Fall arts season promises laughs, music, holiday treats

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Ann Fiore
Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Sunday marks the first day of fall. And while we might long for more hot days and warm nights of summer, it's time to enjoy that annual burst of color—both indoors and out.

By indoor color, I mean the fall performance season.

Each season brings a new mix of music, theater, comedy and dance performances to our area. This year's lineup has the comfortable favorites—multiple performances of “A Christmas Carol” and “The Nutcracker,” for example—along with Broadway musicals such as “Chicago” and “Jersey Boys” at Madison's Overture Center and “Memphis” at the Young Auditorium at UW-Whitewater.

The Beloit Janesville Symphony kicks off its 60th anniversary season Saturday in Beloit with a 3 p.m. concert featuring its three conductors. Two of them are older than 85, and all three will be conducting music they love.

Janesville Presents also launches its new “Live on Main Street” series Saturday at the Janesville Performing Arts Center, with Joan Ellison channeling radio/movie starlet Judy Garland in “A Date with Judy.”

Need a mood-lifter? The new season offers plenty of those.

The creative minds who brought you “Spank! The Fifty Shades Parody” are now poking fun at “The Hunger Games” blockbuster series. The result—“The Hungry, Hungry Games”—comes to the Overture Center for the Arts on Nov. 1-2. (Those who still haven't seen “Spank!” can catch it at Whitewater's Young Auditorium on Nov. 12.)

If you have Harry Potter fans in the house, check out Overture's “Potted Potter,” a comedy show Oct. 18-20 that crams all seven Potter books into 70 madcap minutes. It's got costume changes, brilliant songs, silly props and even a real game of Quidditch.

Folks who prefer to stay close to home have choices, too.

Janesville theater company Stage One takes a satirical look into the movie industry with David Mamet's “Speed-the-Plow.” The three-person play opens Oct. 10 and will be the first in JPAC's new black box theater.

Janesville Little Theatre plans to take a break from serious stuff starting Nov. 15, when it stages the two-act comedy “The Nerd,” also at JPAC.

Then come the holiday shows and something for nearly everyone.

Vampire fans should flock to see three different Dracula performances: a theatrical “Dracula” on Oct. 7-13 at UW-Whitewater's Hicklin Studio Theatre; “Dracula” the ballet on Oct. 23-26 at the Overture Center, and the dance/drama “Drakula” on Oct. 25-26 at the Stoughton Opera House.

Also for Halloween is a new supernatural musical by horror novelist Stephen King, singer/songwriter John Mellencamp and musician/producer T-Bone Burnett. It's called “Ghost Brothers of Darkland County,” and it comes to the Overture on Oct. 25 and Rockford's Coronado Performing Arts Center on Oct. 26.

Holiday performances of “The Nutcracker” and “A Christmas Carol” are so numerous this year that families who want to see them should be able to get tickets.

“A Christmas Carol” will be offered:

— Wednesday, Nov. 27, through Tuesday, Dec. 24, at the Pabst Theater, 144 E. Wells St., Milwaukee. Showtimes vary. Tickets are $21.25-$75. Call 414-286-3663.

— At 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 5, Fridays-Saturdays, Dec. 6-7 and 13-14, and 2 p.m. Sundays, Dec. 8 and 15, at the Janesville Performing Arts Center, 408 S. Main St., Janesville. Performed by Stage One. Tickets are $8-$15. Call 608-758-0297.

— Friday, Dec. 13, through Monday, Dec. 23, at the Capitol Theater, Overture Center for the Arts, 201 State St., Madison. Performed by Children's Theater of Madison. Tickets are $24-$45. Call 608-258-4141, TTY 608-258-4967.

“The Nutcracker” will be staged:

— At 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14, at UW-Whitewater's Young Auditorium, 930 W. Main St., Whitewater. Performed by The Dance Factory. Tickets are $15.50-$19.50. Call 262-472-2222.

— Saturday, Dec. 14, through Sunday, Dec. 22, at Uihlein Hall, Marcus Center for the Performing Arts, 929 N. Water St., Milwaukee. Performed by Milwaukee Ballet. For tickets, call 414-273-7206.

Other holiday shows to check out:

— “Charlie Brown Meets the Grinch” at 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 19, Janesville Performing Arts Center, 408 S. Main St., Janesville. Performed by the JPAC Radio Players. Tickets are $5. Call 608-758-0297.

— “Cash and Carter Christmas” at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 20, Janesville Performing Arts Center, 408 S. Main St., Janesville. Tickets: $14-$29. Call 608-758-0297.

Arts venues continue to add new listings. Be sure to consult venue websites for the latest information on what's coming up.

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