Arts & Entertainment

Events @ a Glance: Arts & Entertainment Calendar

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There’s so much to do in our region! Here’s a look at upcoming lectures and educational enrichment.

Art-Cal-H17

Kris Kringle, a jolly old man who claims to be the real Santa Claus, has to prove his identity in the stage adaptation of the classic “Miracle on 34th Street,” which plays at The Fireside Dinner Theatre, in Fort Atkinson, Wis., now through Dec. 23.

December

“A Christmas Carol”
Through Dec. 3, Thu.-Sat. 7:30 p.m., Sun. 2 p.m. Charles Dickens’ classic story of a bitter old miser and his transformation into a kinder, more gentle man after being visited by several ghosts on Christmas Eve. Monroe Theatre Guild, 910 16th St., Monroe, Wis., (608) 325-1111, monroetheatre.com.

A Charlie Brown Christmas
Through Dec. 3, Thu.-Sat. 7:30 p.m., Sun. 2 p.m. Charlie Brown is discouraged by the materialism he sees during the Christmas season. With a little help from his friends, he learns about the real meaning of Christmas. Stage Coach Players Theatre, 126 S. 5th St., DeKalb, Ill., (815) 758-1940, stagecoachers.com.

“Little Women”
Through Dec. 3, Fri.-Sat. 8 p.m., Sat.-Sun. 2 p.m. In a dramatized adaptation of the classic novel, the four young March sisters and their mother struggle to keep their family going while their father is away in the Civil War. Pec Playhouse Theatre, 314 Main St., Pecatonica, Ill., (815) 239-1210, pecplayhouse.org.

“A Christmas Carol”
Through Dec. 10, Fri.-Sat. 7:30 p.m., Sun. 2 p.m. The Dickens classic adapted for the stage. Janesville Performing Arts Center (JPAC), 408 S. Main St., Janesville, (608) 758-0297, janesvillepac.org.

AE: “The Lion in Winter”
Through Dec. 10, Thu.-Fri. 7:30 p.m., Sat. 4 & 7:30 p.m., Sun. 2 p.m. King Henry II’s three sons all want to inherit the throne, but he won’t make a choice. The sons plot with his queen, Eleanor of Aquitaine, to force him to make a decision. Artists’ Ensemble (AE), Cheek Theatre, Rockford University, 5050 E. State St., Rockford, (815) 394-5004, artistsensemble.org.

“Miracle on 34th Street”
Through Dec. 23, lunch and dinner shows. A musical version of the classic Christmas tale in which the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade needs a new Santa; enter Kris Kringle, a jolly old man who claims he’s the real Santa Claus. Kris has to prove his claim in court and teach those around him to believe in the goodness and love that is Christmas. The Fireside Dinner Theatre (Fireside), Business Hwy. 26 South, Fort Atkinson, Wis., (800) 477-9505, firesidetheatre.com.

Scrooge
Through Dec. 23, see website for times. Wacky audience participation offers a different take on the Dickens classic. White Pines Inn, 6712 W. Pines Road, Mt. Morris, Ill., (815) 946-3817, whitepinesinn.com.

Holiday Art Show
Through Jan. 8, Mon., Tue., Thu. 10 a.m.-5 p.m; Fri. to 1 p.m. A judged show with work in media such as watercolor, oils, acrylic, pastels and photography. JPAC, Janesville, (608) 754-4544, janesvillepac.org.

Misfits
Through Jan. 28, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. A survey of 1960s biker subculture through film, literature and a photography portfolio, exploring the influence the movement made on filmmakers, authors and artists during this turbulent, exciting era. Rockford Art Museum (RAM), 711 N. Main St., Rockford, (815) 968-2787, rockfordartmuseum.org.

14th Annual Juried Exhibition
Through Feb. 19, Tue.-Fri. 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Sat. noon-5 p.m. Featuring work by contemporary artists from Illinois, Wisconsin and Iowa. Freeport Art Museum (FAM), 121 N. Harlem Ave., Freeport, (815) 235-9755, freeportartmuseum.org.

Listening Room Concerts
Dec. 1-22, Fri. 7:00 p.m. Dec. 1, Anna Stange; Dec. 8, Greg Herriges-World Winter Holiday Music; Dec. 15, Dave Rudolf’s Cracked Christmas & Dec. 22, Special Christmas Benefit Concert. Rockford Listening Room, 201 7th St., Rockford, (815) 965-8903, rockfordlisteningroom.com.

Noëls, Pastorales and Carols
Dec. 1, 7:30 p.m. Kick off the holiday season with seasonal music and caroling, featuring Mendelssohn’s grand Möller pipe organ. Organists will perform festive works by Bach, Daquin, Charpentier and others. Mendelssohn Performing Arts Center (MPAC), Mendelssohn Hall, 406 N. Main St., Rockford, (815) 964-9713, mendelssohnpac.org.

Chamber Singers and Royal Scots
Dec. 1-2, 7 p.m. Join these highly talented groups for an evening of music and celebration at the annual Madrigal dinner that recreates a Yuletide feast in an English castle, complete with a jester, ladies-in-waiting and knights. Student/Conference Center, H-201, Highland Community College, 2998 W. Pearl City Road, Freeport, (815) 599-3718, highland.edu.

Second City’s Men’s Chorus
Dec. 2, 7 p.m. This year’s holiday concert features the Rockford Metro Chapter of the Barbershop Harmony Society. Spring Creek United Church of Christ, 4500 Spring Creek Road, Rockford, (815) 877-2576, springcreekucc.org.

New Odyssey Holiday Show
Dec. 2, 7:30 p.m. Playing some 30 instruments during the show, this trio entertains in a family-friendly production with skits, Christmas classics, country Christmas and rock. Monroe Arts Center (MAC), 1315 11th St., Monroe, Wis., (608) 325-5700, monroeartscenter.org.

Tommy Emmanuel
Dec. 2, 7:30 p.m. Enjoy Yuletide classics played by the noted complex finger-style guitarist, who handles the melody, supporting chords and bass all at once. Coronado Performing Arts Center (CPAC), 314 N. Main St., Rockford, (815) 968-0595, coronadopac.org.

Christmas Music of Johnny Mathis
Dec. 5-6 & 12-13, see website for times. Treat yourself to a special Christmas tribute with David Robbins as Johnny Mathis, singing favorites such as “I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” “Silver Bells” and “Winter Wonderland.” White Pines Inn, Mt. Morris, Ill., (815) 946-3817, whitepinesinn.com.

“1959 Pink Thunderbird”
Dec. 5-9, Tue.-Fri. 7:30 p.m., Sat. 2 p.m. It’s 1972 and Vietnam veteran Roy Caulder, once the hero of his high school class in Maynard, Texas, has returned to find that all he has left are memories of his glory days and his now-crumbling 1959 pink Thunderbird. Barnett Theatre, UW-Whitewater, 800 W. Main St., Whitewater, Wis., (262) 472-1566, uww.edu.

Big Church Night Out
Dec. 8, 7 p.m. The Newsboys are featured in this show, a time of worship, ministry and unity. BMO Harris Bank Center, 300 Elm St., Rockford, (815) 968-5222, thebmoharrisbankcenter.com.

Broadway Christmas Wonderland
Dec. 8, 7:30 p.m. Ideal for the whole family, this Christmas show features glittering costumes, a dazzling cast, and Santa and his merry helpers as they take you on a nostalgic Christmas journey full of singing and dancing. CPAC, Rockford, (815) 968-0595, coronadopac.org.

Winter Concert
Dec. 8, 7:30 p.m. Choral groups feature a variety of music, from classical choral and contemporary a cappella to jazz and musical theater works, with a celebration of Leonard Bernstein’s 100th birthday. Maddox Theatre, Rockford University, 5050 E. State St., Rockford, (815) 226-4100, rockford.edu.

KSO Holiday Pops Concert
Dec. 8-9, Fri. 7 p.m., Sat. 2 p.m. A traditional family concert featuring music of the holiday season. Kishwaukee Symphony Orchestra (KSO), NIU Boutell Concert Hall, 550 Lucinda Ave., DeKalb, Ill., (815) 756-3728, kishorchestra.org.

“A Christmas Carol”
Dec. 8-10, Fri.-Sat. 7 p.m., Sun. 5 p.m. Dickens’ timeless tale presented on the Milton Historical Society grounds. Res. req. The Milton House Museum, 18 S. Janesville St., Milton, Wis., (608) 868-7772, miltonhouse.org.

J.R. Sullivan’s Hometown Holiday
Dec. 8-10, Fri.-Sat. 7:30 p.m., Sun. 3 p.m. This seasonal variety show, custom-made each year for the Rockford community, features holiday-inspired storytelling, comedy and popular music performed by national and local musicians and actors. Nordlof Center, 118 N. Main St., Rockford, (815) 987-6660, rockfordpubliclibrary.org.

“Chicago”
Dec. 9, 7 p.m. Set in 1920s Chicago, the sensational tale of fame, corruption and all that jazz. Young Auditorium, UW-Whitewater, 930 W. Main St., Whitewater, Wis., (262) 472- 2222, uww.edu.

“The Night Before Christmas Carol”
Dec. 9, 7:30 p.m. Journey back to Friday the 13th in 1843, the evening that Charles Dickens sat in his study and dreamed up the idea for a ghostly little Christmas book. Actor David Zum Brunnen cleverly portrays Charles Dickens and more than 17 familiar characters from the famous story. MAC, Monroe, Wis., (608) 325-5700, monroeartscenter.org.

RYSO Winter Concert
Dec. 10, 3 p.m. Featuring the Rockford Symphony’s Youth Orchestra. Hononegah Performing Arts Center, 307 Salem St., Rockton, Ill., (815) 965-0049, rockfordsymphony.com.

Music on Thursdays
Dec. 14, 6 p.m. Featuring Trinadora’s Holiday Frolic with Jannie Nelson and Ron Holm. Katie’s Cup, 502 7th St., Rockford, (815) 986-0628, katiescup.com.

AE: “It’s A Wonderful Life” Radio Play
Dec. 15-17, Fri. 7:30 p.m., Sat. 4 p.m. & 7:30 p.m., Sun. 2 p.m. It’s an unusual Christmas Eve in Bedford Falls, where George Bailey is in desperate need of a miracle. When prayers for him reach Heaven, Clarence, Angel 2nd Class, is assigned to save George’s life; perhaps he can earn his wings in the process. This beloved holiday classic is presented as a 1946 radio broadcast, complete with live sound effects. AE, Cheek Theatre, Rockford University, Rockford, (815) 394-5004, artistsensemble.org.

Byron Civic Theatre (BCT) Christmas Spectacular
Dec. 15-17, Fri.-Sat. 7:30 p.m., Sat.-Sun. 2 p.m. Surround yourself with the sights and sounds of a magical Christmas. This production features favorite classics, as the area’s finest talent celebrates the season in style. Byron Civic Theater, Byron Middle School, 850 N. Colfax St., Byron, Ill., (815) 312-3000, bctmagic.com.

Elf Jr., the Musical
Dec. 16, noon. Raised by Santa and his elves at the North Pole, the human-sized elf Buddy journeys to New York City to meet his birth father, who is on the naughty list. Buddy’s job is to win over his father and help New York remember the true meaning of Christmas. Children’s/Youth Theater Project, Nordlof Center, Rockford, (920) 412-7151, ctpytp.org.

The Nutcracker
Dec. 16, 2 & 7 p.m. Tchaikovsky’s story of a young German girl who dreams of a Nutcracker Prince and a battle against the Mouse King; features accomplished dancers, gorgeous costumes and lavish backdrops. The Dance Factory, Young Auditorium, UW-Whitewater, Whitewater, Wis., (262) 472- 2222, uww.edu.

“Together for the Holidays”
Dec. 16, 7:30 p.m. Join the Monroe Swiss Singers and the Bel Canto Singers for an evening of making beautiful music together, featuring Christmas and baroque pieces, show tunes and contemporary works. MAC, Monroe, Wis., (608) 325-5700, monroeartscenter.org.

A Carpenters Christmas
Dec. 16, 7:30 p.m. Singer Lisa Rock and her band keep the group’s holiday traditions alive, bringing their Christmas songs to the stage. JPAC, Janesville, (608) 758-0297, janesvillepac.org.

RSO: Holiday Pops
Dec. 16-17, Sat. 7:30 p.m., Sun. 3 p.m. The nationally acclaimed group Five by Design joins the RSO for a unique take on classic holiday favorites and originals, using lush harmonies and swinging rhythms. CPAC, Rockford. Tickets: (815) 965-0049, rockfordsymphony.com.

A Choral Christmas
Dec. 17, 7 p.m. The Bel Canto singers are known for their beautiful harmonies and lush interpretations of Christmas music; featuring organist Deborah Krauss Smith. MAC, Monroe, (608) 325-5700, monroeartscenter.org.

BJSO: Winter Holiday Delight
Dec. 17, 7:30 p.m. Share some holiday cheer with conductor/music director Dr. Robert Tomaro and the rest of the Beloit Janesville Symphony Orchestra. JPAC, Janesville, (608) 758-0297, janesvillepac.org.

Winter Solstice Concert
Dec. 21, 6 p.m. Celebrate the longest, darkest night of the year with a concert featuring Rockford’s indie folk band Taboo blah blah and the Minneapolis folk band Good Morning Bedlam. Severson Dells Nature Center, 8502 Montague Road, Winnebago, Ill., (815) 335-2915, seversondells.com.

Christmas at the Armory
Dec. 22-23, 7 p.m. The area’s finest performers entertain with a family evening of Christmas songs. Surprise visit by you-know-who. Cocktails and buffet available prior to show. Janesville Armory, 10 S. High St., Janesville, (608) 741-7400, janesvillearmory.com.

Kantorei Christmas Concert
Dec. 23, 6 p.m. The theme of this year’s concert is Scandinavian Solstice, featuring authentic costumes and repertoire by Norwegian, Icelandic, Dutch and Swedish composers, sung in both the native languages and in English. First Lutheran Church, 225 S. 3rd St., Rockford, (815) 246-2202, kantorei.com.

A Christmas Carol Radio Show
Dec. 24 & 25, see website for times. Gather the family to listen to this radio drama, which tells the tale of tight-fisted Ebenezer Scrooge as he learns the true meaning of Christmas. MAC, Monroe, (608) 325-5700, monroeartscenter.org.

Kopit & Yeston’s Phantom
Dec. 29-Feb. 18, see website for times. The tale of a disfigured musical genius, hidden away in the Paris Opera House, who terrorizes the opera company for the unwitting benefit of his young protégée, Christine. Fireside, Fort Atkinson, Wis., (800) 477-9505, firesidetheatre.com.

January

Young Artists’ Concerto Competition
Jan. 6, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. The annual Arthur D. Montzka competition is for instrumentalists up to the age of 18 who each play one or more movements of a solo concerto, written for orchestral accompaniment. The winner performs as a soloist with the Kishwaukee Symphony Orchestra in its Feb. 24 concert. NIU Boutell Concert Hall, DeKalb, Ill., (815) 756-3728, kishorchestra.org.

The Gary Band
Jan. 6, 7:30 p.m. The unique sound of this acoustic trio, featuring vocal harmonies, percussion and guitar work, is presented in a diverse selection of music, including classic and pop, rock, folk and more. JPAC, Janesville, (608) 758-0297, janesvillepac.org.

Janesville’s Musical Comedy Troupe
Jan. 12, 7:30 p.m. The audience offers suggestions that are turned into an unscripted theatrical improv show filled with humor and music backed by live musicians. JPAC, Janesville, (608) 758-0297, janesvillepac.org.

Elvis Tribute
Jan. 12, 8 p.m. Covering the early rockabilly years through the Las Vegas concert years, this lineup includes Shawn Klush, Code Ray Slaughter, Dean Z and Ryan Pelson. Special guests The Sweet Inspirations, The Blackwood Quarter and The Fabulous Ambassadors Band. CPAC, Rockford, (815) 968-0595, coronadopac.org.

20th Anniversary Showcase of Talent
Jan. 12-13, 7:30 p.m. A wealth of talented individuals and groups from southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois entertain in the fashion of a radio-type variety show, with musical entertainment, commercial jingles and a house band. MAC, Monroe, (608) 325-5700, monroeartscenter.org.

RSO: “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice”
Jan. 13, 7:30 p.m. Start 2018 with an evening of music with special guest Hector Olivera; featuring Dukas’ “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice,” Jongen’s “Symphonie Concertante for Organ and Orchestra” and Saint-Saëns’ “Symphony No. 3.” CPAC, Rockford. Tickets: (815) 965-0049, rockfordsymphony.com.

Dueling Pianos
Jan. 13, 7:30 p.m. As part of JPAC’s local talent month, this show gathers two Rock County pianists to duel it out and get you dancing, singing and clapping along. JPAC, Janesville, (608) 758-0297, janesvillepac.org.

JPAC’s One Act Festival
Jan. 18-20, 7:30 p.m. This festival showcases a variety of short plays produced by local playwrights, directors and actors. Followed by a talk with the cast and directors about their productions. JPAC, Janesville, (608) 758-0297, janesvillepac.org.

MPAC: Duo Sonidos
Jan. 19, 7:30 p.m. The talents of violinist William Knuth and classical guitarist Adam Levin combine for a sophisticated and approachable chamber performance. MPAC, Starr Center, 415 N. Church St., Rockford, (815) 964-9713, mendelssohnpac.org.

Broadway: Jay Owenhouse
Jan. 20, 8 p.m. Experience an evening of grand illusions that include Bengal tigers, dangerous escapes and inspiring storytelling. CPAC, Rockford, (815) 968-0595, coronadopac.org.

REO Speedwagon
Jan. 24, 7:30 p.m. REO turned 50 this year, with many Top 40 hits and more than 40 million record sales since the time it formed at the U of I and rode in station wagons to play in bars and clubs all over the Midwest. CPAC, Rockford, (815) 968-0595, coronadopac.org.

Spring Awakening
Jan. 20, 7 p.m. Presented by a dance studio from Madison, this daring new rock musical, based on a play set in late-19th century Germany, explores the journey from adolescence to adulthood with poignancy and passion, combining morality, sexuality and rock ‘n’ roll. Rated R. Express Yourself!, Nordlof Center, Rockford, (608) 620-5192, expressyourselfmadison.com.

Orchesis Dance Concert
Jan. 25-27, 7:30 p.m. Students and guest artists perform. Maddox Theatre, Rockford University, Rockford, (815) 226-4100, rockford.edu.

“Barefoot in the Park”
Jan. 25-Feb. 3, Thu.-Sat. 7:30 p.m., Sat.-Sun. 3 p.m. A newlywed couple – straightlaced attorney Paul and spontaneous free spirit Corie – adjust to married life in a minuscule, fifth-floor Manhattan brownstone walkup, with no heat, no elevator, a leaky skylight, oddball neighbors and Corie’s well-meaning mother, in Neil Simon’s first runaway hit. Beloit Civic Theatre, Elizabeth Reinholz Theatre, Beloit Memorial High School, 1225 4th St., Beloit, (608) 362-1595, beloitcivictheatre.org.

Local Comedy on Main
Jan. 26 & March 2, 8 p.m. Nationally acclaimed and up-and-coming comedians entertain in the intimate environment of the Gallery. 18 and up. JPAC, Janesville, (608) 758-0297, janesvillepac.org.

“The Odd Couple”
Jan. 26-28 & Feb. 2-4, Fri.-Sat. 7:30 p.m., Sat. 2 p.m., Sun. 2:30 p.m. In Neil Simon’s play Felix Unger and Oscar Madison, two friends trying to share an apartment, have ideas about housekeeping and lifestyles that are as different as day and night. Byron Civic Theater, Byron, Ill., (815) 312-3000, bctmagic.com.

MPAC: Classics in Winter
Jan. 27, 1:30 p.m. MPAC’s Young Musicians Series presents a recital featuring music from the Baroque, Classical and Romantic periods for instruments and voice. MPAC, Mendelssohn Hall, Rockford, (815) 964-9713, mendelssohnpac.org.

Jeff Dunham
Jan. 27, 5 p.m. America’s premier ventriloquist brings his cast of characters on the road for a gleeful skewering of family and politics in his show “Passively Aggressive.” BMO Harris Bank Center, Rockford, (815) 968-5222, thebmoharrisbankcenter.com.

February

“In the Heights”
Feb. 2-4, noon. Over the course of this Tony award-winning musical, follow the many colorful residents of Washington Heights, a New York City neighborhood on the brink of change, how they struggle and come together to mourn their losses and rejoice in their triumphs. Children’s/Youth Theater Project, Nordlof Center, Rockford, (920) 412-7151, ctpytp.org.

Murder at the Prop Table
Feb. 2-11, Fri.-Sat. 7 p.m., Sun. 2 p.m. Take unhappily married co-stars in a play, add the playwright struggling to make a comeback with said play, and a challenged stage manager and you have the recipe for disaster with a splash of love, suspicion and one dead body. And, the critics are in the house. JPAC, Janesville, (608) 758-0297, janesvillepac.org.

Music on Main: Going Baroque
Feb. 5, 5:30 p.m. Enjoy a true chamber music experience in the intimate Fulton Room, with Wayne Hatwhich playing harpsichord and Matt Guschl playing oboe. MPAC, Mendelssohn Hall, Rockford, (815) 964-9713, mendelssohnpac.org.

Dancing with the Stars
Feb. 6, 7:30 p.m. Showcasing ballroom and contemporary dances from the hit TV show, including sizzling group numbers and original pieces. CPAC, Rockford, (815) 968-0595, coronadopac.org.

RCCA: Yamato – The Drummers of Japan
Feb. 8, 7:30 p.m. This high-energy troupe of performers creates and presents original compositions, captivating the distinctive, exhilarating sound of taiko drums. CPAC, Rockford, (815) 968-0595, coronadopac.org.

“Don’t Drink the Water”
Feb. 9-11 & 16-18, Fri.-Sat. 7 p.m., Sun. 2 p.m. One hiding priest, a family of tourists running from the Communist police, a botched spy exchange and an incompetent son filling in for the American Ambassador in an unnamed European country behind the Iron Curtain provide the entertainment in this Woody Allen farce. Main Street Players, Community Building Complex of Boone County, 111 W. 1st St., Belvidere, (800) 741-2963.

RSO: Classics 4: Beethoven
Feb. 10, 7:30 p.m. Featuring Simón Gómez on percussion, with music from Prokofiev, Beethoven, James MacMillan and Kamyar Mohajer. Rockford Symphony Orchestra, CPAC, Rockford. Tickets: (815) 965-0049, rockfordsymphony.com.

Country Royalty
Feb. 10, 7:30 p.m. Jason Petty and Katie Deal pay tribute to two of the most influential country singers, Hank Williams and Patsy Cline, performing more than 20 of their hits with a live band. Young Auditorium, UW-Whitewater, Whitewater, Wis., (262) 472- 2222, uww.edu.

“A Busy Bee” – Florentine Opera
Feb. 11, 3 p.m. A part of the Never Too Young series, this operatic world premiere, based on a children’s story, celebrates the importance of teamwork, respect for others and never giving up. Young Auditorium, UW-Whitewater, Whitewater, Wis., (262) 472- 2222, uww.edu.

PAW Patrol Live! Race to the Rescue
Feb. 14, 10 a.m. & 6 p.m. Based on the hit preschool series, everyone’s favorite pups come to the stage for an action-packed, high-energy musical adventure. CPAC, Rockford, (815) 968-0595, coronadopac.org.

Justin Moore
Feb. 15, 7:30 p.m. The Arkansas native is entertaining coast to coast with his “Hell on a Highway Tour.” BMO Harris Bank Center, Rockford, (815) 968-5222, thebmoharrisbankcenter.com.

The Wonder Bread Years
Feb. 17, 7:30 p.m. Former Seinfeld writer Pat Hazell stars in this comedic salute to baby boomers, who shared a childhood in a simpler time sometimes known as the good old days. JPAC, Janesville, (608) 758-0297, janesvillepac.org.

Golden Gates: The Music, Song and Dance of Russia
Feb. 17, 7:30 p.m. A program giving an entertaining and authentic glimpse into Old Russia and Georgian Folk traditions and culture, featuring well-known songs such as Volga Boatman and Kalinka, along with Cossack war melodies and Siberian love chants. MAC, Monroe, Wis., (608) 325-5700, monroeartscenter.org.

Winner’s Recital
Feb. 18, 3 p.m. Performances by young musicians who have won the Chandler Starr Miller Scholarship Competition. MPAC, Mendelssohn Hall, Rockford, (815) 964-9713, mendelssohnpac.org.

Urban Bush Women – Hair & Other Stories
Feb. 20, 7:30 p.m. The company weaves contemporary dance, music and text with the history, culture and spiritual traditions of African-Americans and the African Diaspora, exploring the transformation of struggle and suffering into the bittersweet joy of survival. Young Auditorium, UW-Whitewater, Whitewater, Wis., (262) 472- 2222, uww.edu.

Richard III
Feb. 22-25, Thu.-Fri. 7:30 p.m., Sun. 2 p.m. The tale of a ruthless, power-crazed Machiavellian who lies and cheats his way to the highest seat in the land through charm, deception and force of presence. Maddox Theatre, Rockford University, Rockford, (815) 226-4100, rockford.edu.

Disney’s Newsies
Feb. 22-April 8, see website for times. This high-energy musical tells the story of Jack Kelly, a charismatic newsboy whose dreams of a better life are interrupted when publishing titans Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst raise distribution prices at the expense of the “newsies.” Fireside, Fort Atkinson, Wis., (800) 477-9505, firesidetheatre.com.

Beloit International Film Festival
Feb. 23-March 5. See website for schedule and ticket information. Scores of shorts, documentaries and feature films are presented in unique venues throughout the Beloit area. Tickets/Info: (608) 312-4256, beloitfilmfest.org.

KSO: Arthur D. Montzka Memorial Concert
Feb. 24, 7:30 p.m. Featuring works by Mendelssohn, Sibelius and Strauss, as well as the concerto competition winner from the Jan. 6 competition. KSO, NIU Boutell Concert Hall, DeKalb, Ill., (815) 756-3728, kishorchestra.org.

MPAC Avalon String Quartet
Feb. 25, 3 p.m. Pre-concert lecture at 2 p.m. by Dr. Brian Hart, professor of Music History at NIU. The group returns for a seventh season, featuring Schubert’s G major Quartet, Beethoven op. 59 # 1, Shostakovich and more. MPAC, Mendelssohn Hall, Rockford, (815) 964-9713, mendelssohnpac.org.

Broadway: Riverdance
Feb. 25, 7 p.m. The internationally known Irish group celebrates its 20th anniversary with a world tour, entertaining with its blend of energetic dance, music and song. CPAC, Rockford, (815) 968-0595, coronadopac.org.

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