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Thursday, July 31, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 71.0° F  Mostly Cloudy
The Daily


Madison Rep's Fully Committed is funny, if thin

Playwright Becky Mode's background in TV writing may not surprise theater-goers who see Fully Committed, Madison Repertory Theatre's season opener. While it's fast and funny, the story is a bit thin and lacks a strong sense of forward propulsion. And Sam, an aspiring actress doing time in the trenches of the restaurant biz while waiting for her big break, feels like a character we've seen before. >More
 Musical au naturel

The first act of Mercury Players' production of The Full Monty is so limp it appears to be suffering from a bad case of erectile dysfunction. Fortunately there seems to be some Viagra backstage, and the second act springs to life before achieving a boisterous climax. >More
 Strollers succeeds with Doubt: A Parable

"Innocence can only be wisdom in a world without evil," Sister Aloysius cautions her younger counterpart, Sister James. Both nuns teach at a Catholic school in the Bronx, and the year is 1964 -- only a year after the country as a whole, through the assassination of President Kennedy, was dealt a shocking lesson in the loss of innocence. >More
 Intricate machinations in The Belle's Stratagem at American Players Theatre

I took a break from my obsessive Olympics viewing to see American Players Theatre's production of The Belle's Stratagem. First performed in 1780, the play is the best-known work of Hannah Cowley, the successful female playwright. There is probably a performance studies graduate student at NYU who is working on a dissertation about the impact of Cowley and other female dramatists, so I won't go into that. >More
 Widowers' House is thin and gimmicky, but still Shaw

Roger Ebert once wrote that in comedy funny names aren't funny unless they're used by W.C. Fields or Groucho Marx. I am reminded of that dictum by American Players Theatre's production of Widowers' Houses, George Bernard Shaw's first play to be staged for an audience. >More
 Broom Street Theater's Shiny Things:Too much information

Saying you feel like you have attention deficit disorder has become one of those clichés of modern life. Sure, we all feel pushed, pulled and distracted by the demands of jobs, families and life in general - but what if you really are an adult coping with attention deficit disorder? >More
 Church Basement Ladies: Sing for your lutefisk

If you know the seven different kinds of pickle to serve at a funeral, and the difference between Andersen and Anderson is of vital importance to you, then hurry along to Overture Center and get a big green Jell-O scoop of Church Basement Ladies before it's all gobbled up. You'll be glad you did. >More
 Greeks, freaks and kinky puppets

It was the best of times, it was the suckiest of times. With American theater these days it's hard to really tell. Broadway is booming. Audiences have flocked to the Pulitzer Prize-winning, 3½-hour August: Osage County, which has renewed many a cynic's faith in the oldest (arts) profession. Chicago, the incubator of Tracy Letts' play (it's a Steppenwolf Theatre production), is hosting big musicals for three-year runs, and many are proclaiming that our Midwestern neighbor is the true center of the American stage. >More
 Madison drag kings the MadKings perform at Hot Mess!

The drag-king phenomenon is partly about women who perform dressed as men. But not entirely. "We stress a broadening of the way that gender is depicted and performed, and the way that we even identify as performers," says Josh Little. Little is a member of the MadKings, the Madison-based drag-king troupe appearing Saturday night at the Majestic Theatre. >More
 john & jen: My sibling, my son

Sometimes, as with many an opera, big emotions and big production values go hand in hand. With Music Theatre of Madison's john & jen, big emotions must be conveyed through simple staging in the modest environs of the West Side Club. While it's a bit of a gamble, MTM pulls it off admirably. >More
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