Spring passes in Madison this weekend as the academic calendar gives way to summer abandon. Get the season rolling with: Syttende Mai in Stoughton; productions of The Playboy of the Western World, The Sea Horse, and The Elixir of Love; the Madison Grand Poetry Slam; performances by the Festival Choir of Madison and Madison Youth Choirs; more live music by Katie Todd, Devin the Dude, VO5, Clem Snide, Ladies Must Swing, Will Hoge, Justin Roberts & the Not Ready for Naptime Trio, Ari Herstand, and a listening party for The Cemetery Improvement Society; and, talks by Laura Pederson, and His Holiness The Dalai Lama with Richard J. Davidson.
NOTEWORTHY: Vaseline trademarked, 1878.
BIRTHDAYS: Talking Heads singer David Byrne, 1952; Oscar-winning actress Cate Blanchett, 1969.
Stoughton, through May 16
No one celebrates the signing of Norway's constitution as fervently as Stoughton -- probably not even Norway. The annual festival features dancing, music, a parade and a Saturday run/walk from Madison to Stoughton.
Bartell Theatre, 8 pm. Also Thursday (7:30 pm) & Saturday (4 & 8 pm), May 13 & 15
Strollers Theatre presents John Millington Synge's play about a patricidal young man and the women who pursue him. The play sparked riots in 1907 for besmirching the reputation of Irish women. Will mayhem spill onto East Mifflin Street?
Mother Fool's Coffeehouse, 8 pm
The Chicago-based singer and her band, which includes an accordion, a banjo, a trumpet and even a flugelhorn, were recently chosen to play the Miller Lite Oasis at Milwaukee's Summerfest. Catch a coffeehouse-sized version of the pop-rock act as they gear up for the big stage.
Majestic Theatre, 9 pm
The Houston-based hip-hop artist has a unique rapping style that's been described as laid-back, spaced-out and, on some occasions, wake-'n'-baked. Check out the show and come up with your own adjective for the flow of his rhythms and rhymes. With Coughee Brothaz, Tefman, Young J Diamondzz and DJ Fusion.
UW Memorial Union Terrace, 9:30 pm
Funk up your Friday night with some groovy tunes from Madison's disco superstars. Expect covers of lots of '70s favorites, plus a song or two they've penned themselves.
Frequency, 10 pm
Eef Barzelay and his rotating cast of bookish alt-country musicians return to Madison to show off a new CD, The Meat of Life, which features melodies and lyrics that sparkle almost as much as Barzelay's twitchy, endearing stage presence. With Heligoats and Canasta.
NOTEWORTHY: June Carter Cash dies, 2003.
BIRTHDAYS: Rock offspring Ahmet Rodan Zappa, 1974.
Bartell Theatre, 3 & 7:30 pm. Also Thursday (7:30 pm) & Sunday (3 pm), May 13 & 16
Stephen Gerard and Terry Kiss Frank star in Madison Theatre Guild's production of Edward J. Moore's 1974 off-Broadway play. A sailor returns from the sea, with notions of marriage to a jaded bar owner.
High Noon Saloon, 5:30 pm
The 19 ladies in this big band are brassy broads, showing off trumpets, trombones and saxes large and small in dance-friendly old-school standards such as "Chattanooga Choo Choo," "Boogie Woogie Bugle By" and "Take the A-Train."
Capitol Lakes, 333 W. Main St., 7 pm
Candid Concert Opera performs this small-scale presentation of Donizetti's 1832 opera. The troupe's MO is concert performances of opera with piano accompaniment, sans sets and costumes. The better to enjoy the singing.
Genna's Lounge, 7 pm
Competitors vie to represent Madison at the National Poetry Slam, slated for Aug. 3-7 in St. Paul, Minn. Remember, poets: watch the time limit. We've seen too many good performances upended by fouls. With Mahogany Brown and host Dan Vaughn.
UW Humanities Building's Mills Hall, 7:30 pm The esteemed choral group winds up its season with a concert called "For the Birds," which is inspired by our avian friends and features music by Mozart, Mendelssohn, George Shearing and more.
Majestic Theatre, 9 pm
The harmonica-toting singer-songwriter is making what may be some of the most likable Americana-rock in Nashville at the moment. This week's visit to town will highlight his 2009 release, The Wreckage.
NOTEWORTHY: Michael Jordan of the Chicago Bulls named National Basketball Association's Rookie of the Year, 1985.
BIRTHDAYS: 007 star Brosnan, Pierce Brosnan, 1953; singer/actress/wardrobe-malfunction casualty Janet Jackson, 1966.
High Noon Saloon, 11 am
Chicago-based singer and songwriter Roberts performs pleasant, indie-rock-inflected kids' music (kindie music, in the parlance). His most recent release, 2008's Pop Fly, features the track "Stay-at-Home Dad," proving that he has his finger on the pulse of parenting trends.
First Unitarian Society, 1 pm
The New York author discusses Best Bet, the latest in her series of comic Hallie Palmer novels, about the titular college student. In this one, Hallie travels the world as part of a sociology professor's project.
Madison College-Truax's Mitby Theater, 1 & 4 pm
The young singers apply their heavenly voices to a program called The Little Prince, featuring music inspired by Antoine Saint-Exupery's classic book.
Overture Center's Capitol Theater, 2:15 pm
His holiness and the director of the UW-Madison's Center for Investigating Healthy Minds have a conversation called "Investigating Healthy Minds." The Dalai Lama has been very calm and wise in his regular Madison appearances, and very funny.
Majestic Theatre, 6:30 pm
Too American to be confused with Coldplay, too gentle to make inroads with the Dave Matthews crowd, Minneapolis singer-songwriter Ari Herstand plays ringing folk-rock that's custom-made for your early Sunday evening.
High Noon Saloon, 8 pm
The recent winner of the Madison Area Music Award for best electronic album will give fans a free taste of J.A.N.E., their brand-new concept album about the life of a prostitute. With glassGhosts and DJ Al Ritchie.