52 Madison events you’ll want to attend in September

Concerts, comics, plays and art shows
52 Madison events you’ll want to attend in September
Photo by John Benson
The popular Taste of Madison returns at the start of September with more than 80 food and drink vendors and live music.

Special Event
Take an empty stomach to Taste of Madison, where bites and sips from more than 80 local restaurants and beverage stands will be offered around the Capitol Square. Sept. 1-2

Art
Although artist Harold Altman passed away in 2003, his decades-worth of paintings live on and will be displayed this month at the Garver Gallery. Sept. 4-29

Theater
Forward Theater Co. opens their 10th season of locally-produced productions with “Skeleton Crew,” a relevant play about walking the line between friendship and financial success during the Great Recession. Sept. 6-23

Theater
Encore Studio for the Performing Arts, the state’s only professional theater company for actors with disabilities, starts its season with “Found Money,” a musical comedy about making tough ethical choices. Sept. 7-22

Art
Ten artists display their regional photography in the Wisconsin Academy’s new exhibit “New Midwest Photography.” Sept. 7-Oct. 28

Music
Local indie-pop duo Seasaw celebrates its latest album release “Big Dogs” with an upbeat High Noon Saloon show with openers Son!, Lex Allen and Kenny Hoopla. Sept. 8

Comedy
Once a member of Chicago’s Second City and an actor on Showtime’s “Queer as Folk,” Hal Sparks intertwines humor and political activism on his podcast “Superior.” Sparks brings his stand-up act to Comedy Club on State. Sept. 9

Music
Local guitarist Reuben Ristrom celebrates 40 years as a jazz musician by joining forces with his vocalist and drummer sons, Dan and Trevor Ristrom, along with two guest musicians. Sept. 9

Special Event
Last year, Madison was named best host city for the Ironman Wisconsin race, mostly because of high spectator turnout. Watch Wisconsin’s strongest triathletes cover the land and water of Madison to compete in this year’s Ironman. Sept. 9

Comedy
Iliza Shlesinger, one of the hottest stand-up comedians in the country, hits the Overture stage with her show “Elder Millennial,” which is also a comedy special Shlesinger released in July on Netflix. Sept. 12

Special Event
Musicians and dancers from around the world bring their cultural artistry to Madison for the World Music Festival with performances at Union South, Memorial Union and the Willy Street Fair. Sept. 13-15

Market
Enjoy the last Madison Night Market of the summer. Vendors showcase handmade products, local art, artisan gifts, fresh produce and food. There also will be live music, food carts and pop-up restaurants. Sept. 13

Theater
StageQ’s productions focus on the issues faced by the LGBTQ+ community. That’s the case in “Southern Baptist Sissies,” a play in which four gay boys attempt to find their place in the world generally and within the Southern Baptist Church specifically. Sept. 14-16 & 19-22

Theater
Don’t lose your head — Middleton Players Theatre’s production of “Sweeney Todd” is coming. The dark musical describes the demon barber of Fleet Street who seeks revenge on humanity through his work, and joins a baker who conceals the evidence in her meat pies. Sept. 14-16

Theater
Follow the musical adventures of Flat Stanley a 10-year-old flattened by the bulletin board that fell on him — as he globe trots in search of a way to become three-dimensional once again. Based on the books by Jeff Brown, “Flat Stanley, Jr.” is a show put on by kids for kids. Sept. 14-16

Theater
The three-person cast of “The Drawer Boy,” put on by Strollers Theatre on the Bartell Theatre’s Drury Stage, will tell the story of the writing of a story, the effects it has on real-life people and how theater portrays them. Sept. 14-16, 20-22 & 27-29

Theater
Edgewood College Theatre’s first production of their 2018-19 season, “Late Company,” sets the table for an emotional dinner between parents who lost their son to suicide and their son’s bully and his parents. Sept. 14, 15, 21 & 22

Art
Three visual artists — Charles Munch, Rick Hintze and Katherine Steichen-Rosing — will exhibit works in Paoli’s Abel Contemporary Gallery, a space known for displaying a rotating cast of local and nationally-renowned artists. Opens Sept. 14

Art
Madison-based photographer Michael Kienitz showcases images he’s taken over five years of the slowly disappearing Vatnajokull National Park in Iceland. Opens Sept. 14

Special Event
Experience some of Madison’s up-and-coming talent at Overture’s Rising Stars final showcase, featuring a diverse lineup. September 15

Music
Cellist Alison Rowe, who formerly studied at UW-Madison, joins her musician parents and pianists Martha Fischer and Bill Lutes for a tribute show celebrating late composer Leonard Bernstein’s 100th birthday. Sept. 15

Music
Oakwood Chamber Players open their five-show season with “Vignettes,” a concert featuring several works arranged for flute, cello and piano. Sept. 15-16

Festival
Madison’s Wil-Mar neighborhood ties a bow on their summer festival season with the 2018 Willy Street Fair, featuring live music (including some acts from the Wisconsin Union’s concurrent World Music Festival) as well as food and drink provided by local vendors. Sept. 15-16

Reading
A Room of One’s Own bookstore welcomes four authors this month — Lucy Jane Bledsoe, Courtney Kersten, Madeline Uraneck and Jessica Hopper — each of whom draws on aspects of their lives to craft works ranging from memoir to fictional short stories. Sept. 17, 21, 25 & 27

Music
Father John Misty includes lyrical descriptions of heartbreak and the freedom on his folk-influenced new album “God’s Favorite Customer.” He’s expected to draw on the new material during his Madison stop at the Orpheum Theater. Sept. 18

Music
Madison Symphony Orchestra’s organist Greg Zelek, recognized as “the most exciting young organist in the American organ scene” and curator of the Overture Center’s concert organ, will open MSO’s season with a performance of his organ favorites. Sept. 18

Music
Rock band Counting Crows can count 25 years as a band, in which time they’ve received much critical acclaim for their seven studio albums. They’ll play under the stars at Breese Stevens Field. Sept. 19

Theater
Give yourself a few nights off from Netflix and catch all four parts of Strollers Theatres’ satirical soap opera, “Lust for Life.” The first installment of this classic family drama about who gets their recently deceased patriarch’s money, is acted out twice this month. Subsequent episodes will be staged in October, November and next March and May. Sept.19 & 26 (Episode 1)

Comedy
Veteran comedian Kathleen Madigan has appeared on The Tonight Show, The Late show with David Letterman and Jerry Seinfeld’s “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.” Now she’s bringing her whirlwind “Boxed Wine and Bigfoot” tour to the Barrymore Theatre — and plenty of Franzia. Sept. 20

Comedy
Perhaps best known for his role in Comedy Central’s hit show “Broad City,” Hannibal Buress is a road comic and cohost of the “Handsome Rambler” podcast. Buress will do his very funny stand-up at the Orpheum Theater. Sept. 20

Music
Indie rock band Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy takes to the Overture Center’s Capitol Theater stage solo. He could play acoustic versions of Wilco songs, like those on his 2017 album, “Together At Last.” Sept. 20

Comedy
Viral clips from Bert Kreischer’s newest Showtime series, “Bert Kreischer: The Machine” — not to mention his popular “Bert the Conquerer” show — will ramp up interest in his appearances at the Comedy Club on State. Sept. 20-22

Music
Local jazz and gospel drummer Rick Flowers outs on his inDIGenous fall jazz concert, a series showcasing regional musicians. The four-show series premieres this month. Sept. 21

Special Event
Actor William Shatner will reflect on portraying Captain James T. Kirk in the original “Star Trek” series — as well as other highlights in his 50-some-year career — following a special screening of “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.” Audience members will have the chance to ask Shatner questions during a Q&A. Sept. 21

Music
After a summer tune-up, the Edgewood Chamber Orchestra will raise the curtain on Edgewood College Music Department’s fall concert series. Sept. 23

Art
The Madison Museum of Contemporary Art’s upcoming exhibit,”The Bronzes,” features 15 works of gravity-defying, geometric structures done with by renowned, trendsetting sculptor Joel Shapiro. Opens Sept. 23

Theater
Get a sneak peek at Madison Opera’s upcoming show and see a multimedia presentation about the show’s history at the community preview of “Cavalleria Rusticana & Pagliacci.” Sept. 24

Music
A longtime activist for various social justice movements and a groundbreaking woman in music, Holly Near has used her voice to push change forward for over 40 years. She’ll celebrate the release of her 31st album at the Barrymore. Sept. 27

Music
With a big, full-band sound combining soul, folk, jazz and a dash of R&B, it’s fitting that Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats’ newest album is titled “Tearing at the Seams.” Their show will be the first at Madison’s newest performance venue, The Sylvee. Sept. 27

Dance
Chicago-based dance company The Seldoms combine visual components with their movements to illustrate real-world issues, including the theme of their Memorial Union show, “RockCitizen” that explores cultural spaces in the 1960s. September 27

Art
Multitalented writer and photographer (and former frontman of punk rock band Black Flag) Henry Rollins will tell the stories behind photos he’s taken on his travels around the world. Sept. 28

Special Event
The Madison Children’s Museum will transform into the Madison Adult’s Museum to let grown-ups craft their own terrariums or constellation sketches to live music at the “Dinos in Space” Adult Swim event. Sept. 28

Music
Shakey Graves played to a packed crowd at a Live on King Street show last summer. Now the indie rock band returns to a play at The Sylvee music on its May release, “Can’t Wake Up.” Sept. 28

Reading
Local writer Jen Rubin documents 80 years of her immigrant family’s history in her newest book, “We Are Staying: Eighty Years in the Life of a Family, a Store, and a Neighborhood.” Sept. 28

Music
Local musicians Jeffrey James and Dana Perry jointly release their newest albums with live performances at The Brink Lounge. Sept. 28

Special Event
Squeeze one last bonfire in before it gets too cold at Olbrich Botanical Gardens’ “Crackle Fire & Froth” event, with music provided by Better Yeti. Sept. 28

Special Event
Scholars, politicians, journalists and activists will gather to brainstorm how Wisconsin can “Reach a Better State,” the theme of the Cap Time’s second Idea Fest. Sept. 28-29

Music
Emanuel Ax, a Grammy-winning musician considered by some to be the best concert pianist of the 21st century, kicks off the Madison Symphony Orchestra season with 25-year conductor John DeMain. Sept. 28-30

Music
After releasing 14 albums over the past four decades, The Indigo Girls bring their folk-pop songs and progressive politics to the Orpheum. Sept. 29

Reading
Contemporary poet Rupi Kaur focuses her writing on love, pain, femininity and much more that resonates with readers today. She’ll read from her two illustrated poetry collections, “Milk & Honey” and “The Sun and Her Flowers,” at the Memorial Union. Sept. 29

Dance
Madison Contemporary Vision Dance explores “Light & Dark” with original choreography in the Overture Center’s Promenade Hall. The show incorporates pieces created by multiple choreographers. Sept. 29-30

Music
Madison Opera partnered with Cento to concoct a five-course Italian Opera Dinner. Each course will be paired perfectly with songs from the opera company’s upcoming production, “Cavalleria Rusticana & Pagliacci.” Sept. 30

Sammy Gibbons is an editorial intern at Madison Magazine.

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