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.
Kopit & Yeston’s “Phantom”
Through Feb. 18, see website for dates and 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. The Fireside Dinner Theatre (Fireside), Business Hwy. 26 South, Fort Atkinson, Wis., (800) 477-9505, firesidetheatre.com.
Preparing for the “Bright Future”: Soviet Youth Culture, 1917-1991
Through Feb. 28, Mon.-Fri. 9 a.m.-4 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Sun. 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Closing reception, Feb. 23, 12:30 p.m. Wright Museum of Art, Beloit College, 700 College St., Beloit, (608) 363-2702, beloit.edu.
Traveling Gods of Wealth
Through March 23, Mon.-Fri. 9 a.m.-4 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Sun. 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Opening reception Feb. 23, 12:30 p.m. Wright Museum of Art, Beloit College, Beloit, (608) 363-2702, beloit.edu.
FAM Native American Artists
Through March 24. Featuring work by contemporary Native American artists in FAM’s permanent collection, such as James. O. Tsoodle, Mary Lemieux and Archie Blackowl. Freeport Art Museum (FAM), 121 N. Harlem Ave., Freeport, (815) 235-9755, freeportartmuseum.org.
‘Nature of Water’ & ‘selections’
Through March 30, during museum hours. Area artists capture the Sugar River Watershed in this juried exhibit, in coordination with Lower Sugar River Watershed Association. Madison photographer Steven Agard displays his landscape images in an adjacent gallery. Monroe Arts Center (MAC), 1315 11th St., Monroe, Wis., (608) 325-5700, monroeartscenter.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. Coronado Performing Arts Center, 314 N. Main St., Rockford, (815) 968-0595, coronadopac.org.
RAM: Laura and John Fraser Collection
Feb. 9-May 28, daily 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Public opening Feb. 9, 7-8:30 p.m. A display of the museum’s latest acquisition, composed of 122 contemporary paintings, prints, drawings, mixed media and sculptures by a roster of 57 artists, including several local and regional artists. Rockford Art Museum (RAM), 711 N. Main St., Rockford, (815) 968-2787, rockfordartmuseum.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, which played on Broadway from 1966-68. Main Street Players, Community Building Complex of Boone County, 111 W. 1st St., Belvidere, (800) 741-2963, mainstreetplayersofboonecounty.com.
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, Coronado PAC, Rockford. Tickets: (815) 965-0049, rockfordsymphony.com.
GENTRI: The Gentlemen Trio
Feb. 10, 7:30 p.m. Pioneering a signature sound that has been described as “Cinematic Pop,” these tenors’ music is filled with lush orchestrations and dynamic three-part harmonies. Egyptian Theatre, 135 N. 2nd St., DeKalb, (815) 758-1215, egyptiantheatre.org.
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, 930 W. Main St., 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.
Feb. 11, 3 & 7 p.m. This Rockford group takes you on a journey through the roots of country music, while Olivia Dvorak, songwriter and Nashville recording artist, brings the old and legendary together with the new and contemporary. Nordlof Center, 118 N. Main St., Rockford, (815) 987-6660, rockfordpubliclibrary.org.
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. Coronado PAC, Rockford, (815) 968-0595, coronadopac.org.
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, 300 Elm St., Rockford, (815) 968-5222, thebmoharrisbankcenter.com.
“Time after Time”
Feb. 16-March 4, Fri.-Sat. 8 p.m., Sun. 2 p.m. Who is the oddly dressed Englishman who suddenly appears and befriends a young woman in present-day San Francisco? Only H.G. Wells, hot on the trail of Jack the Ripper, who has used Wells’ time machine to travel to the future and escape justice. Pec Playhouse Theatre, 314 Main St., Pecatonica, (815) 239-1210, pecplayhouse.org.
“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. Janesville Performing Arts Center (JPAC), 408 S. Main St., 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.
Feb. 18, 3 p.m. Performances by young musicians who have won the Chandler Starr Miller Scholarship Competition. Mendelssohn Performing Arts Center (MPAC), Mendelssohn Hall, 406 N. Main St., Rockford, (815) 964-9713, mendelssohnpac.org.
Sundays at 4: Baritone Robert Sims
Feb. 18, 4 p.m. Noted for his energetic performance and moving interpretations, Sims is joined by soprano Elizabeth Norman and Pianist Paul Hamilton for “An American Musical Journey: Spirituals, Opera and Broadway.” George Williams College of Aurora University (GWC), 350 Constance Blvd., Williams Bay, Wis., (262) 245-8501, musicbythelake.com.
Urban Bush Women – Hair & Other Stories
Feb. 20, 7:30 p.m. The company weaves dance, music and text with the history, culture and spiritual traditions of African-Americans and the African Diaspora. Young Auditorium, UW-Whitewater, Whitewater, Wis., (262) 472- 2222, uww.edu.
Feb. 22-25, Th.-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, 5050 E. State St., Rockford University, Rockford, (815) 226-4100, rockford.edu.
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.
FAM Aspiring Artists Exhibition
Feb. 23-April 6, Tue.-Fri. 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Sat. noon-5 p.m. An annual celebration of works of art by students, grades K-12, from area schools. FAM, Freeport, (815) 235-9755, freeportartmuseum.org.
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. Kishwaukee Symphony Orchestra (KSO), NIU Boutell Concert Hall, 550 Lucinda Ave., DeKalb, Ill., (815) 756-3728, kishorchestra.org
The Second City
Feb. 24, 7:30 p.m. The edgy, thought-provoking sketch comedy and improv revue presents “Look Both Ways Before Talking.” For mature audiences. Egyptian Theatre, DeKalb, Ill., (815) 758-1215, egyptiantheatre.org.
Disney on Ice: Dream Big
Feb. 24-27, Th.-Fri. 7 p.m.; Sat. 11 a.m., 3 p.m., 7 p.m.; Sun. 1 & 5 p.m. Tinker Bell takes the audience on a journey of Disney tales with Ariel, Rapunzel, Cinderella, Belle, Jasmine, Snow White, Aurora and Tiana. Travel to Arendelle with Anna and Elsa. BMO Harris Bank Center, Rockford, (815) 968-5222, thebmoharrisbankcenter.com.
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 No. 1, Shostakovich and more. MPAC, Mendelssohn Hall, Rockford, (815) 964-9713, mendelssohnpac.org.
Rockford Wind Ensemble
Feb. 25 & April 15, 3 p.m. Family-friendly concert by a first-class ensemble. Nordlof Center, Rockford. Tickets: (815) 227-8550, rockfordpubliclibrary.org.
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. Coronado PAC, Rockford, (815) 968-0595, coronadopac.org.
Feb. 25 & March 3, 2 p.m.; Feb. 27 & March 1, 7:30 p.m. The setting for this opera is 1930s New York City, outside a steamy tenement building, the scene of jealousy, infatuation, lust and love, set to a jazz-inspired score that reflects the multi-ethnic population of the city. Barnett Theatre, UW-Whitewater, 800 W. Main St., Wis., (262) 472-1566, uww.edu.
Get the Led Out
March 1, 8 p.m. This cover band captures the essence of Led Zeppelin, in a high-energy, high-intensity concert. The Philadelphia-based group features six veteran musicians, dubbed by the media as “The American Led Zeppelin.” Coronado PAC, Rockford, (815) 968-0595, coronadopac.org.
March 2-17, Fri-Sat. 8 p.m., Sun. 2 p.m. Hilarious Broadway Tony winner for Best Musical, Best Score and Best Book, features a cast of people and puppets who tell about surviving in NYC with big dreams and a tiny bank account in a risqué and entertaining way. Contains adult subject matter and is not suitable for all audiences. Vince Carney Community Theatre (VCCT), Paddock Memorial Hall, Hickory Grove Complex, 1127 N. 7th St., Rochelle, Ill., (815) 764-2287,
Local Comedy on Main
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.
March 3, 7 p.m. The line-up features Rickey Smiley, Guy Torry, Damon Williams and J.J. Tiffany. Coronado PAC, Rockford, (815) 968-0595, coronadopac.org.
WWE Live Road to Wrestlemania
March 4, 5 p.m. Superstars include John Cena, Roman Reigns and Samoa Joe for the intercontinental championship. Includes appearances by RAW women’s champion Alexa Bliss, Finn Balor, Sasha Banks and more. BMO Harris Bank Center, Rockford, (815) 968-5222, thebmoharrisbankcenter.com.
Rogers & Hammerstein’s “Cinderella”
March 4, 7 p.m. The Tony-award-winning Broadway musical that entertains with a lush production and a contemporary twist on a classic tale. Young Auditorium, UW-Whitewater, Whitewater, Wis., (262) 472- 2222, uww.edu.
RAM: 77th Young Artist Shows
March 4-31, High School Division; April 8-May 6, Youth Division. Daily, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. This juried competition features exceptional pieces by students in grades 9-12 in schools within 50 miles of RAM; students K-8 in Winnebago County. RAM, Rockford, (815) 968-2787, rockfordartmuseum.org.
RCCA: The Staatskapelle Weimar Orchestra
March 8, 7:30 p.m. Established in 1491, the orchestra makes its North American debut, performing three works by Brahms: “Academic Festival Overture,” “Violin Concerto in D Major, Op.77” and “Symphony No. 1 in C Minor, Op.68.” Coronado PAC, Rockford, (815) 968-0595, coronadopac.org.
AE: “Best of Enemies”
March 8-18, Fri.-Sat. 7:30 p.m., Sun. 2 p.m. Based on the best-selling book, the amazing true story of bitter antagonists C.P. Ellis, Grand Cyclops of the Ku Klux Klan, and Ann Atwater, an African-American civil rights activist, who move from mutual loathing to friendship. Artists’ Ensemble (AE), Cheek Theatre, Rockford University, Rockford, (815) 394-5004, artistsensemble.org.
RSO: Country Legends
March 10, 7:30 p.m. A tribute to country music’s greatest stars, featuring the music of Johnny Cash, Hank Williams, Kenny Rogers, Dolly Parton, Carrie Underwood and Faith Hill. Featuring classics such as “Crazy,” “Jolene” and “Ring of Fire.” Rockford Symphony Orchestra, Coronado PAC, Rockford. Tickets: (815) 965-0049, rockfordsymphony.com.
BJSO: Mahler’s “Symphony No. 5”
March 10-11, Sat. 7:30 p.m., Sun. 2 p.m. Beloit Janesville Symphony (BJSO), Eclipse Event Center, 3 Eclipse Blvd., Beloit, (608) 313-1200, beloitjanesvillesymphony.org.
“Taming of the Shrew”
March 13-14, 7:30 p.m. The American Shakespeare Center performs one of Shakespeare’s most compelling and controversial comedies, blending Renaissance-era stagecraft with modern sensibility. Young Auditorium, UW-Whitewater, Whitewater, Wis., (262) 472- 2222, uww.edu.
Songwriters Series: Malandrino
March 14, 6-8 p.m. Enjoy a live performance by area bossa nova band Malandrino in the setting of the feature exhibition. RAM, Rockford, (815) 968-2787, rockfordartmuseum.org.
MPAC: Celebrating Women in Music
March 16, 7:30 p.m. In honor of Women’s History Month, MPAC presents a concert featuring various classical compositions by women, performed by ensembles of regional women musicians. Mendelssohn Performing Arts Center (MPAC), Mendelssohn Hall, Rockford, (815) 964-9713, mendelssohnpac.org.
Alan Jackson-Honky Tonk Highway Tour
March 17, 7:30 p.m. Country Music Hall of Famer Jackson entertains with hits such as “Here in the Real World,” “Chattahoochee,” and” Gone Country.” BMO Harris Bank Center, Rockford, thebmoharrisbankcenter.com.
RYSO Spring Chamber Concert
March 18, 3 p.m. Featuring the Rockford Symphony Youth Chamber Orchestra and other chamber ensembles. Mendelssohn Hall, Rockford, (815) 965-0049, rockfordsymphony.com.
March 23, 7:30 p.m. Having made her mark with a No. 1 single without being signed to a recording contract, the trailblazing Loeb continues with hit singles “Do You Sleep,” “I Do” and “Let’s Forget About It,” in addition to hits from her two gold albums. JPAC, Janesville, (608) 758-0297, janesvillepac.org.
AE: “Dying for Attention”
March 23-25, Fri. 7:30 p.m., Sat. 4 & 7:30 p.m., Sun. 2 p.m. An all-too-real murder has been committed at ClueFest, the mystery convention. Now an audience of eager, would-be detectives is eager to solve the case in this interactive comedy. AE, Rockford University, (815) 394-5004, artistsensemble.org.
“Of Mice and Men”
March 30-April 7, Fri.-Sat. 7:30 p.m., Sat. 2 p.m. The John Steinbeck classic about drifters George and his friend Lennie, a man-child and gentle giant, who work on a ranch until an accidental death changes everything. Winneshiek Players Theatre, 28 W. Clark St., Freeport, (815) 232-7023, winneshiekplayers.org.
March 30-31, Fri. 7 p.m., Sat. 1 & 7 p.m. The fairytale by Gianni Todari comes to life in a ballet that tells the adventures of Cipollino, the Little Onion Boy, who fights the unjust treatment of his fellow vegetable folk by the fruit aristocracy. Rockford Dance Company, Hononegah Performing Arts Center, 307 Salem St., Rockton, Ill., (815) 963-3341, rockforddancecompany.org.
Cirque du Soleil: Corteo
April 5-8, Th.-Fri. 7:30 p.m., Sat. 3:30 & 7 p.m., Sun. 1 & 5 p.m. Corteo, or cortege in Italian, is a joyous parade imagined by a clown, in the mysterious space between heaven and Earth. Performers include 51 acrobats, musicians, singers and actors from all around the world. BMO Harris Bank Center, Rockford, thebmoharrisbankcenter.com.
Foreigner 40th Anniversary Tour
April 6, 8 p.m. Forty years on, the band continues to rock with hits such as “Cold as Ice,” “Hot Blooded,” “Juke Box Hero” and “I Want to Know What Love Is.” Coronado PAC, Rockford, (815) 968-0595, coronadopac.org.
April 6-15, Fri.-Sat. 7:30 p.m., Sun. 2 p.m. George Orwell depicts the horrors of man’s fate in a society where Big Brother is always watching, and where everything that is not prohibited is compulsory. JPAC, Janesville, (608) 758-0297, janesvillepac.org.
April 7, 11 a.m. Enjoy some family time as this charming and energetic singer/songwriter entertains with pianist Dave Adler. He has performed at schools and universities throughout the United States and has composed 15 musicals for the Children’s Theatre of Madison. MAC, Monroe, Wis., (608) 325-5700, monroeartscenter.org.
RSO: Brahms and Stravinsky
April 7, 7:30 p.m. This program with violinist Joshua Brown features Brahms’ “Violin Concerto in D Major,” Dvorak’s “Prague Waltzes,” Stravinsky’s “Suite from the Firebird” and Scott Joplin’s “The Entertainer” and “Maple Leaf Rag.” Rockford Symphony Orchestra, Coronado PAC, Rockford. Tickets: (815) 965-0049, rockfordsymphony.com.
Rockin’ Road to Dublin
April 8, 7 p.m. Combining the best of rock and Irish, the high-energy show spotlights Celtic rocker Chris Smith and Irish Dance World Champion Scott Doherty. Coronado PAC, Rockford, (815) 968-0595, coronadopac.org.
April 8, 7 p.m. Singer, vocalist and keyboard player Rundman presents a concert in various musical styles with opportunities for audience participation. Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, Rockford Lutheran High School, 3441 N. Alpine Road, Rockford, (815) 399-0531, oslcrockford.com.
Soar Radio Gospel Awards
April 9, 7 p.m. The awards show features the best in Gospel and Inspirational music and highlights local community leaders. Coronado PAC, Rockford, (815) 968-0595, coronadopac.org.
April 13, 7:30 p.m. Returning to the stage, the 35-member group, primarily comprised of steelpan and percussion majors at the university, has performed throughout the United States and around the world. MPAC, Rockford, (815) 964-9713, mendelssohnpac.org.
Three Dog Night
April 13, 8 p.m. Celebrate nearly five decades of hits with the icons whose lineup includes “Joy to the World” and “Eli’s Coming.” Coronado PAC, Rockford, (815) 968-0595, coronadopac.org.
April 12-22, Thu.-Sat. 7:30 p.m., Sun. 2 p.m. Two unemployed musicians witness the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre in Chicago and escape the gangsters by donning drag and joining an all-female band. Romantic complications ensue and chaos erupts. Based on the 1959 movie “Some Like It Hot.” Stage Coach Players Theatre, 126 S. 5th St., DeKalb, Ill., (815) 758-1940, stagecoachers.com.
April 13-14, Fri. 5-9 p.m., Sat. 4-9 p.m. Fun for the browser and the buyer, galleries and studios all over Rockford host new exhibits of original works. See website for locations in Rockford. Info: Rockford Area Arts Council, (815) 963-6765, springartscene.com.