UW-Madison student appreciates discounted tickets
Growing up in Charlotte, N.C., Caroline Hensley discovered musical theater as a creative outlet and delighted in her hometown’s vibrant art scene. She participated in her high school’s drama productions and attended Broadway performances with her parents at the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center.
When Hensley moved to Madison in 2018 to pursue a doctorate degree in English literature from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, she heard about the Broadway series at Overture Center.
“I was so excited when I learned Broadway tours were coming here,” she said.
And even greater news to a graduate student on a tight budget, she qualified for student rush tickets, which were deeply discounted. Hensley started going to as many shows as possible and has obtained student tickets for 7-8 shows, including Something Rotten!, The Color Purple and The Book of Mormon.
“Tickets to Broadway can be quite pricey, but with the student discount, they are a fraction of the cost,” she said. “I can see a high-caliber show for as little as $20, often with the most amazing seats.”
When Hensley first arrived in Madison, she explored the city on foot, walking from the UW up State Street to see the Capitol and partake in the Dane County Farmer’s Market, enjoying the typical Madison tourist activities. Along the way, she noticed Overture’s “stately and gorgeous building.”
“I’m thankful for Overture’s proximity to UW-Madison,” she said. “It’s an easy walk for students with plenty of places nearby to stop for dinner or a drink.”
Initially drawn to Overture by the Broadway series, Hensley is now branching out to see other genres. She saw her first opera here, and she hopes to see as many shows as possible in the 2021/22 season.
“I love musical theater but have made it a personal goal to see other types of shows, too,” she said. “Student tickets make it an affordable evening, but I’m willing to pay full price when needed.”
Hensley is eagerly awaiting Broadway’s Hairspray, Fiddler on the Roof ― a classic she wants to cross off her Broadway bucket list ― and Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of the Temptations as well as Orpheus and the Underworld by Madison Opera.
She loves all the elements of attending a show at Overture: dressing up in fancy clothes, grabbing dinner beforehand, the awe of walking into the facility, exploring its galleries and public spaces before the show, chatting over wine during intermissions, reading the playbill and seeing friends.
“An Overture show is a whole night of excitement,” she said. “There’s an energy, an experiential ebb and flow, making the evening a performance in itself.”
Hensley describes Overture as Madison’s arts hub, drawing audiences from throughout the community and region to share in the passion and beauty of the arts. It is a place that reminds us of what people are capable of, a place of innovation and excitement as well as familiarity and warmth.
For Hensley, it is also a tie between her past and her future.
“Overture Center is a connection to my home, to something I really love from my past,” she said. “It provides a way to continue the experiences I grew up with, and that makes me feel more at home in Madison.”