Something for everyone to enjoy

Upcoming theater productions, ballet, live music and comedy improv this spring

Romance, drama, nostalgia or a few good laughs – be it a musical or dramatic stage production, our local theater scene has all the feels covered.

Running March 22-24 at the Hoogland Center for the Arts, Nightmare at the Hot Mess Hair Salon takes you on a nostalgic jaunt through the early 2000s pop culture where you will meet wacky characters such as DJ Justin Soprano, Brangelina Bananaboat and a manic pixie dream girl.

Noises Off is a play within a play where a mediocre theater troupe rehearses a touring production of a romp comedy, Nothing On, where, of course, almost nothing goes right. The play will be presented by the Springfield Theatre Centre April 12-14 and April 19-21.

A spoof of the old Alfred Hitchcock movie and loaded with Hitchcock film references, Alfred Hitchcock's The 39 Steps runs April 26-28 and May 3-5. Just four actors play over 150 characters in this fast-paced comedy.

The Hoogland finishes the spring theater season with the widely popular romance The Bridges of Madison County. Based on the best-selling novel and presented by Springfield Theatre Centre, this sweeping romance about the roads we travel, the doors we open and the bridges we dare to cross will leave you breathless.

On March 22, the UIS Performing Arts Center will host World Ballet Series Swan Lake. The series is a unique project composed of renowned professional dancers representing more than 10 countries. The production features richly detailed, hand-painted sets as well as over 150 striking costumes.

Giselle by Grand Kyiv Ballet will take the center's stage on April 5. This classical ballet tells the story of a peasant girl who falls in love with a nobleman disguised as a commoner. The ballet is known for its stunning choreography and beautiful music, and is a masterpiece of the ballet repertoire. Prime dancers from the National Opera and Ballet of Ukraine bring remarkable talent to the production.

Both touching and funny, the new comedy John Proctor is the Villain captures a generation in mid-transformation, running on pop music, optimism and fury, and writing their own coming-of-age story. This play, running April 12-14 and April 18-20, won the Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Production of a Play.

Come from Away is a musical based on a remarkable true story. On Sept. 11, 2001, 38 planes were diverted to Gander, Newfoundland, carrying 6,579 passengers and crew. For a town of 10,000 residents, it was an incredible undertaking. Come From Away plays April 14.

Set during the jazz age, Chicago is a tale of fame and fortune, and criminals and crimes. The musical, on stage on May 7, has one show-stopping song after another accompanied by amazing dancing.

All of the world's funniest teacher-comedians will be on one stage on May 9 for Bored Teachers: We Can't Make This Stuff Up! Their hilarious skits on the internet have been viewed by millions, and they're all joining comic forces on stage for a night of laughter.

For a twist on a 16th century play, catch the Copper Coin Ballet Company's A Midsummer Night's Dream at The Legacy Theatre April 20-21. It's Shakespeare's play reimagined as a ballet where you enter a whimsical realm and follow the tale about the romantic escapades of four young lovers and the mischievous antics of the fairy king and queen, and their servant.

A couple of other productions are popping up in smaller theatrical places. On March 21-22, Theatre in the Park at Lincoln's New Salem State Historic Site will present On Golden Pond, the love story of Ethel and Norman Thayer, who return to their summer home on Golden Pond for the 48th year.

Lady Frederick will play at Edwards Place April 26-28. This comedy by British writer William Somerset Maugham was first performed in London in 1907. An Irish widow, seriously in debt, must deal with suitors who have various motives for proposing marriage, and with the man with whom she once had an affair.

Families will also have a chance to enjoy some quality theater this year with both new and old favorites. March 22-24 Hoogland Center for the Arts will present Disney's Finding Nemo Jr., a story full of family, friendship and adventure. Also at the Hoogland April 26-28, you can enter the Hundred Acre Wood, where you'll once again find Winnie the Pooh and his pals, Tigger, Piglet, Rabbit and Owl in Disney's Winnie the Pooh Kids.

The UIS Performing Arts Center will present the new theatrical adaptation of the Emmy award-winning children's television series, Bluey's Big Play, on April 30-May 1. With the brilliantly created puppets, this is the best Bluey ever.

Check back with the Illinois Times calendar for up-to-date details on upcoming shows. Be especially on the lookout for shows at our two outdoor stage treasures, The Muni and New Salem's Theatre in the Park. Their summer programs will begin soon.