Vibrant Arts Events to Check Out Now

By Jessica Steinhoff | “Wendy Red Star Apsáalooke Feminist #2,” 2016, full color print on Phototex, 109×170. inches, courtesy the artist


Through Feb. 26, Madison Museum of Contemporary Art

Multimedia artist Wendy Red Star examines the history of her Apsáalooke tribe in this touring exhibition, challenging several flawed narratives that have shaped many Americans’ perceptions of Native people.

Feb. 6-June 25, Chazen Museum of Art

In partnership with artist Sanford Biggers and the MASK Consortium, Chazen staff have spent two years considering how to deepen the museum’s commitment to racial justice and address problematic works such as the Thomas Ball sculpture “Emancipation Group.” This new show unveils the products of this pondering, including a repositioning of certain pieces from the main collection, new work by Biggers and fresh educational materials for visitors.


Feb. 3, The Sylvee

This band has one of the best live shows on the winter tour circuit, delivering infectious, soul-infused pop with unforgettable flair. Bring your best dance moves to take your evening to the next level.

Feb. 7, Wisconsin Union Theater

When asked about Salvant’s vocal artistry, which ventures into vaudeville, blues, baroque music and jazz, Wynton Marsalis told The New Yorker that a singer like her comes around “once in a generation or two.” In other words, don’t miss this rare gem in concert. Bonus: You can also catch Marsalis and his Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra at Overture Hall Saturday, Feb. 4, at 7:30 p.m.

Feb. 17-19, Overture Center

Benjamin Grosvenor, one of the brightest new stars in the classical piano world, is poised to shine in Beethoven’s “Piano Concerto No. 3 in C minor” after the Madison Symphony Orchestra debuts exciting new work by Jessie Montgomery.

Feb. 24, Overture Center

Andrew Balio, Baltimore Symphony’s principal trumpeter, returns to his hometown to solo in Haydn’s thrilling “Trumpet Concerto in E flat.” This Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra program also contains works by Mozart and two 21st-century composers: Joan Tower and Andre Myers.


Jan. 24-29, Overture Center

In her retelling of the Orpheus and Eurydice myth, Anaïs Mitchell imag- ines the underworld as a place where factory workers toil their lives away in exchange for security — and the occa- sional speakeasy cocktail. See why the Broadway-size production, which grew out of Mitchell’s 2010 concept album featuring Ani DiFranco, won Best Musical at the 2019 Tony Awards.

Jan. 26-Feb. 12, Overture Center

What does it take to truly shed our inhibitions? Explore this electrifying question through the Wisconsin premiere of Chelsea Marcantel’s play about a woman entering her first air- guitar competition, staged by Forward Theater Co.

Feb. 11, Barrymore Theatre

The 1994 play that sparked a groundbreaking dialogue about sexual assault returns to Madison in a bilingual production to benefit Safe Harbor’s immigration legal fund.

Midcentury Misgivings

In the popular imagination, 1950’s America means smiling housewives, tidy suburban homes and wholesome family life. The reality, of course, was much more complicated. Repression, sexism and stigma caused fear, anxiety and pain for many women.

This February, Madison Opera will explore two vivid portrayals of women in the mid-20th century with a double bill of Leonard Bernstein’s “Trouble in Tahiti” and Kurt Weill’s “The Seven Deadly Sins” (Feb. 3 & 5, Overture Center). The latter piece, dubbed a “ballet chanté,” features Kanopy Dance. We asked stage director Kristine McIntyre how these below-the-surface forces inform the production.

What’s one thread that connects these two operas?

Kristine McIntyre: I set “The Seven Deadly Sins” in the 1950s so it happens in the same world as “Trouble in Tahiti.” This lets me make a larger comment about women in American society at that time, especially their angst.

How has mounting this production challenged you and your team?

KM: “Seven” is a broad sketch of a piece. There’s no roadmap, which can be intimi- dating when you consider how many famous choreographers have presented it — Balanchine, for example. [Kanopy Dance’s] Lisa Thurrell and I worked together to find our version.

Are there any films, podcasts or other materials people should check out before seeing this production?

KM: The first season of “Mad Men” to get your mind back into the look, feel and themes of the 1950s. I’d also suggest the 2002 film “Far From Heaven.” Several things about Dinah [played by Rehanna Thelwell, above, who also plays Anna I in “Seven”] from “Trouble” remind me of Julianne Moore’s character.

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