There’s so much to do in our region! Here’s a look at what’s coming up this season in our many arts venues.
Art in the Park
Sept. 1, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. This fine arts festival features dozens of art booths, performing artists, demonstrations of various art media, art activities for children, food vendors, in Krape Park with picnic and playground areas, more. Krape Park, 1122 S. Burchard Ave., Freeport, (815) 235-6114, freeportartmuseum.com.
Once Upon a Mattress
Sept. 5-Oct. 27, check website for days/times. The spoof based on Hans Christian Anderson’s fairytale “The Princess and the Pea.” A bold young princess from the swamplands accepts a challenge from the queen for the prince’s hand in marriage. Fireside Dinner Theatre, Business Hwy. 26 South, Fort Atkinson, Wis., (800) 477-9505, firesidetheatre.com.
Sept. 6, 8 p.m.; Sept. 8, 1 & 3:30 p.m. A retelling of the Jesus story, with Jesus as a gay man living in 1950s Corpus Christi, Texas. It first opened in NYC in 1998 to intense protest and bomb threats which overshadowed the author’s original message: inclusive love for all. Open Forum Discussion follows Sept. 8 3:30 show. Five Flags Center, 405 Main St., Dubuque, Iowa, (563) 589-4254, fiveflagscenter.com.
Sept. 6-8, 13-15, Fri-Sat. 7:30 p.m., Sun. 2 p.m. A professional traveling production of the Tony Award-winning musical based on the Dickens novel, with hit songs “Consider Yourself,” “Food! Glorious Food” and “Where is Love?” Janesville Performing Arts Center (JPAC), 408 S. Main St., Janesville, Wis., (608) 758-0297, janesvillepac.org.
AE: The Mystery of Irma Vep
Sept. 6-22, see website for times. A gothic comedy full of werewolves and mummies and vampires. Oh my! Artists’ Ensemble (AE), Maddox Theatre, Rockford College, 5050 E. State St., Rockford. Info: AE, (815) 394-5004, artistsensemble.org.
Exhibit: Wisconsin As We See It
Sept. 6-Oct. 18, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tues.-Sat. From their book, photography by seven Wisconsin area photographers shows how each sees the subject matter in a unique way. Frehner Gallery, Monroe Arts Center (MAC), 1315 11th St., Monroe, Wis., (608) 325-5700, monroeartscenter.org.
65th Annual Grand Detour Arts Festival
Sept. 8, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Juried show featuring works from regional and national artists. Special student art display; music; food vendors; tours; demos; more. Historic John Deere Site, 8334 Clinton St. (Ill. Rte. 2), Grand Detour, Ill., thenextpictureshow.com.
Narinder Narula Sitar Concert
Sept. 11, 7 p.m. This award-winning sitar master will play, accompanied by other traditional Indian instruments. Fisher Memorial Chapel, Rockford University, 5050 E. State St., Rockford, (815) 226-4100, rockford.edu.
Avalon String Quartet
Sept. 13, 7 p.m. One of the country’s top string ensembles, now in residence at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb. Mendelssohn Performing Arts Center (MPAC), 415 N. Church St., Rockford, (815) 964-9713, mendelssohnpac.org.
A Closer Walk with Patsy Cline
Sept. 13-14, 19-21, 7:30 p.m. Follow Patsy Cline’s climb to stardom from her hometown in Virginia to The Grand Ole Opry, Las Vegas and Carnegie Hall. Winneshiek Playerhouse, 28 W. Clark St., Freeport, (815) 232-7023, winneshiekplayers.org.
All Shook Up!
Sept. 13-29, Fri.-Sat. 8 p.m., Sun. 2 p.m. It’s a square little town until a motorcycle ridin’, guitar playin’, hip swivelin’ hunk rides in and has everyone jumpin’ out of their blue suede shoes. Featuring 24 Elvis Presley songs. Pec Playhouse Theatre, 314 Main St., Pecatonica, (815) 239-1210, pecplayhouse.org.
The Web: Jamie Anderson
Sept. 14, 7:30 p.m. From Charlotte’s Web (The Web): Performing since the 1980s, this folk singer-songwriter plays original pieces and dabbles in other genres, telling stories that reveal her wit and offbeat sense of humor. Emerson House, 420 N. Main St., Rockford, (815) 964-2238, mendelssohnpac.org.
Wisconsin Music Arts Festival Showcase
Sept. 14, 7:30 p.m. Workshop leaders Stephanie Elkins, Eric Hester, Emily Hurd, Beth Kille, and Anna Vogelzang take the stage, with some festival participants. Monroe Arts Center (MAC), 1315 11th St., Monroe, Wis., (608) 325-5700, monroeartscenter.org.
Greenwich Village Art Fair
Sept. 14-15, 10 a.m. One of the oldest continuous art fairs in the area, with juried artists, family-friendly children’s activities, live music and food. Rockford Art Museum, 711 N. Main St., Rockford (815) 968-2787, rockfordartmuseum.org.
Sept. 15-16, Fri-Sat 7:30 p.m., Sun 2 p.m. “Oh, the thinks you can think!,” when Dr. Seuss’s best-loved stories collide and cavort in this Broadway adaptation for young performers. Byron Civic Theater, Byron Middle School, 850 N. Colfax St., Byron, Ill., (815) 312-3000, bctmagic.com.
Buddy Guy & Jonny Lang
Sept. 20, 8 p.m. Buddy Guy, the legendary Chicago blues guitarist, and Jonny Lang, the Grammy Award-winning Midwest native and fiery blues rock instrumentalist, will perform separate sets. Coronado Performing Arts Center (CPAC), 314 N. Main St., Rockford, (815) 968-0595, coronadopac.org.
Chicago Brass Band
Sept. 20, 7:30 p.m. Chicago Flair meets British brass band tradition with this 30-piece brass and percussion ensemble. Presented by Mendelssohn Performing Arts Center (MPAC). Venue: Court Street United Methodist Church, 215 N Court St., Rockford, (815) 964-9713, mendelssohnpac.org.
Queen of the Cow Towns
Sept. 20-22, Fri.-Sat. 7:30 p.m., Sun. 2 p.m. The Mighty Richland Players Dessert Theater presents this original musical melodrama by Mike Carver. $20. Mighty Richland Players, IOOF/Masonic Hall, 203 W. High St., Orangeville, Ill. (815) 819-1310, mightyrichlandplayers.com.
BJS: Diamond Jubilee Performance
Sept. 21, 3 p.m. The Beloit Janesville Symphony (BJS) has had three conductors in its entire 60-year history, Lewis Dalvit, Crawford Gates and Robert Tomaro. Tonight, each will conduct his favorite piece. Beloit Memorial High School Auditorium, 1225 4th St., Beloit, Wis. Tickets: (608) 313-1200, beloitjanesvillesymphony.org.
RSO Celebrates Opening Night
Sept. 21, 6:30 p.m. Stephen Larson, conductor; Kathy Pyeatt, soprano. Emil von Reznicek: Donna Diana Overture; Daniel Dorff: The Kiss; Charles Gounod: Je veux vivre from Romeo & Juliet; Giuseppe Verdi: Ah, fors’ e lui …Sempre libera from La Traviata; Beethoven: Abscheulicher, wo eilst du hin? from Fidelio; Edward Elgar: Enigma Variations. CPAC, Rockford. Tickets: (815) 965-0049, rockfordsymphony.com.
A Date With Judy
Sept. 21, 7:30 p.m. Hear “The Songs of Young Judy Garland” from MGM’s hey-day: “Over the Rainbow,” “The Trolley Song,” “Zing! Went the Strings of My Heart,” “Don’t Fence Me In,” “Good Morning” and more, with “guests” like Bing Crosby, Mickey Rooney and The Andrews Sisters. JPAC, Janesville, (608) 758-0297.
Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus
Sept. 21, 7:30 p.m. The famous book by John Gray has been adapted into a hilarious one-man show where actor Peter Story plays a convert to the concept after having met the author, and now offers his view of relationships. Mature content; rated R. Five Flags Dubuque, fiveflagscenter.com.
The Kithara Trio
Sept. 22, 2 p.m. Gifted musicians Faye Seeman (harp), Jill Kaeding (cello), and Anita Miller Rieder (flute) have performed throughout the Midwest. Sunday Concert Series. MAC, Monroe, monroeartscenter.org.
Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
Sept. 25-Oct. 5, 8 p.m.; Sept. 28-29, Oct. 5, additional matinee 2 p.m. Andrew Lloyd Weber’s a musical retelling of the biblical story of Joseph and his brothers, mixing pop, rock, country, musical comedy. Studio Theatre, Rock Valley College (RVC), 3301 N. Mulford Road, Rockford, (815) 921-2160.
BCT: Church Basement Ladies
Sept. 26-27, Oct. 3-4, 7:30 p.m. Sept. 28, Oct. 5, 7:30 & 3 p.m. A musical comedy where Nunsense meets Prairie Home Companion, about church basement kitchens and the women who work there. Beloit Civic Theatre (BCT), Elizabeth Reinholz Theatre, Beloit Memorial High School, 1225 4th St., Beloit Wis. (608) 362-1595, beloitcivictheatre.org.
The Web: California Guitar Trio
Sept. 27, 7:30 p.m. Using a wide range of instrumental styles fusing European classical music, rock, blues, jazz, world music, bluegrass, and surf music, this group’s performances are displays of technical virtuosity mixed with humor. MPAC, 415 N. Church St., Rockford, (815) 964-9713, mendelssohnpac.org.
RDC: Fall for Dance!
Sept. 27, 7:30 p.m., Sept. 28-29, 2 p.m. Rockford Dance Co. (RDC) presents a montage of new choreographic works by company members, guest master teachers and Mathew Keefe. Riverfront Museum Park, 711 N. Main St., Rockford, (815) 963-3341, rockforddancecompany.org.
MTG: Bell, Book, and Candle
Sept. 20-29, Fri.-Sat. 7:30 p.m., Sun. 2 p.m. A romantic comedy set in 1958, with a beautiful witch trying to ensnare her handsome upstairs neighbor. Monroe Theatre Guild (MTG), 910 16th Ave., Monroe, Wis., (608) 325-1111, montroetheatre.com.
Oct. 2-3, 11:45 a.m. dinner matinee. Andrews Sisters tribute captures their looks, sound and comedy, with all the hits: “Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree,” Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy,” “Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen,” more. White Pines Inn, 6712 W. Pines Road, Mt. Morris, Ill., whitepinesinn.com.
Dennis Miller Live
Oct. 4, 7:30 p.m. The acerbic stand-up comedian, actor and talk show host shares his hilarious view of the world. CPAC, Rockford, coronadopac.org.
Moonlight and Magnolias
Oct. 4-6, 11-12, Fri-Sat 7:30 p.m., Sun. 2 p.m. A comical behind-the-scenes glimpse of the creation of the script for Gone With the Wind, as the two writers and the producer lock themselves in a room for five days in 1939 Hollywood. Rated PG13 for language. Bijou Room, Five Flags, Dubuque, fiveflagscenter.com.
Oct. 5, 7:30 p.m. Nine-member a capella group, one of the premier male vocal ensembles in the country. From the Rockford Coronado Concert Association (RCCA). CPAC, Rockford, coronadopac.org.
Horizon Sings Motown
Oct. 5, 7:30 p.m. Backed up by a live band, this trio sings hits from The Temptations, The Four Tops, Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson, Earth, Wind & Fire and more. Monroe High School Performing Arts Center, 1600 26th St., Monroe, monroeartscenter.org.
Oct. 5-6, 7:30 p.m. This Celtic-rock group has recorded nine successful albums, and most recently, has played on the same bill as such diverse groups as The Goo Goo Dolls, Zac Brown Band and Emmylou Harris. JPAC, Janesville, (608) 758-0297.
Speed the Plow
Oct. 10-13, 18-20, Wed-Sat., 7:30 p.m., Sun. 2 p.m. From Stage One: David Mamet satirizes Hollywood’s chasm between business and art as two powerful producers debate whether to produce a spiritual novel or a surefire blockbuster. JPAC’s intimate black box theatre. Seating is general admission. Not suitable for children. JPAC, Janesville, (608) 758-0297.
Twenty Dirty Hands
Oct. 11-13, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Self-guided tour some of the area’s best known pottery and sculpture studios, in and near Galena and Elizabeth. Downloadable map online. Free. Various locations in/around Galena, Ill. (815) 777-0644, galena.org.
SVCCA: Sixth Floor Trio
Oct. 12, 7 p.m. A chamber group dedicated to the creation and performance of music that connects different musical styles, communities and artistic disciplines. Sauk Valley Community Concert Association (SVCCA). Dixon High School, 300 Lincoln Statue Dr., Dixon. Tickets/info: svcca.org.
RSO: The Best of Swing with Capitol Quartet
Oct. 12, 7:30 p.m. Stephen Larson, conductor. Refreshing arrangements of timeless swing classics, presented with humor and flair by one of the most exciting saxophone quartets performing today. CPAC, Rockford. Tickets: (815) 965-0049, rockfordsymphony.com.
Oct. 13, 2 p.m. This exciting young American cellist enjoys an extraordinarily versatile performing career as a soloist, chamber musician, and orchestral principal. Sunday Concert Series, MAC, Monroe, monroeartscenter.org.
BJS: Heavenly Strings
Oct. 19, 7:30 p.m. Robert Tomaro, conductor; Scott Cook, cello. Boccherini: Concerto for Cello; Barber: Adagio for Strings; Dvorak: Serenade for Strings. Eaton Chapel, Beloit College, College and Chapin streets, Beloit, Wis. Tickets: (608) 313-1200, beloitjanesvillesymphony.org.
Oct. 20, 2 p.m. Hear this world-renowned pianist and founding member of the Beaux Arts Trio. MPAC, Rockford, mendelssohnpac.org.
Oct. 22-23, see website for times. This quartet has been touring the U.S. for the past 10 years, delivering the message of the gospel through song. Fireside, Fort Atkinson, (800) 477-9505, firesidetheatre.com.
neoLIT and Aminda Asher
Oct. 25, 7:30 p.m. A New York-based contemporary music group of classically trained musicians who perform and promote modern music and discover masterpieces of the 20th and 21st centuries. MPAC, Rockford, mendelssohnpac.org.
TNPS: Shades of Grey 9
Oct. 25-Nov. 26, Tues.-Sat., 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Annual juried exhibition of any media in black, white and grey. The Next Picture Show (TNPS), 113 W. 1st Ave., Dixon, Ill., (185) 285-2984, thenextpictureshow.com.
Exhibit: “Seasons of the Sugar River”
Oct. 25-Dec. 6, Tues.-Sat., 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Exhibition of Lower Sugar River Watershed Association juried show of work representational of the seasonal cycle of nature and wildlife that inhabits the watershed landscape. MAC, Monroe, monroeartscenter.org.
Ghost Brothers of Darkland County
Oct. 26, 8 p.m. A Gothic musical tale of two brothers, a girl, rivalry and death, from the farmlands of John Mellencamp’s Indiana, told through the rocker’s songs. CPAC, Rockford, coronadopac.org.
Gabriel Iglesias Presents Stand-Up Revolution
Oct. 27, 7:30 p.m. The fluffy comic in the Hawaiian shirt, an unbelievably funny, electrifying and gifted performer. CPAC, Rockford, coronadopac.org.
Oct. 29, 7:30 p.m. “Put on Your Sunday Clothes” and take in the fun, as matchmaker Miss Dolly Levi plots to land eligible New York half-a-millionaire Horace Vandergelder, “Before the Parade Passes By.” Broadway at the Coronado. CPAC, Rockford, coronadopac.org.
A Fireside Christmas
Oct. 31-Dec. 22, see website for days/times. For almost twenty years, one of the area’s most beautiful and original musical revues in celebration of the most joyous holiday of the year. Fireside, Fort Atkinson, firesidetheatre.com.
Midwest Dueling Pianos
Nov. 1, noon-3 p.m. Matinee dinner show. Two witty & talented musicians play your requests without looking at a sheet of music. To get this Chicago, Vegas & New Orleans-quality show, a $6 per ticket upcharge. White Pines, Mt. Morris, whitepinesinn.com.
RCCA: Yamato, The Drummers of Japan
Nov. 1, 7:30 p.m. The players of Japan’s traditional Wadaiko drums put their very souls into the unusual instruments whose sounds stir the hearts of people everywhere. CPAC, Rockford, coronadopac.org.
SVCCA: Trio Voronezh
Nov. 5, 7 p.m. This group’s repertoire includes classical, folk and contemporary music played on the traditional Russian double-bass balalaika, domra and bajan. Centennial Auditorium, Sterling High School, 1608 4th Ave, Sterling, Ill. Tickets/info: svcca.org.
Sons of the Pioneers
Nov. 2, 7:30 p.m. For over 75 years, the “World’s Premier Cowboy Singing Group” has been performed the music of the American West, with signature songs “Tumbling Tumbleweed,” “Cool Water,” and “Ghost Riders in the Sky.” Monroe High School, monroeartscenter.org.
Nov. 5, 7 p.m. His 1967 signature tune, “Release Me (And Let Me Love Again)” was a No. 1 hit in 11 countries. In this new show he debuts a virtual duet with Elton John and other material from his upcoming Duets CD. CPAC, Rockford, coronadopac.org.
75th Anniversary Barbershop Harmony Society
Nov. 9, 2 & 7 p.m. Celebrate this group’s 75th anniversary with the Badger Chordhawks’ traditional barbershop, patriotic and contemporary music and precision choreography and costuming. After the performance enjoy the After Glow in the lobby, $5 for snacks and a bar. JPAC, Janesville, (608) 758-0297.
RSO: Love of Nature
Nov. 9, 7:30 p.m. Stephen Larson, conductor; Jesse Parker, piano. Heitzeg: Aqua (Homage to Jacques Cousteau); d’Indy: Symphony on a French Mountain Air; Beethoven: Symphony No. 6 in F major (Pastorale). CPAC, Rockford. Tickets: (815) 965-0049, rockfordsymphony.com.
Ann Hobson Pilot, harp & Tai Murray, violin
Nov. 10, 2 p.m. Don’t miss this collaboration between two critically acclaimed musicians. MPAC, Rockford, mendelssohnpac.org.
The Web: Montana Skies
Nov. 15, 7:30 p.m. Combining elements of classical technique, jazz improv and the power and energy of rock n’ roll, this duo plays everything from Pink Floyd to Vivaldi. MPAC, Rockford, (815) 964-9713, mendelssohnpac.org.
Nov. 15-17, 22-24, Fri-Sat. 7:30 p.m., Sun. 2 p.m. Janesville Little Theatre A Vietnam vet gets a surprise visit from a war buddy – a nerd who soon overstays his welcome. JPAC, Janesville, (608) 758-0297.