Upcoming events in Northwest Indiana and Greater South Bend
by John Cain
The Northwest Indiana Symphony Orchestra will close out its 2014-15 concert season on Thursday, May 14, with a celebration of American composer George Gershwin, whose jazz-influenced compositions spanned both popular and classical genres. Lyric Opera of Chicago alumni Kimberly Jones and Bill McMurray will bring their talents to the roles of “Porgy and Bess,” while pianist Clipper Erickson will perform his powerful rendition of “Rhapsody in Blue.” The Symphony's free 2015 South Shore Summer Music Festival kicks off on Saturday, July 18, and continues through August 8, with concerts in Cedar Lake, Griffith, Crown Point, Hammond, Valparaiso and Schererville. The full schedule can be found at www.nisorchestra.org.
The fifth installment in the South Shore Arts Outstanding Midwest Artist Series will feature contemporary artist and educator Alan Larkin from South Bend. Originally from Minnesota, Larkin's early influence was his father, Eugene Larkin, a nationally known printmaker. During his 37 years as associate professor of printmaking at IU South Bend, Larkin has maintained a prolific output of lithographs, etchings, pastel drawings and oil paintings inspired by myth and literature. An opening reception will be held on Sunday, June 14, (Free Family Arts Day at the Center for Visual & Performing Arts in Munster) from 1 to 3 p.m. The exhibit runs through August 30.
Summer theatre activities abound! Theatre at the Center presents “Big Fish,” a deeply moving, fantastical new Broadway musical adapted from Tim Burton's film of the same name, May 7-June 7. The Canterbury Summer Theatre presents “Don't Dress For Dinner,” a sexy comedy that recently enjoyed a Tony Award-nominated Broadway debut, June 17-20, followed by “Breaking Up Is Hard to Do,” featuring the songs of Neil Sedaka, June 24-July 3. Beatniks on Conkey presents “Lovers and Other Strangers,” five comedies about the superiority of women over men, June 12-21.
The South Shore Arts Regional Arts Calendar has current information on exhibits, concerts, plays, dance performances and more at www.SouthShoreArtsOnline.org. Find out more by watching Lakeshore Public Television's “Eye on the Arts,” every Friday evening at 7 p.m. on Lakeshore Report.
by Jack Walton
Greater South Bend
South Bend Civic Theatre's summer comedy is a farce on manners. Nell Benjamin's “The Explorers Club,” set in 1879 London, spoofs multiple forms of snobbery and prejudice. The members of an exclusive social club reveal themselves to be people whose ethics are as deplorable as their taste in taxidermy. Have a madcap laugh as snooty attitudes get a proper skewering in the SBCT's Warner Theatre June 12-28. Get more info at sbct.org.
Fiddles, mandolins and that “high lonesome sound” are back for the 2015 Wakarusa Bluegrass Festival, held the weekend of June 12-14. Friday's events include workshops and an open jam. Saturday, several bluegrass bands perform concerts from 10 a.m. until 10 p.m. The festival wraps up Sunday after a bluegrass gospel service and more jam sessions. Camp out for all three days or just pop in for one. See the full schedule at wakarusabluegrassfestival.com.
Jazz takes over downtown Elkhart June 19-21 as the Elkhart Jazz Festival is back in swing. Bands play in venues all over Elkhart, with highlights including Big Bad Voodoo Daddy headlining Friday night and David Sanborn headlining Saturday night.
The South Bend arts scene takes a look at itself as the city celebrates a big birthday this year. As part of the sesquicentennial SB150 celebration, the South Bend Museum of Art is featuring an exhibit titled “South Bend Selfie,” through June 14 in the museum's Warner Gallery. The show brings together works by 30 area artists, with the aim of expressing the breadth and strength of the present state of the visual arts in the South Bend region. Learn more at southbendart.org.
Morbid malt-shop music frames the story of “Zombie Prom,” Elkhart Civic Theatre's summer musical. Running July 17-26 at the Bristol Opera House, the show gives an old-fashioned 1950s-style teenybopper love story a twist: the leading male is radioactive and undead.
For a 29th consecutive year, the Round Barn Theatre at Amish Acres presents “Plain and Fancy.” The show is the Round Barn's flagship event, and one of the area's core tourist attractions. The story–a clash of cultures between New York city-slickers and Amish people in Lancaster, Pennsylvania–has a charm that is timeless. It runs May 27 through October 17, with more info at amishacres.com.