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.
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, 11 a.m.-noon. RSO musicians perform three family-friendly concerts, then offer a Musical Instrument Playground in which audiences members can play some music. Riverfront Museum Park, 711 N. Main St., Rockford, (815) 972-2800, 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. Coronado Performing Arts Center (CPAC), 314 N. Main St., Rockford, (815) 965-0049, rockfordsymphony.org.
Avalon String Quartet
Feb. 15, 3 p.m. One of the country’s top string ensembles in its fourth concert season, featuring a selection by Brahms at every concert. Mendelssohn Performing Arts Center (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 brings comedy, talk show antics, a multimedia lecture, live music, a dash of “extreme” food experimentation, 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-plus year U.S. touring schedule of centuries-old Chinese art form. Janesville Performing Arts Center (JPAC), 408 S. Main St., Janesville, Wis., (608) 758-0297, janesvillepac.org.
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 (SVCCA), Dixon High School, Lincoln Statue Dr., Dixon, Ill., (815) 288-2501, svcca.org.
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, 300 Elm St., Rockford, (815) 968-5222, 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, to view about 120 films and to 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 & His Musical Show
Feb. 21, 11 a.m. Mr. Steve’s fun, fast-paced 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, 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 who employ varying techniques to portray light and dark. The Next Picture Show, 113 W. 1st Ave., Dixon, Ill., (185) 285-2984, thenextpictureshow.com.
The Wizard of Oz
Feb. 26-April 19. A live stage production of the 1939 Judy Garland film, with Toto, Scarecrow, the Wicked Witch and all of the classic songs. The Fireside Dinner Theatre, Business Hwy. 26 South, Fort Atkinson, Wis., (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 to Asia in November 1963, three Marines set out for one final night of troublemaking. When Cpl. Eddie Birdlace meets Rose, an awkward and idealistic waitress, he enlists to win a cruel bet. She instead rewrites the rules 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, and amazing vocal harmonies. Monroe Arts Center (MAC), 1315 11th St., Monroe, Wis., (608) 325-5700, monroeartscenter.org.
Second City Hits Home
March 2, 7:30 p.m. A new show featuring hilarious sketches, songs and improvisation about Janesville and material from the famed Second City archives. JPAC, Janesville, (608) 758-0297.
March 7, 7 p.m. Celtic music. Refreshments are available for purchase. Free admission; donations welcome. Spring Creek UCC, Rockford, springcreekucc.org.
RSO: What a Wonderful World: A Tribute to Louis Armstrong
March 7, 7:30 p.m. Steven Larsen, conductor; Byron Stripling, trumpet. Musical hits 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.” CPAC, Rockford, rockfordsymphony.com.
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.
March 12-14, 20-21, 7:30 p.m.; March 15 & 22, 2 p.m. Drama set at a Catholic parochial school, in the Bronx, N.Y., in 1964, made into a film starring Meryl Streep and Phillip Seymour Hoffman. From Stage One. JPAC, Janesville, (608) 758-0297.
AE: Good People
March 13-19, see website for days/times. Margie is down, but not out, when she is fired. Her pals at Bingo sympathize but, hey, times are tough in this award-winning new play. Artists’ Ensemble (AE), Cheek Theatre, Rockford University, 5050 E. State St., Rockford. Info: AE, (815) 394-5004, artistsensemble.org.
McNulty Irish Dancers
March 14, 11-11:45 a.m. This dance group will captivate your whole family with the beautiful, powerful dances of Ireland. Nordlof Center, Rockford, rockfordpubliclibary.org.
Wisconsin’s 1st Brigade Band
March 14, 7:30 p.m. Members with period uniforms and antique instruments keep alive the tradition of the 1st Brigade Band that marched with Sherman in the Civil War, with music, historical accounts, tales and legends. MAC, Monroe, monroeartscenter.org.
March 18-28, Wed.-Sun., see website for times. A classic Agatha Christie whodunit, as a new professor tries to care for his invalid wife with help from his cousin Lisa. Throw in a beautiful young student for a love triangle and murder. Studio Theatre, Rock Valley College (RVC), 3301 N. Mulford Road, Rockford, (815) 921-2160.
Thrice as Nice
March 20-22, Fri.-Sat. 7:30 p.m., Sun. 2 p.m. Laughs, songs and more in three acts, a variety show with something for everyone and fun for the whole family. Dessert theater. Mighty Richland Players, IOOF/Masonic Hall, 203 W. High St., Orangeville, Ill., (815) 819-1310, mightyrichlandplayers.com.
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 do 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.
RRP: Wild About Harry James
March 21, 7:30 p.m. Rock River Philharmonic, Robert Tomaro, conductor; Tony Scodwell, trumpet; Lynn Roberts, vocals. Celebrate the 99th birthday of trumpet genius Harry James, with favorites from the swinging ’40s. Pre-show dinner buffet available. Tickets: $49 dinner & concert/$22 concert only, at rockriverphil.org. Venue: Janesville Armory, 10 S. High St., Janesville.
RRP: Wild About Harry James
March 22, 3 p.m. Rock River Philharmonic, Robert Tomaro, conductor; Tony Scodwell, trumpet; Lynn Roberts, vocals. Celebrate the 99th birthday of trumpet genius Harry James, with favorites from the swinging ’40s. Eaton Chapel, Beloit College, College and Chapin streets, Beloit, rockriverphil.org.
March 26, 7:30 p.m. Broadway at the Coronado. The story of DJ Huey Calhoun, a good ol’ local boy with a passion for R&B music, and Felicia Farrell, an up-and-coming black singer who’s ready for her big break. CPAC, Rockford, coronadopac.org.
Charlotte’s Web: Eclectica
March 27, 7:30 p.m. The genre-defying trio Eclectica 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. MPAC, Rockford, (815) 964-9713, mendelssohnpac.org.
March 28, 11 a.m.-noon. RSO musicians perform three family-friendly concerts featuring the instruments of the orchestra in a fun and engaging presentation. Following the performance, audience members may attend a Musical Instrument Playground and play some of the instruments. Riverfront Museum Park, 711 N. Main St., Rockford, 815-972-2800, riverfrontmuseumpark.org.
March 28, 3 p.m. This unique group from Russia plays popular classical works on special glass instruments: glass harp, glass pan flute, verrophone. Freeport Community Concert Association (FCCA). Masonic Temple, 305 W. Stephenson St., Freeport. For tickets, call (815) 232-4214.
RSO: An American Salute
March 28, 7:30 p.m. Steven Larsen, conductor; Morton Gould: American Salute; Steve Heitzeg & Amy Scurria: We Are Met at Gettysburg; Aaron Copland: Symphony No. 3. CPAC, Rockford, rockfordsymphony.org.
Amphion String Quartet
March 29, 3 p.m. Internationally renowned young musicians who play with brilliance and intensity. CPAC, Rockford, from RCCA, rccaconcerts.net.
Dancing with the Janesville Stars
April 4, 7 p.m. Community celebrities are paired up and given a dance instructor to help them perform a 90-second routine for the competition. Alzheimer’s Support Center Fundraiser. alzheimerssupportcenter.org. JPAC, Janesville, (608) 758-0297.
April 5, 11 a.m.-noon. RSO musicians perform three family-friendly concerts featuring the instruments of the orchestra in a fun and engaging presentation. Following the performance, audience members may attend a Musical Instrument Playground and play some of the instruments. Riverfront Museum Park, 711 N. Main St., Rockford, 815-972-2800, riverfrontmuseumpark.org.
April 10, 7:30 p.m. This chamber music ensemble performs pieces with influences of the romantic and classical eras, jazz and Latin. MPAC, Rockford, mendelssohnpac.org.
2nd Annual Family Fest
April 11, 10 a.m.-noon. A celebration of art and community in Rock County. Free event featuring local organizations, family-friendly activities for all ages, short performances and demonstrations, free raffle prizes and a community art project. JPAC, Janesville, (608) 758-0297, janesvillepac.org.
Jazz At Emerson: Phil Pilcher and Chris Hyatt
April 12, 3 p.m. The swinging sounds of live jazz, with complimentary brews by Rockford Brewing Co. and snacks from the 320 Store. Meet the artists after the concert. Emerson House, 420 N. Main St., Rockford, (815) 964-9713, mendelssohnpac.org.
You Can’t Beat the House
April 17-May 4, see website for days/times. Two bumbling burglars who break into a house that’s for sale pretend to be real estate agents when prospective buyers show up. Then, the actual real estate agent shows up, along with the police, and to top it off, the house is haunted. Pec Playhouse, Pecatonica, pecplayhouse.org.
KG & the Ranger
April 18, 11 a.m.-11:45 a.m. These award-winning cowboy yodelers yodel in harmony and keep the audience entranced with interesting bits of history about their cowboy songs. Nordlof Center, Rockford, rockfordpubliclibrary.org.
April 18, 2-3 p.m. A heart-stopping, mind-blowing journey through 100 years of American artistry and athleticism as the circus tent, concert hall and Broadway stage unite in one fantastic evening. Nordlof Center, Rockford, rockfordpubliclibrary.org.
April 18, 2-4 p.m. & 7-10 p.m. Part of the Rock Valley Chapter of the Barbershop Harmony Society, this a cappella group provides wholesome, family-orientated entertainment with enthusiastic showmanship. JPAC, Janesville, (608) 758-0297.
Illinois Brass Band
April 18, 3 p.m. The 30-plus members play music from a wide variety of genres, from classical and jazz to popular. FCCA, Masonic Temple, Freeport, (815) 232-4214.
April 18, 7:30 p.m. A Grammy-winning American classical pianist, an internationally acclaimed performer and a member of the faculty of the Juilliard School. CPAC, Rockford, from RCCA, rccaconcerts.net.
April 20, 8 p.m. This American guitarist was discovered by B.B. King at age 12, when he began touring with the blues legend. His repertoire of original and cover songs includes soul, old-time blues and rock. CPAC, Rockford, coronadopac.org.
April 23-May 2, see website for days/times. An evening with 20 characters, 48 costume changes and a barrel of laughs, as two actors bring to life the entire town of Tuna, Texas (pop. 20), in this hilarious comedy, set in a radio station. Beloit Civic Theatre, Elizabeth Reinholz Theatre, Beloit Memorial High School, 1225 4th St., Beloit, Wis., (608) 362-1595, beloitcivictheatre.org.
All Shook Up!
April 23-June 7, see website for days/times. It’s a square little town until a motorcycle ridin’, guitar playin’, hip swivelin’ hunk rides in and has everyone jumpin’ out of their blue suede shoes. All-new story with more than 24 Elvis hits. Fireside, Fort Atkinson, (800) 477-9505, firesidetheatre.com.
I Hate Hamlet
April 24-26, Fri-Sat 7:30 p.m., Sun. 2 p.m. When a hot, young – and currently unemployed – TV star moves into a gothic apartment in New York City and is asked to play Hamlet, a role he hates, John Barrymore’s drunk ghost appears in full costume to haunt the apartment that once was his. Janesville Little Theatre, JPAC, Janesville, (608) 758-0297, janesvillepac.org.
School House Rock
April 24-26, Fri.-Sat. 7 p.m., Sun. 2 p.m. The pop culture phenomenon becomes a rollicking onstage musical. Polo Area Community Theatre (PACT), Polo Town Hall, 117 N. Franklin, Polo, Ill., polotheatre.org.
April 25, 7:30 p.m. This hilarious off-Broadway song-and-dance musical comedy with original country, blues, gospel and rockabilly tunes follows Della, a woman with a past, as she opens a diner in Morning Glory Mountain, Tenn. MAC, Monroe, monroeartscenter.org.
RSO: The Planets
April 25, 7:30 p.m. Steven Larsen, conductor; Ji, piano. Sir William Walton: Spitfire Prelude and Fugue; Ravel: Concerto for the Left Hand, Ji, piano; Holst: The Planets. CPAC, Rockford, rockfordsymphony.org.
Avalon String Quartet
April 26, 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. MPAC, Rockford, (815) 964-9713, mendelssohnpac.org.
Disney’s Beauty & the Beast
April 28, 7:30 p.m. Based on the Academy Award-winning animated feature film, this classic musical love story is filled with unforgettable characters, lavish sets and costumes, and dazzling production numbers including “Be Our Guest” and the beloved title song. Broadway at the Coronado. CPAC, Rockford, coronadopac.org.
Love’s Labour’s Lost
April 30-May 3, Thurs.-Sat. 7:30 p.m., Sun. 2 p.m. Shakespeare’s comedy follows the King of Navarre and his three companions as they attempt to foreswear the company of women for three years of study and fasting, and their subsequent infatuation with the Princess of Aquitaine and her ladies. Rockford University, Maddox Theatre, Clark Arts Center, 5050 E. State St., Rockford, (815) 226-4100, rockford.edu.
I Hate Hamlet
May 1-3, Fri-Sat 7:30 p.m., Sun. 2 p.m. When a hot, young unemployed TV star moves into a gothic apartment in New York City and is asked to play Hamlet, a role he hates, John Barrymore’s drunk ghost appears in full costume to haunt the apartment that once was his. Janesville Little Theatre, JPAC, Janesville, (608) 758-0297, janesvillepac.org.
May 4, 7 p.m. A Met Opera award-winner and PBS favorite, the up-and-coming tenor sings a program of well-known operatic arias, spirituals and Broadway tunes. SVCCA, Sterling High School, 1608 4th Ave., Sterling, Ill., (815) 288-2501, svcca.org.
Ringling Bros./Barnum & Bailey Circus: Nuts & Boltz Edition
May 8-10, Fri. 7 p.m., Sat.-Sun. 1 & 5 p.m. Meet performers, watch machinery get uncrated, try on costumes, learn to juggle, dance and more, then sit back and watch the show. BMO Harris Bank Center, Rockford, thebmoharrisbankcenter.com.
Are You Being Served?
May 8-17, Fri.-Sat. 7 p.m., Sun. 2 p.m. The motley crew of the Grace Brothers department store prepares for a sale of German goods and then departs for a staff holiday in Spain. On their travels, they stay in the tropics at a one-star establishment, encounter everything from a Spanish crumpet to randy revolutionaries, and survive with everything intact but their modesty. Main Street Players, Community Building Complex of Boone County, 111 W. 1st St., Belvidere, (800) 741-2963, mainstreetplayersofboonecounty.com.
AE: Will Rogers: An American Original
May 8-24, This one-man show explores the life and times of America’s most popular humorist, whose work set the stage for standup comics. AE, Rockford University, (815) 394-5004, artistsensemble.org.