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John Cain

John Cain

Broadway’s greatest farce, “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum,” takes comedy back to its roots, combining situations from time-tested, 2,000-year-old comedies by the Roman playwright Plautus with the infectious energy of classic vaudeville. The musical tells the bawdy story of the slave Pseudolus and his attempts to win his freedom by helping his young master woo the girl next door. Displaying classic elements of farce, including puns, the slamming of doors, cases of mistaken identity and satirical comments on social class, this hysterical show promises “something for everyone, a comedy tonight!” Presented by the Drama Group at Milord Studio Theatre, April 26 through May 5. 708.755.3444 or dramagroup.org

Let the Feather Boas Fly!

“La Cage aux Folles” was the first musical to win the Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical twice and a Best Musical Tony for each of its Broadway productions. “La Cage” tells the story of Georges, the owner of a swanky and sexy Saint-Tropez nightclub, and his partner Albin who moonlights as the glamorous drag queen songstress Zaza. When their son brings his fiancee (and her very conservative parents) home to meet the flashy pair, the bonds of family are put to the test. “La Cage” is a tuneful and touching tale of one family's struggle to stay together, stay fabulous, and, above all else, stay true to themselves. With a book by Harvey Fierstein and music and lyrics by Jerry Herman, the Tony Award-winning composer of “Hello Dolly!” and “Mame.” Memorial Opera House, April 26 through May 12. 219/548-9137 or memorialoperahouse.com

4th Annual Jazz Extravaganza

April is Jazz Appreciation Month, and tickets are now on sale for the 4th Annual Jazz Extravaganza at St. Timothy’s Church in Gary. This one-day event, held on April 27 from 3-7 p.m., will celebrate the musical accomplishments of iconic jazz trumpeter and Gary native Art Hoyle along with international jazz guitarist Henry Johnson. Hoyle started trumpeting at the tender age of 8. He played as a teenager in clubs and dance halls in Gary, and went on tour worldwide with the Lionel Hampton Orchestra from 1957 to 1960. In addition to film and TV soundtracks in recordings with Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald, Tony Bennett, Lena Horne, Peggy Lee, Quincy Jones, Henry Mancini, and others, Hoyle taught at the Music Conservatory of the Chicago College of Performing Arts. Johnson started playing the guitar as a 12-year-old, teaching himself to play various styles of music until hearing Wes Montgomery ignited an interest in jazz. Northwest Indiana’s own Billy Foster Quartet will also perform. 219.977.0079 or 219.886.3412

Visit the South Shore Arts Regional Calendar for more information on current exhibits, concerts, plays, and other arts events, southshoreartsonline.org

John Cain is executive director of South Shore Arts and the Northwest Indiana Symphony Orchestra. He can be reached at 219-836-1839, ext. 102. The opinions are the writer’s.

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