Cabaret Milwaukee is a theatre production consisting of three local artists who have a passion for theatre, music, dance, and Milwaukee’s rich history. Their latest production, Cream City Crime Syndicate: Politics & Anarchy, is styled as a 1930s radio show that features a play about Milwaukee’s longest-tenured Socialist mayor, Daniel Hoan. From old-fashioned swing and jazz tunes, to historically themed radio jingles, Cream City Crime Syndicate: Politics & Anarchy makes it feel like you are watching an old radio show play out on stage.
The show begins with a smooth swing song before the radio host introduces the play. Throughout the production, there are original jingles written for the sponsors of the show, which has always been a staple for radio. The focal point of the show is the play about the beginning of Daniel Hoan’s time as mayor of Milwaukee. During this time, World War I was just beginning, and the Socialist party was trying to establish itself and enact its policies in Milwaukee.
The play takes place around 1916, yet a lot of the topics the play revolves around are still very topical today. For example, candidates and elected officials like Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are making socialism a big topic in the upcoming 2020 presidential election. Immigration was also on people’s minds during the 1930s as the radio show comments on Herbert Hoover’s views on immigration. Hoover was notorious for deporting at least a million Mexicans and Mexican-Americans.
With these issues fresh on people’s mind, Creative Director and Producer of Cabaret Milwaukee, Josh Bryan, believes it is important to include these issues in the shows at Cabaret Milwaukee. “When we started reading a lot of old news, we noticed how history repeats itself, sometimes just flagrantly,” says Bryan. He wants people to remember history so the same mistakes do not repeat themselves today.
Cream City Crime Syndicate: Politics & Anarchy is able to successfully tell a fascinating story about Milwaukee’s past while highlighting how the issues of the time are still relevant today. Along with the play, be prepared to listen to amazing vocal performances during the radio show breaks from the show’s dedicated crooner and The Howling Jinglers who take care of singing the adverts. The fiddler and pianist also do a wonderful job with the music which is vital to keeping a show with so much going on engaging.
Cream City Crime Syndicate: Politics & Anarchy has a few shows left: Friday November 15th and November 21st and 22nd, all at 7pm at The Astor Hotel. Be sure to bring your Panther ID to receive a student discount at the door! Stay tuned to Cabaret Milwaukee’s Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/cabmke/) for news on their next shows!
By Bryce Stiemsma