Chicago Northwest Blog

Media Release


Schaumburg, IL (August 10,2016) – The Schaumburg Prairie Center for the Arts announces its 31st season of arts and entertainment, a rich and wide-ranging collection of music, drama, history and lectures.

“Just when you think the previous season’s lineup can’t be beat, the Prairie Center develops a season of entertainment for the coming year that we believe is second to none,” said Betsy Armistead, Director of Cultural Services. “This lineup will really strike a chord with audiences, providing a mix of artists and performances that will bring plenty of nostalgia, emotion, and innovation to the Prairie Center stage.”

The Prairie Center is honored to open the season with a legend in many genres – New Orleans Funk, Soul and R&B – Aaron Neville, kicking things off on Saturday, September 17 at 7:30 p.m. with an intimate performance featuring acclaimed keyboard player Michael Goods. Referred to as “one of America’s most distinctive voices,” by the Washington Post, Neville’s career has spanned five decades and includes a host of platinum records, as well as several Grammy Awards.

The Prairie Center becomes a haven for mystery as the Prairie Center Arts Foundation presents their 10th Mystery at the Theater. The hilarious whodunit takes place on Friday and Saturday, October 14 & 15 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $20 and proceeds benefit the Prairie Center Arts Foundation.

History buffs will appreciate several shows and lectures this season that delve into the past. “Ron Keaton as Churchill” leads things off as Chicago actor, Ron Keaton, portrays Winston Churchill on October 1. Chris Jones of the Chicago Tribune gives the show high marks saying Keaton “figured out that what makes the late, great wartime British prime minister interesting in theater terms are his ideas, his mortality, his response to failure, his vulnerability.” The lecture, “Hollywood and World War II,” on October 9, explores the impact of this era on American cultural history. “The Queen’s Cartoonists” on October 22 reviews the history of cartoon music from the 1920s to present day, everything from Looney Tunes and Merry Melodies, to The Simpsons, or the old Disney classics; “A New Birth of Freedom: Abraham Lincoln’s Abiding Call” on February 12 (Lincoln’s Birthday) discusses the president’s life and the country’s history from Independence Day through the Civil War.

The Prairie Center honors several music icons with tributes this season. “Darin Starring Christopher Kale Jones” portrays the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Bobby Darin on October 8; Alexis Ralston as “Ella Fitzgerald: First Lady of Song” will fill the Prairie Center with sultry jazz on March 11, 2017; Beatlemania invades March 18 with “Liverpool Legends;” songwriter Kirsti Manna and national recording artist Jonathan Birchfield recreate the magic of James Taylor and Carole King March 25 in “You’ve Got a Friend’;” and Dean Bourne and the Robertson Brothers bring the timeless classics of Roy Orbison and the Everly Brothers to life in “Orbison and the Everly Brothers Reimagined” on April 8.

Holidays at the Prairie Center are packed with yuletide charm. The Prairie Theater’s holiday season begins with a lecture hall presentation, “Remembering Marshall Fields at Christmas,” tracing the store’s history from 1852 until 2006. A Prairie Center holiday favorite is the Schaumburg Dance Ensemble’s magical production of The Nutcracker Ballet, featuring a cast of over 100 dancers, complete with grand sets and vibrant costumes, running over two weekends from December 2-11. Finally, the Schaumburg Youth Orchestra and Choir’s annual “Presto! Holiday Concert” on December 17 combines the music of the season with narration and short vignettes.

Rounding out the season are: “Camerata Chicago Sweetest Day,” presented by one of the top five chamber orchestras in America, on October 16; remembered for their breakthrough 80s hit Tuff Enuff, “The Fabulous Thunderbirds Featuring Kim Wilson” bring their powerful blend of blues, R&B and rock to the theater on November 18; on February 11, Chris Lemmon chronicles his life’s journey and his relationship with his famous father, actor Jack Lemmon, during the golden age of Hollywood in “A Twist of Lemmon;” Schaumburg Youth Symphony Orchestra Performs in “Moonlighting Sonata” on February 26; The Smithereens, whose hits provided a soundtrack for the mid ‘80s-early’ 90s, take the stage on April 1, their sound described by NPR as a “mixture of Britpop, classic oldies and hard rock;” “Spirits of the Prairie,” a wine tasting event to benefit the Prairie Center Arts Foundation, will be held on April 7; Screen Test Student Fest will be held on April 21 and 22, the 11th annual short film festival features the works of talented students from all over the world; and finally, Senior Follies, Schaumburg’s senior citizen variety show, comes to the stage April 23.

A complete listing the 2016-17 Season includes:

  • Aaron Neville Duo – September 17, 7:30pm
  • Ron Keaton as Churchill – October 1, 7:30pm
  • Hollywood and World War II – October 9, 2pm
  • Darin Starring Christopher Kale Jones – October 8, 7:30pm
  • Mystery at the Theater – October 14 & 15, 7:30pm
  • Camerata Chicago Sweetest Day – October 16, 3pm
  • The Queen’s Cartoonists – October 22, 7:30pm
  • The Fabulous Thunderbirds featuring Kim Wilson – November 18, 7:30pm
  • Remembering Marshall Fields at Christmas – November 27, 2pm
  • The Nutcracker – December 2 – 11
  • Presto! Holiday Concert – December 17, 3:30pm & 7:30pm
  • Chris Lemmon in “A Twist of Lemmon” – February 11, 2017, 7:30 pm
  • A New Birth of Freedom: Abraham Lincoln’s Abiding Call – February 12, 2017, 2pm
  • Schaumburg Youth Symphony Orchestra Performs in “Moonlighting Sonata” – February 26, 2017, 3:30pm
  • Ella Fitzgerald: First Lady of Song – March 11, 2017, 7:30pm
  • Liverpool Legends – March 18, 2017, 7:30pm
  • You’ve Got a Friend – The Music of James Taylor and Carole King – March 25, 2017, 7:30pm
  • The Smithereens – April 1, 2017, 7:30pm
  • Spirits of the Prairie – April 7, 2017, 7pm
  • Orbison and the Everly Brothers Reimagined – April 8, 2017
  • Screen Test Student Fest -April 21 and 22, 2017
  • Senior Follies – April 23, 2017, 2:00pm

Tickets for all Prairie Center events can be purchased on line at or by calling 847-895-3600.

The Prairie Center for the Arts is located at 201 Schaumburg Ct., Schaumburg, IL.

High-resolution images of programs at the Prairie Center can be downloaded at:

The season brochure can be viewed at:

CONTACT: Rob Pileckis, Production Supervisor – (847) 923-3607


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