Milwaukee Rep’s upbeat ‘Unforgettable’ features Nat King Cole’s music

If your football team’s miserable performance or some other gut punch has you slumping, Milwaukee Repertory Theater’s new show could help you straighten up and fly right.

John-Mark McGaha sings the music of Nat King Cole in “Unforgettable,” a friendly, upbeat concert-style production at the Rep’s Stackner Cabaret. It continues through Nov. 6.

Cole, whose hits included “Mona Lisa,” “Nature Boy,” “(I Love You) For Sentimental Reasons” and the title song, was both a major pop vocalist and a significant jazz pianist in the busy decades before his untimely death at age 45 in 1965. He also was a Black performer with enormous crossover appeal at the end of the Jim Crow era, meaning he endured abuse (and, in one case, an assault) from segregationists.

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