What to Do in May

What to Do in May
L.A.-based soul band Fitz & the Tantrums will play the Capitol Theater May 6.

In Shorts on the 2nd Floor, 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. Through May 3, madisontheatreguild.org

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. 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

Work up an appetite at the Artisan Gallery. Visit the Food and Craft exhibition and celebrate the art of dining. The show explores food politics, food origins and how our food affects us. And in the annual In the Cooler: ReStore exhibition, local artists give leftovers a new life, producing one-of-a-kind artworks from recycled materials. Proceeds directly benefit ReStore’s mission to support Habitat for Humanity of Dane County. Through June 1, artisangal.com

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

On- and offline worlds collide in Glasshole!, a series of comedy sketches put on by Broom Street Theater. With a title referencing a Google Glass wearer, the show explores the obsessions, fears, connections and disconnections that come with technology. April 25–May 17, bstonline.org

Inspired by the provocative German play from 1891, Spring Awakening is a rock musical about love, friendships and other trials of the teenage years. University Theatre offers this honest and groundbreaking production. May 1–3, theatre.wisc.edu

Edgewood College Theatre presents a collection of fresh and smart Student Directed One-Acts. The production features a diverse array of compact one-act plays showcasing the talent of Edgewood Theatre Arts students. May 1–3, theatre.edgewood.edu

May exhibitions in Absolutely Art prove creative inspiration can come from unexpected people and places. Acrylic painter Bala Thiagarajan draws artistic inspiration from her early life in Chennai, India. Her newest works incorporate henna designs, Mandalas and Kolams in combination with biology and math. The result? Textured lines and colors that conjure images of the saris worn by women in South India. Artist Mark Cullen is reference librarian but channels his artistic impulses into printmaking, bookmaking and art-making. See his works in Café Zoma. May 1–June 1, absolutelyartllc.com

Delve into the art scene for Madison Museum of Contemporary Art’s biannual creativity extravaganza Gallery Night. Gallery-hop to more than fifty different locations and enjoy exhibitions, receptions, demonstrations and refreshments to celebrate Madison’s thriving arts community. May 2, mmoca.org/gallery-night

Discover The Gershwin Legacy with the Madison Symphony Orchestra and Madison’s own Gershwin master, John DeMain. Celebrate DeMain’s twentieth anniversary season with Gershwin’s “Catfish Row Suite” from Porgy and Bess and “I Got Rhythm Variations.” The performance is rounded out with Bernstein’s “Glitter and Be Gay” and the “Symphonic Dances” from West Side Story, as well as selections from Harold Arlen and Stephen Sondheim. May 2–4, madisonsymphony.org

Award-winning oil painter Gregg Kreutz returns home for his eighteenth solo exhibit at the Fanny Garver Gallery. Kreutz was raised in Madison, graduated from N.Y.U. and trained with the Art Student’s League of New York before pursuing a full-time painting career. Over thirty years, Kruetz has developed dedicated national following. May 2–30, fannygarvergallery.com

So you’ve got your big hat and a hankering for a mint julep, but no plans to visit Churchill Downs? Then spend Derby Day horsing around at the High Noon Saloon. Its Kentucky Derby Party features the North Country Drifters, a Madison western swing band that performs classic country and western songs from the 1930s, ’40s and ’50s. May 3, high-noon.com

For Los Angeles-based soul band Fitz & the Tantrums, inspiration came from an ex-girlfriend. Rather, it came from the church organ she sold front man Michael “Fitz” Fitzpatrick in 2008. The organ inspired the six-member band to get together and produce a sound that blends soul, new wave and indie pop. The group is known for energetic live performances. Check them out at the Capitol Theater. May 6, overturecenter.com

Music geeks and cool kids can unite for the Youngblood Brass Band at the Majestic. This Wisconsin-born ten-piece brass band puts out a sound they describe as “riot jazz,” or a combination of jazz, hip-hop and punk. In past projects, the group worked with hip-hop great Talib Kweli, vocalist Ike Willis and producer DJ Skooly, among others. Join them for a live performance that promises to be dance-y, raucous and unique. May 9, majesticmadison.com

Experience dance in flux while navigating the Li Chiao-Ping Dance performance Rise Over Run: Off the Wall Dances. The performers and audience will travel together through the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery building, exploring themes of belonging, identity and place with experimental dance. May 9–11, lcpdance.org  

Combining romantic prose with wrestling, dancing and fighting, Skin Tight relives the passions and struggles of a couple’s life together. Mercury Players Theatre presents this intense performance for mature audiences only. May 9–24, mercuryplayerstheatre.com

In Jerusalem, staged by Strollers Theatre, everyone wants Johnny “Rooster” Byron—council officials want to evict him, a local thug wants to beat him up, his friends want his stash of drugs and booze and his son wants to go to the county fair with him. May 9–31, strollerstheatre.org

The Madison Youth Choirs join forces with Madison Symphony Orchestra organist Samuel Hutchison for a performance highlighting music by Bach, Rutter, Boulanger, Howells and others, as well as the Overture Concert Organ. May 10, madisonsymphony.org

In honor of its twentieth anniversary, the weekly variety series Big Top Chautauqua brings Tent Show Radio to the Capitol Theater live! Join host Michael Perry and the Blue Canvas Orchestra under the ‘Big Top’ for renowned performers Ida Jo and Blessed Feathers. May 10, overturecenter.com

As much as we might hate to admit, she’s always right. In honor of moms everywhere, catch Listen to your Mother at the Barrymore Theatre on Mother’s Day. Live staged readings celebrate the complexity, diversity and humor of motherhood. A portion of proceeds benefit non-profit organizations for families in need. May 11, listentoyourmothershow.com/madison

Honor Mom with a special Mother’s Day concert and stroll through Olbrich Botanical Gardens. The New Horizons Concert Band offers an eclectic repertoire ranging from classical music to Broadway hits and movie themes. May 11, olbrich.org

Manchester Orchestra’s latest release is dedicated to full-out, pounding rock. The indie rock group is on the road performing songs from the new album, released April 1. Join them live at the Majestic and prepare for a raw, heavy performance. May 12, majesticmadison.com

Two exhibitions at the James Watrous Gallery highlight expressive work by Madison artists. Storm Candy reveals Dianne Soffa’s abstract color field paintings motivated by her memories of childhood summers spent in the Midwest, while Organic Matter presents Donald Friedlich’s innovative glass and gold jewelry with a new body of large-scale cast glass sculpture. May 13–June 29, wisconsinacademy.org

The evolution of singer-songwriter Neko Case continues. She got her start drumming for Vancouver bands, singing alt-country with Neko Case & Her Boyfriends and then belting out power-pop for The New Pornographers. Case launched her solo career in 2002, moving toward an edgier, indie-rock sound. Join her with special guest The Dodos at the Orpheum Theater. May 14, nekocase.com

Musician Suzanne Vega’s dry, level voice and acoustic guitar melodies are distinct. She launched into the spotlight with the hit, “Tom’s Diner” in 1987. This February, Vega released her first new album in seven years. Hear her newest material live at the Barrymore Theatre. May 16, barrymorelive.com

The Oakwood Chamber Players continue their globe-trotting adventure with Down Under, a concert featuring works by Australian and New Zealand composers. May 17–18, oakwoodchamberplayers.com

More than five hundred young voices sing at the Madison Youth Choirs Spring Concert Series: Arts and Minds to celebrate our world through music. Each concert features a different MYC group: girlchoirs, boychoirs and high school ensembles. The performances highlight works by Bach, Britten, Vivaldi and more. May 18, overturecenter.com

Comedian Aziz Ansari is coming to the Overture Center! You may know him as Tom Haverford, the slacker city official from Parks and Recreation, or as his crude standup alter-ego Raaaandy from Judd Apatow’s Funny People. Rolling Stone labeled him “the funniest man under thirty.” Don’t miss Ansari as himself at Overture Center. May 20, overturecenter.com

The average rate of brats consumed at The World’s Largest Brat Fest is more than eighty-five per minute! Keep up the pace and carry the tradition this Memorial Day weekend at Alliant Energy Center’s Willow Island. Choose from three types of brats—classic Johnsonville sausage, chipotle chicken Monterey jack and vegetarian. The fest boasts more than two hundred hours of music, camping and a kid zone. May 23–26, bratfest.com 

The Wurst Times Festival is for the people, by the people. Check out more than forty live bands with a brat in hand at the High Noon Saloon, Brass Ring and Brink Lounge. Festival proceeds help provide musical instruments for kids in Madison schools and support the Second Harvest Foodbank. May 24, wursttimes.com

Drawing inspiration from Ecclesiastes 3, the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art’s Turn Turn Turn uses modern and contemporary art as an anthology of the joys and sorrows of life. Works from the museum’s permanent collection are arranged in eight thematic sections corresponding to the beginning verses of the Bible chapter that reference “a season for every activity under the heavens.” May 24–August 24, mmoca.org

Join singer-songwriter Anna Vogelzang in the Overture Hall Lobby for the latest in MadCity Sessions. Vogelzang’s playful ballads and spirited banjos liken her to a folksier version of Regina Spektor. As described by Performer Magazine, she has “a voice that can knock down a listener.” May 29, overturecenter.com

In A Passion for Photography: The John W. and Carol L.H. Green Collection at the Chazen Museum of Art, famed artists are both the creators and subjects of the photographs on display. Find Pablo Picasso, Jackson Pollock, Henri Matisse, Marc Chagall, Marcel Duchamp and Piet Mondrian photographed by the likes of Ansel Adams, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Yousuf Karsh and Imogene Cunningham. May 30–August 17, 2014, chazen.wisc.edu

Chamber music ensemble con vivo! … music with life concludes its season with a Spring Concert at the First Congregational United Church of Christ. The group is known for performances with a hint of humor and surprise. Go for the engaging chamber repertoire and stay for their unexpected encore selections.  May 31, convivomusicwithlife.org

Emily Rappleye is an editorial intern at Madison Magazine.