GLEN ELLYN – One of the most appealing venues for free summer entertainment is the Lakeside Pavilion near the McAninch Arts Center on the College of DuPage campus in Glen Ellyn, where Jim Peterik and The Ides of March, along with top blues and jazz performers and Las Vegas artists, will take the stage. A children’s movie series and theater works also are on tap.
“I think there’s three things that make this a little bit unique,” MAC director Diana Martinez said of the Lakeside Pavilion Free Outdoor Summer Series. “One, we can go inside if it rains. Two, the type of acts that I book is a little more of a performing arts act. They all have a sense of theatricality to them. … [They’re] all national touring acts or artists in their own right. It’s more like a Ravinia sort of affair. The third thing is the venue is so beautiful and … the technical [aspect] is really outstanding. It’s all our professional gear [for the MAC’s] international touring shows. The sound and lights are first class and the price is right. It’s free.”
It’s the sixth season for a lineup intended as a special opportunity for everybody to sit back and enjoy, she said.
She first created the event to follow the $35 million makeover that had left the MAC on hiatus for more than a year – all as a way to get people back onto the campus to celebrate the renovation’s completion.
“It was such a huge success and people loved it in the community so much it never ended and became a new tradition,” Martinez said.
Something else that sets the series apart is the caliber of food offered. While people are welcome to bring their own picnic food, tempting edibles will be sold by vendors, including Weber Grill Restaurant and Parkers’ Restaurant, as well as Heavenly Hot Dogs and Nothing Bundt Cakes, with coffee beverages hot and iced from I Have a Bean. Patrons cannot bring beverages, but offered for purchase will be beer, wine and soft drinks, as well as margaritas.
Martinez built variety into the program, including COD’s own resident New Philharmonic, which she describes as always putting on a phenomenal show. Brass Transit plays the music of the band Chicago, and she said the sound is indiscernible from the real group.
“The Greatest Piano Men” is another standout, with three grand pianos on stage for the three artists.
“I was just in Vegas,” Martinez said. “I saw it and loved the guy who plays Billy Joel and put this show together [of] all the greats.”
It moves from Beethoven to Liberace and Little Richard to Stevie Wonder, Elton John and Billy Joel.
In anticipation of the major exhibition of Frida Kahlo artwork coming to COD’s Cleve Carney Gallery in 2020 will be a late summer outdoor event that extends the Lakeside Pavilion series this year.
Frida Fest will be celebrated from 1 to 9 p.m. Sept. 8. It brings mariachis along with Ballet Folklorico saluting Mexico’s dance heritage, and ends with the band Artrageous.
“Think Blue Man Group,” Martinez said of the ensemble of artists and musicians. “During the show, they paint [and] leave us with two huge portraits.”
The fest features food vendors, an arts and crafts component, Frida Kahlo hair braiding and cooking demonstrations. Among Martinez’s favorite elements is an interactive arts project for kids and families to paint.
“We have a community mural that Mike Venezia of Glen Ellyn, who is a famous children’s author, drew the [outline of] for us,” Martinez said, noting it commemorates Frida Kahlo at the MAC and will be preserved.
The Lakeside Pavilion Free Outdoor Summer Series runs through Aug. 9 and includes Thursday evening Family Movies, a Friday evening Pop Music Series, and the Thursday evening WDCB Live Jazz Concert Series. All pop and jazz concerts take place rain or shine. In case of inclement weather, concerts will be moved indoors to the Belushi Performance Hall and notice will be posted on AtTheMAC.org. The series title sponsor is L.L.Bean.
People are invited to bring a blanket or lawn chairs to the park, whose grounds will open at 6 p.m. No coolers, kegs, umbrellas, tents or skateboards are permitted.
Family Movies will include Disney-Pixar’s animated “Coco” on July 18, an Academy Award winner. Showings begin at dusk around 8 p.m. In case of poor weather, films will be canceled and notice will be posted by 4 p.m. on AtTheMAC.org.
The Pop Music Series of 7:30 p.m. concerts brings back The Ides of March featuring Jim Peterik on July 12. Next, New Philharmonic, under the baton of Maestro Kirk Muspratt, presents an evening of pops, marches and movie scores July 19. Brass Transit returns July 26, performing hits from the band Chicago. Donnie Kehr brings “The Greatest Piano Men” on Aug. 2, this time joined by Greg Ransom and Pete Peterkin. Magic of Motown completes the series Aug. 9 with the harmonies and smooth moves made famous by The Temptations, The Four Tops, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye and Earth, Wind, & Fire. Audience members are encouraged to bring a nonperishable food item to benefit the Glen Ellyn Food Pantry and COD Student Fuel Pantry.
The WDCB Live Jazz Concert Series of 7:30 p.m. shows is organized through WDCB 90.9 FM, Chicago’s home for jazz, located on the COD campus. It opens with Grammy-nominated Angel Melendez and The 911 Mambo Orchestra on July 25, followed by Chicago Plays the Stones, featuring Ronnie Baker Brooks and Billy Branch on Aug. 1, and The Joey DeFrancesco Trio with special guest Bobby Broom on Aug. 8.
“COD’s Got Talent” student talent competition winners will open for each concert at 7:15 p.m.
Also at the Lakeside Pavilion this summer, COD College Theater presents its touring show production of “Can You See Me” at 5 p.m. July 13 and 14. COD Professor of Theater Amelia Barrett directs the free, hourlong, interactive family-friendly show. Seating will begin at 4 p.m.
Throughout the summer, the MAC continues to offer programming inside the venue. Events taking place in the Playhouse Theatre include COD College Theater’s production of “Godspell 2012” through July 14, directed by COD Professor of Theater Connie Canaday Howard.
The Cleve Carney Art Gallery features an exhibition of work by legendary Mexican printmaker José Guadalupe Posada through Sept. 13 that is viewable beginning one hour before the Lakeside Pavilion events, excluding Thursday movie nights, as well as during regular summer gallery hours.