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.
A Christmas Carol: A Radio Play
Through Dec. 21, see website for days/times. Marley’s dead, but everything else is live in this recreation of an old-time radio broadcast of the Dickens classic. Artists’ Ensemble (AE), Cheek Theatre, Rockford University, 5050 E. State St., Rockford. Info: AE, (815) 394-5004, artistsensemble.org.
Exhibition: All that Glitters
Through Feb. 1, Sat. 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Sun. 1-4 p.m. The glitter of snow, the Christmas tree lights, the sparkle in a child’s eyes, the twinkling stars or that diamond she received – the GLAF artists capture it all. Geneva Lakes Arts Foundation (GLAF), North Shore Pavilion, 647 W. Main St., Lake Geneva, (262) 249-7988, genevalakeart.org.
Three Holiday Movies
Dec. 13, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Coronado Cinema Series. Line-up includes Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas, 11 a.m.; A Christmas Story, 1 p.m.; Elf, 3 p.m. Free. Holiday organ music from LOLTOS between shows; refreshments for sale (no outside food or drink). Coronado Performing Arts Center (CPAC), 314 N. Main St., Rockford, (815) 968-0595, coronadopac.org.
Jazz At Emerson: Soundscape
Dec. 14, 3 p.m. Enjoy the swinging sounds of live jazz, relax with complimentary brews by Rockford Brewing Company and snacks from the 320 Store, and meet the artists after the concert. All proceeds benefit the artists and the Jazz at Emerson Series. $10 adults, $6 students. Emerson House, 420 N. Main St., Rockford, (815) 964-9713, mendelssohnpac.org.
Holiday Pops Concert
Dec. 14, 3 p.m. Rob Tomaro, conductor. The Rock River Philharmonic (formerly Beloit Janesville Symphony) plays classic and popular holiday favorites, new arrangements and an original song, with guests the Turner High School choir and ballet dancers from Miss Andrea’s Dance Factory. Eclipse Center, 3 Eclipse Blvd., Beloit, rockriverphil.org.
Holiday Show at the Lindo Theatre
Dec. 17, 1 & 7 p.m. See It’s a Wonderful Life, sponsored by FHN. Free-will offering and/or food drive donation is encouraged. The food donations will go to the Freeport Area Church Cooperative. Lindo Theatre, 115 S. Chicago Ave., Freeport, (815) 233-0413, classiccinemas.com.
Music on Friday
Dec. 19, 4-5 p.m. Tim Rosenthal and the Beloit Turner High School Choir perform. Beloit Public Library, 605 Eclipse Blvd., Beloit, Wis., (608) 364-2905, beloitlibrary.info.
Dec. 20, 11 a.m. Celebrate the holidays with a different Rudolph. The entertainer shares hilarious songs and stories in this interactive Christmas show. Nordlof Center, Rockford, rockfordpubliclibrary.org.
Holiday Family Movie Series
Dec. 20, 10 a.m. Screening of Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb, along with fun and surprises. $3.50; sponsored by FHN. Lindo Theatre, Freeport, classiccinemas.com.
It’s a Wonderful Life A Radio Play
Dec. 20, 2 p.m.; dinner 6 p.m., show 7 p.m. Inspired by Frank Capra’s beloved American holiday classic.You’ll become a part of a 1940s live radio show of George Bailey’s life, with holiday songs, manmade sound effects and live commercials. Special fundraiser; not part of season package. Main Street Players, Community Building Complex of Boone County, 111 W. 1st St., Belvidere, (800) 741-2963.
RSO: Holiday Pops!
Dec. 20-21, Sat. 7:30 p.m.; Sun. 3 p.m. Steven Larsen, conductor. Mendelssohn Chorale. The best music of the season, from popular to traditional and sentimental. CPAC, Rockford, (815) 965-0049, rockfordsymphony.com.
Christmas Choir Cantata
Dec. 21, 10:30 a.m. Spring Creek United Church of Christ, 4500 Spring Creek Road, Rockford, (815) 877-2576, springcreekucc.org.
English Lessons and Carols
Dec. 21, 7 p.m. Popular annual Canterbury concert. Admission is free but reservations are highly encouraged for this popular event. For reservations, visit canterburyconcerts.com. Event: St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, 221 W. 3rd St., Dixon, Ill.
Exhibition: Nature Within the Human Habitat
Through Jan. 30, Tues.-Sat. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Mineral Point, Wisconsin artist Bruce Howdle created this series consisting of eleven ceramic murals to reflect the world that humans have made and the consequences it has for all life. Eight of the eleven murals will be included in this exhibit. MAC, Monroe, monroeartscenter.org.
12th Annual Swing Out Rockford!
Jan. 1, 7 p.m.-midnight. Forest City Swing presents a night of live music by The Fat Babies, a classic jazz band from Chicago, lots of fun. Lessons at 7, dancing 8 p.m. to midnight. $10 per person. Net profits from this event will be donated to a local charity. Mt. Olive Lutheran Church, 2001 N. Alpine Road, Rockford, forestcityswing.org.
Sesame Street Live: “Let’s Dance”
Jan. 6-7, 6:30 p.m., Jan. 7, 10:30 a.m. Get moving with Elmo, Abby Cadabby and everyone’s favorite Sesame Street friends in this interactive experience in which the audience is invited to dance along. BMO Harris Bank Center, 300 Elm St., Rockford, (815) 968-5222, thebmoharrisbankcenter.com.
Regional Survey of Art 11
Jan. 6-Feb. 21, Tues.-Sat. 8 a.m.-4 p.m. This show highlights the recent work of artists in the area, in all media. The Next Picture Show (TNPS), 113 W. 1st Ave., Dixon, Ill., (185) 285-2984, thenextpictureshow.com.
Jan. 8-Feb. 22, see website for days/times. The Fireside Band led by Steve Watts plays hits of the decade from Bruce Springsteen, Stevie Wonder, Queen, Fleetwood Mac, Aerosmith and more. The Fireside Dinner Theatre, Business Hwy. 26 South, Fort Atkinson, Wis., (800) 477-9505, firesidetheatre.com.
The Pavement of Good Intentions
Jan. 9-11, Fri.-Sat. 7:30 p.m., Sun. 2 p.m. A play by Milton resident Jim Lyke. Justin and Jennifer have it good – good enough that Jennifer is obsessed with giving back and helping others whenever possible, no matter the cost. But her generosity is tested when she invites Justin’s uncouth co-worker and his wife to stay with them after their apartment is flooded. Her good deed quickly turns sour with hilarious consequences. Janesville Performing Arts Center (JPAC), 408 S. Main St., Janesville, Wis., (608) 758-0297, janesvillepac.org.
RSO: The Genius of John Williams
Jan. 10, 7:30 p.m. Steven Larsen, conductor. Music from the film composer’s 60-year career, including: Jaws; Jurassic Park, Schindler’s List, Indiana Jones, Star Wars, more. Coronado Performing Arts Center (CPAC), 314 N. Main St., Rockford, (815) 968-0595, coronadopac.org.
The Bottle Rockets
Jan. 10, 7 p.m. This group defies labels, with its punk-rock pedigrees and arena-rock energy, tougher-than-Springsteen storytelling and romantic hearts sewn bare on denim sleeves. $25. Severson Dells Nature Center, 8786 Montague Road, Rockford, (815) 335-2915, seversondells.org.
Jazz At Emerson: The Groove Hotel
Jan. 11, 3 p.m. Enjoy the swinging sounds of live jazz, relax with complimentary brews by Rockford Brewing Company and snacks from the 320 Store, and meet the artists after the concert. All proceeds benefit the artists and the Jazz at Emerson Series. $10 adults, $6 students. Emerson House, Rockford, (815) 964-9713.
Janesville School District Vocal Showcase
Jan. 16, 7:30 p.m. An evening of high-energy song and dance from the Craig High School Spotlighters, a show choir made up of Janesville students grades 9-12, who perform competitively throughout the Midwest. JPAC, Janesville, (608) 758-0297.
“On the Air” Radio Variety Show
Jan. 16-17, 7:30 p.m. Directed by musician and theatre professional Jean Woolworth, along with musical direction by musician and composer Rich Woolworth, this “On the Air” Radio Variety Show will be presented in the same vein as a live radio show, such as “Prairie Home Companion.” Emceed by Big Radio’s own Dan Blum. Monroe High School Performing Arts Center, 1600 26th St., Monroe, Wis., monroeartscenter.org.
Gospel Night With Harlan Jefferson
Jan. 17, 7 p.m. Pizza from Mamma Mia’s, canned soda, bottled water, popcorn available. All funding is by free-will donations. Except for a modest percentage to cover church expenses and overhead, all free-will donations go to the musicians. Spring Creek UCC, Rockford, springcreekucc.org.
Four Guyz in Dinner Jackets
Jan. 18, 2 p.m. With high-powered, energetic vocal performances and clever comedy schtick, this quartet delivers a hyper-velocity musical cabaret of ‘50s and ‘60s music. JPAC, Janesville, (608) 758-0297.
Rick Nielsen: Teaching “Cheap Tricks”
Jan. 18, 3 p.m. Observe Rick Nielsen teaching tricks of the music business to Music Academy and RAMI students. Miles Nielsen will perform a 30-minute opening act and may also perform one selection with dad, Rick. A “Pic with Rick” session follows for preferred seating patrons. Proceeds benefit the Music Academy Foundation Scholarship and Financial Aid Fund. $25 adults; $12 students under 12; $100 for limited preferred seating and reception. The Music Academy Auditorium, 226 S. 2nd St., Rockford, (815) 986-0037, musicacademyinrockford.com.
Royal Winter Ball
Jan. 18, 4-7 p.m. A full gourmet dinner, dancing, special activities for children, on-site professional photography, Snow Queen, the Snow Princess and friends. Young and old, boys and girls, are all invited. Formal attire for young and old recommended. Reservations required. Pavilion at Orchard Ridge Farm, 6786 Yale Bridge Road, Rockton, (815) 621-6907, OnceUponaDreamPerformances.com.
Guys & Dolls
Jan. 20, 7:30 p.m. The classic Damon Runyon Broadway fable, about the oldest established permanent floating crap game in New York, with hits “Luck Be a Lady” and “Sit Down, You’re Rockin’ the Boat.” Broadway at the Coronado. CPAC, Rockford, (815) 968-0595, coronadopac.org.
Coal Mining of Illinois Exhibition
Jan. 23-March 7, Tues.-Fri. 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Sat. noon-5 p.m. This exhibition will feature photographs and artifacts from the times between 1820 and 1990 which highlight the lives of coal mining families and the history of coal mining in the U.S. Freeport Art Museum (FAM), 121 N. Harlem Ave., Freeport, (815) 235-9755, freeportartmuseum.org.
A Talent for Murder
Jan. 29-Feb. 7, see website for days/times. About an internationally successful mystery novelist whose relatives wouldn’t mind killing her to get their hands on her extensive art collection. Beloit Civic Theatre, Elizabeth Reinholz Theatre, Beloit Memorial High School, 1225 4th St., Beloit, Wis. (608) 362-1595, beloitcivictheatre.org.
Jan. 30, 7:30 p.m. From amazing vocals and musicianship to fun stage performances, this Janesville-based band delivers a high energy rock show. JPAC, Janesville, (608) 758-0297.
Vince Chiarelli & Frank Calvagna
Jan. 31, 7 p.m. Italian standards and Spanish guitar. Pizza from Mamma Mia’s, canned soda, bottled water, and popcorn are available for purchase. Free admission; donations welcome. Spring Creek UCC, Rockford, springcreekucc.org.
A Little Night Music
Feb. 4-14, Wed.-Sun., see website for times. This Stephen Sondheim musical, Inspired by the Ingmar Bergman film Smiles of a Summer Night, involves the romantic lives of several couples, with the hit song “Send in the Clowns.” Studio Theatre, Rock Valley College (RVC), 3301 N. Mulford Road, Rockford, (815) 921-2160, rockvalleycollege.edu.
Harriet Tubman & the Underground Railroad
Feb. 5, 10:30 a.m. This stirring musical drama is a tribute to the great American who freed herself and hundreds of her people from the bonds of slavery. Most appreciated by grades 3-8. Presented by Theatre IV, a nonprofit, professional touring children’s theater, $8-$12. Rockford Women’s Club, 323 Park Ave., Rockford, (800) 275-5005, theatreiv.org/fieldtrips.html.
Exhibition: Through a Window
Feb. 6-April 26, Sat. 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Sun. 1-4 p.m. What do you see when you look out your window at home, at work, from your car, on the plane? What would others see if they looked in? GLAF artists show the windows of their world. North Shore Pavilion, Lake Geneva, genevalakeart.org.
Barefoot in the Park
Feb. 6-15, Fri.-Sat. 7:30 p.m., Sun. 2 p.m. A newlywed couple – straight-laced 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. Janesville Little Theatre, JPAC, Janesville, (608) 758-0297.
Tango Buenos Aires
Feb. 7, 7:30 p.m. Direct from Buenos Aires, Argentina, Tango Buenos Aires performs a journey of the life of Eva Peron through dance and music. Rockford Coronado Concert Association (RCCA), Coronado Performing Arts Center, 314 N. Main St., Rockford, (815) 968-9863, rccaconcerts.net.
Jazz At Emerson: Jodi Beach Trio
Feb. 8, 3 p.m. Enjoy the swinging sounds of live jazz, relax with complimentary brews by Rockford Brewing Company and snacks from the 320 Store, and meet the artists after the concert. All proceeds benefit the artists and the Jazz at Emerson Series. $10 adults, $6 students. Emerson House, Rockford, (815) 964-9713, mendelssohnpac.org.
Feb. 12, 7:30 p.m. One of the premier comedians in the country. With the perfect balance of sophisticated writing and physicality, his comedy appeals to multiple generations. CPAC, Rockford, (815) 968-0595, coronadopac.org.
Feb. 13-15, 20-22, Fri.-Sat. 7 p.m., Sun. 2 p.m. Faithful retainer George and daughter Annie carry on the late Mr. Hammond’s counterfeit money business in the basement of his palatial manor, with the promise of being sole beneficiaries when Mrs. Hammond passes on. When a stranger gets it all instead, the father and daughter stop at nothing to prevent the new heir from turning it into an old ladies’ home. Main Street Players, Community Building Complex of Boone County, 111 W. 1st St., Belvidere, (800) 741-2963.
Feb. 13-March 1, Fri.-Sat. 8 p.m., Sun. 2 p.m. It’s 1942, and the luxurious Palm Beach Royale Hotel is under siege as two of Hollywood’s biggest divas vie for the same suite, with mistaken identities, overblown egos, double entendres and one pampered little lap dog. Pec Playhouse Theatre, 314 Main St., Pecatonica, (815) 239-1210, pecplayhouse.org.
Feb. 14, March 28, April 5, 11 a.m.-noon. RSO musicians perform three family-friendly concerts, then offer a Musical Instrument Playground in which audiences members can try playing some of the instruments. Riverfront Museum Park, 711 N. Main St., Rockford, (815972-2800, riverfrontmuseumpark.org.
RSO: Memories from Times of War
Feb. 14, 7:30 p.m. Steven Larsen, conductor; Amy Conn, soprano. Robert Kurka: Suite from The Good Soldier Schweik; Barber: Knoxville, Summer of 1915; John Philip Sousa: In Flanders Fields; Rheinhold Glière: Concerto for Coloratura Soprano and Orchestra; Ravel: Le Tombeau de Couperin. CPAC, Rockford, rockfordsymphony.org.
Avalon String Quartet
Feb. 15, 3 p.m. One of the country’s top string ensembles in its 4th concert season, “Brahms: Traditionalist & Innovator,” featuring a selection by Brahms at every concert. Mendelssohn Hall (MPAC), 406 N. Main St., Rockford, (815) 964-9713, mendelssohnpac.org.
Alton Brown Live! The Edible Inevitable Tour
Feb. 15, 7 p.m. The Food Network star’s show, featuring a pinch of comedy, talk show antics, a multimedia lecture, live music (he sings!) and a dash of “extreme” food experimentation (ponchos are provided for those in the first few rows), and of course, puppets. CPAC, Rockford, (815) 968-0595, coronadopac.org.
Golden Dragon Acrobats
Feb. 17, 6 p.m. Danny Chang and his Golden Dragon Acrobats continue their relentless, 30+ year U.S. touring schedule of centuries-old Chinese art form. JPAC, Janesville, (608) 758-0297.
Feb. 19, 7 p.m. This jazz vocalist in a musical tribute to singers such as Ella Fitzgerald, Doris Day, Billie Holiday, Judy Garland and more, with the hit songs that made them great, backed by husband Leif Shires and his band. Sauk Valley Community Concert Association. Dixon High School.
Feb. 20, 7:30 p.m. The CMA Entertainer of the Year nominee on her Certified Platinum tour, with Justin Moore, ACM New Artist of the Year winner and RaeLynn, Season 2 winner of “The Voice.” BMO Harris Bank Center, Rockford, thebmoharrisbankcenter.com.
Beloit International Film Festival
Feb. 20-March 1, events daily. Local residents and visitors from around the nation fill more than a dozen venues, ranging in size from 40 seats to the 700-seat Eclipse Center in Beloit for about 120 films. Meet more than 100 filmmakers from around the world. For a complete list of films, filmmakers, times and venues, visit online at beloitfilmfest.org.
Mr. Steve and his Musical Show
Feb. 21, 11 a.m. Mr. Steve’s fun, fastpaced show is full of original side-splitting audience participation, songs, silly magic and wacky balloon creations. Nordlof Center, 118 N. Main St., Rockford, (815) 965-7606, option 2, rockfordpubliclibrary.org.
Disney’s Pirate & Princess Adventure
Feb. 21, 1, 4, & 7 p.m. shows featuring your favorite characters from Disney Junior’s hit series, Sofia the First and Jake and the Never Land Pirates. It’s danger and dueling on the high seas as Jake discovers what it takes to be a true hero. Filled with new music, amazing effects, thrilling action and endless surprises. BMO Harris Bank Center, Rockford, thebmoharrisbankcenter.com.
Feb. 21, 7:30 p.m. Waukesha boys Sam Llanas and Kurt Neumann have forged a signature sound of heartfelt lyrics, passionate harmonies and ringing guitars, with hits like “Closer To Free” and “Good Things.” JPAC, Janesville, (608) 758-0297.
Feb. 24-April 4, Tues.-Sat. 8 a.m.-4 p.m. This show features the work of regional artists that employ varying techniques to portray light and dark. TNPS, Dixon, thenextpictureshow.com.
The Wizard of Oz
Feb. 26-April 19, see website for days/times. A live stage production of the 1939 Judy Garland film, with Toto, Scarecrow, the Wicked Witch and all classic songs. Fireside, Fort Atkinson, (800) 477-9505, firesidetheatre.com.
Feb. 26-March 1, Thurs.-Sat. 7:30 p.m., Sun. 2 p.m. Musical adaptation of the 1991 film. On the eve of their deployment in November 1963 to a small but growing conflict in Southeast Asia, three young Marines set out for one final boys’ night of debauchery, partying, and maybe a little trouble. But when Corporal Eddie Birdlace meets Rose, an awkward and idealistic waitress he enlists to win a cruel bet with his fellow recruits, she rewrites the rules of the game and teaches him the power of compassion. Rockford University, Maddox Theatre, Clark Arts Center, 5050 E. State St., Rockford, (815) 226-4100, rockford.edu.
David HB Drake: Kidstuff
Feb. 28, 2 p.m. Classic folk songs, original stories and tunes, and the best of recent writing in children’s music combine to present a concert for kids of all ages. JPAC, Janesville, (608) 758-0297.
Feb. 28, 7:30 p.m. Brian FitzGerald and Martin McCormack perform their unique American Roots-Celtic Soul music blend on mandolin, guitar and bass with amazing vocal harmonies. Monroe Arts Center (MAC), 1315 11th St., Monroe, Wis., (608) 325-5700, monroeartscenter.org.
March 7, 7 p.m. Celtic music. Pizza from Mamma Mia’s, canned soda, bottled water, and popcorn are available for purchase. Free admission; donations welcome. Spring Creek UCC, Rockford, springcreekucc.org.
RSO: A Tribute to Louis Armstrong
March 7, 7:30 p.m. Steven Larsen, conductor; Byron Stripling, trumpet. Musical hits from the Big Easy and beyond include “What A Wonderful World,” “Saint James Infirmary,” “Royal Garden Blues,” “Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans?” “Hello Dolly” and “Basin Street Blues.” With his signature version of “When The Saints Go Marchin’ In” to close the show, Stripling celebrates the spirit of New Orleans and always leaves ’em dancin’ in the aisles. CPAC, Rockford, rockfordsymphony.org.
RSO Spring Pops: Mardi Gras Party
March 7, 9:30 p.m. Enhance your concert experience by attending the Post-Concert Mardi Gras Party after the March 7 Pops performance. Guests will enjoy a jazzy signature cocktail, hors d’oeuvres, dessert, and live entertainment in the New Lobby of the beautiful Coronado Theater. CPAC, Rockford, rockfordsymphony.org.
Jazz At Emerson: Dan Pincus
March 8, 3 p.m. Enjoy the swinging sounds of live jazz, relax with complimentary brews by Rockford Brewing Company and snacks from the 320 Store, and meet the artists after the concert. All proceeds benefit the artists and the Jazz at Emerson Series. $10 adults, $6 students. Emerson House, 420 N. Main St., Rockford, (815) 964-9713, mendelssohnpac.org.
The 1st Brigade Band
March 14, 7:30 p.m. The 1st Brigade Band marched with Gen. William T. Sherman in the campaigns in Georgia and the Carolinas during the Civil War. The tradition of excellence created 150 years ago lives on today, as members of Wisconsin’s 1st Brigade, attired in period uniforms and performing on antique instruments, make history come alive, in a show that blends the sight and sounds of the period with historical accounts, anecdotes, tales and legends. MAC, Monroe, monroeartscenter.org.
March 18-28, Wed.-Sun., see website for times.
Studio Theatre, Rock Valley College (RVC), 3301 N. Mulford Road, Rockford, (815) 921-2160.
March 20-28, Fri.-Sat. 8 p.m., Sun. 2 p.m. A tribute to the Master of Horror, Alfred Hitchcock, in a comedy whodunit. New York couple Marnie and Jeff think they spy their neighbor doing away with his wife. The bumbling witnesses sneak into their neighbor’s apartment – 39 steps away – and the fun begins. Vince Carney Community Theatre (VCCT), Paddock Memorial Hall, Hickory Grove Complex, 1127 N. 7th St., Rochelle, Ill. (815) 764-2287, vcctrochelle.org.
Charlotte’s Web: Eclectica
March 27, 7:30 p.m. The genre-defying trio features the Grammy Award-winning drumming of Roy “Futureman” Wooten, electric violin virtuoso Tracy Silverman, and bass legend Steve Forrest. Eclectica weaves sound pieces together with percussion, electric violin and bass with a unique groove, sing-along choruses and creative jams. Mendelssohn Hall.
RSO: An American Salute
March 28, 7:30 p.m. Steven Larsen, conductor. Morton Gould: American Salute, variations on the Civil War tune, “When Johnny Comes Marching Home,” leads to a touching remembrance of Americans, whether Union or Confederate, who lost their lives in the Civil War. Steve Heitzeg & Amy Scurria: We Are Met at Gettysburg, two young composers created this work in 2003. Aaron Copland: Symphony No. 3, his final symphony, captures the confidence of the post-war America 1946, building a thrilling climax from “Fanfare for the Common Man.” CPAC, Rockford, rockfordsymphony.org.
Amphion String Quartet, David Shifrin
March 29, 3 p.m. A quartet hailed for its “precision, assertiveness and vigor,” winner of the 2011 Concert Artists Guild Victor Elmaleh Competition. Clarinetist Shifrin is one of only two wind players to have been awarded the Avery Fisher Prize since the award’s inception in 1974. From RCCA. CPAC, Rockford, rccaconcerts.org.