Eric Salisbury is ecstatic about being back in Madison. After working outside of Wisconsin, Salisbury, a graduate of the UW's Bolz Center for Arts Administration, has returned as a full-time fund-raiser for the Overture Center, and he's already plunged back into the local arts world.
In years past, the Overture Center and its predecessor, the Madison Civic Center, didn't work very often with outside promoters. The center usually took on all the risk in hopes of reaping greater rewards. The 2008-09 season indicates that Overture's approach has changed.
It was the best of times, it was the suckiest of times. With American theater these days it's hard to really tell. Broadway is booming. Audiences have flocked to the Pulitzer Prize-winning, 3½-hour "August: Osage County", which has renewed many a cynic's faith in the oldest (arts) profession. Chicago, the incubator of Tracy Letts' play (it's a Steppenwolf Theatre production), is hosting big musicals for three-year runs, and many are proclaiming that our Midwestern neighbor is the true center of the American stage.
If you know the seven different kinds of pickle to serve at a funeral, and the difference between Andersen and Anderson is of vital importance to you, then hurry along to Overture Center and get a big green Jell-O scoop of Church Basement Ladies before it's all gobbled up. You'll be glad you did.
Overture Center for the Arts has plugged the programming hole left by the defunct Madison Repertory Theatre. Its first-ever Playhouse performance series, announced June 11, will feature Milwaukee Repertory Theater and other troupes.