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.
Art by Kelly Griffin
Through May 2, Tue.-Th. 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Sat.-Sun. 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Self-taught, local photographer Griffin finds inspiration from the beauty and wonder of nature. From her backyard garden to mountains around the globe, her work captures tranquil moments. Nicholas Conservatory & Gardens, 1354 N. 2nd St., Rockford, (815) 987-8858, rockfordparkdistrict.org/ncg.
April 5, 6:30-9 p.m. A dozen local artists compete to win a solo show at the museum. Rockford Art Museum (RAM), 711 N. Main St., Rockford, (815) 968-2787, rockfordartmuseum.org.
April 5, 7 p.m. Morgan entertains with her own country sound, singing about heartbreak, love, growing old, perseverance and much more. Listening Room, 201 7th St., Rockford, (815) 965-8903, rockfordlisteningroom.com.
April 5, 8 p.m. Returning to the stage for a tribute to four hard-rock legends: Led Zeppelin, Aerosmith, Van Halen and AC/DC. Egyptian Theatre, 135 N. 2nd St., DeKalb, Ill., (815) 758-1215, egyptiantheatre.org.
‘Mary Poppins Jr.’
April 5-7, Fri.-Sat. 7 p.m., Sat.-Sun. 2 p.m. Students from grades 6-8 perform. Woodlawn Arts Academy, Sauk Valley Community College, 173 Ill. Rt. 2, Dixon, (815) 626-4278, woodlawnartsacademy.com.
‘The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane’
April 5-13, Fri.-Sat. 7:30 p.m.; April 13, 2 p.m. Rynn Jacobs, a 13-year old English girl, lives down a lonely lane with a father no one ever sees. What is her secret? Everyone who knows is dead. Winneshiek Players Theatre, 28 W. Clark St., Freeport, (815) 232-7023, winneshiekplayers.org.
April 6, 2 & 7 p.m. Children of all ages enjoy the timeless story. Rockford Dance Academy, Hononegah Performing Arts Center, 307 Salem St., Rockton, Ill., (815) 963-3341, rockforddancecompany.com.
April 6, 7:30 p.m. Award-winning performers perform more than 20 top hits made famous by Hank Williams and Patsy Cline. Young Auditorium, UW-Whitewater, 930 W. Main St., Whitewater, Wis., (262) 472- 2222, uww.edu.
RSO: Brahms & Mendelssohn
April 6, 7:30 p.m. The evening’s pieces include Brahms’ Piano Concerto No. 2 in B flat major and Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 4 in A major. Coronado Performing Arts Center (Coronado PAC), 314 N. Main St., Rockford, (815) 968-0595, rockfordsymphony.com.
April 8-10, 11:30 a.m. Interactive musical comedy experience with a dueling piano duo. Tickets online or at (815) 220-7386. Includes buffet lunch. Starved Rock Lodge, Ill. Rts. 178 & 71, Utica, Ill., (815) 220-7386, starvedrocklodge.com.
Casting Crowns-Only Jesus Tour
April 9, 7 p.m. Grammy-winning group Casting Crowns performs Christian music. BMO Harris Bank Center, 300 Elm St., Rockford, (815) 968-5222, thebmoharrisbankcenter.com.
Whitewater Symphony Orchestra
April 10, 7:30 p.m. Featuring a variety of works from the classical period to modern day, with student concerto soloists as well as music faculty. Young Auditorium, UW-Whitewater, Whitewater, Wis., (262) 472- 2222, uww.edu.
Rick Lindy & The Wild Ones
April 10-11, see website for times. The group returns to the stage to entertain with classic retro rock of the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s; relive the sounds of Elvis, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Tom Jones and many others. White Pines Inn, 6712 W. Pines Road, Mt. Morris, Ill., (815) 946-3817, whitepinesinn.com.
Music in the Museum: Tundras
April 11, 6-8 p.m. Local psychedelic rock band Tundras entertains. Cash bar. RAM, Rockford, (815) 968-2787, rockfordartmuseum.org.
Menopause the Musical
April 11-May 26, see website for times. Set in a large store’s lingerie department, this musical parody is set to classic tunes from the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s; four shoppers sing about chocolate cravings, hot flashes and loss of memory. Fireside Theatre, 1131 Janesville Ave., Fort Atkinson, Wis., (800) 477-9505, firesidetheatre.com.
April 12, 7 p.m. Mac’s range includes classical, Latin, jazz, rock, blues and folk. Listening Room, Rockford, (815) 965-8903, rockfordlisteningroom.com.
28th Annual RAMI Awards
April 12, 7 p.m. Honoring local musical talent in the Rockford area; special guest performance by Tracy Silverman. Tebala Event Center, 7910 Newburg Road, Rockford, (815) 494-1365, ramiawards.com.
April 12, 7:30 p.m. Known for his elegant musicianship, pianist Kalhouse has a repertoire spanning three centuries, with the music of Scarlatti and Bach, Beethoven and Chopin, Legeti and Feldman. Mendelssohn Performing Arts Center (MPAC), Mendelssohn Hall, 406 N. Main St., Rockford, (815) 964-9713, mendelssohnpac.org.
April 12-13, 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. Info: Rockford Area Arts Council, (815) 963-6765, springartscene.com.
‘I Am American’
Through April 13, Tue.-Fri. 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Sat. noon-5 p.m. Artists use a variety of styles to provide perspectives on ethnicity and a bi-cultural experience. Freeport Art Museum (FAM), 121 N. Harlem Ave., Freeport, (815) 235-9755, freeportartmuseum.org.
The Magic School Bus: Lost in Space
April 13, 3 p.m. When Mrs. Frizzle’s class field trip is ruined by the planetarium closure, the Magic School Bus blasts off into outer space to explore the solar system. When their teacher is separated from the group, her class must travel through the planets to rescue her. Young Auditorium, UW-Whitewater, Whitewater, Wis., (262) 472- 2222, uww.edu.
BJSO: A Rhapsody in Sound!
April 14, 2 p.m. Guest pianist David Newman performs Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” and Ottorino Respigi’s “The Pines of Rome,” among others. Beloit Janesville Symphony (BJSO), Eaton Chapel, Beloit College, College and Chapin streets, Beloit, (608) 363-2755, beloit.edu.
April 15, 6 p.m. Bring the family for a rock concert featuring Rhythm-Quest Rocks! Woodlawn Arts Academy, 3807 Woodlawn Road, Sterling, Ill., (815) 626-4278, woodlawnartsacademy.com.
Open Mic & Poetry Slam
April 16, May 21 & June 18, 6-8 p.m. During the first half of the show, all acts are welcome, including music, comedy and dance; in the second half, poets are invited to perform their original works during the slam competition. Nordlof Center, 118 N. Main St., Rockford. Info: rockfordpubliclibrary.org.
Iliza: Elder Millennial Tour
April 18, 7 p.m. The comedian performs stand up, sporting styles in classic looks from the late ’90s and early 2000s, and featuring an official Spotify playlist with her favorite songs of the era. Coronado PAC, Rockford, (815) 968-0595, coronadopac.org.
April 19, 7 p.m. The trio performs acoustic, soft-rock songs from the ’60s through today. Listening Room, Rockford, (815) 965-8903, rockfordlisteningroom.com.
‘The Dixie Swim Club’
April 19, 7:30 p.m. In this comedy, five Southern women meet every August at the same beach cottage on North Carolina’s Outer Banks to renew the friendships that began many years ago on their college swim team. Janesville Performing Arts Center (JPAC), 408 S. Main St., Janesville, (608) 758-0297, janesvillepac.org.
April 19, 8 p.m. Country music artist McCreery entertains with smash hits such as “Five More Minutes,” “This is It” and “See You Tonight,” as well as songs from his latest album, “Seasons Change.” Egyptian Theatre, DeKalb, Ill., (815) 758-1215, egyptiantheatre.org.
April 24, 7 p.m. Carbonaro performs comically perplexing and improbable feats of magic, with lots of audience interaction. Coronado PAC, Rockford, (815) 968-0595, coronadopac.org.
Love Me Tender
April 24-25, see website for times. Travis Morris represents all stages of the King’s career with songs such as “Suspicious Minds” and “That’s Alright Mama.” White Pines, Mt. Morris, Ill., (815) 946-3817, whitepinesinn.com.
‘The Wizard of Oz’
April 25-28, Thu.-Sat. 7 p.m., Sat.-Sun. 2 p.m. Dorothy travels with her friends the scarecrow, the lion and the tin man, to discover the magical power of home. Children’s Community Theatre, Egyptian Theatre, DeKalb, Ill., (815) 758-1215, egyptiantheatre.org.
‘All Shook Up’
April 25-28, Thu.-Sat. 7:30 p.m., Sun 2 p.m. It’s 1955 and a guitar-playing young man rides into a “square” little town in a “square” little state, changing everything and everyone he meets. Inspired by and featuring the songs of Elvis Presley, such as “Heartbreak Hotel,” “Jailhouse Rock” and “Don’t be Cruel.” Maddox Theatre, Rockford University, 5050 E. State St., Rockford, (815) 226-4100, rockford.edu.
April 25-May 4, Thu.-Sat. 7:30 p.m., Sat. 3 p.m. In this comedy, Manhanttanite Greg returns from the park with a dog named Sylvia and is happy to have an escape from his job frustrations and the unknowns of middle age; as Sylvia moves into her husband’s heart, Kate is not so thrilled. Will the pup become a major bone of contention between the couple? Beloit Civic Theatre, Elizabeth Reinholz Theatre, Beloit Memorial High School, 1225 4th St., Beloit, (608) 362-1595, beloitcivictheatre.org.
April 25-28 & May 3-5, Thu.-Sat. 7:30 p.m., Sun. 2 p.m. What is the best way to raise money for a new settee in the local hospital waiting room? Women friends pose for an “alternative” calendar, which draws a lot of attention to their small village of Knapeley in the Yorkshire Dales. Stage Coach Players Theatre, 126 S. 5th St., DeKalb, Ill., (815) 758-1940, stagecoachers.com.
April 26, 7 p.m. The father-daughter acoustic duo of Molly and Mark Mathewson plays original songs containing elements of folk, bluegrass and Americana. Listening Room, Rockford, (815) 965-8903, rockfordlisteningroom.com.
Big Band Music
April 26, 7:30-8:30 p.m. The Royal Scots, 10 singers plus rhythm section, entertain with their Big Band Spring jazz show. Ferguson Fine Arts Theatre, Highland Community College, 2998 W. Pearl City Road, Freeport, (815) 235-6127, highland.edu.
‘The Lion King Jr.’
April 26-28, Fri.-Sat. 7 p.m., Sat.-Sun. 2 p.m. The two-act musical is adapted from the Disney musical and film of the same name. Children’s Theater Project/Youth Theater Project, Nordlof Center, Rockford. Info: rockfordpubliclibrary.org.
BCT: ‘Lucky Stiff’
April 26-May 5, Fri.-Sat 7:30 p.m., Sun. 2 p.m. An offbeat musical murder mystery farce, complete with mistaken identities, diamonds and a corpse in a wheelchair. Will British shoe salesman Harry Witherspoon pass off his uncle as alive and inherit $6 million, or will the money go to the Universal Dog Home of Brooklyn? Byron Civic Theater, Byron Middle School, 850 N. Colfax St., Byron, Ill., (815) 312-3000, bctmagic.com.
April 26-May 12, Fri.-Sat. 8 p.m., Sun. 2 p.m. On the eve of her wedding, a daughter’s quest to discover the identity of her father brings three men from her mother’s past to return to the Greek island they last visited 20 years ago. Filled with ABBA’s hits, such as “Dancing Queen” and “Lay All Your Love on Me.” Pec Playhouse Theatre, 314 Main St., Pecatonica, Ill., (815) 239-1210, pecplayhouse.org.
The Great Boodini!
April 27, 2-3:30 p.m. The award-winning magician amazes with sleight-of-hand tricks, juggling, illusions and comedy. JPAC, Janesville, (608) 758-0297, janesvillepac.org.
RSO: Tchaikovsky & Bartok
April 27, 7:30 p.m. A performance of Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto, Op. 35, featuring violinist SooBeen Lee, and Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra. Coronado PAC, Rockford, (815) 968-0595, coronadopac.org.
‘Rent’ – 20th Anniversary Tour
April 28, 7 p.m. The rock musical “Rent” follows a year in the lives of seven artists struggling to follow their dreams without selling out; a timeless celebration of friendship and creativity. Young Auditorium, UW-Whitewater, Whitewater, Wis., (262) 472-2222, uww.edu.
Music & Drama Festival
April 30, see website for times. Family-friendly variety shows showcasing young performers as they act and sing. JPAC, Janesville, (608) 758-0297, janesvillepac.org.
May 1-5, Wed.-Sat. 7:30 p.m., Sun. 2 p.m. This suspenseful drama uncovers Jack Manningham’s subtle plot to drive his wife insane; however, Inspector Roughy suspects foul play as he investigates a 15-year-old murder on Angel Street. Young Auditorium, UW-Whitewater, Whitewater, Wis., (262) 472-2222, uww.edu.
May 2, 7:30 p.m. Playwright J.M. Barrie is struggling to create a story until he meets four young brothers whose make-believe adventures inspire him to create the classic tale of Peter Pan. Coronado PAC, Rockford, (815) 968-0595, coronadopac.org.
Branson Duo Gordy & Debbie
May 2-3, 11:20 a.m. On Thursday, the award-winning Branson couple entertain with a variety of country, ’50s and ’60s, and patriotic music. On Friday, their country legends show features songs from Glen Campbell, Loretta Lynn, George Jones, Barbara Mandrell, Dolly Parton and many others. White Pines Inn, Mt. Morris, Ill., (815) 946-3817, whitepinesinn.com.
May 3, 7 p.m. Most recently with award-winning Chicago bluegrass group Henhouse Prowlers, Lambert entertains with songs from his new CD. Listening Room, Rockford, (815) 965-8903, rockfordlisteningroom.com.
Northern Wind Trio
May 3, 7:30 p.m. Contemporary world music fusion where Mongolian throat singing is accompanied by guitar, assorted percussion instruments, hand pan and traditional Mongolian instruments. MPAC, Mendelssohn Hall, 406 N. Main St., Rockford, (815) 964-9713, mendelssohnpac.org.
May 3, 7:30 p.m. The multi-genre star from Louisiana entertains with his new single, “Heartbreak,” and selections from his many albums. Coronado PAC, Rockford, (815) 968-0595, coronadopac.org.
KSO: Aaron Copland, An American Icon
May 4, 7:30 p.m. Pre-concert talk 6:30 p.m. In addition to Aaron Copland’s Symphony No. 3, the orchestra performs Liszt’s “Mazzepa;” guest soloist and internationally known pianist Stephen Beus performs Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 3 in C Major, Op. 26. Kishwaukee Symphony Orchestra (KSO), NIU Boutell Concert Hall, 550 Lucinda Ave., DeKalb, Ill., (815) 756-3728, kishorchestra.org.
RBRM 4 The Love of It Tour
May 8, 7:30 p.m. Grammy-winning members of New Edition, R&B/pop performers Ronnie DeVoe, Bobby Brown, Ricky Bell and Michael Bivins entertain from their sizeable catalogue. Coronado PAC, Rockford, (815) 968-0595, coronadopac.org.
May 8, 7:30 p.m. Seasonal music featuring Regent Singers, Women’s Ensemble and the Rockford University Vocal Collective a cappella group. Maddox Theatre, Rockford University, Rockford, (815) 226-4100, rockford.edu.
Anderlik & Church
May 10, 7 p.m. An evening of music including southern and classic rock, blues, swing, jazz, folk and bluegrass. Listening Room, Rockford, (815) 965-8903, rockfordlisteningroom.com.
May 10-25, Fri.-Sat. 7:30 p.m. Four historical women tackle the themes of violence and legacy, art and activism, and feminism and terrorism, while trying not to lose their heads. [usual]Suspects, Nordlof Center, Rockford. Info: rockfordpubliclibrary.org.
May 10, 8 p.m. The progressive rock band performs their album “Point of Know Return” it its entirety, along with other classics. Coronado PAC, Rockford, (815) 968-0595, coronadopac.org.
‘Farce of Nature’
May 10-12 & 17-19, Fri.-Sat. 7 p.m., Sun 2 p.m. The Wilburn family of Mayhew, Ark., is in for a change of pace at its fishing lodge in the Ozarks. Business is down and the lone guest who just checked in is a very nervous Carmine DeLuca from Chicago. It turns out she is just angling for a change of location in the witness protection program. Main Street Players, Community Building Complex of Boone County, 111 W. 1st St., Belvidere, (800) 741-2963, mainstreetplayersofboonecounty.com.
AE: ‘Sherlock Holmes & the Precarious Position’
May 10-26, Thu.-Sat. 7:30 p.m., Sat. 4 p.m., Sun. 2 p.m. The Baker Street Boys are back. When a nervous client consults Holmes about a job offer that is tempting but too good to be true, it leads to a mystery that baffles Scotland Yard and, perhaps, even the world’s foremost consulting detective.
Artists’ Ensemble (AE), Cheek Theatre, Rockford University, 5050 E. State St., Rockford, (815) 394-5004, artistsensemble.org.
RSO: Cirque de la Symphonie
May 11, 3 & 7:30 p.m. Elegant choreography of Cirque acrobatics performed to classical masterpieces and other orchestrated contemporary music. Coronado PAC, Rockford, (815) 968-0595, coronadopac.org.
May 12, 8 p.m. Tribute to Pink Floyd for the 40th anniversary celebration of the iconic rock opera “The Wall.” Other highlights include songs from “Dark Side of the Moon,” “Wish You Were Here,” “Animals” and much more. Coronado PAC, Rockford, (815) 968-0595, coronadopac.org.
Truman’s Ridge Band
May 18, 7-9 p.m. A bit of folk, a hint of jazz and a touch of swing combine for an evening of Chicago-style bluegrass. Spring Creek United Church of Christ, 4500 Spring Creek Road, Rockford, (815) 877-2576, springcreekucc.org.
Rockford Jazz Ensemble
May 19, 3 p.m. Rockford’s newest big band performs a variety of jazz standards and contemporary selections, joined by a youth jazz band. MPAC, Starr Center, 415 N. Church St., Rockford, (815) 964-9713, mendelssohnpac.org.
Rock Around the Clock
May 20-22, 11:30 a.m. Patty Waszak, who hails from Pigeon Forge, Tenn., entertains with comedy and a wide variety of music, such as “Rock Around the Clock” and “Johnny B Goode.” Tickets online or at (815) 220-7386. Buffet lunch included. Starved Rock Lodge, Utica, Ill., (815) 220-7386, starvedrocklodge.com.
Roy & Patsy’s Roadshow
May 25, 7-9 p.m. The music of Roy Orbison, Patsy Cline and other country legends, performed by Ron Holm, Jannie Nelson and Trinadora Rocks. Spring Creek United Church of Christ, Rockford, (815) 877-2576, springcreekucc.org.
That’s What I Call Rock ‘N Roll
May 30-July 14, see website for times. Music from the ’50s through the ’80s, with tributes to Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, The Beach Boys, the Beatles, Michael Jackson, Led Zeppelin, Queen, Springsteen and many other superstars. Fireside, Fort Atkinson, Wis., (800) 477-9505, firesidetheatre.com.
‘Junie B. Jones is Not a Crook’
May 31-June 2, Fri.-Sat. 7 p.m., Sun. 2 p.m. It’s been a rough day at kindergarten for Junie B. Jones. First, someone stole her new furry mittens. Then, she finds a wonderful pen of many colors; is it finders’ keepers? That new handsome boy might be impressed by the pen, but is it OK to keep it? Mighty Richland Players, 203 W. High St., Orangeville, Ill., (815) 819-1310, mightyrichlandplayers.org.
Rick Lindy & The Wild Ones
June 3-5, see website for times. The group returns to the stage to entertain with classic retro rock of the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s; relive the sounds of Elvis, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Tom Jones and many others. Starved Rock Lodge, Utica, Ill., (815) 220-7386, starvedrocklodge.com.
June 5-8 & July 10-14, see website for times. On the eve of her wedding, a daughter’s quest to discover the identity of her father brings three men from her mother’s past to the Greek island they last visited 20 years ago. Filled with ABBA’s hits, such as “Dancing Queen” and “Lay All Your Love on Me.” Starlight Theatre, Rock Valley College (RVC), 3301 N. Mulford Road, Rockford, (815) 921-2160, rockvalleycollege.edu.
Franklin Boggs Exhibit
June 7-28, Mon.-Fri. 9 a.m.-4 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Sun. 11 a.m.-4 p.m. The exhibition, “The Art of Economics,” features the work of Boggs, a longtime professor of art at Beloit College, who produced large-scale public WPA murals as well as smaller works. Wright Museum of Art, Beloit College, 700 College St., Beloit, (608) 363-2702, beloit.edu.
June 1, 7-9 p.m. Folksinger/songwriter Johnathan hosts the weekly “WoodSongs Old Time Radio Hour” on many PBS stations; he entertains with songs of rural America. Spring Creek United Church of Christ, Rockford, (815) 877-2576, springcreekucc.org.