Arts and Culture

51 things to do in Madison this November

Festive performances and holiday events

Music

Celebrate the life and music of the late, great jazz tenor saxophone player Dexter Gordon at Café CODA with his wife, manager and now biographer Maxine Gordon as well a band of three saxophonists and a rhythm section from the University of Wisconsin–Madison Mead Witter School of Music directed by UW Jazz Studies Director Johannes Wallmann. Café CODA owner and saxophonist Hanah Jon Taylor will also play, joined by Sharel Cassity and Eric Koppa. Nov. 1

Music

Costumed bands and music fans will fill the High Noon Saloon for Freakin' Halloweekend. Before the costume contests at 11 p.m. both nights, several local bands will join eachother to perform as their favorite pop and rock stars. On Friday night that will include members of Damsel Trash, Dash Hounds and others playing the music of Sarah McLaughlin and The Earthlings paying tribute to Animal Collective. On Saturday night, the music of Indigo Girls (played by German Art Students and others), Elton John (by The Shabelles), Prince (by Don't Mess with Cupid) and Culture Club (by Bing Bong, German Art Students and The Fauxtons) will be heard like never before. Nov 1-2

Theater

Madison Opera takes on "La Traviata," the three-act opera by Giuseppe Verdi and possibly the most frequently staged opera. It concerns Violetta, a woman who trades her lavish lifestyle for a modest, rural life with a new lover. But things get complicated when illness, jealousy and gambling get involved. Nov. 1 & 3

 

Music

Can you name a band that has been together for 50 years with all its original members? One of the only remaining ones is coming to Madison this month. Come see ZZ Top on it's 50th anniversary tour at The Sylvee play "La Grange," "Sharp Dressed Man" and "Gimme All Your Lovin'." Nov. 1

Theater

In just one week, members of Are We Delicious? and Mercury Players Theatre will have written, rehearsed and performed the musical comedy Patchwork Puppets Parading on Mercury, a funny, frenetic and adults-only puppet show. Nov. 1-2

Art

Head to the Henry Vilas Zoo to see the art exhibit Paintings for Penguins. Some of the works were even created by the zoo animals themselves. Nov. 1

Music 

Before winning the 2018 Grammy Award for Best New Artist, Canadian R&B singer-songwriter Alessia Cara was known for singing "How Far I'll Go" on the "Moana" soundtrack, "Scars to Your Beautiful" and "Out of Love." She released her second album, "The Pains of Growing," in November 2018 and an EP, "This Summer," this past July. See her at The Sylvee with fellow Canadian Ryland James opening the show. ​​​​Nov. 2

Music

Check out the four-part harmonies, folk-inspired original songs and acoustic pop rock of Common Chord at the Bos Meadery. Be one of the first to hear songs on their new album. Nov. 2

Music

Rhiannon Giddens, of Grammy Award-winning Carolina Chocolate Drops fame, is going solo for her new album. Come see her perform at Stoughton Opera House. Her style includes elements of jazz, blues and country. She will share the stage with Francesco Turrisi. Nov. 2 & 3 (Both shows are sold out.)

Comedy

Late 1990s "Saturday Night Live" alum Jim Breuer — remembered on the show as "Goat Boy" and for his Joe Pesci impression — brings his nonpolitical, family-centric act to the Barrymore Theater on Saturday night. For a taste, check out "The Jim Breuer Podcast" available on jimbreuer.com. Nov. 2

Music

If you're an a cappella lover, this is the event for you. Come see nine talented singers conjure an entire orchestra with just their voices at the Straight No Chaser concert at Overture Center for the Arts. Nov. 4

Music

After leaving her band Houndmouth, Katie Toupin has decided to tour the country on her own as a singer-songwriter. She'll be performing music from her newest album "Magnetic Moves" at High Noon Saloon. Nov. 5

Music

If this technological era has you nostalgic for the CD players and boy bands of the early 2000s, relive it all again at the Jimmy Eat World concert at The Sylvee. The band will play their hits from the early aughts, such as "The Middle" and "Pain." Nov. 6

Film

Being a mother of an infant is tough with all the feeding, changing diapers and rocking them to sleep required. But imagine being a mother of an infant in war-torn Aleppo. Syrian journalist Waad al-Kateab tells her story of raising her child in a war zone in the documentary "For Sama." The movie will be screening at Madison Museum of Contemporary Art this month. Nov. 6

Comedy

Whether you know him from his impersonations of Kanye West, Cory Booker and Jordan Peele on "Saturday Night Live" or from his Netflix show "Disjointed," you know how hilarious Chris Redd is. Come to Comedy on State and laugh your cares away. Nov. 7-9

Theater

Ann and her siblings visit their childhood home making her nostalgic for the moment in the sun she longs to relive: playing Peter Pan at her local theater. And the longing may just be so powerful it transports them to Neverland once again. Forward Theater Company brings Sarah Ruhl's play "For Peter Pan on Her 70th Birthday" to Overture Center for the Arts this season. Nov. 7

Comedy

Get your giggles out at the Jena Friedman show at the Stoughton Opera House. The former producer for "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" and writer for "The Late Show with David Letterman" tries her hand at telling her own jokes. Nov. 8

Music

Grammy-nominated pianist Joyce Yang will perform Prokofiev's third concerto at Overture Center for the Arts. Nov. 8

Theater

Don't let the name fool you, Men on Boats at Bartell Theatre has an entirely female cast and they are some determined ladies. Join them on their adventure to the Colorado River. Come see Strollers Theatre's somewhat true story. Nov. 8-23

Music

Though The Chainsmokers consists of just two people, their music never seems to be lacking in dynamism or richness. Come to Alliant Energy Center to see The Chainsmokers perform their hits "Roses," "Don't Let Me Down" and "Something Just Like This." Nov. 9

Art

Update your home décor at the Winter Art Fair Off the Square at Monona Terrace. The fair will feature 135 vendors selling pottery, paintings, glass art, photography and more. There will even be a Young Collectors' Corner where kids under 12 can purchase art. You're never too young to start an art collection. Nov. 9-10

Fair

Are you considering getting a dog but don't know what breed is right for you? Look no further than the Wisconsin Dog Fair at Alliant Energy Center this month. You'll be able to speak to experts about different dog breeds, learn about veterinary care and even watch dogs dance. Stop by and meet your new best friend. Nov. 10

Music

You know Goo Goo Dolls from songs like "Iris," "Slide" and "Sympathy." The band is touring with a new album, "Miracle Pill," dedicated to frontman John Rzeznik's daughter. Hear them at Orpheum Theater. Nov. 10

Music

Nine-time Grammy Award-winning musician Wynton Marsalis leads The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra at Overture Center for the Arts this month. This concert is recommended for ages six and up, so swing dance in the aisle with your kids. Nov. 13

Film

When an Israeli man comes to Paris he is committed to starting a new life. He decides to try to speak only French using a pocket-sized translation dictionary. This new film, "Synonyms," can be seen at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art. Nov. 13

Music

Trigger Hippy has evolved since its two founding members formed the band 15 years ago to play everything from gospel, R&B and funk. "Full Circle and Then Some" reflects the band's journey. Hear them play songs from Trigger Hippy's second album at High Noon Saloon. Nov. 13

Talk

Relaxation and mindfulness expert, Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD will be visiting Wisconsin Union Theater to talk about coping through difficult times. Kabat-Zinn will offer techniques to help audience members strengthen their relationships with their communities, colleagues, friends and selves. Nov. 14

Music

You may know him from his roles in "A Star is Born," "Fast Food Nation" and "He's Just Not That
Into You" or perhaps you know his songs "Me and Bobby McGee," "Help Me Make It Through the Night" and "For the Good Times." The prolific Kris Kristofferson will be coming to perform new music at Barrymore Theatre. Nov. 14  

Comedy

Madison and Chicago-based comedians Geoffrey Asmus, Lael O'Shaugnassey, Maddie Wiener, Charlie Kojis and Sohrab Foroozesh will perform at Comedy Between Lakes at High Noon Saloon. Nov. 14 

Theater

When a black family moves into a majority white neighborhood in the late 1950s, chaos erupts. Fifty years later the tables have turned and the community now consists of mostly black families. But have the issues of racism and gentrification yet been resolved? Perhaps not. Watch this topical story unfold at UW–Madison's production of "Clybourne Park" at Mitchell Theatre. Nov. 14-24.

Theater

When we first arrive in Brooke Wyeth's Palm Springs mansion, it's difficult to believe her family has endured so much hardship. But then Brooke comes home and tells her family she's written a memoir and intends to share the family's biggest secret with the world. Live in the suspense for an evening watching "Other Desert Cities" at Bartell Thatre. Nov. 14-17, 20-23

Dance

If you're interested in climate change but tired of the constant political discourse on the topic on TV, look at it in a new way by attending a performance by Kate Corby & Dancers with The Seldoms at Lathrop Hall. They will be examining the climate change controversy through dance, spoken word poetry and humor. Nov. 14  

Comedy 

Sean Patton has appeared in comedy festivals all over the world. Come to Comedy on State this November and see this Comedy Central, "Conan" and "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon" star live. Nov. 14-16

Theater

Stop by Verona Area Community Theater and watch some adorable little monsters teach audience members about acceptance in "We Are Monsters." Nov. 14-16

Theater

Elsa and Anna and, of course, Olaf, come to life in Verona Area Community Theater's "Disney's Frozen Jr." It is sure to be as inspiring as it is cute with performers in grades 5-8. Nov. 14-16

Music

Take a mental vacation to Havana at the Afro-Cuban Ensemble's performance at Tandem Press on Commercial Avenue. Nov. 15

Theater 

Come see many of your favorite animated TV Christmas characters — including the abominable snow monster and the inhabitants of the Island of Misfit Toys — come to life in  "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical" at Overture Center for the Arts. Nov. 16

Music

Grab your dancing shoes and let loose at the Misterwives concert at Majestic. With infectious songs such as "Reflections," "Our Own House" and "Coloring Outside the Lines," you'll leave the Majestic feeling exhilarated and empowered. Nov. 16

Theater

After years of anticipation, the show of the decade has finally arrived in Madison. Do not throw away your shot to see for yourself the smash hit hip-hop musical "Hamilton" at Overture Center for the Arts. Nov. 19- Dec. 8

Film

Be among to first Madisonians to see Donal Foreman's film on the political upheaval in Northern Ireland during his father's lifetime in "The Image You Missed." Combining his own footage with that of his father's, Foreman conveys the impact political issues can have on a country for decades. Nov. 20

Music

Sit back with a beer in hand and listen to Wisconsin-based blues trio Cruisin Round perform at Bos Meadery. Nov. 20

Comedy

Stop by Comedy on State to see Hari Kondabolu from Netflix's "Warn Your Relatives" and NPR's "Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me." Nov. 21-23

Music

Alicia Olatuja first rose to fame when she performed at former President Obama's second inauguration. Since 2013, she has fronted a quintet lauded by the New York Times. Come see Alicia Olatuja Quintet at Wisconsin Union Theater. Nov. 21

Music

Maine-based folk group Ghost of Paul Revere knows how to rile up a crowd. Their self-described "holler folk" includes catchy melodies and call-and-response with audiences. Join in the fun at High Noon Saloon. Nov. 21

Music

Come enjoy beautiful harmonies, solos and medleys brought to you by Tangled Up in Blue, one of UW–Madison's all female a cappella groups, at Monona Terrace. Nov. 22

Music

Steez brings it's "creepfunk" to High Noon Saloon to celebrate the release of the Madison band's new album "Little World."  Nov. 23  

Music

In one packed night at High Noon Saloon you can see Fore Strings, Bone Holler, Rosemary Lowe and Soul Doctors. Where else can you get ukulele music, jazz, folk, '90s jams and Johnny Cash-inspired songs all in one night? Nov. 24

Music

Elvis Costello often gets concerned questions about his concerts. People want to know what songs he'll play, how loud concerts will be and if he's coming out with new music. To all these questions Costello requests that fans "Just Trust." Come see Elvis Costello and The Imposters on their "Just Trust" tour at The Orpheum Theater. Nov. 24

Event

Madison locals create stunning light displays for the holidays, but have you ever seen a house decked out in 800,000 lights? Stop by Henry Vilas Zoo's Zoo Lights for the most elaborate light show in town. Nov. 29- Dec. 29

Music 

Falling in Reverse's music encompasses every subgenre of rock and pop under the sun: hard rock, rap metal and pop punk. Witness a Falling in Reverse show at The Slyvee. Nov. 30

Theater

If the mere mention of Charlie Brown conjures Christmas memories and nostalgic songs, this is a show for you. Watch the Peanuts gang put on their own Christmas play to the classic Vince Guaraldi score at The Orpheum Theater's "A Charlie Brown Christmas: Live on Stage." Nov. 30

Dana Munro is an editorial intern at Madison Magazine.

 

 


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