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John Cain

John Cain

For decades, renowned advice columnist Ann Landers answered countless letters from lovelorn teens, confused couples and a multitude of others in need of advice. No topic was off-limits, including nude housekeeping, sex in a motorcycle helmet, the proper way to hang toilet paper, sibling rivalries, addiction, religion and wandering spouses.

Employing her trademark wit, Landers regaled her readers with direct, insightful and often humorously honest responses. Late on a 1975 night in her Lakeshore Drive apartment, Landers shares some of her most fascinating stories as she writes the most difficult column of her career — one dealing with a new kind of heartbreak, her own. At Theatre at the Center, July 12 through Aug. 12. 219/836-3255 or www.theatreatthecenter.com

'Fun Home'

When her father dies unexpectedly, graphic novelist Alison dives deep into her past to tell the story of the volatile, brilliant, one-of-a-kind man whose temperament and secrets defined her family and her life. Moving between past and present, Alison relives her unique childhood playing at the family’s funeral home, her growing understanding of her own sexuality, and the looming, unanswerable questions about her father’s hidden desires.

“Fun Home” is a refreshingly honest, wholly original musical about seeing your parents through grown-up eyes. Directed by Jeff Casey with musical direction by Elizabeth Tuazon. At Towle Theater, July 14 through 29. 219/937-8780 orwww.towletheater.org

South Shore Summer Music Festival

The Northwest Indiana Symphony’s 12th Annual South Shore Summer Music Festival kicks off on July 21 at the Cedar Lake Town Complex with additional concerts on July 28 in Crown Point on the lawn at Franciscan Communities; on Aug. 3 at Indiana Lakeshore West Beach; Aug. 4 at Griffith’s Central Park; Aug. 10 at Wolf Lake Pavilion in Hammond; and Aug. 11 in Schererville at Redar Park. The Porter County Community Foundation will present an additional concert on Aug. 8 in Valparaiso in Central Park Plaza. Featuring everything from patriotic selections, pops tunes and light classical fare, these free outdoor concerts are a solid summer tradition. Sponsors of this year’s festival are the John W. Anderson Foundation, JP Morgan Chase, Strack & Van Til, the Hammond Port Authority and Northwest Indiana Clean Air. 219-836-0525 or NISOrchestra.org.

A Park Full of Art

Griffith’s Central Park is transformed into A Park Full of Art on the weekend of July 21 and 22. A summer tradition since 1974, this year’s juried fair will host over 120 artists, representing states as far away as New Mexico, Florida, North Carolina and Wisconsin, as well as a number of artists who reside locally. A Park Full of Art draws upwards of 5,000 visitors every year. www.aparkfullofart.com

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