Second half of 2013-14 season adds color to landscape
Early January typically is as quiet for the performing arts as it is for Wisconsinites who water-ski or play outdoor soccer.
As the month nears its end, though, signs of life start to appear.
The Janesville Performing Arts Center's stage has been busy lately thanks to Local Talent Month, which brought in a couple of playwrights, a composer and a group of teacher/musicians with local ties. This weekend, JPAC will stage “White Buffalo,” a play written by Janesville native Don Zolidis.
Elsewhere in the performing arts world, the spring season is beginning to awaken. Here's what else we have to look forward to:
The 1983 movie “Flashdance” celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2013 with a Broadway production and national tour. “Flashdance the Musical” brings the story of welder/dancer Alex Owens to Madison's Overture Center from Feb. 25-March 2 and to Milwaukee's Marcus Center for the Performing Arts on March 4-9.
The Marcus Center also welcomes the classic “Evita”—about Eva Peron's rise to power in Argentina—on Feb. 4-9.
Meanwhile, Overture will play host to the Broadway touring musical “War Horse” on June 10-15. The tale of Joey, a horse who goes to battle, is brought to life through life-sized horse puppets created by South Africa's Handspring Puppet Company.
On the local theater scene, Janesville Little Theatre takes on the romantic comedy “Sabrina Fair” for two weekends in February, starting Feb. 7. It's a twist on the traditional Cinderella story, in which a rich playboy falls for the daughter of the family chauffeur.
In mid-March, Janesville's Stage One salutes sportswriter Mitch Albom in “Tuesdays With Morrie,” a play based on Albom's best-selling book of conversations with his mentor, Morrie Schwartz. Both it and “Sabrina Fair” will be staged in JPAC's intimate black-box theater.
In early April, University Theatre at UW-Rock County will present “I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change,” a popular comedy and the second-longest-running off-Broadway musical.
In Whitewater, the Young Auditorium will present two plays back-to-back next month:
“Hamlet” on Feb. 4 and “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead” on Feb. 5. Both feature actors from The Acting Company. A combo ticket to see both is $39.
If you love roots music, Stoughton Opera House recently added an American roots music series to its 2013-14 season. Tickets are still available to see Charlie Parr (March 15), Birds of Chicago (March 20), the Steel Wheels (May 1) and the Milk Carton Kids (May 10).
Renowned pop pianist Jim Brickman will drop by the opera house April 26 for two concerts; a few seats are still open for the 3 and 7 p.m. shows.
How about a mix of American roots and Celtic soul? Brian FitzGerald and Martin McCormack make that fusion work as Switchback, and they'll be at JPAC on Feb. 22.
Those of you who had tickets to see acclaimed singer-songwriter John Prine in November can use them for the rescheduled March 15 show at Madison's Overture Center.
JPAC follows up last fall's Irish Fest with an Irish dance production called Rhythm in the Night on March 27. It resembles the energetic Riverdance touring production, we're told, but it tells its own story involving an evil seductress, an enslaved hero and a plan to free a kingdom.
Also new to the area is the Dragonfly Orchestra, a joint project of the Liuzhou Song and Dance Group from China and Insect 8 Productions from Canada. The orchestra—it debuted in 2012—bridges the gap between Eastern and Western performance styles, blending music, theatrics and dance. It visits the Edgerton Performing Arts Center on April 5.
The Beloit International Film Festival is one of this season's bright spots. A popular element in the February festival is the Silent Film Showcase, which features a classic silent film with a score performed live by the Beloit Janesville Symphony.
This year's showcase—scheduled for Feb. 22—presents three short Charlie Chaplin films: “The Floorwalker,” “The Count” and “Easy Streets.” The symphony will play the original Carl Davis soundtrack.
These are just a few of the performing arts shows coming up at major venues. For a more complete list, check out our spring calendar in the Thursday, Jan. 23, kicks section.