Met star to perform at Bethel
The Music at Bethel series will present “The Met at Bethel” with Metropolitan Opera star mezzo-soprano Jane Bunnell and her husband, bass-baritone Marc Embree, at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 13, in Bethel United Church of Christ in Elmhurst.
Featured will be music ranging from operatic arias and duets to art song, musical theater and spirituals. Bunnell’s long association with the Met, as ensemble member, recording artist and performer on the “Metropolitan Opera Presents” television broadcasts, led her to performances throughout the world in both operatic and concert settings, and Embree has received critical acclaim for his performances, television broadcasts and recordings of operatic productions and musical theater in the United States and abroad.
The church is at 315 E. St. Charles Road; for ticket information, call (630) 279-4040.
DSO to play fairy tale opera
As a holiday treat, the DuPage Symphony Orchestra will present two performances of Engelbert Humperdinck’s fairy-tale opera “Hansel and Gretel.”
Semi-staged and sung in English, the DSO’s production of the folk-inspired opera will feature a cast of acclaimed Chicago-area singers: soprano Stacey Tappan as Gretel; mezzo-soprano Jessye Wright as Hansel; mezzo-soprano Buffy Baggott as the Mother and the Witch; and baritone Jeffrey Ray as the Father. The orchestra will be joined by the Opera Festival Chorus from Crone Middle School.
Performances begin at 8 p.m. Friday, Dec 12, and 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 14, in the new Wentz Concert Hall, 171 E. Chicago Ave., on the Naperville campus of North Central College.
For tickets, call the campus box office at (630) 637-7469 or visit www.noctrl.edu/show. For more on the DSO and its season, visit www.dupagesymphony.org.
Authors to gather in Wayne for book fair
Writers from the Fox Valley will participate in the first Wayne Book and Author Fair from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 6, at Wayne’s Old Village Hall, 430 Railroad St., behind the police station. Admission is free.
Sponsored by the Wayne Historical Preservation Society, the inaugural event has been organized by Tim Hall of Wayne, who is celebrating the release of a nonfiction, autobiographical novel, “Full of It: The Birth, Death, and Life of an Underground Newspaper” (www.timhallbooks.com). Taking part is Gene McCormick, also of Wayne, author of “Rain on the Sun” and additional titles, who will read from a work in progress. A partial list of other area writers includes Gabriella Filippi of Wayne; Pulitzer-nominated George Rawlinson of Elgin; Rachel Gies of St. Charles, reading from her newest novel, “The Darkness Within”; and Jason Behrends of St. Charles; plus special guest Alex Bledsoe of Wisconsin, author of the best-selling fantasy/mystery novel “The Sword-Edged Blonde.”
At the holiday book fair, authors will read from their work throughout the day and will be available for book signings and discussions. Refreshments will be provided for a suggested donation, with proceeds earmarked for the Historical Society.
At press time, a limited number of spaces remained for authors interested in joining in; for more information, call Hall at (630) 313-0489.
‘Mermaid’ to join ESO for holiday concert
The “Holiday Showcase” by the Elgin Symphony Orchestra enjoys a setting in the Sears Centre that accommodates Olympic ice dancers and soaring Cirque du Soleil aerialists and jugglers.
Leading this year’s Christmas fantasy at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 6, will be Tony Award-winning vocalist Jodi Benson, the voice of Ariel in Disney’s “The Little Mermaid” films.
The voice of the Rockford native has been featured in numerous animated hits, including her turns as the bubbly Tour Guide Barbie in Disney’s “Toy Story II” and “Toy Story III.” She played Sam, Patrick Dempsey’s assistant, in Disney’s live-action film “Enchanted.” Benson received a Tony for her acting on Broadway in the Gershwin-based musical “Crazy for You.”
Music Director Robert Hanson will lead the ESO in holiday selections, joined by a massive group of singers assembled for the Holiday Festival Chorus. The featured skaters include Olympic ice dancing pair Melissa Gregory and Denis Petukhov.
Sweaters are suggested. The Sears Centre is at 5333 Prairie Stone Parkway, Hoffman Estates, off Interstate 90. For tickets, call (888) SEARSTIX or visit www.searscentre.com.
Dickens classic takes stage at SBT
Alan Menken’s musical version of “A Christmas Carol” will be performed from Nov. 28 to Dec. 21 at Steel Beam Theatre, 111 W. Main St., St. Charles.
Founder and Artistic Director Donna Steele, who directs the professional cast, said this version of the Dickens family classic has not been seen in the area lately. Starring as Scrooge will be Thomas Thomas-OK of Wasco, Peter Sipla of Lisle as the Ghost of Christmas Past, Jim Turano of River Forest as the Ghost of Christmas Present, and Jamey McDunn of Schaumburg as Marley.
The family classic features a large cast including Jim Heatherly and Walter Bezt, both of Bloomingdale; Matt Aldis, Emory Tower, Sofie Peltier, Christopher Nimick, Beth Kahan, Morgan Fanning, Abby Stombres, Jon Stombres and Dan Solon, all of St. Charles; Adam Stephan of Carol Stream; Megan Grant, Connor Colbert, Matthew Kuyawa, Jordan Graber, Cameron Graber, Tommy Hintz and Allison Slattery, all of Geneva; Nancy Kolton of Batavia; Sara Geist of Naperville; Becky Schallert and Amy Steele, both of Chicago; Jonathan Perry of Elgin; Julia Zaeske, Amanda Zaeske and Christina Zaeske, all of Aurora; Aleia Chambers of DeKalb; Kaylyn Slevin of South Barrington; and Mikey Taylor of South Elgin.
The musical score by Menken (“The Little Mermaid” and “Beauty and the Beast”) is directed by Debra Stombres of St. Charles. Cynthia Hall of Aurora has choreographed an array of dance styles including ballet en pointe.
Shows begin at 7:30 p.m. Thursdays; 8 p.m. Fridays; 3 and 8 p.m. Saturdays; and 3 and 7:30 p.m. Sundays. For tickets, visit www.SteelBeamTheatre.com or call (630) 587-8521.
Youth choirs to ring out holiday carols
The Elgin Children’s Chorus ensembles will perform “Christmastide Carols” concerts at 3 and 6 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 7, in the Elgin Community College Arts Center, 1700 Spartan Drive, Elgin.
The popular program features carols from around the world sung in their original languages, with composers ranging from Bach to Nick Page. The Elgin Children’s Chorus is an in-residence ensemble at the ECC Arts Center.
To purchase tickets, call the ticket office at (847) 622-0300 or visit www.elgin.edu/arts.
Chef to teach braising dishes
Cooking with the Best Chefs presents “Low Budget Braising Dishes” with Danny Ovanin, executive chef of Glen Prairie Restaurant in Glen Ellyn. The class will meet from 7 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 9, at The Odyssey Greek Taverna, 667 W. Roosevelt Road, Lombard.
Recipes include Espresso Braised Short Ribs with horseradish-chive mashed potatoes and roasted root vegetable medley; Whole Grain Mustard Braised Lamb Shank with wild mushroom risotto; and Classic Osso Bucco, roasted veal shanks with carrots, celery, onion and beef stock, served with toasted orzo with pine nuts and fresh basil. Dessert will be furnished by the Glen Ellyn Trader Joe’s. Founder Bill Lavery said complimentary wine pairings are provided with each dish.
Advance registration is required. For the full lineup of classes for adults and children, visit www.BestChefs.com or call (630) 980-6800.
TV illusionist to star in St. Charles
Onesti Entertainment presents master illusionist Mike Super, winner of the NBC TV reality series “Phenomenon,” in an interactive family show at 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 5, in The Arcada Theatre in St. Charles. Tickets are limited.
Super, a regular performer at Disney properties, unanimously was voted by Criss Angel, Uri Geller and viewers as the top mystifier in the world on the 2007 production of “Phenomenon.”
His performance will include making an audience member levitate several feet, while making another vanish into thin air. As his signature feat, he will unveil the headline of that day’s edition of a Chicago daily newspaper recorded on tape a month earlier.
The Arcada Theatre is at 105 E. Main St. (Route 64). For tickets, visit www.thearcada.com or call (630) 587-8400.
Suburban players to perform 'Songs of the Season'
The West Suburban Symphony Orchestra of Hinsdale, under the baton of internationally acclaimed conductor Peter Lipari, will perform its annual “Songs of the Season” holiday concert at 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 7, in Hinsdale Central High School, 55th and Grant Streets.
The concert features Tchaikovsky’s “Nutcracker Suite 2,” traditional holiday carols and teen violinist Kevin Hu of Naperville as soloist.
“This concert is designed to appeal to families, and includes a chance to sing along with the orchestra,” said symphony President Richard Lukes. “We also expect a special visitor from the North Pole to stop by.”
The orchestra members range in age from their 20s to their 90s, and live in more than 40 communities.
Tickets may be purchased at the door with cash or check. Advance orders, with payment by check or credit card, may be sent to West Suburban Symphony, P.O. Box 565, Hinsdale, IL 60522.
Credit card purchases can be phoned to (630) 887-7464. For more information, visit www.westsubsymphony.org.