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Virtual Theater Trips

  • July 01, 2020
  • December 31, 2020
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virtual theater Trips

PLATO theater trips will return!  But during the COVID-19 era, we still have some options for you. Use the links to connect to more information or to the appropriate streaming service, which will vary. Check out these online performances before they disappear.


Forward Theater Company of Madison


THE LIFESPAN OF A FACT

by Jeremy Kareken & David Murrell and Gordon Farrell
Streaming Online September 11-27

Wisconsin Premiere, Directed by Joe Hanreddy

Celebrated author John D’Agata has just written a sublime and shattering magazine essay. But is his story true? And how negotiable are the facts? When the world’s most neurotically precise fact-checker appears on the author’s Las Vegas doorstep and starts dissecting his work, the ultimate showdown between “truth” and “accuracy” begins. As the deadline looms, the high-stakes world of publishing becomes a battle royale in this brand new comedy of conflict. Timely and terrific, this brainy Broadway hit wrestles with truth, what constitutes it, and who gets to decide.

"...a rib-bustingly funny farce in which things go

from very bad to far worse in nothing flat.”
– The Wall Street Journal


Opera North




Leonard Bernstein's Short Opera, Trouble in Tahiti


Globe Theatre and Swinging the Lens


Richard II

Richard II isn’t just one of Shakespeare’s most lyrical plays. With its trenchant, emotionally wrenching analysis of political corruption and the consequent decline of good governance, it’s also among the most relevant to our own moment, as we collectively wrestle with what’s next in a country that, to quote Gaunt, “has made a shameful conquest of itself.”

This production features a cast composed entirely of women of color, that played to acclaim last year at London’s Globe under the direction of Adjoa Andoh (who also stars as Richard) and Lynette Linton. The entire production is available for streaming, in a top-notch archival recording.

In contrast to Holland’s contemplative and idealized Richard, Andoh gives us a petulant and narcissistic tyrant. Both interpretations are legitimate; as always, Shakespeare’s plays contain multitudes. And as this fabulous cast drives home, that goes for who can and should embody these roles, as well as for the plays themselves. Here’s hoping American Players Theatre returns to this great play – which hasn’t been performed in Spring Green in 20 long years – soon. And here’s hoping that it proves similarly audacious in its casting choices once it finally does.

--Mike Fischer, dramaturg,

former theater critic for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

and Forward Theater Company Advisory Member

Lifeline Theatre


Pride and Prejudice

Christina Calvit’s adaptation – which debuted at Chicago’s Lifeline Theatre in 1986 has been reprised there twice since – because it fully captures the broader social dimension of Austen’s great novel through additions such as constantly gossiping townspeople. There’s more: Because Calvit’s Lizzy continually breaks the fourth wall in appeals to us rather than being channeled through Austen’s distancing use of a close third-person narrator, Calvit injects additional dramatic immediacy and raises the stakes.

Lifeline’s current virtual production of the Calvit adaptation – available for a four-day rental through October 4 for a suggested $20 donation – has its drawbacks. Some members of the young Lifeline cast overegg the pudding. And there is no scenic or costume design. But that second weakness is also a strength; rather than losing ourselves in well-appointed sets, elaborate costumes, and courtly minuets, we can focus on Austen’s words and her lead characters’ conflicting emotions.

Samantha Newcomb – an American Players Theatre apprentice last summer – is particularly splendid in deftly balancing Lizzie’s intoxicating warmth and self-involved conceit; it’s not hard to see why Andrés Enriquez’s priggish Darcy falls for her, losing his reserve while recovering his humanity. Meanwhile, Zoom makes us more aware than ever that even when we’re alone, others are watching, nattering, and judging – appealing to our pride and stoking our prejudice.

--Mike Fischer, dramaturg,

former theater critic for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

and Forward Theater Company Advisory Member


Curve Theatre


My Beautiful Laundrette

Hanif Kureishi’s My Beautiful Laundrette was justly acclaimed when it arrived in the cinema in 1985; it movingly captured the fault lines involving race, class, and gender, as played out within a Pakistani family in London led by an entrepreneurial Thatcherite and his alcoholic, socialist brother. Overlaying that conflict was the seemingly star-crossed romance between two young men – one of Pakistani descent and the second an English skinhead – trying to overcome ethnic hate and homophobia.

Last year, Kureishi’s stage adaptation of his screenplay (with linking music from Tennant/Lowe of the Pet Shop Boys) debuted at Leicester’s Curve Theatre; Curve has now given us the tremendous gift of a captioned archival stream of the final (public) dress rehearsal before previews for this well-reviewed 2019 world premiere. It’s very good (and the captioning helps with occasional sound issues). It will remain available for on-demand streaming until Curve reopens.

The play is even better, retaining the film’s original 1980’s milieu while speaking directly to the current moment, in ways that not only implicate British politics but also indirectly indict the radioactive, anti-immigrant racism spawned and spewed by 45 and his lackeys. While Kureishi’s original takedown of Thatcherite capitalism remains intact, he has simultaneously sharpened his focus on anti-immigrant hysteria – and on how women of color are especially victimized by a politics of race hatred (the uncle’s mistress is now a woman of color rather than a white woman, which helps drive this home).

--Mike Fischer, dramaturg,

former theater critic for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

and Forward Theater Company Advisory Member

Wise Children, Bristol Old Vic and Plush Theatricals


Romantics Anonymous

Have you seen a live onstage kiss in the past six months? Or live onstage singing? I didn’t think so. But you can once again do so starting next Tuesday, when creator and director Emma Rice’s Wise Children theater company brings us a remount of Romantics Anonymous. A musical comedy adaptation of the 2010 French film “Les émotifs anonymes,” it was a huge hit when it debuted in 2017.

It’s the story of two shy chocolate makers who overcome parental inhibition and a few of their own, finding an original recipe for sweetness by learning to take risks. In her 2017 review in The Guardian, Lyn Gardner wrote that “nobody presents sexual desire and the transformative joy of love on stage quite as well or with such febrile intensity” as Rice.

Rice’s cast, which has been in a quarantine bubble throughout the rehearsal process, will give five live performances from the stage of the Bristol Old Vic between September 22-26. Proceeds from each performance will be split between Wise Children and sponsoring theater companies around the world, including Chicago Shakespeare Theater.

--Mike Fischer, dramaturg,

former theater critic for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

and Forward Theater Company Advisory Member

The Noel Coward Foundation announces

A Marvellous Party


A unique celebration and star-studded collection of performances celebrating the continuing legacy of Noël Coward and coinciding with the 100th anniversary of his West End debut as a 19-year-old playwright.

This transatlantic celebration featuring words and music of the playwright will see Kate Burton, Judi Dench, Stephen Fry,  Montego Glover, Derek Jacobi, Josh James, Cush Jumbo, Robert Lindsay, Kristine Nielsen, Bebe Neuwirth, Julian Ovenden, Patricia Routledge, Kate Royal, Emma Thompson, Giles Terera, Indira Varma and Lia Williams performing.

All of the performers involved have either self-recorded at home or been filmed on location under COVID-19 regulations.

A Marvellous Party will be the first of its kind to utilise Broadway on Demand’s new digital venue, which launches this month. Viewers in the U.S. can visit the web address www.broadwayondemand.com and register for free in advance to watch the show premiere on September 20th.  It will then be available on demand for 14 days.

Funds raised through the performance will provide support to theatre workers on both sides of the Atlantic affected by the pandemic and will benefit Acting For Others (UK) and The Actors Fund (USA).

Court Theatre of Chicago


Court’s Theatre & Thought series connects audiences to expert insights from University of Chicago faculty about the historical context, thematic relevance, and artistic possibilities surrounding classic works. Each Theatre & Thought topic will feature a different play and include virtual meetings with University scholars to discuss the ideas underpinning these classic texts.


Skylight Music Theatre



While PLATO is not currently planning any field trips at this point, for those of you who are hungry for live theater events and are willing to incur the possible health risks (despite extensive Covid-19 precautions taken by the Theatre), you may wish to mark your calendar with these upcoming shows in Milwaukee. This is FYI only! PLATO is not endorsing or taking any trips to these, or any other venues at this point.

Milwaukee Opera Theatre

Bonus!

Available now online:

Episode 1

Episode 2  Episode 3  Episode 4


New: Shakespeare Shorts from Milwaukee Rep!

Most of these clips are under 5 minutes long, while two of them are a little over 10 minutes in length.

As You Like It

Twelfth Night

Henry VI

The Taming of the Shrew

Romeo and Juliet


Other Theater Shorts

If you don't have time for an entire show, you may enjoy these clips.  These high energy musical numbers take 5 minutes or less.

What I Did for Love – A Chorus Line, Stratford Festival 2016

Pirate Island- Poor Wand'ring One - Madison Savoyards, 2020

Rocky Horror Show - Time Warp - Stratford Festival 2018

The Music Man - 76 Trombones - Stratford Festival 2018 

Pirate Island - When the Foeman Bares His Steel - Madison Savoyards, 2020

HMS Pinafore - When I Was a Lad - Stratford Festival 2017

Pirates of Penzance - I Am the Very Model of a Modern Major General! - Stratford Festival 1985

The Mikado - A More Humane Mikado - Stratford Festival 1982


Jermyn Street Theatre

Samuel Beckett: No Country for Old Men


Krapp’s Last Tape | The Old Tune

Trevor Nunn staged Beckett’s Krapp’s Last Tape and the rarely performed The Old Tune at Jermyn Street shortly before the pandemic hit. Both plays are prophetic of what was to come; the old men inhabiting them underscore how fragile our lives are and how easily they can come undone, as we draw on unreliable memories to make sense of lives that we never live as fully or well as we might have.

Krapp’s Last Tape is now rightly considered a major work in the Beckett canon, and James Hayes’ embodiment of a failed writer shows why: listening to diary-like tapes he’d made as a younger man, the 69-year-old Krapp winces at all his younger self left out and didn’t understand, overestimated about who he was and failed to appreciate in others. It’s a devastating performance that goes a long way toward explaining why Nunn’s production (which included a third Beckett one-act not made available here) was the hottest ticket in London this past winter.

Gentler and funnier, The Old Tune is a minor variation on some of the themes sounded in Waiting for Godot. Two septuagenarians (Niall Buggy and David Threlfall) wait for death; lost in a world they never made, their failing memories leave them unable to return to the world they’ve left behind. As with Didi and Gogo in Godot, their lone respite from existential loneliness is each other – even if their efforts to communicate miss more often than they land.

--Mike Fischer, dramaturg,

former theater critic for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

and Forward Theater Company Advisory Member



The Fire This Time Festival


On the other side of the continent, the 11th annual edition of The Fire This Time Festival – a showcase for emerging Black playwrights which, in years past, has given early exposure to artists including Aziza Barnes, Jocelyn Bioh, Katori Hall, Dominque Morisseau, and Antoinette Nwandu – has made archival recordings available for on-demand streaming of all seven shorts from this year’s Festival.

Many of these plays touch on a theme central to the Black experience in America: with one’s community constantly under siege, does one fight or take flight? And if one leaves one’s roots behind (literally, in Jay Mazyck’s If Men Were Flowers), how does one avoid becoming invisible, appropriated by a dominant culture’s continued campaign to whitewash Blackness? Can old alliances be saved (an express theme in both Tyler English-Beckwith’s Maya and Rivers and in Natyna Bean’s Assume Positions)? Might new ones arise (a topic explored in Deneen Reynolds-Knott’s Antepartum and Mario Wolfe’s Wish I Could P. (Pay it No Mind))?

All of these questions are on the table in the night’s longest and best piece: Niccolo Aeed’s One Morning Soon. Aeed’s play invokes and then bends Paul’s early Christian writings to explore how, in moving past the old order to create a better one, a culture might preserve all that’s best about where and what it’s been – while simultaneously ensuring that hate and oppression aren’t replicated, but rather vanquished by love.

--Mike Fischer

MISCAST20 IS STILL HERE!

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New York’s hottest star-filled event goes WORLDWIDE for 2020.  The full event was previously live-streamed in its entirety for FREE.  While that has now ended, online streaming of the individual musical numbers is still available!  See some of your favorite Broadway stars perform like you’ve never seen them before.

Founded in 1986 as MANHATTAN CLASS COMPANY, MCC began as a collective of young actors, writers, and directors determined to steer their own artistic development and redefine the NYC theater scene with the kind of stories they wanted to see on the stage. That work continues today in Hell’s Kitchen at THE ROBERT W. WILSON MCC THEATER SPACE, a creative hotbed where our ARTISTS, STAFF, and STUDENTS have the freedom to stir things up, all under one roof.



The Public Theater


Richard II  by William Shakespeare.  Conceived for the Radio and Directed by Saheem Ali

Without a venue for their free Shakespeare in the Park series, The Public Theater is instead producing a radio version of Richard II.  Listen as the last of the divinely anointed monarchs descends and loses it all. One of the Bard’s only dramas entirely in verse, this epic and intimate play presents the rise of the house of Lancaster through a riveting tale of lost sovereignty, political intrigue, and psychological complexity.  The all-star cast includes Andre Holland as Richard. Read a "behind the scenes" account of the production in the New York Times.   It is now available for download on the Public Theater website and wherever you get your podcasts.



Live from Lincoln Center 


Carousel

The New York Philharmonic presents a stunning production (staged but without sets, in front of the orchestra) of this iconic Rogers & Hammerstein work about a young woman in New England and the carnival barker who steals her heart. Featuring a star-studded cast including Kelli O’Hara, Nathan Gunn, Jason Danieley, Jessie Mueller, and New York City Ballet dancers Robert Fairchild and Tiler Peck. Available through Tuesday, September 8 at 7:00 p.m. CDT.



Hamilton

The show you have been waiting for, with the original Broadway cast! Winner of the Tony Award for best new musical and Pulitzer Prize in drama, this sensational show chronicles the life of the first U.S. Treasurer Alexander Hamilton and his compatriots through a variety of musical styles.  Filmed live at The Richard Rodgers Theatre on Broadway in June of 2016. Local critic Rob Thomas says "in some ways it’s better than the best seats in the house." Watch it on Disney Plus; there is no end date. A one-month subscription is $6.99, and you can cancel at any time. More details on this unique viewing experience.



Bush Theatre (London)


The Protest

A series of short online works, collectively titled The Protest in response to the death of George Floyd. Associate director Daniel Bailey, who curated the series, said: "The Bush kneels with the black community at home and aboard as we fight the ongoing pandemic – racism and the oppression of Black People. We asked some of our Bush family to lift their voices in a myriad of ways that mirrors the diversity within the Black community." Originally distributed through Twitter, but available as a collection on this site.



streaming link

America 

First performed in December of 2016, in a country hurting from racism and oppression, the Broadway cast of Hamilton used the words of Langston Hughes, Bob Marley and Lin-Manuel Miranda to call for peace and equality in this short song with dance.

"Now, as we reel yet again in anger and despair, the impassioned pleas for justice continue to resonate. We stand with those who walk in fear simply for being black. We will continue to listen and educate ourselves, and call out others, on how we can best lift up our colleagues, artists, community members and supporters. Lives depend on it."


PBS Wisconsin - Great Performances

PBS Great Performances has several free full-length musical and dramatic theater performances for your enjoyment.  Additional performances may require the Passport membership. Beginning and ending dates may not apply for those with Passport membership. 


Porgy and Bess

This 2019 Metropolitan Opera production takes a fresh approach to Gershwin's complicated 1935 masterpiece, which has been criticized for its African American stereotypes since its debut. The setting — Catfish Row, a Charleston, South Carolina neighborhood – is now a close-knit, aspirational working-class community in which everyone is doing his or her best to get by, instead of an abandoned slum. David Robertson conducts a dynamic cast, featuring the sympathetic duo of Eric Owens and Angel Blue in the title roles. Streaming for free on PBS Great Performances beginning July 17.


Streaming link

Gloria: A Life

Experience a unique interpretation of feminist icon Gloria Steinem’s life told by an all-female cast, starring Emmy Award winner Christine Lahti and directed by Tony Award winner Diane Paulus.  Streaming now through July 24.

Streaming link

Ann

Enjoy a powerful and revealing look at legendary, larger-than-life Texas governor Ann Richards who enriched the lives of her followers, friends and family in this critically acclaimed play written by and starring Emmy Award-winner Holland Taylor. Streaming now through July 17.

Streaming link

Twilight: Los Angeles 

Anna Deavere Smith's play is about race relations in Los Angeles at the time of the infamous police beating of Rodney King, and the ensuing jury acquittal of the perpetrators. She notes that “few people speak a language about race that is not their own. If more of us could actually speak from another point of view, like speaking another language, we could accelerate the flow of ideas.” “After all,” Smith says later, “identity is in some ways a process toward character. It is not character itself. It is not fixed. Our race dialogue desperately needs this more complex language.”

Smith channels the voices of forty among the hundreds of people she interviewed: white and Black, Korean and Latinx, men and women, cops and activists, store owners and looters. Playing them all, Smith physically embodies the truth that each of us contains multitudes.

Director Marc Levin blends Smith’s stage performance with news footage and interviews to capture a community’s rage and loss, but also its grit and hope and love. This encore streaming will run from June 8 through August 7.


Take Me to the World: A Sondheim 90th Birthday Celebration


Take Me to the World - Free - A starry line-up of Broadway favorites are toasting Stephen Sondheim with a once-in-a-lifetime concert event live on Broadway.com    Mr. Sondheim is an American composer and lyricist known for his work in musical theater like:  A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1962); Company (1970); Follies (1971); A Little Night Music (1973), Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (1979); Merrily We Roll Along (1981); Sunday in the Park with George (1984); and Into the Woods (1987). He is also known for writing the lyrics for West Side Story (1957) and Gypsy (1959).

Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre


After Pass Over's 2017 world premiere at Steppenwolf, Academy Award nominee and Honorary Oscar winner Spike Lee brought a camera crew and filmed the entire performance. The filmed play premiered at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival, and now Lee's filmed play is available for streaming on Amazon Prime Video.



Enjoy this complete production of Pass Over by Antoinette Nwandu featuring ensemble member Jon Michael Hill. A provocative riff on Waiting for GodotPass Over is a rare piece of politically-charged theater about two young black men who stand around on the corner dreaming of their promised land when a stranger wanders into their space with his own agenda and derails their plans.


L.A. Theatre Works

Over 500 plays audio-recorded live in performance, everything from Shakespeare and Oscar Wilde to Arthur Miller and recent Tony winners, all with top-name actors,  so you can listen to great theatre anywhere.

Listen free to the Relativity Series of Science Themed Plays which present science as a thoroughly human endeavor, bringing to life the people and stories behind the research and invention which shapes and changes our world.

Among the many included titles are:

Copenhagen, by Michael Frayn

Arcadia, by Tom Stoppard

An Enemy of the People, by Henrik Ibsen

Proof, by David Auburn

The Doctor's Dilemma, by George Bernard Shaw

Also, in the 1990s, LA Theatre Works came to Chicago and recorded plays with many of the Chicago theatres, including Victory Gardens. Two of those play recordings are FREE FOR ALL to enjoy through July 15, 2020. (Note: Audio recordings still available as of Aug. 10.)

Still Waters and Drowning Sorrows



MORE INFORMATION

Contact PLATO Theater Team members at:

Sue Josheff  sooziej@sbcglobal.net
Nancy McClements   nancymcclements@gmail.com 
Stuart Utley  stuart.utley@gmail.com

PLATO is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization in association with:

For more information about PLATO, contact:

Christine Bartlett
UW-Madison Continuing Studies
21 N. Park St, 7th Floor, Madison, WI 53715
Email: info@platomadison.org
Phone: 608-262-5823
Fax: 608-265-4555

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