Overture Center of the Arts Tour


At long last, we took a tour of the Overture Center of the Arts. They are free, given every Saturday morning at 11:00 AM unless a special event is going on. Overture Center and Associated Bank Madison State Street

In the entry is a plaque.

Plaque on Overture Center

Tour guides and sign at Overture Center

Our tour guides Dawn and Ann were quite excellent in showing us so many of the nooks and crannies of this fine entertainment venue. Our tour began in the foyer in front on an inscription carved into the marble, a quote by the main benefactor, Jerry Frautschi. He and his wife Pleasant Rowland  were partner in funding the reconstruction of the former Civic Center. The original facade was left standing.

Jerry Frautchi quote atOverture Center

Jerry Frautchi and Pleasant Rowland

Civic Center front

Now let’s begin our tour by visiting the Capitol Theater.  The are four performance halls inside the OC. We had a quick peek inside, rehearsals we going on for a show that took place later. The hallway outside of the auditorium was beautiful!

Capitol Theater Overture Center


We also went under the stage to see the trap doors the performers sometimes dropped through.

Capitol Theater trap doors at Overture

We also got to see some of the dressing rooms and Green Room for performers and crew to take a break. There is a book where cast and crew can sign too. Jerry Seinfeld was here in January!

Green Room and Dressing Room


Next was the Rotunda Studio, great to have a wedding reception or large party in.

Rotunda Studio at Overture Center

We came upstairs into sunlight to see the great view of the Capitol in the Promenade.

Promemade view at Overture Center

Another great room your party can rent is the Wisconsin Studio.  See all the areas you can reserve for your use here.

Wisconsin Studio at Overture Center

While we are downstairs, we visited the Rotunda Stage, directly below the dome skylight.

Rotunda Stage at Overture Center

Promenade Hall has hosted many events.  Plenty of room for a small orchestra up front.

Promenade Hall at Overture Center

And the most exciting part was the finale of our tour. The largest performance auditorium of all (seats 2255),  The Overture Hall, had just finished the show going on while we were there (heard them under the stage!) and we were allowed to go in and take a look!  Quite a beautiful place, and the large pipe organ is a sight to behold!

Overture Hall in Overture

Overture Hall Organ at Overture Center

We had a fantastic tour, thanks Dawn and Ann!  The fun doesn’t stop here though.  Our tour concluded with at the time capsule, to be opened in 2056. We hope we are there to see it opened.

Overture Center Time CapsulePhoto Booth Project at Overture Center

When you visit, get your picture taken at their very own photo booth. They give you a print on the spot and send it in an email too.  A great memento of your visit!

Photo Booth Selfie 3-7-15

Since the Overture Center is a non-profit agency, they have many means to raise funds and have quite a few sponsors. Their main fundraiser is Art Fair On/Off The Square in Mid-July. A chance for you to purchase art from artists around the country. We will be back soon! It looks just as pretty at night.

Overture Center dome

Overture Center at night

30th Annual International Festival at the Overture Center in Madison


Overture Center and Associated Bank Madison State Street

This was my first time attending this festival (Al couldn’t come) and also my first time going inside the Overture Center of the Arts.  They are celebrating their 10th anniversary this year so it was high time.

The festival began at 10:30 in the morning, opening with Swiss Alphorns, played by two gentlemen from New Glarus. They sound like they are from Switzerland, and have played at this festival the entire 30 years.  We also saw them in the Cheese Days in Monroe parade. Let’s listen in.

Swiss Alphorn players at International Festival

After that spellbinding performance, we enjoyed the Chinese Lion Dance, performed by the Zhong Yi Kung Fu Association.

Chinese Dragon Dance at International festival at Overture Center

Soon after that was a beautiful 45 minute performance by the UW Russian Folk Orchestra in the Capitol Theater.  The Madison Russian School Children’s Choir also performed a cute cat song, sung in Russian!

UW Russian Folk Orchestra in Madison

Here is about half of their performance, including the cat song.

The last performance I saw was Sadira and the Riad Dance Company.  I have been watching them at many festivals over the last 25 years or so.

Sadira and the Riad Dance Company  at International Festival

They also had a photo booth and I couldn’t resist getting in on the act.  My picture will become part of a large mosaic created to celebrate the Overture Center’s 10th anniversary.

Photo Booth Project at Overture Center

International Festival Commemorative Photo 2015

It was a good time and I hope to go again next year. We have overlooked this fine facility for entertainment in our own city and plan on coming here more from now on.   They also have a tour every Saturday at 11, except on days with special events.  The Overture Center also runs Art Fair on the Square in July.

Overture Center at night


The New Edgewater Hotel – Twice as Nice!

Winter 2015 – Several Visits

The Edgewater is a Madison favorite since it opened in 1948, and has become one of our favorite places too.

Our last visit at the Edgewater was 9-17-12 for a meal. By November, it closed for two years to be mostly rebuilt from the ground up (except the Langdon building on the left). One last look of the old Edgewater before reconstruction, this picture is from 2010. We spent two nights there in December 2011 and really enjoyed ourselves.

The Edgewater 2010 in Madison

 Now we are in 2015, our first visit back, a similar perspective.  The central building was demolished and on new land on the right, the new Wisconsin building was constructed. It’s like a whole new place now.   It re-opened in October 2014.

The Edgewater  2015

In this middle area below (The Plaza) is now an ice skating rink and a cafè called The Icehouse for hungry skaters.

Edgewater Rink  in Madison   Ice Rink house at EdgewaterThe Icehouse Cafe at the Edgewater

For those people without a boat, winter is a good time to see the other side of the Edgewater facing the water. I went and did just that in February.  We had the pleasure of enjoying lunch there with our priest in January during Madison’s Restaurant Week. The main dining room is now called The Statehouse, formerly The Admiralty.  The lower tall windows in the Wisconsin Building on the left are the dining room windows with a great view of Lake Mendota.

Edgewater Water View in Madison   Statehouse Dining Room windows in Madison The Statehouse Collage in Madison

Lunch was delicious! Here was the menu, we each had a different entreè.

Statehouse Restaurant Menu at Edgewater Edgewater Lunch in Madison

We went back on Feb 25 for our tour. It needs to be arranged in advance and not on weekends. Call 800-922-5512 to arrange it.  It lasted one hour, our guide Julie was wonderful!

One feature they carried over from the old Edgewater is the “Wall of Fame”, highlighting celebrities who have stayed there. It used to be a couple of walls in the lounge just outside of the Admiralty. Now, it is a long curving hallway leading to the Statehouse dining room.  There are even some video screens in the hall.

Wall of Fame 2011

Edgewater Wall of fame 2011

 Hall of Fame 2015

The Wall of Fame at Edgewater

Up ahead on our left is the spiral staircase leading down to the concierge where we met our guide.

Edgewater spiral staircase

Our first stop was in the Wisconsin building where we were. We visited the Sky Bar, offering a great view of the lake.  Also the rink and Langdon building below.

Sky Bar at Edgewater Sky Bar view at Edgewater

 We next saw the aforementioned Statehouse restaurant, highly recommended!  The new state-of-the-art open kitchen allows guests to see their meal being prepared, as well as being able to interact with the kitchen staff. They even have an open-flame oven. Since I am a professional cook, I really like their new kitchen.

Hearth Oven at Edgewater

Ajacent to the Stateroom is the Lounge with a full bar. It also has a semi-private room with pictures of the celebrities that have visited.

Edgewater Lounge Edgewater Lounge room

If you are in a hurry and can’t take in a full breakfast at the Statehouse, the Edgewater Café offers popular coffee drinks and sweet pastries.

Edgewater Cafe

We head  upstairs in the Langdon Building  to The Red Crown Club room, based on the Red Crown Lodge in Minocqua, WI.

Red Crown Club at Edgewater

The Edgewater also has a Fitness Center with machines to work every muscle and even a yoga room.

Fitness Room at Edgewater

When you are done exercising, there is a sauna and pool. Check schedule for exercise classes here. The public is welcome to join in the fun, you don’t have to be a guest.

Edgewater Pool

Upstairs a floor from here is a salon and spa, a great place to be pampered! Also a couples massage room and a private one as well.

Edgewater Spa

Now for the large spaces within the hotel. The Mendota Ballroom was occupied at the time of our visit, so Julie took us to the Grand Ballroom. It can be divided into three sections if a party only needs part of the room.  The back section has the veranda with outdoor seating.

Grand Ballroom at Edgewater Grand Ballroom at Edgewater

We finish our tour with a greater appreciation of this Madison institution and plan on coming back soon.  In the summer, The Boathouse Restaurant will open and we can enjoy a meal al fresco.

Boathouse sign at Edgewater