Peggy Sue Dunigan earned a BA in Fine Art, a MA in English and then finished with a Masters of Fine Art in Creative Fiction from Pine Manor College, Massachusetts. Currently she independently writes for multiple publications on the culinary, performance and visual arts or works on her own writing projects while also teaching college English and Research Writing in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Her other creative energy emerges by baking cakes and provincial sweets from vintage recipes so when in the kitchen, at her desk, either drawing or writing, or enjoying evenings at any and all theaters, she strives to provide satisfying memories for the body and soul.
Stephen Sondheim's masterpiece Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street arrived at the Skylight Music Theatre last weekend to dazzle audiences with the American songwriter's brilliant, exquisite lyrics and melodies complimented by Hugh Wheeler's book. A story resurrected from an old three penny publication titled 'String of Pearls' adapted from a 1976 Christopher Bond play retells dark, almost demonic yet ultimately redemptive tale revealing the horrors of revenge and the power of love through this award winning musical with songs such as "Johanna," "Pretty Women," and "By the Sea."BWW Interview: Menagerie of Costumes in MKE Ballet's ALICE (IN WONDERLAND) Captures Stunning Magic May 16, 2017
How curious and curiouser an English children's fantasy written in 1865 for three sisters has been translated into 174 languages and never been out of print since, never once. Lewis Carroll's surreal tale 'Alice's Adventures in Wonderland,' usually shortened to 'Alice in Wonderland,' appears on stage at the Marcus Center for the Performing Artswhen Artistic Director Michael Pink and Milwaukee Ballet present their version of Alice in Wonderland, which first premiered at the Washington Ballet in 2012, With this immense production of Alice, MKE Ballet Costume Manager Mary Piering completes 32 years in the company's costume shop at 5th and National to refit the more than 120 costumes for the one weekend only performances. A visit to the shop the week of rehearsals found Piering stitching on a small headpiece, putting the finishing touches on the entire cast's wardrobe.BWW Review: In Tandem's Enchanting CARNIVAL Circles Audiences In Retro Magic May 5, 2017
Similar to an actual carved and decoratedcarousel, In Tandem's musical Carnival circles audiences with the sentiment'Love Makes the World Go Round.' The familiar song from the 1960's production written by Bob Merrill and Michael Stewart in their book, lyrics and music adapted from a 1950's novel titled 'Lilli' happens outside Paris, circa 1920. Carnivals and circuses played to packed audiences before World War ! and the depression, and in their enchantingstory a young orphan named Lilli travels from hr past home when her father dies to search for her future, 'where everyone knows her name,' and of course, true love.BWW Review: The Rep Romances Artful, Contemporary JANE EYRE May 5, 2017
The legendary story of Jane Eyre, written by Charlotte Bronte in 1847, arrives as artful, contemporary adaption by Polly Teale in Milwaukee Repertory Theater's season ending production atthe Quadracci Powerhouse. Director KJ Sanchez follows Teale's lead and delves deeper into the psychology between Jane and Mr. Rochester's uninhibited, possible mad wife Bertha. The two characters, through actors, Margaret Ivey (Jane) and Rin Allen (Bertha) shadow each other throughout the production. In this adaptation, Bertha appears to mirror Jane's repressed Victorian feelings thatliterally ignite their lives and English homestead, Thornfield.BWW Review: 2017 REP LAB EMERGES for Company's Ongoing Success April 21, 2017
In the seventh presentation of the popular Rep Lab, the short-play festival features the company's Emerging Professional Residents (EPR) in acting, directing and technical theater to showcase their talent. This year, nine one act play along with a devised play written by the Emerging Professionals appeared in the Stiemke Studio for an intriguing evening of theater. Eight actors, seven directors, and four designers comprise the EPR team. In an interesting mix of plays, many examine the angst in relationships: communal, personal and professional within a wide time frame that also embodies considerable emotional rangeBWW Review: RTW's Surreal THE VIOLET HOUR Subtly Colors The Future April 21, 2017
Violet--The color and time of day named in T.S. Eliot's 1922 epic poem The Waste Land. This color permeates Renaissance Theaterworks (RTW) season ending production figuratively and literally in the Studio Theatre titled The Violet Hour. Directed by Artistic Director Suzan Fete, the comedy infused with a surrealist happening sets a scene in 1919, a few years after World War I and before the Great Depression. The story tantalizes audiences with the question that is prophecy, knowing the future, a gift or a curse? Richard Greenberg's 2003 Broadway play explores this dilemma andmodels the period's hope and optimism after "a war to end all wars," on characters referencing Zelda and Scott Fitzgerald andchanteuse Josephine Baker. All celebrities whoreached a zenith in their careers, and then ended their lives insome despair. When the audience sits in the theater watching from the 2017 perspective, what do they make of these questions, lives and future?BWW Review: MCT'S Elegant GREAT EXPECTATIONS Empowers Audiences April 20, 2017
In an impassioned, almost poetic adaptation of Charles Dickens' masterpiece Great Expectations, Milwaukee Chamber Theatre (MCT) opened Gale Childs Daly's evocative interpretation in the Cabot Theatre last weekend. Composer Andrew Crowe, premier violinist, added an original score to haunt and mesmerize audiences sitting in the theatre as he waltzed through every scene. Daly's adaptation literally leaps off the pages of the 1861 novel, and the cast under Director Molly Rhode incorporates actual books as props for meat pies or rhythm instruments to miraculous effect each step of the way through the main character Pip's coming of age and maturation.BWW Interview: Support Women in the Arts Now: SWANS Soar With Regal Recognition for Milwaukee Theater April 4, 2017
n an evening to honor women and their contributions to the arts, Milwaukee's Renaissance Theaterworks (RTW) announced their 25th anniversary season whileSupport Women in the Arts Now, or SWAN,on Monday, March 27, immediately after a Milwaukee weekend dedicated to women in the arts. The month and date'ssignificance mattered. Saturday, March 25 celebrated the 10th International SWAN holiday, and since the organization's inception, over 1500 SWANevents have been held in more than 36 countries. As the www.womensart.org website claims, the ultimate purpose of these SWAN events 'showcases the power and diversity of women's creativity.'BWW Review: Stackner Cabaret Invites Comic Spirit to Milwaukee in AN EVENING WITH GROUCHO April 2, 2017
Actor Frank Ferrante begins on Milwaukee'sStackner Cabaret's stage by walking over to a small table, sitting down, and then placing the iconic thick black mustache and eyebrows definingthe indomitable comedian Groucho Marx. In the The Milwaukee Repertory Theater's superb production An Evening With Groucho written by Ferrante and directed by Dreya Weber, the transformation from actor to classic comic spirt engages the audience in a collusion of laughter and humor for all audiences.BWW Review: First Stage Offers Persistence in Tough and Tenderhearted MOCKINGBIRD April 2, 2017
First Stage invites a recent Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts production to Milwaukee for a Midwest premiere: Mockingbird (mok'ing burd). The National Book Award WinnerYoung Adult novel by Katherine Ersking and adapted by Julie Jensen presents the story of Caitlin-a 12 year old challenged by autism. To add to the young girl's life, Caitlin recently lost her brother Devin. This leaves only her father and she to deal with their grief and moving forward in the compelling and poignant production.BWW Review: URINETOWN-THE MUSICAL Holds Riveted Audiences to their Seats at Lyric Arts March 29, 2017
At the intimate theater in downtown Anoka, Minnesota, Lyric Arts presents an absolutely 'pee-popping' version of the 2001 Broadway hit Urinetown; The Musical. When the musical was first proposed, producers initially rejected the comic/tragic satire (A 'sad' musical as the character Little Sally names the production), yet numerous Urinetown performances captured Drama Desk and Tony Awards through 2001 and 2002. The multi-layered musical featured at Lyric Arts presents an equally multi-talented cast who can act, dance and sing, triple threats in theater, with thrilling results. Director Matt McNabb amps up the productions to a hyper realistic state, perfect for todays political scenarios into an entertaining and enlightening theatrical evening.BWW Review: GROUNDED Dramatically Exposes 'Eye in the Sky' at The Rep March 8, 2017
The Milwaukee Repertory Theater's multi-award winning play Grounded, grounds a pregnant woman fighter pilot while also grounding the audiences in the intimate Stiemke Studio's compelling and complexproduction. George Brant's contemporary 2013 play demonstrates how drones have transformed both fighter pilots and the 'games of global war' because in the 21st century,drones hover over the skies of foreign countries similar to space ships in a violent video game. Either movement controlled by one person in a solitary cubicle or sitting in front of a tiny screen. Instead of B-15 bombers that fly into the blue manned bypilots, men and women, presentlysit in front of huge screens sequestered in silence waiting and watching for any movement so drones may attack from across the world in the name of 'reducing the loss of human life.'BWW Review: Boulevard's Delightful TAKING SHAKESPEARE Explores Human Sadness March 8, 2017
In the inviting ambiance of Plymouth Church, Boulevard Theater's endearing Taking Shakespeare resonates with the heartbeats and sorrow inherent in classic literature, especially William Shakespeare's Othello. John Murrell's recent play presents a new perspective on this iconic tragedy in the church's Graham Chapel, a perfect backdrop for an old apartment where a tenured professor lived for more than thirty years. When she's asked to tutor a new college student, the two character production match wits between the young Murph, Jake Konrath, alongside a women English professor, Amy Callahan.BWW Review: Courage Fights For Kindness In First Stage World Premiere ROBIN HOOD February 24, 2017
Enjoy an adventurous trip with First Stage and their singing Troubadour through the 14th century Sherwood Forest. In a collaboration with playwrights Joe Foust and John Maclay, Jeff Frank directs the world premiere Robin Hood--- complete with thrilling stage combat from the legendary anti-hero. This courageous Robin Hood 'asked for donations' from the English Elite at the point of his sword, collected and then contributed to the poor surrounding him in England. Among Robin's following where those, merry men and women who wanted to participate in as Maclay says, 'a rebellion against greed and corruption' in an attempt to right the wrongs in their world.
Frank, Foust and Maclay turn the stage into Robin Hood's playground through Jody Sekas' stage design and Melissa Torchia's costume design, which allows an extremely fluid and fast paced production. Geoffrey, a young performer Jeff Burns from the Sherwood Forest cast, sings and strums Musical Director Jeff Schaetzke's original ballads playing the roving troubadour. His idiosyncratic lyrics make the audience laugh, as does the often contemporary, tongue in cheek humor throughout the play-often hilarious. While actor Dominique Worsley embodies a fierce, yet sympathetic Robin, Maclay's Sheriff of Nottingham and Foust's incomparable Archbishop of York stir their own brand of extraordinary humor and strength trying to capture 'the Hood.'BWW Review: Humanity's Heartbreak Revealed at OTW's Tragic WOMEN OF TROY February 23, 2017
In a play more than 2000 years old written by Euripides titled The Trojan Women, Dale Gutzman's Off the Wall Theater (OTW) reimagines their Women of Troy set in the 1920's. Gutzman worked several years to adapt the play inspired by a Don Taylor translation revealing the aftermath of the infamous Trojan War through a women's eyes, the prisoners and refugees shipped to another city. These were the women who survived when their brothers, fathers, husbands and sons were slaughtered by the Athenians, after the legendary Trojan horse 'birthed blood' that flowed into Troy's streets.BWW Review: RTW'S LUNA GALE Exposes Heartbreaking Truths of Contemporary Life January 27, 2017
For any two young adults, caring for an infant can be a daunting responsibility. For Karlie and Peter, a young couple trying to kick a meth addiction, an infant can be overwhelming and sometimes forgotten in light of their personal circumstances. Renaissance Theaterworks presents Rebecca Gilman's provocative play LUNA GALE, which relates how the tiny baby Luna Gale is removed from Karlie and Peter's home because of neglect, despite the fact they love each other and their child. On stage in the Studio Theatre at the Broadway Theatre Center, LUNA GALE asks veteran social worker Caroline to give this couple who want to raise their child another chance while Caroline temporarily places Luna Gale in 'kin care,' a type of foster care that relies on a relative.BWW Review: Marquette Basketball and MCGUIRE Captivate Milwaukee at Rep's Stackner Cabaret January 25, 2017
Marquette University, Milwaukee and Al McQuire became synonymous during the coach's tenure withMen's Basketball during the 1970's. To celebrate the illustrious legacy, Milwaukee Repertory Theater captivates the audience's enthusiasm and excitement in the Stackner Cabaret. After the university hired McGuire in 1964, the showman coach propelled the men's Basketball team to aNational Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) championship. Now onstage to begin the 2017 winter season, McQuire's endearingstoryreturns to the city and university that made him famous in their intimate, stellar one man production directed by Brent Hazelton and featuring multiple award-winning actor Anthony Crivello.BWW Review: Ayad Ahktar's DISGRACED Presents Profound Dilemmas in MKE Rep's Fierce Production January 25, 2017
A cozy, celebratory dinner party in a cosmopolitan New York penthouse ignites irreversible damage between friends in Ayad Ahktar's 2013 Pulitzer Prize winning play Disgraced now on stage at the Milwaukee Repertory Theater's Quadracci Powerhouse. Eventually, each character in the no intermission production will somehow be disgraced-sometimes by their personal identity, religion or culture and determined through their own specific actions or reactions to another person. The Rep becomes the third theater company to mount Disgraced in a co-production with Minneapolis' Guthrie Theater and New Jersey's McCarter Theatre in what has become the most produced play in 2016. One only needs to attend to understand why this potent combination of contemporary dilemmas facing Americans personally and politically drew the country's theatrical attention.BWW Review: Enchanted NUTCRACKER at MKE Ballet Elevates Holiday Hope and New Dancers December 21, 2016
While the snow fell outside the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts, snow feel on stage in The Milwaukee Ballet's enchanting The Nutcracker. The irresistible holiday tradition continues under Artistic Director Michael Pink dazzling costumes, set designs, and magical lighting by David Grill. The MKE Ballet orchestra accompanies the production conducted by Pasquale Laurino, where exquisite harps and marimbas punctuate Pyotr Ilyiich Tchaikovsky's iconic score, along with the voices of the Milwaukee Children's Choir. Audiences thrill to one entire evening admiring dance and music in the name of this classical art.BWW Review: Langston Hughes' BLACK NATIVITY Portrays Christmas Gospel through Poetry and Soul December 8, 2016
Black Arts MKE presents their joyous and triumphant 2nd annual version of Langston Hughes' Black Nativity first produced in 1961. Numerous theaters throughout America remount the production every year to celebrate the holiday season with an all African American cast. At Wilson Theater in Vogel Hall, Malkia Stampley directs an all star cast of 18 members including charming children and professional actors accompanied by live musicians under themusic direction of Antoine Reynolds, along with drummer Taurus Adams and bass player Afton Johnson, whilethey dance to Marvette Knight's rousing choreography.