7 captivating May performances and exhibits

You don't want to miss these exceptional events
7 captivating May performances and exhibits
Courtesy of Madison Museum of Contemporary art / Kambui Olujimi, Untitled (anchor), from the series T-Minus Ø, 2017
Kambui Olujimi questions time as a construct through his art.

“Zulu Time” May 5- Aug. 6

Time may be fleeting, but the way we mark it is pretty subjective. So argues Kambui Olujimi in “Zulu Time,” a new exhibition at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art. The multidisciplinary New York-based artist focuses on Coordinated Universal Time, the system that established the prime meridian as the point from which time zones across the globe are calculated. Establishing that the starting line is in Greenwich, England, when Great Britain held maritime power, made it so time literally revolves around a Western construct. Olujimi’s two-dimensional and structural work explores invisible hierarchies and the power disparities they create.

Gallery Night May 5

Gallery hopping doesn’t get more action packed than at this semiannual event. Gallery Night encourages art lovers to take their pick of a record 80-some museums, galleries, shops and businesses–some of which don’t normally showcase art–to peruse photography, paintings, sculpture and more, as well as enjoy refreshments, demonstrations, live entertainment and the chance to meet artists. Top off the evening of art-viewing at Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, which organizes Gallery night and will open the aforementioned “Zulu Time” exhibit on the occasion.

7 captivating May performances and exhibits

Brahms’ “Requiem” May 5-7

Simply put, a requiem is a mass for the dead. Many composers have put their spin on the somber tradition, but Johannes Brahms’ version doesn’t mourn the departed but comforts the living. Soprano Devon Guthrie and bass-baritone Timothy Jones join the Madison Symphony Orchestra and Madison Symphony Chorus for this powerful performance. A rarely heard work by Charles Stanford, with Nathan Laube on the Overture concert organ, opens the concert that brings the MSO’s 91st season to a close.

7 captivating May performances and exhibits

Midwest Gypsy Swing Fest May 6

This “on-the-road” version of the venerable Midwest Gypsy Swing Fest brings Harmonious Wail and the Gonzalo Bergara Trio to the Stoughton Opera House for an evening of acoustic swing-jazz music. Madison’s own Harmonious Wail blends mandolin and guitar with jazz, gypsy and swing. Meanwhile, guitarist Gonzalo Bergara mixes influences of Paris and his native Argentina for a style of progressive gypsy jazz all his own. It’s hard to imagine a better musical mingling than these two creative, expressive groups.

7 captivating May performances and exhibits

“The Book of Mormon” May 9-14

“The Book of Mormon” has been called a lot of things. Outrageous. Offensive. Hilarious. But would you really expect anything different from the creators of “South Park”? The satirical musical centers on two naïve missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who travel to a remote village in Uganda. Since opening on Broadway in 2011, the hit show has garnered nine Tony Awards, a Grammy and countless fans who appreciate its skewering irreverence.

7 captivating May performances and exhibits

“A Year with Toad and Frog” May 12-21

This page-to-stage adaptation of the popular children’s book series by Arnold Lobel follows the upbeat Frog and grumpy Toad as they celebrate their differences and their friendship through the four seasons. Nominated for three Tony Awards, this whimsical musical combines vaudeville and make-believe for a story intended for theatergoers ages 3 and older. Children’s Theater of Madison brings the show to life at the Overture Center for the Arts’ intimate Playhouse.

“Of Dice and Men” May 19-June 3

Mercury Players Theater casts stereotypes aside with this play by Cameron McNary. In “Of Dice and Men,” Dungeons & Dragons players aren’t isolated and nerdy. Rather, they’re six smart, good-natured and complex men and women who come together for fantasy and friendship. Funny and poignant, the play presented at the Bartell Theatre honors the sense of community that gaming can create–and that can be upturned when a player announces he’s leaving the group.

Katie Vaughn is a contributor to Madison Magazine. Find more can’t-miss arts and entertainment picks in the guides and blogs on madisonmagazine.com.