The spring season for kid-oriented performances looks to be richer than the fall's. And the fall's wasn't too shabby. Expect an invasion of rabbits (Peter), bulls (Ferdinand) and pigs (three little ones), plus a very hungry caterpillar who'll be flying before long.
The following highlights are just the tip of the iceberg. Check out TheDailyPage.com/TheGuide for every kids' show worth knowing about over the next few months.
Kids in the Rotunda
Overture Center, Saturdays through April 30 at 9:30 am, 11 am & 1 pm
Overture's series offers free fun on Saturdays, with an eclectic lineup that includes witty yo-yo master Mark Hayward (Jan. 22), eccentric juggler Truly Remarkable Loon (Feb. 12), the spunky Trinity Academy of Irish Dance (March 12) and cowboy singers KG & the Ranger (April 30). What better place than a $200 million culture palace to see yo-yo tricks and yodeling?
MadFest Juggling Extravaganza
Jan. 15, Wisconsin Union Theater, 7 pm
The word "juggling" doesn't really do justice to this delightful annual event, which showcases all manner of object manipulation. The format is a vaudeville-style revue, and you never know what's coming next. For kids, the fun begins even before the show as they bat balloons around the Union Theater's seats.
Jan. 30, Monona Terrace, 11 am-5 pm
The annual children's talent showcase features art, theater, music and dance. Expect performances by the Young Shakespeare Players, Madison Unicyclists, Wild Rumpus Circus, Children's Theater of Madison, Yonim Israeli Folk Dance Troupe, and many others. So many, in fact, that there might be more kids on stage than in the audience.
Most Valuable Player
Feb. 19-27, Overture Center Playhouse
Children's Theater of Madison presents a play about Jackie Robinson, the American hero who broke major-league baseball's color barrier in 1947. If you don't come out feeling uplifted, someone's not doing his job.
Ferdinand the Bull
Feb. 20, Overture Center's Capitol Theater, 3 pm
Arizona's Childsplay performs a musical adaptation of the children's book about a bull who prefers smelling flowers to fighting in the ring. There's got to be a lesson there, right? The production blends Spanish and English.
Duck Soup Cinema
Feb. 26, Overture Center's Capitol Theater, 2 & 7 pm
Overture's Capitol Theater harks back to its glory days as a 1920s movie palace with a vaudeville-style revue and a silent film accompanied live on the vintage Grand Barton Organ. The film is Buster Keaton's The Three Ages, which jumps from prehistoric times to ancient Rome to the Roaring Twenties. If you think kids won't respond to a silent film classic, you've never been to Duck Soup Cinema.
March 5, Overture Center
Here's a chance to take your kids abroad without leaving town. The free event showcases international traditions with food, performances and a craft bazaar.
The Surprising Story of the Three Little Pigs
March 5-March 13, Overture Center Playhouse
Children's Theater of Madison applies a Fractured Fairy Tales approach to the Three Little Pigs, the Three Billy Goats Gruff and the Three Bears. The characters take matters into their own hands to change their classic stories, revising happily ever after.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar
March 12, Overture Center's Capitol Theater, 11 am
Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia brings Eric Carle's lovely picture-book tales of caterpillars, chameleons and clouds to life using puppets and black lights. The show is all about transformations, which the young audience knows a little something about.
A Midsummer Night's Dream
March 19-20, Overture Center's Capitol Theater
Madison Ballet is pitching choreographer Peter Anastos' adaptation of Shakespeare's comedy as a family show. It's true there are a lot of fairies, and someone changes into an ass. Kids love it when someone changes into an ass.
The Little Prince
April 8-17, Overture Center Playhouse
Children's Theater of Madison presents an adaptation of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's whimsical tale of a boy who comes to Earth from a tiny asteroid and learns that "You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed." I predict that CTM's production will tame the entire audience.
Peter Rabbit's Ballet
April 8-10, Mitby Theater at MATC-Truax
Dance Wisconsin presents its charming ballet based on four Beatrix Potter stories. As you can imagine, it will take some daring leaps and pirouettes for Peter Rabbit to escape that mean old Mr. McGregor.
Lakota Sioux Dance Theatre
April 15, Overture Center's Capitol Theater, 8 pm
The South Dakota troupe performs "Cokata Upo! (Come to the Center)," which evokes Lakota culture with songs, traditional dances, video imagery and creation stories. It'll be an educational opportunity for the kids as well as a stirring night at the theater.
Pero, or the Mysteries of the Night
May 1, Overture Center's Capitol Theater, 3 pm
A baker romances a washerwoman in Speeltheater Holland's magical show for younger children, based on a commedia dell'arte story. It features puppets, human actors, lively music, witty effects and a touch of poetry.comments powered by Disqus
Lavish costumes, gorgeous sets, a full orchestra and a concession stand where nothing cost more than two bucks and you have a pitch perfect experience at the theater. Oh, and did I mention the ticket prices were just $10 dollars apiece? One could afford to take the whole family for a live theater experience for less than an evening at the Lego movie would cost including popcorn.
I think the first time in recent years that I've felt a real sense of shame, as both a parent and community member, was last Tuesday evening as I sat in a crowded elementary school LMC to listen to Ken Taylor, executive director of the Wisconsin Council on Children and Families, and his colleague, Torry Wynn, present key findings from the 2013 Race to Equity report to our PTO group.
It's Wednesday morning at Allis Elementary School on Madison's east side, and 16 third-graders -- 10 boys and six girls -- enter into an open-space classroom in typical wiggly, giggly style. Some are making goofy faces at one another, some are bouncing around hand-in-hand with friends, and others are just trying to stay out of the whirling-dervish path of activity.
Of the 789 poorly-composed, way-too-dark and out-of-focus photos currently living on my iPhone, I can count on two hands the number that show my kids and me together. And my husband is in probably no more than three or four of those.
Something kind of magical has happened these past two weeks during the Sochi Olympics. There is no question, debate or disagreement on what will be watched on television once all homework is done. Everyone in the family makes time to sit down together to watch an hour of so of the primetime televised games.
Truth be told, though, this month I'm feeling a bit cinematically fried. In some ways, I already feel like I've spent the last week or so at a film festival. A festival specializing in minute-long glimpses of ordinary lives all ending with credits that feature the ubiquitous blue thumbs-up. Yes, it's been the February of the Facebook movie.
Just last week, on precisely the same day the Momastery post was getting over a million well-deserved views, Madison mom Suzanne Buchko was telling a similar story. Not on a blog but instead in the confines of the modestly circulated Franklin-Randall Elementary School weekly newsletter.
Late last month, the Madison Metropolitan School District adopted a five-year, $27.7 million technology plan calling for all district students, including those in the primary grades, to have significantly increased access to their very own tablet or notebook computer by 2019. Some parents, as well as education professionals, questioned whether elementary-aged kids, especially kindergarteners who aren't even able to read or write yet, will gain much benefit from introducing yet another screen into their lives.
This past Monday, had winter's unrelenting weather allowed, Middleton Cross Plains School District teacher Andrew Harris would have once again been at the helm of a classroom. After nearly four years of fighting his dismissal from Glacier Creek Middle School for viewing and passing on sexually explicit material on district computers, MCPSD has been legally forced to reinstate Herris, this time as a seventh-grade science teacher at Kromrey Middle School.
In a study published last week by the National Bureau of Economic Research, academics have found that the 16 and Pregnant series may have played a significant role in the recent decrease in U.S. teen pregnancies.
In our house, sad but true, we've rarely spent the Martin Luther King holiday discussing race, social justice or the power of non-violent civil disobedience. Instead, the third Monday in January has historically been treated as just another day off school, just another long weekend. And it's been a missed opportunity.
It's not something that happens very often, but last Friday, as news of the impending arctic cold snap reached our house, my kids were rooting for Governor Scott Walker. They were rooting for him to take Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton's lead and cancel school throughout the state. They couldn't care less if he had the authority to do such a thing -- if he called off school, he'd be their hero.
Late last semester, as students were packing up their backpacks one final time before winter break, Middleton High School principal Denise Herrmann and assistant principal Lisa Jondle were co-authoring a note home to parents informing them of a widespread cheating scandal involving nearly 250 calculus students at the school.
Breathe in, breathe out. Have you ever been in the heat of a parenting moment with these words ringing through your head? Then you're on the right path toward mindful parenting.
The week between Christmas and New Year's is famous for all sorts of things. Malls are packed with folks exchanging those holiday sweaters that don't fit just right. It's the week those same folks pledge to never again eat another frosted sugar cookie or candy cane (hence the sweater issues). It's also the week the media saturates the public with dozens of "Best of Year" lists.
This will not (although it could) be a treatise on the value of "alone time" for a healthy marriage, though. Nor will it be an ode to how nice it was for me to have a few days off from lunch-packing, carpool-driving and homework-nagging.
For those of you who haven't yet seen it, the eight-week-long transit campaign, placed both inside and on the outside of buses, features a photo of an orange tabby with a stainless steel bar drilled into its head accompanied by the line "I am not lab equipment. End UW cat experiments!" Just as PETA hopes, the image is shocking and demands an immediate response.
If I had my druthers, I'd sit out the entire shopping week that follows Thanksgiving. Black Friday, for starters, has corrupted the fine art of bargain shopping and turned it into a gladiator sport. There is no percentage off that is worth losing sleep, or even worse an eye, over. Especially if you have kids in tow.
When you shop for toys, there is always the conflict between what you think is appropriate/adorable and what the child being shopped for might actually want/play with.
Many of the pop-culture seasonal touchpoints of my youth are completely lost on my kids. You see, while I may have memorized every word to both the Snow Miser and the Heat Miser's songs from The Year Without a Santa Claus, I'm pretty sure the only Rankin-Bass stop-motion Christmas special my kids have ever seen has been Rudolph.