Smile Politely

Virginia Theatre announces 2017-2018 performance schedule

From the press release:


Schedule to include ZZ Top, Lily Tomlin, Lyle Lovett and John Hiatt, CUTC’s Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, the 20th Annual Roger Ebert’s Film Festival, Kansas, Paula Poundstone, Tommy Emmanuel, Second City, Celtic Woman, Shopkins, and more.

Champaign, IL – The Champaign Park District has announced the lineup of concerts, movies, dance, theatre, comedy, and special events to take place in 2017-2018 at the historic Virginia Theatre, 203 West Park Avenue, Champaign, IL. Season subscriptions (to four or more shows in the theatre’s ‘VT’ series) go on sale Friday, June 23, 2017, at 10:00 A.M. at the Virginia box office, or charge by phone at 217-356-9063. Individual tickets for most shows go on sale at 10:00 A.M., Friday, July 14, 2017.

For more information, visit The 2017-2018 Virginia Theatre Performing Arts Season is sponsored by The News-Gazette, WILL-Illinois Public Media, and WCIA-TV.

The Virginia Theatre is now wrapping up a busy 2016-2017 performing arts season—one that included Chicago, Ricky Skaggs, Under the Streetlamp, Peter Frampton, Nick Offerman, The Moth Radio Hour, CUTC’s Oklahoma, Manhattan Transfer & Take 6, and That’s What She Said—and 2017-2018 promises to be even busier.

The theatre will again offer a flexible subscription package, with a specially-curated selection of over a dozen events to choose from. Subscribers pick four or more VT Series shows and receive benefits like discounted tickets, first choice of premium seats, the option to keep the same seats next season, and free News-Gazette and Reel Deal movies all year long with orders of six or more series shows. Subscribers also get first choice of seats to events as they are added at the Virginia throughout the year (past examples include The Beach Boys and Chicago). For more information about subscribing to the Virginia’s 2017- 2018 performing arts season, call 217-356-9063, or pick up a season brochure (available in late June).

The 2017-2018 Virginia Theatre season includes legendary blues-rockers ZZ Top (appearing at the Virginia for the first time on September 12) and a visit by the Tony/Emmy/Grammy Awardwinning Lily Tomlin (November 9). Singer-songwriters Lyle Lovett and John Hiatt perform together in an intimate acoustic concert November 4, and CUTC returns in early August with the everpopular
Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Roger Ebert’s Film Festival celebrates an important milestone next April, and both the Pens to Lens program and Pecha Kucha are back to spotlight the latest from Champaign-Urbana’s creative class. Along with return visits by comedian Paula Poundstone, singers Celtic Woman, and guitarist Tommy Emmanuel, the Virginia presents a new program this season with Brunch on Stage, a series of quarterly Sunday events with food from exciting local restaurants paired with live performance, all on the theatre’s historic stage.

Up on the Virginia’s 52-foot movie screen, this season’s News-Gazette Film Series will feature some of the biggest titles of all time, while the affordable Reel Deal series brings patrons “365 Days of Oscar Gold” and year-long audience favorites. Two special films, Frozen Sing-A-Long (Labor Day Weekend, 2017) and The Rocky Horror Picture Show (October 28, 2017) make their auspicious return this season, while a new picture, Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk, is set for a special May 31, 2017
screening in 70mm film stock later this summer. To learn more about the Virginia Theatre’s season, visit

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LIVE EVENTS—Virginia Theatre 2017-2018 Performing Arts Season
(Visit for this season’s film listings.)

Ticket prices vary. Programs are subject to change. All events presented by Champaign Park District unless otherwise indicated.

Sat, July 1, 2017, 7pm | ICE CREAM AND INDEPENDENCE: United We Stand
Champaign-Urbana Civic Wind Band

Linda Moorhouse, Conductor
Yvonne Redman, Soprano
Red! White! Blue! Brass! Join WDWS Newstalk-1400 AM and your host Jim Turpin in celebrating Independence Day in style with the best in American music performed by the Champaign-Urbana Civic Wind Band, conducted by Linda Moorhouse, and featuring Yvonne Redman, soprano. We’ll be serving delicious frozen yogurt right outside the theatre at 5pm, before the concert. Music begins at 7pm in the beautiful Virginia Theatre auditorium.

Special thanks to WDWS, The News-Gazette, the University of Illinois Bands program, and TCBY.

Sun, July 9, 2017, 2pm | MONARCH SUMMER EVENT

Bring the whole family to the Virginia and learn about the joy of butterflies and the importance of protecting habitat for pollinators. We’ll premiere two short documentaries—Flowers Against the Sky and Touched by a Butterfly—both of which were created by local pollinator enthusiasts Kirby and Cindy Pringle. After the
show, help us plant an urban butterfly garden and enjoy face painting, crafts, and more. Free to attend.

Thur-Sat, July 13-15, 2017, 7pm (with a 10am matinee Friday, 2pm matinee Saturday) GUYS AND DOLLS JR, presented by Champaign Park District Youth Theatre

It’s New York in the 1930s, and Nathan Detroit is hunting for cash to set up the biggest floating crap game in town—while his girlfriend, the nightclub performer Adelaide, laments that they’ve been engaged for fourteen years without ever getting married.

Based on the original Damon Runyon short stories of wise guys and tough-talking dames, Guys and Dolls is a legendary piece of Broadway lore and a terrific stage musical for the young performers of CPD Youth Theatre to hone their skills on.

Thur-Sat, Aug 3-5, 2017, 7pm, and Sun, Aug 6, 2017, 2pm | A CUTC production of JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT

With lyrics by Tim Rice and music by Andrew Lloyd Webber (the first of their collaborations to be publicly performed), Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is one of the most enduring shows of all time.

This irresistible family musical is a reimagining of the Biblical story of Joseph, his eleven brothers, and a very famous coat of many colors. Full of unforgettable songs, including ‘Go Go Go Joseph’, ‘Any Dream Will Do’, and ‘Close Every Door’, Joseph is an all-time Broadway favorite. A production of the Champaign- Urbana Theatre Company, produced by Todd Salen.

Sat, Aug 12, 2017, 2pm & 6pm | 2017 PENS TO LENS Student Screenwriting Competition & Gala Screening

The Champaign-Urbana Film Society, Champaign Movie Makers, and Champaign-Urbana Design Organization present this unique program where East Central Illinois K-12 students 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 show time. The 2pm screening features films written by K-8th grade students, and the 6pm screening features films written by 9th-12th grade students.

Sat, Sept 9, 2017, 7pm | RICHARD HILLS, Wurlitzer Pipe Organ

Richard Hills, one of the finest theatre organists in the world, will visit Champaign this fall for a special performance on the Virginia’s 1921 Hope Jones Wurlitzer Pipe Organ. The concert will also feature a silent film screening.

Mr. Hills is one of the very few musicians to have bridged the divide between the worlds of classical organ and theatre organ. His resume includes time as Organ Scholar at Exeter College Oxford, and an organ scholarship at Westminster Abbey, London. In the US, he was named ‘Organist of the Year’ by the American
Theatre Organ Society in 2010 for his contribution to the art form and has made numerous appearances on national and international radio and television.

Tue, Sept 12, 2017, 7:30pm | ZZ TOP, presented by Pacific Coast Concerts

ZZ TOP, “That Little Ol’ Band From Texas,” have toured and recorded together in their original lineup since 1969, for more than 45 years of rock, blues, and boogie both on the road and in the studio. Known for songs like “La Grange”, “Tush”, “Legs”, and “Sharp Dressed Man,” ZZ Top have earned eleven gold, seven platinum, and three multi-platinum records to date, with a colossal combined sales of over 50 million albums worldwide. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004, by the Rolling Stones’ Keith Richards.

Thur-Sat, Sept 28-30, 2017, 7pm (2pm matinee Saturday) | DISNEY’S WINNIE THE POOH – KIDS Presented by Champaign Park District Youth Theatre

In this special 30-minute musical ‘KIDS’ version, Pooh Bear and all of his friends from the classic children’s books and animated specials come to life and band together to rescue their friend, Christopher Robin.

Performed by the 2nd-4th graders of the CPD Youth Theatre program.

Fri, Oct 13, 2017, 7:30pm | KANSAS, presented by Pacific Coast Concerts

With a legendary career spanning more than four decades, KANSAS has firmly established itself as one of America’s iconic classic rock bands. This ‘garage band’ from Topeka released their debut album in 1974 and have gone on to sell more than 30 million albums worldwide. With fifteen studio and five live recordings, KANSAS has produced eight gold albums, three sextuple-Platinum albums (Leftoverture, Point of Know Return, Best of KANSAS), one platinum live album (Two for the Show), and two one million-selling gold singles, ‘Carry On Wayward Son’ and ‘Dust in the Wind.’ They appeared on the Billboard charts for over 200 weeks throughout the ‘70’s and ‘80’s, and ‘Carry On Wayward Son’ continues to be one of the top five most played songs on classic rock radio, while ‘Dust In the Wind’ has been played on the radio more than three million times!

Sat, Nov 4, 2017, 7:30pm | LYLE LOVETT & JOHN HIATT

Don’t miss two veteran singer/songwriters on stage together in an intimate acoustic performance. Singer, composer, and actor Lyle Lovett has broadened the definition of American music in a career that spans 14 albums. Coupled with a gift for storytelling, this Texas-based musician fuses elements of country, swing, jazz, folk, gospel, and blues in a convention-defying style that breaks down walls. Since his selftitled debut in 1986, Lovett has evolved into one of our most vibrant and iconic performers. Among his many accolades—besides four Grammy Awards—Lyle was given the Americana Music Association’s inaugural
Trailblazer Award, and was named Texas State Musician. His works, rich and eclectic, are some of the most beloved of any artist working today.
John Hiatt has always been a keen observer of life’s flings and foibles, and his insights and skill at sharing them have only sharpened over the years. Forty years into his recording career, Hiatt recently released his 22nd studio album, Terms of My Surrender. Along the way, many of his songs reached a wider world of fans via other artists’ versions, like Rosanne Cash’s “Pink Bedroom”, and most, famously Bonnie Raitt’s hit version of “Thing Called Love.” Alternately bemused and profound, John Hiatt is a self-aware chronicler of both his own and others’ stumbles and epiphanies, the tales richer with each telling.

Thur, Nov 9, 2017, 7:30pm | LILY TOMLIN

Lily Tomlin rose to national prominence in 1969 on the television series Laugh-In with her characterizations of Ernestine, the irascible telephone operator, and Edith Ann, the devilish six-year-old. Tomlin went on to star in six comedy television specials, which she co-wrote with Jane Wagner. In 1985, Ms. Tomlin appeared
on Broadway in Wagner’s critically-acclaimed play, The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe. On film, Lily’s 1975 debut in Robert Altman’s Nashville was nominated for an Oscar, and the NY Film Critics voted Tomlin Best Supporting Actress. Over the next forty years, she has starred in over 25 movies,
including 9 to 5, All of Me, Tea With Mussolini, A Prairie Home Companion, Admission, and most recently, the critically-acclaimed Grandma.

On television, Tomlin has been seen in many series, including The West Wing, Desperate Housewives, the FX series Damages, NCIS, and Web Therapy. In 2016, Tomlin will start filming the third season of her hit Netflix series with Jane Fonda, Grace and Frankie.

Throughout her career, Lily Tomlin has received numerous honors, including seven Emmys, two Tony Awards, a Grammy, two Peabody Awards, and the prestigious Mark Twain Prize.

Thur-Sat, Nov 16-18, 2017, 7pm (2pm matinee Saturday) | JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH JR presented by Champaign Park District Youth Theatre

A delightfully offbeat adaptation of the classic Roald Dahl adventure, where a boy and his insect friends take an amazing journey across the ocean. Performed by the 5-8th graders from the CPD Youth Theatre

Sun, Dec 3, 2017, 7:30pm | TOMMY EMMANUEL, presented by National Shows 

“One of the greatest players on the planet” – Chet Atkins

Tommy Emmanuel easily skates between musical styles, playing with the blues in one number, infusing Spanish tradition effortlessly into another, and thoughtfully exploring folk in a third. An accomplished fingerstyle player, Tommy frequently threads three different parts simultaneously into his material, operating
as a one-man band who handles the melody, the supporting chords, and the bass all at once. His technical gifts have earned him multiple awards and made him a Member of the Order of Australia, an honor bestowed by the Queen in his native homeland.

Given his first guitar at age four, Tommy Emmanuel started working professionally just two years later in a family band. “When I was on stage, people lit up,” he recalls. He pursued music with a passion, working continuously in a variety of bands through his school years, and later, in one of Australia’s best-known acts,
Dragon. He supplemented that work as a studio musician, playing on albums for artists like Air Supply and Men At Work. His many credits include two Grammy nominations, two ARIA Awards from the Australian Recording Industry Association, and repeated honors from Guitar Player magazine.

Mr. Emmanuel has worked with Eric Clapton, Doc Watson, and Chet Atkins, among countless others.

Thur, Dec 7, 2017, 6:30pm | SHOPKINS LIVE!

SHOPKINS LIVE! FIRST-EVER THEATRICAL SHOW NOW ON TOUR! Shopkins Live! lights up the stage in this premiere live production packed with show-stopping performances featuring the Shoppies. Join Jessicake, Bubbleisha, Peppa-Mint, Rainbow Kate, Cocolette, and Polli Polish as they perform the coolest
dance moves, sing the latest pop songs, and show off the trendiest fashions.
All of Shopville is in a tizzy as preparations get underway for the annual “Funtastic Food and Fashion Fair”. Shady Diva showcases her latest fashion designs; Lippy Lips gives colorful advice at the nail salon; Kooky Cookie tries to get in a beauty nap!
But wait!! No event is complete without a few hiccups! Who has high-jinxed the fashion pageant? Where is the super-secret celebrity guest? Will Slick Breadstick ever find a dance partner? The Shopkins and Shoppies need your help – the show must go on!

Featuring innovative set design, creative costuming, and state of the art projections, this is one theatrical event this year you don’t want to miss! For more, visit

Sat, Dec 9, 2017, 7:30pm | ANDREW PETERSON presents BEHOLD THE LAMB OF GOD presented by Gather Round Productions

Welcoming back Andrew Peterson for a special repeat performance! For more than twenty years, Mr. Peterson has gone about the business of quietly changing lives. In the city of Nashville, where music is an industry in the same way fast food, generic greeting cards, and bumper stickers are industries, Andrew has
forged his own path, refusing the artistic compromises that so often come with chasing album sales and radio singles and creating instead a long line of songs that ache with sorrow, joy, and integrity, and that are, at the end of the day, part of a real, ongoing, human conversation.

Fri, Jan 12, 2018, 7:30pm | PAULA POUNDSTONE

presented by Exceptional Artists in partnership with Champaign Park District
Heralded as one of our country’s foremost comics, Paula Poundstone’s quick-thinking, unscripted approach to comedy makes for a perfect fit as a regular panelist on NPR’s #1 show, the screwball weekly news quiz show Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me!, where she holds the record for game losses. “The others cheat,” she says, magnanimously, “you wouldn’t think NPR would put up with that.”

Ms. Poundstone tours regularly, performing her extemporaneous standup routines across the country. Her frequent interchanges with the audience are never mean or done at a person’s expense. She even manages to handle politics, “…with the exception of that one time”.

The talents of this brilliant humorist extend beyond standup comedy, but stop short of yodeling. In 2016 Paula voiced the character “Forgetter Paula” in Disney/Pixar’s Academy Award-winning animated feature film, Inside Out. In June 2016, her first double-live CD, “North By Northwest: Paula Poundstone Live!” (HighBridge) was released. Her second hardcover book was released in May, 2017. Paula has also
appeared on the hit television drama, Major Crimes and has done commentaries for CBS Sunday Morning.

Presented by the Champaign Central High School Drama Program

Wed, Feb 14, 2018, 7pm
Thur, Feb 15, 2018, 7pm
Fri, Feb 16, 2018, 7pm
Sat, Feb 17, 2018, 2pm & 7pm
Sun, Feb 18, 2018, 2pm

One of the most popular Disney movies of all time captures hearts in a whole new way: as a “practically perfect” musical! Based on the books by P.L. Travers and the classic Walt Disney film, Disney and Cameron Mackintosh’s Mary Poppins delighted Broadway audiences for over 2,500 performances and received nominations for nine Olivier and seven Tony Awards, including Best Musical.

An enchanting mixture of irresistible story, unforgettable songs, breathtaking dance numbers and astonishing stagecraft, Mary Poppins is a show for the whole family. Performed by the students of Central High School’s Drama Program, under the direction of LaDonna Wilson.

Sat, March 10, 2018, 7:30pm | THE SECOND CITY presents “Look Both Ways Before Talking”

The world’s #1 name in comedy is coming to C/U!

Tired of looking over your shoulder before telling a funny story that might cause a fight at the water cooler or the dinner table? Why stress!? Let The Second City take all the risk while you sit back and laugh at their latest comedy improv revue. They’ll put their signature spin on the things you wish you could bring up in mixed company—just be careful what you share when you head back to the office!

Edgy, thought-provoking and always spectacularly funny, The Second City is celebrating nearly six decades of producing cutting-edge satirical revues and launching the careers of generation after generation of
comedy’s best and brightest. Don’t miss your chance to see the superstars of tomorrow live on stage now — when The Second City Looks Both Ways Before Talking!

Sat, Mar 24, 2018 8:20pm | PECHA KUCHA NIGHT CHAMPAIGN-URBANA, Volume 26 presented by the Champaign Urbana Design Organization

PechaKucha (it draws its name from the Japanese term for “chit chat”) is a fast-paced event filled with cutting edge art & 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. PechaKucha has been a Champaign Urbana Design Organization (CUDO) tradition since 2009, and this 26th volume is sure to feature an entertaining lineup of innovative presentations.

Fri, April 13, 2018, 7pm | THE DUTTONS

Back for their first concert at the Virginia since the 90’s! The Duttons are international touring and recording artists who perform in a variety of musical genres – everything from bluegrass to classical to contemporary
– expertly, on many instruments. They have appeared on America’s Got Talent and in nationally televised PBS specials, the most recent of which aired November, 2016.

Whether playing in their home theatre in Branson, MO, or on the road, this multi-generational family of performers are known for their showmanship
and technical mastery of their instruments, which include violin, guitar, bass, viola, banjo, mandolin, keyboard, harmonica and drums among others. The Duttons have won recognition in national fiddling contests, as studio musicians and have also garnered praise and awards in classical violin competitions.

None of the accolades they’ve collected, though, sufficiently explain the connection they’ve developed with their audiences. They have a loyal, genuinely warm following all over the country, selling out shows in both Branson and at their Winter Theater in Mesa, AZ. It’s a true connection with their audiences that gives the show its dimension and depth, and keeps their fans returning again and again.

Wed-Sun, April 18-22, 2018 | 20TH ANNUAL ROGER EBERT’S FILM FESTIVAL

Festival Passes on sale Wed, November 1, 2017 – 10am
Individual tickets on sale Mon, April 2, 2018 – 10a

The College of Media at Illinois presents the 2018 Roger Ebert’s Film Festival! Held every April inside downtown Champaign’s historic Virginia Theatre, Ebertfest continues its proud tradition into its 20th year.

For more information on dates, times and film titles, visit

Fri-Sat, May 4-5, 2018 | THE SLEEPING BEAUTY, presented by CU Ballet

Considered Tchaikovsky’s ballet masterpiece, this fairytale story follows Princess Aurora who is cast into a hundred-year sleep by the spell of the evil fairy Carabosse, and, through the enchantments of the Lilac Fairy, is awakened by the bearer of true love’s first kiss—the charming Prince Desire.

CU Ballet’s production features its most elaborate costuming yet with over 160 costumes designed in the style of King Louis XIV. All performances include the full ballet.

June 14, 2018, 7pm | CELTIC WOMAN, presented by Madstone Productions

Don’t miss global music sensation Celtic Woman when they return to Champaign for one night only at the Virginia Theatre! This enchanting musical experience features Celtic Woman performing a treasure chest of traditional Irish standards, classical favorites, and contemporary pop songs, all in the group’s distinctive
signature style. Featuring four sublimely gifted Irish women – three angelic vocalists and a dazzling Celtic violinist – with a full band, bagpipers, and Irish dancers, all under the direction of Emmy-nominated music producer David Downes. For a true celebration that has already captivated millions, don’t miss Celtic Woman live in concert! For more, visit

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