Skip to main content

Concerts, exhibits, plays among spring events

January 28, 2008 By Gwen Evans

There’s no end in sight for the strike at the Writers Guild of America, but that doesn’t mean you need to sit around boo-hooing, watching reruns or mind-numbing reality TV. Much finer entertainments are in the works on campus for the spring semester. See a play, visit a gallery, take in a film and attend a concert, or two or seven. Campus arts groups will present the works of the world-renowned as well as our student artists-in-the-making.

The following are just a few highlights of the spring semester. Check back in future issues of Wisconsin Week for more information, or visit the Web site of each sponsoring organization for details.

Dancers at the College Dance Gestival

The Dance Program will host the American College Dance Festival–North Central Region March 13–16

Chazen Museum of Art

The Chazen will host the 2008 Art Department Faculty Exhibition, which runs from Saturday, Jan. 26–Sunday, March 30. Visitors can expect a healthy representation of styles and media, including paintings, sculpture, graphics, ceramics, textiles, woodwork, metalwork, glass, prints, and photographs, as well as performance, video and computer art.

Art department faculty will present gallery talks throughout the run of the show and an opening reception will be held from 6–8 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 25.

From Saturday, April 19–Sunday, June 29, the Chazen turns its sight to the circus, with two exhibits that explore and celebrate the art of the circus. “Judy Onofrio and the Art of the Circus” includes life-sized sculptures of performers, animals and circus acts. Onofrio’s work will be shown alongside banners, posters and carvings from the collection at the Circus World Museum in Baraboo, Wis.

“Harry A. Atwell, Circus Photographer” will give viewers a real-life view of life under the big top. Atwell documented circus performers, crowds, stars and behind-the-scenes events for the Ringling Bros. Circus for 40 years.

In addition to the bounty of performances by faculty, student ensembles, bands, orchestras, opera, choirs and guest artists, the School of Music has a special treat planned. Christopher Taylor, associate professor of piano, will perform the complete piano sonatas of Ludwig van Beethoven in a series of 10 concerts. The first concert will take place on Wednesday, Feb. 13; the final concert is Friday, April 18. All performances are in Mills Concert Hall in the Mosse Humanities Building.

To get your semester started on a musical and theatrical note, attend “Vienna, City of Contradictions” at 8 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 2. The concert includes the musical works of Gustav Mahler and Johann Strauss, with readings of Viennese authors by colleagues from the Department of Theatre and Drama.

At 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 7, guest artist Robert McDonald, piano, will be joined by the Pro Arte Quartet in a free performance of “Piano Quintet” by Frank Bridge.

University Theatre

University Theatre will present three productions this semester. An adaptation of Toni Morrison’s novel “The Bluest Eye” kicks off the season on Friday, Feb. 29, and runs through Saturday, March 15.

Next up is “Dragonwings,” which tells the story of a Chinese boy in 1928 San Francisco and his father, who is building a flying machine. This Theatre for Youth production is appropriate for ages 8 and up. “Dragonwings” runs Saturday, March 29–Saturday, April 12.

“Stella!” Many have seen the film version of “A Streetcar Named Desire,” but stage productions are not common. The timeless play by Tennessee Williams earned him a Pulitzer Prize and will captivate audiences. Streetcar runs Thursday, April 17–Saturday, May 3.

Dance Program

In addition to a robust schedule of student, faculty and guest artist performances, the big event of the semester is the American College Dance Festival–North Central Region, Thursday–Sunday, March 13–16. The Dance Program is hosting the festival, which will bring approximately 500 students from more than 30 colleges and universities from the Midwest and beyond to the Madison campus. The Dance Program will offer special public concerts and performances throughout the festival.

And not to be missed is the popular Spring Dance Program Concert, scheduled for Thursday–Saturday, April 24–26.

School of Human Ecology

The Design Gallery presents “Design 2008: Annual Student Juried Exhibition,” Wednesday, Feb. 13–Sunday, April 6. This annual event showcases the best work by current students in the areas of textile and apparel design and interior design.

Wisconsin Union

With films, music, plays, gallery exhibits and the Distinguished Lecture Series, there is always something going on at the Union. In April, the 80th Annual Student Art Show will be held. New this year, the show will be complemented with walking tour podcasts of the exhibitions. Also watch for the Marcia Legere Student Play Festival in March. The festival features the winning one-act plays of the annual student playwriting competition, which are produced, directed and performed by UW–Madison students.

Wisconsin Film Festival

Film fiends will want to block out Thursday–Sunday, April 3–6, for the 10th year of the Wisconsin Film Festival. More than 150 films and an attendance of nearly 30,000 make the festival a major part of the cultural calendar for the state and the campus.

Organizers are still sifting and winnowing through potential films to present, but attendees can be certain the selections will thrill, amaze, entertain, enlighten and educate.

Union Theater

Spring semester programming at the Union Theater includes the hot and lively and cool and measured, but always passionate. Here are some highlights from the many offerings at the theater. Check the Web site for more information and ticket prices and details.

— Tango Fire, Tuesday, Jan. 29. This 10-person dance troupe will heat up the winter night with its presentation of the powerful and sexy dance from Argentina.

— Hugh Masekela’s Chissa All-Stars, Thursday, Jan. 31. Sure to take the chill off, South African trumpeter Masekela’s music spans jazz, pop and funk. His 1987 hit “Bring Him Back Home” became the anthem for Nelson Mandela’s world tour following his release from prison.

— Olympia Dukakis: “Rose,” Saturday, Feb. 2. Academy Award-winner Olympia Dukakis brings her Broadway hit to Madison. “Rose” is a story of survival. We journey with her through her life in war-torn Poland, the borscht-belts of postwar Atlantic City and modern Miami Beach.

— The Academy of Ancient Music (AAM) with Richard Egarr, Friday, Feb. 8. AAM is one of the world’s first and foremost period-instrument orchestras, known for its pioneering and prize-winning recordings.

— Gretchen Parlato and Esperanza Spalding, Friday, Feb. 15. This program features two of today’s hottest new names in jazz. Parlato is the first-place winner of the 2004 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Vocals Competition. Spalding is a bass player and singer.

— Complexions Contemporary Ballet, Sunday, March 2. Complexions is a multiracial troupe of high-energy dancers that was founded by two former stars of the Alvin Ailey company.

— Frederica von Stade, Sunday, March 30. This mezzo-soprano has garnered six Grammy nominations, two Grand Prix du Disc awards and many more honors. She has appeared in opera, concerts and recitals around the world and on television, including several PBS and “Live from Lincoln Center” telecasts.

— Anonymous Four with Darol Anger and Scott Nygaard, Thursday, April 10. This female vocal quartet rocked the vocal-ensemble world with its stunning renditions of medieval and contemporary works. The group is back with a program drawn from the American music legacy of shape-note books, spirituals and gospel hymns. They are joined by progressive fiddler Anger and bluegrass-newgrass guitarist Nygaard.