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.
Smokey Joe’s Café
Through Aug. 31, see website for days/times. Features nearly 40 of the greatest songs ever recorded and transforms classic pop music into compelling musical theater. The Fireside Dinner Theatre, Business Hwy. 26 South, Fort Atkinson, Wis., (800) 477-9505, firesidetheatre.com.
Through Aug. 10, see website for days/times. Set in 19th century Paris, the award-winning musical uses the tale of Jean Valjean to examine broken dreams, unrequited love, passion, sacrifice and redemption. Timber Lake Playhouse, Timber Lake Road, Mt. Carroll, Ill., (815) 244-2035, timberlakeplayhouse.org.
Point of Color Exhibit
Through Aug. 22, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tues.-Sat. Painting outdoors: From life, members seek to honestly interpret the natural and man-made beauty and diversity of Wisconsin’s landscapes and culture. Monroe Arts Center, 1315 11th St., Monroe, Wis. (608) 325-5700, monroeartscenter.org.
Mark Twain and the Laughing River
Through Sept. 27, Wed., Fri-Sat. 7:30 p.m. The wit and wisdom of this American humorist and author come alive as Jim Post blends his skills as storyteller, actor, historian and musician, with an original script and songs composed for the show. One Eleven Main Restaurant, 111 Main St., Galena, Ill. (815) 777-8030, jimpost.com.
The Brothers Quinn
Aug. 8, 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Part of Friday in the Park music series. Concert is free. Get $6 lunch from local restaurant. National Bank Plaza, State & Grand, Downtown Beloit, Wis., downtownbeloit.com.
Music on Chicago
Aug. 8, 5:30-11 p.m. Music fest with bands Rock on Chicago & Big Daddy Woo Woo, great food, beer garden, open air market. $5/under 21 must be accompanied by an adult. Downtown Freeport, Chicago Avenue between Main and Stephenson, (815) 232-9000.
Westside Andy/Mel Ford Band
Aug. 8, 7 p.m. Great blues with electric harmonica. Free. Music & More. Harry C. Moore Pavilion at Riverside Park, 1160 Riverside Dr., Beloit, friendsofriverfront.com.
Aug. 9, 2 & 8 p.m. Original work by Mike Webb and Mike Mastroianni, music by Jim Chabucos, explores what happens to a family and a community when they accept a person with disabilities into their lives. Starlight Theatre, RVC, 3301 N. Mulford Road, Rockford, (815) 921-2160.
Aug. 9, 7:30 p.m. This country singer’s debut album in 2009 yielded two No. 1 hits – “A Little More Country Than That” and “Roll With It” – and the Top 15 charting “I Can’t Love You Back.” Boone County Fairgrounds, 8791 Illinois 76, Belvidere, boonecountyfair.com.
Market Square Arts Festival
Aug. 9-10, Sat. 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Sun. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Juried art and fine crafts fair. Wide range of all- original artwork made by area and regional artists. Live music by regional musicians. Old Market House Square, 121 N. Commerce St., Galena, Ill., (815) 777-1448, visitgalena.org.
33rd Annual Art in the Park
Aug. 9-10, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Sat. to 4 p.m. A juried show that spotlights original fine art of more than 80 artists from across the country. Silent auction, live entertainment, food and children’s activity tent. Flat Iron Park, 201 Wrigley Dr., Lake Geneva, Wis., (262) 249-7988, genevalakeart.org.
Willow Folk Festival
Aug. 9-10, 11 a.m. More than 100 amateur and professional bluegrass, country and spiritual singers with acoustic musicians perform from a hay wagon on a country church lawn. Homecooked food available. Located three miles east of Stockton, then six miles on Willow Road. No dogs or alcohol allowed on church grounds. $5/age 8 and under free. Willow United Methodist Church, 6522 S. Willow Road, Stockton, Ill., (815) 947-3789, galena.org.
The Little Rascals (1994)
Aug. 11, 7 p.m. (dusk). Free. Friday Night Flix. Davis Park, 320 S. Wyman St., Rockford, (815) 489-8207.
The Barefoot Hawaiian
Aug. 12, 7 p.m. Sounds of Summer Concert Series. Free. Sinnissippi Park Band Shell, 1401 N. 2nd St., Rockford, rockfordparkdistrict.org.
Moonlight Jazz Orchestra
Aug. 14, 7 p.m. Sounds of Summer Concert Series. Free. Sinnissippi Park Band Shell, 1401 N. 2nd St., Rockford, rockfordparkdistrict.org.
SHOUT! The Mod Musical
Aug. 14-24, see website for days/times. Five girls coming of age in 1960s London get relationship advice from an advice columnist. Hear hits like “These Boots are Made for Walkin’,” “Don’t Sleep in the Subway,” “Downtown,” “To Sir, With Love.” Timber Lake Playhouse, Mt. Carroll, (815) 244-2035.
Harlan Jefferson Jazz Trio
Aug. 15, 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Friday in the Park music series. Get $6 lunch from local restaurant. National Bank Plaza, State & Grand, Downtown Beloit, Wis., downtownbeloit.com.
Music & More: Streetlife
Aug. 15, 7 p.m. A unique blend of R&B, smooth jazz and contemporary styles. Free. Harry C. Moore Pavilion, Riverside Park, Beloit, friendsofriverfront.com.
Rockton Art in the Park
Aug. 17, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. The 44th annual arts & crafts fair features 50 exhibitors selling their products, 50/50 raffle, homemade pie competition, more. Proceeds benefit Hononegah Woman’s Club. Rockton Village Park, Blackhawk Blvd. and Union St., Rockton, (815) 871-4172.
Art Walk in Grand Detour
Aug.17. Beautiful art displays. The Next Picture Show, 113 W. 1st Ave., Dixon, Ill., (185) 285-2984, thenextpictureshow.com.
Woodsong: Big Daddy Woo Woo
Aug. 17, open 4 p.m., concert 6 p.m. Rockford-area party band with playlist covering hits from the past four decades, performed with groovy funk. Klehm Arboretum & Botanic Garden, 2715 S. Main St., Rockford, (815) 965-8146.
Riverside Music Festival
Aug. 17, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Free concerts, food, beer and wine. Kids’ play area, clowns, face painting, balloons; shuffleboard and pickleball tournies. Bring chairs/blankets. Sponsored by Friends of Riverside. Riverside Park, 2200 Parkside Dr., Janesville, Wis., (815) 988-9650.
Jodi Beach Trio
Aug. 19, 6:30 p.m. Tuesday Evening in the Gardens concert series. Tickets $5/$3 teens. Food, beer & wine, beverages for sale. Anderson Japanese Gardens, 318 Spring Creek Road, Rockford, andersongardens.org.
Aug. 19, 6-8 p.m. Monthly informal jam session in the Ratskeller Restaurant for players of all types of squeezeboxes and ability levels. Diners and listeners encouraged. Other instruments welcome. Held the 3rd Tuesday monthly as an on-going event of Turner Hall’s Swiss Heritage Series. 217 17th Ave., Monroe, Wis., (608) 325-3461, TurnerHallofMonroe.org.
Aug. 22, 4:30-9 p.m. Film starts at dusk. Come early to play Kubb with sets provided. Free. Movie On The Big Lawn, Jones Pavilion, Riverside Park, Beloit, friendsofriverfront.com.
Aug. 22, 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Friday in the Park music series. Get $6 lunch from different local restaurant each week. State & Grand, Downtown Beloit, downtownbeloit.com.
Friday Night Flix: Planes
Aug. 22, 7 p.m. (dusk). Free Davis Park, 320 S. Wyman St., Rockford, (815) 489-8207.
Spencer Tracy Film Festival
Aug. 22-24, Fri.-Sat. 7 p.m.; Sat.-Sun. 1 p.m. Four films by one of Hollywood’s most cherished actors shown in Freeport where he spent happy times as a child. Presented on the historic Lindo Theatre’s big screen. $5/film. Lindo Theatre, 115 S. Chicago Ave., Freeport, (815) 233-0025.
Japanese Summer Festival
Aug. 23-24, Sat. 9 a.m.-4 p.m., Sun 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Exhibits, traditional demonstrations, Taiko drummers, a traditional Japanese street performer, more. Attend a traditional tea ceremony; additional fee/registration required. $8/seniors $7/children $6/under age 5 free. Anderson Japanese Gardens, 318 Spring Creek Road, Rockford, (815) 229-9390, andersongardens.org.
Turtle Creek Chamber Orchestra
Aug. 24, 3 p.m. A variety of classical and pop music. Free will offering. Fundraiser for Friends of Beckman Mill. Beckman Mill County Park, 8606 S. County Road, Beloit, Wis., turtlecreekchamberorchestra.org.
Aug. 26, 6:30 p.m. Tuesday Evening in the Gardens concert series. Tickets $5/$3 teens. Food, beer & wine, beverages for sale. Anderson Japanese Gardens, 318 Spring Creek Road, Rockford, andersongardens.org.
Glenn Davis & Matt Goodwin
Aug. 29, 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Friday in the Park music series. Get $6 lunch from different local restaurant each week. National Bank Plaza, State & Grand, Downtown Beloit, Wis., downtownbeloit.com.
Friday Night Flix
Aug. 29, 7 p.m. (dusk). Free showing of Monsters University. Davis Park, 320 S. Wyman St., Rockford, (815) 489-8207.
Music & More: Dave Potter Trio
Aug. 29, 7-9 p.m. Event sponsored by Beloit College Alumni. Music by Dave Potter Trio, followed by the Star Zenith Lighted Boat Parade at 9 p.m. Harry’s Place, Riverside Park, Beloit, friendsofriverfront.com.
Galena Studio Tour
Aug. 30-31, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sat., 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Sun. Take a self-guided studio tour in beautiful historic Galena, Ill., as artists offer demonstrations, tours and light refreshments. While at their studios, you will learn something about the creative process that the artists undertake and the story behind their artwork. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and explore their studios. Maps to the artists’ locations and Studio Tour Events are available at the Galena Welcome Center in the Old Market House, downtown businesses, lodgings and at each of the artists’ studios. Various locations, Galena, Ill., visitgalena.org.
Art In The Park
Aug. 31, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. View the fine art on display and for sale by local and regional artists. Local performing artists take the stage throughout the day. Creative hands-on activities for kids. Krape Park, Freeport, freeportartmuseum.com.
The Importance of Being Ernest
Sept. 5-21, see website for days and times. Oscar Wilde’s satire of late Victorian England, with its main characters trying to maintain fictitious identities in order to escape social obligations. Artists’ Ensemble (AE), Cheek Theatre, Rockford College, 5050 E. State St., Rockford. Info: AE, (815) 394-5004, artistsensemble.org.
Corky Siegel & Bonnie Koloc
Sept. 6, 7 p.m. Corky Siegel and Bonnie Koloc come armed with the creative genius and musical prowess that have defined their careers for several decades. The Next Picture Show, 113 W. 1st Ave., Dixon, Ill., (185) 285-2984, thenextpictureshow.com.
Sept. 5, 7 p.m. Authentic blues, soul, R&B. Free. Music & More. Riverside Park, Beloit, friendsofriverfront.com.
The Texas Tenors
Sept. 7, 2 p.m. This trio performs country, gospel, classical and Broadway with breathtaking vocals, humor and cowboy charm. Janesville Performing Arts Center (JPAC), 408 S. Main St., Janesville, Wis., (608) 758-0297, janesvillepac.org.
Sept. 11-Oct. 26, see website for days/times. Set in 19th century Paris, the award-winning musical uses the tale of Jean Valjean to examine broken dreams and unrequited love, passion, sacrifice and redemption. Fireside, Fort Atkinson, (800) 477-9505, firesidetheatre.com.
Turtle Creek Chamber Quartet
Sept. 13, noon-2 p.m. This popular local foursome plays a variety of classical and pop music. “Violins in the Vineyards,” Staller Winery’s Jct. of Rte. 89 and County Road. A., Delavan, Wis., turtlecreekchamberorchestra.org.
Greenwich Village Art Fair
Sept. 14-15, Sat. 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sun. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. More than 120 juried artists in a variety of media display and sell their work. Children’s activities, live music, food & drink. Rockford Art Museum (RAM), 711 N. Main St., Rockford, (815) 968-2787, rockfordartmuseum.org.
East Troy Bluegrass Festival
Sept. 13-14, 10 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Top bluegrass bands, fiddle, banjo, mandolin and guitar competitions, gospel music service, food and craft vendors. $5 weekend wristband; children 15 and younger admitted free. East Troy Village Square, East Troy, Wis., (262) 642-3770.
66th Annual Grand Detour Arts Festival
Sept. 14. Juried fine arts event. Music throughout the day. Sponsored by KSB Hospital of Dixon. The John Deere Historic Site (on Route 2 between Dixon and Oregon), Grand Detour, Ill., (815) 652-8663, thenextpictureshow.com.
The Last Five Years
Sept. 19-28, Thurs.-Sun, see website for times. A stunning, song-cycle musical that ingeniously and beautifully chronicles the five-year marriage of Jamie and Cathy. JPAC, Janesville, (608) 758-0297.
Sept. 19-Oct. 5, Fri.-Sat. 8 p.m., Sun. 2 p.m. A Western epic that explores American mythology through the story of two mail-order brides who come West by the promise of new beginnings to marry stangers, and the friendship they develop over the next 25 years. Pec Playhouse Theatre, 314 Main St., Pecatonica, (815) 239-1210, pecplayhouse.org.
RSO: Celebrating International Peace Day
Sept. 20, 7:30 p.m. Steven Larsen, conductor; Bella Hristova, violin. Sir Andrzej Panufnik: Procession for Peace; Raymond Horton: Make Gentle the Life of This World; Sergey Prokofiev: Violin Concerto No. 1 in D major; Carl Nielsen: Symphony No. 4 “The Inextinguishable.” Coronado Performing Arts Center (CPAC), 314 N. Main St., Rockford, (815) 968-0595, coronadopac.org.
Art Infusion…along the Janesville Mile
Sept. 20-21, Sat. 9 a.m.-4 p.m., Sun. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Master Chalk Artist Lee Jones leads competition for all ages, chalk art class. Lower Courthouse Park, Main Street, Janesville, Wis., (608) 757-3171.
Ryan & Ryan
Sept. 26, 7:30 p.m. A dynamic father-son piano duo blends classic and contemporary music, from Rachmaninoff to Gershwin to Billy Joel. Mendelssohn Performing Arts Center (MPAC), 406 N. Main St., Rockford, (815) 964-9713, mendelssohnpac.org.
Opal’s Million Dollar Duck
Sept. 26-28, Fri.-Sat. 7:30 p.m.; Sun. 2 p.m. Two summer-stock leads come across a painting that looks like an old master. Desmond and Queenie try to acquire the painting from Opal, who has other plans for it. Brought to you by Plum River Playhouse. $20. Mighty Richland Players Dessert Theater, 203 W. High St., Orangeville, Ill., (815) 819-1310, mightyrichlandplayers.com.
Ancora String Quartet
Sept. 27, 7:30 p.m. Recital by the Madison-based Ancora String Quartet featuring violinist Robin Ryan, violist Marika Fischer Hoyt, cellist Benjamin Whitcomb, and guest violinist Wes Luke. Eaton Chapel, Beloit College, College and Chapin streets, Beloit, Wis., (608) 363-2755.
Fall Harvest & Art Festival
Sept. 27, noon-6 p.m. Talented local artists set up in the vinyeard with demonstrations and original works for sale, in watercolor, pottery, textile arts, exotic wooden pens. Food booths, hayrides, pumpkin painting, grape stomping. Barbecue lunch, locally produced cheeses and fruit will also be featured, along with the chance to sample wine. Fever River String Band in vineyard barrel room. Free Admission, $10 Wine Tasting includes commemortive wine glass Galena Cellars Vineyard, 4746 N. Ford Road, Galena, Ill., (800) 397-94630/(815) 777-3235, visitgalena.org.
Oct. 2, 8 p.m. This country singer-songwriter scored platinum on his first album, with the hit “Somethin’ ’Bout a Truck,” and hits since then, including “Beer Money” and “Hey Pretty Girl.” CPAC, Rockford, (815) 968-0595, coronadopac.org.
The Romeo Initiative
Oct. 3-12, 8 p.m. Thurs.-Sat. East German men were trained in the ways of love and sent to West Germany to get the secretaries of important government officials to fall in love with them, all in the name of Communism. Kresge Theatre, Neese Performing Arts Center, Beloit College, 700 College St., Beloit, (608) 363-2755.
Oct. 3, 8 p.m. Few have achieved the legendary status of this performer, whose comedy stand-up routine of the 1960s led to multiple gold records, best-selling books and hit television shows. CPAC, Rockford, (815) 968-0595, coronadopac.org.
Oct. 4, 7:30 p.m. Since its inception nearly 15 years ago, Gaelic Storm continues to broaden the musical horizons of the Celtic music genre by creating compelling originals and fresh arrangements steeped in Irish traditional melody and acoustic instrumentation. JPAC, Janesville, (608) 758-0297.
Oct. 9-19, Thurs.-Sun., see website for times. Callie and Sam meet and fall in love, and their first kiss provokes a violent attack that transforms their lives in a way they could never anticipate. JPAC, Janesville, (608) 758-0297.
James Lee Stanley
Oct. 10, 7:30 p.m. Performing since age 14, this singer/songwriter plays up to 300 dates per year and has toured with the likes of Bonnie Raitt, Art Garfunkel and Robin Williams. Emerson House, 420 N. Main St., Rockford, (815) 964-2238, charlotteswebofrockford.org.
Oct. 10-19, Fri.-Sat. 7:30 p.m.; Sun. 2 p.m. By Neil Simon. Affluent New York City couples do everything possible to conceal from local media disastrous events of an evening gone awry. Monroe Theatre Guild (MTG), 910 16th Ave., Monroe, Wis., (608) 325-1111, montroetheatre.com.
The Canadian Brass
Oct. 11, 7:30 p.m. The quintet that took brass playing to unprecedented heights, reaching music lovers throughout the world with crowd-pleasing arrangements, virtuoso playing, spontaneity and fun. CPAC, Rockforod, coronadopac.org.
Oct. 16, 7:30 p.m. Lerner & Loew’s classic musical of the marriage of King Arthur to Guinevere. Broadway at the Coronado. CPAC, Rockford, coronadopac.org.
Twenty Dirty Hands
Oct. 17-19, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Self-guided tour of pottery and sculpture studios. Downloadable map online. Free. Various locations in/around Galena, Ill., (815) 777-0644, twentydirtyhands.com.
Oct. 18, 8 p.m. Comedian Ron “Tater Salad” White is best known as the cigar-smoking, scotch-drinking funnyman from the “Blue Collar Comedy” phenomenon. CPAC, Rockford, (815) 968-0595.
Charlotte’s Web: Tom Chapin
Oct. 24, 7:30 p.m. The brother of the late Harry Chapin (“Cat’s in the Cradle”), this popular artist’s live performances engage the hearts, minds and imaginations of children and adults of all ages. MPAC, Rockford, (815) 964-9713, mendelssohnpac.org.
RSO: Music That Goes Bump In The Night!
Oct. 25, 7:30 p.m. Spine-tingling program of classics, music from movies, video games. Come dressed as your favorite sci-fi chracter. CPAC, Rockford, (815) 965-0049, rockfordsymphony.com.
Oct. 25, 7:30 p.m. Authentic sounding Fleetwood Mac tribute band. JPAC, Janesville, (608) 758-0297.
The National Acrobats of The People’s Republic of China
Oct. 26, 3 p.m. This group was founded in 1951 and has been one of the most acclaimed acrobatic troupes in China. The company has had more than 200 artists win the gold and silver awards at international and national acrobatic competitions. CPAC, Rockford, coronadopac.org.
A Fireside Christmas
Oct. 30-Dec. 21, see website for days/times. A holiday tradition, with new songs, dances and fun, but the same spiritual message about Christmas. Fireside, Fort Atkinson, (800) 477-9505, firesidetheatre.com.