UW-Madison’s grand old Wisconsin Union Theater has been hosting eminent performers and speakers for over 70 years. Since its inauguration in 1939 with four performances of The Taming of the Shrew – which starred stage legends Alfred Lunt and Lynne Fontaine – personages ranging from Eleanor Roosevelt to Ella Fitzgerald have trod the Union’s boards. Some have even left aspects of themselves behind; the Union is widely rumored to be haunted. A ghost could do worse, though; the theater’s broad aisles and huge outer lobby produce stellar acoustics.
Contemporary performances at the Union run the gamut from folk groups to chamber ensembles to the Travel Adventure documentary series. The theater also hosts the annual Madison World Music Festival every September and the Isthmus Jazz Festival every June. Upstairs, the 168-seat Fredric March Play Circle features film screenings, lectures, and occasional live performances.
Wisconsin Union Theater Information
- Public Transportation: Excellent (buses 80, 81, 82 and 85 run directly in front of the theater on Langdon Street, and buses 11, 27, 28 and 38 are a 4-minute walk from University Avenue/Park Street)
- Handicapped Accessibility: Good
- Performances/Programs: Around 300 events per year including Broadway shows, jazz, classical and chorus music, films, dance, theater, children’s events, concerts, and more
- Ticket Prices: Events are priced individually
- Subscriptions: Concert Series $158–$198; Keyboard Conversations $50–$68; Travel Adventure Film Series $66–$78 with prices varying by seat selection. Student and children discounts available. Benefits include preferential seating, priority in purchasing parking, and flexibility in exchanging tickets.