June 2012 Event Highlights
The summer arts scene kicks off with annual favorites, from outdoor concerts and plays to beloved festivals
The summer arts scene kicks off with annual favorites, from outdoor concerts and plays to beloved festivals.
They’re our companions, work partners, inspirations and more—and it’s not just contemporary society that’s lived closely with animals. Throughout history, humans have enjoyed diverse relationships with animals, depicting them in all manners of art. The Madison Museum of Contemporary Art explores the role of animals in human life through one must know the animals (June 2–August 19, mmoca.org). Drawing from its permanent collection, MMoCA presents prints, paintings, photography and more by contemporary artists to illustrate how animals represent social and personal values.
Time For Jazz
It’s a winning combination: more than a dozen jazz performances held for free at the Memorial Union Terrace. The Isthmus Jazz Festival (June 1–2, uniontheater.wisc.edu) features such local standouts as Ladies Must Swing, Gerri DiMaggio, the Dave Stoler Quartet and the New Breed, plus headliner Mary Stallings. The singer has graced stages alongside Count Basie, Dizzy Gillespie and other stars and performs at the Wisconsin Union Theater in its final concert before closing for renovations.
With Greg Hettmansberger
In a year or two of big-number anniversaries, you might have overlooked the tenth anniversary season of Con Vivo!, the fluid chamber group headed by Robert and Kathryn Taylor. They close their year’s activities with a concert that runs the gamut from organ to string bass, with piano, clarinet and a string quartet thrown in for good measure. The fascinatingly eclectic program features music of Gershwin, Gould, Glinka and Gigout (June 9, convivomusicwithlife.org).
Few Madison settings are as striking as Bishops Bay Country Club, and you can enjoy a day of golf and an evening of cocktails, dinner—and the Madison Symphony Orchestra—at Concert on the Green (June 18, madisonsymphony.org). Even if golf isn’t your game, you can still benefit the MSO’s educational and community engagement programs by joining them for the evening activities. Maestro John DeMain leads the orchestra and features one of the 2011 “Final Forte” finalists, violinist Valerie Clare Sanders.
Then again, we can renew one of our favorite summertime habits of hearing great music right in the shadow of the Capitol dome. That, of course, comes courtesy of the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra’s Concerts on the Square, which open on June 27 and continue for six weeks (wcoconcerts.org). The opening event spotlights the Young Artist Concerto Competition winner, cellist Kartik Papatia, and the Trinity Irish Dancers. Oh, and don’t forget the optional competitive picnicking … and even if you do, the Square is full of wonderful vendors. See you there.
Love of the Land
Fanny Garver Gallery celebrates the great outdoors with new works by Carl Homstad and Tim Klunder (June 1–28, fannygarvergallery.com). Landscape painter Klunder works in acrylics, and his influences range from seventeenth-century Dutch artists to nineteenth-century English painters to the French Barbizon School. His works typically feature a combination of rural subjects and manmade elements. Homstad creates both paintings and woodblock prints that reveal a love of the landscape near his northeast Iowa home and in areas further flung.
Quick Fire Theater
On the night of Friday, June 22, eight local playwrights will write original short plays. A mere twenty-four hours later, those plays will be performed on a Bartell Theatre stage in front of a live audience for a single show. Will the scripts come together in time? Will the actors connect with their characters? No one knows. And that’s part of the magic of Blitz (June 23, mercuryplayerstheatre.com), a Mercury Players Theatre tradition.
Local Music's Big Night
Want to hear the best of local music all in one night? Then don’t miss the Madison Area Music Awards (June 2, themamas.org). Held at Overture Center’s Capitol Theater, the Madison Area Music Association’s annual ceremony highlights the best in local, independent music with an evening of awards, exciting performances and the chance for audiences to walk away with a new band or two to check out in the coming year.
On the Water
Each year in early summer, the Marquette Neighborhood Association brings together near-east-siders and the broader Madison community for a weekend of celebration. Now in its twenty-third year, the Marquette Waterfront Festival (June 9–10, marquette-neighborhood.org) features multicultural food, live music, booths highlighting local projects and more. And it’s all held right along the shore of Lake Monona, at Yahara Place Park.
Pack your gourmet picnics and get ready to make the trek to the lovely rolling hills of Spring Green: American Players Theatre’s new season (June 9–October 21, americanplayers.org) begins this month!
Start things off with Twelfth Night, Shakespeare’s comedy rife with romance, mistaken identities and plenty of laughter, or Richard III, the Bard’s chilling tale of a villain’s ascent to power. Also opening this month in the outdoor Up-the-Hill Theatre is The Royal Family, the hilarious story of a family of actors. And in the intimate, indoor Touchstone Theatre, catch Heroes, a story of three World War I soldiers seeking adventure in a veterans’ home years after the conflict ended.
A Rocking Pair
Put together Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks and you get more than two great guitarists. The married duo, the Tedeschi Trucks Band, carry their individual sounds and a strong blues tradition into the realms of rock, jazz, funk, gospel and world music. They visit Overture Center (June 27, overturecenter.com), following the release a year ago of their debut album, Revelator.
Moments in Time
Director Meghan Randolph offers a glimpse into Music Theatre of Madison’s production of Songs for a New World
What attracted you to this production?
First and foremost, the music is amazing. It’s a favorite among musical theater geeks.
Tell me about the show.
It’s technically a revue, but it’s more like a song cycle or vignettes. There’s one about a Fifth Avenue housewife standing on a ledge about to jump, there’s a song by someone we assume is Betsy Ross. It spans a few different centuries but the stories link together in surprising ways.
How many performers are involved?
Four. All of the performers have to be really versatile. It’s music that singers want to sing.
What are you planning for the set?
We’re going to use projections to give a sense of atmosphere. But other than that it’s mostly bare bones because we want to keep the focus on the stories.
Do you have a favorite piece in the show?
Right now, there’s a song called “Steam Train” that closes Act I. It’s about outcasts looking at a time when they’re not outcasts. I set it in a high school cafeteria.
What’s been a challenge?
There are stories to be told within all these songs. It’s important to me that every song be specific.
What do you hope audiences get from seeing the show?
I’m always into exposing people to newer or contemporary composers—like Jason Robert Brown. It’s a show just about anyone can connect to. Four performers and a piano are all you really need to transport people.
Songs for a New World runs June 14–16 at the Bartell Theatre. mtmadison.com
Strike up the Band
June brings another welcome return: The Capitol City Band. Catch the Opening Concert (June 9, mmqccb.org) at Rennenbohm Park and return each Thursday evening through June for another performance. Bring a lawn chair and friends and get ready for some great music and even a sing-along led by conductor Jim Latimer.
Raise the Roof
When the weather’s nice, there aren’t many better places in the city to hear live music than the Monona Terrace. The free, Thursday-evening Concerts on the Rooftop (June 7–July 19, mononaterrace.com) kick off with ABBA Salute, a Chicago-based tribute band, and go on to feature Madison Country, Celtic fusion-rock band BROTHER and the Mark Croft Band in the coming weeks.
It’s always a treat to see the work of Tom Sargeant, a painter who imbues his abstract works with symbols and textures that evoke weathered materials and forgotten memories. Visit Grace Chosy Gallery (June 1–23, gracechosygallery.com) for a new exhibition of paintings that may lead you on your own path of questioning and discovery.
Katie Vaughn is managing editor of Madison Magazine. Read her arts and entertainment blog Liberal Arts on madisonmagazine.com.