Live and Local
Illini Student Musicals has produced four large-scale shows and several smaller ones in its brief history at the University of Illinois. On Thursday and Friday, they’ll present their first original production, called In Progress: A Broadway Revue, featuring songs from very recent musicals. We’ll have a live preview on the Wednesday edition of “Live and Local.” Also live in our studio: singer-songwriter Lauren Turk, who will play in Urbana Thursday evening.
The 1952 film Singin’ in the Rain is generally considered to be one of the finest film musicals ever made, and even one of the finest films ever made. Its 1983 stage adaptation will be produced by the students at Champaign’s Judah Christian High School this weekend, and we’ll have a live preview on the Tuesday edition of “Live and Local.” We’ll also welcome actors from Charleston Alley Theatre’s production of Shakespeare’s romantic comedy The Taming of the Shrew.
April 30 is International Jazz Day, and on Tuesday, the Art Theater in Champaign will celebrate a day early by hosting a “Jazz Film Fantasy,” with three short films featuring Duke Ellington and the great blues singer Bessie Smith. We’ll hear details on the Monday edition of “Live and Local.” And we’ll meet Joseph Turrin, composer of a new “chamber musical” called Love Games, which will have its premiere Tuesday and Wednesday in Urbana. NOTE: The sound archive for today's entry contains additional portions of my interview with Love Games composer Joseph Turrin which did not air on the live broadcast, having to do mostly with his musical background. Enjoy the extra "footage"!
I don’t rely too heavily on marketing copy for music groups, but here’s some for you: “Imagine Old Crow Medicine Show teaming up with Louis Armstrong’s Hot Fives and Sevens, or Bob Dylan and The Band jamming with Benny Goodman and his orchestra in 1938.” We’re talking about the California-based collective called The Dustbowl Revival. They’re coming to Champaign Friday night, and they’ll play for us live on the Friday edition of “Live and Local.”
Deena Shoshkes and her husband Jon Fried were the founding members of the 1980s New Jersey band The Cucumbers and now perform frequently as an acoustic duo. They’re coming to Champaign Thursday in support of Deena’s new Rock River CD, and they’ll play for us live on the Thursday edition of “Live and Local.” We’ll also hear about the upcoming performances of The Sleeping Beauty from Champaign Urbana Ballet.
I always loved the folk trio Peter, Paul and Mary. Their rendition of “Puff the Magic Dragon” still makes me cry. Now there’s a modern-day folk trio from New York City inspired by PP&M—A Band Called Honalee. They’ll play during Charleston’s annual arts festival this weekend, and I’ll talk with two of their number on the Wednesday edition of “Live and Local.” We’ll also hear from conductor Stephen Alltop about Friday’s concert by the Champaign-Urbana Symphony.
Baritone Nathan Gunn brings vocal richness and dramatic credibility wherever he sings—in concert, in opera or increasing in musical theater. He’ll join his musical and life partner Julie Gunn for a recital in Urbana on May 1, and I’ll visit with both on the Tuesday edition of “Live and Local.” I’ll talk also with soprano Ollie Watts Davis, who will bring her recreation of Marian Anderson’s famous 1939 concert at the Lincoln Memorial to Springfield on Saturday.
When Barbara Padilla auditioned for America's Got Talent in 2009, one judge called her performance of Charles Gounod's Ave Maria "the best vocal performance in the history of the show." Having dreamed of becoming an opera singer, she now proudly accepts the label of crossover artist, and her first CD is due out shortly. Barbara Padilla will perform with the Heartland Festival Orchestra in Peoria on Saturday, and she'll be my guest on the Monday edition of "Live and Local."
Violinist Anne Akiko Meyers recently made headlines when she was given, on lifetime loan, an exquisite 1741 violin made by Giuseppe Guarneri. She has a new CD of concertos by Vivaldi--who happened to have died the same year her violin was made. I'll talk with Ms. Meyers on the Friday edition of "Live and Local."
Wikipedia, that fount of all knowledge, says that a barn dance usually involves traditional or folk music and dancing, only occasionally in a barn. But Friday night you can take your dancing shoes to an actual barn at Allerton Park in Monticello for a genuine barn dance, with music provided, in order, by the youthful Bow-Dacious String Band, guitarist Sam Payne and Friends and a band called The Curses. Sam will give us a preview on the Thursday edition of “Live and Local.”
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