What to Do in April

What to Do in April
Kanopy Dance performs 'Fresh. Local. Organic' April 4-6.

You know you want to see a musical that promises roller skates, a disco ball and a live band! Then don’t miss Mercury Players Theatre and OUT!CastTheatre’s staging of Xanadu. The campy show, which ran on Broadway for two years, spoofs the 1980 movie about a goddess sent to earth to inspire a struggling artist. March 28–April 12, mercuryplayerstheatre.com

It’s 1956 and the Susan B. Anthony Society for the Sisters of Gertrude Stein is about to hold its annual breakfast and award the best quiche. StageQ’s 5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche is set to a heady backdrop of women being forced out of the post-war workplace and the threat of nuclear devastation. March 28–April 12, stageq.com

Set in England in 1666, Or, centers on spy-turned-playwright Aphra Behn, who must finish her play before morning. But all sorts of overnight complications—an ex-love, a new love interest, a double agent and even the king—make that unlikely to happen in this Forward Theater production. Through April 13, forwardtheater.com

A companion show to the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art’s Real/Surreal exhibition, The Mystery Beneath examines surrealism and magical realism in Wisconsin from 1940 to 1975, via the works of Aaron Bohrod, James Watrous, John Wilde, Santos Zingale and others. Through April 13, mmoca.org

The distinctions—and more interestingly the overlaps—between the Surrealism and realism provide the basis of Real/Surreal, a new exhibition at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art that explores the interconnections between the real and the imagined in early modern American art. The exhibition, on loan from the Whitney Museum of American Art, features paintings, drawings and prints by such artists as Edward Hopper, Man Ray and Charles Sheeler. Through April 27, mmoca.org

Changing Hands: Art Without Reservation, 3: Contemporary Native Art from the Northeast and Southeast is the final, third installment of a decade-long exploration of art created by artists of indigenous origin in the United States and Canada. The show, presented at the Chazen Museum of Art, highlights Native American, First Nations, Métis and Inuit artists and designers working in both traditional and new media, both addressing and often confronting aspects of their cultural legacies. Through April 27, chazen.wisc.edu

Groundbreaking photographer Ida Wyman, who found success in a male-dominated field, working for such publications as Life and The New York Times, is known for capturing everyday moments, revealing the dignity in ordinary people and raising questions about social justice. Now eighty-seven, Wyman is delving into her early work in the 1940s and ’50s and showcases new prints, along with vintage prints, ephemera and some recent works, in a retrospective exhibition at the James Watrous Gallery. In a side-by-side solo exhibition, photographer Kevin Miyazaki offers prints from his series Camp Home, which depicts repurposed barracks used as interment camps for Japanese Americans during World War II. His work explores history, family and memory. Through May 4, wisconsinacademy.org

The geographical qualities on a map are certainly interesting and useful, but have you given much thought to the imagery that often appears in the margins of the documents? These border drawings are the focus of Marginalia in cARTography, an exhibition at the Chazen Museum of Art that explores cartography as an art form as well as what these images tell about the historical context of the maps, their content and purpose and their creators and patrons. Through May 18, chazen.wisc.edu

For Texas-born singer-songwriter Alejandro Escovedo, music is a journey. He got his start as a San Francisco punk rocker, but explored different music scenes to New York and back. In the ’80s, his Austin-based band Rank & File pioneered alt-country. Now twenty-two years into his solo career, Escovedo is bringing his own eclectic, Americana-influenced style to the High Noon Saloon. April 1, high-noon.com

For TAXidermy, artist Steve Wirtz has taken old tax forms to create trophy-like papier mâché sculptures of bears, boars, buffalo and antelope, transforming the annual anxiety-inducing task into something humorous and delightful. The works are on display all month long at Hatch Art House. April 1–30, hatcharthouse.com

2011 Madison World Music Festival standout Marco Calliari returns for a concert at The Sett at Union South. After a fifteen-year stint in heavy metal, Calliari is embracing his cultural roots, blending Italian folklore and jazz to produce vibrant world music. April 3, uniontheater.wisc.edu

Rub elbows with up-and-coming local talent at the RAW: Natural Born Artists Spectrum showcase at the High Noon Saloon. RAW showcases are hosted in more than sixty locations worldwide to spotlight up-and-coming creatives in art, film, fashion, music and more. April 3, high-noon.com

Broadway leading man and four-time Tony Award nominee Gregg Edelman will put you in that Broadway State of Mind at Overture Center. His cabaret-style show brings songs from Les Misérables, The Phantom of the Opera and A Little Night Music back to the stage, punctuated with hilarious stories from behind the curtain. April 3, overturecenter.com

While the lineup of the Wisconsin Film Festival continues to boast a mix of international feature films and documentaries, avant-garde films and a hearty dose of works by Wisconsin natives, also on tap this year is a selection of restorations and repertory programming, including a series devoted to beloved directors Alfred Hitchcock and Jacques Demy. Why not round out your viewings of fresh independent films with an original Technicolor print of Hitchcock’s Vertigo and restorations of Demy’s Lola and The Umbrellas of Cherbourg? April 3–10, wifilmfest.org

Happy birthday, Absolutely Art! The Atwood Avenue gallery celebrates its ninth year with three Birthday Bash exhibitions. Its front window features fused-glass sun catchers made by Whitehorse Middle School eighth graders, while next door in Café Zoma, second graders from Lapham Elementary display unique and creative works of art. And in the main gallery space, Absolutely Art and the Wisconsin Coalition Against Sexual Assault mark sexual assault awareness month by showcasing the Jean Project, in which survivors decorate denim to draw attention to the issue and provide an outlet for healing for fellow survivors. April 3–30, absolutelyartllc.com

You know the Madison Area Music Association for throwing an awesome awards show each summer. But the organization that champions local music has a cool new gig: the Breakthrough Artist Battle of the Bands competition. Bands two years old and younger that play original material compete for a bevy of prizes—including the chance to perform at the Madison Area Music Awards on June 22 at Overture Center! April 4, themamas.org/battle-of-the-bands

Guest conductor Julian Wachner joins the Madison Symphony Orchestra for a grand concert that opens with Dvo?ák’s Slavonic Dance No.1 and continues with Jongen’s Symphonie Concertante, brought to life with the help of organist Nathan Laube. Finally, the Madison Symphony Chorus and four vocal soloists—soprano Emily Birsan, contralto Daniela Mack, tenor Wesley Rogers and bass Liam Moran—come onstage for Mozart’s powerful Requiem. April 4–6, madisonsymphony.org

In the midst of another long Wisconsin winter, Kanopy Dance is looking ahead to more pleasant days. In Fresh. Local. Organic., themes of renewal blossom in fresh dances and choreography, ranging in style from modern to post-modern to performance art. April 4-6, kanopydance.org

Eleven local performers star in the touching drama written by a father about his son’s struggle with congenital hemophilia and AIDS. Directed by MFA candidate Heather Pickering, The Yellow Boat is told through the vibrant visual artwork the young boy left behind. April 4–18, theatre.wisc.edu

Alexander Tsygankov is a world-renowned player of the domra, a Russian string instrument. He hails from Moscow and along with pianist Inna Shevchenko joins in the University of Wisconsin Russian Folk Orchestra’s gala concert. Says Victor Gorodinsky, the orchestra’s founder and music director, of Tsygankov: “He’s the number one—without a single doubt—domra player in the world … He’s an incredible musician, composer and conductor but his main thing is domra. He’s a true virtuoso!” April 6, russorch.wisc.edu

Grammy Award winning blues/roots superstar Keb’ Mo’ is back at it. His new EP, The Old Me Better, is exclusively available at tour locations. Get your hands on a copy and catch Mo’s famous twangy blues guitar riffs live at the Barrymore Theatre. April 9, barrymorelive.com

If your knowledge of the constellations begins and ends with the Big Dipper, don’t miss Moon Over Monona Terrace. This family event features more than a dozen powerful telescopes from members of the Madison Astronomical Society set up on the rooftop, plus presentations and tips on helping budding astronomers understand the night sky. Kids’ games round out this popular event. April 11, mononaterrace.com

The Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra welcomes pianist Stewart Goodyear to perform his own dynamic Piano Concerto, plus Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy along with the WCO Chorus, Festival Choir of Madison and the UW Madrigal Singers. Beethoven’s epic Symphony No. 3 ‘Eroica’ concludes the concert. April 11, wcoconcerts.org

A French libretto and plenty of witty banter grace the stage at UW Music Hall for three nights this month. UW School of Music’s University Opera presents Hector Berlioz’s Béatrice et Bénédict, an opéra comique based on Shakespeare’s comedy Much Ado About Nothing. April 11, 13, 15, music.wisc.edu/opera

The theater is unlikely to remain quiet at Duck Soup Cinema’s screening of the silent comedy Why Worry? The 1923 film features a hypochondriac businessman who sails to a remote island for some R&R, but quickly finds himself behind bars. Silent punch lines are accentuated by the notes of the Grand Barton Organ and the screening opens with vaudeville-style acts and door prize giveaways. April 12, overturecenter.com

The story of this comedic ballet may sound familiar to some families: A daughter and her parents do not see eye to eye on acceptable suitors. Find out who the daughter chooses to marry at Dance Wisconsin’s performance of La Fille Mal Gardee (The Unguarded Daughter). April 12–13, dancewisconsin.com

UW percussion professor Anthony Di Sanza toured the world performing and teaching percussion. He found a home in Madison and is currently the principal percussionist of the Madison Symphony Orchestra. Join him in concert for the latest in the UW School of Music’s Faculty Concert Series. April 14, music.wisc.edu 

Elizabeth Streb’s wild “POPACTION” choreography draws Evel Knivel comparisons. Dare to see the intensely physical Brooklyn-based STREB troupe perform FORCES, a production that mixes dance, boxing, circus, rodeo and stunt work. April 16, overturecenter.com

Jam for a good cause at High Noon Saloon’s Spring Reggae Jam, featuring good vibes and grooves from Fortunate Youth, True Press, Peewee Dread and Perspective Heights. April 16, high-noon.com 

This group of eclectic student vocalists and instrumentalists performs the music of black composers, with a focus on jazz composers. Join the UW School of Music’s Black Music Ensemble in Morphy Hall in honor of all things jazz.  April 17, music.wisc.edu

Over a hundred years ago, the Pro Arte Quartet was founded in Brussels, devoted to modern music in addition to the classics. After Hitler’s invasion of Belgium in 1940, the musicians took refuge at the UW School of Music and they never left. Today’s resident ensemble features violinists David Perry and Suzanne Beia, violist Sally Christholm and violoncellist Parry Karp. They perform this month at Mills Hall. April 17, music.wisc.edu

You shop local. You eat local. Now you can listen local, too. Catch the Madison-based Americana band The Whiskey Farm perform live at the Overture Center as part of the Mad City Sessions free concert series. The Whiskey Farm has won two Madison Area Music Association Awards for their vocals and folk songs. April 17, overturecenter.com

The Israeli classical pianist Inon Barnatan has earned praise from around the world. Trained at London’s Royal Academy of Music, he is known for his poetic style. Barnatan’s performance at University of Wisconsin’s Mills Hall includes Cesar Franck’s Prélude, Chorale et Fugue; Samuel Barber’s Sonata in E-flat Minor, Op. 26; Franz Schubert’s Sonata No. 18 in G major, D.894; and Maurice Ravel’s La Valse. April 18, uniontheater.wisc.edu

Milwaukee’s beloved guitarist, singer-songwriter and genre-bending Willy Porter is headed to the Majestic Theatre! Through the performance of his most recent record, Porter teaches “How to Rob a Bank” with jazz, rock and the blues. April 18, majesticmadison.com

The Madison Bach Musicians continue their tenth anniversary season with Bach’s Mass in B minor, a performance in collaboration with the Madison Choral Project. Bach created this musical setting of the complete Latin Mass shortly before his death, incorporating elements of his lifelong contributions to classical music. April 18–19, madisonbachmusicians.org

At the intersection of Shakespearian drama and Japanese Kabuki stylization is Richard III: East-West Fusion. Directed by UW’s David Furumoto, this play gives the classic tale of murder, betrayal and the lust for power a whole new sense of theatricality. April 18–30, theatre.wisc.edu

In Shorts on the 2nd Floor, the Madison Theatre Guild presents an evening of short plays by major and emerging figures in American theater. From Tennessee Williams’s A Perfect Analysis Given by a Parrot to Christopher Durang’s Mrs. Sorkin to Gregory Hischak’s Hygiene, it’s all about comedy in its myriad forms. April 18–May 3, madisontheatreguild.org

Cadillac Joe Anderson was a Hammond organ pro and a celebrated Madison blues musician. The Cadillac Joe Memorial Show at the High Noon Saloon honors his memory with a night of blues. The show features blues bands Aaron Williams & The Hoodoos as well as The Jimmys. April 19, high-noon.com

Celebrate the art of eating at the Artisan Gallery’s Food and Craft exhibition. The show incorporates the themes of politics, origins and the effects food has on us. April 11—June 1, artisangal.com

Be part of Wisconsin tradition at the UW Varsity Band Spring Concert. Guest soloists and Bucky will accompany the band for a spirited rendition of Fifth Quarter favorites and songs from Phantom of the Opera, James Bond films and the Beatles. On Wisconsin!
April 24–26, badgerband.com

Jazz fans won’t want to miss the twenty-sixth annual Capital City Jazz Fest. A performance of Bob Schulz with the Vagabond Reeds kicks off the event on April 24, and the next three days are filled with a wide range of styles from a diverse lineup of musicians from around the country, including the Jim Cullum Jazz band, the New Black Eagle Jazz Band and After Midnight. April 24–27, madisonjazz.com

One does not simply mimic the pipes of pop kings Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder. However, twelve voices can. Hit a cappella acts M-Pact and Duwende team up to take on the challenge. Celebrate legendary pop in the all-vocal production I Wish For All Time at Overture Center. April 25, overturecenter.com

Join the UW Dance Department at Lathrop Hall for the annual H’Doubler Concert of contemporary works produced by student choreographers. April 25–26, dance.wisc.edu

Madison Opera concludes its season with Jake Heggie’s staggeringly powerful Dead Man Walking. The contemporary opera is based on the novel by Sister Helen Prejean about a nun’s journey as the spiritual advisor to a convicted murderer on death row. April 25–27, madisonopera.org

Fiddler on the Roof offers not only the story of a poor milkman who tries to instill the traditional values of his small Russian village in his five daughters, but also such memorable songs as “If I Were a Rich Man” and “Sunrise, Sunset.” Children’s Theater of Madison stages this musical theater classic. April 25–May 11, ctmtheater.org

Keep your smartphones on and ready for this performance! Named for a Google Glass user, Broom Street Theater’s Glasshole! is a series of comedy sketches promising to make us reconsider our interactions in both the real and virtual worlds. April 25–June 21, bstonline.org

Reggae royalty and five-time Grammy winner Stephen “Ragga” Marley is set to reveal his latest jams at the Barrymore Theatre. His new album, Fruit of Life: Revelations Part II, blends roots reggae with eclectic vibes. April 26, barrymorelive.com 

Even after forty-seven years, five number-one albums and twenty-one top-ten singles, the legendary rock-n-roll band Chicago isn’t slowing down. Four original members and five more recent additions carry the Chicago tradition of a “rock and roll band with horns.” They headline Overture Center for an extensive repertoire of soft rock ballads and progressive rock hits. April 28, overturecenter.com

Not long after Dan Grabois became a horn professor at UW–Madison three years ago, he had a pretty cool idea: Take the traditional UW Horn Choir and turn it into a rock band. Twisted Metal offers its second spring concert at Mills Hall. April 29, music.wisc.edu

Grab your main squeeze and get ready to dance! Tunes at Monona Terrace presents Wisconsin’s Westside Andy & Mel Ford Band, featuring Barrelhouse Chuck, on April 30. Electric harmonica expert Andy Linderman and blues master Mel Ford prove Chicago isn’t the only place to sing the blues. April 30, mononaterrace.com

Emily Rappleye is an editorial intern at Madison Magazine. Katie Vaughn is managing editor of Madison Magazine. Read her and find continuous arts coverage in our , and .