The Madison Mallards take to the diamond each summer for three months of collegiate baseball, gathering players from across the country as they can hone their skills for a shot at the pros. The Mallards took home Northwoods League championships in 2004 and 2013, cheered on by some of the most devout and rowdy fans in the league. Fans that helped the team set a collegiate attendance record in 2012, drawing in more than 217,000 fans.
The tough-as-nails ladies in the Mad Rollin' Dolls roller-derby league wow audiences with equal parts strength, speed, and glitter. Since their first season in 2005, skaters and MRD volunteers alike have donated their blood, sweat, and tears to the sport that promotes female athleticism and team spirit in a fun, competitive atmosphere. During the 30-minute bouts, fans cheer and sneer as the jammers attempt to lap the opposing team for points, and the blockers clear the way for their mates while putting the hurt on those who try to stop them. The season's schedule culminates in a championship match, in which the two mightiest teams battle for the title and a lifetime supply of solid-gold mouth guards.
Since the team is committed to supporting their community, a portion of the proceeds from each Mad Rollin' Dolls bout goes to various charities, which in the past have included Safe Harbor Child Advocacy Center, Alliance for Animals, and Badger Childhood Cancer Network.
Madison's experiential comedy show takes place at the eastside Glass Nickel Pizza Company on Atwood Avenue and begins at 8 p.m. (doors open at 7:30 p.m.). The Monkey Business Institute features no sets, props, or scripts, which allows the hilarious ensemble to craft improv hilarity off the spur of their cufflinks. With decades of improvisational cosmonaut experience and interactive audience participation, each show is distinct and spontaneous. This simian comedy collective features improvisers such as Matt Sloan and Aaron Yonda, who have received more than 70 million YouTube hits for viral video sensations such as "Chad Vader." Keep a third eye peeled for other local favorites Brad Knight, Jason Stephens, Sheila Robertson, and more.
Dance Wisconsin is composed of young, nimble-footed dancers from across southern Wisconsin, many of whom have gone on to professional careers. This deal will get you a close-up view of the company’s performance of Nutcracker Fantasy, with more than 70 local dancers joining two guest performers from New York’s prestigious American Ballet Theatre to present a contemporary adaptation of Tchaikovsky’s famous ballet. Last year’s performance was lauded by the Isthmus for its crowd-pleasing dance moves. Audience members of all ages will feel warm inside Uncle Drosselmeyer's toy shop, where toys come to life and lead children on quests to other worlds and fourth-dimensional convenience stores. This production breathes youthful imagination into the ultimate dream story by juxtaposing the traditional ballet and score with original costumes, music, and plot elements, such as a ballroom dance performed to “Carol of the Bells.”
Atlas Improv Company shows, which rely on audience participation and judging, draw everybody in the house into a night of innovative, unpredictable theater. Launched six years ago when the performers at Comedysportz Madison broke off to form a new company, Atlas is dedicated to exploring the boundaries of improv and then colonizing everything beyond those boundaries. The group's approach emphasizes storytelling over traditional improv rules and time limits, resulting in richer narratives, deeper character development, and a unique blend of traditional theater and modern improv, like a pizza topped with iPhones.
Budding artists of all ages can begin to imprint their creative legacies in two-hour printmaking workshops that consist of stamp-making and hands-on card-making with cards on colored paper stocks. Professional artist Aliza Rand draws on more than 10 years of teaching experience to guide small groups of students through the creative process, demonstrating how to whittle stamps with finesse and strap them securely to feet before using monkey bars to cross gooey fields of ink. Holiday-themed workshops spread the season’s cheer with step-by-step instructions for fashioning festive Christmas cards or stamps in the shapes of fir trees to remind Santa of home during his circumnavigational blimp ride.