Mad Cow Theatre

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Mad Cow Theatre began in late 1997 as a simple two-show project among a group of actors/directors in a former blueprint studio in Maitland, Florida. After an initial four-year period of renting space from such Central Florida organizations as Rollins College, Orlando-UCF Shakespeare Festival,[1] Civic Theatre of Central Florida, and the Orlando International Fringe Theater Festival, Mad Cow is now celebrating its 21st season[2] in Downtown Orlando. 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.[3]


Regular season[edit]

Mad Cow Theatre is a professional theatre company presenting works of theatre for a wide-range of audiences. With the close of the 2016-2017 season, Mad Cow has presented more than 170 productions. Mad Cow Theatre works with Actors' Equity Association under the Orlando Area Theatre contract and holds open auditions annually.[4]

Mad Cow moved to its newest home on West Church Street in the heart of downtown Orlando in fall 2012, at the beginning of the 2012-2013 season. That season included such shows as Sunday in the Park with George and Death of A Salesman.[5]

Mad Cow now produces 10 shows a season -- six in the larger theatre, the Harriett, and four in the intimate Zehngebot-Stonerock Theatre.

2017-2018 Season[6]

The Harriett Theatre

  • Big River – Sept. 22-Oct. 22, 2017
  • Born Yesterday – Nov. 17-Dec. 17, 2017
  • The Tale of the Allergist's Wife – Jan. 19-Feb. 18, 2018
  • A View From the Bridge – March 23-April 22, 2018
  • Fun Home – June 1-July 1, 2018
  • The Little Foxes – Aug. 3-26, 2018

The Zehngebot-Stonerock Theatre

  • Grounded – Oct. 20-Nov. 19, 2017
  • Silent Sky – Feb. 16-March 18, 2018
  • Bad Jews – June 15-July 8, 2018
  • Buyer & Cellar – Aug. 10-Sept. 9, 2018

Special Events

  • Teatro Español: Prohibido Suicidarse en Primavera – Sept. 27-Oct. 1, 2017
  • Teatro Español: Amor de Don Perlimplin con Belisa en su jardin -- Jan. 10-14, 2018
  • Teatro Español: Romeo y Julieta -- Feb. 6 and 7, 2018
  • Other special events will be announced.


Mad Cow Theatre is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Mad Cow is supported in part with public funds from United Arts of Central Florida, the State of Florida Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs, and Orange County through the Arts & Cultural Affairs program. Large support has been given by Orlando's theatre enthusiasts as well.

Mad Cow has a staff and board of directors working every day for the good of the theatre and the community. The staff is led by executive director Mitzi Maxwell and includes David Mink, director of operations; Audrey McGowen, manager of operations; Crystal Edwards, manager of creative development; Stephen Gibson, auditions coordinator; Ryan Rosa, development coordinator; Jessica Kuschube, company manager; Waylon LeMasters, technical director; Lisa Buck, manager of art and design; Lauren Snyder, patron experience manager; Erica Bush, assistant patron experience manager; Jennifer K. Burns and Jennifer Thomas, patron experience associates; and Danny Loecken and Andres Ugarte, patron experience assistants.

The original founders were Rus Blackwell, Trudy Bruner, Alan Bruun, and Dennis Neal.

Members of the board of directors are local business people, educators and community volunteers who have ties to and a passion for the arts. Brian McDowell serves as president, with board members including Aurélie Grand, Mendel Melzer, Jane Oatway, Mike Schneider, Susi Rivera, Jean Siegfried, Bickley Wilson, and Wendy Zehngebot.[7]

Acting classes[edit]

Adult and teen acting classes are directed and taught by local talent and professors from Rollins and UCF.[8]


Mad Cow Theatre enjoys collaborative partnerships with local governments, businesses, and Orlando arts groups. It was named "Arts Collaborator of the Year" by United Arts of Central Florida.[9]

The Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra[edit]

Mad Cow Theatre has collaborated with the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra for several concerts, presented at Bob Carr Theater. Those productions have included The Music Man, Sweeney Todd, My Fair Lady,[10] and Guys and Dolls, and have attracted star talent, including Davis Gaines and Faith Prince.[11] They have also collaborated on a series of concert opera productions, including Carmen[12] and Porgy and Bess to fill the void left by the now-defunct Orlando Opera.[13]


In October 2012, Mad Cow moved to its new home at 54 W. Church St. 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.

The Harriett Theatre[edit]

The larger of the two theatres, the Harriett is a fully equipped theatre with 161 fixed seats and six flexible seats for guests with special needs.[14] This venue is used for the regular season and the Orlando Cabaret Festival, as well as for business meetings and community and social events. It is named after Harriett Lake, a prominent philanthropist for the arts and other causes in Central Florida. Limited-view seats are included in the total count due to a structural column in the theatre.

The Zehngebot-Stonerock Theatre[edit]

The Zehngebot-Stonerock Theatre is a fully equipped black-box theatre with flexible seating for 50-65 patrons. This venue is used for productions in the regular season, as well as the Orlando Cabaret Festival, the Science Play Festival, and community events. It changes looks with each production, with a seating arrangement that is completely movable.[14]


  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. ^ "Theatre History". Mad Cow Theatre. Retrieved 2012-05-07. 
  4. ^ "Auditions". Mad Cow Theatre. Retrieved 2012-05-07. 
  5. ^ "Production History". Mad Cow Theatre. Retrieved 2013-11-07. 
  6. ^ "On Stage". Retrieved 12 October 2016. 
  7. ^ "Board of Directors". Mad Cow Theatre. Retrieved 2016-09-24. 
  8. ^ "Adult Classes". Mad Cow Theatre. Retrieved 2012-05-07. 
  9. ^ "United Arts of Central Florida Announces 2009 Arts+ Awards Recipients" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-05-07. 
  10. ^ "Classical Music Review: Orlando Philharmonic delivers perfectly pitched 'My Fair Lady' - Orlando Sentinel". 2010-05-09. Retrieved 2012-05-07. 
  11. ^ "News - Orlando Philharmonic and Mad Cow Theatre present Guys and Dolls concert starring Faith Prince". Frank Loesser. Retrieved 2012-05-07. 
  12. ^ "Concert review: "Carmen" with the Orlando Philharmonic – Orlando Arts Blog – Orlando Sentinel". 2010-02-28. Retrieved 2012-05-07. 
  13. ^ "For concert stagings, the music takes center stage - Orlando Sentinel". 2010-02-18. Retrieved 2012-05-07. 
  14. ^ a b "Rentals". Mad Cow Theatre. Retrieved 2012-05-07. 

External links[edit]