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Friday, January 30, 2015 |  Madison, WI: 24.0° F  A Few Clouds
The Daily


In Overture Hall, West Side Story brims with guts, grit and gorgeous dancing

West Side Story broke numerous rules when it debuted on Broadway in 1957. Opening with an emotionally charged dance number was unheard of, and closing on a somber note was almost as unconventional. Troika Entertainment's revival (through Feb. 17 at Overture Hall) pushes the envelope even further. >More
 StageQ's love story Gertrude Stein and a Companion is alluring but lacks nuance

Gertrude Stein once wrote, "Your identity [is] not a thing that exists but something you do or do not remember." The StageQ production of Win Wells' Gertrude Stein and a Companion (through March 7 at the Bartell Theatre) portrays exactly that. The play examines the relationship between Stein and her companion, Alice B. Toklas, the woman Ernest Hemingway aptly called Stein's wife long before anyone had heard of marriage equality. >More
 The Acting Company's As You Like It is as bold as the Bard himself

The "All the world's a stage" monologue from Shakespeare's As You Like It is a roadmap of sorts for a globetrotting repertory troupe called the Acting Company. Since launching in 1972, it has trained several stars of the stage and screen, including Broadway luminary Patti LuPone and Academy Award winner Kevin Kline. Over time the limelight fades for many performers, but these actors' careers have endured several of the life stages the speech describes, from lustful young adulthood to wisdom-rich middle age. >More
 Mercury Players Theatre plays uncomfortable acting games in Circle Mirror Transformation

Mercury Players Theatre's Circle Mirror Transformation might feel familiar to anyone who's taken an enrichment acting course at a community center. Complete with an overly enthusiastic instructor, abundant awkward silences, and uncomfortably personal acting games, the play takes you within the walls of an adult drama class. >More
 Encore Studio's Going to Temple is a weird, witty tale about a woman's search for Temple Grandin

It's the journey, not the destination, as the old saying goes. As long as something is gained along the way, the end goal is largely irrelevant. This is the outlook Encore Studio embraces in Going to Temple, but the opposite seems to be true as well: Though there are some bumps in this production, the aim is both noble and relevant. The play runs through Feb. 9. >More
 Forward Theater's Collected Stories is a smart, topical look at the complicated relationship between two writers

One of the things I admire about Collected Stories, the latest production by Forward Theater Company, is that even though it has only two characters and takes place almost completely in one apartment, it never feels sparse or claustrophobic. On the contrary, it brims with thorny questions and sharp, believable dialogue. The production runs through Feb. 3 at Overture Center's Playhouse. >More
 Broom Street Theater's Class is an interesting but heavy-handed examination of segregation

Over the years, I've seen a few Broom Street Theater shows that were inspired by really intriguing premises, like their look at Vogue Records' picture records in Vogue and the Anthology of American Folk Music in Minglewood Blues. Class, written by Coleman and directed by Tyler Falco Schott, looks at Jane Elliott's famous segregation "experiment." The show runs through Feb. 2 at the Bartell Theatre. >More
 Music Theatre of Madison's Elegies for Angels, Punks and Raging Queens is a heartbreaking tribute to AIDS victims

The Friday night performance of Elegies for Angels, Punks and Raging Queens by Music Theatre of Madison was heartrending, cathartic and at times hilarious. Inspired by the AIDS Memorial Quilt, itself a tremendous monument to the victims of the AIDS pandemic, the show's 44 performers paid tribute to those who died from the disease by recounting their stories. The production runs through Jan. 19 at the Bartell Theatre. >More
 Strollers Theatre's Cat on a Hot Tin Roof is a remarkable portrait of a southern family in crisis

A sold-out house and a standing ovation welcomed Strollers Theatre at its opening performance of Cat On A Hot Tin Roof last night. This exemplary production runs through Feb. 2 at the Bartell Theatre. Perhaps it was the racy playbill featuring leading lady Jessica Jane Witham that drew me to the show. >More
 Children's Theater of Madison stages a joyful and moving production of A Christmas Carol

In its second year of production at Children's Theater of Madison, Colleen Madden's adaptation of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol is as well timed and well acted as theater comes in Madison. Carolers, dance numbers and a massive Spirit of Christmas Future puppet are dynamic, and the message about community is spot-on. The play runs through Sunday, Dec. 23, at Overture Center's Capitol Theater. >More
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