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Thursday, December 25, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 34.0° F  Overcast
The Daily

THEATER

A Christmas Carol: Ghost with the most

Don't be surprised to see misty-eyed theatergoers at A Christmas Carol. Charles Dickens' classic is all about redemption and transformation, and Children's Theatre of Madison delivers an affecting experience that had me dabbing away a few tears. >More
 The Madison Theatre Guild: Back from the brink

Once it was the largest and most powerful theater in town, perhaps in the state. It was courted by the city. It was the critics' darling. And it had a near-monopoly with an astounding 4,500 season ticket holders. >More
 Tidings from the Seasonally Affected: A group-home Christmas

It's become a contemporary truism that the "most wonderful time of the year" really isn't so wonderful for a lot of people. From shopping stress to fractious family visits, the holiday season can test even the most placid. >More
 Rug rats

I took my 7-year-old daughter with me to opening night of Madeline's Christmas, MadCAP Theatre's holiday offering at the Bartell Theatre, secretly hoping that she would write the review for me. But she wasn't very forthcoming with her critique. >More
 Dickens in America opens at the Madison Rep

Opening night of Dickens in America got off to a slightly rough start. Snowy roads kept some theater-goers home and a half-empty house is never a great confidence builder for an actor. When he first walked onstage as a wild-haired Charles Dickens, James Ridge seemed to need a little convincing, but sometime between The Pickwick Papers and Great Expectations, Ridge completely disappeared. There stood Charles Dickens himself, decked out in a 3-piece suit complete with a red carnation telling stories with the eyes of someone not quite crazy, but not quite sane either. >More
 Dork Side of the Moon: Nerds in space

I've never seen an episode of Star Trek. There, I've said it -- and I'm damn proud of it. So while I may be a nerd, I'm not a dork, at least in the sense of dorkitude that fills Broom Street Theater's new comedy, Dork Side of the Moon. >More
 Yellowman: Skin disease

An ambitious two-person play, Yellowman is about "colorism," a term defined as black-on-black discrimination based on skin shade -- or a form of intra-racial prejudice. >More
 Lombardi: Winning a squeaker

In the final scene of Eric Simonson's Lombardi/The Only Thing, the legendary coach of the Green Bay Packers delivers a speech in which he says: "It takes a special person to love someone who is imperfect." That is also true of Madison Repertory Theatre's production. There is much to love, but it is anything but perfect. >More
 Madison Rep immortalizes Packers coach with Lombardi/The Only Thing

In the mid-1980s, I was living in Phoenix, and through a series of quirky circumstances, I found myself sharing a cocktail with several members of the Packers organization. Some of them had worked with Lombardi in that golden era, and what they said about the late coach reminded me of Lord Acton's dictum that "Great men are rarely good men." Their assessments of Lombardi came as a shock to me, and as the stories were poured out with the drinks I learned more than I might have wanted to about the all-too-fallible Pope of Green Bay. >More
 Uncle Vanya: All is lost

There's a very satisfying production of Uncle Vanya showing at the Bartell's Evjue Stage. Anton Chekhov's Vanya is director Tony Trout's favorite because "It's a Chekhov play where something really happens." Like those pistol shots that interrupt Chekhovian soliloquies about life's missed opportunities. >More
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