50 events to start 2019 off right

Your January A&E guide
50 events to start 2019 off right
Amandalynn Jones
Overture Center's Frostiball

Music

Recognizing Wisconsin as the bluegrass hub it has become, the Majestic Theatre is kicking off its four-genre showcase series with not one but two nights dedicated, a couple weeks apart, to its Wisconsin Bluegrass Fest. A handful of bands will play each night. Jan. 4 & Jan. 19

Music

Lackin’ Some Direction , a Madison-based Grateful Dead tribute band, brings their interpretive (rather than imitative) approach to The Brink Lounge. Jan. 5

Music

Night No. 2 of the Majestic Theatre highlighting our home state’s diverse music scene involves five local punk groups, including student band Gender Confetti. Come out for Wisconsin Punk Fest . Jan. 5

Music

Midwest-based musicians make up WIJAM’s fourth annual Winterfire lineup, an evening of jamtronica and jazz fusion as well as performances from emcee and jam-poet FlowPoetry. Jan. 5

Art

Hatch Art House prioritizes selling sustainable, locally-made goods, and its month-long EcoSquared small works art show is no different with upcycled, affordable works from 75-plus Madison artists. Jan. 8-Feb. 28

Theater

Fly past the land where you’ll never grow up to the story of how that world came to be in “Finding Neverland,” an award-winning musical about a playwright you ventures to Neverland to put together Peter Pan’s famous story. Catch one of eight performances in Overture Hall at the Overture Center for the Arts. Jan. 8-13

Music

Mama Digdown’s Brass Band, Wurk, DJ Phil Money and two other groups get their groove on at the Majestic Theatre’s Wisconsin Funk Fest . Jan. 11

Art

The winter 2018-19 exhibition cycle for Overture Galleries opens with a reception in the Promenade Lounge of Overture Center. Find and leave “Kindness Stones” and see the multi-material sculptures by Hannah Bennett and Gabrielle Cordes. Jan. 11

Music

Young musicians showcase their considerable talents at the Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestra Honors Recital at Oakwood Village West. Hundreds of 8- to 18-year-old chamber players will perform. Jan. 11

Art

Three artist imprint stories into viewers’ minds through detailed woodcut and screen prints as well as delicately detailed porcelain pottery in Abel Contemporary Gallery’s latest exhibit, Nocturne . Opens Jan. 11

Theater

The Green Room ,” a play about the backstage drama that goes into putting on a play, is presented by Encore! Studio for the Performing Arts. Go behind the scenes and into the wild lives and scandals of the show’s actors, technicians and directors when they’re not in the spotlight. Jan. 11-26

Music

Local pianist Billy Joe Anderson puts his name to good use by leading a Billy Joel tribute show with his band The Affordables at the High Noon Saloon. Before he started playing homage to Billy Joel, Anderson has been playing “for the longest time.” Jan. 12

Music

The Majestic highlights a rich vein of local music by hosting its Wisconsin Hip Hop Fest , featuring seven artists including University of Wisconsin­-Madison alum CRASHprez. Jan. 12

Music

Madison’s professional chamber music group Oakwood Chamber Players return to Oakwood Village for their third show of the season, featuring quintets, character pieces and tunes for instruments from cello to piano. Jan. 12-13

Theater

It’s raining singing cats and dogs in Madison Opera’s rendition of “ Super Storm: A New Opera ,” a short libretto aimed at teaching children that modern opera is meant for all ages. The four-person cast plays cats and dogs finding their voices while trapped in a cave during a storm. Jan. 13

Theater

The Rainbow Fish ,” a production of Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia, brings sparkling scales swimming across the Overture’s Capitol Theater stage with life-like puppetry. Octopi and dozens of fish float through the light’s currents and stories for children. Jan. 13

Comedy

Recently named “New York’s funniest” at the New York Comedy Festival, Tim Dillon brings to Comedy on State the humor he shares on his podcast “Tim Dillon is Going to Hell” and TruTV’s “Comedy Knockout.” Jan. 17-19

Theate

Two members of the Forward Theater Co. perform “Heisenberg,” the New York Times-acclaimed play about very different people chasing after a love connection they eventually find in each other. Jan. 17-Feb. 3

Music

Get ready to mosh at Wisconsin Metal Fest , Majestic’s final night in its series of concerts celebrating the state’s musical diversity. Casket Robbery, Sarah Longfield and three other groups will perform. Jan. 18

Special Event

Quit trying to juggle all the things you have to do and sit back and watch the pros at the 47th Annual Madfest Juggling Extravaganza . This weekend of workshops and vendors culminates with a Saturday night showcase of multitasking excellence. Jan. 19

Music

Enjoy the warmth of the Olbrich Botanical Gardens conservatory, heated by traditional music and dance performances from various cultures in their “ Children of the Rainforest series, starting this month with traditional Nahua dance and song from Kalpulli Yaocenoxtli. Jan. 19

Reading

The Arts + Literature Laboratory’s 2019 Watershed Series welcomes local poets and fiction writers, including UW-Madison MFA candidates and renowned talents, to share new works for The New Year Reading . January 19

Music

Dave Landau combines his first grade teaching skills with his musical ability in his 14th Annual Kids Day , playing a fun-filled show that will get the kiddos singing and dancing with him. Jan. 19

Music

Reggae punk band Sublime may have broken up in 1996, but bassist Eric Wilson co-founded Sublime With Rome with Rome Ramirez to keep their musical journey going. A third album dropped in 2018, so they’ll have plenty of music to play when they stop at The Sylvee. Jan. 19

Music

Shout out to the fishes in the deep blue sea with Three Dog Night , the band with hits spanning four decades. Jan. 19

Theater

Madison Symphony Orchestra bring actors and visuals for a multimedia exploration of the story behind Mendelssohn ‘s music and adventures in Italy. Jan. 20

Comedy

A familiar face on late night TV, with appearances on the late night shows of Conan, Fallon and Letterman, stand-up comedian Joe List will now appear at Comedy on State. Jan. 24-26

Special Event

At the Orpheum Theater relive the king of pop’s electric performances at MJ Live , a tribute concert featuring dancers and musicians recreating Michael Jackson’s biggest hits, from “Thriller” to “Beat It.” Jan. 24

Music

Internationally renown guitarist Eric Johnson , perhaps best known for his 1986 Grammy-winning hit “Cliffs of Dover,” will play the entirety of his album “Ah Via Musicom” nearly 30 years after its release. Jan. 24

Theater

Who would think The Cure and The Smiths would inspire music to back a Shakespeare play? Madison’s Are We Delicious? ensemble makes just that happen in “A Serpent’s Tooth: The King Lear Musical,” a rendition of the classic play set in the 1980s with dancing choreographed by Kanopy Dance. Jan. 24-27 & Jan. 30-Feb. 2

Music

The Whiskey Farm, a local band known for playing roots rock and being social active, is working with the High Noon Saloon to put on the second-annual Music For Good , a showcase for several Madison musicians raising money for NAMI Dane County, a local support network for people with mental illness. Jan. 25

Music
Young cellist Miriam K. Smith is rapidly gaining national recognition. She’ll play with the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra as part of its Masterworks series. Jan. 25

Art

UW-Madison alum Gillian Laub’s two decades of photography explores nuances in cultural identity, including images of a southern U.S. town that held racially segregated dances well into the 21st century. Laub’s “Southern Rites” can be seen at the Chazen Museum of Art. Opens Jan. 25

Music

Local Celtic rock band The Kissers play The Brink Lounge to raise money for the Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestras, in which several members of the band once performed. Jan. 25

Theater

Cleanse your palettes, because you’ll want to be ready for the spicy flavors coming in Are We Delicious? Ensemble’s “Dave Durbin’s Dirty Delights,” five sexy short plays written, composed, rehearsed and performed within aweek. Jan. 25-26 & Feb. 1

Theater

Quirky middle school spellers compete, under the guidance of equally eccentric adults, in “ The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee ,” a Tony-winning play produced by the Sun Prairie Civic Theatre under the direction of Ned O’Reilly. Jan. 25-26 & Feb. 1-3

Theater

Kathie Rasmussen Women’s Theatre celebrates 10 years by showcasing one short play for each year in Mythical Creatures: A Short Play Festival , in which local actors portray mystical stories from Greek lore to modern fantasies. January 25-February 9

Theater

Broom Street Theater pays homage to its former artistic director Joel Gersmann with “ Keep It! ,” one work pieced together from Gersmann’s numerous satirical plays written over his 35 years with the avante-garde theater. Jan. 25-Feb. 16

Film

A documentary double feature hits the Barrymore with “ The Smart Studios Story ,” detailing the history of local, legendary Smart Studios, and the Madison premiere of “L7: Pretend We’re Dead” about the 1990s grunge band L7. Jan. 26

Comedy

The three pals who call The Flop House podcast home — Elliott Kalan, Dan McCoy and Stuart Wellington — come to Shannon Hall at the Wisconsin Memorial Union for a live conversation about bad movies. Jan. 26

Music

Chicago-raised rapper Noname is no stranger to Madison stages, but this time she comes to The Sylvee having recently released her album “Room 25.” The record is filled with her characteristic attitude-laced spoken word and jazzy backup music. Jan. 26

Special Event

Frostiball , Overture Center’s biggest fundraising event, also happens to be Madison’s biggest night out. Dance to The Upbeat Orchestra and enjoy appetizers and signature cocktails as you gush about the local arts scene with fellow enthusiasts. Jan. 26

Theater

A cast of parents channel their kids to write short plays in just seven days in the Are We Delicious? troupe’s “R Wee Delicious.” At the Bartell Theatre. Jan. 26-27 & Feb. 2

Music

The Chicago Cellar Boys taking audiences back to the swinging 1920s and ’30s with vocalist Roya Nardi in the first performance of the group’s 35th anniversary year. Jan. 27

Music

UW-Madison School of Music’s annual tradition “ Schubertiade returns with choral and orchestra pieces written by composer Franz Schubert’s in the final months of his life. Also on the program, a dedication to Beethoven, performed by faculty members and visiting scholars. Jan. 27

Music

Between growing seasons when Gregory Alan Isakov tends to his farm, he’s on tour. The indie-folk crooner is fresh off the release of his latest album “Evening Machines.” Jan. 27

Theater

Take the kids on a search for hidden treasure with their favorite cartoon characters in the PAW Patrol Live! “Great Pirate Adventure.” Jan. 29-30

Music

Hip hop artist Mike Stud winds down his music career with a final tour, stopping at the Majestic for a show and VIP drink and greet. Jan. 30

Special Event

Laura Nirider and Steven Drizin, lawyers for Brendan Dassey, whose murder case was famously profiled in the docuseries “Making a Murderer 2 ,” visit Memorial Union to discuss coerced confessions and wrongful convictions. Jan. 30

Comedy

Actor, writer and stand-up comedian Chris D’Elia , known for stints on Late Night with Seth Meyers and starring in the sitcom “Whitney,” wants you to “follow the leader” (him) through his stand-up comedy set at the Orpheum. Jan. 31

Sammy Gibbons is an editorial intern at Madison Magazine.

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