The Music Theatre Company's production of Merrily We Roll Along, a Stephen Sondheim composition based on the 1934 Kaufman and Hart play, weaves a show biz success story in reverse. The musical begins with Franklin Shepard’s wild fame as a film producer before unraveling nearly 20 years of his past to uncover countless love affairs, missed opportunities, and humble dreams.
The Stained Glass Coffeehouse's concerts immerse audiences in the soothing euphonies of local and nationally known musicians in an intimate space. Tangleweed weaves a bluegrass twang into original songs and traditional ditties, getting feet stomping with old-timey aplomb. Guests take home a copy of the band's fourth album, Please Punch Richard for Me, keeping concert-formed memories alive or training a flock of parrots to imitate the singers' voices. Annie and Rod Capps couple the former's winsome vocals with the latter's deft instrumental accompaniment, and Kim and Reggie Harris caress ears with a songbook of folk music and African-American spirituals. Irish-American guitarist and singer Joe Jencks opens up hearts with soulful lyrics and crystalline vocals, and local artists open every concert, warming up audiences and melting heckling snowmen before headlining acts take the stage. The proceeds from each event will be donated to local and international charities.
Legendary country crooner George Jones cracks open a frothing keg of No. 1 hits and heartbreakers as his rare tour chugs through the historic Genesee Theatre. A Country Music Hall of Famer and recipient of the National Medal of Arts, George Jones charted the blueprint of modern country music with his distinctive voice, brutally honest lyrics, and cast-iron liver. From rockabilly stompers such as "White Lightning" to 10-hankie saline spigots such as "He Stopped Loving Her Today," his unflinchingly confessional classics will strike a chord with generations of fans during a high-energy performance that forever shuts the door on his "No Show" days. Also known as "The Possum" for his facial features and immunity to rabies, Jones continues to out-moonshine modern country whippersnappers, even at the tender age of 80.
Metropolis Performing Arts Center enriches the community with the beauty and culture of the theater, so it only makes sense that their version of a 5K is intensely theatrical. Dressed as a favorite stage, screen, or TV character, participants walk, jog, and monologue their way through a route that rolls by the verdant lawns and tree-lined streets of Arlington Heights. Twists and turns down Walnut and Maple and Chestnut streets breaks up Evergreen and Highland Avenue straightaways, and prizes at the finish line reward out-of-breath thespians for creating the best group or individual costumes.
Citadel Theatre Company traverses the peaks and valleys of human experience with a diverse repertoire of dramatic, comedic, contemporary, and classical works. In February, playwright Deborah Zoe Laufer hems theatergoers into the seams of a sputtering marriage during Sirens, which was showcased at the 2010 Humana Festival of New American Plays. After Sam and Rose build their entire relationship on the financial fortune of a chart-topping song, their ties begin to fray as Sam looks up an old flame by scouring social-media websites and visiting a retirement home for firefighters. Rose, in an attempt to yank Sam out of his rut, schedules a romantic cruise for the couple, where mythological temptation further illuminates Sam's predicament. Citadel Theatre's 150-seat tiered setup regales guests with optimal sight lines, and the venue's thrust stage allows actors to test the crowd's temperature with their big toe prior to cannonballing into each performance.
Since its birth in 1949, The Alley, or at least the North Shore ground on which The Alley resides, has come full circle. During its earliest years, it was known as Mary Jane Lanes, a 10-lane bowling center that buzzed with family-friendly competition throughout the 1950s and '60s. That buzzing continued at a much louder decibel level during the 1970s, when Mary Jane Lanes became Minstrel's Alley, a go-to music venue rocked by the riffs of bands such as REO Speedwagon and The Ramones. In the 1980s, after crews restored its lanes and dug out all the burnt electric guitars embedded into its gutters, the building returned to its origins as a family-first bowling center. Today, The Alley has been updated with automatic scoring, projection TVs, and pool tables ready to accommodate guests of all ages. Every Friday and Saturday, though, The Alley detours back through the '70s, as live bands revive the facility's glory days during Rock and Bowl.