Arts and Entertainment
CHAMPAIGN – The Champaign Urbana Theatre Company will present the rock opera "Jesus Christ Superstar." It opens for four productions starting at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at the Virginia Theatre in downtown Champaign.
The musical traces the last seven days in the life of Christ from his entrance into Jerusalem to his crucifixion as seen through the eyes of Judas Iscariot. Originally a concept album recorded in 1970, the rock opera is one of the earliest works of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice.
Martha Seif started what she calls her "canyon series" when her daughter, an Idaho resident, urged her to take an interest in the geographical features common in the West.
Seif, who has studied art at Parkland College since 1994, is known in the local art community for her paintings of flowers and landscapes. She tackled the canyon challenge after friends, Jack and Sally Paxton of Urbana, brought her photographs they took at Zion National Park, St. George, Utah.
Farmer City radio station WWHP-FM, 98.3, "The Whip," annouces a stellar lineup of acts for its 2008 concert series.
Artists set to perform are Texas singer/songwriter James McMurtry; Justin Townes Earle, son of alt-country icon Steve Earle; Western swing/honky tonk artist Wayne "The Train" Hancock; Southern roots-rock musician Paul Thorn; Texas blues-rocker Carolyn Wonderland; and Americana/alt-country musician Dale Watson.
CHAMPAIGN – The fifth annual Rock Against Rape show, set for 6 to 10 p.m. Saturday at the Highdive in downtown Champaign, features a five-band lineup headlined by local singer-songwriter Angie Heaton.
Tickets to the show are $4, and additional donations are accepted. All proceeds benefit Rape Crisis Services of Champaign.
CHAMPAIGN – In a review of the 1956 sci-fi movie "Forbidden Planet," based on William Shakespeare's "The Tempest," a New Yorker critic wrote, "It's a pity they didn't lift some of Shakespeare's language."
Perhaps playwright Bob Carlton read that before writing his rock-and-roll musical "Return to the Forbidden Planet," a hybrid based on the movie and "The Tempest." In the musical, Carlton lifts the bard's language from not only "The Tempest" but also other Shakespeare plays.
CHAMPAIGN – Acclaimed director and University of Illinois graduate Ang Lee is one of the highlights of the 10th annual Ebertfest at the Virginia Theatre in downtown Champaign.
The film festival, hosted by noted film critic, Urbana native and UI grad Roger Ebert, takes place April 23 to 27. Other guests scheduled to appear at the festival, with films hand-picked by Ebert, include director Paul Schrader, actor Joey Pantoliano, a return performance by the Alloy Orchestra, director William Forsyth, actress Christine Lahti, actress Aida Turturro, choreographer Tricia Brouk and more.
URBANA – If you attend the University of Illinois and think you're a funny-man (or funny-woman), then you can compete for the title of "The Country's Funniest College Student."
RooftopComedy.com, an Internet comedy channel, is behind the competition, which features students competing from 32 colleges from around the country, including the UI. The first event takes place April 2 at the UI, but the time and campus location have yet to be nailed down.
CHARLESTON – Eastern Illinois University's Department of Music will present Antonio Vivald's "The Four Seasons" at 4 p.m. Sunday in Wesley United Methodist Church, Charleston. The concert will feature the Eastern Symphony Chamber Orchestra, the Concert Choir and special guest artists Charlotte Mattax and Maureen Murchie.
Under the direction of Richard Robert Rossi, the Eastern Symphony Chamber Orchestra and Concert Choir will perform three of the 22 recently discovered Graduals and Offertories by Joseph Matthias Kracher. These compositions, thought to be missing, were found in the Wimmer Library Collection at St. Vincent Archabbey in Pennsylvania. As part of his doctoral work, Rossi transcribed the works ("O Magnum Mysterium," "Omnes de Saba Venient" and "Reges Tharsis") which will be heard during the concert.
DANVILLE – Ed Sant describes his latest directing project as "diabolically clever and very adult."
"Accomplice" opens its three-week run at 8 p.m. March 28 at the Kathryn Randolph Theater, 601 N. Vermilion St.
DECATUR – Two graduate students at the University of Illinois will perform a faculty and guest recital at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Perkinson Music Center at Millikin University.
Christine Bock will play viola and Jennifer Garrett the piano. The recital is free and open to the public. Their program will feature "Sonata for Viola Alone, Opus 25 No. 1" by Paul Hindemith; "Polonaise for Viola and Piano" by Rudolf Haken, a UI professor of music; "Sonata for Viola and Piano No. 1" by Bohuslav Martinu; and Concert Piece for Viola and Piano by Georges Enescu.