Arts & Entertainment

Banish Cabin Fever with Live Entertainment

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There are plenty of opportunities to see live entertainment right here in our region. Here are a few of the best our area has to offer.

Alan Ball and Melanie Keller in AE’s “Talley’s Folly”.

Alan Ball and Melanie Keller in AE’s “Talley’s Folly”.

No need to fear cabin fever, not when many of the region’s entertainment groups are producing live events that will keep us intrigued and content.

Artists Ensemble (AE) is offering audiences a season of romance, beginning with its innovative “Romance Theater,” wrapped around the golden age of radio.

“Expect vintage radio with antique microphones, a sound effects table and readers dressed in 1940s-era costuming,” says marketing manager Margaret Raether. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 10 and 11 in Rockford University’s Cheek Theater – just in time for Valentine’s Day. “It’s going to be a lot of fun.”

From March 10 to 26, AE presents “The Last Romance,” a story of a chance meeting, opera, regrets, second chances and love in the golden years.

Raether describes it as “a charming and bittersweet tale.”

At 7:30 p.m. on March 31, AE teams up with Rockford Art Museum for “Red,” a two-character play based on a true story about famed artist Mark Rothko, who accepted and then declined the biggest art commission of his life. Raether describes it as an exploration of what art truly is.

“We have a number of excellent theater groups in the area presenting familiar and popular musicals,” Raether explains. “AE strives to offer our audiences material that’s a bit more challenging, without being too avant garde. We select thought-provoking scripts performed by professional Equity actors and directed by experienced directors. Some of our presentations are world premiers, and draw audiences from Chicago.”

For information, calendars, tickets and admissions, call AE at (815) 394-5004 or visit artistsensemble.org.

Rockford’s historic Coronado Performing Arts Center has long been recognized as a leader in providing outstanding entertainment, and this winter season is no exception. In addition to being the venue for Rockford Symphony Orchestra and Rockford Dance Company performances, as well as Broadway shows, the Coronado is hosting a wide variety of new events aimed at attracting audiences of all ages, according to marketing coordinator Meghan Weiss.

“We’re bringing in two fabulous comedians, Ron White on Feb. 4, and Gabriel Iglesias on Feb. 24,” says Weiss. “Travis Tritt will perform on Feb. 16, followed by Kristen Chenowith on March 2. On March 5, America’s take on Led Zeppelin hits the stage with a show titled ‘Get the Led Out,’ that will really rock the theater.”

That’s just the tip of the Coronado’s winter lineup. The Rockford Symphony Orchestra continues its 2016-17 season with Rachel Barton Pine on Jan. 21, followed by an evening of Brahms and Schumann on Feb. 25. And celebrating the coming of spring, RSO performs Appalachian Spring Suite on March 11 before upping the tempo with Motown’s Greatest Hits on April 1.

For classical music lovers, the enjoyment continues with performances by the National Symphony Orchestra of the Ukraine, on March 2, and the Verona String Quartet, presented by the Rockford Coronado Concert Association, on April 22.

Music lovers of all ages have a season to appreciate. From acts like Five Irish Tenors, Decades Rewind, and Celtic Woman to two of the world’s most popular musicals, “Annie” and “42nd Street,” audiences can get their fill of fine musical entertainment.

For more information, ticket sales and admissions, call the Coronado at (815) 968-2722 or visit coronadopac.org.

The Rockford community is home to an impressive number of talented musicians and is a magnet for regional and national performing artists.

There’s no need to sit at home, since local venues offer an appealing variety of entertainment to please all tastes.

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