Tom Berenz creates vividly abstracted paintings that begin with the concept of something gone terribly wrong, while Shane McAdams depicts fantastical and precisely detailed landscapes that often have an unsettling vibe. Both are on display at the James Watrous Gallery.
Through May 8, wisconsinacademy.org
In the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art’s biennial event, Design MMoCA, 14 designers from a variety of fields find inspiration in a work from the museum’s permanent collecting, using it as a Launchpad for a creative design, which the public is invited to view.
Through May 8, mmoca.org
Madison Theatre Guild stages Shakespeare’s final play, “The Tempest,” at the Bartell Theatre. A story of a shipwreck, a storm and a sorcerer, the magical tale explores love and power through the Bard’s poetic language.
Through May 14, madisontheatreguild.org
Explore the tintype plates of Eric Baillies and the abstract contemporary photography of Laurel Lueders at the Edgewood College Gallery.
Through May 15, edgewood.edu
A comedy about high society, “Blithe Spirit” centers on a novelist trying to expose an eccentric medium for fraud by inviting her to his home in England for a séance. When the medium summons his first wife Elvira (with current wife Ruth watching), all hell breaks loose. Strollers Theatre presents Noel Coward’s play at the Bartell.
Through May 21, strollerstheatre.org
Winner of the 2016 Chazen Museum Prize for an Outstanding MFA Student, UW–Madison artist Jay Katelansky’s installation “Hoodwinked” explores collective trauma and dehumanization of African Americans using science fiction.
Through May 31, chazen.wisc.edu
Fitchburg biotech company Promega continues its art showcase series with “Pop Art from Santa Fe,” a colorful and thought-provoking exhibition featuring work by Billy Schenck and Stan Natchez, artists from New Mexico.
Through June 3, promega-artshow.com
Check out three exhibitions at Overture Galleries. In “Criminal,” students, faculty and recent UW–Madison grads explore the idea of criminality. In “Interlude,” Kimberly Benson and Mackenzie Reynolds build up and remove materials to imitate processes of memory and emotion. And in “An Altered Resemblance,” Michael Ward and Ariel Wood delve into otherness and human consciousness through abstract and surreal imagery.
Through June 5, overturecenter.org
Catch the Pro Arte Quartet for free at the Chazen. The Sunday Afternoon Live series features free concerts monthly at the museum. If you can’t make it to the event, attend virtually—the concerts are streamed live online.
May 1, chazen.wisc.edu
A dual record release show at the High Noon Saloon brings singer-songwriters Chris Pureka and Anna Vogelzang together for a powerhouse show. Madison favorite Vogelzang’s album, “Driftless,” is a must-have for local music fans.
May 1, high-noon.com
Five of the hard rock’s top guitarists have teamed up for the Generation Axe Tour, coming to the Orpheum. Catch solo sets and collaborations from legendary shredders Steve Vai, Zakk Wylde, Yngwie Malmsteen, Nuno Bettencourt and Tosin Abasi.
May 1, madisonorpheum.com
Local artists open their homes and studios to the public for the Marquette-Atwood Neighborhood Art Walk. The self-guided tour through the Near East Side neighborhood is a perfect annual event to ring in the warmer weather.
Hear all three UW–Madison University Bands share their music at Mills Concert Hall in the George L. Mosse Humanities Building for their spring semester concert.
May 1, music.wisc.edu
Led by the University of Leeds in England, “Performing the Jewish Archive” is a major international research project dedicated to forgotten works of Jewish artists. The only U.S. host for the project, UW–Madison hosts a five day festival called “Out of the Shadows: Rediscovering Jewish Music, Literature and Theater.”
May 1-5, music.wisc.edu
Hatch Art House spotlights laser-cut wood artist Melissa Scherrer Pare, who creates functional art pieces out of wood, as well as jewelry.
May 1-31, hatcharthouse.com
Pop-blues duo of spouses Amanda Sudano and Abner Ramirez, known as Johnnyswim, bring their Tennessee sound to the Majestic with special guest, Jonny P.
May 2, majesticmadison.com
Country superstar and “American Idol” alum Carrie Underwood plays a massive show at the Kohl Center. Catch the hit-maker perform her chart-topping pop country tunes bring down the house in person.
May 3, frankproductions.com
Explorer Albert Lin comes to Overture Center for the Arts for his lecture, “National Geographic Live: The Search for Genghis Khan.” The tech pioneer developed crowdsourcing image technology to help search for the tomb of Genghis Khan in locations all over the world.
May 3, overturecenter.org
It’s time for Tunes at the Terrace! Head to the Monona Terrace for some live dance music from The Del Rays, a band that covers favorites from the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s. The free event offers up a dance floor and band every Wednesday!
May 4, mononaterrace.com
Minneapolis soul group Sonny Knight and the Lakers takes inspiration from James Brown, Aretha Franklin and even Led Zeppelin. Catch their lively performance in Spring Green as part of the summer Shitty Barn sessions.
May 4, shittybarnsessions.com
A night of Irish music awaits at UW Memorial Union’s Shannon Hall. Irish/Americana group We Banjo 3 and Galician bagpiper, pianist and composer Cristina Pato perform live.
May 5, uniontheater.wisc.edu
Art is everywhere on Gallery Night! This twice-a-year citywide event organized by the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art sees nearly 60 venues hosting art exhibitions, artist talks and demonstrations and live entertainment.
May 6, mmoca.org
Minnesota alt hip-hop artist Astronautalis, who opened for Dessa last year at Live on King Street, returns to Madison to play the Majestic.
May 6, majesticmadison.com
Catch “dirty distorted country” from L.A. Witch, “hallucinogenic jams” from Levitation Room and prog rock from Vanishing Kids at the Frequency.
May 6, madisonfrequency.com
Encore Studios, Wisconsin’s only theater company for people with disabilities, presents its annual short play series “Acts to Grind.” Among the pieces showing at the Mary Dupont Wahlers Theatre are “Shroudenstein,” “Drug Deals,” “A New Election,” “Dapman” and “Karma.”
Harper Lee’s classic novel “To Kill a Mockingbird” comes to life at the Overture Center Playhouse. Children’s Theater of Madison performs the moralistic story of Atticus Finch, Scout and Jem in this family-friendly performance.
May 6-22, ctmtheater.org
Explore three centuries of art in “Japanese Masterworks: Woodblock Prints from the Chazen Museum of Art Collection,” which serves as a survey of Japanese printmaking.
May 6-Aug. 14, chazen.wisc.edu
Listen and learn at Farley’s House of Pianos. Piano great and composer Dick Hyman heads a jazz clinic and lecture along with a piano concert to show off his skills.
May 7, salonpianoseries.org
Singing a repertoire that explores multiple musical traditions around the world, the Madison Youth Choirs present their spring concert, “Sounds Like Home: Music in Diaspora” in Overture Center’s Capitol Theater.
May 7-8, overturecenter.org
Catch Boise songwriter Eilen Jewell’s unique country-noir style at the Stoughton Opera House.
May 7, stoughtonoperahouse.com
Oshkosh Americana trio Dead Horses plays an acoustic folk set at Majestic Theater.
May 7, majesticmadison.com
Twenty-three-year-old singer-songwriter Tori Kelly started by sharing her music on YouTube. Now she is touring to share her new album, “Hollow.” Catch the Grammy Award nominee at the Orpheum Theater.
May 7, madisonorpheum.com
MadCity Bazaar, the city’s urban pop-up flea market, is back for its third year to showcase creative and delicious wares by local craftspeople and small-batch producers. It’s held the first and third Saturday of the month from May to September.
May 7-Sept. 17, madcitybazaar.com
With elaborate costumes and beloved tunes reinvigorated, Disney’s “The Lion King” returns to Overture Center for a visually stunning interpretation of Simba’s heartwarming story of love, loss and self-discovery.
May 10-June 5, overturecenter.org
St. Paul’s Hippo Campus has blown up in popularity in the past years, making the festival circuit with ease. The indie rock group returns to Madison for a concert at Majestic.
May 12, madisonorpheum.com
A fun romp around the globe, join the adventure in the performance of “Around the World in 80 Days.” Presented by the Driftless Area Repertory Theatre, the show is held at the River Arts Center in Prairie du Sac.
May 13, riverartsinc.org
The Orpheum hosts influential blues guitarist Joe Bonamassa. See his famed skills and hear his latest off of “Blues of Desperation,” released earlier this year.
May 13, overturecenter.org
Alt-country outfit out of Minneapolis, The Jayhawks make their way to the Barrymore Theatre.
May 13, barrymorelive.com
See self-described “Bayou Soul” singer Marc Broussard at the Majestic Theater.
May 13, majesticmadison.com
The Madison Magazine BBQ Festival returns to Sauk City. This free, family-friendly fest features local food, barbecue and music—including WheelHouse, the Jimmys and Madison County!
The Oakwood Chamber Players provide the score to the season in their “Summer Splash” concert. Held at Oakwood Center for Arts and Education, the small ensemble will play music by Franz Schubert, Samuel Barber and Craig Bohmler.
May 14-15, oakwoodchamberplayers.com
A mash-up between legendary musicians Jon Anderson and Jean-Luc Ponty, the Anderson Ponty Band is a stunning collaboration of rock and jazz. See them together at the Barrymore Theatre.
May 14, barrymorelive.com
New York City jazz band The Hot Sardines bring hot, swinging Dixieland jazz to the Capitol Theater at Overture Center.
May 17, overturecenter.org
With a brand new album hot off the presses, Laura Gibson brings folk tunes from “Empire Building” to the Shitty Barn sessions in Spring Green. Catch the NYC-based multi-instrumentalist at the outdoor show.
May 18, shittybarnsessions.com
Denver musician Son Lux, known for solo work, collaboration with Sufjan Stevens in “Sisyphus” and film scores for movies like “Paper Towns,” performs at the Frequency.
May 18, madisonfrequency.com
Tony DeSare’s “Night Life” comes to Overture Center. The special event transforms Capitol Theater into a swanky nightclub, complete with gourmet cuisine prepared by Jason Egner of Catering a Fresco. Eat, drink and be merry as you listen to DeSare’s dulcet voice sing old standards and new favorites.
May 19, overturecenter.org
Venture to the Majestic Theater to catch the psychedelic rock of lo-fi indie band Unknown Mortal Orchestra.
May 19, majesticmadison.com
The James Watrous Gallery presents two painters—Gwen Avant and Gregory Klassen—interested in processes and nature.
May 20-July 3, wisconsinacademy.org
Acclaimed Beatles tribute band Abbey Road provides the music for “In My Life,” a musical about the iconic Fab Four through the eyes of manager Brian Epstein. The show comes to the Barrymore for one night only.
May 21, barrymorelive.com
At its “Young and the Restless” spring concert, con vivo! … music with life showcases works by Beethoven, Bruch, Nielsen and Dvorak.
May 21, convivomusicwithlife.org
Hapa, Hawaii’s popular musical group, plays a concert with tropical vibes in the Monona Terrace Lecture Hall.
May 21, mononaterrace.com
Pick up handmade goodies and local art at the Black Sheep Bazaar. This pop-up flea market brings some of Madison’s most interesting artisans to the High Noon Saloon to sell their one-of-a-kind goods.
May 22, high-noon.com
Learn some life lessons at the Madison Unique Lives series featuring Diane Keaton. The actress, director and writer stops by Overture Center to share her journey through Hollywood, motherhood and more in this special, inspiring lecture.
May 22, overturecenture.org
The Madison Symphony Orchestra’s string ensemble, the Rhapsodie Quartet, performs in Promenade Hall at Overture.
May 23, madisonsymphony.org
Milwaukee electronic pop group GGOOLLDD performs at the Shitty Barn in Spring Green.
May 25, shittybarnsessions.com
The World’s Largest Brat Fest, held at Alliant Energy Center, is a Memorial Day weekend tradition since 1983, with more than 100 music acts on four stages.
May 27-30, bratfest.com
Started in 2011 as a local celebration, the Wurst Times Festival combines more than 40 bands on five stages at a joint event at the High Noon Saloon, Brink Lounge and Brass Ring.
In “Claire Stigliani: Half-Stick of Shadows,” the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art reveals a new body of work by the Brooklyn-based artist known for infusing her mixed-media drawings with references to fairy tales, pop culture and more to probe ideas of femininity.
May 28-Sept. 3, mmoca.org
Swedish singer Kristian Matsson, best known by his stage moniker, The Tallest Man on Earth, shares music from his latest album, “Dark Bird Is Home,” to captivate audiences at the Barrymore.
May 31, barrymorelive.com
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