There’s so much to do in our neck of the Old Northwest Territory! Here are some fun events coming up this winter.
Jan. 7, 7:30 p.m. Presented by Charlotte’s Web (The Web). This singer/songwriter and master storyteller, who grew up near Petersburg, site of the Civil War’s Battle of the Crater, is also one of the preeminent autoharp players in the world. Mendelssohn Performing Arts Center (MPAC), Emerson House, 420 N. Main St., Rockford, (815) 964-2238, charlotteswebofrockford.org.
Jan. 12, 7:30 p.m. CMA female vocalist of the year performs songs from her new CD and hits like “The House That Built Me” and “Famous in a Small Town.” BMO Harris Bank Center, 300 Elm St., Rockford, (815) 968-5600, metrocentre.com.
The New Mel Brooks Musical YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN
Jan. 13, 8 p.m. All the favorite moments from the classic film, plus brand-new, show-stopping numbers for the stage, like “Transylvania Mania,” “He Vas My Boyfriend,” “Puttin’ on the Ritz.” Broadway at the Coronado Series. Coronado Performing Arts Center (CPAC), Rockford, (815) 968-0595, coronadopac.org.
The Web: Treasa Levasseur & The Daily Special
Jan. 14, 7:30 p.m. This singer/songwriter from Winnipeg performs an original, eclectic mix of blues, jazz, funk, rock and even a bit of country. Emerson House, Rockford, (815) 964-2238.
Rockford Symphony Orchestra (RSO): “Tales from the Mideast”
Jan. 14, 7:30 p.m. Steven Larsen, conductor. Travel to Asia Minor, Persia and Arabia to hear the stories that inspired three very different composers. Mendelssohn: Overture to St. Paul; Hovhaness: The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, Michael Alongi, accordion; Rimsky-Korsakov: Scheherazade. CPAC, Rockford. Tickets: RSO, (815) 965-0049.
Rockford Wind Ensemble: “No Strings Attached”
Jan. 15, 4:30 p.m. The Rockford Wind Ensemble performs, with special guest the Youth Honors Band. Hononegah Performing Arts Center, 307 Salem St., Rockton, Ill. (815) 624-5006.
Voix de la Femme
Jan. 15, 4:30 p.m. This trio of sopranos performs “Songs of Love.” Free. Small venue; reservations req. Canterbury Music Society, Philander Hall, 308 Deer Chase, Dixon, Ill., canterburyconcerts.com.
Jan. 19-21, 27-28, 7:30 p.m., Jan. 22 & 29, 2 p.m. Following the death of her brilliant but mentally unstable father, a caretaking daughter must deal with visitors while facing fears of her own genius/madness. Presented by Stage One. Janesville Performing Arts Center (JPAC), 408 S. Main St., Janesville, Wis. (608) 758-0297, janesvillepac.org.
Jan. 19-March 4, check website for days/times. This band revue features hits from the Rat Pack, Elvis, Bette Midler, Liberace and others, a tribute to the mecca of glitz and glamour. Fireside Dinner Theatre (Fireside), Bus. Hwy. 26 South, Fort Atkinson, Wis. (800) 477-9505, firesidetheatre.com.
Beloit Janesville Symphony Orchestra (BJSO): Allegro II: Classic Quartets
Jan. 21, 7:30 p.m. The debut performance of the BJSO French Horn Quartet, led by John Wunderlin. Eaton Chapel, Beloit College, College and Chapin streets, Beloit. Tickets: BJSO, (608) 313-1200, beloitjanesvillesymphony.org.
The Web: The April Verch Band
Jan. 21, 7:30 p.m. This singer/songwriter and step dancer and her band play with exuberance a mix of traditional music, from her native Canada to Appalachia and the deep south, on fiddle, banjo and guitar. MPAC, Emerson Auditorium, Rockford, charlotteswebofrockford.org.
Moscow Festival Ballet: Swan Lake
Jan. 22, 3 p.m. Tchaikovsky’s classic fairy tale of a princess turned into a swan by an evil sorcerer, danced by the renowned Moscow Festival Ballet. CPAC, Rockford, coronadopac.org.
Lost in Yonkers
Jan. 26-28, Feb. 2-4, 7:30 p.m., Jan. 28 & Feb. 4, 3 p.m. Neil Simon’s touching and funny tale of two boys growing up with a domineering grandmother in 1942 Yonkers. Beloit Civic Theatre, Elizabeth Reinholz Theatre, Beloit Memorial High School, 1225 4th St., Beloit Wis. (608) 362-1595, beloitcivictheatre.org.
Jan. 27-29, Feb. 3-5, F-Sat 7:30 p.m., Sun. 2 p.m. This still-timely 1948 play shows how a crew aboard a WWII supply ship deals with the enemies of boredom and monotony, with the help of one scheming ensign. Byron Civic Theater, Byron Middle School, 850 N. Colfax St., Byron, Ill., (815) 312-3000, bctmagic.com.
Avalon String Quartet
Jan. 27, March 16, 7 p.m. One of the country’s top string ensembles, now in residence at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb. MPAC, Rockford, mendelssohnpac.org.
Rob Erdmann: Magician Extraordinaire!
Jan. 28, 11-11:45 a.m. This show incorporates magic, puppetry and storytelling. Rockford Public Library (RPL), Main Branch, 215 N. Wyman St., Rockford, (815) 965-7606, rockfordpubliclibrary.org.
St. Mark Music & Art: Margaret Dean
Jan. 29, 7 p.m. This experienced keyboardist plays the church’s renovated organ. St. Mark Lutheran Church Concert Series. Free; donations accepted. St. Mark Lutheran Church, 675 Mulford Road, Rockford, (815) 398-3557.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show
Feb. 1-5, 8-11, 8 p.m., Sat. matinees 2 p.m. That sweet transvestite and his motley crew did the time warp on Broadway in this 25th anniversary revival. Studio Theatre, Rock Valley College (RVC), 3301 N. Mulford Road, Rockford, (815) 921-2160, rockvalleycollege.edu.
Feb. 3, 7:30 p.m. This group’s family show is a blend of pop/jazz harmonies and tongue-in-cheek lyrics, including a six-minute version of “The Wizard of Oz.” JPAC, Janesville, (608) 758-0297, chapter6.com.
The Web: The Red Sea Pedestrians
Feb. 3, 7:30 p.m. These six instrument-swapping musicians from Michigan fuse Klezmer, Greek, Gypsy, Celtic, jazz and American roots with their own original visions, in a high-energy performance that borders on a variety show. MPAC, Emerson Auditorium, Rockford, (815) 964-2238.
Feb. 4, 9-11, 7:30 p.m. Noel Coward’s comedy about an engaged widower who is suddenly haunted by his past wife’s ghost. Winneshiek Players Theatre, 28 W. Clark St., Freeport, (815) 232-7023, winneshiekplayers.org.
Bottom Line Duo
Feb. 6, 7 p.m. This nationally-known husband and wife duo plays classics and pop on a 300-year-old Italian string bass and a 140-year-old French cello. Sauk Valley Community Concert Association (SVCCA). Dixon High School, Lincoln Statue Dr., Dixon, Ill. (815) 288-2501, svcca.org.
9 to 5 The Musical
Feb. 8-May 6, check website for days/times. Direct from Broadway and the 1st National Tour, the smash hit musical based on the smash hit film. Fireside, Fort Atkinson, firesidetheatre.com.
Whose Wives Are They Anyway?
Feb. 10-12, 17-19, F-Sat. 7 p.m., Sun. 2 p.m. Two cosmetics execs use fake wives on a boys-only golf trip to fool their new female boss. The real wives show up. Main Street Players, Belvidere, (800) 741-2963, mainstreetplayersofboonecounty.com.
Feb. 11, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Demonstrating and exhibiting artists, performances, raffle items. Free; $1 donation suggested; proceeds to United Arts Alliance Scholarship Fund. JPAC, Janesville, (608) 758-0297, rockcountyarts.com.
RSO: “Valentine Bon-Bons”
Feb. 11, 7:30 p.m. Steven Larsen, conductor; Michele Lekas, violin. J. Strauss II: Overture to Die Fledermaus; Delius: La Calinda; Sarasate: Fantasy on Bizet’s Carmen, Michele Lekas, violin; Saint-Saëns: Bacchanale from Samson and Delilah; Debussy: Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun; Humperdinck: Prelude to Hansel & Gretel; Khachaturian: Adagio from Spartacus; Chabrier: España; Enescu: Romanian Rhapsody No. 1. CPAC, Rockford. Tickets: RSO, (815) 965-0049.
Beloit International Film Festival
Feb. 16-19, various times. Screenings of a selection of juried independent feature-length and short documentary and narrative films, with filmmakers on hand for Q&A. Various venues, Beloit, Wis.; Janesville, Wis.; Rockford, Ill. (608) 313-1200, beloitfilmfest.org.
Dead Man’s Hand
Feb. 16-18, 7:30 p.m.; Feb. 19, 2 p.m. Two couples lured to a remote spot are murdered one by one. Or are they? Janesville Little Theatre, JPAC, Janesville, (608) 758-0297, janesvillepac.org.
The Web: Beppe Gambetta
Feb. 17, 7:30 p.m. A master of the acoustic guitar, this Italian singer/composer blends American roots music with sounds of his native country. Emerson House, Rockford, (815) 964-2238.
Mardi Gras Celebration
Feb. 18, 3-4:30 p.m. In a Rockford re-creation of this timeless festival, dance to great music, make a Mardi Gras mask, maybe even get crowned king or queen. RPL, Main Branch, rockfordlibrary.org.
BJSO: Silent Film Showcase
Feb. 18, 7:30 p.m. Part of Beloit International Film Festival. BJSO brings back the magic of cinema’s early years with a live accompaniment to a favorite silent film classic. The Eclipse Center, Beloit. Tickets: BJSO, beloitjanesvillesymphony.org.
Cor Cantiamo: Lux Aeterna
Feb. 19, 4:30 p.m. Members of this professional ensemble have performed with the likes of Chicago Symphony Chorus, Grant Park Chorus. They are joined by some Canterbury Singers. Canterbury Music Society, St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, 221 W. 3rd St., Dixon, Ill., canterburyconcerts.com.
Book of Days
Feb. 23-25, 7:30 p.m., Feb. 26, 2 p.m. When murder roars through a small Missouri town, Ruth Hoch begins her own quest to find truth and honesty amid small-town jealousies, religion, greed and lies. Cheek Theatre, Rockford College, 5050 E. State St., Rockford, (815) 226-4100.
“Disney Live: Three Classic Fairy Tales”
Feb. 24, 3 & 6 p.m. Join Mickey, Minnie, Donald and Goofy as they bring the timeless adventures of Cinderella, Beauty and The Beast and Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs to life. BMO Harris Bank Center, Rockford, (815) 968-5600.
“Tchaikowski” St. Petersburg State Orchestra
Feb. 24, 7:30 p.m. Founded in the years following World War II, the group has a diverse repertoire, featuring music director/conductor Roman Leontiev. Ravel: Daphnis et Chole; Prokofiev: Piano Concerto No. 1; Rimsky-Korsakov: Scheherazade. CPAC, Rockford (815) 968-0595, coronadopac.org.
Pro Arte Quartet
Feb. 25, 7:30 p.m. The oldest continually active singing quartet in the world, since its founding in Belgium in 1912. In residence at UW-Madison since 1940, it performs a standard classical repertoire while championing new music. JPAC, Janesville, (608) 758-0297, proartequartet.org.
The Web: Patrick Ball
Feb. 25, 7:30 p.m. This award-winning Celtic harpist and storyteller beguiles with his blending of Ireland’s music and strong oral tradition. VENUE TBA.
My Fair Lady
Feb. 26, 3 p.m. The glorious musical adaptation of Shaw’s “Pygmalion,” with hits like “Get Me to the Church on Time,” “I’ve Grown Accustomed to Her Face” and “On the Street Where You Live.” Broadway at the Coronado Series. CPAC, Rockford, (815) 968-0595, coronadopac.org.
The Web: Sparky & Rhonda
March 2, 7:30 p.m. This married couple sings and tells stories from the American folk tradition, Sparky with fingerstyle picking and bottleneck blues guitar, banjo and spoons, Rhonda with harmonica, piano, banjo, bones player and vocal harmonies. MPAC, Reitsch Rm., Rockford, charlotteswebofrockford.org.
Debussy, le magnifique
March 2, 7:30 p.m. A selection of Debussy’s most impressive compositions performed by an ensemble of talented local and regional artists. MPAC, Rockford, mendelssohnpac.org.
March 2-4, 8-9, F-Sat. 7 p.m., Sun. 2 p.m. Drama based on the diary account by a young girl of two years spent hiding from Nazis in an attic in Amsterdam with her family and others. Vince Carney Community Theatre, Paddock Memorial Hall, Hickory Grove Complex, 1127 N. 7th St., Rochelle, Ill. (815) 764-2287, vcctrochelle.org.
McNulty Irish Dancers
March 3, 11-11:45 a.m. Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day early with this group’s authentic jigs, reels and other favorites. RPL Main Branch, Rockford, rockfordpubliclibrary.org.
Avalon String Quartet with Sojung Hong
March 3, 3 p.m. One of the country’s top string ensembles, with guest pianist. Freeport Community Concert Association (FCCA), Freeport Masonic Temple, 305 W. Stephenson St., Freeport, Ill. (815) 232-4214.
Elliott Little in Concert
March 9, 7:30 p.m. Fundraiser for Janesville Presents! Combining powerful vocals and energetic piano playing, he evokes fond memories of classic pop rock favorites of Billy Joel, Elton John, the Beatles, Van Morrison, Stevie Wonder, others. JPAC, Janesville, (608) 758-0297, janesvillepac.org.
“Mary Todd Lincoln”
March 9, 7 p.m. A dramatic impersonation of this tortured and disliked First Lady, the wife of one of our most beloved presidents. Part of Historic Voices series. Pec Playhouse Theatre, 314 Main St., Pecatonica, Ill. (815) 239-1210, pecplayhouse.org.
RSO: Shubert, Still & Stravinsky
March 10, 7:30 p.m. Steven Larsen, conductor. Rossini: Overture to La Cenerentola; Schubert: Symphony No. 5 in B flat; Still: Ennanga, Nanette Felix, harp; Stravinsky: Pulcinella Suite. CPAC, Rockford. Tickets: RSO, (815) 965-0049.
BJSO: “Bach to the Future”
March 10, 7:30 p.m. Beloit Janesville Symphony Chamber Orchestra. Robert Tomaro, conductor; Max Yount, harpsichord. Stravinsky: Concerto in E Flat, “Dunbarton Oaks”; Bloch: Concerto Grosso; J. S. Bach: Brandenburg Concerto No. 5. Eaton Chapel, Beloit. Tickets: BJSO, (608) 313-1200, beloitjanesvillesymphony.org.
The Web: Doug MacLeod
March 10, 7:30 p.m. This acoustic blues musician is known for his superb songwriting, guitar wizardry, warm soulful vocals and wit. Emerson House, Rockford, (815) 964-2238, charlotteswebofrockford.org.
St. Mark Music & Art: Casey’s Fancy
March 11, 7 p.m. Jigs, reels and ballads from this local Irish group, a warm-up for St. Paddy’s Day. St. Mark Lutheran Church Concert Series. Free; donations accepted. St. Mark Lutheran Church, 675 Mulford Road, Rockford, (815) 398-3557.
Disney On Ice: Mickey & Minnie’s Magical Journey
March 15-18, Thurs.-Sat. 7 p.m.; Sat. 11 a.m. & 3 p.m.; Sun. 1 & 5 p.m. Mickey & Minnie visit the magical lands of other Disney characters. BMO Harris Bank Center, Rockford, metrocentre.com.
March 16-April 1, check website for times. A literary version of All About Eve, as a noted and cranky writer takes on an assistant who goes from employee to friend to rival. AE, Rockford, (815) 394-5004, artistsensemble.org.
Avalon String Quartet
March 16, 7 p.m. One of the country’s top string ensembles, in residence at NIU in DeKalb. MPAC, Rockford, mendelssohnpac.org.
Derek Nickels: Organ Recital
March 18, 4:30 p.m. This popular regional performer will play on a circa 1948, 102-stop organ, one of the largest in Illinois. Canterbury Music Society, St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, 221 W. 3rd St., Dixon, Ill., canterburyconcerts.com.
Murder is Easy
March 21-25, 28-31, 8 p.m., March 24-25, 28, 2 p.m. The Agatha Christie jigsaw at its best, worked out like a diabolical game of Clue. RVC Studio Theatre, Rockford, rockvalley.edu.
The Web: Dana & Susan Robinson
March 23, 7:30 p.m. These guitar-playing, banjo-frailing, fiddle-sawing, harmony-singing pair blend contemporary songwriting and traditional Appalachian music. Emerson House, Rockford, charlotteswebofrockford.org.
Avenue Q (Rated R)
March 23-24, 30-31, 7:30 p.m. Hilarious Tony winner with a cast of people and puppets who tell about surviving in NYC with big dreams and tiny bank accounts in a risqué and entertaining way. Contains adult subject matter, including puppet nudity. Parental discretion advised. Bower City Theater Co., JPAC, Janesville, (608) 758-0297, janesvillepac.org.
Christopher Houlihan Organ Concert
March 25, 3 p.m. This international performer has been heralded as one of the brightest new American organists. Free; donations accepted. Sounds From The Sanctuary Concert Series, First Lutheran Church, 225 S. 3rd St., Rockford, (815) 962-6691, rockfordlutheranministries.com.
The Web: California Guitar Trio
March 30, 7:30 p.m. Fusing European classical music, rock, blues, jazz, world music, bluegrass and surf music, this group displays technical virtuosity mixed with humor. The Sullivan Center (formerly N.A.T.), 118 N. Main St., Rockford, (815) 964-2238, charlottewebrockford.org.
Rastrelli Cello Quartet
March 30, 7 p.m. These four Russian musicians play everything, from Baroque to rock. Not your typical cello concert. FCCA, Freeport Masonic Temple, Freeport, (815) 232-4214.
Three Hits & a Miss
March 31, 7 p.m. This quartet of international performers sings “American Pops”: hits from 1950-1980. SVCCA, Sterling High School, 1608 4th Ave., Sterling, Ill., (815) 288-2501, svcca.org.
March 31, 7:30 p.m. Prominent, in-demand vocalist Steve Lippia, in an evening of great hits like “Beyond the Sea,” “Unforgettable,” “Mack the Knife,” “What Kind of Fool Am I,” “I Left My Heart in San Francisco,” and some all-time Sinatra favorites. CPAC, Rockford. Tickets: RSO, (815) 965-0049.
St. Mark Music & Art: Kishwaukee Valley Concert Band
April 1, 3 p.m. Usher in spring with jazz and more. Part of St. Mark Lutheran Church Concert Series. Free; donations accepted. St. Mark Lutheran Church, 675 Mulford Road, Rockford, (815) 398-3557.
Sensational Susan Salidor
April 7, 11-11:45 a.m. This popular performer puts on a show filled with toe tappin’, foot stompin’, hand clappin’ music. RPL, Main Library, 215 N. Wyman St., Rockford, (815) 965-7606, rockfordpubliclibrary.org.
BJSO: “New Directions!”
April 14, 7:30 p.m. Susan Aquila, acoustic and electric violins. Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 4, featuring 2012 Student Concerto Competition winner; Mozart: Violin Concerto No. 3 in G Major, k. 216; Robert Tomaro: Symphonic Suite for Electric Violin and Orchestra: Music From Planet Z. JPAC, Janesville, (608) 758-0297. Tickets: BJSO, beloitjanesvillesymphony.org.
The Web: Doug & Telisha Williams
April 14, 7:30 p.m. This duo’s original foot-stompin’ country/blues songs evoke the sounds, sights and spirit of their native Virginia. Emerson House, Rockford, (815) 964-2238.
April 15, 7 p.m. Mexican brass quintet with an eclectic mix of classical, contemporary and pop music. Sauk Valley Community Concert Association (SVCCA), Dixon High School, Lincoln Statue Dr., Dixon, Ill. (815) 288-2501, svcca.org.
April 20, 7:30 p.m. A unique and seamless blend of Irish and Canadian stepdancing and tap, accompanied by champion fiddling. CPAC, Rockford, coronadopac.org.
RSO: Symphonic Dances
April 21, 7:30 p.m. Dance and music are ancient partners. Coolidge: Pioneer Dances; Bernstein: Symphonic Dances from West Side Story; Rachmaninov: Symphonic Dances. CPAC, Rockford. Tickets: RSO, (815) 965-0049.
April 21, 7:30 p.m. Over the past 20 years, 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.
The Web: Claudia Nygaard
April 21, 7:30 p.m. Once a writer of formulaic songs on Nashville’s Music Row, this singer/songwriter’s original works now are compared to John Prine and Guy Clark, with passionate, emotional melodies and vivid, descriptive lyrics. Emerson House, Rockford, charlotteswebofrockford.org.
No, No, Nanette
April 26-28, 7:30 p.m., April 29, 2 p.m. Lighthearted musical about the trouble young Jimmy Smith gets into on a summer weekend. Hits include “Tea for Two,” “I Want to be Happy.” Cheek Theatre, Rockford College, 5050 E. State St., Rockford, (815) 226-4100.
Squirrels in the Attic
April 26-28, May 3-5, 7:30 p.m., April 28 & May 5, 3 p.m. A grown daughter and her comedian boyfriend move in with her parents to recuperate from a car accident. Dad wants them; Mom doesn’t. Hilarious clashes ensue. Beloit Civic Theatre, Elizabeth Reinholz Theatre, Beloit Memorial High School, 1225 4th St., Beloit Wis. (608) 362-1595, beloitcivictheatre.org. ❚