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Wisconsin Union Theater team announces 2024-2025 performing arts programming, including new hip-hop series

Posted: 05/07/24

Wisconsin Union Theater team announces 2024-2025 performing arts programming, including new hip-hop series

The Wisconsin Union Theater (WUT) team announced its 2024-2025 season, which includes emerging and renowned artists across many genres as well as a debut series, called the Black Box Sessions. WUT presents its season in partnership and collaboration with the student-led Wisconsin Union Directorate (WUD) Performing Arts Committee (PAC). 

The 2024-2025 WUT season includes the Jazz Series, the 105th Classical Series, the Black Box Sessions featuring hip-hop music, Japanese drumming, and two theatrical productions. Patrons can begin purchasing subscriptions and single tickets to season events on May 28. 

The season kicks off on Sept. 19 with a Jazz Series performance by esperanza spalding, who is the first jazz artist to have won a Best New Artist GRAMMY, winning over fellow nominees Justin Bieber and Drake. She will perform songs from all eight of her previous albums, songs from her current releases, as well as a preview of her forthcoming project.

The Classical Series begins with a performance by chamber music ensemble Eighth Blackbird on Sept. 26 in Shannon Hall followed by a collaborative event featuring both the ensemble and the University of Wisconsin–Madison Wind Ensemble, conducted by Professor Scott Teeple, on Sept. 27 in the Mead Witter Foundation Concert Hall at Hamel Music Center. The GRAMMY-winning, Chicago-based group is known for its flexible instrumentation and its advocacy for the performance of pieces by living composers. 

The Sept. 27 performance program will include a new work for wind ensemble, called “Vital Sines,” by Viet Cuong, whose work The New York Times described as alluring and wildly inventive. Cuong will be at UW–Madison as part of a mini-residency and will offer students insights to his work and process as a composer.

The new Black Box Sessions is a four-part series of intimate, high-energy performances in the Play Circle Theater that will feature both underground and legendary hip-hop artists, beginning with Sa-Roc on Dec. 5.  

The full 2024-25 WUT season schedule includes:

  • Jazz Series: esperanza spalding, Sept. 19
  • Classical Series: Eighth Blackbird, Sept. 26 
  • Classical Series: UW–Madison Wind Ensemble featuring Eighth Blackbird, Sept. 27
  • Jazz Series: Meshell Ndegeocello: “No More Water / The Gospel of James Baldwin,” Sept. 28
  • Classical Series: Chanticleer, Oct. 2
  • Jazz Series: Somi, Oct. 10
  • Manual Cinema’s “Frankenstein,” Oct. 17
  • Jazz Series: SHABAKA, Oct. 23
  • Classical Series: Benjamin Grosvenor, Nov. 1
  • Classical Series: PUBLIQuartet, Nov. 22
  • Black Box Sessions: Sa-Roc, Dec. 5
  • Black Box Sessions: Marlowe, Jan. 30, 2025
  • Jazz Series: Samora Pinderhughes, Feb. 6, 2025
  • Black Box Sessions: th1rt3en, Feb. 13, 2025
  • Classical Series: Goldmund Quartet, Feb. 21, 2025
  • YAMATO, the Drummers of Japan, Feb. 22, 2025
  • Black Box Sessions: Blackway, March 6, 2025 
  • The Acting Company performing August Wilson’s “Two Trains Running,” March 19, 2025
  • Classical Series: Gil Shaham, violin, and Orli Shaham, piano, April 3, 2025
  • Classical Series: Roomful of Teeth, April 9, 2025
  • Jazz Series: Branford Marsalis Quartet, May 1, 2025

“The artists featured in the 2024-2025 season are all superior in their artistry while also holding identities as top educators, activists, advocates, and ambassadors in and for the arts,” WUT Director Elizabeth Snodgrass said. “This is such a volatile time, and, as always, we need the arts to help us process, ask questions and express what is too difficult—or even dangerous—to say with words, alone. It is also where we can find joy, peace, healing and the collective power of community. We invite our arts-loving patrons to come as they are, take space in our theater, and share in the exchange of vulnerability and humanity with the artists on stage.” 

WUT has a more than 80-year history of bringing what’s next now in performing arts to stages in Madison with lineups created through a student-staff collaborative curation effort. 

The Wisconsin Union Theater invites patrons to arrive prior to select performances for pre-show beverages in the Shannon Sunset Lounge, featuring signature drinks that complement the performances. The Wisconsin Union also offers seven on-site dining options that guests can enjoy during their visits to Memorial Union, where most performances will take place. 

Starting May 28, patrons can purchase subscriptions and single tickets to Wisconsin Union Theater performances online, in person at the Memorial Union Box Office, or by phone at (608) 265-2787.

Guests can save on their tickets when purchasing a subscription to the Classical Series, Jazz Series or Black Box Sessions or by building their own subscription package of at least three WUT events. Subscriber benefits include the option to keep the same seats each year, special pricing, priority access to subscriptions for the next season, and subscriber-only events. 

Patrons can visit to learn more about the 2024-25 season.  

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