March opens with a roar thanks to Literacy 24/7 and a barrage of live theater with productions of Dueling Divas, Schoolhouse Rock Live!, Help Wanted, The Wake of Liam Doherty, and Seussical. The calendar also includes: International Festival and a Mad Rollin' Dolls bout; performances by Li-Chiao Ping Dance, Second City, the Nrityagram Indian Dance Ensemble, and the Wisconsin Baroque Ensemble; The Music of Cole Porter and a Wisconsin Early Autism Project benefit; and, more live music by Gomez, Zola Jesus, Parallels, Bill Staines, G. Love & Special Sauce, Grant Hart, and Via Audio.
NOTEWORTHY: Comedian John Belushi dies, 1982.
Overture Center Playhouse, 7:30 pm
The categories include Biggest Pipes and Best Coloratura in this contest, an amusingly conceived debut presentation by Fresco Opera Theatre. The group is dedicated to using wit and fun to bring the genre of Wagner and Puccini to a wider audience.
Li Chiao-Ping Dance Company
Overture Center's Promenade Hall, 7:30 pm. Also Saturday (7:30 pm) & Sunday (2 pm), March 6 & 7
The UW Dance Program's Li presents eVOLUTION, with works choreographed by Li herself (including "eVOL," an adventuresome, videogame-themed new work) and by guests Lionel Popkin and Cynthia Adams.
Schoolhouse Rock Live!
Bartell Theatre, 7:30 pm. Also Saturday (2 & 7:30 pm) & Sunday (2 pm), March 6 & 7
Laboratory Theatre presents a stage version of the classic Saturday morning cartoons, which in the 1970s taught Gen-Xers to unpack their adjectives and sing the U.S. Constitution.
The Music of Cole Porter
Inn on the Park, 8 pm
Singers Kelly DeHaven, Gerri DiMaggio and Marilyn Fisher pay tribute to Porter, the Peru, Ind., native who bequeathed us "Too Darn Hot," "Begin the Beguine" and every other great song you've ever heard of. With the Paul Hastil Trio.
Overture Hall, 8 pm
Those iconic scamps of Chicago comedy return. It's the 50th anniversary of the troupe that gave us John Belushi, Bill Murray and a whole host of very funny people.
The Wake of Liam Doherty
Broom Street Theater, 8 pm. Also Saturday (8 pm) & Sunday (2 pm), March 6 & 7
The Willy Street company presents a play by Siobhan Edge about secrets revealed at a wake. Also on the bill: Hell's Bed 'N Breakfast, the winner of Broom Street's one-act play contest.
Majestic Theatre, 9 pm
The English indie rockers have been turning out minor hits such as "Shot Shot" and "Rhythm & Blues Alibi" for more than a decade. They'll showcase their 2009 release, A New Tide, after a set of beautiful, shoegaze-laced rock by London's One eskimO.
BIRTHDAYS: Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour & Supremes singer Mary Wilson, 1944.
Overture Center, 11 am-6 pm
Overture stages its wondrous, mostly free annual event, which celebrates Madison's diverse cultures with a craft bazaar, an exotic café, workshops and many performers representing world traditions. The one ticketed concert features Chicago's Sones de México (4 pm), showing off various regional styles of Mexican folk music.
Mad Rollin' Dolls
Alliant Energy Center's Exhibition Hall, 6 pm
The roller derby season continues as the Quad Squad fight the Reservoir Dolls and the Vaudeville Vixens take on Milwaukee's Brew City Rushin' Rollettes. The athletes wear kneepads, but you don't have to.
Wisconsin Early Autism Project Benefit
High Noon Saloon, 6 pm
A super-stacked lineup of performers -- A Royal Clark, Delta Nine Band, Madpolecats, Screamin' Cyn Cyn & the Pons and Knuckel Drager -- rock their way from surf to punk and back again to raise money for a program that helps families obtain much-needed services for loved ones with autism.
Project Lodge, 7:30 pm
The local opera chick turned noise goddess performs a live set to celebrate her new EP, Stridulum, which has received rave reviews from bloggers near and far, including some favorable comparisons to Bat For Lashes. With Julian Lynch and Sonmi.
Nrityagram Indian Dance Ensemble
Wisconsin Union Theater, 8 pm
Nrityagram specializes in classical Indian dance and is based near Bangalore, where company members live, study and meditate together. Expect a night of exhilarating movement.
Mother Fool's Coffeehouse, 8 pm
Not a lot of hip-hop crews hail from Kansas, and even fewer dare to perform at the earthy-crunchy coffee shop on Willy Street. Parallels will flout both of these norms with a freestyle-fabulous show to introduce their new EP, The Silver Lining.
Brink Lounge, 8 pm
A beloved troubadour with roots in the '60s folk scene, Staines makes every live performance a comforting acoustic experience.
G. Love & Special Sauce
Barrymore Theatre, 9 pm
Philadelphia's "slop-hop" trailblazers present their newest blends of blues and R&B from 2009's Long Way Down, plus a few tasty tunes from their 1990s heyday. With Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad.
BIRTHDAY: Ex-Mr. Faye Dunaway/former J. Geils vocalist Peter Wolf, 1946.
Borders West, 2 pm
The local kid-lit megastar discusses his work, including the gorgeously drawn and wittily written new picture book My Garden. It's part of the weeklong Literacy 24/7 fest, which benefits Literacy Network (for event listings visit litnetwork.org).
Overture Center's Capitol Theater, 3 pm
Critics weren't thrilled by this musical when it opened on Broadway in 2000, but its story, which brings together various characters from the Dr. Seuss universe, has proved sturdy as a touring vehicle.
Wisconsin Baroque Ensemble
Gates of Heaven Synagogue, 3 pm
Party like it's 1699 as this group plays the music of the era on period instruments. The program includes music of Telemann, Monteverdi, Abel and more.
Frequency, 8 pm
The indie-pop darlings aren't raffling off T-shirts or copies of their new CD, Animalore. Later this year, they'll award one lucky fan a trip to Brooklyn, N.Y., where he or she will get to dine on falafel, wait for subway trains and rifle through record bins with the band. Find out more in this week's Tour Stop. With Pattern Is Movement, All Tiny Creatures and So So Radio.