Oliver Goldsmith's 18th century comedy of mistaken identity, practical jokes and unlikely pairs receives a boisterous, playful production outdoors at American Players Theatre.
In her director's notes, Risa Brainin writes that the last time she directed "Measure for Measure," it felt painfully relevant. That was 11 years ago - and in her latest iteration, onstage at APT through Oct. 6, she draws the modern comparisons are even more sharply.
What would happen if George Bernard Shaw borrowed liberally from Anton Chekhov's "The Cherry Orchard" and attempted to re-write the story "in the Russian manner, on English themes?" See "Heartbreak House" at American Players Theatre.
Audiences of Shakespeare's plays are frequently surprised to discover how relevant the stories feel and how timeless the conflicts are - a feeling that echoed in another (much more recent) period piece, APT's production of "Born Yesterday."
Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Edward Albee has theory of evolution, if not about the existence of man, at least about the way one man lives and gets along with another. "Seascape," the third Pulitzer play Albee wrote, opened at American Players Theatre in Spring Green over the weekend and like his other great works, it looks at the evolution of relationships with an unerring eye and sensibility.
Located on the banks of the Wisconsin River, Spring Green is small in population (about 1,600 people) but grand in reputation. And located only two hours from Milwaukee, it's a viable and enjoyable weekend getaway.
The 2014 theater war in Wisconsin is a veritable embarrassment of riches with great plays, great productions and great acting. There are some surprise on the list of the best, including a production by a new company and its very first foray into the world of Milwaukee theater.
The Spring Green-based APT has announced that Carrie Van Hallgren, a highly respected theater administrator, will become the new managing director of the 35-year-old company.
After a recent visit to review Anton Chekhov's "The Seagull," Wall Street Journal critic Terry Teachout called Wisconsin's very own American Players Theatre in Spring Green the "finest classical-repertory company in the U.S."
It's doubtful that any of the weather guys reported it but a tornado touched down in Spring Green, west of Madison on Saturday. And what's more the tornado is coming back, again and again, thank goodness. The tornado was actor James Ridge who played one-half of the most dysfunctional yet dedicated friends the world has ever seen when American Players Theater opened "American Buffalo" by David Mamet.
One of the best things about live theater is when there is a magic so strong that it seems to make birds sing and trees shimmer in a night time light. That's the best way I can describe "The Importance of Being Earnest," which opened under a beautiful summer sky Saturday night at the American Players Theatre in Spring Green.
The 2009 opening of the 201-seat Touchstone Theatre on the American Players Theatre grounds in Spring Green has enabled the company to produce the intimate plays too small to be effectively presented on its much larger outdoor stage. Veteran actor Brian Mani co-stars in the intellectually rigorous and emotionally intense "Skylight" in the Touchstone this summer.
Take an excellent actor (Marti Gobel), give her a simple but beautifully-written script, and produce it on a spare stage without showy distractions. Renaissance Theaterworks follows that recipe with rewarding results in its new production of "Neat."
Every year in mid-July, the American Players Theatre company has internally celebrated its founding in Spring Green. The troupe's first performance was July 18, 1980. That celebration is being extended to the public this year, with a picnic at 4 p.m. July 17, preceding the 6 p.m. performance of "The Taming of the Shrew."
The state's two largest theater companies did some stretching beyond their normal comfort zones in the past week. The Milwaukee Rep opened a one-woman show of six vignettes written for and performed by an English-Australian triple-threat actress virtually unknown in this country. The American Players Theatre in Spring Green debuted its first winter show, a company-commissioned musical, which is also a first.