August 2011

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play in the spotlight Autumn Arts Come Alive A short preview of this season's sensational performances A World of Music From tap dancer Savion Glover to classical keyboard conversations with Jeffrey Siegel, the Wisconsin Union Theatre once again offers a wealth of international music and classical art- istry. Starting with The Madison world Music Festival Sept. 15-17, a plethora of vibrant acts continue through November, from the Yamato Drummers of Japan to Ivory Coast Afro-Pop star Dobet Gnahoré. Visit All Singing! All Dancing! Had your fill of summer fun? Take a look ahead to Overture's fall offerings By Michael and Jean Muckian The fortunes of Overture Center for the Arts for the past few years have turned on the success of their visiting musicals such as "Wicked" and "The Lion King" and "Les Miserables," to name a few. The upcoming season dances into town with the hit pro- duction of "Billy Elliott the Musical." The winner of 10 Tony Awards chronicles the story of young Billy, a boy who stum- bles out of the boxing ring and into a ballet class to discover a talent he didn't know he had. Set against the backdrop of a 1984 coal miners' strike in County Duram, United Kingdom, it's a tale of struggling to rise above the ashes. As Billy, whose mother had died, eschews boxing for bal- let, much to the distress of his father and brother, he learns to dream beyond his working-class existence. The New York Times called the show "inspiring" and the music by Sir Elton John "his best score yet." The highlight of Overture's upcom- ing season, "Billy Elliot" was set for Sep- tember. But as of press time, it was being rescheduled to spring—only increasing our anticipation. The fall musical season continues at Overture with "Disney's Beauty and the Beast." The production, based on Disney's adaptation of the traditional French fairy 66 BRAVA Magazine August 2011 tale "La Belle et la Bête," is part fairy tale and part morality tale that has won as many hearts on stage as it did in its Academy Award-winning animated version, already grossing more than $1.4 billion world- wide. Nominated for nine Tony Awards, the show, which features music by Alan Menken and lyrics of Howard Ashman and Tim Rice, is the eighth longest-running musical production in Broadway history. The tale comes to Madison just in time for some pre-holiday entertainment, taking the Overture stage from Dec. 6-11. Overture's Broadway series continues into 2012 with a new act from the enter- taining and intriguing Blue Man Group (Jan. 24-29), the classics "Fiddler on the Roof" (Feb. 24-26) and "Cats" (March 16- 18), and the kooky and spooky "The Ad- dams Family" (May 1-6). It's a long season with the promise of great entertainment, and one worth making plans for today. Visit Michael and Jean Muckian have covered the local food and arts scenes for over 25 and 15 years, respectively. Find their blog, Culturosity, at Classical Gas The season's classical scene brings a bevy of guest artists to Madison, including Russian pianist Ilya Yakushev, who will perform Prokofiev's "Piano Concerto No. 1 in D-flat Major, Op. 10" with the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra on Oct. 7 in the Capitol Theater. The Madison Symphony Orchestra hosts pianist André Watts on Sept. 16-18, cellist Lynn Harrell on Oct. 14-16 and violinist Midori on Nov. 11-13 in their Overture Hall home. Visit and madison- Retro Views Early 20th Century woodcut prints of- fering a nostalgic and even romanti- cized view of old Japan are the focus of "The Hanga Traditions," an exhibition opening Oct. 22 at the Chazen Museum of Art on the UW campus. The exhibi- tion runs through Jan. 15, 2012. Visit A Forward Look Aaron Sorkin, who has won both Emmy Awards and Oscars for his scripts for "The West Wing," "A Few Good Men" and more, once wrote a screenplay about Philo Farnsworth, the Iowa boy genius credited for inventing the televi- sion, and his conflict with David Sar- noff, the young president of the then young RCA Corp. No film was produced, but the screenplay for "The Farnsworth Invention" was adapted for the stage with great result. Madison's Forward Theater Co. will open its fall season with the drama, which runs Nov. 3-20 at The Playhouse at Overture Center. Visit Photo by Michael Brosilow

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