The cicadas are singing their late summer serenade and that means things are just starting to heat up again on the theater scene. This autumn’s stage offerings are delivered through new and classic tales, personal stories and dance, then peppered with a little comedy.
At UIS Performing Arts Center, the Springfield Ballet Company will be presenting a one-night-only performance of Rockballet: Road Trip (Sept. 28), a multimedia contemporary dance. After the ballet company primes the stage, Beautiful – The Carole King Musical (Oct. 18) will keep it alive and tell the inspiring true story of King’s remarkable rise to stardom. The hit summer competition series and 16 Emmy winner, So You Think You Can Dance Live! (Nov. 12) will bring in its best dancers of 2019 including the show’s top 10 finalists and some all-star guests. Larry the Cable Guy will take the stage next with his Remain Seated tour (Dec. 5). The multiplatinum recording artist is also a Grammy nominee, Billboard award-winner and one of the top comedians in the country. He has his own line of merchandise and continues to sell out theaters across the United States. The Performing Arts Center will end the year with Springfield Ballet Company’s adaptation of Tchaikovsky’s classic holiday ballet, The Nutcracker (Dec. 14-15). Get more information at uispac.com or call 217-206-6160.
Over at the Hoogland Center for the Arts the four-time Tony and two-time Oliver award-winner, Memphis the Musical (Aug. 23-25 and Aug. 30-Sept. 1), is still on for a few days. Inspired by actual events, Memphis is about a white radio DJ who wants to change the world and a black club singer who is ready for her big break. The Hoogland will then lighten the mood a bit with The Second City Greatest Hits Vol. 59 (Sept. 7). This year marks the 60th anniversary show and you can watch the next generation of these comedy superstars put their spin on the legendary comedy company’s greatest hits, rebooted and reimagined for today. For a bit of a twist, look for the Springfield Theatre Centre’s monster musical Young Frankenstein (Oct. 11-13 and 18-20) where Frederick Frankenstein inherits his family’s estate in Transylvania and, joined by Igor and Inga, he finds himself in the mad scientist shoes of his ancestors. The Theatre Centre will also present Spring Awakening, a turn-of the-19th century tale of German students on their passage as they navigate teenage self-discovery and coming-of-age anxiety. The Hoogland will lead us into the holiday season with the It’s a Wonderful Life – A Live Radio Play (Dec. 6-8 and 13-15) where the beloved American classic story of idealistic George Bailey comes to life as a live 1940s radio broadcast. Contact the Hoogland through the website hcfta.org or call 217-523-2787.
The Legacy Theatre has some gems in store for the season with an enticing variety of entertainment offerings. The new Broadway musical, Bright Star (Oct. 4-6, 10-13 and 17-20), is a sweeping tale of love and redemption set against the backdrop of the American South in the 1920s and 40s. Then, the Legacy shifts gears entirely and offers its audiences Fright Fest (Oct. 26-27), a whole weekend of some of the best horror films of all time. Not skipping a beat, next up is Charles Bach Wonders! (Nov. 8-10), an amazing show featuring large-scale Vegas illusions the whole family will enjoy. The venue will then offer another film festival to mark the 80th anniversary of the year that is considered the peak of Hollywood golden age for films. The 1939 Film Festival (Nov. 15-17) features such timeless classics as Gone with the Wind, The Wizard of Oz and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. Check out Legacy’s website atthelegacy.com or call 217-528-9760.
A couple of other venues are presenting shows that help make it a well-rounded season. New Salem’s Theatre in the Park is letting its audiences experience Mattie Rigsbee, the 78-year-old protagonist of Walking Across Egypt (Aug. 23-25 and 29-31), as she tries to bring young Wesley to the side of God and good Southern manners. Call 217-632-5440 for tickets. Finally, Sibert Theatre at Illinois College in Jacksonville will present Golden Boy (Oct. 31-Nov. 3), the story of Joe Bonaparte, a young Italian-American who must choose between becoming a concert violinist or a prizefighter. Get ticket info at ic.edu or 217-245-3000.
Of course, it is fairly early in the season and who knows what other shows might be in the works. Check back at eventsillinoistimes.com to keep up on the latest.
Stacie Lewis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.