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.
The Smith Trilogy
Through Aug. 25, Tues.-Fri. 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Sat. noon-5 p.m. Showcasing the works of three generations of artists, with three unique styles of art expression. Duane Smith’s work focuses on the Illinois landscape, his daughter Paula specializes in sculptures of reclaimed treasures and grandson Peter’s work brings awareness of self-expression for artists with autism. Freeport Art Museum (FAM), 121 N. Harlem Ave., Freeport, (815) 235-9755, freeportartmuseum.org.
AJG Tuesday Evening in the Gardens
Through Aug. 28, Tue. 5 p.m. gates open, 5:45 p.m. performance. Join friends and family for an evening of live music in a beautiful outdoor setting. Picnics allowed (no beverages), and food and beverages available for purchase. Anderson Japanese Gardens, 318 Spring Creek Road, Rockford, (815) 229-9390, andersongardens.org.
“The Little Mermaid”
Through Sept. 2, see website for times. The beautiful mermaid Ariel, King Triton’s youngest daughter, longs to leave her ocean home to live in the world above. The Fireside Dinner Theatre (Fireside), Business Hwy. 26 South, Fort Atkinson, Wis., (800) 477-9505, firesidetheatre.com.
Music on the Mall
Through Sept. 14, most Fridays 6:30-8:30 p.m. Local musicians perform their latest tunes on the plaza. Seating is limited, so bring a chair. May be cancelled in inclement weather. Edgebrook Shops, 1639 N. Alpine Road, Rockford, (815) 226-0212, edgebrookshops.com.
RAM: Midwestern Biennial
Through Sept. 30, daily 10 a.m-5 p.m. The juried exhibition showcases multimedia work by contemporary artists across the Midwest. Rockford Art Museum (RAM), 711 N. Main St., Rockford, (815) 968-2787, rockfordartmuseum.org.
RAM: Terttu Uibopuu: E.S.E
Through Nov. 11, daily 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Photographs by Estonian artist Uibopuu feature people and places in Estonia, New York and Rockford. RAM, Rockford, (815) 968-2787, rockfordartmuseum.org.
“The Realistic Joneses”
Aug. 16-Sept. 8, Thu.-Sat. 8 p.m. Meet the Joneses, two suburban couples with identical homes and shared last names. As their relationships intertwine, they must decide between their idyllic fantasies and their imperfect realities. [usual]Suspects, Nordlof Center, 118 N. Main St., Rockford, rockfordpubliclibrary.org.
Walking Tours of Public Art
Aug. 16 & Sept. 13, 11 a.m. Meet in the lobby of Nicholas Conservatory and Gardens to take a guided walk along the bike path as you learn about the 16 sculptures on the trail, some by local artists and some donated to the Park District. Nicholas Conservatory & Gardens, 1354 N. 2nd St., Rockford, (815) 987-8858, rockfordparkdistrict.org/ncg.
Aug. 18, 7 p.m. His work is an anthem to the people who live, work and play along the freshwater highways of North America. Spring Creek United Church of Christ (UCC), 4500 Spring Creek Road, Rockford, (815) 877-2576, springcreekucc.org.
Klehm Woodsong: The Jimmys
Aug. 19, 6 p.m. Grounds open 4 p.m. Bring a blanket and picnic dinner, relax and enjoy the music of this eight-piece band, influenced by Chicago blues and New Orleans funk. Klehm Arboretum and Botanic Garden, 2715 S. Main St., Rockford, (815) 965-8146, klehm.org.
Rhythm & Blooms
Aug. 21, 5:30-7:30 p.m. Back by popular demand, the Brothers Quinn play folk and Americana music. Rotary Botanical Gardens, 1455 Palmer Dr., Janesville, (608) 752-3885, rotarybotanicalgardens.org.
Tunes on the Terrace: Kelly Steward
Aug. 22, 6-8 p.m. The Rockford singer/songwriter entertains with haunting indie-flavored country meditations. Nicholas Conservatory & Gardens, Rockford, (815) 987-8858, rockfordparkdistrict.org/ncg.
“There’s No Place”
Aug. 23, 7:30 p.m. An original play by local playwright Jim Lyke about homelessness in Rock County, inspired by stories of individuals and available resources in the community. Janesville Performing Arts Center (JPAC), 408 S. Main St., Janesville, (608) 758-0297, janesvillepac.org.
Aug. 24-Sept. 9, Fri.-Sat. 8 p.m., Sun. 2 p.m. A comedy of suspicion in which nothing is ever quite what it seems. Matthew’s wife, Lisa, seems to be having an affair with Adrian, a British theatre director. Is the affair part of the play being rehearsed or is Matthew making it up to have something to report to his therapist? Pec Playhouse Theatre, 314 Main St., Pecatonica, Ill., (815) 239-1210, pecplayhouse.org.
Tom Mac Group
Aug. 25, 7 p.m. Music ranging from Classical and Jazz to Rock, Blues and Folk. Spring Creek UCC, Rockford, (815) 877-2576, springcreekucc.org.
Tunes on the Terrace: Kevin Earlywine
Aug. 29, 6-8 p.m. Local singer/songwriter Earlywine incorporates familiar classics from the ’50s and ’60s for a night of easy listening. Nicholas Conservatory & Gardens, Rockford, (815) 987-8858, rockfordparkdistrict.org/ncg.
Barb City Stompers
Sept. 1, 7 p.m. From DeKalb, Ill., the birthplace of barbed wire, this group has a jazzy style described as Hot-Swing-Traditional with a dash of New Orleans sass. Spring Creek UCC, Rockford, (815) 877-2576, springcreekucc.org.
FAM: Art in the Park
Sept. 2, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. The festival includes fine art displays, performing arts, demonstrations of various art media, children’s hands-on activities, music and food concessions. Freeport Art Museum, Krape Park, 1799 S. Park Blvd., Freeport, (815) 235-9755, freeportartmuseum.org.
Tunes on the Terrace: After 5 Jazz
Sept. 5, 6-8 p.m. The trio performs traditional, smooth and original jazz compositions in a class/vintage night club swingin’ style. Nicholas Conservatory & Gardens, Rockford, (815) 987-8858, rockfordparkdistrict.org/ncg.
AE: “Women in Jeopardy”
Sept. 6-23, Thur.-Sat. 7:30 p.m., Sat. 2 p.m., Sun. 4 p.m. In this comedy, Liz has a new man in her life and her friends want to be supportive, but for the nagging suspicion that he is a serial killer. Artists’ Ensemble (AE), Cheek Theatre, Rockford University, 5050 E. State St., Rockford, (815) 394-5004, artistsensemble.org.
Sept. 6-Oct. 28, see website for times. The fabulous record-breaking musical tribute to the ’50s is full of ducktails, hot rodders, bobby socks, pedal pushers and tunes that recall the music of Buddy Holly, Little Richard and Elvis Presley. Fireside, Fort Atkinson, Wis., (800) 477-9505, firesidetheatre.com.
Sept. 8, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. A family-friendly festival featuring an artist market, art demonstrations, a make-and-take creative zone, live music and specialty food vendors. Rockford Area Arts Council, City Market Pavilion, 100 Water St., Rockford, (815) 963-6765, artsforeveryone.com.
Magic & Music
Sept. 8, 7 p.m. Arch Smith is back with finely honed magical skills; John Lindhorst plays his ukulele melodies. Spring Creek UCC, Rockford, (815) 877-2576, springcreekucc.org.
Presley, Perkins, Lewis & Cash
Sept. 8, 7:30 p.m. A tribute to the four men who stood at the center of the advent of rock ‘n’ roll. Egyptian Theatre, 135 N. 2nd St., DeKalb, Ill., (815) 758-1215, egyptiantheatre.org.
RSO: Farkle and the Wolf!
Sept. 9, 3 p.m. A family-friendly matinee exploring instruments of the orchestra, through John Lithgow’s “The Remarkable Farkle McBride” and Prokofiev’s “Peter and the Wolf.” Rockford Symphony Orchestra, Starlight Theatre, Rock Valley College (RVC), 3301 N. Mulford Road, Rockford, (815) 921-2160, rockvalleycollege.edu.
Tunes on the Terrace: Reed & Waddy
Sept. 12, 6-8 p.m. Best known for light rock, classic pop and blues. Nicholas Conservatory & Gardens, Rockford, (815) 987-8858, rockfordparkdistrict.org/ncg.
Sept. 14, 7:30 p.m. The principal clarinetist of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra was a featured soloist for John Williams’ score for the film “Lincoln.” Mendelssohn Performing Arts Center (MPAC), Mendelssohn Hall, 406 N. Main St., Rockford, (815) 964-9713, mendelssohnpac.org.
Sept. 15, 7 p.m. Join Rockford’s own Vince Chiarelli and his band for an evening of Italian music with a modern twist. Spring Creek UCC, Rockford, (815) 877-2576, springcreekucc.org.
RAM: Greenwich Village Art Fair
Sept. 15-17, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. The 70th annual art fair features local and nation artists, live music, local and regional vendors, children’s art activities, along with food and drink. RAM, Rockford, (815) 968-2787, rockfordartmuseum.org.
Tunes on the Terrace: Trinadora Rocks
Sept. 19, 6-8 p.m. Incorporating classic rock, country, blues, gospel, jazz, Latin and Celtic music. Nicholas Conservatory & Gardens, Rockford, (815) 987-8858, rockfordparkdistrict.org/ncg.
Sons of Serendip
Sept. 20, 7 p.m. From previous careers, these four friends launched their quartet after appearing on “America’s Got Talent.” Sauk Valley Community Concert Association (SVCCA), Dixon High School, Lincoln Statue Dr., Dixon, Ill., (815) 288-2501, svcca.org.
“The 39 Steps”
Sept. 20-30, Fri.-Sat., 7:30 p.m., Sun. 2 p.m. While on vacation in London, Canadian Robert Hannay becomes embroiled in an international spy ring and is accused of murder. Stage Coach Players, 126 S. 5th St., DeKalb, Ill., (815) 758-1940, stagecoachers.com.
The High Kings
Sept. 21, 8 p.m. This internationally acclaimed Irish folk quartet plays 13 instruments among them, entertaining with new songs as well as old favorites. Egyptian Theatre, (815) 758-1215, egyptiantheatre.org.
Listening Room Concerts
Sept. 21-Dec. 21, Fri. 7 p.m. Sofia Talvik, Rupert Wates, Blues Boys, Emily Hurd, Marques Morel and Andrew Holm are some of the upcoming performers. Listening Room, 201 7th St., Rockford, (815) 965-8903, rockfordlisteningroom.com.
Sept. 22, 7 p.m. Dvorak’s country style combines blues, folk, rock and Celtic. Spring Creek UCC, Rockford, (815) 877-2576, springcreekucc.org.
BJSO: Matt Pickart
Sept. 22-23, Sat. 7:30 p.m., Sun. 2 p.m. Special guest violinist Pickart plays romantic masterworks. Beloit Janesville Symphony (BJSO), Eaton Chapel, Beloit College, College and Chapin Streets, Beloit, (608) 313-1200, beloitjanesvillesymphony.org.
Sept. 24, 5:30 p.m. Woodwind music for flute, clarinet and bassoon. MPAC, Emerson House, 420 N. Main St., (815) 964-9713, mendelssohnpac.org.
You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown
Sept. 27-30 & Oct. 4-6, Thur.-Sat. 7:30 p.m., Sat.-Sun. 3 p.m. Charles Schulz’s comic strip comes to life in this musical, with Lucy, Schroeder, Sally, Snoopy, Linus and, of course, Charlie Brown. Beloit Civic Theatre, Elizabeth Reinholz Theatre, Beloit Memorial High School, 1225 4th St., Beloit, (608) 362-1595, beloitcivictheatre.org.
Sept. 28, 7:30 p.m. Two professional entertainers play and sing audience requests; dancing and beverages round out the evening. JPAC, Janesville, (608) 758-0297, janesvillepac.org.
Tastes & Tunes
Sept. 29, 7:30 p.m. Sample some craft beer and relax with an evening of acoustic music at this celebration of the Wisconsin singer/songwriter community. Proceeds support ongoing improvements to the JPAC facility. JPAC, Janesville, (608) 758-0297, janesvillepac.org.
Plain White T’s
Sept. 30, 7 p.m. The quintet plays a blend of pop, punk, and rock and roll. Their multi-platinum hits include “Rhythm of Love,” “1,2,3,4,” and “Hey There Delilah.” Egyptian Theatre, DeKalb, Ill., (815) 758-1215, egyptiantheatre.org.
AE: “Carrie, the Musical”
Oct. 4-7, Thur.-Sat. 7:30 p.m., Sun 2 p.m. Carrie is a lonely, awkward teenage girl with telekinetic powers who unleashes her wrath after being humiliated at the high school prom; adapted from the Stephen King novel. Artists’ Ensemble, Cheek Theatre, Rockford University, 5050 E. State St., Rockford, (815) 226-4100, artistsensemble.org.
Whose Live Anyway?
Oct. 5, 8 p.m. Bring your suggestions for “Whose Line is it Anyway?” cast members to turn into improvised comedy and songs. You may be asked to join the cast onstage. Coronado Performing Arts Center (Coronado PAC), 314 N. Main St., Rockford, (815) 968-0595, coronadopac.org.
Oct. 6, 7 p.m. Known throughout Europe and the U.S., guitarist Bourbon performs in blues, Spanish and Middle Eastern traditions. Spring Creek UCC, Rockford, (815) 877-2576, springcreekucc.org.
RSO: Jurassic Park
Oct. 6, 7:30 p.m. Experience the action-packed film that pits man against prehistoric predators, projected in HD with the orchestra performing John Williams’ score. Rockford Symphony Orchestra (RSO), Coronado PAC, Rockford, (815) 965-0049, rockfordsymphony.com.
We Banjo 3
Oct. 6, 7:30 p.m. Irish musicians find common ground between Old World tradition and authentic Americana by plying their banjo, fiddle, guitar and mandolin in a fusion of styles that they dub “Celtgrass.” JPAC, Janesville, (608) 758-0297, janesvillepac.org.
Oct. 6-7, Fri. 5-9 p.m., Sat. 4-9 p.m. The Rockford Area Arts Council presents the 30th Annual Fall ArtScene, showcasing original works of art at 40 locations across Rockford. Various locations, Rockford. Info/maps: Rockford Area Arts Council, (815) 963-6765, artsforeveryone.com.
Oct. 21, 8 p.m. This classic rock band brought country music to the mainstream and charted 43 No. 1 singles, including “My Home’s in Alabama,” “Tennessee River,” and “Forever’s as Far as I’ll Go.” BMO Harris Bank Center, 300 Elm St., Rockford, (815) 968-5222, thebmoharrisbankcenter.com.
Inherit the Wind
Oct. 12-21, Fri.-Sat. 7:30 p.m., Sun. 2 p.m. In the 1920s, a Tennessee schoolteacher is put on trial for violating a law that prohibits public schools from teaching evolution. Two of the nation’s leading lawyers go head-to-head. Stage One, JPAC, Janesville, (608) 758-0297, janesvillepac.org.
Grand Tour Fall Festival
Oct. 13, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Ride in a covered wagon, visit with farm animals, bob for apples and decorate pumpkins. John Deere Historic Site, 8334 S. Clinton St., Grand Detour, Ill., (815) 652-4551, deere.com.
KSO: Romantic Legends
Oct. 13, 7:30 p.m.; pre-concert talk by the music director at 6:30 p.m. Kishwaukee Symphony Orchestra (KSO), NIU Boutell Concert Hall, 550 Lucinda Ave., DeKalb, Ill., (815) 756-3728, kishorchestra.org.
Oct. 14, 3 p.m. The jazz-fusion band from Rockford draws on musical styles ranging from blues and funk to swing and Afro-Cuban. MPAC, Starr Center, 415 N. Church St., Rockford, (815) 964-9713, mendelssohnpac.org.
ARRT Along the River
Oct. 14-15, Sat. 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Sun. to 4 p.m. Discover the amazing talent of the Tri-State area with painters and potters, jewelers and photographers, plus woodcarving, glass, sculpture, crochet, knitting, mixed media, plein air painting and metalworks. Depot Park, 91 Bouthillier St., Galena, Ill., (563) 581-6225, arrtalongtheriver.com.
Oct. 18-Nov. 10, Thu.-Sat., see website for times. When conservative candidate Therm Pooley’s criticism of Kerr’s government-sponsored performance art lands him a Senate seat, Kerr seeks revenge. [usual]Suspects, Nordlof Center, Rockford. Info: rockfordpubliclibrary.org.
Oct. 19, 7:30 p.m. The musician portrays the history of the ukulele through song. MPAC, Mendelssohn Hall, Rockford, (815) 964-9713, mendelssohnpac.org.
KSO: Romantic Legends
Oct. 13, 7:30 p.m.; pre-concert talk by the music director at 6:30 p.m. Featured are works by Saint-Saens, Wagner and Dvorak. Kishwaukee Symphony Orchestra, NIU Boutell Concert Hall, DeKalb, Ill., (815) 756-3728, kishorchestra.org.
Oct. 20, 7:30 p.m. The legendary musician (Loggins & Messina, Buffalo Springfield) performs his greatest hits with a full band. Young Auditorium, UW-Whitewater, Whitewater, Wis., (262) 472- 2222, uww.edu
A Paranormal Evening with Alice Cooper
Oct. 24, 8 p.m. The architect of “shock rock” brings to the stage dark and horror-themed theatrics. Coronado PAC, Rockford, (815) 968-0595, coronadopac.org.
“Jekyll & Hyde”
Oct. 24-Nov. 3, see website for times. Robert Louis Stevenson’s story of a London lawyer who investigates strange occurrences between his old friend, Dr. Henry Jekyll, and Edward Hyde. Stage Coach Players, DeKalb, Ill., (815) 758-1940, stagecoachers.com.
RSO: Romeo & Juliet
Oct. 27, 7:30 p.m. Features pianist David Syme, with music from Prokofiev, Rachmaninoff, Tippett and Paul Ben-Haim. RSO, Coronado PAC, Rockford, (815) 965-0049, rockfordsymphony.com.
“War of the Worlds”
Oct. 31, 7 p.m. Originally performed in 1938, the radio drama simulates a live broadcast, with news flashes and eyewitness accounts of the alarming invasion by Martians, first in New Jersey and then across the U.S. and the world. Stage One, JPAC, Janesville, (608) 758-0297, janesvillepac.org.
Nov. 2, 7:30 p.m. Winner of 6 Tony awards, the Broadway musical is a universal tale of fame, fortune and all that jazz. Coronado PAC, Rockford, (815) 968-0595, coronadopac.org.
“Two Witches, No Waiting”
Nov. 2-4 & 8-10, Fri.-Sat. 7 p.m., Sun. 2 p.m. When the housekeeper of Elzbeth and Arlene Marcus disappears, these friendly and eccentric witches in south Texas enlist the help of the sheriff. In the meanwhile, closets fly open, barn owls spy through the windows and the house itself seems alive. Janesville Little Theatre, 906 W. Racine St., Janesville, (608) 756-4172.
The Ten Tenors
Nov. 3, 7:30 p.m. Australia’s premier classical-crossover group’s repertoire includes songs by classical composers and contemporary artists. Egyptian Theatre, DeKalb, Ill., (815) 758-1215, egyptiantheatre.org.
Avalon String Quartet
Nov. 4, 3 p.m. Lecture at 2 p.m. Returning for their eighth season, the quartet features works by Mendelssohn. MPAC, Mendelssohn Hall, Rockford, (815) 964-9713, mendelssohnpac.org.
Nov. 5, 2 p.m. A longtime Monroe tradition, this program features an afternoon of Green County’s finest Swiss folk choirs and performers. Turner Hall of Monroe, 1217 17th Ave., Monroe, Wis., (608) 325-3461, turnerhallofmonroe.org.
John Denver Tribute
Nov. 10, 7 p.m. Chip Messiner’s vocals are a remarkable match for the legendary singer/songwriter. Spring Creek UCC, Rockford, (815) 877-2576, springcreekucc.org.
RSO: Old War Poems
Nov. 10, 7:30 p.m. John Borling, Maj. Gen., USAF (ret.) narrates to the music of Copland and Haydn; with the Mendelssohn Chorale. RSO, Coronado PAC, Rockford, (815) 965-0049, rockfordsymphony.com.
AE: “Five Women Wearing the Same Dress”
Nov. 15-18, Thur.-Sat. 7:30 p.m., Sun 2 p.m. Having survived an elaborate wedding ceremony, five bridesmaids seek refuge from the ostentatious reception, spending the afternoon in a bedroom on the bride’s estate; a funny and touching exploration of the nature of sisterhood and men. Artists’ Ensemble, Cheek Theatre, Rockford University, (815) 226-4100, artistsensemble.org.
Straight No Chaser
Nov. 16, 7:30 p.m. This 10-member male a cappella group, which originated at Indiana University, performs classics, movie themes and more. Coronado PAC, Rockford, (815) 968-0595, coronadopac.org.
Nov. 16, 8 p.m. From his debut on Comedy Central’s “Premium Blend” in 2005, Janesville native Lee has made a name for himself on “Last Comic Standing,” “New York Minute: 30” and VH1’s “Best Week Ever.” JPAC, Janesville, (608) 758-0297, janesvillepac.org.
Nov. 30-Dec. 9, Fri.-Sat. 7:30 p.m., Sat.-Sun. 2 p.m. Annie is chosen to leave the mean Miss Hannigan’s orphanage and live with wealthy “Daddy” Warbucks, to promote his image. She convinces him to search for her real parents, which brings many imposters out of the woodwork. Stage One, JPAC, Janesville, (608) 758-0297, janesvillepac.org.