Michael Madden

Recent Articles

MSO Pops and Cirque de la Symphonie: Magic for Eye and Ear
MSO Pops and Cirque de la Symphonie

Magic for Eye and Ear

European cirque style proves a good match for European musical masterworks.

Review: 7 Stories at Next Act Theatre
Review

7 Stories at Next Act Theatre

The Off-Broadway Theatre gets edgy with this new comedy, with expert timing and a rubber-faced protagonist.

Review: True West by Pink Banana Theatre Company
Review

True West by Pink Banana Theatre Company

The novel approach of setting Shepard's play in an actual apartment works, but some of the acting does not.

Review: ‘The Smell of the Kill’ convinces
Review

‘The Smell of the Kill’ convinces

What if you had the chance to kill someone without consequences?

Review: Invader? I Hardly Know Her!
Review

Invader? I Hardly Know Her!

At the moment, Invader? is Milwaukee’s own Little Shop of Horrors, bristling with snappy comedic dialogue, clever lyrical twists of the music, self-referencing humor and absurd plot points.

Review: “God Bridge” by Youngblood Theatre
Review

“God Bridge” by Youngblood Theatre

Youngblood finishes its summer season with an intriguing, absurdist original work that shows off acting chops.

Review: Sexual Perversity in Chicago
Review

Sexual Perversity in Chicago

Video presentation, a fluid direction, and that staccato way of talking. You know? Yeah. But you know? Right. It's playing at Bay View's Alchemist Theatre.

The Winter’s Tale, told in the dead of summer

The Winter’s Tale, told in the dead of summer

If the acting of Winter's Tale shines, then it's the APT stage design that intensifies the illumination. The production has been set in the late 19th (and early 20th) century.....Set changes are inventively pared down to the modified placement of a single and simple chair.

‘Henry V’ production proves simplicity can still be quality

‘Henry V’ production proves simplicity can still be quality

The one thing any Shakespeare play doesn't need in order to be successful is extraneous sensationalism. The Bard's text alone often makes the plays so dense that any effort to heighten them with elaborate or ornate design elements can seem like depreciation. With language so beautiful, characters so rich, and dramatic turns so engaging - all Shakespeare needs for a quality production is a talented and dedicated cast, supported by equally worthy direction. With Milwaukee's Quasi-Production' staging of Henry V, a vast array of talent has assembled to create a simple but highly engaging depiction of the solidarity of soldiers, the beauty of love, and the power of unity.

‘Henry V’ realized with more than just imaginary forces

‘Henry V’ realized with more than just imaginary forces

It is the final play from William Shakespeare's historical tetraology of British kings, and the most oft-quoted. This Quasi Productions performance of Henry V grew not only out of a collective desire to make a worthy theatrical presentation, but from a grim sense of incompletion.

‘Pirates’ invade the Skylight

‘Pirates’ invade the Skylight

pirates-penzanceA hilarious reach for the pinnacle of musical ridiculousness, Milwaukee's latest production of Gilbert and Sullivan's The Pirates of Penzance fully engages its audience's satirical sensibilities. Whimsically adapted by the Skylight Opera, this production is less a straightforward rendering of the classic comic opera and more a snapshot taken with a hall of mirrors lens.

Review: Wild Space Dance’s ‘Map of Memories’ sheds light on a disbanded Milwaukee community
Review

Wild Space Dance’s ‘Map of Memories’ sheds light on a disbanded Milwaukee community

Map of Memories is not only an enthralling 90-minute kinetic display of beautiful sinewy human motion but also a local history lesson. A performance event features a fascinating pre-show talk by Milwaukee Historian John Gurda about the origins of Jones Island, its inhabitants, and its eventual change into its support for modern industry.

Review: Social Security at Sunset Playhouse Theater
Review

Social Security at Sunset Playhouse Theater

Successful New York art dealers Barbara and David Kahn are about to have a problem. That problem comes in the form of a elderly, walker-using, bitter woman named Sophie. She is Barbara’s mother, and ever since Sophie’s husband died and children have grown up she has developed a penchant for creating arguments and difficulties with […]

The Pavilion

The Pavilion

“This is a play about time,” the Narrator of The Pavilion announces. And “time” here is both an intriguing theme an theatrical snag. The Pavilion is the latest entertainment offering of Next Act Theatre. Although the play has moments of genuine humor, literary beauty and acting prowess, overall, the production’s full-size sheet felt stretched out […]

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

On the surface Edward Albee’s 1951 play Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? – currently playing at The Alchemist Theater – seems to be nothing more than an intellectual pun on the verse “Who’s afraid of the big bad wolf?”, having little to do with the author herself. However, the disenchanted couple at the core of […]

A Bronx Tale

A Bronx Tale

Is it better to be loved or feared? This question gets to the heart of A Bronx Tale, Chazz Palmenteri’s tour de force currently ready to enthrall you at the Marcus Center’s Uilein Hall. The story takes place in the 1960s in (you guessed it) the Bronx and centers around a boy, Calogero (“C”), and […]