1. Polar Bear Plunge
JAN. 1 | BRADFORD BEACH
This is one of the city’s coolest – and coldest – annual traditions. Hundreds of Wiscon-sinites strip down and brave Lake Michigan’s bitter January temps. Some call their actions brave, others foolish, but regardless, we recommend heading to the beach to watch it all unfold. Plus, the spectacle benefits a worthy cause: Special Olympics Wisconsin.
2. Liam Nugent
JAN. 7 | SHARON LYNNE WILSON CENTER FOR THE ARTS
Liam Nugent is a country artist who brings an arsenal of instruments to his performances. He plays guitar, stomp pad drums (with his feet!), saxophone, piano and even uses a live loop pedal to bring it all together. Oh, and he sings, too. Expect to hear country hits as well as some of his originals.
3. “And That’s Why We Drink”
JAN. 7 | THE PABST THEATER
Milwaukee’s no stranger to ghost stories. We have a hotel, a couple of theaters and even a museum that have long been the settings of haunted tales. The stars of the comedic true crime and paranormal events podcast “And That’s Why We Drink” – Christine Schiefer, Em Schulz and boxed wine – will bring more legends from around the world to the Pabst Theater on their “Here for the Boos” tour.
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4. Piano Men
JAN. 7-FEB. 27 | MILWAUKEE REPERTORY THEATER
Two pianos and two virtuoso pianists take the stage with a limitless songbook. The show is booked as equal parts concert and sing-along with audience participation being a big part of the appeal. Come with song requests in mind, but try to think of something other than Billy Joel’s “Piano Man,” please.
5. Midwinter Gaming Convention
JAN. 13-16 | HILTON MILWAUKEE CENTER
Leave your controller at home, because this convention celebrates analog gaming. Think board, dice and role-playing games. The event has been coming to Milwaukee since 2000, featuring panels, exhibits and time to play some of the newest games on the market.
6. “Art Asks – You Answer”
JAN. 14-MAY 22 | HAGGERTY MUSEUM OF ART
Each work of art in this show poses a question to the viewer, and Marquette’s Haggerty Museum of Art is challenging you to answer it. The experiential exhibition is presented in sections framed by these questions: What is art? Who makes art? Where does art belong? How has art changed throughout time? How does art cross curriculum?
7. Ernest Shackleton Loves Me
JAN. 14-30 | SKYLIGHT MUSIC THEATRE
A struggling modern-day single mother defies time and space when her dating video is answered by an intrepid early-1900s explorer trapped in the Antarctic. Watch their bizarre love story unfold in this musical, which was originally an off-Broadway hit.
8. Samson Stomp
JAN. 15-16 | MILWAUKEE COUNTY ZOO
The race that honors Milwaukee County Zoo’s beloved and late silverback gorilla, Samson (1950-1981), is back. He was perhaps the zoo’s most famous resident, notably breaking through his glass enclosure four different times. The run celebrates his legacy and raises funds for animals in the zoo’s care.
9. Where Did We Sit on the Bus?
JAN. 21-FEB.13 | MILWAUKEE CHAMBER THEATRE
This musical one-man show by Brian Quijada looks back on his childhood outside Chicago and explores growing up Latinx in America. The story is told using hip-hop and spoken word, and features some original tunes by the Milwaukee Arts Board’s 2020 Artist of the Year, Klassik.
10. Marcya Daneille & Company
JAN. 29 | THE JAZZ ESTATE
The Jazz Estate is bringing one of Milwaukee’s most skilled vocalists to their lounge this month. Marcya Daneille is a classically trained jazz singer who takes influence from soul and gospel music. Her sultry voice will blend well with the classic cocktail of your choice.