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New year bringing big names to Kane County

Cheap Trick, Kevin Costner and Eddie Money among lineup

The dawn of a new year also brings a fresh lineup of entertainment.

Concerts with band Cheap Trick and actor/musician Kevin Costner are just a couple of the headlining tours coming through Kane County in 2014, but it’s an act that has yet to be revealed that could garner the most attention.

“We’ve got an artist who is big enough that we’re bringing them in for seven consecutive days of shows, and we will probably sell out every single show,” said Jim Jarvis, vice president of marketing for Aurora’s Paramount Theatre.

Jarvis said performances will take place in late August, and the artist’s identity will be unveiled Saturday, March 1.

The Paramount Theatre also will present its next big Broadway show, “42nd Street,” which tells the story of a small-town girl who moves to New York City to make it big on Broadway.

“[The show] has a big, giant orchestra … nobody does that,” Jarvis said, adding that it also features the biggest tap number in Broadway history. “We have like 29 cast members, and each cast member has six pairs of dance shoes now. It’s huge. It’s a family show, and it has a great message.”

“42nd Street” opens Wednesday, Jan. 15, and runs through Sunday, Feb. 9.

Making a return to the Paramount stage is Poi Dog Pondering for one night – Friday, April 18.

“Poi Dog is a Chicago institution,” Jarvis said, adding tickets sell out every time the Chicago-based group visits the venue. “We’ll seat 1,700 people, and once [Poi Dog] hits the stage, nobody sits down. It’s a really cool, fun party.”

Voca People, an ensemble performing vocal theater that combines a cappella and beat box vocals to create the sounds of an orchestra, will perform the day after Poi Dog, on Saturday, April 19.

“They are aliens from the planet Voca, and they don’t talk using words; everything is musical expression,” Jarvis said, adding that the group will reproduce songs by musicians Madonna and Queen without the use of musical instruments.

RiverEdge Park’s season will kick off in June with a craft beer festival. It will announce its concert tour lineup at the end of February.

The types of acts to be expected during RiverEdge Park’s second season include country rock, pop rock and “giant, classic rock headliners,” said Jarvis, who also does marketing for RiverEdge.

Similar to last year, the Blues on the Fox festival – Friday, June 27, and Saturday, June 28 – will kick off the concert schedule.

The focus, this year, also is being spent on widening the array of offered events to families and couples, Jarvis said.

The “Grease” sing-a-long movie in the park will make a comeback this season, with a new addition to the mix – the cult classic “Rocky Horror Picture Show.”

“Last year, we had ‘Grease’ movies in the park, and, like, 1,000 people showed up … lots of people showed up in costumes,” Jarvis said.

Jarvis said between RiverEdge Park and Paramount Theatre more than 300,000 people visited downtown Aurora last year, “and [2014] should be an even bigger year.”

“It’s an exciting time,” he said.

On the theater front, Albright Theatre in Batavia will round out its 40th anniversary 2013-14 season in June.

As an ode to Albright’s history in performance art, box office manager Jeannine Collins said, “We [chose] six shows [and] of the six shows, five of them were things that had been done over our 40 [years].”

The remaining shows of the season include the MA-rated drama “Whose Afraid of Virginia Woolf” running Saturday, Feb. 15, through Tuesday, March 15; the comedy “The Curious Savage” running Friday, May 2, through Saturday, May 17; and “Love Rides the Rails” running Friday, June 13, through Saturday, June 28. Tickets to each show cost $15.

“We always do really good shows,” Collins said. “If we have been around for 40 years – and we have – then we must be doing something right.”

Albright Theater’s 2014-15 season will be announced in May.

Record store and live music venue Kiss The Sky in Batavia will “have more shows this year than we have in past years,” said owner Steve Warrenfeltz, adding that the monthly concert series will include national acts, as well as local artists.

Singer/songwriter Scott Tipping will perform Tuesday, Jan. 28; Train Company and Beautiful Collision will perform Sunday, Feb. 16; Chris Walke and his pedal-steel guitar will take the stage Sunday, Feb. 23; and Jim Green, known as the Wandering Endorphin, will perform in March.

Heartsfield will take the stage on Record Store Day – Saturday, April 19 – an international day dedicated to vinyl. Additional acts performing throughout the year also will be announced that day.

Memoirs and musicals will collide during this year’s theatrical season at Fox Valley Repertory at Pheasant Run Resort in St. Charles.

Shows will include the hit international musical “Nunsense” beginning Thursday, Jan. 16, and running through Sunday, March 9; the coming-of-age comedy “Cheaper by the Dozen” beginning Thursday, March 27, and running through Sunday, May 18; the story of the Andrew Sisters, “Sisters of Swing,” beginning Thursday, June 5, and running through Sunday, July 27; and Neil Simon’s nostalgic comedy, “Brighton Beach Memoirs,” beginning Thursday, Aug. 28, and running through Sunday, Oct. 19.

To celebrate its fourth season, Fox Valley Rep is offering a 2014 season-subscriber discount package, which amounts to five shows for $20 each.

Entertainment continues at Pheasant Run Resort with Zanies Comedy Club guest Sarah Colonna, a best-selling author, writer and round-table regular on E!’s “Chelsea Lately.” Voted as one of Daily Variety’s “Top 10 Comics to Watch” in 2012, Colonna will perform in two shows Friday, Feb. 7.

In addition, the Arcada Theatre will be “rolling out the red carpet” for Hollywood Actor and rock/country crooner Kevin Costner, who will make a return to St. Charles on Monday, April 21.

Other musical acts gracing the Arcada stage will be Air Supply on Saturday, March 1; The (Dire) Straits on Friday, March 7; Eddie Money on Saturday, March 29; Foghat on Saturday, April 19; and Blue Oyster Cult on Saturday, May 17, to name a few. (Tickets to the Cheap Trick concert currently are sold out.)
And the Arcada Theatre isn’t the only venue bringing celebrities to the Tri-Cities.

The Batavia Fine Arts Centre in Batavia will host Ryan Stiles, Greg Proops, Chip Esten and Jeff B. Davis from the Emmy-nominated TV show “Whose Line is it Anyway” for a single night of improvised comedy.
“Whose Live Anyway,” a 90-minute show featuring the band of comedic brothers, is set for Friday, May 30. Tickets start at $50.

Also, the Steel Beam Theatre in St. Charles – in its 13th season – is gearing up for several stage performances.

Running Friday, Jan. 10, through Sunday, Feb. 9, is “Postmortem,” a Sherlock Holmes “who dunnit” mystery set in a medieval castle; running Friday, Feb. 21, through March 16 is “The Bay of Portugal,” a play about a once married couple’s attempt at celebrating their daughter’s engagement party without killing each other; running Friday, April 4, to Sunday, April 27, is “The Spitfire Grill,” a musical about a feisty parolee who follows her dreams to a small town in Wisconsin and ends up working at a the Spitfire Grill; and running Friday, May 9, through Saturday, June 1, is “Be My Baby,” a story about an irascible Scotsman and an uptight English woman who take a journey of a lifetime while caring for a newborn.

An adult ticket costs $28 a show.

And the intricate sounds of strings will abound when the Norris Cultural Arts Center hosts the Fox Valley Orchestra’s “Second to None” concert, featuring Mozart’s “Marriage of Figaro Overture;” Bottesini’s “Concerto No. 2 for Bass;” Respighi’s “Ancient Airs and Dances Set 2;” and Kabalevsky’s “Symphony No. 2.” The single-night performance will take place Saturday, March 8. Tickets cost $12.

Lastly, Fermilab in Batavia will stir up the sounds of the south with the first concert of its 2014 Art Series on Saturday, Jan. 25, with the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, a popular New Orleans group that has appeared on the albums of David Bowie, Elvis Costello and the Black Crowes. An adult ticket costs $30.

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