Review: ROUGH CROSSING at American Players Theatre

The Production runs from July1-August 7

By: Jul. 05, 2021
Review: ROUGH CROSSING at American Players Theatre

Review: ROUGH CROSSING at American Players Theatre

It was another beautiful day up The Hill. Today's picnic menu included canned cocktails (they're better than you'd think), fried chicken and chocolate mousse tort from an area café. It did not, unfortunately, include any Cognac.

Rough Crossing is side splitting and uproariously fun. Sandor Turai (James Ridge) and Alex Gal (Jamal James) are two playwrights who hit the high seas with their two lead actors and their young composer to bring their yet-to-be completed newest musical to New York. Adam (Josh Krause), their young composer, is engaged to their lead actress, Natasha Navratilova (Kelsey Brennan), who is having a secret affair with their lead actor, intellectually-challenged Ivor Fish (Marcus Truschinski). Rounding out the hilarious cast and circumstances is Dvornichek (David Daniel), a simple purser on the SS Italian Castle. The real question the audience was clamoring to have answered by the end of the show was, will Turai ever get a Cognac?

Review: ROUGH CROSSING at American Players Theatre From the moment Dvornichek precariously walks up the stairs to the second level with a glass of Cognac until the last summation of this incredibly fun piece the audience was laughing and applauding. The dialog is clever and fast paced, and the show itself becomes a bit meta as it recaps the initial minutes of the play within the play about the play itself. Yes! At some points it becomes that confusing, but therein lies some of the fun. It's more than worth it just for the wordplay, but that's not all you will get!Review: ROUGH CROSSING at American Players Theatre

There is music and dancing! And, some of the best physical humor I have seen at American Players Theatre! Dvornichek's cadence as he moved about the ship, is incredible and his comedic timing near genius. It was a pleasure to behold. David Daniel is one of those amazing actors that can make us laugh in one show and make us weep in another, and in this show, it's all laughs.

While outstanding, Mr. Daniel is certainly not the only one in this show to utilize his physicality of character to generate laughter and joy. Marcus Truschinski' portrayal of Ivor as an actor in rehearsal moving seamlessly between a multitude of characters and accents, hamming it up and getting bigger with every choice, is an incredible thing to behold. It was great fun to watch the physicality of Mr. Truschinski and Ms. Brennan, as they wrestled through their awkward rehearsal, breaking to complain about the confusing book and then immediately re-taking their places on the stage. They worked brilliantly off of each other. Do not get distracted though, as behind the couple, the playwright Turai slowly gets more and more fed up as the outlandishness grows, until, unable to contain himself anymore, he simply leaves the stage. Subtle enough to not take focus away, and yet, highly entertaining. Bravo Mr. Ridge. Bravo


Gal, choreographer and foodie, provided some subtle nuances to his scenes by dancing along in the background (those of us who have had any dance training knows that the choreographer ALWAYS dances along in case students get lost) and nearly always having either food in his hand or food in his mouth, beginning with a simple potato. Mr. James was a pleasure to watch.

The love birds Adam and Natasha bring their own brand of funny to the show. Adam has an affliction rendering him speechless at times, but only at times. It's almost as if his timing was just off, which leads to some amazing misunderstandings. And Natasha's outburst at having virtually no lines in one particular scene, also felt a bit meta, as her character is forced to stand in rehearsal, listening to her scene partner go on and on, with only one word of dialog to contribute.

This was a very fun play, with lots of laughs and audience appreciation. Go see it before it's too late. But, do not depend on the service; bring your own Cognac!

July 1 - August 7, Hill Theatre

Rough Crossing

By Tom Stoppard

From an original play by Ferenc Molnár

Directed by William Brown

Two established playwrights hoping to refresh their careers take their show on the road. Or, rather, on the high seas, along with their two established stars. The plan is to ride the wake of a brilliant young musician - who happens to be engaged to one of the aforementioned stars - who will compose their new musical. But when the writers and composer stumble across a tryst between the actors, they'll need to pull out all the stops to keep their young phenom from going overboard. A clever and hilarious comedy, originally slated for the 2020 season. Featuring Kelsey Brennan, David Daniel, Jamal James, Josh Krause, James Ridge and Marcus Truschinski.

June 25 - August 15, Touchstone Theatre

An Iliad

By Lisa Peterson and Denis O'Hare

Translated from Homer's Iliad by Robert Fagles

Directed by John Langs

In a reprise of the 2015 production, Homer's epic tale is distilled to one war-torn poet, as actor Jim DeVita takes us on a thrilling, wrenching tour of the Trojan War. The intimate Touchstone Theatre is an ideal space for this exploration of the contradictory conditions of glory and violence, and the human race's seemingly endless addiction to war. Featuring Jim DeVita and Alicia Storin.

August 12 - September 11, Hill Theatre


By William Shakespeare

Adapted by Henry Woronicz

Directed by Marti Lyons

When his daughter Imogen secretly marries Posthumus, a good man without financial means, King Cymbeline banishes Posthumus in a fury. In Rome, missing his wife and his home, Posthumus meets Iachimo, who plants a seed in his mind that Imogen will be unfaithful to him in his absence. In despair, Posthumus contacts his servant Pisanio with orders to murder Imogen, but the servant instead disguises her as a page and smuggles her out of court and off on a great Shakespearean adventure. Featuring: Tracy Michelle Arnold, Gina Daniels, Sarah Day, Alys Dickerson, Elizabeth Ledo, Colleen Madden, Melisa Pereyra and Lisa Tejero.

August 26 - October 3, Touchstone Theatre

A Phoenix Too Frequent

By Christopher Fry

Directed by Keira Fromm

In ancient Greece, Dynamene is prepared to die from grief over the death of her husband and has barricaded herself, fasting, in his tomb. She has brought her faithful servant along to die with her (a plan that said servant is not 100% on board with). But it's not long before Dynamene is distracted from her death wish by the arrival of a handsome soldier, Tegeus, providing a foil for her grief in this comedy about love and expectations. Originally slated for the 2020 season. Featuring Phoebe González, Tyler Meredith and Christopher Sheard.

September 19 - October 9, Hill Theatre


By Sophocles

Adapted & Directed by David Daniel

A plague has descended on Thebes, and the citizens insist that King Oedipus do something to save them. The king sends his brother, Creon, to an oracle to determine how to lift the sickness in their city, and he comes back with an answer (although an oracle's answer is seldom a simple thing): find the murderer of the previous King Laius, and when the killer is punished, the plague will lift. Oedipus sets out immediately to do so, and what he discovers spurs a reckoning that reverberates through the centuries. A Greek murder mystery that explores the many facets of human nature and relationships. Featuring Gavin Lawrence as Oedipus. Also featuring Jim DeVita, Marcus Truschinski, La Shawn Banks and Triney Sandoval.

October 14 - November 14, Touchstone Theatre

The Taming of the Shrew

By William Shakespeare

Adapted & Directed by Shana Cooper

In Padua, the wealthy Lucentio stumbles across a woman he immediately believes to be the love of his life. The problem is that said woman, Bianca, already has multiple suitors. And to complicate matters further, she will not be allowed to marry until after her sister, Katherine, has walked down the aisle herself. Kate is a bit of a wild card, though, and marriage is not on her mind. So Lucentio and Bianca rope in a gold digger, Petruchio, who agrees to pursue Kate. This infamous will-they-won't-they couple engages in the usual fray in a brand new way in this five-actor adaptation of the classic Shakespearean comedy. Featuring Alejandra Escalante and Daniel Molina as Kate and Petruchio. Also featuring James Ridge, Casey Hoekstra, and another actor to be named later.

About the Theatre

APT is a professional repertory theater devoted to the great and future classics. It was founded in 1979 and continues to be one of the most popular outdoor classical theaters in the nation.

The Theatre is located in Spring Green, Wis., on 110 acres of hilly woods and meadows above the Wisconsin River. The outdoor amphitheater is built within a natural hollow atop an oak-wooded hill. Under the dome of sky, 1,089 comfortably cushioned seats encircle three sides of the stage. In 2009, APT opened the 201-seat indoor Touchstone Theatre, offering a different type of play and experience.

APT cancelled the 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and everyone in the organization is excited to be back to creating theater in 2021.

For more information, visit

For photos or interviews, please contact: Jess Amend, 608-588-9240,

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