M.A.D. Theatre of Tampa

Since Elizabeth Edelson founded it in 1999, the Music Acting and Dance Theatre of Tampa has stood out from other community theaters in its commitment to edgy musicals and to dance that integrates unimpaired and physically disabled dancers. In the 2002-03 season, M.A.D. Theatre offered two musicals — Cabaret, produced at Hyde Park's Friday Morning Musicale, and Purlie, at the New Place Multicultural Arts Center in Ybor City. Cabaret is set in Weimar, Germany, and is more sexually and politically daring than typical community theater fare; while Purlie is an all-African-American musical with melodies fusing pop, rhythm and blues. Under the M.A.D. umbrella, choreographer Edelson also offers a mixed able-and-disabled dance company, called Asher Dance Eclectic, which presented Wheels in Motion in spring, 2003, at the Shimberg Playhouse of the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center. Where so many community theaters offer conservative fare, from Agatha Christie to Fiddler on the Roof, Edelson's company is daring and unpredictable. Now, if the busy founder can succeed in her search for a partner to help run the company, we might have many more reasons to be glad about M.A.D.

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