Big shows, and a big-hair show, dot the local performance arts calendar in November. Here's a look at promising productions and concerts through Thanksgiving, in chronological order of first performances:
"Irena's Vow": Acacia Theatre's drama is based on the real story of Irena Gut Opdyke, a young Polish Catholic pressed into domestic service for a German major during World War II. She harbored a dozen Jews in the coal cellar of the major's home to protect them from the Nazis. Coincidentally, this is the second production this season of the drama; Renaissance Theaterworks and Cardinal Stritch are finishing their collaborative run of the show Nov. 4. Acacia's production opens 8 p.m. Nov. 9, runs through Nov. 18. Concordia University Wisconsin's Todd Wehr Auditorium, 12800 N. Lake Shore Drive, Mequon. Tickets: $16, $13 for seniors, students and full-time clergy. Call (414) 744-5995 or visit acaciatheatre.com.
"Rock of Ages": If you're one of those Milwaukeeans who didn't stop believin' that '80s rock was the best thing ever, if you can't fight this feeling, if you want to know what love is, then start your final countdown for this touring jukebox musical about a big-city rocker and a small-town girl. Allow plenty of time to get your big hair ready. Opens 8 p.m. Nov. 13; through Nov. 18. Marcus Center's Uihlein Hall, 929 N. Water St. Tickets: $40.45-$88.95, subject to change. Call (414) 273-7206 or visit marcuscenter.org.
"King Lear": In collaboration with Shakespeare and Company of Lenox, Mass., the UWM theater department is staging a production of "King Lear" featuring Shakespeare and Company's Dennis Krausnick as Lear and UWM educators James Tasse and Bill Watson as Kent and Cornwall, with students taking on the play's other roles. It's a remounting of a production that Shakespeare and Company and UWM staged this summer in Massachusetts. Reviewer Roseann Cane called that staging "a startling, vigorous production of a well-known and very familiar play that challenges my preconceptions." Director Rebecca Holderness, a UWM associate professor, has set this "Lear" in Russia in 1906, near the end of the Tsarist era. 7:30 p.m. Nov. 14 through 17, 2 p.m. Nov. 18. Mainstage Theatre, 2400 E. Kenwood Blvd. Tickets: $17; $12 for seniors, UWM faculty, staff and alumni; $9 for UWM students, $5 for Peck School of the Arts students and youth 13 to 18 years old. Visit arts.uwm.edu/tickets.
Read the full article at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.