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Jazz, Country and '70s Rock Headline a Sweetheart Arts Lineup

The music of Ellington, Lovett, Elton and Billy plays in the Southland.

Oak Lawn

It won’t be a romantic , but fun and laughter visit the for a 21 and over Comedy Night.

Mike Toomey headlines the show, following openers Brian Hicks and Pat McCann. Fritz Gary Nothnagel emcees the program.

Want to dine first? An Italian dinner of spaghetti and meatballs, garlic bread and dessert is extra and requires reservations. Show-only tickets can be purchased at the door.

When: Dinner is at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 14, followed by the show at 7:30 p.m.
Where: , 5850 W. 103rd St.
How much? $10 for show-only tickets; $10 for dinner, which requires reservations.
More info: Call 708-398-6284 or e-mail mgrana@olparks.com.

Oak Lawn

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, the distinctive Arianna Trio performs romance-inspired classical pieces and jazz favorites on the flute, harp and bass at a free Sunday with Friends Concert at the .

When: 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 13
Where: Oak Lawn Public Library, 9420 S. Raymond Ave.
How much? Free.
More info: Call 708-422-4990.

Palos Hills

A musical trip through the 1970s pays tribute to two of the 20th century’s most famous singer-songwriters, Billy Joel and Elton John.

The Piano Men, featuring Jim Witter and his band, features gargantuan hits by Elton, including "Your Song," "Rocket Man" and "Candle in the Wind," as well as Joel’s "Just the Way You Are" and "My Life."

Those are only a few of the chart-toppers in a production that reaches beyond music with multimedia projections of unforgettable images from the '70s.

The show promises great memories. For those too young to actually remember the era, The Piano Men will be a see-and-hear time capsule of a memorable decade and two music legends who came of age in the same decade.

When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 19
Where: Dorothy Menker Theater, Fine and Performing Arts Center, , 9000 W. College Pkwy.
How much? $25, $20 for seniors and $15 for students.
More info: Call 708-974-5500 or go to the center's website

Palos Park

The Palos Village Players are at it again, romping around in what promises to be a riotous farce Sex Please, We’re Sixty by Michael and Susan Parker.

The story takes place in the Rose Cottage Bed and Breakfast, a hotspot for single seniors. But medication for menopause symptoms somehow gets mixed up with one of the male guest’s Viagra.

This theater group stages great shows, has loads of fun with its productions, and the mood always is contagious. 

When: 7:30 p.m. Feb. 11-12, 18-19; 2 p.m. Feb. 13.
Where: , 13100 S. 82nd Ave.
How much? $15, $12 for seniors and students
More info: Call 877-782-8497 or go to the troupe's website.

Palos Park

Cabaret singer Claudia Hommel returns this weekend to in Palos Park with her new show, Women of Paris, an evening of romantic songs and stories from the city that's the heart of romance.

Singer-pianist Elizabeth Doyle and accordionist-pianist Frank Caruso will accompany Hommel.

The cabaret evening includes a five course-dinner. Guests will sit at linen-clad tables that encircle the cabaret stage for this pre-Valentine’s Day special.

When: 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 12
Where: , 12700 Southwest Hwy.
How much? $38 per person, includes dinner and show.
More info: Call 708-361-3650.

Palos Park

Chicago artist Beth Leahy exhibits a collection of graphite drawings, Crossing the Arno, at .

“During my stay in Florence (Italy), I walked across the Arno River to attend the Angel Academy of Art (an academy dedicated to the teaching and continuance of classic realist painting),” Leahy said on the McCord website. “The classical drawings created during this time will be the focus of this exhibit."

When: An artist's reception will be 6:30-9 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 19. The exhibit concludes after the reception.
Where: McCord Gallery and Cultural Center, 9602 W. Creek Road
How much? Free.
Information: Call 708-671-0648 or go to the gallery's website

Park Forest

Dateline: Somewhere in New York City, 1905.

An African-American woman earns her living as a seamstress, sewing intimate apparel for her huge range of clients, from wealthy white women to street-wise prostitutes.

Lynn Nottage’s play Intimate Apparel, opening Friday at Illinois Theatre Center, follows the seamstress, Esther, whose “gifted hands and sewing machine are the tools she uses to fashion her dreams for the whole cloth of her life experiences,” the press release says.

An award-winning playwright, Nottage was born in 1964. Her award-winning scripts often focus on African-American women. A 2007 MacArthur Foundation Fellow, Nottage, is described on the foundation website, as “an original voice in American theater, a playwright whose entertaining and thought-provoking works address contemporary issues with empathy and humor.” Critics consider Intimate Apparel one of her most powerful works.

When: 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday, Feb. 11-12; 2:30 and 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 13
Where: Illinois Theatre Center, 371 Artists Walk
How much? $22 Fridays and Saturdays; $20 all other performances; $1 discount for seniors and students
More info: Call 708-481-3510 or go to the center's website.

Tinley Park

Hearts are a flutter across the Southland, and Valentine’s Day entertainment makes a special stop at the this weekend.

The Greta Pope Trio, which includes a vocalist, a pianist and bassist, will carry guests on a trip to April in Paris at the Tinley Park Public Library.

When: 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 13
Where: Tinley Park Public Library, 7851 Timber Dr.
How much? Free, but registration is required.
More info: Call 708-532-0160, ext. 3, or go to the library's website

Chicago Heights

Grey Gardens, billed as the first musical made from a documentary, follows the mother-daughter team of Edith and Edie Beale.

The acclaimed Chicago Heights-based  opens its run Feb. 4 of the musical focused on these “delightfully eccentric relatives of Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis.”

As the story goes, the two women became notorious in the East Hamptons, living in a run-down 28-room mansion.

“The musical tells their alternately hilarious and heartbreaking story (and is) scandalously entertaining,” the DG press release states.

J. R. Rose, theater and English teacher at , directs the production. Judith E. Felix is assistant director.

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday, Feb. 10-12; 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 12-13. 
Where: Drama Group Studio Theatre, 330 W. 202nd St.
How much? $18, $17 students and seniors.
More info: Call 708-755-3444 or go to the theater group's website

Chicago Heights

One of the Southland’s best-kept secrets, the Annual Jazz Fest Concert, returns this month for the 23rd year.

The two-day music festival and clinic for junior high and high school jazz musicians concludes with a knockout concert by jazz greats that should have people lined up around the block for tickets.

In addition to the superb PSC Jazz Band, this jazz-a-palooza stars five gonzo jazz greats: Chicago’s legendary trumpeter Orbert Davis; stand-up bass player extraordinaire Larry Gray (a trip to watch); PSC’s pianist-professor-jazz celebrity Valerie Nicholson; New Orleans saxophone star Ed Petersen; and Chicagoland killer drummer Joel Spencer.

I am not exaggerating; only death can keep me away from this concert. It’s on my annual must-do list.

If you enjoy jazz, treat yourself to a very cheap ticket. Then let me know what you think.

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 18
Where: Prairie State College auditorium, 202 S. Halsted St. West side parking provides easy access.
How much? $12, $8 students and seniors.
More info: Call 708-709-3500.

Joliet

Four-time Grammy-winner Lyle Lovett and longtime tour buddy John Hiatt go acoustic at Joliet’s legendary Rialto Square Theatre. 

Followed by a stream of rave reviews, the “unplugged” tour has only one local show and this is it. Audiences will hear country, swing, folk and blues in a smaller venue, nowhere near the gargantuan size of a stadium.

Lovett and Hiatt as usual will do some talking, share stories with the audience and bring a sense of warmth and camaraderie to a cold Midwest winter night.

When: 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 11
Where: Rialto Square Theatre, 15 E. Van Buren St.
How much? $49.50-$65
More info: Call 815-726-7171 or go to the venue's website

Matteson

Patch readers might not remember the days when families sat around the radio listening to their favorite shows, but the nostalgia of the pre-television era remains alive and well.

Steve Darnall, host of Those Were the Days on WDCB-FM (90.9), brings the Golden Age of Radio to the Matteson Public Library for a free show next week. Darnall is the tour guide for a journey to the early 20th century when radio was the only electronic window to the world.

Darnall will present old-time classics along with some tidbits about the programs and stars whose legacy continues to delight so many.

When: 10-11 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 16
Where: Matteson Public Library, 801 S. School Ave.
How much? Free.
More info: Call 708- 748-4431 or at the library's website

New Lenox

Lincoln-Way High School District 210 picks up its Spotlight Series for 2011 with The New Shanghai Circus, a show geared to the entire family.

“Fearless performers with boundless energy will bring more than 2,000 years of Chinese circus traditions to Lincoln-Way (West),” says Denise Adducci, the district’s performing arts coordinator.

Performers will execute breathtaking feats as they stretch the limits of human ability in a spellbinding show, she adds.

When: 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 12
Where: , 21701 S. Gougar Road
How much? $20, $15 students and seniors. Children younger than 5 will not be admitted.
More info: Call 815-534-3240.

South Holland

The South Suburban College Jazz Fest stars Michael Mossman on trumpet and Mark Colby on sax. The two well-known musicians will take the stage on their own as well as with the SSC Jazz Ensemble.

When: The festival runs 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday-Saturday, Feb. 11-12. Go here for the festival's full schedule. 
Where: Kindig Performing Arts Center, South Suburban College, 15800 S. State St.
How much? Free
More info: Call 708-596-2000, ext. 2299, or go to the festival's website

University Park

Clearly one of the most talented, trailblazing jazz legends ever, Duke Ellington still lives on through his timeless body of music.

The Tony Award-nominated Sophisticated Ladies, billed as a stunning revue of Ellington’s most memorable classics, steps on to the Center for Performing Arts stage with a captivating tribute to the late composer and performer.

Classics from the Roaring Twenties and on through the Swing Era include big band sounds of "It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got the Swing)," "Satin Doll," "Take the ‘A’ Train" and, of course, "Sophisticated Ladies," to name a few of the production numbers in this Valentine’s Day weekend special.

When: 8 p.m. Feb. 12
Where: Center for Performing Arts, Governors State University, 1 University Prkwy.
How much? $15 -$46
More info: Call 708-235-2222 or go to the center's website.

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