More Radio

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by Michael on December 22, 2016

Thanks to the Chicago Tribune‘s Rick Kogan for a relaxed and gracious interview on WGN Radio. You can listen here. Of course the whole show is fascinating, but if you’re in a hurry the Much Ado segment starts at about 17:00.

Love This List

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by Michael on December 21, 2016

Remember your newspaper’s books section? It died and went to cyberspace and became the National Book Review. I’ve always wanted to be on their weekly Hot 5 list: “five books people are talking about this week, or should be.” And here I am! Thank you Elizabeth Taylor, Chicago book goddess.


Chapter 4: Beatrice

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by Michael on December 13, 2016

In late summer 2013, when David Frank knew for sure he would be directing Much Ado, he didn’t have to think about who would be his Beatrice: Colleen Madden would. She is one of the company’s stars, a small woman with a big voice, an extraordinary actress. I saw her take Benedick’s arm in playful surrender to their newly blossomed love, and moments later I watched enraptured as he knelt before her and asked, “How doth your cousin?” more

Much Ado on Radio

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by Michael on December 7, 2016

I was interviewed by Veronica Rueckert and Rob Ferrett of Wisconsin Public Radio’s Central Time. We talked about the book, APT, and the creation of the play’s magic moment. Listen here.

Chapter 2: Play in the Woods

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by Michael on November 28, 2016

Back in the days when whimsy was thought to be a desirable quality for internet addresses, APT’s website was The woods, and trekking through them from the parking lot to the “Up the Hill” stage, have always been an important part of the company’s identity. And despite its unlikely location just south of Spring Green, Wisconsin, population 1,628, APT ranks among the country’s elite classical theater companies, with an annual budget of about $6 million and ticket sales of more than 100,000 each season.

The company was founded in 1979 by a small group of big thinkers more

Chapter One: Much Ado

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by Michael on October 3, 2016

Out in the woods, a trumpet sounds. Then sounds again, louder and closer. Up on the bridge that looms over center stage, young Hero appears in a pouffy peach dress. She looks off toward the sound as though she is waiting for something. Could this be it? Music begins—an oboe line floating prettily over a bed of nervous strings. Behind Hero comes her cousin Beatrice in a simple wine-red dress. Older and wiser, she gazes with amusement at her agitated cousin as a servant enters from the wings stage left. He looks up at Hero with a question in his eyes: where is her father Leonato? more

In Stores Now

by Michael on September 23, 2016

…or at least in one of our favorite stores, Arcadia Books in Spring Green. John Christensen, the manager there, says his shipment has arrived and he’ll start selling today, September 23. If you’re not close enough to stop in, order from Arcadia and get free shipping with the code freeship16.

The book should be available at your favorite indie too, if they ordered any. If they didn’t, ask them why the hell not and pester them till they do!

Our First Review

by Michael on September 23, 2016

Much Ado has been reviewed by Kirkus Reviews, whose writer astutely observes that it “shows us with rare clarity how a professional company prepares a production.” Conclusion: the book is “A series of bright, clear photographs of what the author saw when he pulled aside the curtain in a Wisconsin Oz.” Read the whole thing here.

Coming Fall 2016 From Agate Midway

by Michael May 10, 2016

A new book about acting, Shakespeare, and making theater, based on American Players Theatre’s 2014 production of Much Ado About Nothing. Now available for pre-order. Read more here.  “In school they teach you that collaboration is everybody doing the same thing. It’s not true. Nobody’s doing the same thing. We all have different things in […]

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My New Project

by Michael September 27, 2014
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I spent much of spring and summer 2014 in Spring Green, Wisconsin, following American Players Theatre‘s production of Much Ado About Nothing–researching what I hope will someday be a long immersion piece on the art and craft of theater. Meanwhile here’s a little taste, a profile of David Frank, the artistic director, who is retiring […]

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