On with a new show: Visiting Artists Series takes the place of UW-Parkside’s Arts Alive! series

By Bill Robbins


A performing arts series at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside has expanded to include opportunities for students and the public to attend workshops led by the artists.

The new @ The Rita Visiting Artist Series, which opens Saturday, Sept. 7 with a performance by the famed Second City comedy troupe, replaces the Arts Alive! series.

The @The Rita series features national and international performances including an on-campus broadcast of Michael Feldman’s “Whad’ya Know?” radio comedy show, a production of “Dickens In America” and a performance of “Pallade Musica.”

Dean Yohnk, dean of the university’s College of Arts and Humanities, praised the quality of performances being brought to the campus.

“As we began planning the new @The Rita Visiting Artist Series we did an extensive community-wide survey asking people in the region what types of performances they wanted to see at UW-Parkside,” Yohnk said.

More than 2,000 people in southeastern Wisconsin and northeastern Illinois responded to the survey.

“They told us they wanted high-quality, entertaining performances at a reasonable price — and with free and accessible parking,” Yohnk said. “They also told us that they wanted an opportunity to meet and interact with the artists in pre-performance workshops and post-show receptions.”

The campus also has added a new “Rita Bistro,” with food and drinks available for purchase before the show and at intermission.

Performances are in the Main Stage Theatre and Bedford Hall in the school’s Rita Tallent Picken Regional Center for Arts and Humanities.

The new series features an educational component that connects the series to the academic offerings at the university, Yohnk said.

Included are free afternoon workshops and master classes with the visiting artists before each performance. The first is a presentation by the cast of “The Second City’s Happily Ever Laughter Tour” from 3 to 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 7, Yohnk said.

The artists in the series will discuss their areas of expertise in the workshops and master classes. Details about the content, times, and locations of each pre-performance session will be announced in the weeks preceding each event.

“Our goal is to provide the highest-quality artistic, cultural and entertainment programming that people in our communities want to see at the best possible price,” Yohnk said.

Tickets and season passes are available at uwp.edu/go/therita or through the box office by calling 262-595-2564.

General admission tickets range from $20 to $30.

Season passes are $70 for general admission; $60 for senior citizens; and $55 for students. They include the best available seating and post-show receptions with the visiting artists.


— “The Second City’s Happily Ever Laughter Tour” at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 7 in the Main Stage Theatre.

The show is a touring revue featuring some of the best sketches, songs and improvisation from Second City’s 53-year history, and is a chance to see comedy stars in the making in an evening of smart, cutting-edge comedy.

Many of comedy’s brightest stars have performed with the Second City Touring Company including Tina Fey, Stephen Colbert, Amy Poehler, Steve Carell, Bill Murray, Keegan Michael Key and most recently, current Saturday Night Live stars Cecily Strong, Tim Robinson, and Jason Sudeikis.

Tickets: $30 general; $27 for senior citizens; and $25 students

— “Dickens in America,” at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 25 in the Main Stage Theatre.

This new one-man play tells the inspiring and delightful story of Charles Dickens’ farewell tour in America. Featuring actor Jim Ridge in a text featuring Dickens’ spoken and written words, this highly theatrical performance is a marvel of wit, humor and charm.

Tickets: $20 general; $18 for senior citizens; and $16 for students.

— The U.S. Navy Band Great Lakes at 3:30 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 10 in the Main Stage Theatre.

The band will play a concert titled, “A Salute to Our Veterans.” The performance features some of the U.S. military’s finest musicians playing a variety of beloved patriotic melodies and anthems and will include a multi-media salute and tribute to all veterans — as well as recognizing their families and the sacrifices they have made.

This is a free performance – no reserved tickets.

— “Pallade Musica” at 7 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 15 in Bedford Hall.

The 2012 grand prize winner of the international Early Music America Baroque Performance Competition, “Pallade Musica” is a young and vibrant ensemble from Montreal, Canada that performs 17th-century Italian repertoire for violin, cello, theorbo and harpsichord.

Tickets: $20 general; $18 for senior citizens; and $10 for students.

— “Sounds of the Season” — a holiday concert by the U.S. Navy Band Great Lakes — at 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14 in in Bedford Hall.

The band returns to UW-Parkside for a celebration of the sounds of the holiday season. The concert will feature an array of classic holiday tunes and melodies in a variety of musical styles. Toys for Tots donations will be accepted before the concert.

This is a free performance — no reserved tickets.

— “Legends of Tin Pan Alley ”— performed by Lil’ Rev — at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 12 in Bedford Hall.

The show is a journey back in time to the streets of New York City in the early 1900s — where Tin Pan Alley was born. It stars award-winning folk singer, storyteller and comedian Lil’ Rev, who will perform classic tunes and tell the captivating stories of American music legends.

Tickets: $20 general; $18 for senior citizens; and $10 students.

— Michael Feldman’s “Whad’ya Know?” in a live radio broadcast at 9 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 1 in the Main Stage Theatre.

Fans of Feldman’s public radio comedy/quiz show will not want to miss this opportunity to be a part of his program, which will be broadcast from UW-Parkside to over 260 stations internationally.

Tickets: $30 general; $27 for senior citizens; and $25 for students.

— BrassWorks Quintet, at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 15 in Bedford Hall.

The quintet has dazzled audiences since 1983, including a nationally broadcast concert on public radio in Chicago and performances with the Canadian Brass. Led by UW-Parkside music professor Mark Eichner, BrassWorks concerts feature something for everyone.

Tickets: $20 general; $18 for senior citizens; and $10 for students.

— East of the River, at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, March 4 in Bedford Hall.

This New York City explores haunting and virtuosic melodies from the traditional repertoires of the Balkans, Armenia and the Middle East as well as gems of the medieval European classical repertory.

Tickets: $20 general; $18 for senior citizens; and $10 for students.


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