The titillating picture of American Players Theatre actor James DeVita unlacing the corset of co-star Colleen Madden in "Les Liaisons Dangereuses" was sent to email subscribers this week to spark interest in the company’s newly announced fall show.
The email led to a conversation about how certain actors in the company influence our ticket purchases at the venerable Spring Green company.
Some of us (me, maybe) are Colleen Madden fangirls. Tracy Michelle Arnold's appearance on Whad'Ya Know? significantly spiked the modest traffic on my former arts blog. After I gave Arnold's 2012 performance in "Shakespeare's Will" a glowing review, one reader wrote to tell me it wasn't glowing enough.
One friend shamelessly scans cast lists to see which plays new company member Marcus Truschinski is appearing in. An older member of my church loves everything Jonathan Smoots is in — the play itself doesn't matter.
Another of my frequent companions at APT shows, still deciding on which tickets to buy for 2013, hemmed and hawed about which plays to choose.
"I have only said to myself 'I want to see them all' and checked to see which ones Jim DeVita is in," the friend told me.
That friend is in luck — in addition to playing King Claudius in both "Hamlet" and "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead," DeVita will star in "Les Liaisons Dangereuses" as the predatory Vicomte de Valmont. Christopher Hampton adapted the play from the novel by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos (a quick plot summary is here).
APT often adds short runs during the season, but this is something different, a "shoulder season" of a full production.
According to a news release, the play will feature Tracy Michelle Arnold as the Marquise de Merteuil (which inspired the Sarah Michelle Gellar character in "Cruel Intentions," if you remember that film, or Glenn Close in this one). Sarah Day plays Madame de Rosemonde and Colleen Madden plays Madame de Tourvel, the married woman Valmont attempts to seduce.
The run is set for Nov. 1-24. Tickets go on sale for "Liaisons" on Monday, July 15.
Currently, "Too Many Husbands" is the best seller up the hill, with Deborah Staples, Marcus Truschinski and James Ridge in a comic love triangle.
Of the three Touchstone shows, the top seller is "Molly Sweeney," though both "Antony and Cleopatra" and "Dickens in America" are selling well, too.
Starring three much-loved core company members — Madden, Smoots and David Daniel — "Sweeney" is nearly sold out. Strong early sales led to the addition of four shows.
The best bet for getting tickets ($50-60) to "Molly Sweeney" are Sunday, June 30 at 1 p.m., Saturday, July 6 at 8 p.m. and Thursday, July 18 at 7:30 p.m.
View a full calendar of shows at the American Players Theatre website or call (608) 588-2361 to ask about available seats (area code necessary when calling from Madison).
There are still plenty of great seats for the season opener, "Two Gentlemen of Verona," which features the dashing pair of Travis A. Knight and Marcus Truschinski vying for (and losing) the love of various Shakespearean ladies.