Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2020-06-24
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News  Entertainment Features Donate Bars & Clubs Calendar Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

Stage Door Jonny does Spring Green
by Jonathan Abarbanel, Windy City Times
2013-08-21

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


The small town of Spring Green sits at a confluence of nature where the valley of the Wisconsin River cuts through the gently rolling hills of Wisconsin's southwestern quadrant.

Within a few square miles one encounters dense woodlands, oak savannah, prairie remnants and river wetlands along with farmland as rich as any in the country. A century ago the beauty and peacefulness of the region—with its limestone outcroppings, sandy river shores and abundant flora and fauna—drew native son Frank Lloyd Wright back to establish Taliesin, his first great boot camp for architects. Not quite 35 years ago, a natural amphitheater just up the road from Taliesin became the home of American Players Theatre, now among the great cultural attractions of the Upper Midwest.

American Players Theatre (APT) offers eight productions in rotating repertory, five of them staged in the 1100-seat outdoor Up-the-Hill Theatre and three in the Touchstone Theatre, a 250-seat indoor (and air conditioned) house just down the hill. The APT's 110 acres offer scores of picnic tables, gas-fired barbeques free for use by patrons and food and gift concessions. But one comes for the theater, which mixes Shakespeare and more contemporary works. The 2013 season includes Hamlet, The Two Gentlemen of Verona and an adaptation of Antony and Cleopatra along with plays by Tom Stoppard, Arthur Miller, W. Somerset Maugham, Brian Friel and James DeVita (member of the APT core company). The season runs into October so you still have plenty of time to visit.

For some years APT made no particular effort to woo Chicago's large theater audience. Now, however, APT actively markets in the Windy City and encourage traffic between Chicago actors, directors and designers and APT core company members. Chicago folks spend the summer in Spring Green, while Spring Green folks work here during the winter.

For example, Chicago-based Matt Schwader is at APT (for the seventh season) playing the large and demanding title role in Hamlet but also the small supporting role of Hamlet in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. Other Chicagoans in the hills this year are Kelsey Brennan, Steve Haggard (A Red Orchid ensemble member), Rob Fagin, Cristina Panfilio and Barbara Zahora among others. And Chicago-based directors James Bohnen, William Brown and Kate Buckley have become APT regulars. The exchange of clear country air for urban grit has been a fertile one, to judge by this season's productions.

The centerpiece of a recent two-day visit was The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Shakespeare's early romantic comedy in rhymed verse. It concerns lifelong best friends (the gents of the title) who fall in love with the same woman. One friend betrays the other and jilts his own sworn love before things are set right. What a delight to see this Shakespeare rarity (I've seen it only twice before) at an outdoor matinee, performed without any artificial lighting, just natural daylight and filtered sunshine! The company was engaging and the pace was swift, but the star of the show was Chicagoan Steve Haggard. As Launce, the comical servant to one of the gents, he fired a series of puns and double-entendres directly at the audience, acknowledging with a nod or wink the viewers who picked up each line the quickest.

Although more subdued, Haggard was just as pitch-perfect as Guildenstern, the smarter title character in Tom Stoppard's intellectual comedy, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. I saw the first preview so I can't officially review the show, but I told director James Bohnen the show was in fine shape and he could quit worrying. Bohnen was the founding artistic director of Remy-Bumppo Theatre here in Chicago, and directs annually at APT. He also owns Arcadia Books & Kitchen in Spring Green proper, a short distance across the river, and a great place to hang, browse and sip coffee.

My third show was Dickens in America in the intimate Touchstone Theatre, a one-man show by James DeVita which recreates (with a few liberties) one of Charles Dickens's famous appearances in which he read from his own works. Performed with passion and nuance by James Ridge, who is a fair physical match for Dickens, it was an engrossing and enjoyable change-of-pace. It would be a great show for someone to do in Chicago with an actor such as Larry Neumann Jr.

Spring Green accommodations range from town or farmhouse B&Bs, to several motels (Spring Valley Inn is the nicest), to the House on the Rock Resort with a magnificent physical setting, golf, two pools, tennis, nightly APT shuttle and bargain-priced top-shelf drinks in the restaurant and bars. FYI: a few miles up the Wisconsin River is legal clothing-optional Mazomanie Beach with its share of LGBT patrons. You get there by car, canoe or kayak.


facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Pride Films and Plays announces new leadership (PRESS RELEASE) 2020-07-03 - Chicago, IL - The Board of Directors of Pride Films and Plays has voted to bring new leadership to the company, effective immediately. ...


Gay News

Broadway suspends shows through 2020 2020-06-30 - The Broadway League announced June 29 that Broadway performances in New York City will be suspended through the remainder of 2020 due to ...


Gay News

'Magic Parlour at Home' during July 2020-06-28 - Magician Dennis Watkins is taking his experience The Magic Parlour online for a completely new virtual offering dubbed "The Magic Parlour at Home." ...


Gay News

CHF talk to feature Abby McEnany and Samantha Irby 2020-06-24 - Actor Abby McEnany and writer Samantha Irby will have a conversation in a Chicago Humanities Festival digital program that will take place Thursday, ...


Gay News

THEATER Despite everything, there are shows for Pride Week 2020-06-24 - It's almost impossible to write about the indelible events of 2020 ( which is still not quite half over ) without diminishing them. ...


Gay News

Raven Theatre names new managing director 2020-06-24 - Following a nationwide search, Raven Theatre's board of directors announced Markie Gray as the company's new managing director, effective July 1. Originally from ...


Gay News

47th Non-Equity Jeff Awards announces honorees 2020-06-22 - June 22, 2020 — Chicago — As part of the annual recognition of theater excellence, the 47th Non-Equity Jeff Awards has announced honorees ...


Gay News

'That's Queer, Grandma' June 22-July 6 2020-06-17 - PlayMakers Laboratory ( PML ) celebrates Pride Month virtually with a free presentation of That's Queer, Grandma—a romp through student-written stories that at ...


Gay News

COVID-19 Mercury Theater permanently closing 2020-06-17 - Executive Director L. Walter Stearns and partner, business manager Eugene Dizon, announced the permanent closure of Mercury Theater Chicago after 10 years and ...


Gay News

The Last Sunday in June online live reading June 28 2020-06-16 - Chicago, IL - Jonathan Tolins' look at gay life in the 1990s - THE LAST SUNDAY IN JUNE — will be performed via ...


 



Copyright © 2020 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor


 



About WCMG Publications News  Entertainment Features Donate Bars & Clubs Calendar Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.