A Jazzy Southland Introduces Us to the Golden Age

Across three different towns, three jazzy events appear in SouthScene this week.

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.

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.


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.

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.

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.


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