What To Do in December

What To Do in December
Madison Ballet returns with the performances of beloved holiday class "The Nutcracker" December 8-26.

Art
Two unique styles of painting and printmaking are offered in Randall Berndt: The Taming of Nature and Christine Style: Visual Stories and Genetic Explosions at the James Watrous Gallery. These side-by-side solo exhibitions feature Berndt’s colorful portrayals of humankind’s relationship with nature and Style’s graphic black and white prints. Through December 23, wisconsinacademy.org

Art
The inspiration for Wisconsin artist S.V. Medaris’s exhibition New Work at Paoli’s Artisan Gallery comes straight from her plate. The artist uses printmaking and painting to explore the history and modern practices of where food comes from. Also on display is furniture maker/sculptor Ted Lott, as he works on a replica of his childhood home. Through December 31, artisangal.com

Art
Contemporary photographer Alec Soth captures narrative moments in the lives of American people. From Here to There: Alec Soth’s America is a survey of fifteen years of the prolific photographer’s career from 1995 to 2010. On display at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, From Here to There is an expansive collection of over one hundred photographs, with scenes from the shores of the Mississippi to Johnny Cash’s childhood home. The exhibition also includes Soth’s Lothlorien Series, which the artist photographed at the Lothlorien cooperative on the bank of Lake Mendota. Through January 4, mmoca.org
Read more about From Here to There: Alec Soth’s America

Art
Personal, political and social narratives unfold in the long term StoryBook: Narrative in Contemporary Art exhibition at Madison Museum of Contemporary Art. Artists draw on well-known myths and tales as well as invented narratives, demonstrating the diverse array of narrative threads woven into contemporary art. Through July 1, 2015, mmoca.org

Music
With twenty million Christmas records sold, Mannheim Steamroller is practically a holiday staple. Enjoy the group’s seasonal music at Overture Center. December 2, overturecenter.org

Comedy
Creator of the “Bon Qui Qui” character, Anjelah Johnson is familiar with going viral. The comedian has created videos that garnered tens of millions of views, a record deal with Atlantic records, and numerous commercial appearances. The former NFL cheerleader turned comic performs at the Barrymore Theatre. December 5, barrymorelive.com

Party
Get in on the swanky Mad Men fun at the Mad Men Holiday Soiree, a two-night event at the Majestic Theatre complete with 1960s-era costumes, cocktails and dancing. December 5–6, majesticmadison.com

Music
Listen to John DeMain conduct a Madison Symphony Christmas featuring soprano Alyson Cambridge and tenor Harold Meers in a celebration of holiday music. The Madison Youth Choirs, Madison Symphony Chorus and the Mt. Zion Gospel Choir also lend their voices to this annual event at Overture Center. December 5–7, madisonsymphony.org

Theater
Four Seasons Theatre’s Assassins is a murderous carnival game about attempts to assassinate a president, with each assassin’s era offering a new musical style. December 5–14, fourseasonstheatre.com

Theater
Imagine a modern-day Jesus who lives in rural Georgia and you have the premise for Cotton Patch Gospel. This musical, performed at the Sun Prairie Civic Theatre, follows the Gospel of Matthew, but with bluegrass musicians and a southern flare. December 5–14, sunprairiecivictheatre.com

Theater
ult-classic Christmas with the Crawfords is a tribute to Hollywood’s golden era. This hilarious play is set in the living room of Joan Crawford and shows her attempt to save her career with a live radio broadcast. Nothing goes according to plan in this “mother of all campy holiday musicals” presented by StageQ at the Bartell Theatre. December 5–20, stageq.com

Theater
Travel back in time to England. It is 1183 and King Henry II is the ruler with his wife Eleanor of Aquitaine. Follow the personal and political conflicts of the king and his family with Strollers Theatre’s The Lion in Winter, playing at the Bartell Theatre. December 5–20, strollerstheatre.org

Theater
In this “fractured sequel to a classic fairy tale,” Gingerbreadcrumbs from Broom Street Theater offers an alternative to typical Disney versions of happily ever after. December 5–20, bstonline.org

Music
The lights have gone out on the working class. Or so says Irish punk band Flogging Molly, who consider themselves champions for the working world. This independent rock band brings a sense of social commentary to the Orpheum. December 6, madisonorpheum.com

Garden
Hop aboard the Olbrich Holiday Express for a flower and model train show that’s sure to delight all family members. Oblrich Gardens showcases a beautiful display of miniature landscapes built with festive poinsettias, and the Wisconsin Garden Railway Society features large-scale model trains. December 6–31, olbrich.org

Art
Madison native and award-winning photographer Narayan Mahon journeyed through unrecognized countries for Lands in Limbo, a new exhibition at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art. The photographer traveled to Abkhazia, Northern Cyprus, Trandsniestra, Nagorno Karabakh and Somaliland to photograph the day-to-day life. December 6–March 15, mmoca.org
Read more about Lands in Limbo . 

Comedy
Observations on American politics are served with a twist of British humor when the quips come from funnyman John Oliver. The host of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver offers satirical insights on current affairs in a two-show event at the Orpheum Theater. December 7, madisonorpheum.com

Music
A celebration of women in jazz, the Stoughton Opera House welcomes Ladies Must Swing and The Girls in the Band, a documentary on female jazz musicians in the 1920s. The band and documentary come together for this night of history, infused with a swinging jazz performance. The event is presented by the Madison Jazz Society in celebration of the group’s thirtieth anniversary. December 7, stoughtonoperahouse.com

Art
The fourth anniversary of Hatch Art House could only mean a giant celebration of local art, as the business features only Wisconsin artists. All fifty Hatch artists have pieces up for sale for $50 or less. December 1–31, hatcharthouse.com

Music
Handel’s Messiah masterpiece offers a powerful way to get into the holiday season. Held at Blackhawk Church the first night and the Stoughton Opera House the second, this musical event features four soloists, the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra, the WCO Chorus and the Festival Choir of Madison. December 12–13, wcoconcerts.org

Music
The Madison Bach Musicians share their Holiday Concert, an exploration in Renaissance and Baroque Music, at the First Congregational Church. December 13, madisonbachmusicians.org

Music
The famed rock group Counting Crows recently released Somewhere Under Wonderland, their first album in seven years, and performs at the Orpheum Theater. December 13, madisonorpheum.com

Theater
One of Madison’s most family friendly holiday traditions, A Christmas Carol brings audiences back to the time of Charles Dickens. The classic tale of grumpy Scrooge and his ghosts from Christmas past, present and future comes to life through the Children’s Theater of Madison. December 13–23, ctmtheater.org

Theater
Madison Ballet’s performance of The Nutcracker is certainly a Madison classic. This timeless tale of Clara’s journey with the nutcracker through pine forests and lands of sweets offers an enchanting evening for fans of classical music and elegant ballet at Overture Center. December 13–27, madisonballet.org

Music
The Stoughton Festival Choir and City Band’s Christmas Concert at the Stoughton Opera House features the musical groups performing a variety of sacred and secular music, along with a joyful carol sing-along. December 14, stoughtonoperahouse.ticketforce.com

Art
American Monotypes from the Baker/Pisano Collection explores the popularity and history of the monotype in America. The exhibit examines the medium in a historical context at the Chazen Museum of Art. December 19–February 15, chazen.wisc.edu

Art
A glorious and monumental work, The Saint John’s Bible is the first hand-written Bible that interprets scripture from a modern perspective. Famed calligrapher Donald Jackson, along with a team of artisans, compiled this Bible over fifteen years, and the work is on display at the Chazen Museum of Art. December 19–March 15, chazen.wisc.edu

Please visit art organizations’ websites in advance of their events, as dates and details are subject to change.

Phebe Myers is an editorial intern at Madison Magazine.

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