Mad Cow Theatre

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Mad Cow Theatre began in late 1997 as a simple two-show project between a group of actors/directors in a former blueprint studio in Maitland, Florida. After an initial four-year period of renting space from such mainstay Central Florida organizations as Rollins College, The Orlando-UCF Shakespeare Festival,[1] The Civic Theatres of Central Florida, and the Orlando International Fringe Theater Festival, Mad Cow is now celebrating its 17th Season[2] in Downtown Orlando. Founding Artistic Director Alan Bruun retired in late 2010.[3] Mad Cow has built collaborative relationships with other downtown businesses and has received two Golden Brick Awards for outstanding contribution to downtown life. Mad Cow Theatre has also been named "Best Theatre" by Orlando Magazine for several years in a row.[4]


Regular season[edit]

Mad Cow Theatre is one of Orlando's most respected professional theatre companies presenting compelling works of theatre for a wide-range of audiences. With a passion for both classic and contemporary plays representing the best of American and World literature, Mad Cow presented its 101st mainstage production[5] with the start of the 2010 - 2011 season. Mad Cow Theatre works with Actors' Equity Association under the Orlando Area Theatre contract, and holds open auditions annually.[6] Each February, Mad Cow participates in United Arts of Central Florida's ArtsFest, providing free tickets to selected performances.[7]

In 2010, Mad Cow Theatre was the first regional theatre to produce Superior Donuts after its Broadway run.[8]

The 2012-2013 Season was Mad Cow's first season in their new location in the heart of Downtown on Church Street. The season included great shows such as Sunday in the Park with George and Death of A Salesman. All previous shows performed can be found in Mad Cow's Production History..[9]

Season 17 is a season full of great variety for 2013-2014. Mad Cow now produces 10 shows a season; six shows including 2 musicals in the larger theatre, the Harriett, and 4 shows in the intimate Black Box Theatre. Shows in the season are "Other Desert Cities", "Venus In Fur", "Light in the Piazza", "Table Manners", "The Mountaintop", "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof", "Hair", "Cock", "The History Boys", and "The Letters".


Mad Cow Theatre is a 501(c)3 Non-Profit Organization and welcomes all donations including funds, materials, time and good will. Mad Cow is supported in part with public funds from the United Arts campaign and by the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs, and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture, the Florida Arts Council, The National Endowment for the Arts, The Downtown Development Board, and Orange County Government through the Arts & Cultural Affairs Program. Large support has been given by Orlando's local theatre enthusiasts as well. Their names can be seen throughout the theatre including the names of the Box Office, Wine Bar, and even the "Loo." Areas yet to be named include the Lobby and the Black Box.

Mad Cow has an accessible staff and Board of Directors working every day for the good of the theatre and the community. Mad Cow was founded by four people with a passion and has grown exponentially through the years. The original founders were Rus Blackwell, Trudy Bruner, Alan Bruun, and Dennis Neal. The name Mad Cow came from a lunch conversation and was carried through. The current staff of 2013 includes [10] Executive Director Mitzi Maxwell, Director of Audience Development David Mink, Development Cooperdinator Virginia Bland, and Box Office Manager Audrey Frank.

The Board of Directors is a group of individuals divoted to enhancing the culture of Downtown Orlando. They are local business people who have ties to and a passion for the arts. Currently Brian McDowell is the chair with board members including Richard Russell(Vice Chair), Michael Gross, Elizabeth Maupin, Mitzi Maxwell, and Dr. Robert Stonerock.[11]

Orlando Cabaret Festival[edit]

And Annual Caberet Festival hosted at the Mad Cow Theatre. The Festival will feature cabaret artists and acts from Central Florida and beyond, including Tony DeSare, Shoshana Bean, and Lindsey Alley. Mad Cow Theatre’s new 2-theatre complex in Downtown Orlando will play host to over 30 performances of jazz, pop, Broadway, comedy, and a few surprises from our local performers as well as our record setting seven guest artists, the most we’ve ever presented on our stages in one festival! One of the features of the Festival will be a series of weekday lunchtime performances designed especially for downtown workers. The performances will last 45 minutes, allowing workers to bring their lunch (box lunches will also be available at the theatre), see the show, and make it back to their offices within an hour. Performances at the Orlando Cabaret Festival range from pop and jazz to contemporary, providing something for everyone’s tastes. Ticket prices begin at $20 for evening shows and $12 for lunchtime events. Tickets are on sale by phone at 407.297.8788 or you can go visit our online calendar and book right now.[12]

Since 2002, Mad Cow Theatre has produced the Orlando Cabaret Festival, annually attracting the world’s finest cabaret talent to three weeks of lunchtime and evening shows, special events, and festivities in the heart of Downtown Orlando. The Cabaret Festival also features world-class local performers celebrating the best of the Great American Songbook. Taking place over three weeks, the Orlando Cabaret Festival encompass more than 40 performances.[13]

Acting classes[edit]

Adult and teen acting classes are sometimes offered evenings and during the summer at Mad Cow Theatre. They are directed and taught by local talent and professors from Rollins and UCF. [14]


Mad Cow Theatre enjoys collaborative partnerships with local governments, businesses, and Orlando arts groups, being named "Arts Collaborator of the Year" by United Arts of Central Florida.[15]

The Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra[edit]

Mad Cow Theatre has collaborated with The Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra for several concerts, presented at Bob Carr Performing Arts Center. These productions have included The Music Man, Sweeney Todd, My Fair Lady,[16] and Guys and Dolls, and have attracted star talent, including Davis Gaines and Faith Prince.[17] They have also collaborated on a series of concert opera productions, including Carmen[18] and Porgy and Bess to fill the void left by the now-defunct Orlando Opera.[19]

The Orlando Puppet Festival[edit]

This annual festival traditionally takes place in the fall and features a mix of live theatrical performances as well as film, gallery, and puppet slam events, geared variously towards either adult or family audiences. Conceived in 2005 by Heather Henson (daughter of Jim Henson) to foster community interest in the art of puppetry, OPF has evolved from a weekend-long festival to a multi-venue, two month-long series of puppetry-related happenings that bring local, national, and internationally recognized artists from around the world to Central Florida.[20]


In October of 2012, Mad Cow moved to its new home at 54 West Church Street. The location, which was formerly a Hooters, is in the middle of the Church Street Market. The build was a part of Reclaim Church Street. It houses two theatres, which share a common lobby, box office, and coffee and wine bar. The facility can house a total of about 260 people at one time and has private restrooms across a small hall.

Located in the heart of downtown Orlando, let Mad Cow Theatre's stunning views, contemporary architecture, and renowned customer service set the stage for special events. The theatre is available for renal opportunities. Starting with gorgeous views of Church Street, the theatre features The Harriett Theatre and The Black Box along with 2,000 sq ft of lobby space available for your meeting or event. Surrounded by ample parking and a wide array of restaurants within walking distance, Mad Cow Theatre is located in the center of all the excitement in downtown Orlando. A wide array of caterers and entertainment vendors in Central Florida have worked with Mad cow, and the in-house production staff has the knowledge and experience to assist you in creating an affair to remember. And above all else, they offer some of the most innovative and profound live theatre in the Central Florida region. From cocktail receptions to private galas, fundraising events, rehearsals, film shoots and more, Mad Cow Theatre is the perfect setting for a wide range of events.[21]

From 2003 until 2012, Mad Cow Theatre was located in a storefront theatre at 105 S. Magnolia Avenue in Downtown Orlando. In this two-theatre complex, Mad Cow is Downtown Orlando's only professional theatre. The two theatres share a common lobby, box office, and wine bar on Magnolia Avenue, which doubles as an art gallery and can be used for social gatherings and catered functions.

The Harriett Theatre[edit]

The larger of the two theatres, The Harriett is a fully equipped theatre with 161 fixed seats and 6 flexible seats for guests with special needs. [22] This venue is used for the regular season, the Orlando Cabaret Festival, as well as business meetings and community and social events. It is named after Harriett Lake, a prominent figure in Orlando's arts scene. Limited view seats are included in the total count due to a structural column in the theatre.

The Black Box[edit]

The Black Box is a fully equipped "black box" theatre with flexible seating of 50 - 65 patrons. This venue is used for productions in the regular season, as well as the Orlando Cabaret Festival and community events. It changes with each production with a seating arrangement that is completely movable. [22]


  1. ^ Schneider, Steve (2000-10-03). "NEWS+FEATURES: The lessons of history". Retrieved 2012-05-07. 
  2. ^ "Celebrating Theatre, The Word and The Actor, in The Heart of Downtown Orlando". Mad Cow Theatre. Retrieved 2012-05-07. 
  3. ^ "Bruun's Mad Cow days: 'fun, rewarding' - Orlando Sentinel". 2010-07-29. Retrieved 2012-05-07. 
  4. ^ "Theatre History". Mad Cow Theatre. Retrieved 2012-05-07. 
  5. ^ "Production History". Mad Cow Theatre. Retrieved 2012-05-07. 
  6. ^ "Auditions". Mad Cow Theatre. Retrieved 2012-05-07. 
  7. ^ "ArtsFest". Retrieved 2012-05-07. 
  8. ^ "Mad Cow nabs 'Superior Donuts' - Orlando Sentinel". 2010-01-24. Retrieved 2012-05-07. 
  9. ^ "Production History". Mad Cow Theatre. Retrieved 2013-11-07. 
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^ "Welcome to Orlando Cabaret". 2012-04-13. Retrieved 2012-05-07. 
  14. ^ "Adult Classes". Mad Cow Theatre. Retrieved 2012-05-07. 
  15. ^ "United Arts of Central Florida Announces 2009 Arts+ Awards Recipients" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-05-07. 
  16. ^ "Classical Music Review: Orlando Philharmonic delivers perfectly pitched 'My Fair Lady' - Orlando Sentinel". 2010-05-09. Retrieved 2012-05-07. 
  17. ^ "News - Orlando Philharmonic and Mad Cow Theatre present Guys and Dolls concert starring Faith Prince". Frank Loesser. Retrieved 2012-05-07. 
  18. ^ "Concert review: "Carmen" with the Orlando Philharmonic – Orlando Arts Blog – Orlando Sentinel". 2010-02-28. Retrieved 2012-05-07. 
  19. ^ "For concert stagings, the music takes center stage - Orlando Sentinel". 2010-02-18. Retrieved 2012-05-07. 
  20. ^ "Orlando Puppet Festival". Orlando Puppet Festival. Retrieved 2012-05-07. 
  21. ^
  22. ^ a b "Rentals". Mad Cow Theatre. Retrieved 2012-05-07. 

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