For 55 years Sunset Playhouse in Elm Grove has been entertaining audiences with first-rate community theater. But what many don’t know is that for the past eight years, the playhouse has also been serving as an umbrella organization, home to three professional series. Its SideNotes series brings quality cabaret performances to the theater’s black box space and includes table-seating with refreshments available.
Sunset’s Bug In A Rug children’s series showcases original work for kids and their families and takes those shows out into the community, providing entertainment options for schools with limited arts budgets.
Now entering its ninth season, the theater’s popular Musical MainStage series features professional singers and musicians in themed concerts. The shows are produced, directed, and written by actress Susan Loveridge. “I’m proud of our shows for so many reasons”, explains Loveridge. “We provide one more employment opportunity for the area’s best and busiest performers, and we also give west side residents a chance to hear these talented singers without having to battle the Zoo interchange!”
Musical MainStage is a series of six concerts, each featuring four singers, several musicians, and one promising high school student--35 “Rising Stars” to date. The new season will kick off with a show called “Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame”. Performers include Tommy Hahn, Alison Mary Forbes, Joel Kopischke, and Peggy Peterson Ryan, with Adam Baus and Sam Steffke on keyboards and Tim Karth on drums.
“We choose a theme, the singers get to select a few songs they wouldn’t ordinarily have a chance to perform, our music director creates some fun medleys, and then I write a script that provides the framework for the show”, says Loveridge. She sits on stage with a co-narrator—on whatever set the community theater is currently using—and what follows is “90 minutes of really great music and fun-filled background information”.
Nancy Visintainer-Armstrong, the theater’s artistic director explains, “Each Musical MainStage production gets rave reviews from our audiences and we’re really looking forward to the start of another great season.” For more information about “Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame” or any of the theater’s offerings, you can visit the theater’s website at sunsetplayhouse.com or call the box office at (262) 782-4430; the box office is open Tuesdays through Fridays from 1-5pm and Saturdays from 1-4pm.
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