Tag Archives: mad cow theatre

Theater review: ‘The Understudy’ at Mad Cow

By Elizabeth Maupin
Elizabeth Maupin on Theater

Michele Feren, Brian Brightman and Josh Geoghagan in 'The Understudy' (photo courtesy of Mad Cow Theatre)

There’s something more than a little Kafkaesque about The Understudy. And it’s not just that, in the play-within-a-play at the center of Theresa Rebeck’s 2008 comedy, the scenery has a way of rolling in and out for no apparent reason and the sound and lighting have a way of switching on and off of their own free will.

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Theater review: ‘Legacy of Light’ at Mad Cow

Steven Lane (Voltaire) and Heather Charles (Émilie du Châtelet) in Mad Cow Theatre's 'Legacy of Light.' (Photo courtesy of Mad Cow Theatre.)

By Elizabeth Maupin
Elizabeth Maupin on Theater

There’s a spark in the eye of Karen Zacarias’s women. You can see it in Émilie du Châtelet, the 18th-century mathematician and physicist at the heart of Legacy of Light, the smart, tender little comedy at Mad Cow Theatre. You can see it in Olivia, the modern-day astrophysicist who’s trying to live her life to the fullest while she has the chance. And you can see it in Millie, a young woman who goes to unusual lengths to build herself a different kind of life.

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Mad Cow announces Sondheim opener for new theater

'A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte,' by Georges Seurat

Mad Cow Theatre is just hinting at what will make up its 15th season, which will start out in the two current theater spaces on Magnolia Avenue and move, in January 2012, to 54 W. Church St.

But they’ve opened up about one thing, and it’s a biggie: The musical opening the new theater spaces, from Jan. 27 to Feb. 19, 2012, is Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s Sunday in the Park With George.

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Robin Jensen joins Florida Opera Theatre

Robin Jensen

Robin Jensen, an Orlando Opera alum and a frequent collaborator at Mad Cow Theatre, is joining Florida Opera Theatre as its director of youth programs. Robin is also artistic director for UCF’s opera program and head of the music program at New School Preparatory Orlando.

Auditions for Florida Opera Theatre’s will be in late August. Watch here for more info on that as the time gets closer.

Here’s more on Robin:

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The show must go on

Selena Ayumi Bass and Roger Floyd in 'Rashomon' (photo by Tom Hurst/Mad Cow Theatre)

Congratulations to the cast of Mad Cow’s Rashomon, director Michael Marinaccio and especially actors Ryan Gigliotti and Mark Edward Smith for showing what theater people can be made of.

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Mad Cow postpones ‘Rashomon’

Mad Cow Theatre’s production of Rashomon has been postponed until next week due to a rehearsal injury on the part of one of the cast members. Staff member Zac Alfson says that the injury wasn’t serious but that there’s so much swordplay in the show that the theater wanted to make sure everyone would be in good shape. Here’s more:

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Theater auditions: Musicals at Mad Cow

Here’s an audition notice for musical-theater folks at Mad Cow Theatre:

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Bruun leaving Disney World for Disneyland

Alan Bruun

Alan Bruun, one of the founders of Mad Cow Theatre and the artistic director there for most of its 14-year history, is moving to southern California to work as creative director of entertainment at Disneyland.

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Theater review: ‘A Funny Thing Happened …’ at Mad Cow

By Elizabeth Maupin
Elizabeth Maupin on Theater

Rick Stanley as Pseudolus in Mad Cow Theatre's 'A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.' (Photo by Tom Hurst/Mad Cow Theatre.)

Watching the big cast of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum fit itself onto the decidedly small stage at Mad Cow Theatre is like watching a couple of dozen clowns pour out of an old VW Beetle. You know it can be done, but you’re damned if you can figure out how.

And there’s another similarity: You know this kind of comedy is old hat, but you’re cackling at it all the while.

Forum may be pushing its 50th birthday, and it may turn up on college and community-theater stages often enough to keep composer-lyricist Stephen Sondheim in legal pads and pencils. But thanks to director Katrina Ploof and an ace trio of veteran comic actors, this frothy musical comedy comes pretty close to looking like a classic.

The production marks the return to Mad Cow’s stage of actor Rick Stanley, who was everywhere in the theater’s early days but more recently has taken his talents elsewhere. Stanley’s world-weary Pseudolus has seen it all, and his exasperated take on Forum’s Rome and its dimwitted citizens gives the show its comic thrust.

Rick Stanley as Pseudolus, Thomas Ouellette as Hysterium and Stephan Jones as Miles Gloriosus. (Photo by Tom Hurst/Mad Cow Theatre.)

But this particular Pseudolus has artful assistance — from Thomas Ouellette (better known as a director at Orlando Shakespeare Theater, Mad Cow and Rollins College’s Annie Russell Theatre), whose nimble-witted Hysterium is beside himself simply because he has seen so terribly much go wrong; and from Stephan Jones, who channels the smoldering bits of his El Gallo and the scary bits of his Sweeney Todd to make a Miles Gloriosus whose might is only exceeded by his vanity.

Forum, of course, is an early 1960s musical-comedy take on burlesque, with comely young women, leering older men and a battle-axe trying and failing to keep everyone else in line. (One of many tips of the hat to burlesque: Pseudolus says he has more bad news to deliver, and Hysterium replies, “I hope it’s good.”)

Thanks to Alan S. Reynolds’ ingenious scenic design, this production suggests a cross-breeding with a later-’60s artifact, Laugh-In: In addition to the three doors in the set that stand for the houses of Erronius, Lycus and Senex, there are hidden windows all over the place, and all manner of unlikely objects show up through those chinks.

And, in a nod to the musical end of musical comedy, choreographer Kevin Davis and his two fellow Proteans (Lori Engler and Patch Panzella) tap-dance niftily through many of their scenes.

Melissa Davis as Philia. (Photo by Tom Hurst/Mad Cow Theatre.)

The cast is filled ably with other comic talents, especially Melissa Davis as the deliciously vacuous maiden Philia to Michael Mucciolo’s sweet-faced Hero; Danny Villnow’s dogged Erronius; and Sara Catherine Barnes’ priceless Gymnasia, a dominatrix with her tongue firmly in her cheek.

Rod Cathey is a suitably brow-beaten Senex; Gail Bartell, her eyes rimmed in black, makes an amusingly scary Domina; and most of the rest of the cast do fine in smaller roles. One favorite moment: When Cathey, Stanley, Ouellette and Tony Dietterick (as Lycus) sing “Everybody Ought to Have a Maid,” the four of them are so cute and silly that they banish any sexist smirk from the stage.

The production’s final melee may seem a little drawn out, but Ploof and musical director Robin Jensen keep things moving nicely most of the time, and their actors leave nothing to chance. You may want to take in Forum just to see Jones use the reflection on his sword to zhuzh his hair, or to hear Ouellette moan like a mule in pain, or to listen to Stanley make his quavering, portentous call to Thespis, the inventor of acting. Whatever reason you have, be assured: Thespis has answered the call.

‘A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum’
What: Mad Cow Theatre production of Stephen Sondheim-Larry Gelbart-Burt Shevelove musical.
Where: Mad Cow Theatre, 105 S. Magnolia Ave., Orlando.
When: 7:30 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays, 2:30 p.m. Sundays, through July 10 (also, 7:30 p.m. June 13 and July 4).
Running time: Two hours 20 minutes, with one intermission.
Cost: $29 general, $27 seniors and students, $15 Mondays.
Call: 407-297-8788 Ext. 1.
Online: madcowtheatre.com.

Cabaret Fest to close with Nunziata twins as headliners

Will Nunziata & Anthony Nunziata debut at Feinstein's

Here’s more on Will and Anthony Nunziata, the twin singers who will headline the Orlando Cabaret Festival this weekend:

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Cabaret Fest opens Friday with Broadway Boy Jesse Nager — and friend

It’s Orlando Cabaret Festival time again, and we cabaret fans will be getting ourselves down to Mad Cow Theatre to hear some discoveries from the New York cabaret scene along with some swell local talent. Here’s news about the first weekend’s headliner:

Jesse Nager and Andrea Canny:

Jesse Nager

The Boys are back! Well, one of the boys … The Broadway Boys’ founder and artistic director, Jesse Nager is back in town – this time with a show of his own!

Jesse Nager is joined onstage by Andrea Canny … two of your Cabaret Favorites together at last!

A veteran of several Broadway shows and national tours, Jesse will sing all the best songs from these iconic shows — that belonged to other characters. The performance will feature music from Mary Poppins, Mamma Mia!, Good Vibrations, and many more.

Andrea Canny

No stranger to Orlando audiences after three appearances with the Broadway Boys, Jesse goes it alone with Songs I didn’t Get to Sing.

Jesse has sung with Mariah Carey, Shania Twain, and Jason Mraz and is also a member of the Broadway Inspirational Voices. Jesse is the artistic director of the Broadway Boys, a collection of New York tenors that add elements of pop/gospel/funk to traditional musical theater repertoire.

Tickets & Times:

4/29 at 8 pm |  4/30 at 8 pm |  5/1 at 3 pm

Learn more about  Our Headliners >

Learn more about the Songwriters’ Spotlight Series >

Learn more about our It Was A Very Good Year Series >

The more you see, the more you save!  Learn about our package deals.

Tickets are limited. Please call the Mad Cow Theatre box office at 407.297.8788 to reserve your tickets. Not applicable with any other special offer or discount. Offer only applies to performances listed above while supplies last.

For more information about The Orlando Cabaret Festival visit our website at orlandocabaret.com.

Due to the nature of live theatre, all artists, schedules and programming are subject to change. We regret any inconveniences.

Mad Cow Theatre | 105 S. Magnolia Ave. | Orlando, FL 32801

Mad Cow wants to train kids in the art of cabaret

Here’s an interesting idea — kids’ cabaret, or more specifically, kids from the Boys’ and Girls’ Clubs being trained in the art of cabaret.

That’s the goal of Mad Cow Theatre in a partnership with the Boys’ and Girls’ Clubs of Central Florida — and, naturally enough, you can help.

In fact, this project will only happen if Mad Cow is able to raise at least $530 by May 12. We ought to be able to do that:

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Jazz trio added to Cabaret Festival lineup

Mad Cow Theatre, with the cooperation of the Consulate of Mexico, has added the Javier Nandayapa Trio to the lineup of the upcoming Orlando Cabaret Festival. The trio will give a free concert May 4 at Mad Cow.

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Mad Cow to host designers’ forums Friday night

A bunch of local designers and directors, active in theater and the theme-park world, will take part in two designers’ forums Friday April 22 at Mad Cow Theatre. Both will benefit the American Cancer Society Relay for Life in memory of Stephanie Girard, an art director and designer who died last year.

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Mad Cow gathers swell cast for ‘Forum’

Have you all heard who’s in the cast for A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, opening at Mad Cow June 3? It’s a pretty impressive bunch:

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Mad Cow announces cabaret headliners

Here’s more news on the upcoming Orlando Cabaret Festival at Mad Cow Theatre, with the schedule of the festival’s headliners now complete. They are:

  • Jesse Nager

    Jesse Nager, Broadway singer and artistic director of the Broadway Boys, appearing with Andrea Canny,  April 29-May 1.

  • Tony DeSare, singer, pianist and songwriter, May 5-8.
  • Will and Anthony Nunziata, singers (and identical twins), May 12-15.

Also on the schedule, a string of Songwriters’ Spotlight performers, including some local favorites: Continue reading

Cabaret Festival to feature newcomers Will & Anthony Nunziata

Will and Anthony Nunziata

Mad Cow Theatre’s Orlando Cabaret Festival has featured some big names in the past, but this year it’s taking a leap toward the up-and-coming, with its guests the final weekend Will and Anthony Nunziata.

The two very handsome 20-something identical twins will headline the festival’s final weekend May 12-15.

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Mad Cow hiring for part-time box-office position

Here’s a notice from Mad Cow Theatre that it needs to hire somebody to work part-time in the box office:

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Mad Cow to present staged reading of ‘Women of Lockerbie’


Deborah Brevoort

Some of you may know playwright Deborah Brevoort, who has conducted play-writing workshops here and whose play The Blue-Sky Boys, about the engineers responsible for the first Apollo moon landing, was done at PlayFest a while back.


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Mad Cow sets community-giving night for arts-ed group

A portion of the proceeds from Thursday night’s performance of Circle Mirror Transformation, at Mad Cow Theatre, will go to the Florida Alliance for Arts Education. Here’s more:

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