Spring officially opens this weekend with a flurry of activities on Madison stages and screens. The calendar includes: the Romanian Film Festival; a Filip Dujardin exhibit; productions of The Lady from the Sea, An Enemy of the People, 9-1-1, Kiritsis, and Peter Rabbit; performance by the MSO and Shidara; talks by Ingrid Kallick with David McGlynn, and Robert Birmingham; the Rock and Worship Roadshow; live music by the Del McCoury Band, Needtobreathe, P.O.S. with Dessa, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Star Persons, Leslie & the Ly's, Scout Niblett, Cash Box Kings, The Suit with Knuckel Drager; and, a benefit for Savory Sunday.
NOTEWORTHY: Sir Arthur C. Clarke dies, 2008.
BIRTHDAY: Tony/Emmy-winning actress Glenn Close, 1947.
Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, 7 pm. Also Thursday (6:30 pm) & Saturday (12:30 pm), March 18 & 20
The Romanian Cultural Institute and the UW's Center for Russia, East Europe and Central Asia present this lineup of films from a country that has crawled its way to cinematic respectability, even greatness. The slate includes Police, Adjective (Thursday, March 18, 8 p.m.), the film about a reluctant cop that has everyone talking. Visit Rock and Worship Roadshow
Alliant Energy Center, 7 pm
Christian acts Family Force 5, MercyMe, the David Crowder Band and others join forces in a pop-music salute to the Almighty.
UW Vilas Hall's Hemsley Theatre, 7:30 pm. Also Saturday (7:30 pm) & Sunday (2 pm), March 20 & 21
University Theatre presents Henrik Ibsen's 1888 play about a woman haunted by a past lover.
Overture Hall, 7:30 pm. Also Saturday (8 pm) & Sunday (2:30 pm), March 20 & 21
Guest pianist Jonathan Biss, just 29, tackles Mozart's "Piano Concerto No. 9" as guest conductor Patrick Strub wields the baton. The group also plays Brahms' "Serenade No. 1" and the overture to Carl Maria von Weber's Oberon.
Stoughton Opera House, 7:30 pm. Also Saturday, March 20, 7:30 pm
The Grammy-winning bluegrass outfit have been keeping acoustic Americana music vital for more than 40 years. They'll show off tunes from their 2009 release Family Circle.
UW Memorial Union, 7:30 pm Great Portuguese- and Spanish-language poets (Octavio Paz, Pablo Neruda, more) are discussed by a panel of UW and Rockford College professors in this Year of the Humanities event.
Overture Center Playhouse, 8 pm. Also Thursday (7:30 pm), Saturday (2 & 8 pm), Sunday (2 pm), Tuesday (7:30 pm) & Wednesday (7:30 pm), March 18, 20, 21, 23 & 24
New York-based Aquila Theatre presents a traveling production of Ibsen's 1882 play about a doctor thwarted by townspeople when he tries to expose an environmental calamity.
Bartell Theatre, 8 pm. Also Saturday, March 20, 8 pm
Four short plays about living with disability. This show is by Encore Studio for the Performing Arts, a company for people with disabilities. Their productions are intense and moving.
Overture Center's Capitol Theater, 8 pm
The Japanese troupe celebrates the art of taiko drumming, the martial tradition that's part percussion, part full-body workout. Is it music-making? Is it dance? Yes.
Majestic Theatre, 8:30 pm
South Carolina-based alt-rockers Needtobreathe are popular with the Christian rock crowd, but their newest album, 2009's The Outsiders, has also been charting well on the more mainstream Billboard 200 chart. With Graham Colton, Stephen Kellogg.
High Noon Saloon, 10 pm
Two members of the Twin Cities-based hip-hop project Doomtree Collective hit the stage with their newest creations. For P.O.S., this includes 2009's fantastic Never Better, which blends samples from Fugazi and Japanese jazz cats Seatbelts with his razor-sharp rhymes. Dessa will highlight spoken-word pieces from her recently released solo album, A Badly Broken Code (see Tour Stop). With F. Stokes and Astronautalis.
NOTEWORTHY: Yoko Ono marries John Lennon, 1969.
BIRTHDAYS: Singer-songwriter Lady GaGa, 1986.
Chazen Museum of Art, through May 16
In this collection, Belgian photographer Dujardin pieces together architectural images to create "resampled" buildings -- structures that look from an engineering standpoint to be impossible, because they are.
Overture Center's Wisconsin Studio, 6:30 pm
Both writers won 2009 Council for Wisconsin Writers Awards, Madison's Kallick for her short story "Sonia," Appleton's McGlynn for his essay "Hydrophobia." The event is part of the Wisconsin Writers series, which continues in the same venue Sunday, March 21, at 1 pm with outdoors writer Jerry Apps and author/publisher Richard Quinney.
Overture Center's Rotunda Studio, 7:30 pm
Forward Theater caps its debut season with a staged reading of local playwright David Schanker's work about the interaction between a kidnapper and his captive.
Overture Center's Capitol Theater, 8 pm
The country-folk band have perfected their blend of jug-band tunes, folk-rock and bluegrass over the past four decades, scoring a number of chart-topping singles on the Billboard country charts. This visit to Madison will feature tunes from their 2009 release, Speed of Life. With the Getaway Drivers.
Majestic Theatre, 8:30 pm
Experience this electropop dance music with a double shot of hip-hop, and you'll be feeling pretty cosmic by night's end. With Def Crew, DJ Dr. Funkenstein and UW Breakdancers.
High Noon Saloon, 9:30 pm
Silly, poppy and hip-hoppy, these entertainers from Ames, Iowa, are as likely to entertain you with their costumes -- gold lamé bodysuits, bedazzled '80s sweaters and lots of garish eye shadow -- as they are with their tunes and amusing, web-based video stunts. With Christopher the Conquered and Koo Koo Kanga Roo.
Frequency 9:30 pm
Take in some brand-new tunes by the popular, grunge-influenced English singer-songwriter in an intimate venue. With the Catalog Babies and el-tin fun.
Crystal Corner Bar, 9:45 pm
Special guests Oscar Wilson, Joel Paterson and Clyde Stubblefield will be on hand to re-create their contributions to CBK's excellent new album, I-94 Blues, which pays homage to the traditional blues of the 1930s and the Chicago blues of the '50s and '60s.
BIRTHDAYS: Actor Matthew Broderick and comedian/actress/talk show host/litigant Rosie O'Donnell, 1962.
High Noon Saloon, 1 pm
Knuckel Drager, a.k.a. "The World's Heaviest Surf Band," joins forces with the noisy awesomeness of the Suit, the tongue-in-check rock 'n' roll of the Arge, the country-flavored garage rock of the Apologists and the luscious taste of homemade lemon bars to raise money for a local couple facing cancer.
Waisman Center, 1 & 3 pm
Dance Wisconsin presents selections from the original ballet about Beatrix Potter's beloved rabbit. It's the time of year when we think about rabbits.
Dean House, 4718 Monona Dr., 2 pm
The author discusses Spirits of Earth: The Effigy Mound Landscape of Madison & The Four Lakes (see Books).
High Noon Saloon, 8 pm
A full bill of soulful, funky and bluesy performers -- Soul Shaker, Two Bird Rock, Futbol and the Rose Lights -- perform to raise money for a local nonprofit that serves hot, tasty meals with a side of community to Madison's hungry and homeless.