Upcoming events

    • June 29, 2020
    • (CDT)
    • December 31, 2020
    • (CST)
    • Internet

    virtual theater Trips

    PLATO theater trips will return!  But during the COVID-19 era, we still have some options for you. Use the links to connect to more information or to the appropriate streaming service, which will vary. Check out these online performances before they disappear.



    August 11 - 15


    Starring Steve Ross and KT Sullivan

    “Charming… [the songs are] all terribly clever and amusing.” – The New   Yorker

    Get to know the life and times of one of the 20th century’s most dynamic creative icons – Noël Coward – through this intimate performance in which Steve Ross and KT Sullivan transform into some of the many characters that made up Coward’s unique life…Gertrude Lawrence, Marlene Dietrich, Greta Garbo, Elaine Stritch, Lynn Fontanne, Virginia Woolf, Edna Ferber, the Queen Mother, and, of course, The Master himself, Noël Coward.

    Through Coward’s songs, stories, and personal letters, cabaret legends Steve Ross and KT Sullivan will summon up timeless memories of an era that may be gone, but is never to be forgotten.

    After the sold-out run of the Irish Rep World Premiere production of Love, Noël in the summer of 2019, Irish Repertory Theatre is delighted to present Love, Noël on-screen this summer.

    Advance reservations are required. Your event link will be emailed 2 hours before your selected performance begins.  Donation recommended.

    The Old Vic: In Camera

    Three Kings

    The world premiere of Three Kings, a new play by Stephen Beresford, written for and starring Andrew Scott, has been created especially for OLD VIC: IN CAMERA. The performance will be streamed live directly from the iconic Old Vic stage with the empty auditorium as a backdrop. By turns hilarious and heartbreaking, Three Kings is about fathers and sons, the gifts and burdens of inheritance, and the unfathomable puzzle of human relationships. Tickets must be purchased ahead of time and are approximately $38 and up, although the view will be the same at any price. This one-hour play is streaming live (with or without captions)  Due to Andrew Scott needing minor surgery, this has been rescheduled for August 7-8.

    The Public Theater 

    The Line

    Crafted from firsthand interviews with New York City medical first responders during the COVID-19 pandemic, The Line cuts through the media and political noise to reveal the lived experiences of frontline medical workers in New York and their battle to save lives in a system built to serve the bottom line. Starring Santino Fontana and Lorraine Toussaint, among others. Available on demand until September 1 at 10:59PM CDT on The Public Theater YouTube Channel.

    Richard II  by William Shakespeare.  Conceived for the Radio and Directed by Saheem Ali

    Without a venue for their free Shakespeare in the Park series, The Public Theater is instead producing a radio version of Richard II.  Listen as the last of the divinely anointed monarchs descends and loses it all. One of the Bard’s only dramas entirely in verse, this epic and intimate play presents the rise of the house of Lancaster through a riveting tale of lost sovereignty, political intrigue, and psychological complexity.  The all-star cast includes Andre Holland as Richard. Read a "behind the scenes" account of the production in the New York Times.  This 4-part radio series  originally streamed live at WNYC.org in July. It is now available for download on the Public Theater website and wherever you get your podcasts.

    The Homebound Project

    Edition 5

    The Homebound Project ​is new theater made to raise funds for nonprofit organizations working at the forefront of the child hunger crisis. Through an online platform and as an all-volunteer artist team, each edition features a collection of up to 12 original plays, written by homebound playwrights and recorded by sheltering actors. The 5th edition will include actors Laurie Metcalf, Kelli O'Hara, Austin Pendelton, and Amanda Seyfried, as well as playwrights Lena Dunham and Sylvia Khoury.  View-at-home tickets begin at $10, with all proceeds benefiting​ ​No Kid Hungry​, a national campaign working to feed countless children living with hunger. The 5th Edition airs August 5-9.

    Billy Budd   

    Benjamin Britten’s opera Billy Budd tells the story of the persecution and destruction of a young sailor by a predatory master-at-arms. From rollicking sea shanties to bombastic choral episodes, Britten’s searing opera roars to life in a spectacular, new production that transforms a British man o’ war into a crucible for human faith and error. Iowa PBS filmed and produced this 2017 show by the Des Moines Metro Opera. Streaming for free on YouTube now  through August 26.

    Live from Lincoln Center 


    The New York Philharmonic presents a stunning production (staged but without sets, in front of the orchestra) of this iconic Rogers & Hammerstein work about a young woman in New England and the carnival barker who steals her heart. Featuring a star-studded cast including Kelli O’Hara, Nathan Gunn, Jason Danieley, Jessie Mueller, and New York City Ballet dancers Robert Fairchild and Tiler Peck. Available through Tuesday, September 8 at 7:00 p.m. CDT.

    Hamilton Lecture

    Madisonian theater guru Sarah Marty will be the keynote speaker for a University of Missouri-Kansas City event on Tuesday, August 4. The 5:30 pm CDT online lecture "Hamilton and the Genius of LIn-Manuel Miranda" is free, but registration is required. After signing up, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar on the day of the event. Sign up at:



    The show you have been waiting for, with the original Broadway cast! Winner of the Tony Award for best new musical and Pulitzer Prize in drama, this sensational show chronicles the life of the first U.S. Treasurer Alexander Hamilton and his compatriots through a variety of musical styles.  Filmed live at The Richard Rodgers Theatre on Broadway in June of 2016. Local critic Rob Thomas says "in some ways it’s better than the best seats in the house." Watch it on Disney Plus; there is no end date. A one-month subscription is $6.99, and you can cancel at any time. More details on this unique viewing experience.

    The Apple Family Plays

    And So We Come Forth -- The Apple Family: A Dinner on Zoom

    The sixth offering in the Apple Family Plays cycle, written and directed by Richard Nelson. A family dines over Zoom in early July 2020 – amidst protests against racial injustice and the ongoing pandemic. From 2010 to 2013, Nelson wrote and directed four plays centered around the Apple Family, a fictional household set in Rhinebeck, New York, with each play focused on either an election or a significant historical anniversary. While knowledge of the prior plays isn’t required, a brief summary at the beginning of the show, beginning at minute 4:44. Streaming for free through the end of August, although donations to The Actors Fund are encouraged. 

    Theater in Quarantine

    The 7th Voyage of Egon Tichy

    A new space adventure inspired by Stanislaw Lem’s Star Diaries created with Jon Levin and Josh Luxenberg (Sinking Ship’s A Hunger Artist) with video design by Jessie Garrison. Space traveler Egon Tichy likes his quiet time. But when his ship gets hit by a chunk of interstellar detritus, sending him careening into a minefield of time vortexes, a series of increasingly absurd events makes his chances of returning to normal ever less likely.

    Theater in Quarantine is a digital performance laboratory from writer/director/performer Joshua William Gelb, live-streaming from a 4x8x2 closet in his East Village apartment. Gelb is a director, performer, and librettist whose work runs the gamut from devised physical theater, to stylized adaptations of classics, to original musicals as well as collaborations with emerging playwrights. Live performance July 30 at 6:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. CDT.  Afterwards, available on YouTube.

    Lincoln Center Theater

    Streaming site

    PIPELINE is Dominique Morisseau’s strikingly powerful work, originally staged at Lincoln Center Theater in 2017. This intimate play depicts a mother’s hopes for her son and their clash with an educational system rigged against him.

    Hailed as “potent and intensely acted,“  The story follows Nya Joseph, a dedicated, inner-city public high school teacher, who is committed to her students’ achievement, while she sends her only son, Omari, to a private boarding school. When Omari is involved in a controversial incident which threatens him with expulsion from his school, Nya is forced to reconcile Omari’s rage, her own parental decisions, and the public and private school systems, as she rallies to save her son.

    Bush Theatre (London)

    The Protest

    A series of short online works, collectively titled The Protest in response to the death of George Floyd. Associate director Daniel Bailey, who curated the series, said: "The Bush kneels with the black community at home and aboard as we fight the ongoing pandemic – racism and the oppression of Black People. We asked some of our Bush family to lift their voices in a myriad of ways that mirrors the diversity within the Black community." Originally distributed through Twitter, but available as a collection on this site.

    streaming link


    First performed in December of 2016, in a country hurting from racism and oppression, the Broadway cast of Hamilton used the words of Langston Hughes, Bob Marley and Lin-Manuel Miranda to call for peace and equality in this short song with dance.

    "Now, as we reel yet again in anger and despair, the impassioned pleas for justice continue to resonate. We stand with those who walk in fear simply for being black. We will continue to listen and educate ourselves, and call out others, on how we can best lift up our colleagues, artists, community members and supporters. Lives depend on it."

    Watch Out of the Woods, a new play reading series by American Players Theatre. The viewing period has been extended through August 9!

    Chekhov One-Act Plays

    The Core Acting Company presents a reading of three one-act plays by Anton Chekhov. The Bear, On the Harmfulness of Tobacco, and The Proposal: three stories about the complexities of love and life, marriage and moving on. After the reading, the actors and artistic team discuss creating these readings from their homes. Available through August 9.

    As You Like It

    Watch the Core Acting Company and additional APT actors in a virtual reading of As You Like It, a quite-nearly-perfect Shakespearean comedy, featuring one of his greatest heroines. Afterwards, the actors and artistic team discuss producing these readings from their homes. Available through August 9.

    Arms and the Man

    In Shaw’s Arms and the Man, love and war collide in a uniquely Shavian fashion when an enemy soldier climbs in through the idealistic Raina’s window, throwing her life and worldview into disarray. Following the performance, the actors and artistic team discuss creating these readings from their homes. Available through August 9.

    Julius Caesar

    Watch the Core Acting Company and additional APT actors in this reading of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. Growing unease over Caesar's popularity spreads through Rome, spurring good people to do terrible deeds. A riveting political thriller about blood spilled in the name of the republic, and hands that hold the blades. Available through August 9.

    Are You Now, or Have You Ever Been...

    Writer and activist Langston Hughes faces down his fears by writing a poem on the eve of his appearance before the Senate Permanent-Sub-Committee on Investigations on Un-American Activities. By Carlyle Brown. Directed by David Daniel. Featuring: Jim DeVita (Senator Dirksen), Jamal James (Frank Reeves), Gavin Lawrence (Langston Hughes), Brian Mani (Senator McCarthy), James Ridge (Roy Cohn), Marcus Truschinski (David Schine). Available through August 9.

    An Improbable Fiction

    A world premiere reading of James DeVita's new play, told largely in Shakespeare's own words. It's plague time, and Shakespeare's characters are out of sorts, and out of work. Several favorites reunite at The Boar's Head Tavern to celebrate life, and ruminate on the state of the world. Available through August 9.

    PBS Wisconsin - Great Performances

    PBS Great Performances has several free full-length musical and dramatic theater performances for your enjoyment.  Additional performances may require the Passport membership. Beginning and ending dates may not apply for those with Passport membership. 

    She Loves Me 

    This delightful musical set in a Hungarian cosmetics shop is based on a 1937 play Parfumerie and has had many versions, including In the Good Old Summertime, The Little Shop Around the Corner, and You've Got Mail. None can match the humor and tunes of this Harnick and Bock "jewel box" of musical theater. Starring Laura Benanti as the new employee at war with seasoned clerk Zachery Levi, with Jane Krakowski as the ditzy friend. Streaming for free on PBS Great Performances beginning July 26.

    Porgy and Bess

    This 2019 Metropolitan Opera production takes a fresh approach to Gershwin's complicated 1935 masterpiece, which has been criticized for its African American stereotypes since its debut. The setting — Catfish Row, a Charleston, South Carolina neighborhood – is now a close-knit, aspirational working-class community in which everyone is doing his or her best to get by, instead of an abandoned slum. David Robertson conducts a dynamic cast, featuring the sympathetic duo of Eric Owens and Angel Blue in the title roles. Streaming for free on PBS Great Performances beginning July 17.

    Streaming link

    Gloria: A Life

    Experience a unique interpretation of feminist icon Gloria Steinem’s life told by an all-female cast, starring Emmy Award winner Christine Lahti and directed by Tony Award winner Diane Paulus.  Streaming now through July 24.

    Streaming link


    Enjoy a powerful and revealing look at legendary, larger-than-life Texas governor Ann Richards who enriched the lives of her followers, friends and family in this critically acclaimed play written by and starring Emmy Award-winner Holland Taylor. Streaming now through July 17.

    Streaming link

    Twilight: Los Angeles 

    Anna Deavere Smith's play is about race relations in Los Angeles at the time of the infamous police beating of Rodney King, and the ensuing jury acquittal of the perpetrators. She notes that “few people speak a language about race that is not their own. If more of us could actually speak from another point of view, like speaking another language, we could accelerate the flow of ideas.” “After all,” Smith says later, “identity is in some ways a process toward character. It is not character itself. It is not fixed. Our race dialogue desperately needs this more complex language.”

    Smith channels the voices of forty among the hundreds of people she interviewed: white and Black, Korean and Latinx, men and women, cops and activists, store owners and looters. Playing them all, Smith physically embodies the truth that each of us contains multitudes.

    Director Marc Levin blends Smith’s stage performance with news footage and interviews to capture a community’s rage and loss, but also its grit and hope and love. This encore streaming will run from June 8 through August 7.

    Take Me to the World: A Sondheim 90th Birthday Celebration

    Take Me to the World - Free - A starry line-up of Broadway favorites are toasting Stephen Sondheim with a once-in-a-lifetime concert event live on Broadway.com    Mr. Sondheim is an American composer and lyricist known for his work in musical theater like:  A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1962); Company (1970); Follies (1971); A Little Night Music (1973), Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (1979); Merrily We Roll Along (1981); Sunday in the Park with George (1984); and Into the Woods (1987). He is also known for writing the lyrics for West Side Story (1957) and Gypsy (1959).

    Stratford Festival Theatre - Watch@Home

    Stratford Festival

    The Stratford Festival Theatre is offering free streaming of 12 Shakespeare performances over a four month period.  The productions are a part of the festival’s “Stratford Festival On Film” series and this is the first time they are available for free.  

    The Taming of the Shrew:  Now through August 6 

    Courtship or conquest? The breaking down of a defiant spirit - or a breakthrough that liberates a heart deprived of love? Will you ever see a battle of wills that's fiercer or funnier - or more hotly controversial?

    Hangar Theatre

    The Hangar Theatre of New York's Finger Lake district is offering a 2020 Virtual Mainstage Season this summer. All are live, streaming, online events!  PLEASE NOTE: Starting times specified are Eastern (Daylight) Time or EDT, even though the posters erroneously state EST.  Most PLATO viewers however, are in CENTRAL Daylight Time (CDT) zones.   Tickets: $20 each performance,  purchase.

    Sense and Sensibility,  Saturday, August 8 @ 7:30 p.m.

    Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre

    After Pass Over's 2017 world premiere at Steppenwolf, Academy Award nominee and Honorary Oscar winner Spike Lee brought a camera crew and filmed the entire performance. The filmed play premiered at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival, and now Lee's filmed play is available for streaming on Amazon Prime Video.

    Enjoy this complete production of Pass Over by Antoinette Nwandu featuring ensemble member Jon Michael Hill. A provocative riff on Waiting for GodotPass Over is a rare piece of politically-charged theater about two young black men who stand around on the corner dreaming of their promised land when a stranger wanders into their space with his own agenda and derails their plans.

    L.A. Theatre Works

    Over 500 plays audio-recorded live in performance, everything from Shakespeare and Oscar Wilde to Arthur Miller and recent Tony winners, all with top-name actors,  so you can listen to great theatre anywhere.

    Listen free to the Relativity Series of Science Themed Plays which present science as a thoroughly human endeavor, bringing to life the people and stories behind the research and invention which shapes and changes our world.

    Among the many included titles are:

    Copenhagen, by Michael Frayn

    Arcadia, by Tom Stoppard

    An Enemy of the People, by Henrik Ibsen

    Proof, by David Auburn

    The Doctor's Dilemma, by George Bernard Shaw

    Also, in the 1990s, LA Theatre Works came to Chicago and recorded plays with many of the Chicago theatres, including Victory Gardens. Two of those play recordings are FREE FOR ALL to enjoy through July 15, 2020. (Note: Still available as of Aug. 2.)

    Still Waters and Drowning Sorrows


    Contact PLATO Theater Team members at:

    Sue Josheff  sooziej@sbcglobal.net
    Nancy McClements   nancymcclements@gmail.com 
    Stuart Utley  stuart.utley@gmail.com
    • July 19, 2020
    • (CDT)
    • March 20, 2021
    • (CDT)
    • Madison

    This guide for bicycling the Southwest Commuter Path/Capital City State Trail Loop is  meant for your enjoyment during our time of dealing with the COVID-19 virus.  Please adhere to all municipal and state requirements for social distancing and healthy behavior on public paths and streets. 

    The route (18.1 miles) outlined below is almost entirely on dedicated bicycle paths.   It takes a little less than two hours for the average cyclist.   Enjoy


    Camp Randall to Velo UnderRound - 4.5 miles

    The ride starts across from Camp Randall Stadium at the intersection of Regent, Monroe and Breese streets.  There is a BCycle station, 92 S. Breese Terrace,  where you can rent an electric bike.  You will begin traveling west on the  Southwest Commuter Path,  a paved path that follows the route of the Illinois Central Railroad branch built in 1887 between Freeport, Illinois, and Madison.  For the first three miles there is a slight incline until you reach the bicycle/pedestrian overpass at the beltline.  Continue until you reach the Velo UnderRound.

    The Velo UnderRound marks the junction of five trails: the Capital City State Trail, the Southwest Commuter Path, the Military Ridge State Trail, the Badger State Trail, and the Cannonball Path.  There is also access to the Seminole Mountain Bike Trails.


    Velo UnderRound to Lake Farm Campground - 7.8 miles

    To continue on the Capital City State Trail, you will need a State Trail Pass.

    Continuing on the Capital City State Trail, just before reaching Seminole Highway, you will see the Dawley Bike Hub on your right.   It has a bike repair station, parking, restrooms, and water (might be closed during the Covid-19 pandemic).   After crossing Seminole Highway the trail is uphill for a short distance.  On the portion of the trail between Seminole Highway and Fish Hatchery Road, you will see Ashbourne Pond where there is a spur to the Cannonball Trail.

    At Fish Hatchery Road there is a bicycle/pedestrian overpass.  After the overpass you will turn right on Glacier Valley Road for a mile (the only portion of the loop that is not on a bicycle path).  At the junction of Glacier Valley Road/Gunflint Trail, turn left to continue on the Capital City Trail. 

    This portion of the trail parallels the Capital Springs State Recreation Area  for nine miles.  Points of interest along the Capital Springs State Recreation Area include:  Lake Farm County Park and Campground,  Lussier Family Heritage Center,  Lewis Nine Springs E-Way,  Capital Springs Disc Golf & Dog Park,  Jenni and Kyle Preserve,  Nevin Springs Fish & Wildlife Area,  Monona Wetland Conservancy,  Upper Mud Lake,  Madison Metropolitan Sewerage District Wildlife Observation Unit,  Capital Springs Centennial State Park, and the Gilman Native American Mounds.


    Lake Farm Campground to Waunona Way - 2 miles

    At Lake Farm Campground there is a kiosk marking the junction of the Capital City Trail and the Lower Yahara River Trail.   At this intersection you can also see  the Lussier Family Heritage Center which connects the community to natural resources through education, recreation, and experiences. 

    Turn left at the junction to continue on the Capital City State Trail.  On the right is a boardwalk providing access to the Nine Springs E-way Observation Deck.  Further on you  will be biking by the Madison Metropolitan Area Sewerage District wildlife observation area with good birding opportunities.  Madison's sewer plant will be on your left.   Where the trail meets Waunona Way, if you turn right you will be doing the Lake Monona Bike Loop.  However turn left on the Capital City Trail.


    Waunona Way to John Nolen Drive/North Shore Drive - 2.1 miles

    This stretch of the Capital City Trail goes past the Coliseum and the Alliant Center.  At Olin Park, there is a  junction to the Wingra Creek Bike Path.  Continuing on the Capital City Trail the path parallels the John Nolen Drive Causeway.  At the intersection of John Nolen Drive and North Shore Drive, there is a left  junction to the Brittingham Park Bike Path which you will take.


    John Nolen Drive/North Shore Drive to Camp Randall - 1.8 miles

    After 500 yards on the Brittingham Park Bike Path  turn right on the Southwest Path/Greenbush Link which will take you back to your starting point, Camp Randall.


    BCycle Station along the Route

    Madison BCycle has a number of stations along the route where you can rent an electric bicycle. The following map lists some stations within a block of the route.


    Background Information

    Dane County Bicycle Map

    Madison BCycle

    Madison Bikes Community (Facebook)

    Madison Bikes

    Bicycle Benefits

    Top 10 Trails to Try in Madison

    Madison Road Bike Routes

    Biking in Fitchburg


    Compiled by Bob Shaw - robert.e.shaw@gmail.com

    July 2020

    • July 23, 2020
    • (CDT)
    • March 24, 2021
    • (CDT)
    • Madison

    Below are four guides to popular bicycling routes in Madison.   Each guide is broken up into distinct sections with maps providing detailed instructions.

    The guides are meant for your enjoyment during our time of dealing with the COVID-19 virus.  Please adhere to all municipal and state requirements for social distancing and healthy behavior on public paths and streets. 


    Bicycling Around Lake Monona

    The 12.5 mile route around Lake Monona is one of the most popular bicycle trips in Madison.  It goes through a mixture of bicycle paths and lightly traveled streets and takes about 75 minutes for the average cyclist.

    Click on A Guide to Bicycling Around Lake Monona


    Bicycling the Cannonball Path/Arboretum Loop

    The route (8.2 miles) traverses a mixture of bicycle paths, city streets with bike lanes, and a quiet road through the U.W. Arrboretum.  It takes about 50 minutes for the average cyclist.

    Click on A Guide to Bicycling the Cannonball Path/Arboretum Loop


    Bicycling the Southwest Commuter Path/Capital City State Trail Loop

    The route (18.1 miles) is entirely on dedicated bicycle paths with the exception of a short 1/2 mile section on a quiet road.  It takes a little less than two hours for the average cyclist.

    Click on A Guide to Bicycling the Southwest Commuter Path/Capital City State Trail Loop


    Bicycling the McFarland Loop

    The highlight of this route (18 miles) is a mile-long bridge spanning Lake Waubesa.  It is the longest inland boardwalk bridge constructed solely for non-motorized transportation in North America.  It takes a little less than two hours for the average cyclist.

    Click on A Guide to Bicycling the McFarland Loop


    BCycle Stations along the Route

    Madison BCycle has a number of stations along the routes where you can rent an electric bicycle.


    Background Information

    Dane County Bicycle Map

    Madison BCycle

    Madison Bikes Community (Facebook)

    Madison Bikes

    Bicycle Benefits

    Top 10 Trails to Try in Madison

    Madison Road Bike Routes

    Biking in Fitchburg


    Compiled by Bob Shaw - robert.e.shaw@gmail.com

    July 2020

PLATO is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization in association with:

For more information about PLATO, contact:

Edie Urness-Pondillo
UW-Madison Continuing Studies
21 N. Park St, 7th Floor, Madison, WI 53715
Email: info@platomadison.org
Phone: 608-262-5823
Fax: 608-265-4555

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