The coming season marks the first time Madison Rep will perform The Playhouse in the Overture Center for the Arts. Rep artistic director Richard Corley will stage the Thornton Wilder classic Our Town with an eye toward including a mix of community members, Equity actors, students and church choirs. The multicultural-cast staging will inaugurate the new space Feb. 17-March 12, 2006.
Thornton Wilder (The Skin of Our Teeth, Our Town, The Matchmaker, "The Bridge of San Luis Rey") was a Madison native. De Shields, who studied at University of Wisconsin, starred in Broadway's Play On!, Ain't Misbehavin', The Full Monty, Prymate and more. He was Tony nominated as Best Featured Actor in a Musical for Play On! and The Full Monty.
In 2004-05, Madison Rep split its time between University of Wisconsin's Mitchell Theatre and the 280-seat black-box Promenade Hall at the Overture Center. The still-under-construction new space at Overture will be a 300-seat thrust called The Playhouse, with Madison Rep as the primary tenant.
The new 2005-06 season begins with the third annual Madison New Play Festival (Sept. 17-25), which includes readings of new works in progress (by Charles Smith, Heather McDonald, Keith Bunin, Willy Holtzman, Darrah Cloud, Louise Beach) and a full mainstage production of a new play (Sept. 9-Oct. 2). This year's mainstage feature is the Midwest premiere of a revised version of Tina Howe's Rembrandt's Gift (Sept. 9-Oct. 2).
Corley directs the play, billed as a "romantic and whimsical journey of discovery" from the writer of Painting Churches and Pride's Crossing. The play "takes us deep into the world of Walter and Polly, two present-day aging and self-obsessed artists who get a surprise visit from Rembrandt Van Rijn. The humorous clash of contemporary and classic worlds prompts a self-awakening that will leave audiences refreshed and renewed." Rembrandt's Gift was originally presented in the 2002 Humana Festival at Actors Theatre of Louisville and has been extensively revised for Madison Repertory Theatre.
The Madison Rep 2005-06 season also includes:
Arthur Miller's The Price, a tale of two middle-aged brother sorting through their dead father's estate, directed by Richard Corley, April 28-May 21, 2006. For more information, call (608) 258-4141 or visit www.madisonrep.org.