Virginia Theatre's 2019-20 season has options galore

 

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The next season at the Virginia Theatre in downtown Champaign runs the gamut of local, regional and national acts.

"The community is as engaged as it ever was at the Virginia, but we've also seen an increase in the number of touring companies wanting to work with the venue to present major commercial attractions," said STEVEN BENTZ, the theater's director. "You end up with this cool thing happening where a local production like 'That's What She Said' or the CU Ballet's 'Coppelia' or CUTC's 'Wizard of Oz' right there in the mix with a touring show like Kansas or 'An Evening with Janice Joplin' or 'A Magical Cirque Christmas.'"

And don't forget Ebertfest! There are also plenty of things for the kids and even Glenn Miller's band.

The theater's box office is at 203 W. Park Ave., C. Its phone number is 217-356-9063 and its website is thevirginia.org.

Here's a look a the full schedule:

JUNE

ART GARFUNKEL IN CLOSE-UP TOUR

8 p.m. June 22

The iconic singer and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member has made an indelible mark on the music world as both a solo artist and half of the unrivaled Simon and Garfunkel. He has also enjoyed a successful film career, published a book of poetry, released 12 solo albums and recently written an autobiography, "What Is It All But Luminous: Notes From An Underground Man."

'ICE CREAM AND INDEPENDENCE: CELEBRATING OUR AMERICAN HERITAGE AND HEROES'

7 p.m. June 29

Join Brian Barnhart and the WDWS Newstalk-1400 AM team in celebrating Independence Day in style with American music performed by the Champaign-Urbana Civic Wind Band, conducted by Linda Moorhouse and featuring baritone Nathan Gunn. The music begins at 7 p.m. inside the Virginia's auditorium.

Moorhouse is beginning her 19th year as a member of the UI faculty and serves as associate director of the School of Music. Gunn is a professor of music at the UI, widely acclaimed for his diverse performing career bridging the genres of opera, musical theater and recital. He has performed many of opera and musical theater's greatest roles on the world's most prestigious stages and has also been seen and heard on television, radio and video and in live simulcast performances, including the first-ever Met in HD broadcast ("The Magic Flute").

JULY

CHAMPAIGN PARK DISTRICT YOUTH THEATRE PRESENTS 'SINGIN' IN THE RAIN JR.'

10 a.m. and 7 p.m. July 18 and 19; 2 and 7 p.m. July 20

AUGUST

CUTC PRESENTS 'THE WIZARD OF OZ'

7 p.m. Aug. 1-3; 2 p.m. Aug. 4

The Champaign-Urbana Theatre Company presents this production of the long-beloved tale in which a Kansas farm girl travels over the rainbow to discover the magical power of home, has been moving audiences for generations. Includes the songs "Over The Rainbow," "If I Only Had A Brain," "We're Off To See The Wizard."

REWIND 92.5 FILM SERIES: 'MEATBALLS'

7 p.m. Aug. 8

PENS TO LENS

2 and 6 p.m. Aug. 10

The Champaign-Urbana Film Society, Champaign Movie Makers and the Champaign-Urbana Design Organization present this unique program for East Central Illinois K-12 students. In Pens to Lens, children write original screenplays which are then made into short films by local filmmakers. Area graphic designers and illustrators create original movie posters for many of the submitted screenplays. The whole community is invited to come out and watch the finished films, walk the red carpet and celebrate some very creative student screenwriters. Awards are presented at each showtime. The 2 p.m. screening features films written by K-8 students, while the 6 p.m. screening features films written by high school students.

'WOODSTOCK' (1970)

2 p.m. Aug. 18

This screening of the three-hour documentary marks f the 50th anniversary of the iconic rock concert in upstate New York, which ended on Aug. 18, 1969. Those who come dressed in full hippie costume get in free.

NEWS-GAZETTE FILM SERIES: 'STAR WARS: EPISODE IV — A NEW HOPE' (1977)

1 and 7 p.m. Aug. 24

More than any other movie, the 'first' Star Wars has been the single most-requested title and the film that many patrons remember seeing in first run on the Virginia screen back in the late '70s.

SEPTEMBER

NEWS-GAZETTE FILM SERIES: 'MONKEY BUSINESS' (1931)

1 and 7 p.m. Sept. 10-12

REWIND 92.5 FILM SERIES: 'WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT' (1988)

2 p.m. Sept. 15

CHAMPAIGN PARK DISTRICT YOUTH THEATRE PRESENTS 'THE MAGIC TREEHOUSE: PIRATES PAST NOON KIDS'

7 p.m. Sept. 19-21; 2 p.m. Sept. 21

Based on the best-selling books, Jack and Annie journey in their magical tree house to the 18th-century Caribbean and the time of pirates. The play is an adaptation of the fourth of Mary Pope Osborne's award-winning fantasy adventure books, which have sold more than 100 million copies.

GORDON LIGHTFOOT

7:30 p.m. Sept. 24

The singer-songwriter has recorded 20 albums and received five Grammy nominations. His songs have been recorded and performed by artists such as Bob Dylan, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Judy Collins, Johnny Mathis, Anne Murray, Olivia Newton-John, Sarah McLachlan, Barbra Streisand, Peter, Paul and Mary, Glen Campbell, Toby Keith, George Hamilton and Eric Clapton.

BOB NUTT/BLYTHAM LTD. TRIBUTE CONCERT

7 p.m. Sept. 28

A concert for Bob Nutt, advocate for all rock 'n' roll musicians and founder of Champaign-Urbana's Blytham Ltd. booking agency. Nutt promoted dozens of bands (REO Speedwagon, One Eyed Jacks, Finchley Boys), filling festivals, college quads and bars across the Midwest. Grateful musicians are coming home to plug in and remember their visionary, off-beat, staunch champion. Profits will go to CU at Home, a ministry that provides transitional housing, education, advocacy and companionship at the Phoenix Drop-In Center. This concert is underwritten by Champaign's First Presbyterian Church.

OCTOBER

'A NIGHT WITH JANIS JOPLIN'

7:30 p.m. Oct. 4

This Broadway musical stars Mary Bridge Davies as the iconic singer who exploded onto the music scene in 1967 and almost overnight became the queen of rock 'n' roll. Her unmistakable voice, filled with raw emotion and tinged with Southern comfort, made her a must-see headliner from Monterey to Woodstock. The play, which is presented as a Joplin performing a concert shortly before her death in 1970, is fueled by such unforgettable songs as "Me and Bobby McGee," "Piece of My Heart," "Mercedes Benz," "Cry Baby" and "Summertime," a remarkable cast and breakout performances.

GEORGE THOROGOOD AND THE DESTROYERS: GOOD TO BE BAD TOUR

8 p.m. Oct. 16

Since 1975, they've sold over 15 million albums, built a classic catalog of hits and played more than 8,000 ferocious live shows. Their hits include "I Drink Alone," "One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer" and the definitive anthem "Bad To The Bone," along with some real surprises.

KANSAS: POINT OF KNOW RETURN TOUR

7:30 p.m. Oct. 18

America's pre-eminent progressive rock band is touring select cities in the U.S. and Canada on the third leg of their tour, launched as a celebration of the 40th anniversary of the release of their massive hit album. The band will perform the album in its entirety.

REWIND 92.5 FILM SERIES: 'THE LOST BOYS' (1987)

7 p.m. Oct. 12

NEWS-GAZETTE FILM SERIES: CLASSIC MONSTERS WEEK

All shows at 7 p.m.

Oct. 21: "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" (1931)

Oct. 22: "The Mummy" (1932)

Oct. 23: "Frankenstein" (1931)

Oct. 24: "Bride of Frankenstein" (1935)

Oct. 25: "Dracula" (1931)

STRAIGHT NO CHASER: THE OPEN BAR TOUR

7:30 p.m. Oct. 28

Straight No Chaser are neither strait-laced nor straight-faced, but neither are they vaudeville-style kitsch. They have emerged as a phenomenon with a massive fanbase, numerous national TV appearances and proven success with CD releases. The captivating sound of nine unadulterated human voices coming together to make extraordinary music is moving people in a fundamental sense ... and with a sense of humor. On the road, Straight No Chaser has built a reputation as an unforgettable live act.

NOVEMBER

NEWS-GAZETTE FILM SERIES: 'FIDDLER ON THE ROOF' (1971)

1 and 7 p.m. Nov. 2

REWIND 92.5 FILM SERIES: 'THIS IS SPINAL TAP' (1984)

7 p.m. Nov. 7

CHAMPAIGN PARK DISTRICT YOUTH THEATRE PRESENTS DISNEY'S 'FROZEN JR.'

7 p.m. Nov. 21-24; 2 p.m. Nov. 21-22

"Frozen Jr." is based on the 2018 Broadway musical and brings Elsa, Anna and the magical land of Arendelle to life onstage. The show features all of the memorable songs from the animated film, with music and lyrics by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, plus five new songs written for the Broadway production.

THE SECOND CITY: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY SWEATER

7:30 p.m. Nov. 30

Fresh, fast and always spectacularly funny, Chicago's Second City comedy troupe is celebrating 60 years of producing cutting-edge satirical revues and launching the careers of comedy's best and brightest. The troupe has more than a handful of successful alumni that they aren't too modest to mention, like Tina Fey, Chris Farley, Bill Murray and Keegan-Michael Key.

DECEMBER

HOLIDAY CARD PHOTO OP

5-8 p.m. Nov. 25 and Dec. 2

Drop by or call the box office starting at 10 a.m. July 19 to make your free reservation for a 15-minute slot (space is limited). Bring your camera or arrange to have a professional photographer meet you at the theater and capture a special memory for the whole family.

HOLIDAY IN WHOVILLE

1-5 p.m. Dec. 1

Watch the classic 1966 television short "Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas" on the Virginia's 52-foot screen, with showings at 1 , 2, 3 and 4 p.m. During the event, there will be pictures with Santa, caroling, hot chocolate and trolley rides through Downtown Champaign. Presented by Champaign Park District Special Events.

MEET SANTA AT THE VIRGINIA

5-7 p.m. Dec. 4, 5, 12

You and your family can visit with Santa in the theater's mezzanine lobby. Santa will take pictures with each visitor and every child will receive a candy cane. Kids (of all ages) are encouraged to have their holiday wish lists ready to share.

TONS O' FUN BAND AND FRIENDS CHRISTMAS SHOW

7 p.m. Dec. 7

The band will perform seasonal favorites, along with many of the players from past shows, and a special guest appearance. Start off the holiday season with good music, good times and good cheer.

A MAGICAL CIRQUE CHRISTMAS

7:30 p.m. Dec. 11

Brought to you by the producers of Broadway's smash hit "The Illusionists." Experience the magic of Christmas with dazzling performers and breathtaking cirque artists from all corners of the world, accompanied by your favorite holiday music, performed live. The show is produced by Simon Painter, Tim Lawson and MagicSpace Entertainment. Painter and Lawson have previously created "Circus 1903 - The Golden Age of Circus," "Le Grand Cirque," "Le Noir," "Cirque Adrenaline" and "The Illusionists" in over 250 cities from London to Sydney to New York.

REWIND 92.5 FILM SERIES: 'LOVE ACTUALLY' (2003)

7 p.m. Dec. 13

NEWS-GAZETTE FILM SERIES

All shows at 7 p.m.

Dec. 16: "Christmas in Connecticut" (1945)

Dec. 17: "Miracle on 34th Street" (1947)

Dec. 18: "White Christmas" (1954)

Dec. 19: "A Christmas Carol" (1951)

Dec. 20; 1 and 7 p.m. Dec. 21: "It's a Wonderful Life" (1946)

REWIND 92.5 FILM SERIES' BAD-MOVIE MONDAY: 'SPACEBALLS' (1987)

7 p.m. Dec. 30

JANUARY 2020

NEWS-GAZETTE FILM SERIES: '12 ANGRY MEN' (1957)

1 and 7 p.m. Jan. 11

REWIND 92.5 FILM SERIES' BAD-MOVIE MONDAY: 'Spice World' (1997)

7 p.m. Jan. 13

REEL DEALS: 'HOWL'S MOVING CASTLE' (2004)

7 p.m. Jan. 21 and 23

REEL DEALS: 'FORREST GUMP' (1994)

7 p.m. Jan. 28 and 30

FEBRUARY

CU'S GOT TALENT

7:15 p.m. Feb. 1

This fundraiser presented by Champaign West Rotary features a talent show including a reception and silent auction. The goal is to support local Champaign-Urbana charities thaat do not have the capacity to host a major event on their own. Registration opens at 6 p.m. with a cocktail hour and heavy appetizers. The talent show begins at 7:15 p.m. and the silent auction closes at 9.

NEWS-GAZETTE FILM SERIES: 'THE SHOP AROUND THE CORNER' (1940)

1 and 7 p.m. Feb. 2

REWIND 92.5 FILM SERIES' BAD-MOVIE MONDAY: 'MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE' (1987)

7 p.m. Feb. 3

REEL DEALS: '10 THINGS I HATE ABOUT YOU' (1999)

7 p.m. Feb. 18 and 20

THAT'S WHAT SHE SAID

7:30 p.m. Feb. 22

The sixth installment of local women sharing their stories is a special night that will make you belly laugh and ugly cry, and everything in between.

"That's What She Said" captures a few local stories from women who have something to say. This "ultimate girls' night out" show features local women in an intimate performance that everyone can relate to.

MARCH

REEL DEALS: 'RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK' (1981)

7 p.m. March 3 and 5

PECHAKUCHA NIGHT CHAMPAIGN-URBANA

8:20 p.m. March 7

Pecha Kucha (it draws its name from the Japanese term for "chit-chat") is a fast-paced event filled with cutting-edge art and design, quirky humor, and sometimes surprising emotion. PK Nights — held in hundreds of cities all over the world — are dedicated to providing accessible outlets to inspire creative communities. The format is simple: Every presenter brings 20 images that are displayed for 20 seconds each. It has been a Champaign-Urbana Design Organization tradition since 2009.

STEVEN BALL, WURLITZER PIPE ORGAN: 'SAFETY LAST' (1923)

7 p.m. March 14

Maestro Steven Ball will perform live on the Virginia's restored Hope Jones Wurlitzer pipe organ to the Harold Lloyd silent classic. This 1923 romantic comedy includes one of the most famous images ever from the silent-film era: Lloyd clutching the hands of a large clock face as he dangles from the outside of a skyscraper above moving traffic. The film was very successful financially and critically, and it cemented Lloyd's status as a major figure in early motion pictures.

Ball studied at the University of Michigan where he went on to both teach and serve as University Carillonneur and became the Director of the famous Stearns Collection of Musical Instruments.

REWIND 92.5 FILM SERIES' BAD-MOVIE MONDAY: 'Escape from New York' (1981)

7 p.m. March 16

NEWS-GAZETTE FILM SERIES: 'ON THE WATERFRONT' (1954)

1 and 7 p.m. March 21

AN EVENING WITH RENEE ELISE GOLDSBERRY

7:30 p.m. March 26

Join actress and singer Renée Elise Goldsberry for an intimate evening of jazz, soul and Broadway tunes, as well as a tribute to Aretha Franklin. Goldsberry has received the Tony Award, Grammy Award, Drama Desk Award, and Lucille Lortel Award for her performances both off and on Broadway in the musical phenomenon Hamilton, in which she originated the role of Angelica Schuyler. Since winning the Tony, Goldsberry has appeared in Baz Luhrmann's "The Get Down" for Netflix and shot the title role for HBO's "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks" opposite Oprah Winfrey. She is currently starring in the Netflix series "Altered Carbon."

'THE MOTH' MAINSTAGE

7:30 p.m. March 28

Since its 1997 launch in New York, "The Moth" has presented thousands of stories told live on stage, without scripts, notes, props or accompaniment. "Moth" shows are renowned for the great range of human experience they showcase — each starts with a theme, and the storytellers explore it, often in unexpected ways. Since each story is true and every voice authentic, the shows dance between documentary and theater, creating a unique, intimate, and often enlightening experience for the audience.

APRIL

CHAMPAIGN PARK DISTRICT DANCE ARTS ANNUAL PERFORMANCE

7 p.m. April 3; 2 p.m. April 4

This yearly spring performance by students of the park district's Dance Arts School includes ballet, Irish and contemporary dance.

REWIND 92.5 FILM SERIES: 'PEE WEE'S BIG ADVENTURE' (1985)

7 p.m. April 5

REEL DEALS: 'APOLLO 13' (1995)

7 p.m. April 11

The screening marks the 75th anniversary of the University of Illinois' Department of Aerospace Engineering. The evening begins with the film, exactly 50 years to the day after the actual launch of the ill-fated moon mission. That will be followed by an on-stage discussion with members of the UI Department of Aerospace Engineering.

22ND ANNUAL ROGER EBERT'S FILM FESTIVAL

April 15-18

Ebertfest was founded in 1999 by the late Roger Ebert, a University of Illinois journalism graduate and Pulitzer Prize-winning film critic. The festival celebrates movies that haven't received the recognition they deserved during their original runs, giving these pictures (and their creators) a well-deserved second look. For more information on dates, times and film titles, visit ebertfest.com.

DAVID SEDARIS

7:30 p.m. April 22

With sardonic wit and incisive social critiques, David Sedaris has become one of America's pre-eminent humor writers. The great skill with which he slices through cultural euphemisms and political correctness proves that Sedaris is a master of satire and one of the most observant writers addressing the human condition today. Sedaris is the author of collections of personal essays "Me Talk Pretty One Day," "Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim," and his most recent book, "Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls." There are over 10 million copies of his books in print, and they have been translated into 25 languages.

NEWS-GAZETTE FILM SERIES: 'COOL HAND LUKE' (1967)

1 p.m. and 7 p.m. April 26

MAY

CU BALLET'S 'COPPELIA'

7 p.m. May 8 and 4 p.m. May 9

Once upon a time, a beautiful doll came to life. This story for the young and the young at heart is a tale of love and the power of imagination.

NEWS-GAZETTE FILM SERIES: 'CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF' (1958)

1 and 7 p.m. May 16

REWIND 92.5 FILM SERIES: 'THE BREAKFAST CLUB' (1985)

2 p.m. May 24

'THE AMERICAN SOLDIER: 1755 to 2014'

7 p.m. May 23

Actor Douglas Taurel's solo performance is based upon actual accounts and letters written by veterans and their families from the American Revolution through the current-day Iraq and Afghanistan wars. It strives to help us understand why it is so difficult for our veterans to re-enter civilian life when they come home after experiencing combat, and examines the incredible sacrifices made by our service members and their families.

GLENN MILLER ORCHESTRA

7 p.m. May 30

The legendary Glenn Miller was one of the most successful of all dance bandleaders back in the Swing Era of the 1930s and '40s, with a matchless string of hit records such as his signature "In The Mood." Glenn disbanded the group in 1942 to volunteer for the Army. On Dec. 15, 1944, Miller, then a major, took off in a single-engine plane, disappearing over the English Channel. In 1956, the reformed Glenn Miller Orchestra performed its first concert and has been on the road ever since.

REEL DEALS: 'BATTLE OF THE SEXES' (2017)

2 p.m. May 31

JUNE

TWIST AND SHOUT ANNUAL DANCE RECITAL

10:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. June 6

This annual recital showcases the accomplishments over the previous nine months of the program's students aged 18 months to 18 years.

ART IN MOTION ANNUAL DANCE SHOWCASE

6:30 p.m. June 11-13

This recital showcases Champaign's Art in Motion Dance Studio, with over 25 years serving the community.

NEWS-GAZETTE FILM SERIES: 'FANTASIA' (1940)

1 and 7 p.m. June 20

REWIND 92.5 FILM SERIES: 'BILL AND TED'S EXCELLENT ADVENTURE' (1989)

7 p.m. June 25

REEL DEALS: SATURDAY-MORNING CLASSIC CARTOONS

10 a.m. June 27

Reporter

Paul Wood is a reporter at The News-Gazette. His email is pwood@news-gazette.com, and you can follow him on Twitter (@pvawood).