And they're off! This weekend's big openings!

The Milwaukee theater season never really stops now that Dale Gutzman is doggedly producing shows like THE FROGS during the summer months, and Insurgent Theatre and Pink Banana show us that youth and industry produces many plays. But the emotional "back-to-school" toil of the theater season kicks off today at the Broadway Theater Center with those early birds, Milwaukee Chamber Theatre.

WELL is their season debut this year. It's a newish play by performer writer Lia Kron (she starred in the New York production at The Public Theater) about getting on with a show but having to deal with her ailing mother. Her mother who won't leave the stage. There's other characters that float in and out of the piece, but mom is the immovable rock.

Here's Travis A. Knight, Tami Workentin, Angela Iannone (as the writer's alter ego Lisa) and Ruth Schudson (as the writer's on-stage mom Ann) in one of Mark Frohna's dazzling production photos. Love the shock of peroxided locks Angela.

The 411 on WELL is that you can catch it tonight through August 24 at The Broadway Theater Center Cabot Theater, 158 N. Broadway. For more info call 414-291-7800 or visit

Not feeling WELL? Okay, you're bound to laugh harder than you are right now at my cornball attempt at humor at The Milwaukee Sketch and Improv Festival, celebrating three years running of making asses laugh themselves off.

What this event is is pure unadulterated fun with 22 groups from all over the Midwest descending on Milwaukee for three high octane days of madness (one can only imagine there is more drinking in more bars surrounding the festival during these three days). The whole event is organized by younger-than-springtime impresario Matt Kemple, and I dare say he is a name to watch in the Milwaukee theater scene for anyone who wants a job someday (remember I said that Mr. Kemple when I come groveling to you on my knees someday).

Check out The Milwaukee Sketch and Improv Festival now through Saturday (yep, it did start yesterday, and I apologize to you funny bone for the late notice) at The Off-Broadway Theater, 342 N. Water Street. For more info call (414) 698-8991 or visit