Fully Immersive Productions in Madison

Posted by By guest contributor Lexi C. on Apr 6th 2018

Going to the theater is always a treat, but there’s nothing like being a part of the production.

Seeing the passion up close on King Lear’s face, feeling the pressure of solving a puzzle to escape or being the butt of the joke onstage are all what make immersive theater a night to remember. Of course, nothing would be possible without a dedicated crew that makes it happen night after night. Here are the different places to enjoy immersive theater in Madison:

Escape rooms are all the craze right now, and no one does it better than Escape in Time. For those that aren’t aware, an escape room involves a series of riddles and puzzles that might unlock a key, a door or a map to get to the next stage.

Escape in Time uses talented artists, experienced prop makers and builders straight from local amusement parks in their sets. Their effort makes visitors feel as if they are actually in the scene of each adventure. Adventures include “Alien Autopsy”, an airplane “Water Landing”, serial-killer themed “Eat or be Eaten” and the pirate adventure show-runners’ favorite, “Captain’s Cove”. Why “Captain’s Cove”? “Because it's a beautiful room and the floor actually moves on the ship deck!"

And coming soon are two even more thrilling adventures. Up first is Cryosleep, an exciting sci-fi adventure where players find themselves captured and awaken from a deep freeze in a space pod.Too futuristic? Check out the next adventure, “Gold Rush.” Go back in time to the old saloon days and experience a bank heist first hand.

This theater experience is great for corporate bonding, date night or even a birthday celebration. Plus, Escape in Time has a truly 100 percent satisfaction guarantee.

Book a night at The Dinner Detective for a classic murder mystery show. These actors have their comedic timing on point, so expect to laugh hard in between solving each clue. This production also hides their actors in plain clothes. This means the person dining next to you could’ve been the killer all along. The person who solves the mystery walks away with a great prize package.

Menu options at the Dinner Detective include a chicken parmesan, broccoli alfredo and New York cheesecake for dessert. Guests can purchase a suspect package, which lets a member of the party become part of the show as the Prime Suspect. This show is very popular, so it’s recommended to get tickets in advance.

The Children’s Theater of Madison has engaged young audiences since 1965. Their performances take place in an intimate 350-seat Playhouse, and they range from subjects geared toward small children to young adults. Current productions include “Madagascar,” a stage interpretation of the DreamWorks film, and the “Diary of a Worm, a Spider and a Fly.”

Community engagement is a big focus at the Children’s Theater. They offer one-week, two-week and three-week sessions that help young performers gain confidence and improve their acting abilities. Each session is led by a top theater professional who wants to share their craft with the younger generation. The sessions end with a public performance.

Palace Theater has both Broadway performances and smaller shows along with dinner service. This theater is located north of Madison, in the Wisconsin Dells, and it’s great to visit for a weekend trip. It sits right across from the Wilderness Hotel and Golf Resort, one of the largest waterpark resorts in America. The theater is made possible through a mix of Anthony and Joseph Tomaska’s 30 years in both the entertainment and food industries.

One of their most popular productions is Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding, an interactive show that has engaged audiences for more than 17 years continuously. They also have a murder mystery show called “Deathtrap.” This show centers on a struggling writer who has found what could be the best thriller yet released. The only problem is he didn’t write the story.

Broom Street Theater is a non-profit, member-controlled theater. Stuart Gordon, who went on to create Hollywood films “Re-Animator,” and “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids”, founded this theater in 1969. Other talented artist came from Broom Street over the years, such as Native American stand-up comedian Charlie Hill and television actor Lance Baker.

This theater exists outside the box. It supports unique and diverse productions, promotes freedom of expression and challenges the audience to think differently. Past productions include “Menace to Society,” which centers on a Mormon woman living in the beer capital of America. The story was based on the lead actor's experience as a Mormon living in Milwaukee.

Six theater companies share the intimate space of the Bartell Theater. The building itself dates back to 1906. It had a bowling alley on the first floor, Colonial Hall on the second and housed a dance academy on the third floor. Over the years the space was used as a shoe repair shop, a restaurant and bar and a Veterans of Foreign Wars post.

Today, the Bartell Theater invites audiences into conversations about the different facets of the Madison community. Their shows range from dramas to comedies to musicals. One current production is “Suddenly Last Summer,” a drama about a young woman who witnessed the death of her cousin. The woman is facing a lobotomy by a psychiatric doctor, a procedure backed by the insistence of the woman’s wealthy aunt. Another is “Working,” which follows real American workers as they live their lives set to the backdrop of songs by Lin-Manuel Miranda of “Hamilton” fame.