7 events to get you in the holiday spirit this weekend

Winter fun for all ages
7 events to get you in the holiday spirit this weekend
Photography by Rich Cullen
Ed Asner as God in "God Help Us!."

This weekend in Madison features all kinds of family fun. Bring your little ones and sing your hearts out at the Overture Center’s Free Community Carol Sing or watch the Kanopy Dance Company dancers create a winter wonderland before your eyes.

Looking for some more adult-oriented fun? Grab a ticket to the comedy “God Help Us!” starring Ed Asner or visit Bartell Theatre later in the weekend and see “Rotted Roots.” You’ll leave thinking about parenthood, sacrifice and regret in a whole new way.


“God Help Us!,” Drury Stage, The Bartell Theatre
Thursday, Dec. 12, 7: 30 p.m.; Friday, Dec. 13, 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. (The evening shows were both sold out as of Wednesday afternoon.)
Youngsters know Ed Asner as the loveable but prickly Carl Fredricksen in the 2009 film “Up,” college students know him as Santa in the 2003 holiday movie “Elf” and adults know him as Lou Grant on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.” (1970-1977) and “Lou Grant” (1977-1982). Asner marries his political activism and his acting prowess in “God Help Us!.” In classic Asner style, the actor portrays a cranky but good-hearted God who is fed up with two political pundits. Asner’s character is discontented with the state of politics and humanity and decides this is the moment to let it be known. This topical and humorous production encourages audience members to listen and learn from one another.

“Rotted Roots,” The Bartell Theatre
Sunday, Dec. 15, 7 p.m.
When Charlotte gets pregnant she gives up her career aspirations in order to be the best mother she can be, a choice she comes to regret. When her daughter, Elaina, gets pregnant, Elaina fears having to make the same decision and contemplates the sacrifices motherhood requires. Krass Women’s Theatre presents this brand new play, “Rotted Roots,” as a staged reading at Bartell Theatre. Kaia Kalise’s new play examines the dynamic between parent and child and calls into question whether sacrificing a career for a child is worth potential resentment. This reading is free but a donation to Krass Women’s Theatre is suggested. Be among the very first audience to see this thought-provoking piece.


Pat McGann, Comedy on State
Thursday, Dec. 12, 8 p.m.; Friday, Dec. 13, 8 p.m. and 10:30 p.m.; Saturday, Dec. 14, 8 p.m. and 10:30 p.m.
You may recognize him from his appearances on “The Late Show with David Letterman” and “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” or from hosting the Emmy-nominated “The Chicago Stand Up Project.” Salesman turned comedian Pat McGann brings his relatable standup set about marriage and fatherhood to Comedy on State this weekend.


“Winter Fantasia,” Promenade Hall, Overture Center for the Arts
Friday, Dec. 13, 7: 30 p.m.; Saturday, Dec. 14, 2 p.m. and 5 p.m.; Sunday, Dec. 15, 1 p.m. and 4 p.m.
Kanopy Dance Co. brings to the stage the story of a young girl who gets lost in the woods on a winter day and encounters a kingdom of snow fairies and their queen. With a stunning winter landscape set, Benjamin Britten’s “Ceremony of Carols” underscoring and the graceful performance of the Kanopy dancers, this production will be a treat for all ages and senses. See this lyrical production at Overture Center.

“A Madison Symphony Christmas,” Overture Hall, Overture Center
Friday, Dec. 13, 7: 30 p.m.; Saturday, Dec. 14, 8 p.m.; Sunday, Dec. 15, 2: 30 p.m.
Overture Center serves up a hefty dose of holiday joy this weekend. From the moment you walk into the Overture Hall lobby you will be greeted by joyful carolers. And at the main event, the annual Madison Symphony Orchestra Christmas concert, the highlights will include soloists Mackenzie Whitney (tenor) and Michelle Johnson (soprano) classic carols as well as new works. Be sure to warm up your own voice before you go because the show will conclude with a sing-along with the audience.

Free Community Carol Sing, Overture Hall, Overture Center
Saturday, Dec. 14, 11 a.m.
For some free holiday fun, head over to Overture Center this Saturday and let your inner Renee Fleming shine at the Free Community Carol Sing. Greg Zelek, Overture’s principal organist and concert organ curator, will lead the Madison Symphony Orchestra in everyone’s favorite holiday tunes. People of all ages are invited to come sing the classic carols.

Recreational Rhythmns Winter Ball, High Noon Saloon
Sunday, Dec. 14, 2 p.m. to 1 a.m.
A day-long benefit for local charities, the Recreational Rhymns Winter Ball is in its 15th year but a new location on Sunday night. Starting with a family-friend block, 2-5 p.m., David Landau and Better Yeti will get the kids dancing. Then from 5:30 p.m. to after midnight, several bands — including Madtown Mannish Boys and Vanessa Tortolano — will keep an older crowd jumping.

Dana Munro is an editorial intern at Madison Magazine.