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Saturday, July 26, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 70.0° F  Overcast
The Daily

THEATER

American Players Theatre's Antony & Cleopatra takes creative risks in the indoor Touchstone Theatre

When American Players Theatre, beloved for its open-air amphitheater, opened an intimate, indoor stage in 2009, company leadership gave several reasons for the new direction. It wasn't only about staging plays that would likely draw smaller crowds, but also about keeping core company staff creatively engaged and able to take risks. You could say that the Spring Green theater's new adaptation of Shakespeare's Antony & Cleopatra (through Oct. 20) is one of those creative risks. >More
 American Player Theatre's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead attacks thorny questions with humor and verve

"We are entitled to some direction," says Guildenstern, one half of a tragicomic duo, in the first act of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. The American Players Theatre production of Tom Stoppard's existential riff on Hamlet (through Oct. 5) opened Saturday night in the Spring Green company's outdoor amphitheater. >More
 Four Seasons' Les Misérables brings big voices and production values to Mitby Theater

When I heard that the Four Seasons Theatre production of Les Misérables (through Aug. 18) was on stage at Madison College's Mitby Theater, I felt a chip swelling on my shoulder. Broadway theater? At a community college? We're not talking about just any Broadway theater, but the iconic, operatic Les Mis. >More
 Fermat's Last Theater Company makes a strong debut with The Merchant of Venice

Fermat's Last Theater Company knows that something interesting happens when Shakespeare is set in modern day. The themes feel more lively and less frozen in time. A play like The Merchant of Venice lends itself particularly well to adaptation. One of Shakespeare's "comedies," it explores motifs we still grapple with today, four centuries later: revenge, mercy, same-sex friendships, and, most famously, antisemitism. It's a fine choice for this new company's first production (through Aug. 4 at Overture Center). >More
 The new kid on the block: Meet Fermat's Last Theater Company

There's a new theater troupe in town, and they're out to shake things up. Named Fermat's Last Theater Company, the 12-person group has strong ties to the Young Shakespeare Players, where many of its actors gained experience. This early exposure to the Bard's works shows in the company's first production, a staging of The Merchant of Venice at Overture Center's Rotunda Stage (through Aug. 4). >More
 Rainbow Bookstore's Voices of a People's History clamors for change at Broom Street Theater

Writing history is a political act. Even a small edit can diminish the power of an entire group of people. That's one reason Rainbow Bookstore Cooperative presented Voices of a People's History at Broom Street Theater last weekend. Loosely based on Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States, it directed the spotlight at marginalized individuals who've clamored for change over the past 300 years. >More
 Audrey Lauren Wax plans to challenge conventions as StageQ's new artistic director

When StageQ opens its 2013-2014 season this September, it will have a new artistic director for the first time since 2005. Audrey Lauren Wax has taken the reins of the LGBT theater troupe from Tara Ayres, who held the position until April. >More
 Robots, robberies and relationships go awry in Playwrights Ink's 21st annual showcase Coming of Age

Coming of Age, the 21st anniversary showcase from local writing collective Playwrights Ink, finished its run at the Bartell Theater Saturday night. Seven short plays written by six local playwrights were presented over the course of two acts. A committee chose the presented works from a pool of 30 submissions. >More
 Music Theatre of Madison's Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson is a bloody good time

I'm sure somewhere at the UW, ensconced in a library full of books, there's a Ph.D. student writing a great, analytical dissertation on American history. Music Theatre of Madison's Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson (through July 27 at the Bartell Theatre) is history for the rest of us, in the form of a rock musical. It's a populist tale based on a populist president. >More
 University Theatre's Hound of the Baskervilles is an entertaining romp with a sharp Sherlock Holmes

University Theatre is smart to tap into Sherlock Holmes' resurgence in popularity by presenting Hound of the Baskervilles (through July 28 at UW Vilas Hall), Tim Kell's play based on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's novel. The dynamic between Dr. Watson and the famed detective, whether on the big screen with Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law or the small screen with Benedict Cumberbatch and Martine Freeman, or Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu, is always appealing. Holmes enthusiasts will enjoy this pair's repartee in this production as well. >More
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