Upcoming events

    • April 27, 2020
    • (CDT)
    • November 01, 2020
    • (CDT)
    • Various Municipal Parks, Conservancies and Ice Age Trails in Dane County
    • 1

    I have collected information about walks that were popular as Guided Walks.

    Please observe  Social Distancing restrictions.

    The self-guided walks listed below are meant for your enjoyment during our time of dealing with the COVID-19 Virus.  Please adhere to all Municipal and State requirements for Social Distancing and Healthy behavior on public paths.  Please do not plan to meet with people other than your household members.

    The Restrooms are not available;  they are locked.  There are no staff in the parks and on the trails to assist you.  Please stay safe by remaining on the trails and observing the conditions of the trails. Use common sense when confronting obstacles and slippery paths.

    The Walks are derived from popular Docent Guided Walks offered by PLATO over the last four years.  I have provided the following information for each walk:

    • Brief description of what is unique about the park;
    •  Brief description of the terrain you'll walk through;
    •  Difficulty of the walk and the composition of the paths.
    • Is this park accessible to those needing mobility assistance such as a cane.
    •  Directions to the parking area leading to the trail head;
    •  Hours the park is available to the public.

    The walks cover the following types of preservation land:

    •  State Parks and Recreation Areas - These are now closed to the public due to overuse and staff shortages.
    • ICE AGE TRAIL ALLIANCE trails created and maintained by IATA throughout the County and the State, 
    •  City and County Parks including (City of Madison, Middleton, Cross Plains, and other Dane County towns.)
    •  Private and Public Conservancies and Public-Private shared ownership.
    Remember that none of these areas are staffed nor are their bathrooms open.

    List of Self-Guided Walks

    1. Indigenous Earthwork (Indian mounds) on Lake Mendota's North Shore
    2. Pope Farm Conservancy: Well posted with signage for self-guided walks;
    3.  Stewart Lake County Park: Lake, fishing, beach, wooded walk
    4. Edna Taylor Conservancy & Aldo Leopold Nature Center  
    5.  Wilkie Gorge of the Cross Plains National Scientific Reserve
    6.  Indian mounds and springs of Pheasant Branch
    7.  The woods and farmstead of Donald Park 

    A Message from Madison Mayor Rhodes-Conway 

    Getting outdoors is great for physical and mental health, but please be safe and follow public health orders.

    • State parks are closed. City and county parks remain open, but park equipment and sports courts are closed. Go to the park solo or with people in your household. Do not meet up with friends or family, even if you’re six feet apart.
    • Do not visit a park if it is crowded. If a parking lot is full, that’s a good indicator that it will be hard to maintain physical distancing.

    Like you, I am eager for the day when we can return to some of our old habits. Here in Wisconsin, we are still in the beginning stages of this pandemic and we don’t yet know when we will be able to ease the restrictions on physical distancing. We will do our very best to keep you informed of our latest thinking on how to be safe and any news on City services.
    Remember to follow all the news from our Public Health Department at their website https://www.publichealthmdc.com/ Facebook https://www.facebook.com/publichealthmdc/ and Twitter @PublicHealthMDC.

    Comments from the ICE AGE TRAIL ALLIANCE" Newsletter:

    Daily, there are more birds at the feeders and sweet trills hailing from oak trees and budding shrubbery. It’s calming, in this unsettling time, to watch these feathery creatures go about their normal activities. In a similar fashion, we hope the Ice Age National Scenic Trail continues to provide you with a similar sense of continuity and constancy in this uncertain time. As a part of the Ice Age Trail Alliance community, you know how beneficial the Ice Age Trail and our public lands are for improving physical and mental health, inspiring creativity, and increasing optimism. However, please hike responsibly and help flatten the curve.
    The Ice Age Trail is created, supported, and protected by a dedicated volunteer force, some of whom now find themselves in the frontlines against COVID-19, as healthcare professionals and other essential service providers. We’re grateful for the time, energy, and effort these individuals are expending in the effort to respond to and manage this pandemic. Thank you.

    Comments or questions about the walks?

    This "self-guided walks of Dane County" was developed from a list of successful docent-led walks Carla and I and other faithful volunteers have conducted over the last four years.  I will be adding more to the list as the Pandemic continues to keep us isolated.  Building these self-guided walk series is very much a "work in progress".  If you have ideas for improving communications about the walks or additional information I could provide, please let me know.

    If you have a favorite walk please drop a note and I'll get back to you shortly.  Please mark the subject line of the email "PLATO Walks" so that I can get to them quickly.

    Mike DiIorio at mdiiorio1234@gmail.com or text me at 608 520 4448.

    I hope you enjoy the walks. Stay healthy, stay safe.


    • April 27, 2020
    • (CDT)
    • December 02, 2020
    • (CST)
    • Ice Age Trails in Wisconsin
    • 1


    Exploring Wisconsin on Foot

    The Ice Age Trail Alliance (IATA) Website provides information on walks throughout the State of Wisconsin along the edges of the Wisconsin glacier.  

    How to use the IATA website to plan a walk:

    1.   Go To the planning page of the IATA website: 
    2.   Scroll down to the regional maps of wisconsin.
    3.   Below each map you will find various types of walks.
    4.   Select the type of walk you are interested in.
    5.   The display will contain a glacial-edge route between various     sites containing appropriate walks. 
    6.   You will be presented with material you need to plan a safe trip to the area including directions, trail head location, and available facilities.

    What you can expect 

    • Information about the organization
    • Organized by Region of the State and type of walk
    • Information about each walk including
      • level of difficulty including accessibility considerations
      • length of walk, type of terrain, type of path,
      • points of interest including historical and geological information
      • resources along the way such as restrooms, restaurants, gas stations, etc.
    • Overnight stay possibilities such as camping facilities

    Mike DiIorio at mdiiorio1234@gmail.com or text me at 608 520 4448.

    I hope you enjoy the walks. Stay healthy, stay safe.


    • June 05, 2020
    • (CDT)
    • August 21, 2020
    • (CDT)
    • 6 sessions

    Summer 2020 PLATO Breakfast 
    Move To:
    1st and 3rd Fridays
     Virtually on your computer or phone!


    Conveniently located via your computer or smartphone from the comfort of your own home in this age of COVID-19.

    Make new friends, meet new PLATO members and folks online in-lieu of in-person. 

    1st and 3rd Fridays in Summer 2020

    • Days:  June 5th, June 19th, July 3rd, July 17th, August 7th, and August 21st.

    • Time:  9:30 am to 10:30 am

    • Organizer:  Sharon Scrattish and Sue Dentinger

    • To join,  just click on this url at the right date and time: 

    • https://meet.google.com/czb-vorm-cvy

    • If you do not have a computer or smart phone, join by calling +1 501-803-2238  then when asked, enter the PIN 475483052#  

    • RSVP or Questions?: Let Sharon know you're coming the Wednesday before the breakfast by email or phone.

    Questions? RSVP:  Sharon's contact information is:  sscratti@gmail.com or 608 280 8050.

    Banana Bread was a topic at our first online breakfast meeting (as was Carol Maas, the Waunakee Banana Bread Lady, who bakes banana bread three times a year to deliver to all the Waunakee schools to say thank you to the staff!)

    Here's the recipe from Mary Karau for the Best Banana Bread Ever.  You could also call it "Small Batch Quarantine Banana Bread":

    It's a small recipe and I put it into two large-ish ramekins.  You could also use a 5-inch oven pan.  As I mentioned, one recipe of this is 4 servings for me.  I would say each serving is about like a regular-sized muffin.  Ramekins are 3 1/2 wide


    One very ripe banana, medium (need not be "rotten"!)

    1 medium egg

    4 Tablespoons oil (neutral flavor, such as avocado)

    1 scant teaspoon vanilla extract

    1/8 cup granulated sugar

    1/4 cup brown sugar, loosely packed

    1/4 Cup all-purpose flour

    1/4 cup plus 1 Tablespoon whole wheat pastry flour

    1/4 rounded teaspoon baking powder

    1/4 rounded teaspoon baking soda

    1/4 teaspoon salt (more if Kosher salt)

    1/4 - 1/2 cup broken nuts (walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts)

    Mash the banana in a wide bowl.  Add the egg and mix well.  Add the oil, vanilla, and the sugars and mix well.

    In another small bowl, add the flours, the baking powder, baking soda, and the salt.  Mix well.  Add the nuts and toss.

    Grease 2 large ramekins or a smallish oven pan.

    Mix the wet and dry ingredients, folding rather than stirring, until just blended.  Do not overmix!

    Bake at 325º for about 15 minutes.  Check with a toothpick in the center.  Cool 10-15 minutes and then turn out of the pans.


    This goes together very quickly and is really good--no fail!

    I think plain whole wheat flour would work as of course would using all all-purpose flour.  WW Pastry flour makes the result very tender, great texture.

    This banana bread keeps well for several days (if you can stop eating it that long!)

    This is plenty sweet for me but some folks who have a big sweet tooth might use 1/4 cup granulated sugar.  


    Waunakee Banana Bread Lady (Carol Maas) 

    favorite Banana Bread recipe via Steve Sparks: 

    3/4 cup butter or margarine (whatever margarine is on sale)

    1 1/2 cup  sugar

    1 1/2 cup  mashed bananas

    2 eggs  (well beaten)

    1 tsp vanilla

    2 cups sifted flour

    3/4 tsp salt

    1 tsp baking soda

    1/2 cup  sour milk

    3/4 cup  chopped nuts (optional)

    Mix butter (I melt it into liquid in the microwave) and sugar thoroughly. Blend in bananas, eggs, and vanilla. Sift flour, baking soda, and salt together. Add to banana mixture alternately with milk, mixing thoroughly after each addition. Add nuts. Pour into greased loaf pan. Bake at 325 degrees for 75 minutes. Yield one loaf.....or  3-4 small loaves which are baked for 40-50 minutes.

    To sour milk...add 1 Tbl.  white vinegar to milk. Bananas can be mashed and frozen until needed.

    Other helpful tips for being in a Google Meet meeting:

    • Join the conference, click on the link:  https://meet.google.com/czb-vorm-cvy.  The link will be active now and you can go to Google Meet at any time although other people will not join you until the meeting date and time.

    • Use the link above before the meeting to:

      • Make sure your device’s camera and microphone work.

      • Get familiar with the interface.

      • Make sure you look good on camera (for example, I have a window behind me that casts me in silhouette so I close the blinds for the meeting).

    • Joining the meeting:

      • Clicking on the “Joining info” link will open a tab in your browser and start Google Meet.

      • Depending on how you have your browser’s privacy settings configured, you may be asked to allow the browser to turn on your camera and microphone. Accept those permissions (otherwise you won’t be seen or heard!) and you will see yourself on your computer or phone screen.

      • If you’re the only one on the call, it will tell you that. If anybody else happens to be on, it will tell you that.

    • Using the interface:

      • Use the icons in the center of the white bar at the bottom of the screen to control your participation.

      • § The microphone icon – Click on the icon to turn the mic on or to mute it. In the meeting you should always have your microphone muted unless you are speaking. This will prevent any background noises in your house from disturbing while others are talking.

      • § The camera icon – Click on the camera icon to turn it on and off.

      • § The red telephone receiver icon – Click on this icon to disconnect from the conference. If you leave Google Meet completely and then want to return to the conference, go back and click the “Joining info” link the invitation email.

      • § If the white bar at the bottom disappears from your screen, click anywhere in the main picture area to get it back.

      • Chat :  In the upper right corner of the screen is a chat function, this allows participants to send and receive texts. If there are many people in the meeting it may work better to write via Chat that you want to make a comment or question.

    • June 18, 2020
    • (CDT)
    • February 17, 2021
    • (CST)
    • Madison

    This guide for bicycling around Lake Monona is  meant for your enjoyment during our time of dealing with the COVID-19 virus.  Please adhere to all municipal and state requirements for social distancing and healthy behavior on public paths and streets. 

    Bicycling around Lake Monona is very popular with the bicycle community.    The route (12.5 miles) outlined below goes through a mixture of bicycle paths and lightly traveled streets and deviates slightly from the official Lake Loop but was selected because it is relatively flat and easy to follow.   It takes about 75 minutes for the average cyclist.   Enjoy


    Monona Terrace to Waunona Way - 2.4 miles

    This portion of the trail is flat and follows the John Nolen Drive Causeway.  There are three junctions to other trails on this section.  Shortly after leaving Monona Terrace there is a junction  to the Brittingham Park Bike Path where after 500 yards, you can connect to the Southwest Commuter Path.  At Olin Park, there is a junction  to the Wingra Creek Bike Path which will take you to Fish Hatchery where you can connect to the Cannonball Trail.     And just before Waunona Way and the railroad tracks, there is a junction that will enable you to continue on the Capital City Trail  where you have the option of biking to Fitchburg or biking to McFarland via the Lower Yahara River Trail.  But if you are continuing on the Lake Monona Trail, turn left onto Waunona Way.


    Waunona Way to Winnequah Road - 1.8 miles

    This section of the route goes along Waunona Road, a lightly traveled street.  Esther Beach Park has nice views of the Capital and Lake Monona.  At the end of Waunona Road, the path goes into A. O. Paunack Park.  Follow the path in the park to Bridge road where you will turn left for one block to reach Winnequah Road.


    Winnequah Road - 2.4 miles

    At Winnequah road turn left and follow it for the next 2.4 miles.  There is a bike lane for about half of the distance.  At the stop sign at Maywood and Winnequah, turn left on Winnequah and go up the hill.  When you go down the hill on Winnequah you will see a pond on your left side and a Lake Loop sign that says to turn left.  Ignore that sign (the Lake Loop route has some steep hills on Tonywatha) and instead turn right on Winnequah Road.  A few blocks further you will cross Nichols Road;  the Monona Public Library is two blocks to the right at 1000 Nichols Road, a nice half-way point on the route.    Continuing on Winnequah Road, at 4516 Winnequah (across from Schluter Park), you can get Babcock Hall ice cream at Monona Bait & Ice Cream Shop.  At the intersection of Winnequah Road and West Coldspring Avenue (there is a sign that says Lake Loop),  turn right onto W. Coldspring Avenue.


    Winnequah Road to Capital City Trail - 1.5 miles

    Go three blocks on W. Coldspring Avenue to Monona drive.  Cross Monona drive at the lights and go one block on E. Coldspring Avenue to Jerome street.    Turn left on Jerome street and continue until you reach E. Buckeye road.   Go straight ahead on Monona Court for four blocks until you reach Maher Avenue.  Turn left on Maher Avenue for four more blocks.  Cross Cottage Grove Road (the new Pinney Branch Library is a block away on the right) and go straight ahead onto Royster Oaks Drive for two blocks.  Turn right on Pinney street for one block and then left on Dempsey for one block.  Just after the railroad tracks, you will turn left onto the Capital City Trail.


    Capital City Trail at Dempsey to Monona Terrace - 4.5 miles

    The final stretch follows the Capital City Trail back to Monona Terrace.   About a mile along the route you will come across Olbrich Botanical Gardens which is now open but has restrictions regarding hours and the number of visitors.  Across from Olbrich is the  Garver Feed Mill where you can get pizza and ice cream.   Further down along Atwood Avenue you can get ice cream at the Chocolate Shoppe Ice Cream Company (2322 Atwood Avenue) or the Atwood Scoop  (2302 Atwood Avenue), both of which have outdoor seating along the trail.  The trail then parallels Atwood Avenue and Williamson Street and both streets have a cornucopia of establishments for food and drink.


    BCycle Stations along the Route

    Madison BCycle has a number of stations along the route where you can rent an electric bicycle. The following map lists some stations within a block of the route.


    Background Information

    Dane County Bicycle Map

    Madison BCycle

    Madison Bikes Community (Facebook)

    Madison Bikes

    Bicycle Benefits

    Top 10 Trails to Try in Madison

    Madison Road Bike Routes

    Monona Lake Loop Map


    Compiled by Bob Shaw - robert.e.shaw@gmail.com

    June 2020

    • June 28, 2020
    • (CDT)
    • February 27, 2021
    • (CST)
    • Madison

    This guide for bicycling the Cannonball Trail/Arboretum loop is  meant for your enjoyment during our time of dealing with the COVID-19 virus.  Please adhere to all municipal and state requirements for social distancing and healthy behavior on public paths and streets. 

    The route (8.2 miles) outlined below traverses a mixture of bicycle paths, city streets with bike lanes, and a quiet road through the U.W. Arboretum.   It takes about 50 minutes for the average cyclist.   Enjoy


    Arboretum entrance to Fish Hatchery - .5 miles

    The starting point is the eastern entrance to the Arboretum at N. Wingra Drive & Haywood Drive.  There is a BCycle  station a few yards to the north of the entrance where you can rent an electric bicycle. 

    Take the Wingra Creek Bike Path south for a half mile to Fish Hatchery Road.  The Wingra Creek Bike Path parallels Wingra Creek and the eastern edge of the Arboretum.

    When you reach Fish Hatchery road you will be turning right.   However if you went straight ahead, you would continue on the Wingra Creek Bike Path until you reach Olin-Turville park where you can connect with the Lake Monona Bike Path.


    Fish Hatchery - .6 miles

    After turning right on Fish Hatchery Road you have two options:  1) using the bike lane on Fish Hatchery Road, or 2)  biking on the sidewalk along the south side of Fish Hatchery Road if you feel uncomfortable using the bike lane because of the traffic.  Proceed .6 miles and just before the railroad tracks you will see the start of the Cannonball Path on the right.


    Cannonball Path - 2.8 miles

    After turning right on the Cannonball Path, the Arboretum parallels the path on your right side for the next 2.8 miles.  About a mile along the path you will reach a pedestrian/bicycle bridge crossing the beltline.  Just before the bridge there is a Culvers on the right where you can get some ice cream and other refreshments.  

    Continuing on the Cannonball Path, after 1.5 miles you will see a kiosk on your right that marks the Knollwood Conservation Park and the Westview Bike path.  A few yards along that path is the southeast entrance to the arboretum.  Bicycles are not allowed on paths in the arboretum but you can park your bike and explore Greene prairie and Grady tract on foot. 

    Continuing on the Cannonball path, you will shortly arrive at the Seminole highway junction where you will be turning right.  To the left of the Seminole highway junction is a dedicated bike path that will take you to the Capital City Trail and the Dawley Bike Hub.   If you went straight ahead,  the Cannonball path will take you,  after one mile,  to the Velo UnderRound,  a junction of five trails:  the  Capital City Trail, the  Southwest Commuter Trail, the Military Ridge State Trail, the Badger State Trail, and the Cannonball Path


    Seminole Highway - 1.0 miles

    This one mile segment on Seminole highway has a bike lane and is hilly at the start until you reach the beltline overpass at the top.  At the top on the right side before the overpass is an Arboretum parking lot  where you can park your bike and explore the Grady Tract and Green Prairie.  Continuing on Seminole highway, cross the overpass and bike down the hill until you reach the first right -  the entrance to the Arboretum at McCaffrey Drive - turn right onto McCaffrey Drive.


    Arboretum - 3.2 miles

    The final stretch goes through the University of Wisconsin Arboretum for 3.2 miles. 

    A mile into the Arboretum is the visitor center (closed now because of Covid-19).  West of the visitor center is the Curtis Prairie, the world's oldest ecologically restored prairie.  East of the visitor center is Longenecker Horticultural Gardens, the premier collection of trees, shrubs, and vines in Wisconsin.  There are many opportunities in the Arboretum to explore trails on foot (bicycles are not allowed on the trails) by downloading a trail map.

    From the visitor center take Arboretum Drive to the eastern Arboretum entrance.  This road is mostly closed to vehicular traffic, allowing a very peaceful finish to the Cannonball Path/Arboretum loop.


    BCycle Station along the Route

    At the start of the  loop, there is a BCycle station near the eastern entrance to the Arboretum at 850 S. Mills.


    Background Information

    Dane County Bicycle Map

    Madison BCycle

    Madison Bikes Community (Facebook)

    Madison Bikes

    Bicycle Benefits

    Top 10 Trails to Try in Madison

    Madison Road Bike Routes


    Compiled by Bob Shaw - robert.e.shaw@gmail.com

    June 2020

    • June 29, 2020
    • (CDT)
    • July 31, 2020
    • (CDT)
    • Internet

    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.

    Billy Budd   

    Benjamin Britten’s opera Billy Budd tells the story of the persecution and destruction of a young sailor by a predatory master-at-arms. From rollicking sea shanties to bombastic choral episodes, Britten’s searing opera roars to life in a spectacular, new production that transforms a British man o’ war into a crucible for human faith and error. Iowa PBS filmed and produced this 2017 show by the Des Moines Metro Opera. Streaming for free on YouTube beginning July 12, 2:00 p.m. through August 26.

    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 forfree on PBS Great Performances beginning July 17.

    Moliere in the Park


    Moliere's classic 1664 comedy about the religious hypocrite and imposter Tartuffe. Starring Raúl E. Esparza (Company) and Samira Wiley (The Handmaid's Tale, Orange is the New Black). Molière in the Park is dedicated to bringing yearly, free, inclusive productions of Molière's masterpieces to Brooklyn.    A New York Times Critic's Pick! 

    The original viewing period has been extended through July 12. 


    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.

    Broadway Cares

    Bernadette Peters: A Special Concert

    For the first time online, see this concert by Broadway legend Bernadette Peters that was filmed in 2009 at Broadway’s Minskoff Theatre. It features extraordinary performances of songs by Rodgers & Hammerstein, Stephen Sondheim and more. The evening also includes the legendary Mary Tyler Moore, who co-founded the annual pet adoption event Broadway Barks with Peters, and appearances by furry friends looking to find their forever homes. Available now through July 14.

    The Apple Family Plays

    And So We Come Forth -- The Apple Family: A Dinner on Zoom

    The sixth offering in the Apple Family Plays cycle, written and directed by Richard Nelson. A family dines over Zoom in early July 2020 – amidst protests against racial injustice and the ongoing pandemic. From 2010 to 2013, Nelson wrote and directed four plays centered around the Apple Family, a fictional household set in Rhinebeck, New York, with each play focused on either an election or a significant historical anniversary. While knowledge of the prior plays isn’t required, a brief summary at the beginning of the show, beginning at minute 4:44. Streaming for free through the end of August, although donations to The Actors Fund are encouraged. 

    Theater in Quarantine

    website link with both viewings


    The first installment of a new adaptation of Moliere's The Imaginary Invalid  "with improvements" by Dave McGee and Joshua William Gelb.  Watch a closet that serves as a stage! Gelb is a director, performer, and librettist whose work runs the gamut from devised physical theater, to stylized adaptations of classics, to original musicals as well as collaborations with emerging playwrights. He received his BFA at NYU Tisch’s Playwrights Horizons Theater School and his MFA in directing at Carnegie Mellon's School of Drama. Free on YouTube.

    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.  This 4-part radio series will be broadcast from Monday, July 13 through Thursday, July 16 at 7:00 p.m. CDT at WNYC.org.

    Lincoln Center Theater

    Streaming site

    PIPELINE is Dominique Morisseau’s strikingly powerful work, originally staged at Lincoln Center Theater in 2017. This intimate play depicts a mother’s hopes for her son and their clash with an educational system rigged against him.

    Hailed as “potent and intensely acted,“  The story follows Nya Joseph, a dedicated, inner-city public high school teacher, who is committed to her students’ achievement, while she sends her only son, Omari, to a private boarding school. When Omari is involved in a controversial incident which threatens him with expulsion from his school, Nya is forced to reconcile Omari’s rage, her own parental decisions, and the public and private school systems, as she rallies to save her son.

    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


    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."

    Watch Out of the Woods, a new play reading series by American Players Theatre. New performances premiere each Friday evening. Those already available are linked below in the section below with images.

    Upcoming Schedule

    July 17 - July 26

    An Improbable Fiction

    By James DeVita

    Directed by Tim Ocel

    How to Watch

    • Visit PBSWisconsin.org.
    • Direct links to the readings will be posted on Friday afternoons before the 7:00 pm start time.
    • Alternatively, you can watch on Fridays at 7:00 pm on APT's and PBS Wisconsin's Facebook pages.
    • Each performance will remain on the website after its initial posting, and will be available until July 26, with the full series available July 17 - 26.
    • PBS has lifted the geographical restrictions, so people outside of Wisconsin will be able to watch the series.

    Chekhov One-Act Plays

    The Core Acting Company presents a reading of three one-act plays by Anton Chekhov. The Bear, On the Harmfulness of Tobacco, and The Proposal: three stories about the complexities of love and life, marriage and moving on. After the reading, the actors and artistic team discuss creating these readings from their homes. Available now through July 26.

    As You Like It

    Watch the Core Acting Company and additional APT actors in a virtual reading of As You Like It, a quite-nearly-perfect Shakespearean comedy, featuring one of his greatest heroines. Afterwards, the actors and artistic team discuss producing these readings from their homes. Available now through July 26.

    Arms and the Man

    In Shaw’s Arms and the Man, love and war collide in a uniquely Shavian fashion when an enemy soldier climbs in through the idealistic Raina’s window, throwing her life and worldview into disarray. Following the performance, the actors and artistic team discuss creating these readings from their homes. Available now through July 26.

    Julius Caesar

    Watch the Core Acting Company and additional APT actors in this reading of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. Growing unease over Caesar's popularity spreads through Rome, spurring good people to do terrible deeds. A riveting political thriller about blood spilled in the name of the republic, and hands that hold the blades. Available now through July 26.

    Are You Now, or Have You Ever Been...

    Writer and activist Langston Hughes faces down his fears by writing a poem on the eve of his appearance before the Senate Permanent-Sub-Committee on Investigations on Un-American Activities. By Carlyle Brown. Directed by David Daniel. Featuring: Jim DeVita (Senator Dirksen), Jamal James (Frank Reeves), Gavin Lawrence (Langston Hughes), Brian Mani (Senator McCarthy), James Ridge (Roy Cohn), Marcus Truschinski (David Schine). Available now through July 26.

    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.

    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.  Premiere date: Jun 26, 2020 | 01:54:41 | Video expires Jul 24, 2020

    Streaming link


    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.

    National Theater of London

    The Deep Blue Sea

    Terence Rattigan’s devastating masterpiece contains one of the greatest female roles in contemporary drama, played by Helen McCrory.  In 1952 London, Hester Collyer is found by her neighbors in the aftermath of a failed suicide attempt. The story of her tempestuous affair with a former RAF pilot and the breakdown of her marriage to a High Court judge emerges, and with it comes a portrait of need, loneliness and long-repressed passion. 

    Streaming for free on YouTube July 9th, 1pm CDT, through 1pm CDT July 16th.


    Rowdy young prodigy Mozart arrives in Vienna determined to make a splash. Awestruck by his genius, court composer Antonio Salieri has the power to promote his talent or destroy it. Seized by obsessive jealousy he begins a war with Mozart, with music and, ultimately, with God. Peter Shaffer’s iconic play had its premiere at the National Theatre in 1979, winning multiple Olivier and Tony awards before being adapted into an Academy Award-winning film. Includes live orchestral accompaniment by Southbank Sinfonia. 

    Streaming for free on YouTube July 16th, 1pm CDT, through 1pm CDT July 23rd.  

    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).

    Stratford Festival Theatre - Watch@Home

    Stratford Festival

    The Stratford Festival Theatre is offering free streaming of 12 Shakespeare performances over a four month period.  The productions are a part of the festival’s “Stratford Festival On Film” series and this is the first time they are available for free.  

    Streaming link

    The Adventures of Pericles: Now through July 16

    A storm at sea brings love into the life of Pericles, Prince of Tyre; another snatches it away. Many years must pass before fate guides the wandering hero to a poignant reunion with the family he thought he had lost forever.

    Antony and Cleopatra:  Now through July 23

    Reason and judgement prove no match for the tsunami of mutual passion engulfing Mark Antony, one of the three joint rulers of the Roman republic, and Cleopatra, the seductive queen of Egypt. Surrendering everything to their desires, they open the floodgates to a civil conflict that will shake the very foundations of their world.

    Romeo and Juliet:  Now through July 30

    Falling headlong in love, two teenagers defy the long-simmering hatred between their families. But daring to love one's enemy comes with a terrible cost, as the needless sacrifice of young lives brings this heartbreaking story to its tragic conclusion.

    Hangar Theatre

    is offering a 2020 Virtual Mainstage Season this summer. All are live, streaming, online events!  PLEASE NOTE: Starting times specified are Eastern (Daylight) Time or EDT, even though the posters erroneously state EST.  Most PLATO viewers however, are in CENTRAL Daylight Time (CDT) zones.   Tickets: $20 each performance,  purchase 

    Queens Girl in the World,  Saturday, July 11 @ 7:30 p.m.

    Honk Your Horn: Celebrate! Musical! Theatre!,  Saturday, July 25 @ 7:30 p.m.

    Sense and Sensibility,  Saturday, August 8 @ 7:30 p.m.

    607.273.ARTS       hangartheatre.org

    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.

    Still Waters and Drowning Sorrows


    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:

Edie Urness-Pondillo
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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