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The Daily


Minute-by-minute at Blitz Smackdown 2008

Every year, Mercury Players Theatre throws a theater festival that it calls Blitz. Contrary to what you might think, the event has less to do with drinking yourself into oblivion or London circa 1940 and more to do with seeing the birth, life and spectacular death of a handful of stage plays, all in the span of just 24 hours. These festivals are hectic but friendly affairs, with everyone in it for love of the craft and the company. Still, from this chummy atmosphere there rose the specter of the great beast Competition, and so the Blitz Smackdown was born. >More
 Looking for Normal: He or she

According to the ghostly grandmother in Jane Anderson's serio-comic Looking for Normal, "People would rather be shocked than enlightened." Anderson's script may not live up to either expectation, but StageQ's heartfelt production provides enough love to compensate. >More
 Trouble at the Bartell

Strollers Theatre performed Noises Off at the Bartell Theatre on Jan. 31. Afterwards, producer Leo Cooper complained to director Jewell Fitzgerald so loudly backstage that it disrupted a Mercury Players Theatre performance also being held in the Bartell. Then all hell broke loose in local community theater. >More
 More resignations at Strollers Theatre

On Feb. 6, Leo Cooper resigned from the Strollers Theatre board after a backstage argument during the run of Noises Off at the Bartell Theatre. Since then, three more board members have resigned, including the nonprofit's president. Over the weekend Leo Cooper returned to the Strollers board. >More
 Trouble at the Bartell Theatre

Management of the Bartell Community Theatre is being called into question following the abrupt resignation of Leo Cooper from the board of Strollers Theatre. Cooper's wife, Lee Ann, the Bartell's managing director, predicts "an end to community theater in Madison" as a result of the controversy that is embroiling three nonprofits. >More
 The Maple Bluff Mystery: Fare play

Broom Street Theater opens its 2008 season with much anticipated (and appreciated) new seating and The Maple Bluff Mystery, a comedy/mystery hybrid that is not so much a whodunit as a whosawit. >More
 Muskie Love: Bass desires

From the children's storybook set, to the full moon projected onto the star-glittered ceiling of the Barrymore Theatre, everything about Madison Repertory Theatre's Muskie Love is a little bit hokey. But given the warm-hearted nature of the musical and the charming performances of the cast, the result is as satisfying as a Friday night fish fry on a crisp Wisconsin winter's evening. >More
 The Pillowman: Cruel and unusual

At a time when the very definition of torture is being debated at the highest levels of government and the political atmosphere is seething with paranoia, Mercury Players Theatre could not have chosen a more opportune moment to present Irish playwright Martin McDonagh's nightmarish The Pillowman. >More
 Noises Off: What a farce

Frank Rich, erstwhile theater critic of The New York Times, wrote of Michael Frayn's farce Noises Off that it "is, was, and probably always will be the funniest play written in my lifetime." >More
 The Diary of Anne Frank: The new breed

"How much could a 13-year-old have to say?" asks an exasperated Mr. Van Daan, one of eight people hiding in the famed Secret Annex during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands. Van Daan simply can't imagine what occupies the curious, hyper-literate Anne Frank, forever scribbling in her diary. >More
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