Saturday, July 19, the Village Playhouse held our annual membership meeting at Inspiration Studios. It was very well attended....perhaps 60 members and friends in attendance brought a wide variety of dishes to share. A new board was elected and discussion was held about some upcoming developments. The meeting ended with the distribution of the Encore Awards....honoring those who participated in the One Act Festival with certifcates that celebrated categories such as Favorite Script, Favorite Actor, Favorite Actress, Favorite Director, Favorite Set Design. Some write-in awards were presented for performances as TREES, for YOUTH ACTORS, for BEST CRYING. It was fun. And the Byrll Hoelke Award...which is somewhat of a lifetime achievement award for going above and beyond the call of duty... was awarded to yours truly....which was really quite the surprise! Thanks to VPW for the recognition and for making me blush! -Erico
June proved to be a very busy month at Inspiration Studios.
Renee Bebeau held her opening reception with a tribute to her grandfather... by being buried alive at the studio. Friends and family were there to help with the process of being buried and the "re-birth". It was quite an event. Please veiw the amazing photos here.
The Village Playhouse performed their 29th Annual One Act Play Festival with great results. Three weekends of original works performed by 8 different casts for a total of 12 performances! (Yours truly had to age quckly to become a 90-year-old melancholic former music teacher.)
The garage roof was replaced, completing the final stages of repair as required by the City of West Allis.
The A/C unit finally got connected.....just in time. Thank you, Mark Horaitis and WEnergies.
Auditions were held for Part 2 of the 29th Annual Original One Act Play Festival to be held in August.
Skai Academy conducted a week long vocal band camp for children, culminating in a wonderful concert entitled "Motown Meets Disney" which left the audience wanting more. Younger children enacted a slumber party full of song and the vocal band members performed songs by Michael Jacskon and Bruno Mars, bringing back many memories from the great Disney movies. Audiences were so pleased. Enjoy some of the photos from the concert on the Skai Academy page.
Old Earth Concert---DaveH (Storyteller), and guitarists--Chris Porterfield, Dietrich Gosser, Todd Umhoefer
It was a magical night at Inspiration Studios. Storytelling by DaveH led to beautiful, sometimes haunting, music of three great gutiarists: Dietrich Gosser, Chris Porterfield and Old Earth (Todd Umhoefer). I walked in from a performance at another theatre just in time to treat my senses to the sounds of Chris and Todd. The candle-lit tables and Angie Zimmerman's dimly-lit photo exhibit provided a sense of calm to this cabaret setting. Complimentary wine, transformed the space into a low-key, yet spirited night club. WIth over 60 people in attendance, the audience was mesmerized by what they heard--every string, every piano key, every whisper of song. This proved to be the perfect setting for a night of lovely entertainment. It was a very proud moment indeed. -Erico
The Old Earth concert has certainly sparked more interest in Inspiration Studios. I was contacted on Monday by Milwaukee Record, the newest online news source, to see if I would be interested in an interview regarding the transformaiton of the funeral home into Inspiration Studios. What was expected by Tyler Maas to be a 20-minute interview became 60 minutes. The resulting article truly captures the story behind Inspiration Studios. It can be viewed here: "Inspiration Studios Breathes Life Into West Allis Arts"
There has been a whirlwind of activity at Inspiration Studios. Yesterday was the best example of that. With an art exhibit opening this weekend, a concert next weekend, and the upcoming Original One-Act Festival, it seemed Thursday was the day for many groups to meet at Inspiration Studios to get things done.
It's been an .... uh... inspiration to see how things are developing at Inspiration Studios. The great exhibit by Thom Ertl was well received. The production of "Marvin's Room" by the Village Playhouse proved the benefits of having a smaller performance venue for our productions. Todd Mrozinski's "Light From a Window" exhibit brought many people to a fun reception and a very informative, yet informal, artist talk in April. Todd engaged his audience by providing hands on materials for them to peruse and even offered the opportunity for people to try their hand at painting with oils. The intimidation I had felt beforehand was relieved... so I thank Todd for helping with my "oil anxiety" and encouraging me to give it a try. I now own some oils and other helpful supplies (linseed oil? safflower oil? really?). I'll be painting soon. Check out some of the images from Todd's reception and artist talk.
Auditions for the Village Playhouse 29th Annual Original One Act Play Festival took place on April 21-22...and brought to Inspiration Studios a large number of actors for the 8 original scripts that will be produced the first three weeks of June. A lot of new faces graced the venue, with Todd's artwork in the background. The directors are now racing to contact their prospective cast members to begin rehearsals for the June performances. Below are some of the auditions photos.
It's been almost four weeks since the grand opening of Inspiration Studios and things are moving along splendidly.
In the gallery, Thom Ertl's art exhibit has had its fill of visitors who have enjoyed seeing how his creativity can inspire them to begin to create. That's probably the best compliment to Thom! Having regular hours is a must. We've been able to publish Tues/Thurs hours for the community and many friends and neighbors have stopped in once they see the OPEN sign lit up.
Todd Mrozinski's "Light From A Window" exhibit of new paintings will grace those walls as of April 4. We'll have set hours on Saturdays from 1:00 to 4:00 for all of April. Other artists' exhibits are scheduled through August. And more artists are contacting me directly to ask about the possibility of exhibiting. That's exciting!
The Village Playhouse had a great opening of MARVIN'S ROOM. Performances are scheduled for the next two weekends. No one complained last weekend, but I'm not quite satisfied with how the seating worked out, even though platforms were created to help with viewing. So today, my handyman and I are meeting to come up with a solution.
Inspiration Studios now has rehearsals taking place both downstairs and in the main venue. There is a travel seminar scheduled in the art gallery on most Tuesday evenings. And a children's dance group is using the space on Sunday afternoons to rehearse for an upcoming performance of traditional Mexican dances. Musicians are asking about the space for possible concerts and other theatre companies are now making reservations to rent the space for their own small productions. Keeping track of it all has been a bit unnerving, but all in all, things are going quite well.
Come on in. The tardis awaits your arrival and welcomes you into my new world where art and theatre join forces to inspire and amaze and challenge you.
Today we will celebrate in style with many wonderful performances by singers and dancers and actors and musicians and fun-filled activities by writers and artists.
Today we celebrate a birthday. Welcome to West Allis, Inspiration Studios!
What an emotional day! To see the ceiling scraped, repaired, patched and painted............wow! This has been the day I've waited for. Seeing the ceiling transformed literally led me to tears. This has been a trip I never would have imagined possible just a year ago. Today the dream has become reality. I am filled with pride and with humility knowing that so many people took part in helping me to make Inspiration Studios come to life. Tomorrow we finalize plans for Saturday's Grand Opening. The birthday of Inspiration Studios will be an event to be long remembered. -Erico
Erico Ortiz was born in Cayey, Puerto Rico and was raised in Milwaukee. He earned his undergraduate degree at Marquette University (Spanish Education) and a Masters Degree from UW-Milwaukee (Administrative Leadership). After working for Milwaukee Public Schools (teacher, administrator) for 33 years, it was time for retirement and a new direction.