9 weekend events to gear you up for the holiday season

Shop and then enjoy holiday performances
9 weekend events to gear you up for the holiday season

Gear up for the holidays with Christmas-themed plays and New Year’s-themed dance performances. In need of unique gifts for friends and family? Check out the Fair Trade Holiday Festival.

But if it’s a break from the holiday hullaballoo you seek, check out the classical music at Memorial Union or bluegrass at Majestic theatre. Whatever you’re in the mood for this weekend, Madison’s got you covered.


“A Christmas Carol,” Overture Center for the Arts, Capitol Theater
Saturday, Dec. 7, 7 p.m.; Sunday, Dec. 8, 2:30 p.m.; Dec. 14-15 and 20-22
Across the pond in Victorian-era England, Ebenezer Scrooge is not feeling the Christmas spirit. He is in desperate need of a little Christmas magic. Luckily, the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future have some tricks up their sleeves. The cast of Children’s Theater of Madison’s “A Christmas Carol” at the Overture Center for the Arts is directed by James Ridge and led by Jonathan Daly as Scrooge. The production is appropriate for ages 8 and older.

“Straight White Men,” Bartell Theatre, Evjue Stage
Friday-Saturday, Thursday-Sunday, Wednesday-Saturday, Dec. 6-7, 12-15, 18-21
A father and his three sons reunite for the holidays. On the surface things seem amicable and joyous. Holiday cheer is in the air. But as the young men re-enter the world of their childhood, they can’t help but reflect on their lives. Issues begin to bubble up and we learn that perhaps these men are not quite as content with the lives they’ve led. Written by avant-garde playwright Young Jean Lee, “Straight White Men” can be seen at Bartell Theatre.


Handel’s “Messiah,” Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra, Blackhawk Church
Friday, Dec. 6, 7 p.m.
Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without listening to an angelic host of voices performing as a Hallelujah chorus. Experience just that at Blackhawk Church. Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra, joined by the WCO Chorus and the Festival Choir of Madison, presents Handel’s “Messiah,” featuring soloists Sarah Lawrence, Johanna Bronk, Gene Stenger and Chris Burchette.

The Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio, Shannon Hall, Wisconsin Union Theater
Friday, Dec. 6
The Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio made their debut performance at the White House for President Jimmy Carter’s inauguration in January 1977. Four decades later they have become internationally known and highly praised. Hear this powerhouse trio — pianist Joseph Kalichstein, violinist Jaime Laredo and cellist Sharon Robinson — perform Schumann’s “Canonic Etudes,” Mendelssohn’s “Piano Trio No. 1 in D minor” and Beethoven’s “Piano Trio No. 7 in B-flat Major, op. 97” (also known as “Archduke”) in Shannon Hall as part of the David and Kato Perlman Chamber Music Series.

Bluegrass Ball, Majestic Theatre
Friday, Dec. 6
The music of Montana bluegrass group Kitchen Dwellers is so unique fans have coined a new genre for them: Galaxy Grass. The group first formed in college at Montana State and in 2017 released its second album, “Ghost in The Bottle.” Kitchen Dwellers will be preceded on the Majestic stage by folk-rock band The Last Revel and Adam Gruel (of Horseshoes & Hand Grenades).

Wintersong, Barrymore Theatre
Saturday, Dec. 7, 8 p.m.
Local indie folk and pop musicians will gather Saturday night for another edition of Wintersong, a benefit concert and holiday tradition started by former Madison singer-songwriter Anna Vogelzang in 2012. Vogelzang is back in town for the Barrymore Theatre show and will be joined by Nick Brown, Coyote Brother, Josh Harty, Madison Malone, Shawndell Marks, ASUMAYA, Seasaw and Simon Balto. Wisconsin Public Television producer Andy Moore will host the event, a fundraiser for Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin.


“The Little Matchstick Girl,” Bartell Theatre, Drury Stage
Friday, Dec. 6, 7 p.m.; Saturday, Dec. 7, 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.; Sunday, Dec. 8, 2 p.m.
While everyone around town is cozy inside enjoying New Year’s festivities a little girl is stranded outside freezing. But, things change when she spots a shooting star in the night sky. Directed by Marguerite Luksik and performed by Central Midwest Ballet Academy, “The Little Matchstick” comes to the Bartell Theatre. This ballet based on the Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale is perfect event for the whole family.


Fair Trade Holiday Festival, Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center
Saturday, Dec. 7, 8 a.m.-3 p.m.
For all your gift-giving needs, visit the Fair Trade Holiday Festival on Saturday at Monona Terrace. Purchase gifts your friends will love created by vendors you can feel good about supporting. Makers from some 35 countries will be at this year’s fair. Handcrafted ornaments from Uganda, sustainable necklaces from Chile and holiday cards handmade by orphans in Siberia (proceeds go toward funding birthday parties for the orphans) are only a few of the multitude of gifts offered.


“Turn the Key Softly,” Chazen Museum of Art
Sunday, Dec. 8, 2 p.m.
Cinematographer Geoffrey Unsworth of “2001: A Space Odyssey” fame is back at it again with “Turn the Key Softly,” a story of three tenacious women breaking out of Holloway Prison. Directed by Jack Lee and featuring a cast consisting of Joan Collins, Yvonne Mitchell and Kathleen Harris, this film delicately deals with issues such as aging, loneliness and hope. The beautiful shots of the rainy London cityscape are reason enough to visit the Chazen Museum and see this stunning film.

Dana Munro is an editorial intern for Madison Magazine.