The shows to see in 2013
By Annie Alleman For Sun-Times Media January 10, 2013 4:00PM
Little Big Town will be at the Rialto March 21.
Updated: January 15, 2013 1:51PM
From hot new artists to classic plays, the next six months are going to be a lot of fun for area theater fans.
Established and up-and-coming performers are coming to Aurora, Elgin, Joliet and Naperville for the remainder of the theater season. Here’s an overview of what to expect.
Hopefully, you left a little room on the Visa — you’re going to want it.
NORTH CENTRAL COLLEGE
Madden Theatre, 171 E. Chicago Ave., Naperville
Meiley-Swallow Hall, 31 S. Ellsworth St., Naperville
Pfeiffer Hall, 310 E. Benton Ave., Naperville
Wentz Concert Hall,171 E. Chicago Ave., Naperville
First, crooner Marc Cohn kicks off 2013 with a performance of soulful pop songs on Jan. 12. The Grammy-award winning singer-songwriter (“Walking in Memphis”) performs an 8 p.m. show in Wentz Concert Hall. Tributes to R&B giants Ray Charles and Cab Calloway are on tap at North Central College this spring, as well as plays based on popular children’s books.
Chicagoland cabaret act Beckie Menzie and Tom Michael perform “All in the Musical Family” on Jan. 27, modern dance troupe Parsons Dance takes the stage Feb. 1 and the Chicago Jazz Orchestra presents A Tribute to Ray Charles on Feb. 16.
If cabaret is your soft spot, you won’t want to miss David Burnham’s “Mostly Broadway” performance on Feb. 24. Also performing that night is the Russian National Orchestra with world-renowned pianist Daniil Trifonov in the Wentz Concert Hall.
The month ends with North Central College’s student production of the roller-skating ‘80s classic “Xanadu,” running Feb. 28 to March 3. Meanwhile, March ignites with An Evening with Branford Marsalis on March 1 and An Evening with Pianist Chris White on March 8.
Fans of the rock band Queen should save the date for One Night of Queen on March 9, and TheatreWorks USA brings the beloved children’s book series “Junie B. Jones” to the stage for two public shows March 16.
The famed Vienna Boys Choir performs March 17, and in a completely different direction; jazz singer Spider Saloff presents “Cole Porter, Swell Party!” on March 24.
The Organic Theater Company puts on its spring show “Emigrants” March 21 to 24, and Giordano Dance Chicago has the first post-spring break slot on April 13. On April 14, musical theater veteran Glory Crampton performs her show, “Out of My Dreams.”
Another children’s class comes to the stage with TheatreWorks USA’s production of “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day” on April 20; and Shakespeare gets his due when NCC students present “The Taming of the Shrew” April 25 to 28. The Chicago Afro-Latin Jazz Ensemble performs April 27, followed by the Chicago Chamber Musicians on May 3.
Theater professor Kelly Howe directs “Way to Heaven” May 9 to 12, a play inspired by the true story of the 1944 Red Cross visit to the Theresienstadt concentration camp, where Nazis constructed a fake town in order to dismiss extermination rumors.
Taking an abrupt turn will be “How Big Can You Get? 100 Years of Cab Calloway featuring Big Bad Voodoo Daddy” May 18; followed May 19 with Danny Gurwin’s show, “Sail Me Away.”
The season rounds out May 23 to 25 with “A Story of Us” written and directed by North Central College senior Kevin Williams.
RIALTO SQUARE THEATRE
102 N. Chicago St., Joliet
The Midtown Men, four stars from the original cast of “Jersey Boys,” perform tonight at the Rialto Square Theatre in Joliet.
Later in the month, the Rialto’s annual Bridal Expo returns Jan. 20, and the State Ballet Theatre of Russia presents “Cinderella” on Jan. 22.
The comedic play “Defending the Caveman” is Feb. 9, and the Broadway smash hit musical “Beauty and the Beast” holds audiences captive on Feb. 18. Comedian John Pinette performs Feb. 22, Jimmy Buffett tribute act Parrots of the Caribbean take audiences on a tropical journey Feb. 23 and Jim Belushi and the Chicago Board of Comedy do a night of improvisational comedy March 2.
The Women of Ireland ring in St. Patrick’s Day March 7, while Buddy Guy and Jonny Lang bring the blues to Joliet March 9.
A live theater production of “Scooby Doo: Live Musical Mysteries” will have kids and parents alike laughing and wondering whodunit on March 10, and the award-winning musical “Dreamgirls” will dazzle the stage March 14.
You won’t want to miss George Jones on his final grand tour March 15, and vocal group Perpettuum Jazzile performs March 20.
Country superstars Little Big Town tear into Joliet March 21, and Sandy Hackett’s the Rat Pack Show is April 5.
Comedy fans will enjoy “My Mother’s Italian, My Father’s Jewish and I’m in Therapy!” on April 13, and Henson Alternative “Stuffed and Unstrung” featuring the Miskreant Puppets on April 14.
Food Network’s Chef Robert Irvine dazzles audiences on April 20. The Rialto’s Organ Extravaganza XVII is April 27, and the season ends with Sesame Street Live’s “Elmo Makes Music” on May 14.
23 E. Galena Blvd., Aurora
The great William Shatner kicked off the year in style, and the Paramount has plenty of surprises left throughout the season.
Back again are Movie Mondays, where the theater shows a classic movie every Monday at 7 p.m. Check the web site for upcoming titles.
The feel-good musical “The Music Man” runs Jan. 16 to Feb. 3, directed by Rachel Rockwell. The eclectic dance troupe Muntu presents a show on Feb. 7 that features traditional and modern takes on African dance, music and folklore.
Indie-rock darlings Poi Dog Pondering perform Feb. 9, and crooner Bobby Vinton performs for the sweethearts on Feb. 14.
The lively musical “Fiddler on the Roof” shows from March 6 to 24, and Bee Gees tribute band Stayin’ Alive brings back feathered hair and platform shoes with their show on March 30.
The raucous and frenetic group Stomp brings out trash cans, brooms, plungers, lighters and possibly the kitchen sink for two shows April 13 and 14.
The season closes out with Herman’s Hermits and Chicago favorites the Ides of March on May 18.
ELGIN COMMUNITY COLLEGE
1700 Spartan Drive, Elgin
“American Grands” is a musical spectacular for the ages. With 12 grand pianos, 500 local performers and world premieres of new works, there are three performances to choose from on Jan. 26.
Stand-up comedian and Second City alumni Robert Klein visits on Feb. 9 and the winsome folk duo Dala play two 8 p.m. shows on Feb. 15 and 16 in the SecondSpace Theatre.
Formed in the 1960s, the Grammy-winning a cappella group Ladysmith Black Mambazo treats audiences to the sounds of gospel fused with the rhythms and harmonies of their native South Africa at a Feb. 16 show.
Canadian blues-rocker Matt Andersen performs Feb. 23, and guitar virtuoso Frank Vignola comes to town for two shows March 15 and 16 in the SecondSpace Theatre.
Based on a suggestion from the audience, The Improvised Shakespeare Company creates a fully improvised and hilarious scene using the language and themes of William Shakespeare. The show is March 16 in the Blizzard Theater.
What would happen at John Lennon’s last show ever? Lennon impersonator Tim Piper attempts to answer that question with his April 6 show, Just Imagine.
2CELLOS take on the rock and pop songs April 11, and the singer-songwriters of Red Horse perform April 13.
The life and music of cool jazz giant Chet Baker is explored in biographer James Gavin’s “Deep in A Dream” concert featuring singer Spider Saloff, trumpeter Art Davis and pianist Dennis Luxion on April 14.
Eclectic musician David Lindley performs May 10, and the season closes out May 11 with Eagles’ tribute act Heartache Tonight.