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Friday, April 18, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 52.0° F  A Few Clouds
The Daily


The Complete History of America: Cram it

Henry Ford reportedly once said of history that it is "more or less bunk." He would have undoubtedly admired Madison Theatre Guild's production of The Complete History of America (abridged) for proving his point. >More
 American Players Theatre announces its 2008 season

For a second consecutive year, American Players Theatre is blazing new trails, at least for a company focusing on classical productions and is heralded for its presentations of Shakespeare. All five of the shows feature work by different playwrights, one of whom is female, a first in 29 years for the company based west of Madison. >More
 Bright lights, big city

According to Greek legend, Tantalus offended the gods by sharing their divine ambrosia with mere mortals. In retribution he was condemned to spend eternity tormented by luscious fruits dangling agonizingly out of the reach of his desperate fingertips. Watching the University Theatre's production of Tom Stoppard's knockabout comedy On the Razzle is reminiscent of that ancient unfortunate's fate: the mouthwatering juiciness of the script is, in spite of their best efforts, tantalizingly beyond the grasp of the players. >More
 Passion times two

Sometimes the world makes it pretty hard to be yourself -- even if you're not, say, a wacky German monarch or a gay teen in 1940s Texas. But if you do happen to be Mad King Ludwig of Bavaria, James Avery of Dainsville, or anyone else with a hankering for beauty and the rashness to act on impulse, life can be difficult indeed. >More
 Machine dreams

David Mamet's The Water Engine was written in the late '70s as a radio play. Set in Chicago in 1934, it's about an ill-fated young inventor who creates a revolutionary engine that operates using water as its fuel. >More
 Willy Loman up close

Death of a Salesman's Willy Loman, the traveling salesman who loses his grip on reality, is a common sight on stages around the world. But Arthur Miller's celebrated 1949 play hasn't been performed in Madison for over 20 years. Director Richard Corley's decision to present Madison Repertory Theatre's version on a stark stage, allowing the language and performances to dominate, is a good one.

 Ass backwards

Broom Street Theater has long been an advocate for new works by emerging playwrights, and for this it deserves kudos. The downside, of course, is that emerging playwrights (especially when they also direct) are often poor judges of their own work. Such is the case with Ethan Mutz's crime drama Funnel.

 Rep's spare Death of a Salesman is an intimate, personal production

Arthur Miller's most celebrated play, Death of a Salesman, hasn't been performed in Madison for over 20 years. Director Richard Corley's decision to present Madison Repertory Theatre's version on a stark stage and allow the language and performances to dominate is a good one. >More
 Where there's smoke...

There is a moment in Reefer Madness: The Musical when dope-demented young rube Jimmy Harper is caught in a sweaty clinch with a sultry siren called Sally. As he eagerly gropes her body he pants into her ear: "I've almost got the catch." With a sly glance to the audience, Sally breathily quips: "I'm not wearing a bra." >More
 Higher education

Fun, funny, and outrageous, Mercury Players' Reefer Madness: The Musical is sure to put a perma-grin on your face. >More
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