Frank's Weekend Faves, March 10, 2019

Frank's Weekend Faves, March 10, 2019

If you're of a mind to celebrate St. Patrick's Day a bit early — in a way that doesn't involve green beer or boiled cabbage — just kick up your heels and high-step over to the Virginia Theatre this evening for 90 minutes of Irish song, dance and storytelling, pub-style, also known as "The Choir of Man."

The live stage musical production comes to the Virginia in downtown Champaign at 7 p.m. today as part of the show's inaugural North American tour. Reserved-seating tickets are available for $29.50 to $69.50 at the box office, online at or by phone at 217-356-9063. The event is presented by Mammoth Events and the Champaign Park District.

"The Choir of Man" is billed as an upbeat musical stage show set in an Irish pub, with an all-Irish cast that sings, dances and relates stories found often in Irish pub culture. The show is brimming with high-energy dance, tap, live percussion and popular tunes. The multi-talented cast of nine sings a wide range of songs — from pub tunes and Broadway favorites to folk songs to singalong anthems to classic rock — including songs by Adele, Queen, Paul Simon, Katy Perry, Red Hot Chili Peppers and more. The cast features world-class tap dancers, singers and instrumentalists, ensuring something for everyone in this all-ages performance.

"The Choir of Man" is the latest creation of director-producers Nic Doodson and Andrew Kay, the team behind Soweto Gospel Choir, The Magnets and the critically acclaimed theatrical adaptation of Alfred Hitchcock's "North by Northwest."

The Virginia Theatre performance will be the production's Illinois debut before it heads to Chicago later this month.

I can't wait for: The Collingsworth Family at Grace Church in Mahomet

The Collingsworth Family, voted as America's favorite mixed group in Christian music for the last seven years (Singing News Fan Awards), along with daughter Kim Collingsworth, voted favorite Southern gospel musician for the last five years, will be performing at 7 p.m. Friday at the church, 800 W. Oak St., Mahomet. Doors open at 5:30, and a hymn sing will begin at 6:25. A free meet-and greet for students will be held at 6:30.

The Grammy- and Dove-nominated Collingsworth Family presents its gospel message through a variety of musical styles in voice, horns, violins, guitar and piano. They've been featured on TV and national radio shows, had multiple top-40 hits on Christian music charts and toured throughout the United States, Canada and Europe.

Advance ticket prices range from $15 to $25 for adults, $5 for student (ages 10-16) and free for ages 9 and under. Tickets are $5 at the door, if still available (the group's last visit in 2017 was a sold-out show). To order tickets, call 217-841-3132 or go online to

That's the ticket: Blackberry Smoke at the Effingham Performance Center

If you took my advice and caught the Atlanta-based Southern rock group Blackberry Smoke last April when they played The City Center in Champaign while on their "Find A Light Tour," first of all, you're welcome. Second of all, you might be interested to know they'll be back in the area this spring, playing a couple very different shows just a couple months apart. And if you didn't — well, shame on you, but here's a chance to make up for it.

Unfortunately, the band's next nearby gig — a special acoustic performance March 21 at The Castle Theatre in Bloomington as part of its "Break It Down Tour" — is sold out.

But don't despair. Tickets are still available at the Effingham Performance Center for the quintet's recently announced show there at 7:30 p.m. May 30. It's part of the extended "Find a Light Tour" supporting the band's sixth studio album, released last year. All seats are priced at $43. Obviously, you don't want to wait too long to get 'em ...

What I'm watching this week: 'Green Book' on Netflix

I don't really mean to give Netflix free publicity in this space. But these days, the streaming service often offers me my best chance at seeing fairly recent releases. This week, that means I get to see 2019's Oscar winner for best picture just a couple weeks after its upset win.

Director Peter Farrelly’s "Green Book" is scheduled for release on Netflix this Saturday, and I’m looking forward to judging for myself whether it’s best-picture-worthy. The biographical comedy-drama stars Oscar-winner Mahershala Ali as a Jamaican-American classical and jazz pianist who hires an Italian-American bouncer (Viggo Mortensen) to serve as his driver and bodyguard on a concert tour of the Deep South in 1962.

And while I’m waiting all week for that viewing, I might just find the time to catch Ewan McGregor in Disney’s "Christopher Robin," which just became available on Netflix last week. Just the thought of seeing both films makes me rumbly in my tumbly ...

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