This summer, Valparaiso is the place to be with plenty of arts to take place in, or to just sit back and enjoy. There are a number of venues and spaces around the city that cater to every genre of art—from photography to funk, from decoupage to drama, and from Shakespeare to Shake, Rattle, & Roll.
This summer the Chicago Street Theatre presents Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, directed by Eric Brant. The performance runs from July 11th through July 26th with two free performances at the Porter Health Amphitheater in Downtown Valparaiso's Central Park Plaza on July 11th and 12th, and six ticketed performances at Chicago Street Theatre. Chicago Street Theatre is proud to present Shakespeare’s iconic story of young love cast against the turmoil of an age-long family feud. Be part of this annual summer event as Chicago Street Theatre once again brings the words of the world’s greatest playwright to life. The free performances at Central Park Plaza will also features a street festival at 6 p.m. including a dining tent, beer garden, and family fun area with the performance of Romeo and Juliet at dusk. The Friday, July 18th performance will feature a party after the show at Pestos.
The Chicago Street Theatre also presents The World’s Worst Fairy Godmother for children which runs from August 30th through September 14th. In this popular children’s story, Fairy Godmother Maybelle Clodnowski has blown her 47th job, and now she has one last chance to make good. Unfortunately, she has one tough little girl to work with and a host of other forces attempting to sabotage the assignment. Be part of this absolutely enchanting tale.
The One Night Jam Series at the Chicago Street Theatre presents Dan Navarro on Sunday, July 20th. His music is folkish with a rock tinge. Navarro was part of the team that wrote Pat Benatar’s recordin “We Belong.” Also a successful voiceover actor/musician, Navarro’s voice has appeared in such films as "Happy Feet," "The Lorax," "Rio," and "Envy." He's also appeared on such TV shows as "American Dad," "Family Guy," and "Melrose Place" and countless commercials over the years. Any time Navarro appears on the Chicago Street Theatre stage, things get unpredictable and just a little crazy. The last show was almost a sellout, so don't wait to get tickets.
Chicago Street Theatre also presents summer camps for kids and adults. The Sacred Drama Workshop for adults takes place on June 7, 14, 21 & 28 with Kari-Anne Innes, and the kids camps take place all summer long. Chicago Street Theatre fosters the artistic development of children and teens by providing an outlet to express themselves through active involvement in the performing arts. Their courses focus on the importance of creative expression and collaboration, while teaching the fundamentals of theatre through structured play. Classes not only enhance performance skills, but also develop concentration, self-esteem, discipline, and basic problem solving. They offer a variety of camps for ages 5-18.
The Memorial Opera House also has a number of arts events this summer, including the production of "The Glass Menagerie", a play by Tennessee Williams. In this shattering classic, an aging Southern Belle longs for her youth and dreams of a better life for her children. Her restless son Tom--a would-be poet and the story's narrator--gets swept up in his mother's funny and heartbreaking schemes to find his painfully shy sister, Laura, a husband. The Memorial Opera House will present an imaginative and intimate take on one of the most beautiful dramas in American theatre on Friday, June 13, 20, 27; Saturday, June 14, 21, 28; and Sunday, June 15, 22, 29. Friday and Saturday performances take place at 8 p.m., Sunday performances at 2 p.m.
The fun continues with Dirty Rotten Scoundrels with music and lyrics by David Yazbek and book by Jeffrey Lane. Based on the 1988 movie of the same name, this production features the songs "Give Them What They Want," "All About Ruprecht," "Great Big Stuff," and "Like Zis/Like Zat." Stylish, sexy, and irreverent, this show centers on two con men living on the French Riviera. Lawrence Jameson makes his lavish living by talking rich ladies out of their money. Freddy Benson more humbly swindles women by waking their compassion with fabricated stories about his grandmother's failing health. After meeting on a train, they attempt to work together only to find that this small French town isn't big enough for the two of them. They agree on a settlement. The first one to extract $50,000 from a young female target, heiress Christine Colgate, wins and the other must leave town. A hilarious battle of cons ensues that will keep audiences laughing, humming and guessing to the end. The performances take place on Friday, July 25, August 1, 8; Saturday, July 26, August 2, 9; and Sunday, July 27, 3, 10. Friday and Saturday performances take place at 8 p.m., Sunday performances at 2 p.m.
The Lunchtime Cabaret returns this summer with Motown on Wednesday, July 9th from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. for an afternoon of the best of the best from Diana Ross & The Supremes, The Temptations, The Four Tops, and many more of Motor City's finest singers and performers. Guaranteed to leave you dancing in the seats!
The Lounge Devils are back to perform what they call, Variety-Ville for the Memorial Opera House on Saturday June 7th at 7 p.m. “Valpo is our favorite small town to perform in,” said Buddy Devil of The Lounge Devils. “It's one of those towns that just has swank,” his brother and comedy partner, Frank Devil, added. Along with hosting the event, Frank and Buddy Devil bring some classic style vaudeville comedy to the event. Acts such as; Thrym the Strongman and his handler Alastair, jazz singers Samantha Bryce and Adrien Brizzolara, and comedians Jordan Hart and Ari Arellano will delight the audience. Those aren't all the acts, there will be some great surprises including a magician and more. The acts they perform fit right in with the delightful comedy of the two devilish hosts. The night will be full of laughter and amazement as the wonderful acts perform for everyone. Frank Devil sums it up best, “If you don't like our show, you're dead.”
On Saturday, July 12th from 7:30 p.m.to 10:30 p.m., the Memorial Opera House presents a benefit concert for Respite House, a halfway house for men seeking recovery located in Valparaiso. The event will feature a concert from The Westies, a band that unabashedly confronts the trials of the inner city heart with a slow burn delicacy juxtaposing uncomfortable subjects with a tender and elegant beauty that is rare in the current music landscape. The concerts continue with Project Two - Rock Broadway on Friday August 15th at 7 p.m. Project Two is a music ensemble that specializes in the performance of Broadway musical songs such as Jersey Boys, Rock of Ages, and Grease.
Summer Children's Classes take place this summer and are taught by educated and experienced actors. They run June through August at Memorial Opera House. Children will learn age appropriate skills that apply to everyday life as well as on stage.
At Taltree Arboretum & Gardens, 450 West 100 North in Valparaiso, June features the Go Green Fest, a month-long festival dedicated to teaching members of the community about going green and living a healthier lifestyle. The event features hands-on workshops, hikes, “green” exhibits and an outdoor benefit concert by American English, Northwest Indiana’s favorite Beatles tribute band.
Enjoy Night Hikes on June 5th from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. (adult only); June 12 & 19th from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. (kid-friendly). Night hikes provide a rare opportunity for people to see nocturnal animals, learn about the five senses, enjoy the noises of cicadas and crickets, and explore nature. Registration is required. Call for fees. Also check out the Butterflies & Insects Hike on June 7th from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Learn about butterflies and insects. Hike through the prairie. Visit the Monarch butterfly waystation. Learn about butterfly migration patterns, butterfly friendly plant species and more. Kid-friendly. Taltree members free; Non-members free with gate admission. Table Top Gardening takes place June 7th and 14th from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Parents and their children will learn together how to create a simple, take-home garden by planting their very own garden under the careful instruction our horticultural staff. Kid-friendly. Taltree members free; Non-members free with gate admission.
The Green Cleaning Class takes place on June 14th from 11 a.m. to noon. Learn tips and tools about how to clean your house using green cleaning methods. Free yourself from the uses of chemicals but still have the clean house you deserve! First 24 people receive a free bottle of Seventh Generation multipurpose spray. Adult only. Taltree members free; Non-members free with gate admission. Composting At Home takes place on June 21st from 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 am. Learn three ways to compost in your backyard. The class will be held at the ArcelorMittal Adventure Garden and will discuss worm, black soldier fly, and vegan composting. Kid-friendly. Taltree members free; Non-members free with gate admission.
American English performs on June 27th from 6:30p.m. to 8:30 p.m. They will perform all of the Fab Four favorites under the stars near the Railway Garden. Concert attendees will learn a few ways they can be better conservationists by making small changes in their daily routines through recycling, water conservation and more. A Fender Stratocaster guitar raffle will be held. Fender guitars were extensively used by John Lennon and George Harrison throughout their career. Raffle tickets are $1 each. Concert tickets are $20 members/$25 non-members.
Throughout the summer the Taltree Arboretum and Gardens offers art classes, yoga classes, gardening classes, and hikes. There are also children’s summer camps and a 4th of July festival. The Neverly Brothers take the stage on July 18th from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in the second rock ‘n’ roll concert of the concert season featuring great hits from the 1950s American rockabilly, rock ‘n’ roll and rhythm and blues pioneers up to the 1964 British Invasion. Tickets are $20 Members and $25 Non-Members. The NWI Symphony String Concert takes place on August 8th from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. and the concert season comes to a close with Another Round, Indiana University’s hit a cappella group. Following in the footsteps of Straight No Chaser, Another Round has played to sold-out crowds throughout the Midwest. They perform on September 19 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.