Winter commences its final phase this weekend, the deep freeze belying the gradually lengthening days. The calendar includes: the Badger State Games, Souper Bowl XV, and Orchid Quest; a production of Little Shop of Horrors and The Threepenny Opera; a dance program by the NuMoRune Collaborative; Popovich Comedy Pet Theatre; Alliance for Animals and Kids Rock! Benefit shows; the Frostiball; performances by the Oakwood Chamber Players, and Paul Rowe with Martha Fischer; the Rock and Worship Road Show; and, much more live music from Keller Williams, Passafire, Houses in Motion, Meaghan Owens, Naturally 7, Mason Jennings, My Brightest Diamond, Needmore, and The Midwest Beat.
NOTEWORTHY: Symbionese Liberation Army kidnaps newspaper heiress Patricia Hearst, 1974.
BIRTHDAYS: Singer Natalie Imbruglia, 1975.
Capitol Ice, Middleton, through Feb. 6
This winter sports fest touches down in the western burb for the figure-skating competition. Who is the Tara Lipinski of central and southeast Wisconsin? Find out.
Madison College-Truax's Mitby Theater, 7:30 pm. Also Saturday (7:30 pm) & Sunday (2 pm), Feb. 5 & 6
Boy meets plant. Boy feeds plant. Plant eats everything. It's the oldest story in the world, with singing and dancing. Presented by Madison College Performing Arts, this 1982 show was Alan Menken and Howard Ashman's signature work before their 1980s and 1990s Disney über-musicals.
Mother Fool's Coffeehouse, 8 pm
Local pianist and vocalist Stephanie Rearick teams up with Bugatti Type 35's Wendy Schneider and singer-songwriter Carell Casey to raise money for Alliance for Animals' campaign to convince Dane County to refuse to host circuses and other traveling shows that keep elephants in captivity.
UW Lathrop Hall's H'Doubler Performance Space, 8 pm. Also Thursday & Saturday, Feb. 3 & 5, 8 pm
UW dance professor Chris Walker's ensemble presents a program that traces currents in Caribbean and North American dance. There's a premiere piece by Walker, "Frustra: E Pluribus Unum," as well as work by Jamaica-based choreographer Neila Ebanks and Guyanese-Jamaican dancer and choreographer Guy Thorne.
Overture Center's Playhouse, 8 pm. Also Saturday, Feb. 5, 8 pm
Madison Opera presents Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht's classic show about the exploits of devious Macheath. In a twist, the opera is employing the talents of American Players Theatre stalwarts James DeVita and Tracy Michelle Arnold, who star (see Music).
Majestic Theatre, 9 pm
This self-taught one-man jam band loops multiple instruments to create a scintillating sonic experience that draws from folk, funk, jazz, bluegrass, rock, electronica and reggae. His 2010 album Thief, a collaboration with Larry and Jenny Keel, explores the art of covers, featuring unique takes on tunes by Amy Winehouse, the Grateful Dead, Ryan Adams, the Raconteurs, Yonder Mountain String Band and more.
Annex, 9:30 pm
These Georgians bring a variety of influences -- including pop and rock -- to their original reggae music. With Sinizen and Nama Rupa.
High Noon Saloon, 10 pm
Houses in Motion's covers of Talking Heads classics are nothing to sneeze at, thanks to taut musicianship and frontman Greg Ujda's compelling version of David Byrne's wild-eyed stare.
NOTEWORTHY: National Wildlife Federation est., 1936.
BIRTHDAYS: Edgy actress Jennifer Jason Leigh, Velvet Revolver bassist/Guns N' Roses alumnus Duff McKagan, 1964.
Alliant Energy Center's Exhibition Hall, 10 am-4 pm. Also Sunday, Feb. 6, 10 am-5 pm
Madison's Orchid Guild puts the petal to the metal in this show and sale.
High Noon Saloon, 1 pm
Help the Madison Children's Museum bring cool exhibits and activities to local tots by attending this concert featuring the Madgadders and Ken Lonnquist & the Kenland Band. There's also Kid'Oke, the pint-sized version of the Gomers' live karaoke event, which could feature a reggae version of "Row, Row, Row Your Boat" or a punk-rock "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star."
West High School, 2-8 pm
In this fundraiser for the UW's chapter of Habitat for Humanity, your $15 contribution (or $35 for a family of four) buys a bowl made by a local artisan, plus a meal. Bowls by prominent potters will be sold in a silent auction. Music is by the marching bands of UW and West High School.
Overture Center's Capitol Theater, 3 pm
Gregory Popovich's variety act is an entertaining extravaganza of laughs, juggling and animal tricks. He rescued his cats and dogs from shelters, and his message to you is: Consider shelter pets.
Alliant Energy Center's Coliseum, 6 pm
Some of the biggest acts in Christian rock hit the giant room for a night of music and praise for the Good Lord Almighty. With Mercy Me, Jars of Clay, Thousand Foot Krutch, Matt Maher and the Afters.
Oakwood Village's West Auditorium, 7:30 pm. Also UW Arboretum Visitor Center, Sunday, Feb. 6, 1:30 pm
The local ensemble performs a program called "Lullaby Lane," with music of Saint-Saëns and Arthur Foote. The concert's namesake is Gershwin's "Lullaby."
Cactus Ranch, 8 pm
This Nashville-via-Milwaukee Americana songbird doesn't just sing about liquored-up preachers and wild women on an ass-kicking mission; she performs these tunes in character. Come hear selections from her new album, Gun Shy of a Kiss, at Food Fight's Tex-Mex eatery.
Wisconsin Union Theater, 8 pm
If you're a fan of NBC's The Sing Off, this concert's for you. NYC's Naturally 7 have invented their own form of a cappella, which they've dubbed "vocal play." Listen to them imitate different instruments and beatbox their hearts out as they perform loads of R&B tunes. With Tangled Up in Blue, MadHatters, Redefined and Fundamentally Sound.
UW Humanities Building's Mills Hall, 8 pm
Baritone Rowe and pianist Fischer's stunning December performance of Schubert's Winterreise was a highlight of 2010's holiday arts season. Tonight they present more songs, including works by Ravel and Ives, plus a 1914 song cycle by UW-affiliated Louis Adolph Coerne and William Ellery Leonard.
Overture Center, 9 pm
Once a year, Madison puts on its fancy duds for this benefit for Downtown Madison Inc. Your pricey ticket includes hors d'oeuvres, desserts, drinks, live music, comedy and fast company.
Majestic Theatre, 9 pm
The folk-pop singer-songwriter returns to Madison with his new album, The Flood, which debuted in the top slot on iTunes' singer-songwriter chart in November before hitting brick-and-mortar stores in December. With the Lower 48.
UW Memorial Union Rathskeller, 9:30 pm
Shara Worden, the singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who shines as My Brightest Diamond in the indie world, has returned to the stage after a maternity break and a collaborative project with David Byrne. Find out more in Tour Stop. With Land of Vandals and Corcovado.
Annex, 9:30 pm
This up-and-coming L.A. rock band has built two national tours around a single song, "Lost My Way," which Microsoft adopted for their recent Windows Media campaign. See if this radio-friendly tune wins over the Apple fans in the crowd. With Find Vienna.
Crystal Corner Bar, 10 pm
The jangly local band with a penchant for Big Star join forces with the Sugar Stems, a much-buzzed-about Milwaukee quartet that layers '60s-style bubblegum melodies with tight vocal harmonies and a whole lot of riffage. With Fairweather Friends (see Music).
NOTEWORTHY: Apollo astronaut Alan B. Shepard tees off on the moon, 1971; Tennis Hall-of-Famer Arthur Ashe dies, 1993.
BIRTHDAYS: Guns N' Roses banshee Axl Rose, 1962.