American Players Theatre was established in 1979, and its first performance, William Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” was held on July 18, 1980. Since then, APT has grown to national prominence, adding several administrative and rehearsal buildings, as well as the Touchstone Theatre in 2009, while expanding its company and its repertoire.
APT will host its 40th Anniversary Party at 1-4 p.m. July 21. Activities include live music by APT company members and special guests; a silent auction featuring artifacts from the APT stage and artwork made by APT designers and artisans; food carts from Pizza Brutta, Dickey’s Barbecue Pit and Kona Ice; and the official opening of “Art in the Woods.”
Additionally, APT will hold “Speak the Speech: A Live APT Redux” in conjunction with the 40th anniversary party. From noon through the end of the anniversary party at 4 p.m., people will be speaking the words of the last 40 years, culminating in some favorite passages read by APT’s Core Acting Company. Anyone can sign up to take part in the “Speak the Speech” event by visiting APT’s website and filling out the Google form. Readings must be five minutes or less, and selected from the canon of APT productions. Tickets to the 40th anniversary event are on sale now at americanplayers.org. The cost is $12.
APT’s premiere art exhibition, “Art in the Woods,” will feature works from seven artists, placed among the theater’s 110 acres of woods and prairies. The grand opening of “Art in the Woods” will be held on July 21 and the exhibition, which is free of charge and doesn’t require tickets, will continue through Sept. 1.
“Art in the Woods” was made possible in part from a Joint Effort Marketing Grant awarded by the Wisconsin Department of Tourism. Other sponsors include David and Paula Kraemer, The Malcolm Stack Foundation, Orange and Dean Schroeder, Oakwood Village, Kraemer Brothers LLC and Wipfli
APT is thrilled to announce the artists and works that will be included in the Art in the Woods exhibition.
Mindy Burger, “Kalevala Lanterns”
Mindy is an arts educator residing in Cincinnati, Ohio, who has been working with the Kennedy Heights Arts Center (https://kennedyarts.org) since it began 15 years ago, first as a teacher in a neighboring school, then as an artist, teacher and part-time employee. Founded by a group of families in the community to rescue a historical home that was becoming a blight, the center’s goal is to make art and to build community. She has participated in four artist-in-residence projects there and exhibited her work in numerous shows.
Dennis Robert, “Blue Leaf Sculpture” (stone, steel and copper)
A Wisconsin-based artist, Dennis (www.dennisrobert.com) is inspired by the unique patterns and distinctive shapes found in nature, as well as the colors and textures of rocks. His goal is for the sculptures to reveal an alternative perspective, providing the viewer with a diverse and unique visual experience. Dennis enjoys watching the sparks fly as he creates metal and stone mixed media sculptures in his basement workshop. Utilizing a detailed fine welding technique he assembles metal into organic looking forms. This gives his sculptures a sense of natural growth, movement and flow.
Jenie Gao, “Portal Sculpture” (painted fabric)
Jenie (www.jenie.org) is a full-time artist, creative director and entrepreneur. She specializes in large-scale projects, printmaking, murals and public art installations. She strives to create works that become cultural cornerstones and community landmarks. Jenie’s artwork is an act of claiming space for the stories, environments and people that are traditionally told to take up less space.
Peter Krsko, “GENERA” (pine sculpture)
Peter (www.peterkrsko.com) listens to nature and creates objects and experiences to share his observations. His approach combines science and art; participatory, interactive and community arts; and play with hands-on education. In 2006, while working on a Ph.D. in biophysics and materials science, Krsko discovered a way to use a traditional scanning electron microscope as a focused electron beam lithography instrument, enabling him to create artwork viewable only with a microscope. He continues providing educational services to schools, summer camps, after-school programs and correctional facilities. Krsko also creates collaborative and community public art, such as sculptures and murals, inspired by biological concepts of diversity, differentiation, participation and co-ownership.
Tom Montemurro, “Royal Couple” (Stainless Steel Sculpture)
Tom Montemurro (www.montemurrostudio.com), a Wisconsin artist, is a sculptor who builds models used in point-of-purchase displays. He uses a variety of metals, including steel, stainless steel, bronze and copper. He sometimes combines these with resin, fiberglass, rigid foam and various woods. Montemurro does commissions and has displayed and sold his work in galleries in Kansas, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Arizona. Tom is a graduate of Wichita State University.
Alicia Rheal, “Lady Macbeth” (Painting based on John Singer Sargent’s “Lady Macbeth”)
Alicia Rheal (www.rhealimagination.com), a native of New York, has been painting professionally since 1986 when she created her company, Rheal Imagination. At the start, the business specialized in painting custom designs on clothing. In 989, Alicia started painting backdrops and sets for opera, ballet, television and theater. Since then, Alicia has continued to work as a scenic artist for theater, as well as move into the world of custom murals and collaborative art. Alicia lives in Madison with her husband, Bryan, and stepson, Martin.
Andrée Valley, “Collection of Aluminum and Powder Coat Sculptures”
Andrée’s artwork (www.andreevalley.com) is based upon perceived chaos and how that chaos is contained within an object. She is interested in randomness and layering of units in her wall pieces and the lack of orientation in works that sit on the floor or hang with swiveled wire. Inspired by music, this work reflects the shading, tempo and interweaving of sounds. Inspired by our dynamic planet, the shape, color, pattern, piling, stacking and tangling in the pieces reflect what we see when looking at earth forms. Viewing shape and pattern through each other, as a representation of aural and visual complexity, reveals ever-changing relationships.
Tickets to APT’s 40th anniversary season are on sale now at americanplayers.org or by calling the APT box office at (608) 588-2361.