Live and Local
Stephen Sondheim’s A Little Night Music—involving the dalliances and intertwining of several couples—takes its name from music by Mozart and inspiration from a film by Ingmar Bergman. It’s the current show at Prairie Fire Theatre in Bloomington, and we’ll have a live preview on the Wednesday edition of “Live and Local.” Also live, we’ll hear several musicians from the student-run St. Patrick’s Youth Orchestra, who will play Thursday in Urbana.
It’s difficult to imagine now that the original critical reviews of Les Misérables, the musical, were negative. And yet the show has run continuously in London since its opening in 1985, and of course on Broadway, and now at a community theater near you—specifically, for the purpose of the Tuesday edition of “Live and Local,” in a production by the Champaign-Urbana Theater Company. We’ll have a live preview by some of their lead actors. Please join me.
Carlisle Floyd may not be a household name to the average music lover, but to opera buffs he’s one of America’s foremost composers and librettists. His opera Cold Sassy Tree has romance, scandal, vivid characters and beautiful music, and it’s this year’s production at Watseka’s Sugar Creek Symphony & Song. We’ll hear a live preview, and a conversation with the composer, on the Monday edition of “Live and Local.”
An elephant gun is large-caliber, originally designed—as the name suggests—for hunting very large game. Elephant Gun is also the name of a nine-piece band out of Chicago, whose sound has been described as “metal-influenced folk pop” and “Americana-baked ballroom swagger.” In short, they have too many influences to name. Elephant Gun will play in Champaign Friday night, and I’ll visit with four of their members on the Friday edition of “Live and Local.”
Imagine auditioning for a musical at 9 a.m., seeing the cast list at 11, starting to rehearse fifteen minutes later, and in three days you’ve got a show. That schedule is routine for Missoula Children’s Theatre, whose tour from their Montana base has brought them to Bloomington for The Secret Garden this week. We’ll hear more on the Thursday edition of “Live and Local.” And tune in to learn about Tri-County Players' current student production in Paxton--Sympathy Jones: The New Secret Agent Musical.
The Toronto-based Sultans of String are, like so many world-music-inspired groups these days, stylistically rather hard to pin down. Spanish flamenco, Arabic folk, Cuban rhythms and French Gypsy-jazz all show up in their music. It’s no wonder they’ve been called “Canada’s ambassadors of musical diversity.” This multi-award-winning band will play in Urbana Wednesday night, and they’ll play for us live on the Wednesday edition of “Live and Local.”
Johann Sebastian Bach died on July 28, 1750. That doesn’t make this Sunday any special anniversary, but it does give the Baroque Artists of Champaign-Urbana—acronym of BACH—a good excuse for a summer concert by their chorus, of mostly non-baroque music. I’ll chat with music director Chester Alwes on the Tuesday edition of “Live and Local.” And we’ll hear about this weekend’s youth theatre performances, The Return of Halley's Comet, at Danville Light Opera.
“Summer stock theater” is a term I’d heard a lot without knowing entirely what it meant. The “summer” and “theater” parts I got, but the “stock”—not so much. (It apparently has to do with the use of stock scenery, costumes and, more or less, actors.) The Little Theatre in Sullivan does summer stock wonderfully, and they’re currently producing The Will Rogers Follies, through July 28. We’ll hear some live highlights on the Monday edition of “Live and Local.”
The Illinois Chamber Music Festival at Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington began on July 14 and will continue through August 2. Now in its eleventh season, the festival offers daily coaching, rehearsals and master classes to students in high school and college, as well as free public concerts by students and faculty. I’ll talk with members of the faculty, and we’ll hear highlights from their first two concerts on the Friday edition of “Live and Local.”
Creative Dramatics Workshop is a training theatre for young people, based in Sidney. Some of its best developing actors and alumni will present Anton Chekhov’s classic Three Sisters for six performances beginning July 19. We’ll have a live preview on the Thursday edition of “Live and Local.” And we’ll feature Hawaiian slack key guitarist Alfonso Valdes, one of many performers featured at this week’s Friday Night Live in downtown Champaign.
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