Fall Arts Preview: An Enchanting Lineup of Performances

From tribute acts to Broadway shows, comedy gigs and symphonic concerts, our region’s venues guarantee an unforgettable experience in the coming season.

Todd Heintz Photography

Raue Center for the Arts

Every season, Crystal Lake’s downtown theater welcomes various acts that appeal to audiences of all ages and interests. The late summer and fall bring a standout lineup of live music, tribute acts and comedians.

The Dave Matthews Tribute Band on Aug. 12 is just a taste of what’s to come as Raue Center brings tributes to ABBA on Oct. 14, The Grateful Dead on Oct. 20, the Beach Boys on Nov. 4 and the Eagles on Nov. 25.

Five-time Grammy-winning blues guitarist Robert Cray follows the act on Sept. 8 with his blend of soul, R&B, gospel, blues and rock ‘n’ roll. He’s followed by award-winning blues guitarist Hector Anchondo on Sept. 23 and county singer-songwriter Phil Vassar on Nov. 18.

Kick off the comedy season on Sept. 9 as Pat McGann, co-founder of Lucy’s Comedy, takes the stage.

“Pat and I sat down one day 16 years ago as the Great Recession was hitting and said we should try a comedy club,” says Richard Kuranda, executive director and founding artistic director of Raue Center for the Arts. “He’s toured the world three or four times, had sold-out shows at the Chicago Theatre and is just an amazing voice of Chicagoland.”

There’s much more to come, as Greenroom Improv continues its monthly improv show, Lucy’s Comedy resumes, Colin Mochrie returns with a hypnotic improv experience and the holiday season approaches.

To learn more and purchase tickets, visit rauecenter.org.

Genesee Theatre

Waukegan’s beautifully restored theater has made its mark for opulence, a seating capacity of nearly 2,400, and a constantly revolving door of big-name talent. The theater boasts a late-summer lineup with The Steve Miller Band, Justin Moore and Tim Allen, and it keeps the stardom coming all autumn long.

On Sept. 8, magician Michael Carbonaro mesmerizes audiences, and on Sept. 16 The Hit Men bring an all-star assembly of former band members from some of rock’s most famous teams. September closes with a Michael Jackson tribute as October opens with The Righteous Brothers, the Gipsy Kings and Brian Setzer.

Ring in Día De Los Muertos on Oct. 14 with Sugar Skull, a musical adventure celebrating Mexican family and tradition with song, stories and dance. Then, grab the family and join in the fun for Peppa Pig’s Sing-Along Party on Oct. 28.

For more information and tickets, visit geneseetheatre.com.

Arcada Theatre

Since its start almost a century ago, this St. Charles landmark has welcomed the stars, and that’s still true today as the theater brings stars of yesteryear and top-notch tributes to the stage.

September kicks off with the legendary Don McLean, of “American Pie” fame, before cruising into a performance by Devon Allman and Donovan Frankenreiter as they attempt to set the official world record for the fastest time to play a concert in all 50 states.

Tributes to Chicago, Johnny Cash, Paul McCartney and the Eagles round out the lineup, which also includes appearances by Uli Jon Roth and his sky guitar as well as an all-female Led Zeppelin tribute.

Up next, YYNOT wows audiences with a tribute to the glory days of Rush before Elton Dan and the Rocket Band relive Elton John’s hits. They’re just a prelude to legends like Micky Dolenz (The Monkees), Tommy James & the Shondells and the Glenn Miller Orchestra, who arrive in the weeks to follow.

Learn more and purchase tickets at arcadalive.com.

Metropolis Performing Arts Center photo

Metropolis Performing Arts Centre

The intimate auditorium at this Arlington Heights theater puts the audience up close to the action, and there’s plenty of it in store this season.

The Main Stage series of Broadway shows continues Sept. 14-Oct. 8 with “The Addams Family,” a timeless musical that explores the beauty of individuality and what it means to be wonderfully weird.

“This is a musical that’s a ton of fun exploring what it means to be different, unique and kooky,” says Brendan Ragan, artistic director. “It has appealed to audiences starting from a comic book from over 80 years ago up to today.”

Metropolis brings touring artists, as well, and this season includes many heartfelt acts. “Sentimental Journey” on Sept. 27 brings Lisa Rock to the stage as she not only celebrates the music of the 1920s, ’30s and ’40s but shares how these songs set the backdrop to her grandparents’ 60-year romance. Also on tap is the folk music of The Kingston Trio, the rock classics of Ronnie Rice, and an all-star tribute to lyricist Stephen Sondheim.

For more information and tickets, visit metropolisarts.com.

Paramount Theatre photo

Paramount Theatre

Downtown Aurora’s beloved arts center and its intimate sister venue, the Copley Theatre, present a combination of theatrical productions and traveling performers this upcoming season.

The award-winning Broadway Series kicks off its latest season with a bang, as it presents “Little Shop of Horrors,” Aug. 30-Oct. 15. The cult-classic musical about a flesh-eating plant is just the latest in a string of lively productions to come. The Roald Dahl classic “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” takes off Nov. 8-Jan. 14, with “Billy Elliot” and “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical” following next year.

Meanwhile, Copley Theatre next door is home to Paramount’s BOLD Series lineup of thought-provoking shows. The edgy musical “Next to Normal” closes Sept. 3 and leads into “What the Constitution Means to Me,” a Tony-nominated show that looks at the American Constitution through the eyes of a teenage girl. It runs Oct. 4-Nov. 12.

“There’s not a single show I’m not excited about, and I mean that,” says Tim Rater, president and CEO of the Aurora Civic Center Authority, which oversees Paramount. “We’ve got a little bit of everything for everyone.”

For the latest information and to order tickets, head to paramountaurora.com.

Carolyn Buhrow photo

Elgin Symphony Orchestra

As the award-winning orchestra returns to its familiar home at Elgin’s Hemmens Cultural Center, the newest addition to the team makes his debut onstage.

New music director Chad Goodman’s opening weekend, on Oct. 7-8, combines the remarkable vocal talents of soprano Christine Brewer with the always-remarkable orchestra.
The evening features a lineup of Mozart’s “The Magic Flute Overture,” Richard Strauss’ “Four Last Songs,” and Rachmaninoff’s “Symphonic Dances.”

“This program is going to pull on the heartstrings of many people,” says Goodman. “All three pieces are just profoundly beautiful and explore the whole range of emotions of what it means to be a human.”

Goodman returns on Nov. 4-5 with a combination of Beethoven, Brams and Halffter on the way to his first ESO holiday spectacular, a long-running tradition for the orchestra.

Grab tickets now at elginsymphony.org.