What To Do in December

Twenty-one entertaining events, from holiday fun to local rockers, new art and thought-provoking plays

Madison Ballet presents

Madison Ballet presents "The Nutcracker"

PHOTO COURTESY MADISON BALLET

Power Player

December 1
The Madison Symphony Orchestra hosts a Community Christmas Carol Sing, backed up by Overture Hall’s powerful concert organ. madisonsymphony.org

Sounds of the Season

December 1, 8, 15, 22 and 29
Olbrich Botanical Gardens’ Holiday Concert Series features an eclectic array of musical styles: the Monona Senior Chorus, Mad City Jug Band, Suzuki Strings, the Hanson Family Jazz Band and Madison Brass. olbrich.org

Beautiful Worlds

December 2–31
Get lost in the whimsical paintings of fauna, flora, children and more by Minnesota-based artist Nicky Torkzadeh, whose works are on display December 2 to 31 at Absolutely Art. absolutelyartllc.com

Joyful Noise

December 3
Their stories are sad—most have lost parents due to famine, war or disease—but the young members of the African Children’s Choir spread joy as they tour the world sharing their gifts for singing. overturecenter.com

From Page to Stage

December 4–8
Delve into the dark world of Edgar Allan Poe with University Theatre. An Evening With Poe utilizes the talents of UW–Madison senior and graduate acting students to bring to life the mysterious writer’s poems and short stories, such as The Raven, The Pit and the Pendulum and other chilling, suspenseful works. theatre.wisc.edu

Hey, Brother

December 6
Catch the People Brothers Band—the local eight-piece group known for its feel-good rhythm, soul and funk sounds—at their December 6 show at the High Noon Saloon. high-noon.com

Mood Music

December 6–7
Edgewood College Music Department’s 86th Annual Christmas Concerts highlight student groups and a variety of holiday music. music.edgewood.edu

A Spectacular Sing-along

December 6–8
The Madison Symphony Orchestra’s spectacular Madison Symphony Christmas melds classical works; appearances by the Madison Symphony Chorus, Madison Youth Choirs and Mt. Zion Gospel Choir; and a popular carol sing-along. madisonsymphony.org

Future Imperfect

December 6–21
Cassandra’s Gift is set a hundred years from now, when bad social policy has made life overcrowded and unsafe and a virus threatens to destroy all human life—unless a small group of scientists can save the day. Broom Street Theater stages this dytopian comedy-drama written and directed by Jan Levine Thal. bstonline.org

Holiday Laughs

December 6–21
StageQ offers lots of laughs with Scrooge in Rouge, a play about three actors who have to put on an entire production that would normally feature twenty-three performers. The show must go on—and is filled with puns, jokes and over-the-top songs. stageq.com

Family Drama

December 6–21
Strollers Theatre stages the social satire The Pain and the Itch, a two-act play that reveals the dark truths of a seemingly perfect family during a holiday get-together. strollerstheatre.org

Blast from the Past

December 7
Make like Don Draper and Joan Harris and get ready to party like it’s 1965! The Majestic Theatre hosts its third annual Mad Men Holiday Soiree, where guests dressed in their swankiest ’60s duds sip vintage cocktails and jive to the sounds of the Darren Sterud Orchestra and period dance hits by DJ Nick Nice. majesticmadison.com

A Powerful Tradition

December 13
The Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra performs Handel’s grand Messiah at Blackhawk Church along with the WCO Chorus, UW Madrigal Singers, Festival Choir of Madison and some special soloists. wcoconcerts.org

Love Stories

December 13–22
Fathers know best? That’s questionable in Four Seasons Theatre’s production of The Fantasticks, the 1960 musical in which two neighboring dads scheme to get their kids to fall for each other. Luisa and Matt do fall in love—and then out and back in again—to a score that includes “Try to Remember” and “Soon it’s Gonna Rain.” fourseasonstheatre.com

A Christmas Classic

December 13–23
Children’s Theater of Madison takes audiences back in time to Victorian England, to follow Ebenezer Scrooge—played by America Players Theater favorite James Ridge—as he transforms from a curmudgeon to a nice guy. A Christmas Carol is CTM’s signature show. ctmtheater.org

New Views

December 13–February 16
The Chazen Museum of Art presents Ikeda Manabu and Tenmyouya Hisashi, an exhibition highlighting two contemporary Japanese artists and introducing a work by each that are now part of the museum’s permanent collection. chazen.wisc.edu

A Celebration of Tradition

December 14
A Baroque Holiday Concert showcases the Madison Bach Musicians at First Congregational Church, with music by Byrd, Vivaldi, Bach and Handel. madisonbachmusicians.org

Fab Four

December 14
They describe themselves as a “ragtag group formed as a fluke for a benefit concert,” but the Sigourney Weavers are a bona fide rock band. The foursome release their first album with a party at the Harmony Bar. harmonybarandgrill.com

Magical Moment

December 14–15
The family-friendly Nutcracker Fantasy highlights Dance Wisconsin’s company dancers, a cast of eighty other local dancers, plus guest artists Sascha Radetsky and Irina Dvorovenko from the American Ballet Theatre. dancewisconsin.com

A Dance Delight

December 14–24
Watch the holiday classic The Nutcracker come alive at Overture Center. Featuring Madison Ballet artistic director W. Earle Smith’s dynamic choreography and Tchaikovsky’s beloved score, the production is as beautiful as it is timeless. madisonballet.org

Going Nuts

December 21
Madison Ballet puts a fun twist on tradition with Nutty Nut, a Nutcracker spoof featuring local inside jokes and a few celebrity cameos. madisonballet.org

Katie Vaughn is managing editor of Madison Magazine. Read her visual arts blog and find continuous arts coverage in our classical music blog, popular music blog and theater blog

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