Using musical theatre as a means of engagement, Four Seasons Theatre strives to create a strong organization which provides a consistent, high quality experience for everyone involved onstage, backstage, in the audience, and in the community.
What do we do?
From our educational outreach programming to our seasons of challenging musical theatre, FST has been a positive addition to the Madison arts community. We encourage learning at every stage in the theatrical process through our public lectures, master classes, and runout concerts. In addition, we strive to provide a positive work environment for cast members, interns and designers, and to run an efficient production process. By cultivating meaningful community partnerships, we also work to maximize our resources while expanding the breadth of each project.
We are the only company in Madison to provide year round opportunities for actors, singers, musicians, and designers to grow through the exploration and performance of musical theatre. We are proud to showcase the many talented local performers and theatre technicians who are a part of Four Seasons Theatre productions and workshops. We are also pleased to continue to offer a strong Backstage Arts Internship program where high school and college students gain valuable theatrical training and experience.
Core FST design staff members have worked with Madison Opera, Madison Ballet, American Players Theater, CTM Children’s Theater of Madison, Madison Repertory Theatre, and Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra, among others. Each production is truly the result of an incredible creative team effort with each department integrally involved in the development of the whole. All designers on the production staff are paid for their contributions.
FST productions feature full orchestrations with live musicians. Local singers and actors get to perform with an actual orchestra rather than a recording or a piano alone, audiences get to appreciate the fully realized scores of the works we produce, and local musicians are paid while gaining valuable musical theatre pit experience.
For our 2005-2006 season we hired two guest artists including Broadway actor Telly Leung who was featured in SWEENEY TODD. We expanded those efforts for our 2006-2007 season with three guest artist contracts including Shawna Masuda (Kim) for MISS SAIGON and Jennifer Sanchez (Anita for FST, now on Broadway as Rosalia) for WEST SIDE STORY. Our 2007-2008 season marked a major milestone for the company as we welcomed Wisconsin native and two-time Tony nominee Tom Wopat back to the Wisconsin Union Theater as Ben Stone in our February 2008 staged concert version of Sondheim's FOLLIES. Beginning with that production FST has offered a modest stipend to the principals of every mainstage show.
How do we do it?
We believe in the power of working together and know that we would not be here today without the valuable partnerships we've shared with other local organizations. Collaborative partners have included UW-Madison School of Music, University Theatre/UW-Madison Theatre and Drama Department, Wisconsin Union Theater, and Madison Opera. In addition we've worked with a number of organizations to enhance the overall experience of our cast and audience members including the Wisconsin Veterans Museum for MISS SAIGON and the Wisconsin Historical Society for LITTLE WOMEN (co-produced with CTM).
Over the past nine years we have received grant awards from several respected organization and foundations including the Pleasant Rowland Fund for Theater as part of the Madison Community Foundation, Wisconsin Arts Board, Dane Arts, Madison Arts Commission, Evjue Foundation, Alliant Energy Foundation, and Thrivent Financial. We are thankful for this support as our educational programming and production history would not have been possible without it.
In addition, companies like Audio for the Arts, Park Printing, and Best Cleaners have supported our mission from the very beginning. As we grow we hope that other businesses will join them in celebrating quality musical theatre experiences in Madison which showcase local talent on all levels from performers and musicians to production staff members and workshop teachers.
Last and definitely not least, we have an incredible volunteer base. We rely on our Board of Directors, Advisory Council, and other community members to help keep the company running smoothly. Our ensemble cast members and the community members who donate their time to help with set construction and other aspects of production have shared countless hours with FST.
Where do we do it?
Founded in January 2005, Four Season Theatre has presented 34 musical theatre productions in the past nine years. Rather than tethering our company to a single venue, we choose the theater facility which most closely aligns with the size and scale of each production.
Our large scale musicals like SWEENEY TODD in August 2006 and THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE in Aguust 2008 and our staged concert versions with full 30 piece orchestras on stage with the cast for MISS SAIGON in March 2007 and CANDIDE in February 2009 have been produced at the historic Wisconsin Union Theater. Our smaller shows like GRAND NIGHT FOR SINGING in December 2007 and WORLD GOES 'ROUND in May 2008 have been at Music Hall and the Majestic Theatre, respectively. The Mitby Theater was the home of our 2006 LES MISERABLES, 2007 ONCE ON THIS ISLAND, and 2008 FOOTLOOSE youth theatre productions and we were proud to reopen the venue in Summer 2013 with a mainstage production of LES MISERABLES. Starting with A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC in August 2013, we've produced smaller scale shows in The Playhouse and our Great American Songbook Concerts in Promenade Hall at Overture.
In addition, each year Four Seasons visit retirement communities and high schools across the greater Madison area - offering one hour outreach concerts which bring musical theatre to audiences of all ages. Community organization have included Oakwood Village, Attic Angels, Madison West High School, Madison Edgewood High School, Middleton High School, First Unitarian Soceity Noon Musicales, and UW Summer Music Clinic, among others.