July 2011

Off The Wall Theatre's theatrical event of summer 2011 was the Wisconsin premiere of Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical masterpiece, "Aspects of Love." 

Long considered his most beautiful and complex work,  "Aspects of Love" was a enormous hit in London when it first appeared and also in its recent revival, but it's New York run was not extensive and resulted in two national tours. The song "Love Changes Everything" became an international hit.  Now the intimate Off The Wall Theatre brings to you it's most demanding production ever, the Wisconsin Premiere of "Aspects of Love." 

"Aspects of Love"  is a story that spans seventeen years and five very passionate love affairs. Young seventeen year old Alex falls madly in love with the older actress Rose Vibert, but she prefers his Libertine of an uncle George for his mind, his world of Art and his sense of freedom. After a brief affair with Alex, Rose marries George and has his child.  Alex's obsession with Rose leads to jealously, rage, and attempted murder. Thirteen years later, Alex finds himself attracted to the daughter of George and Rose.  Added to this passionate mix is Giulietta, a Venetian artist and sometime lover of George. She finds an intimate relationship with George and Rose very comfortable, and Alex also excites her interests.  The amazing thing about all of this is that it actually happened. David Garnett, author of the world famous novel actually lived events very similar to this. Perhaps an even more amazing thing is that this seemingly seedy story is told with such delicacy and warmth and understanding that it never becomes less than an exquisite evening of theatre. The show actually offers an amusing, sophisticated look into the various aspects of love in our own lives. Every kind of love is touched on: an affair, Alex had with another boy at school, Jenny, the daughter of Rose and George awakening to her first feelings of passion, the heartache of having someone you love die,  the surprise at finding you have feelings for someone you never imagined as an object of love, and the true depth and beauty of life long devotion. This is truly the most insightful musical ever written about love. 

The score has long been considered Webber's best. Eight gorgeous melodies entwine and  unravel throughout the piece, including the unforgettable "The First Man You Remember," a touching waltz between father and daughter at her birthday party, and "Anything But Lonely," a song that encompasses the need for love, whatever it's nature. 

Director Dale Gutzman and Music Director Anne Van Deusen brought together some of Milwaukee's most gifted musical theatre talents for this show. Playing Rose Vibert was Laura Monagle, an actress of almost legendary stage magic. She starred for Gutzman in Evita and Edward II, and only rarely appears on the stage these days. We were truly fortunate to have her. Joining her as Alex was Matt Walton, who recently starred in "Thrill Me," at the Milwaukee Gay Arts Center. Giulietta was played by Off The Wall featured actress Sharon Rise, and George, the Art Forger and Libertine by Robert Hirschi. Both are well known to Milwaukee Theatre audiences for their fine work over the years.   Other members of the cast included Jeremy Welter, as Marcel, Rose's gay and gregarious manager, Marilyn White as Hilda, the housekeeper, Lawrence Lukasavage, Barbara Zaferos, Barbara Weber, Michael Davis, Sandy Lewis, and making her Off The Wall  debut, directly from appearing in Music Man at Marriott Theatre at Lincolnshire, thirteen year old Alison Pogorlic as the daughter, Jenny. 

Technical David Roper once again transformed the tiny Off The Wall space, this time into an Impressionistic world of light and shadow. No other small theatre in Milwaukee presents its shows with such high scenic standards. We strive to bring each and every show alive by creating a total environment for each production. Off The Wall has been doing this for twelve years.