Arts & Entertainment

Venerable Venues, Exceptional Entertainment

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Another excellent season of fine music and entertainment is nearly upon us. Here’s a rundown on the best destinations our region has to offer, and the events coming soon.

Coronado Peforming Arts Center (Nels Akerlund photo)

The Old Northwest Territory is steeped in history: the settling of the prairie, the growth of business and industry, the advent of the modern age and advanced technologies. And through it all, there’s been entertainment.

From dance halls, concert halls and vaudeville theaters to movie palaces, music guilds and playhouses, our residents have always enjoyed a bounty of live entertainment opportunities. Whether you like drama or comedy, classical, folk or rock music, solo acts or troupes, or a little bit of everything, you’ll find it among our numerous local venues and organizations.

Here, Northwest Quarterly notes just a few of these places, along with their upcoming seasons. Check out our Arts & Entertainment calendar for full show descriptions, as well as a complete listing of more great shows at other fantastic venues.

Artists’ Ensemble

Clark Arts Center, Rockford College, 5050 E. State St., Rockford. Info: AE, (815) 394-5004, artistsensemble.org

An Equity professional theater, Artists’ Ensemble was founded in 2004, by a group of local actors. With a commitment to presenting ensemble-driven theater that challenges both actors and audiences, it performs five shows a season in the Clark Arts Center on the campus of Rockford College, with both matinee and evening shows. Check website for days and times.

2013-2014 Season
The Mystery of Irma Vep
Sept. 6-22

The Gifts of the Magi
Dec. 6-22

The Shakespeare Conspiracy
March 14-30, 2014

God of Carnage
May 9-25

Crumbs from the Table of Joy
June 13-29

Beloit Civic Theatre

Mailing Address: 400 E. Grand Ave., Ste. #310, Beloit, Wis.(608) 362-1595, beloitcivictheatre.org

Founded as the Beloit Little Theatre Guild in 1932, by the next year, a membership of 1300 made it the largest community theater in the State of Wisconsin. In 1948, the name of the Guild was changed to the current Beloit Civic Theatre, but its members remain committed to the original mission of providing area residents with top-notch live theater. Performances are held in the Elizabeth Reinholz Theatre in Beloit Memorial High School, 1225 4th St., Beloit.

2013-2014 Season
Church Basement Ladies
Sept. 26-27, Oct. 3-4, 7:30 p.m., Sept. 28, Oct. 5, 3 & 7:30 p.m.

Seniors of the Sahara
Jan. 30-31, Feb. 6-7, 2014, 7:30 p.m., Feb. 1 & 8, 3 & 7:30 p.m.

Lend Me a Tenor
April 24-25, May 1-2, 7:30 p.m., April 26, May 3, 3 & 7:30 p.m.

Beloit Janesville Symphony

444 E. Grand Ave., Ste. 100, Beloit, Wis. (608) 313-1200, beloitjanesvillesymphony.org

This began in 1953 as the Beloit Civic Symphony, a 35-member community orchestra; it became the Beloit Janesville Symphony (BJS) in 1971. Since its founding, the BJS has developed into a nonprofit corporation with more than 80 professional musicians, led by Maestro Robert Tomaro. The Symphony performs a dozen concerts each year in the two Rock County communities.

2013-2014 Season
Diamond Jubilee Performance
Sept. 21, 3 p.m. Beloit Memorial High School Auditorium

Heavenly String
Oct. 19, 7:30 p.m. Eaton Chapel, Beloit College campus

Holiday Spectacular
Dec. 14, 7:30 p.m. Eclipse Center, Beloit

Silent Film Showcase
Feb. 22, 2014, 7:30 p.m. Eclipse Center

American Voices
April 13, 3 p.m. Janesville Performing Arts Center

BMO Harris Bank Center
300 Elm St., Rockford, (815) 968-5222, thebmoharrisbankcenter.com

Since opening in 1981, the BMO Harris Bank Center (formerly Rockford MetroCentre) has been dedicated to bringing diverse live entertainment and sporting events to the region.

2013-2014 Season
Sesame Street Live: “Make a New Friend”
Nov. 22-24, Fri. 6:30 p.m.; Sat. 10:30 a.m. & 2 p.m.; Sun. 1 & 4:30 p .m.

Justin Moore Off The Beaten Path Tour
March 29, 2014, 7:30 p.m.

Charlotte’s Web of Rockford

420 N. Main St., Rockford, Ill., (815) 964-2238, mendelssohnpac.org

For more than 40 years, Charlotte’s Web has been providing the area with the best in regional, national and international artists, presenting folk, blues, Americana, world music, dance and theater productions. It became a nonprofit organization in 1989. Recently, after years of a nomadic existence and utilizing a variety of local venues, Charlotte’s Web found a permanent home with Mendelssohn Performing Arts Center (MPAC).

2013-2014 Season
Jamie Anderson
Sept. 14, 7:30 p.m. Emerson House, 420 N. Main St., Rockford

California Guitar Trio
Sept. 27, 7:30 p.m. MPAC

Montana Skies
Nov. 15, 7:30 p.m. MPAC

Vance Gilbert
Nov. 23, 7:30 p.m. Emerson House

Radoslav Lorkovic
Jan. 10, 2014, 7:30 p.m. Emerson House

Neil Jacobs
Feb. 7, 7:30 p.m. Emerson House

Jayme Stone
Feb. 28. 7:30 p.m. MPAC

Dorothy Paige Turner and Joel Ross Quartet
April 4, 7:30 p.m. MPAC

Danny Schmidt
April 25, 7:30 p.m. Emerson House

Coronado Performing Arts Center (CPAC)

314 N. Main St., Rockford, (815) 968-0595, coronadopac.org.

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this former vaudeville and movie palace has hosted world-class performers since it opened in 1927. It became the property of the City of Rockford in 1997 and underwent an extensive 18-month renovation in 1999. Today, this grand theater attracts top musicians, productions and performers. It’s also the home of the Rockford Symphony Orchestra (RSO) and Rockford Coronado Concert Association (RCCA).

2013-2014 Season
Buddy Guy & Jonny Lang
Sept. 20, 8 p.m.

RSO Celebrates Opening Night
Sept. 21, 6:30 p.m.

Dennis Miller Live
Oct. 4, 7:30 p.m.

RCCA: Cantus
Oct. 5, 7:30 p.m.

RSO: The Best of Swing with Capitol Quartet
Oct. 12, 7:30 p.m.

Ghost Brothers of Darkland County
Oct. 26, 8 p.m. Musical based on a book by Stephen King with music by John Mellencamp and T-Bone Burnett.

Gabriel Iglesias Presents Stand-Up Revolution
Oct. 27, 7:30 p.m.

Hello Dolly!
Oct. 29, 7:30 p.m. Broadway at the Coronado

RCCA: Yamato, The Drummers of Japan
Nov. 1, 7:30 p.m.

Engelbert Humperdinck
Nov. 5, 7 p.m.

RSO: Love of Nature
Nov. 9, 7:30 p.m.

RSO: The Nutcracker with the Rockford Dance Co.
Dec. 7-8, Sat. 7 p.m.; Sun. 3 p.m.

RCCA: The Sound of Christmas
Dec. 10, 7:30 p.m.

MAMMA MIA!
Dec. 12, 7:30 p.m. Broadway at the Coronado

Mannheim Steamroller: Christmas
Dec. 13, 8 p.m.

RSO: Holiday Pops!
Dec. 21-22, Sat. 7:30 p.m.; Sun. 3 p.m.

RSO: Legendary Loves
Jan. 11, 2014, 7:30 p.m.

STOMP
Jan. 14, 7:30 p.m. Broadway at the Coronado

RSO: Tragic Desire
Feb. 1, 7:30 p.m.

RSO: Songs of a Wayfarer
March 8, 7:30 p.m.

Million Dollar Quartet
March 24, 7:30 p.m. Broadway at the Coronado

RSO: Lights, Camera…The Oscars!
March 29, 7:30 p.m.

RCCA: Lysander Piano Trio
March 30, 3 p.m.

HAIR
April 11, 8 p.m. Broadway at the Coronado

RSO: Love of Homeland
April 26, 7:30 p.m.

RCCA: Moscow Festival Ballet
May 4, 3 p.m.

West Side Story
May 8, 7:30 p.m. Broadway at the Coronado

Dubuque Symphony Orchestra (DSO)

2728 Asbury Road, Ste. 900, Dubuque, Iowa, (563) 557-1677, dubuquesymphony.org

Formed in 1957, under the auspices of the University of Dubuque (UD), as the UD Symphonic Orchestra, the name was changed to Dubuque Civic Orchestra in 1959, and the group performed mostly in the Dubuque Senior High School auditorium. In 1963, UD gave up governing rights and the name was changed to Dubuque Symphony Orchestra. It has grown in size and prestige, and has been conducted, since 2000, by Maestro William Intriligator, only the third music director and conductor in DSO history. Performances are at Five Flags Center, 405 Main St., Dubuque, unless otherwise indicated.

2013-2014 Season
Rite of Spring at Voices
Sept. 7, 7-11p.m. Special performance at Voices from the Warehouse District Gallery, downtown Dubuque

An American in Paris
Oct. 5-6, Sat. 7:30 p.m.; Sun. 2 p.m. Heritage Center, 2289 Bennett St., University of Dubuque campus.

Heaven and Earth 
Nov. 9-10, Sat. 7:30 p.m.; Sun. 2 p.m.

Holiday Pops Family Concert
Dec. 7, 1 p.m.

Holiday Celebration Concerts
Dec. 7-8, Sat. 7:30 p.m.; Sun. 2 p.m.

Ultimate Rock Hits of the ’70s and ’80s 
Jan. 17, 8 p.m. Mississippi Moon Bar, Diamond Jo Casino, 301 Bell St., Dubuque

Dance and Romance 
Feb. 15-16, Sat. 7:30 p.m.; Sun. 2 p.m.

Mozart and Beethoven
March 15-16, Sat. 7:30 p.m.; Sun. 2 p.m.

Pictures at an Exhibition
April 12-13, Sat. 7:30 p.m.; Sun. 2 p.m. Heritage Center, University of Dubuque

Five Flags Center

405 Main St., Dubuque, Iowa, (563) 589-4254, fiveflagscenter.org

Named for the five national flags that have flown over Dubuque since 1673, this beautiful, renovated 1910 historical theater is home of the Dubuque Symphony Orchestra, Fly-By-Night Productions Theatre Company, Broadway shows and high school productions. It also hosts various activities and sporting events, and is home to the Eastern Iowa Outlaws women’s roller derby team.

2013-2014 Season
Corpus Christi
Sept. 6, 8 p.m.; Sept. 8, 1 & 3:30 p.m.

Men are from Mars Women are from Venus Live!
Sept. 21, 7:30 p.m. Mature content; rated R.

Moonlight and Magnolias
Oct. 4-6, 11-12, Fri-Sat 7:30 p.m., Sun. 2 p.m.

Sesame Street Live: “Make a New Friend”
Nov. 26, 6:30 p.m.; Nov. 27, 3 & 6:30 p.m.

Disney Live! “Mickey’s Music Festival”
March 2, 2014, 1 & 4 p.m.

Janesville Performing Arts Center

408 S. Main St., Janesville, Wis. (608) 758-0297, janesvillepac.org

Originally the theater and music wing of a school more than 70 years old when renovated, JPAC now serves as a centralized home for the arts in Janesville. More than presenting professional acts and performers, JPAC serves as a rental facility for nonprofit arts organizations to produce and present their unique art.

2013-2014 Season
Oliver!
Sept. 6-8, 13-15, Fri-Sat. 7:30 p.m., Sun. 2 p.m.

A Date With Judy: Songs of Young Judy Garland
Sept. 21, 7:30 p.m.

Bubble Wonders Show
Sept. 22, 2 p.m. Culver’s Family Series

Gaelic Storm
Oct. 5-6, 7:30 p.m.

Stage One: Speed the Plow
Oct. 10-13, 18-20, Wed-Sat., 7:30 p.m., Sun. 2 p.m. Rated R

75th Anniversary Barbershop Harmony Celebration
Nov. 9, 2 & 7 p.m.
Janesville Little Theatre: The Nerd
Nov. 15-17, 22-24, Fri-Sat. 7:30 p.m., Sun. 2 p.m.

Stage One: A Christmas Carol
Dec. 5-8, 13-15, Fri-Sat. 7:30 p.m., Sun. 2 p.m.

JPAC Radio Players: Charlie Brown Meets the Grinch
Dec. 19, 7 p.m.

A Cash & Carter Christmas
Dec. 20, 7:30 p.m.

Mirror Image
Jan. 10-12, 2014, 7:30 p.m. Part of Local Talent Month

UW-Rock County Orchestra
Jan. 17, 7:30 p.m.

Elizabeth Horvath Flute Recital
Jan. 31, 7:30 p.m.

Janesville Little Theatre: Sabrina Fair
Feb. 7-9, 14-16, Fri-Sat. 7:30 p.m., Sun. 2 p.m.; Dinner both Saturdays.

Switchback
Feb. 22, 7:30 p.m.

Dancing With the Janesville Stars
April 5, 7 p.m.

“Music Makes the World Go Round”
April 12, 2 p.m. Culver’s Family Series.

Stage One: Tuesdays With Morrie
April 13-16, 21-23, Th-Sat. 7:30 p.m., Sun. 2 p.m.

Jamie-Sue Seal & John Latini
April 25, 7:30 p.m.

Janesville Little Theatre: Wait Until Dark
April 25-27, May 2-4, Fri-Sat. 7:30 p.m., Sun. 2 p.m.

The Badger Chordhawks Chorus Concert
May 10, 2 & 7 p.m.

5-6-7-8 Dance Studio Recital
May 16, 7 p.m.

Dance Attitudes Ballet Production
June 13, 7 p.m.

Dance Attitudes Artistry in Motion
June 16, 2 p.m., June 17, 10 a.m., 3 p.m.

Mendelssohn Performing Arts Center (MPAC)

415 N. Church St., Rockford, (815) 964-9713, mendelssohnpac.org

MPAC (nee Mendelssohn Club) is the oldest continuous music organization in the country, begun by Mrs. Chandler (Blanche Ellis) Starr of Rockford in 1884. Starr was the first board president for the National Federation of Musical Clubs, formed in 1893 to bring fine music to communities across the country. Now in its 127th year, the group continues the mission of Starr and fellow NFMC founders. In addition to the Center, performances are held at Emerson House, 420 N. Main St., Rockford, and Court Street United Methodist Church, 215 N. Court St., Rockford.

2013-2014 Season
Avalon String Quartet
Sept. 13, 7 p.m. MPAC

Chicago Brass Band
Sept. 20, 7:30 p.m. Court Street United Methodist Church

neoLIT and Aminda Asher
Oct. 25, 7:30 p.m. MPAC

Ann Hobson Pilot, harp, & Tai Murray, violin
Nov. 10, 2 p.m. MPAC

Avalon String Quartet
Nov. 22, 7 p.m. MPAC

“Ceremony of Carols” & “St. Nicholas”
Dec. 6, 7:30 p.m. Venue TBA

“Everywhere, Everywhere Christmas Tonight”
Dec. 13, 7 p.m. MPAC. Mendelssohn Chorale & MCO Ensemble

New Comma Baroque
Jan. 24, 2014, 7:30 p.m. MPAC

Avalon String Quartet
Feb. 21, 7 p.m. MPAC

Rock Valley Children’s Choir
Feb. 15, 6 p.m. MPAC

Rock Valley Children’s Choir
March 14, 7 p.m. MPAC

Mendelssohn Chamber Orchestra
March 14, 7:30 p.m. MPAC

Brasil Guitar Duo
April 14, 7:30 p.m. MPAC

Rock Valley Children’s Choir
May 16, 7 p.m. MPAC

Avalon String Quartet
May 23, 7 p.m. MPAC

Monroe Arts Center (MAC)

1315 11th St., Monroe, Wis., (608) 325-5700, monroeartscenter.org

This historic Gothic-style structure was dedicated in 1887 as the First Methodist Episcopal Church. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1975 and purchased by the newly-formed, nonprofit Monroe Arts Center. Today, it serves the area as a venue for local and professional performances and art exhibits, fulfilling the group’s mission to “nurture an appreciation of the arts.”

2013-2014 Season
Wisconsin Music Arts Festival Showcase
Sept. 14, 7:30 p.m.

The Kithara Trio
Sept. 22, 2 p.m.

Horizon Sings Motown
Oct. 5, 7:30 p.m.

Benjamin Capps
Oct. 13, 2 p.m.

Sons of the Pioneers
Nov. 2, 7:30 p.m. Monroe High School Performing Arts Center, 1600 26th St.

The Barley Jacks with Brian Wicklund
Nov. 23, 7:30 p.m.

Richard Dowling
Nov. 24, 2 p.m.

Mt. Zion Gospel Choir
Dec. 14, 7:30 p.m.

Bel Canto Singers: “A Choral Christmas”
Dec. 21, 7 p.m. St. Victor Catholic Church, 1760 14th St, Monroe.

A Christmas Carol Radio Show Broadcast
Dec. 24-25, TBA

The Irish Rovers “Farewell to Rovin’ Tour”
Feb. 22, 2014, 7:30 p.m. Monroe High School

Madison Youth Choir
March 9, 3 p.m.

Harmonious Wail
March 15, 7:30 p.m.

Two on Tap: A Tribute to Song and Dance
April 12, 7:30 p.m.

Bel Canto Singers: Annual Spring Concert
April 27, 3 p.m.

Salsabrosa
May 17, 7:30 p.m.

Mac Arnold & Plate Full O’ Blues
June 7, 7:30 p.m.

Rockford Coronado Concert Assn. (RCCA)

Coronado Performing Arts Center, 314 N. Main St., Rockford, (815) 968-9863, rccaconcerts.net

Formed in 1936 by members of Mendelssohn Club and called the Rockford Community Concert Association, this group was part of a nationwide movement begun in 1930 by the president of CBS – Columbia Artists Management Inc. (CAMI) – to help smaller cities and towns book top acts, and keep fine music alive during the Great Depression. Its slogan: “A Carnegie Hall in Every Town.” In 1942, the venue was moved from the Shrine Temple to the Coronado Theatre. In 2003, the group ended its association with CAMI and changed its name. RCCA presents five performances each year, a mix of classical and semi-classical music and dance.

2013-2014 Season
Cantus
Oct. 5, 7:30 p.m.

Yamato, The Drummers of Japan
Nov. 1, 7:30 p.m.

The Sound of Christmas
Dec. 10, 7:30 p.m.

Lysander Piano Trio
March 30, 3 p.m.

Moscow Festival Ballet
May 4, 3 p.m.

Rockford Dance Company

Riverfront Museum Park, 711 N. Main St., Rockford, (815) 963-3341, rockforddancecompany.com

Since its inception in 1973, this group has been committed to the individual student’s growth as dancer and artist, while instilling qualities essential to a successful life: discipline, responsibility and teamwork. It’s located at Riverfront Museum Park, with five state-of-the-art studios. Students perform four times each year.

2013-2014 Season
Fall for Dance! 
Sept. 27, 7:30 p.m., Sept. 28-29, 2 p.m.

The Nutcracker 
Dec. 7, 7 p.m., Dec. 8, 3 p.m. CPAC

Which Witch is Which 
Jan. 18, 2014, 1, 3 & 7 p.m., Jan. 19, 2 & 4 p.m.

Ruby Jubilee 
April 5, 8 p.m. CPAC

Rockford Symphony Orchestra (RSO)

711 N. Main St., Rockford, (815) 965-0049, rockfordsymphony.com

Now in its 79th continuous season, this award-winning community-based orchestra began unofficially in 1934, was incorporated in 1943, and has grown and evolved to its current stature with only four musical directors in its history. For the past 19 years, the fourth one has been Steven Larsen, who not only creates the program of 20-plus RSO performances each season, but also conducts. All performances are at the Coronado Performing Arts Center.

2013-2014 Season
RSO Celebrates Opening Night
Sept. 21, 6:30 p.m.

The Best of Swing with Capitol Quartet
Oct. 12, 7:30 p.m.

Love of Nature
Nov. 9, 7:30 p.m.

The Nutcracker with the Rockford Dance Co.
Dec. 7-8, Sat. 7 p.m.; Sun. 3 p.m.

Holiday Pops!
Dec. 21-22, Sat. 7:30 p.m.; Sun. 3 p.m.

Legendary Loves
Jan. 11,7:30 p.m.

Tragic Desire
Feb. 1, 7:30 p.m.

Songs of a Wayfarer
March 8, 7:30 p.m.

Lights, Camera…The Oscars!
March 29, 7:30 p.m.

Love of Homeland
April 26, 7:30 p.m.

Sauk Valley Community Concert Assn.

Serving the Dixon/Sterling area. svcca.org

This group is dedicated to bringing the finest professional music to the Sauk Valley at a very reasonable price, presenting a variety of artists and music styles four or more times each year in Dixon and Sterling. Concert admission is by membership only. Visit the website for information.

2013-2014 Season
Sixth Floor Trio
Oct. 12, 7 p.m. Dixon High School, 300 Lincoln Statue Dr.

Trio Voronezh
Nov. 5, 7 p.m. Centennial Auditorium, Sterling High School, 1608 4th Ave, Sterling.

National Lutheran Choir
Feb. 27, 2014 7 p.m. Historic Dixon Theatre, 114 S. Galena Ave., Dixon

The Abrams Brothers
April 10, 7 p.m. Sterling High School

Studio Theatre Productions

Rock Valley College, 3301 N. Mulford Road, Rockford, (815) 921-2160, rockvalleycollege.edu

One of two theaters on the campus of Rock Valley College, Studio Theatre offers a venue for students to hone their skills with a diverse season of live theater in an intimate setting, led by Mike Webb.

2013-2014 Season
Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
Sept. 25-Oct. 5, 8 p.m.; Sept. 28-29, Oct. 5, additional matinee 2 p.m.

The Wizard of Oz
Dec. 4-14, 8 p.m.; Dec. 7-8, 14, additional matinees 2 p.m.

Fiddler on The Roof
Feb. 5-15, 8 p.m.; Feb. 8-9, 15, additional matinees 2 p.m.

Akhnaton
March 9-19, 8 p.m.; March 9-10, 19, additional matinees 2 p.m.

Winneshiek Playhouse

28 W. Clark St., Freeport, Ill. (815) 232-7023, winneshiekplayers.org

The oldest continuous amateur theater in the country begins its 87th season of bringing together members of the Freeport area to create, enjoy and experience live theater. All performances take place at 7:30 p.m.

2013-2014 Season
A Closer Walk with Patsy Cline
Sept. 13-14, 19-21, 7:30 p.m.

A Tuna Christmas
Dec. 7, 12-14, 7:30 p.m.

Rabbit Hole
March 1, 6-8, 2014, 7:30 p.m.

Lend Me a Tenor
May 9-10, 15-17, 7:30 p.m.

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