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The Daily

THEATER

Creating the next great play with Forward Theater

Madison's Forward Theater Company often stages plays that have recently traveled through New York City's theater circuit. This has been a successful strategy for the four-year-old company, which sold 98% of its tickets for Red, a Tony-winning play about Mark Rothko that opened at Overture Center in January. But Forward also strives to produce work by Wisconsin playwrights. >More
 Flashdance: The Musical fills Overture Hall with '80s-style breakdancing and lots of wisecracks

I rewatched Flashdance, the 1983 movie starring Jennifer Beals, on Monday. Last night I saw Flashdance: The Musical, the latest touring production at Overture Hall (through March 2). My expectations were modest since the movie doesn't have much of a plot. >More
 In The Giver, Children's Theater of Madison explores the pleasures and perils of choices and memory

As The Giver begins, Jonas is worried. One of the main characters in the latest production by Children's Theater of Madison (through Feb. 23 at Overture Center's Playhouse), he is about to go through the Ceremony of Twelve, where the chief elder announces which profession has been chosen for each youth in the carefully controlled, utopian community. It is the day that each young person is thanked for their childhood and ushered into their government-issued responsibilities. >More
 Broom Street Theater's Chat ;) is an entertaining comedy about the challenges of online dating

Dan Myers' Chat ;) is a romantic comedy in which a boy meets girl, and then lots of texting ensues. He directs a production of this play for Broom Street Theater (through March 8). >More
 Strollers Theatre tackles tough questions about the moral ambiguity of war in Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo

Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo by Strollers Theatre explores life in a war-wrecked city by giving the dead a voice. At the time of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Baghdad is filled with the ghosts of tyrants, children, soldiers and many victims of murder, including a tiger killed in captivity. >More
 Music Theatre of Madison's Hostage Song shows how two blindfolded captives stay sane as their hopes of release dwindle

Being held captive in a foreign land could dramatically change the one's definition of normalcy and make escape the most immediate goal. So it makes sense, at least somewhat, when the characters in the Music Theatre of Madison production of Hostage Song break into song. >More
 A gift from Lois Lowry's The Giver

"You're lucky you don't have braces," Lois Lowry remarks when I tell her I'm calling from Isthmus. She says the newspaper's name is a tongue-twister. We both chuckle. I remember being a metal-mouth when I was 13, about the same age as Jonas, the protagonist of her Newberry-winning young-adult novel The Giver. >More
 Forward Theater Company's Red is a tightly focused production about art, age and self-absorption

While artists can be notoriously temperamental -- at least in the popular imagination -- the Mark Rothko in John Logan's 2010 Tony winner, Red, could win a prize for it. Self-righteous, rabidly opinionated and obsessed with what place he will occupy in art history, Rothko paces around his New York studio like a tiger in a too-small pen at the zoo. >More
 Forward Theater Company's Red paints a vibrant portrait of artist Mark Rothko

A Mark Rothko painting isn't just a work of art. It's an event. With vibrant layers of color blocked in bold, rectangular shapes, Rothko's "multiforms" exude a radiant energy that many, including the artist himself, viewed as spiritual. Rothko is the protagonist in Red, the new Forward Theater Company production (through Feb. 2 at Overture Center's Playhouse). >More
 Cole Porter's brilliant tunes fire up the crowd at Madison Theatre Guild's Red, Hot, and Cole!

Imagine this: an invitation to Cole Porter's Paris apartment in the roaring '20s. The city is as fabulous as it will ever be, a veritable cocktail of music, poets, dancers and American celebrities. That's the intriguing setting for Red, Hot, and Cole! by Madison Theatre Guild. The production debuted at the Bartell on Jan. 10 and runs through Jan. 25. >More
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