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Monday, December 22, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 34.0° F  Light Rain Snow Fog/Mist
The Daily

THEATER

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
 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
 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
 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
 Musical of Musicals (The Musical!): Dancing, singing, snickering

In recent years, Broadway musicals have made a resurgence in pop culture, from successful film adaptations like Chicago and Dreamgirls to shows that spoof musicals even as they indulge in their conventions. Urinetown and Spamalot, both of which have graced Madison stages within the last year or so, are prime examples of this genre. >More
 For What It's Worth: Blow up

The title of Broom Street Theater's current offering, For What It's Worth, is taken from the old Buffalo Springfield song, which has, as its opening stanza: "There's something happening here, What it is ain't exactly clear." Unfortunately, those words turn out to be somewhat prescient of playwright Cassi Harris' attempt to explore the cultural mayhem that was the '60s. >More
 Henry IV: The Making of a King: Here comes the son

American Players Theatre's Henry IV: The Making of a King compiles William Shakespeare's two plays about King Henry IV's struggle to wield authority over the rebellious factions of his kingdom and his own rogue son, Hal. Much to Henry's woe, the young heir to the throne prefers carousing to matters of state, hanging out at the local tavern with Sir John Falstaff, the surrogate father figure to the pack of ruffians with whom Hal consorts. >More
 Ah, Wilderness!: O'Neill in love

I hope that by describing the opening-night performance of American Players Theatre's Ah, Wilderness! as pleasant I don't sound too much like Kevin Costner telling Madonna that her concert was "neat." >More
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