A&E: 49 things to do in April

April showers Madison with art, theater and more
A&E: 49 things to do in April
Photo by Gary Smith
The 44th-annual University of Wisconsin Band Concerts take place April 19, 20 and 21. 

Art
The Playhouse Gallery of the Overture Center for the Arts houses “Cool Science Images,” an exhibit of unique and informative images captured by the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s faculty, staff and students during their research. The exhibit includes photographs of living cells and images of Earth taken by satellites, demonstrating the range of academic inquiry. March 31 through April 29

Music
Los Angeles-based artist Lostboycrow stops at the High Noon Saloon on his “Spin the Globe” tour. He colorfully mixes introspective dance music and modern R&B. “Legends,” his most recent album, was released in three parts, “each representing a larger map that guides the traveler on his journey.” April 3

Theater
The national touring production of “Les Miserables” comes to Overture Center’s Overture Hall. Set during the French rebellion in the early 19th century, the story follows convict Jean Valjean as he seeks redemption and other characters, many in poverty, daring to dream of better times. April 3-8

Art
The Garver Gallery presents the self-titled exhibition “Art Werger.” Werger’s intaglio prints are inspired by his New Jersey childhood, with a main focus on city landscapes and suburban scenes. April 3-28

Film
The 20th anniversary of the Wisconsin Film Festival — the largest university-run film festival in the nation — shows over 150 films at three University of Wisconsin-Madison facilities as well as at Hilldale Shopping Center’s AMC Dine-In Madison 6. April 5-12

Theater
Forward Theater Co.’s “Marjorie Prime” at Overture Center’s Playhouse explores the limits of our human identity. Marjorie’s memories are fading. At 85, she finds herself in an age of artificial intelligence when a handsome companion is programed to tell her life story back to her. April 5-22

Music
Madison Music Collective continues its inDIGenous Jazz Series with a performance by the Andrew Baldwin Quintet at Madison Central Library. A recent graduate from the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he received a master of music in percussion performance, Andrew Baldwin performs modern drummer-led compositions backed by trumpet, tenor sax, piano and bass. April 6

Special Event
The Adult Swim: Sustainability Sideshow at Madison’s Children Museum is an adult green-themed carnival meant to highlight the lighter side of sustainability with carnival games, upcycled art and fashion, local food, beverages, live music and more. Specific events include Trashion Fashion — come dressed in upcycled finery or make your own trashion accessories onsite for a runway show — and the Barker Bonanza Open Mic, a chance to confess to living unsustainably. April 6

Comedy
Comedian Adam Carolla brings his act to Overture Center’s Capitol Theater. Carolla, who has had a decades-long rollercoaster of a career in radio and TV, can be counted on to rant hilarious about things that drive him crazy and share heartfelt personal stories about growing up in poverty. April 6

Music
AJR, a band of three brothers born and raised in New York City, broke through with the release of “I’m Ready,” an electro-pop single that quickly garnered over 10 million views on YouTube. The group’s success comes without help from a studio, mentor or co-writer because the brothers independently write, record and produce their own songs. AJR’s “The Click Tour” stops at the Majestic Theater to promote its newest album “The Click.” April 7

Special Event
The Madison Circus Space presents “Skeleton Circus.” See the amazing talents of its members perform aerial dance, acrobatic feats on German wheels juggle and more. April 7

Music
Kids in the Rotunda welcomes David Landau — winner of the Parents’ Choice Award and Children’s Performer of the Year Award from the Madison Area Music Association — to Overture Center’s Rotunda Stage. As a local musician and first-grade teacher, Landau provides age-appropriate stories and songs to get the whole family laughing and dancing. April 7

Music
Madison Bach Musicians partners with the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s opera, dance and music departments to conclude its 2017-2018 season with a period performance of Henry Purcell’s tragic opera “Dido & Aeneas” — based on the love story told in Book IV of Virgil’s Aeneid — at First Unitarian Society of Madison. The evening concludes with J.S. Bach’s “Coffee Cantata.” April 7-8

Theater
Opera for the Young, featuring students from Kegonsa Elementary School, performs “Rusalka” at the Stoughton Opera House. Rusalka is a young mermaid who longs to become a human after falling in love with the prince. Despite caution from her father, the sea king, she seeks out Jezibaba, a magical sea witch. Jezibaba grants the mermaid legs in exchange for her voice. Can the prince fall for Rusalka in spite of her silence? April 8

Theater
Madison Shakespeare Company invites you to its “Drop-In Shakespeare Reading” event. Actors and Shakespeare enthusiasts simply show up to watch and perform cold reads of Shakespeare scenes at the Arts and Literature Laboratory on Winnebago. The event will also double as a scouting opportunity to cast the company’s summer shows. April 12

Special Event
The Wisconsin Veterans Museum hosts “Mess Night at the Museum: Women in Uniform.” After a presentation on the contributions Wisconsin women have made through military service, a panel of women veterans discusses their service and experiences with the audience. April 12

Music
Zeroed Hero is at The Frequency for its CD release party. The new album, “Love Letters to a Mannequin,” compliments the group’s classic blend of ’70s and ’90s style rock. The German Art Students, a power pop-punk band, and The Small Mediums are also on the lineup. April 13

Dance
Lonny Joseph Gordon celebrates 50 years of choreography with a new work in collaboration with Kanopy Dance entitled “Bench, Benches, Benchmark.” Kanopy Dance is also joined by Chicago-based Winifred Haun and Dancers to perform “Trashed” and other original pieces. The collection, titled “Radiance,” is at Overture Center’s Promenade Hall. April 13-15

Music
Witness conductor John DeMain and the Madison Symphony Orchestra capture the essence of the budding season in “String Fever” at Overture Center’s Overture Hall, featuring Schumann’s “Spring Symphony.” Special guest Augustin Hadelich, a Grammy Award-winning violinist, also returns to perform Dvorák’s “Violin Concerto.” April 13-15

Theater
Shaun, a Chicago-based gay man, moves back his childhood home in rural Indiana to look after his mentally ill mother in Mercury Players Theatre’s “A Place in the Woods” at the Bartell Theatre. The town is filled with his memories of being bullied, so he hopes to quickly leave. However, his mother’s circumstances are far worse than Shaun expected. April 13-14, 19-22, 26-28

Theater
Madison Theatre Guild presents “Working” at the Bartell Theatre. Nominated for six Tony Awards, the musical interviews 26 real American workers — including a school teacher, waitress, mason and stay-at-home mom — about their daily grind. April 13-14, 19-22, 26-28

Theater
The kidnapping and beating death of University of Wyoming student and openly gay teenager Matthew Shepard outside Laramie, Wyoming, in October 1998 revealed sad truths of deep-seated homophobia and violence. In response to the hate crime, artist Moises Kaufman and members of the Tectonic Theatre interviewed community members of Laramie to try to understand why it happened. Out of the series of interviews came “The Laramie Project.” The University of Wisconsin-Madison’s theater and drama department take on the powerful screenplay at the Gilbert V. Hemsley Theatre. April 13-29

Music
For seven years, the indie pop of Austin-based Wild Child has captivated audiences. The band’s fourth album “Expectations,” celebrates the coming out of the shadows of a failed love. The groups invites you to become awakened at the High Noon Saloon. April 14

Theater
Reduced Shakespeare Company returns to Overture Center’s Capitol Theater to present William Shakespeare’s “Long Lost First Play,” something they describe as a “tale told by idiots.” Famous Shakespeare characters Puck and Ariel hijack the plot of “Comedy of Errors,” creating pitfalls and new plot twists on some of your favorite Shakespearean stories. April 14

Music
Join the talented student musicians of Edgewood College’s Chamber Orchestra for its 25th Anniversary Concert in the music department building on Edgewood College Drive. A reception follows in the Washburn Heritage Room. Proceeds and donations benefit the Edward Walters Music Scholarship. April 15

Special Event
Phil Yu, the founder of the blog “Angry Asian Man,” is a journalist, activist and entrepreneur. Yu hopes his own story and the stories of other Asian Americans can help still more members of this culture to find their own identities and footholds in society. He speaks as part of the WUD Distinguished Lecture Series at Wisconsin Union’s Overture Room. April 16

Music
Organist Isabelle Demers returns to Overture Center’s Overture Hall. While serving as professor of organ and head of the organ program at Baylor University, Demers maintains an active recital career. She has performed recitals in London, Los Angeles and Melbourne. Now, in Madison, she presents her program “The Three B’s,” which includes repertoire by Bairstow, Bonnet and Berloiz. April 17

Film
The 2018 Banff Mountain Film Festival stops at the Barrymore Theatre on its world tour. The festival is an international film competition celebrating short films and documentaries about mountain culture, environment and sports. The films include “2.5 Million,” the story of Aaron Rice’s world record-setting journey on foot across mountainous backcountry, and “Where the Wild Things Play,” a conversation about the lack of women in the adventure industry. April 17-18

Music
Michael Leckrone leads the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Varsity Band in its 44th annual spring concert at the Kohl Center. Leckrone has served as the Badgers’ conductor since 1969 and shows no signs of slowing down. His talented ensemble, made up of the university’s finest musicians, never disappoints. April 19-21

Music
After Ilya Kaler’s debut performance with Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra in 2016, the three-time international gold medalist in violin is welcomed back to perform Paganini’s signature violin concerto “La Campanella” at Overture Center’s Capitol Theater. The evening also includes performances of Rossini’s “String Sonata No. 2” and Haydn’s “Symphony No. 81.” April 20

Music
The Gadjo Players come to Madison Central Library as part of Madison Music Collective’s inDIGenous Jazz Series. Since forming in 2006, the ensemble has written 22 original eclectic jazz and funk compositions. The group returns with new violinist Rin Q. Ribble for the performance. April 20

Special Event
The Brink Lounge hosts Madison’s 6th Annual 420 Fest, a celebration of cannabis and a benefit for the Madison chapter of the National Organization to Reform Marijuana Laws (NORML) and the Great Midwest Marijuana Harvest Festival. The event includes 12 bands — including the Clyde Stubblefield All-Stars, The Lower 5th and Moonhouse — as well as vendors, nonprofits and educators pushing for a change Wisconsin laws pertaining to cannabis possession and usage.

Music
Legendary country musician Rodney Crowell is at Stoughton Opera House. Over the course of his illustrious career, Crowell has earned two Grammy awards and an induction into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame. His new album “Close Ties” provides insight into the music that shaped Crowell as an artist. April 20

Theater
The Broom Street Theater welcomes Chicago-based artist Jenny Magnus for two nights of “Salvagers.” After everything has collapsed, who picks it up again? Magnus explores the difficulty of starting new. April 20-21

Art
Tandem Press, a teaching facility for printing techniques on the UW-Madison campus, opened a new exhibition space this past January. The Tandem Press Apex Gallery is now housing the master of fine arts thesis of Elizabeth Younce, a UW-Madison graduate student in printmaking and a Tandem Press assistant. The exhibition, “Bestiary,” is based on Younce’s dissection of ideas about fear and feelings of being overwhelmed. April 20-28

Theater
Theatre LILA’s latest production, “Lines,” celebrates the experiences and stories of women of color. As the name suggests, it will center on lines — the lines encountered or erased, and the lines that have been crossed, dismissed or ignored in the everyday lives of women of color. April 20-29

Art
Abel Contemporary Art Gallery welcomes three new exhibitions. The first, “Birds and Boundaries,” is a collaboration between artists Jonathan Wilde and Craig Clifford. The collection of local landscapes examines our relationships and connections with the natural world. The next, “Reduction,” is a group show featuring five different artists who explore the process of creating through removal. And finally, “In the Cooler: Masquerade” by Kay Myers, is a presentation of masks created for different cultural performative purposes. April 20 through June 3

Art
Artist Michele Marti has been awarded the 2018 Russell and Paula Panczenko MFA Prize by the Chazen Museum of Art. Her exhibition, located in Chazen’s Oscar F. and Louise Greiner Mayer Gallery, investigates how the body rests through lithographs and videos. When our bodies sit on chairs, they smash and squish in ways we can’t control. Michele compares this to our fingerprints; each body is unique and sits a different way. April 20 through July 8

Music
Grammy award-winning saxophonist and composer Joe Lovano joins forces with the equally talented guitarist John Scofield for a night of jazz and rock at the Barrymore Theatre. This is not the first time the two musicians and longtime friends have taken the stage together. The duo was popular in the 1990s, but it would be another 20 years before they reunited. April 21

Music
Manic Focus is the beat-bumping sound of John “JmaC” McCarten, a Chicago-based electronic music producer. He fuses soulful blues with partner Jacob Barinholtz’s heavy-hitting bass. With five full-length albums, there’s plenty for them to play on their “Super Happy Fun Time Tour,” coming to the Majestic Theatre. April 21

Comedy
The Orpheum Theater presents “An Evening with Bill Maher.” The political commentator and comedian is known for his blunt political humor and HBO series “Real Time with Bill Maher.” His act is sure to include searing commentary on President Donald Trump. April 22

Music
The “Wisconsin Vinyl Collective: Volume Two” charity album benefits the Keep Wisconsin Warm Fund. To commemorate its release, five bands take the High Noon Saloon stage. Among them: Tundra Blood, Peridot and Milwaukee’s 2017 Best Live Act The Zach Pietrini Band. April 22

Music
Marquis Hill, a Chicago-based jazz composer and trumpeter, won the 2014 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Trumpet Competition. He brings his talent to UW-Madison’s annual Jazz Fest — on the 50th anniversary of its Jazz Orchestra — for three different concerts alongside faculty and student ensembles. April 24, 26, 27

Music
Overture Center’s Capitol Theater welcomes Children of Metropolis, five musicians who salvaged old pipes, bike parts and other recycled odds and ends to act as instruments. The all-new instruments create frequencies no wind or string instrument could make, aiming for new melodic music and sound. April 26

Art
The Madison Museum of Contemporary Art invites you to “Chroma,” an event that explores color throughout the museum’s iconic spaces. Artists create color-rich environments and hands-on group projects throughout the museum that celebrate color’s beauty and intensity. April 27

Theater
Famous opera performer Florencia Grimaldi journeys down the Amazon River in hopes of finding her long lost lover, a butterfly hunter who disappeared into the jungle. While on the steamboat, fantasy and reality become blurred and nature is mixed with the supernatural. Join Madison Opera on the enchanting journey that is Danial Catán’s “Florencia en el Amazonas” at Overture Center’s Overture Hall. April 27 and 29

Music
The 30th Capital City Jazz Fest, presented by the Madison Jazz Society, celebrates its final year with a line-up of jazz musicians from across the country — the Buck Creek Jazz Band of Maryland, Fat Babies Jazz Band of Chicago and more. After a long history of bringing jazz to Madison, the festival hopes to truly “go out with a bang.” The Wyndham Garden Hotel hosts the three-day weekend event. April 27-29

Theater
The Edgewood College theater department performs “As You Like It” at The Diane Ballweg Theatre. The classic Shakespearean comedy, directed by Susan Nanning Sorenson, is set in the Forest of Arden. It features strong female leads and mistaken identities as its characters attempt to find love. April 27-23 and May 3-5

Comedy
The career of comedian Jim Jefferies took off with the airing of his HBO special “I Swear to God.” The standup on his “Unusual Punishment Tour” has been described as “controversial and belief-challenging.” Watch him live at Overture Center’s Overture Hall. April 28

Abigail Carpenter is an editorial intern at Madison Magazine.