There’s so much to do in our region! Here’s a look at what’s coming up this season at some of the many arts venues near you.
‘Greetings from Rockford, Illinois USA’
Through Jan. 5, Tue.-Fri. 11 a.m.-6 p.m., Sat. to 5 p.m. As Rockford’s tourism industry has grown along with renewed civic pride, the demand for local postcards is increasing. This exhibit includes original artworks of souvenir postcards created by more than 20 local artists. Kortman Gallery, 107 N. Main St., Rockford, (815) 968-0123, jrkortman.com.
Through Jan. 27, daily 10 a.m.-5 p.m. This exhibit features paintings, photography, sculptures and installations by five artists, using houses and other architectural forms as subjects that challenge our notions of social, political and environmental issues. Rockford Art Museum (RAM), 711 N. Main St., Rockford, (815) 968-2787, rockfordartmuseum.org.
Regional Juried Exhibition
Through Feb. 16, Tue.-Fri. 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Sat. noon-5 p.m. Featuring work by established and emerging artists from Illinois, Iowa and Wisconsin; painting and sculpture, video, interactive media, performances and installation art. Freeport Art Museum (FAM), 121 N. Harlem Ave., Freeport, (815) 235-9755, freeportartmuseum.org.
“Yes, Virginia: The Musical”
Dec. 21, 7 p.m. Based on the story of eight-year-old Virginia O’Hanlon, who wrote a letter in 1897 to the editor of the New York Sun asking about the existence of Santa Claus. The answer has become history’s most reprinted newspaper editorial. Children’s Theater Project/Youth Theater Project (CTP/YTP), Nordlof Center, 118 N. Main St., Rockford. Info: rockfordpubliclibrary.org.
Christmas at the Armory
Dec. 21-22, 7 p.m. A family evening of Christmas
songs. Surprise visit by you-know-who. Cocktails and buffet prior to show. Janesville Armory, 10 S. High St., Janesville, (608) 741-7400, janesvillearmory.com.
Shen Yun Performing Arts
Dec. 22-23, 3 p.m. Entertainment by the world-renowned classical Chinese dance and music company whose passion is reviving the lost world of traditional Chinese culture. Shen Yun means the beauty of divine beings dancing. Coronado PAC, Rockford, (815) 968-0595, coronadopac.org.
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. Monroe Arts Center (MAC), 1315 11th St., Monroe, Wis., (608) 325-5700, monroeartscenter.org.
Dec. 30, 4 p.m. Family entertainment featuring elite dunkers, exceptional ball handlers and Guinness World Record holders. BMO Harris Bank Center, 300 Elm St., Rockford, (815) 968-5222, thebmoharrisbankcenter.com.
Legends of Country
Dec. 31-Feb. 17, see website for times. A stage full of country superstars re-created in one performance: Dolly Parton, Tim McGraw, Reba McEntire, Brooks and Dunn, Shania Twain and Johnny Cash. Fireside Theatre, 1131 Janesville Ave., Fort Atkinson, Wis., (800) 477-9505, firesidetheatre.com.
Young Artists Concerto Competition
Jan. 5, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. In this annual competition, instrumentalists up to the age of 18 play a piece written for orchestral accompaniment; the winner performs as a soloist with the Kishwaukee Symphony Orchestra on Feb. 23 at 7:30 p.m. Kishwaukee Symphony Orchestra (KSO), NIU Boutell Concert Hall, 550 Lucinda Ave., DeKalb, Ill., (815) 756-3728, kishorchestra.org.
JPAC Improv Comedy
Jan. 11, 8 p.m. Improvisors pick suggestions from the audience and create off-the-cuff comedy and music. JPAC, Janesville, (608) 758-0297, janesvillepac.org.
Jan. 12, 11 a.m. Family fun with storytelling, juggling and magic. MAC, Monroe, (608) 325-5700, monroeartscenter.org.
Comedian Ron White
Jan. 12, 8 p.m. Ron “Tater Salad” White, best known as the cigar-smoking, scotch-drinking funnyman from the “Blue Collar Comedy” phenomenon, returns with his new stand-up show. Coronado PAC, Rockford, (815) 968-0595, coronadopac.org.
Movie Monday: ‘Grey Gardens’
Jan. 14, 6 p.m. The 1975 documentary exploring the eccentric lives of Edith and Edie Bouvier Beale, “high society drop outs” and reclusive relatives of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, as the mother-daughter pair thrives in their dilapidated, decaying mansion in East Hampton. RAM, Rockford, (815) 968-2787, rockfordartmuseum.org.
‘Million Dollar Quartet’
Jan. 17-18, Thu. 7:30 p.m., Fri. 8 p.m. The place is Sun Recording Studio in Memphis; the date is Dec. 4, 1956. Up-and-comer Jerry Lee Lewis and rockabilly king Carl Perkins are recording together. Elvis and Johnny Cash stop by the studio and voilà! The four musicians make history as they record together for the first and only time. Coronado PAC, Rockford, (815) 968-0595, coronadopac.org.
JPAC’s One Act Festival
Jan. 17-19, 7:30 p.m. Showcasing a variety of short plays produced by local playwrights, directors and actors. JPAC, Janesville, (608) 758-0297, janesvillepac.org.
Tito Cevallos Trio
Jan. 18, 7:30 p.m. Cevallos returns for an evening of Latin American sounds in this Charlotte’s Web series concert. Mendelssohn Performing Arts Center (MPAC), Mendelssohn Hall, 406 N. Main St., Rockford, (815) 964-9713, mendelssohnpac.org.
Jan. 18, 8 p.m. A concert celebrating the music of Elvis, era by era, from the rockabilly years through the military years, the movie years, the ’68 come back and the Las Vegas and concert years. Coronado PAC, Rockford, (815) 968-0595, coronadopac.org.
Bill Blagg LIVE!
Jan. 19, 7:30 p.m. Magician Blagg makes objects float in mid-air and vanish in the blink of an eye. Egyptian Theatre, 135 N. 2nd St., DeKalb, Ill., (815) 758-1215, egyptiantheatre.org.
RSO: Classics: Bach & Haydn
Jan. 19, 7:30 p.m. Featuring Bach’s “Brandenburg Concerto No. 5,” Haydn’s “Symphony No. 103 in E flat major” (“Drumroll”), Purcell’s “March for the Funeral of Queen Mary” and Lully’s “Marche pour la Cérémonie des Turcs”. RSO, Coronado PAC, Rockford, (815) 965-0049, rockfordsymphony.com.
‘Catch Me if You Can’
Jan. 24-Feb. 1, Thu.-Sat. 7:30 p.m.; Jan. 26-27, Feb. 2, 3 p.m. A light whodunit, with plot twists and murder. An advertising man’s bride disappears from a mountain lodge during the honeymoon and a different young woman appears, claiming she’s the missing wife. Beloit Civic Theatre, Elizabeth Reinholz Theatre, Beloit Memorial High School, 1225 4th St., Beloit, (608) 362-1595, beloitcivictheatre.org.
Comedy on Main
Jan. 25 & Feb. 15, 8 p.m. Nationally acclaimed comedians and up-and-comers perform in an intimate setting. JPAC, Janesville, (608) 758-0297, janesvillepac.org.
‘Million Dollar Quartet’
Jan. 25-27, Feb. 1-3, Fri.-Sat. 7:30 p.m., Sun. 2 p.m. The hit musical chronicling the legendary 1956 recording session in Memphis that brought together Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins. Byron Civic Theater, Byron Middle School, 850 N. Colfax St., Byron, Ill., (815) 312-3000, bctmagic.com.
Piano After Dark
Jan. 26, 7:30 p.m. An evening of favorite pop, jazz, classical and original compositions; light hors d’oeuvres and beverages. MAC, Monroe, Wis., (608) 325-5700, monroeartscenter.org.
The Three Little Pigs – Florentine Opera
Jan. 27, 3 p.m. An opera for children based on the classic tale. Children sit on the stage for an up-close perspective. Young Auditorium, UW-Whitewater, Whitewater, Wis., (262) 472- 2222, uww.edu.
Orchesis & Rockford City Dance Concert
Jan. 31-Feb. 2, 7:30 p.m. Produced in collaboration with various local artists under the direction of instructor Panna Broman. Maddox Theatre, Rockford University, 5050 E. State St., Rockford, (815) 226-4100, rockford.edu.
Feb. 1, 7:30 p.m. Some of the area’s finest musicians come together in celebration of Schubert. Tenor Michael Day performs a selection of Schubert Lieder (art songs) and the concert culminates with a performance of the famous “Trout” piano quintet. MPAC, Mendelssohn Hall, Rockford, (815) 964-9713, mendelssohnpac.org.
The Iliad, The Odyssey and all of Greek Mythology
Feb. 1-3, Fri.-Sat. 7 p.m., Sat.-Sun. 2 p.m. In 99 minutes or less, the cast speeds through all of Greek mythology, in a zippy and secretly educational show, covering silly decisions, absurd destinies and goofy characters. CTP/YTP, Nordlof Center, Rockford. Info: rockfordpubliclibrary.org.
Jazz at the Egyptian
Feb. 2, 7 p.m. The 3rd annual program featuring performances by the NIU Jazz Orchestra and the DeKalb and Sycamore High School Jazz Ensembles. Proceeds support local music programs at NIU and the high schools. Egyptian Theatre, DeKalb, Ill., (815) 758-1215, egyptiantheatre.org.
‘The Sunshine Boys’
Feb. 1-3 & 8-10, Fri.-Sat. 7 p.m., Sun. 2 p.m. Neil Simon’s hit play about Al Lewis and Willie Clark, who played vaudeville as a team for 43 years; mutual dislike has kept them far apart for the last 11. When they’re asked to reunite for a TV special, comedic sparks fly. Janesville Little Theatre, 906 W. Racine St., Janesville, (608) 756-4172, janesvilletheatre.org. Also runs Feb. 1-9, Fri.-Sat. 7:30 p.m., Sun. 2 p.m. at JPAC, Janesville, (608) 758-0297, janesvillepac.org.
‘Legally Blonde-The Musical’
Feb. 5, 7:30 p.m. Elle Woods tackles law school, stereotypes, sexism, snobbery and scandal as she proves that a woman can be blond and smart. Coronado PAC, Rockford, (815) 968-0595, coronadopac.org.
Feb. 7, 7 p.m. Broadway’s Tony Award-winning musical takes you behind the music for the true story of how four blue-collar kids from the wrong side of the tracks, Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons, became one of the greatest successes in pop music history. Young Auditorium, UW-Whitewater, Whitewater, Wis., (262) 472- 2222, uww.edu.
Feb. 8-9, 14-23 & 28, Thu.-Sat. 8 p.m. It’s been years since the tiny town of Erwin, Tenn., has seen a circus parade and the townspeople are starving for a show. Sparks World Famous Shows has a special attraction for 1916: the largest living land animal on earth. [usual]Suspects, Nordlof Center, Rockford. Info: rockfordpubliclibrary.org.
‘Guys and Dolls’
Feb. 8-10 & 15-17, Fri.-Sat. 7 p.m., Sun. 2 p.m. The classic Damon Runyon Broadway romantic comedy about the oldest established permanent floating craps game in New York, with hits like “Luck Be a Lady” and “Sit Down, You’re Rockin’ the Boat.” Main Street Players, Community Building Complex of Boone County, 111 W. 1st St., Belvidere, (800) 741-2963, mainstreetplayersofboonecounty.com.
Feb. 10, 3 p.m. In addition to being a singer/pianist, Ms. Beach is a storyteller whose performances include elegant ballads, love songs, swaying Latin rhythms and stomping swings that take the listener through a lifetime of memories in a matter of minutes. MPAC, Starr Center, 415 N. Church St., Rockford, (815) 964-9713, mendelssohnpac.org.
Shades of Bublé
Feb. 10, 6 p.m. The three-man tribute to Michael Bublé brings to the stage the entertainer’s swinging standards and pop hits, such as “Feeling Good,” “Come Fly with Me” and “Save the Last Dance for Me.” Egyptian Theatre, DeKalb, Ill., (815) 758-1215, egyptiantheatre.org.
The OK Factor
Feb. 13, 7:30 p.m. Olivia Diercks and Karla Colahan, cellist and violinist, create a unique musical experience that features a new and fun classical crossover style. Young Auditorium, UW-Whitewater, Whitewater, Wis., (262) 472- 2222, uww.edu.
Feb. 14, 8 p.m. Rock and Roll Hall-of-Famer Mellencamp entertains with classics like “Hurts So Good” and “ROCK in the USA” as well as material from his new album, “Other People’s Stuff.” Coronado PAC, Rockford, (815) 968-0595, coronadopac.org.
Feb. 15, 7 p.m. Brown’s debut album topped the Billboard Top Country Album chart and has garnered him accolades as one of Nashville’s most promising young stars. BMO Harris Bank Center, Rockford, (815) 968-5222, thebmoharrisbankcenter.com.
FAM: ‘I am American’
Feb. 15-April 15, Tue.-Fri. 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Sat. noon-5 p.m. Using a variety of styles, visual forms, symbols and metaphors, immigrants and Native Americans explore the bi-cultural experience and the meaning of being American. FAM, Freeport, (815) 125-9755, freeportartmuseum.org.
The Everly Set
Feb. 16, 7:30 p.m. NYC singer-songwriters Sean Altman and Jack Skuller present a tribute to The Everly Brothers with hits such as “Bye Bye Love,” “Wake Up Little Suzie” and “Cathy’s Clown.” Janesville Armory, Janesville, (608) 741-7400, janesvillearmory.com.
RSO: Schubert Revisited
Feb. 16, 7:30 p.m. Schubert’s “Symphony No. 8 in B minor,” Beethoven’s “King Stephen Overture, Op. 117,” Mozart’s “Exsultate Jubilate” and Golijov’s “She Was Here.” RSO, Coronado PAC, Rockford, (815) 965-0049, rockfordsymphony.com.
Feb. 16, 7:30 p.m. Singer/songwriter Secada entertains with hits like “I’m Free” and “Do You Believe in Us?” Egyptian Theatre, DeKalb, Ill., (815) 758-1215, egyptiantheatre.org.
Avalon String Quartet
Feb. 17, lecture 2 p.m., performance 3 p.m. The quartet returns for its eighth season, performing works by Mendelssohn. The pre-concert lecture offers insights into the pieces to be performed. MPAC, Mendelssohn Hall, Rockford, (815) 964-9713, mendelssohnpac.org.
‘My Fair Lady’
Feb. 21-April 7, see website for times. The Cinderella story of Eliza Doolittle, a bedraggled, cockney flower girl, who is transformed into an elegant lady by the brilliant and irascible Professor Higgins, who teachers her the proper way to speak and behave. Fireside, Fort Atkinson, Wis., (800) 477-9505, firesidetheatre.com.
Feb. 22, 7 p.m. Comedian Maniscalco has a new top-ranked show on Sirius XM, “The Pete and Sebastian Show.” Coronado PAC, Rockford, (815) 968-0595, coronadopac.org.
Beloit International Film Festival
Feb. 22-March 3. 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.
‘Run for Your Wife’
Feb. 22-March 10, Fri. 8 p.m., Sat. 2 & 8 p.m., Sun. 2 p.m. In this British farce, a taxi driver with two wives in different areas of the city has to work overtime to keep his double life from blowing up. Pec Playhouse Theatre, 314 Main St., Pecatonica, Ill., (815) 239-1210, pecplayhouse.org.
Jabali African Acrobats
Feb. 23, 11 a.m.-noon. Direct from Mombasa, Kenya, these acrobats combine the artistry of fast-paced movement, music, dance and elegance. Nordlof Center, Rockford. Info: rockfordpubliclibrary.org.
‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs’
Feb. 23, 2 p.m. Missoula Children’s Theatre casts local students in grades K-12 to perform in this production of the classic children’s story. Young Auditorium, UW-Whitewater, Whitewater, Wis., (262) 472- 2222, uww.edu.
The Second City
Feb. 23, 7:30 p.m. The comedy company’s latest undertaking, “It’s Not You, It’s Me” explores heartbreak, missed connections and the mire of human relationships. Egyptian Theatre, DeKalb, Ill., (815) 758-1215, egyptiantheatre.org.
The Accidental Hero
Feb. 23, 7:30 p.m. This multimedia performance recounts the story of a WWII officer, Matt Konop, who liberated the Czech villages of his grandparents. Using written accounts, photos and film footage, grandson Patrick Dewane plays multiple roles, bringing to life his grandfather’s journey from Omaha Beach to the Battle of the Bulge to the end of the war. MAC, Monroe, (608) 325-5700, monroeartscenter.org.
KSO: Arthur D. Montzka Memorial Concert
Feb. 23, 7:30 p.m. Pre-concert talk 6:30 p.m. Selections include Beethoven’s “Symphony No. 4 in B-flat Major, Op. 60,” Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture, Op. 49,” and the concerto and soloist winner of the Young Artists Concerto competition. KSO, Boutell Concert Hall, DeKalb, Ill., (815) 756-3728, kishorchestra.org.
MPAC: Chandler Starr Miller Scholarship Competition Recital
Feb. 24, 2 p.m. Now in its 58th year, the competition offers young musicians an opportunity to compete with their peers for awards and valuable feedback from professional adjudicators. Open to students from third grade through high school; first place winners in each division perform in the Winners’ Recital at Mendelssohn Hall. MPAC, Rockford, (815) 964-9713, mendelssohnpac.org.
‘The Wizard of Oz’
Feb. 28, 7:30 p.m. A Kansas twister transports Dorothy to the Land of Oz, where she and her friends – the cowardly lion, a tin man and a scarecrow – must defend against the Wicked Witch. Coronado PAC, Rockford, (815) 968-0595, coronadopac.org.
MPAC: Isthmus Brass Quintet
March 1, 7:30 p.m. Wisconsin’s premier brass ensemble entertains under the direction of brass icon John Stevens. MPAC, Mendelssohn Hall, Rockford, (815) 964-9703, mendelssohnpac.org.
Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra
March 3, 2 p.m. This seven-member ensemble from Madison plays Beethoven’s “Septet in E-flat major, Opus 20” and Carl Nielsen’s “Seranata in Vano, FS 68.” MAC, Monroe, (608) 325-5700, monroeartscenter.org.
‘Rise Up, O Men’
March 3, 3 p.m. The Church Basement Ladies are back. As the church prepares for participation in the town’s 1964 Centennial celebration, the comings and goings are seen through the eyes of the menfolk, who have their own problems to solve. Young Auditorium, UW-Whitewater, Whitewater Wis., (262) 472-2222, uww.edu.
March 3, 7 p.m. The group continues into its third decade, pleasing Celtic, country, bluegrass and rock fans with their storytelling and passion for music. Their new album, “Go Climb A Tree,”
mixes traditional Irish music with modern influences. Egyptian Theatre, DeKalb, Ill., (815) 758-1215, egyptiantheatre.org.
AE: “Silent Sky”
March 7-17, Thu.-Sat. 7:30 p.m., Sat. 4 p.m., Sun. 2 p.m. In 1905, Henrietta packs her bags for an exciting new job as a “human computer” at Harvard Observatory. She soon discovers that her role there is limited, but her mind is not. The inspiring story of Henrietta Swan Leavitt, a woman who, quite literally, changed the way we see the universe. AE, Rockford University, Cheek Theatre, (815) 394-5004, artistsensemble.org.
RSO: Behind the Mask and More
March 9, 7:30 p.m. Relive Broadway’s iconic hits, from shows such as “Phantom of the Opera,” “Cats,” “Evita,” “Wicked,” “Jersey Boys” and more. Performed by RSO with vocals by Broadway stars. Coronado PAC, Rockford, (815) 968-0595, rockfordsymphony.org.
March 11, 5:30 p.m. Lifelong Rockford resident and violinist Zahn teaches and performs in the northern Illinois area; she is concertmaster of the Rock Valley College and Community Orchestra. MPAC, Emerson House, 420 N. Main St., (815) 964-9713, mendelssohnpac.org.
‘The Winter’s Tale’
March 12, 7:30 p.m. Shakespeare’s play is a roller-coaster ride from romance to tragedy to comedy. The troupe blends Renaissance-era stagecraft with modern sensibility. American Shakespeare Center, Young Auditorium, UW-Whitewater, Whitewater, Wis., (262) 472-2222, uww.edu.
‘The Comedy of Errors’
March 13, 7:30 p.m. Long-separated twins, tricky servants, a jealous wife and her lovelorn sister are a few of the characters who are steeped in this story filled with mistaken identities and slapstick humor. American Shakespeare Center, Young Auditorium, UW-Whitewater, Whitewater, Wis., (262) 472-2222, uww.edu.
Trinadora’s Celtic Frolic
March 16, doors open 6 p.m., concert 7-9 p.m. Jannie Nelson and Ron Holm sing and play keyboard, guitar, ocarina, harmonica and jazz, with music ranging from country to jazz. Pizza and snacks available. Spring Creek United Church of Christ, 4500 Spring Creek Road, Rockford, (815) 877-2576, springcreekucc.org.
March 16, 7:30 p.m. The nine-year journey that has seen one Beethoven symphony performed each season since 2010-2011 culminates with a performance of his massive final symphony, compete with chorus and soloists. Lake Geneva Symphony Orchestra, Young Auditorium, UW-Whitewater, Whitewater, Wis., (262) 472-2222, uww.edu.
March 19, 7:30 p.m. Inspired by the historical battle between Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla, two Israeli music and dance troops use sound, lights and visual effects to portray different viewpoints of the essence of light and electricity. Young Auditorium, UW-Whitewater, Whitewater, Wis., (262) 472-2222, uww.edu.
‘The Sound of Music’
March 26, 7:30 p.m. Rodgers and Hammerstein’s beloved musical story of Maria and the Von Trapp family, in the years immediately preceding World War II, with score including “My Favorite Things,” “Edelweiss” and “The Sound of Music.” Coronado PAC, Rockford, (815) 968-0595, coronadopac.org.
Red Hot Chilli Pipers
March 29, 8 p.m. With their signature “bagrock,” this nine-piece ensemble, consisting of pipers, guitarists, keyboardists and drummers, entertains with a fusion of rock anthems and the great tunes from the glens and the mountains of Scotland. Egyptian Theatre, DeKalb, Ill., (815) 758-1215, egyptiantheatre.org.
One Night of Queen
March 30, 8 p.m. Gary Mullen and The Works re-create the look, sound, pomp and showmanship of the iconic rock band. Coronado PAC, Rockford, (815) 968-0595, coronadopac.org.