xtravaganza. And it’s free.
Here’s the lineup, descriptions courtesy of Greg:
Tyler Menz has been described as a handsome man and Mr. Rogers-esque. Most of his comedy comes from his mundane and ordinary life. Look for him buying kale at a farmers market near you.
Sammy Arechar is a fresh face with luxurious jokes. His sense of humor and his stage presence has landed him gigs opening for nationally touring comedians such as Michael Kosta, Dave Waite, Tom Clark and Ari Shaffir. His hobbies, along with telling jokes on stage, are looking handsome, seeing what’s on TV, and seeing what’s in the fridge.
Nate Seek has been called “The Kennedy of Comedy,” a freshly shorn comedian. Nathan Seek will delight and amuse audiences with anecdotes about what it’s like to be a privileged white man in America. Hilarity. He’s had the pleasure to work with comedians like Ian Edwards (SNL), Tom Clark, Kevin Williams, and many more. He is a club regular at Milwaukee’s Comedy Café and Madison’s Comedy Club on State.
Greg will be the emcee. He’s a versatile performer including improv, standup and sketch comedy in his repertoire since 2007. Among the places you may have seen him is Sherman Perk, Karma Bar & Grill, ComedySportz and the Alchemist Theatre.
Again, the Comedy Xtravaganza is free. But seating is limited. So make reservations by calling 262-770-4297.
They’re at it again in Racine, those funny people standing there at the envi lounge, 316 W. Main St.
The Comedy Xtravaganza, that’s what!
To start with, it’s free. But you should go mostly because it’s funny.
Here’s the lineup, with descriptions furnished via Facebook, so you know it’s so:
Sarah Connor‘s sarcastic, tomboy candor cuts to the heart of the trials and tribulations of the modern single lady. Drunk audience members have described her as both a “sexy Lewis Black” and a “dirty Vonnegut.”
Chris Lay was raised fast and hard in the mean southern streets of Charlotte, North Carolina before moving mid-westward to Madison, Wisconsin where he’s been deeply involved with the fast-emerging local comedy and podcast scenes.
Nate Bjork’s comedic style has been described as “smart-stupid.” His comedy is observational only insofar as the world he observes is all in his head.
Greg Bach will be your MC for the evening. He has been performing improv, standup and sketch comedy since 2007. He has performed at Sherman Perk, Karma Lounge, ComedySportz and the Alchemist Theatre.
The show starts at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, May 22. Like I said, it’s free and funny, so you shouldn’t have any reservations. But you should make reservations because seating is limited and it’s free and it’s funny. Call 262-770-4297.