Each academic year, our Performing Arts department produces a collection of theater productions open to our campus community and the general public.  In addition, Artists’ Ensemble, Rockford’s only professional theater company, is in residence on our campus and performs in our theatres in the Clark Arts Center.

The following list includes this year’s Rockford University productions. Single ticket admission for adults $12, seniors age 55 and up, and students is $9 unless otherwise noted. Group rates are available. Dates and locations are subject to change.

Rockford University Performing Arts Season: 2018-2019

Spring 2019 Performances


For Fourm Series event dance orchesisOrchesis & Rockford City Dance Concert
Thur. – Sat., Jan. 31, Feb. 1-2, 2019, at  7:30 p.m. 
Maddox Theatre, Clark Arts Center

Produced in collaboration with various local artists under the direction of our Rockford University Dance instructor, Penna Broman ’86, in honor of Jayne Poor. Rockford University Dance Company, Orchesis was originally founded by the late Professor Jayne Poor, who is remembered for her passionate dedication to dance as an artist and educator at our institution and in the Rockford community.

Carner & Gregor’s Techies (a musical theatre workshop)
February 21 – 23, 2019 (Thursday-Saturday, 7:30 p.m.)
Maddox Theatre, Clark Arts Center
Book, Music, and Lyrics by Carner and Gregor 

Two disenfranchised clans battle for survival… they’re the theater geeks of West Side High School. When sophomore assistant-stage-manager Joan sees her techie comrades ignored and belittled by spotlight-hungry actors, she leads a rebellion, sacrificing friendships and putting even her post-college ambitions in jeopardy. But as funding cuts threaten the very theater program itself, will the actors and techies be able to work together to save their high-school home? Or will vanity and the pitiless search for justice destroy them all? It’s “Wicked” meets “West Side Story” in this fourth-wall shattering pop-rock musical comedy about being weird and fighting for respect in one of the most judgmental places on earth: high school.

When playwrights and songwriters/composers of musicals create new work, it is very important to give the play a voice (other than the creators’ own voices) in order to see what works and what doesn’t. This happens with virtually every composed theater piece that exists. The process usually begins with a “reading,” in which actors are chosen just to sit around in a group, perhaps with an audience or maybe not, to read the play or musical. The next level is often a “stage reading” in which the actors have actually rehearsed with the script, and perhaps there’s a director that guides the performance. There may be some simple blocking and movement, but usually, the actors stand behind a music stand or read it with script in hand. Eventually, a new work is given a “workshop,” in which the actors have spent several weeks rehearsing, memorizing, and staging the new work. In all of these iterations, the work is discussed at length by actors and audience alike, and many edits are made to the work. When it gets to the workshopping stage, there are often several performances so the creators can get a lot of needed feedback.
Our production of Carner & Gregor’s Techies is part staged reading, part workshop. The performances in Rockford will be “lightly staged,” and the performances in NYC will truly be a staged reading.
The joy of this process is the great collaboration that goes into creating a work of art in the theater. Sam and Derek have trusted Rockford University Performing Arts students with their newest work, and the two of them have been amazingly gracious in their desire for feedback and collaboration with our department!

all shook up forum seriesAll Shook Up -Inspired by and featuring the songs of ELVIS PRESLEY ®
April 25-28, 2019 (Thursday-Saturday, 7:30 p.m.; Sunday 2 p.m.)
Maddox Theatre, Clark Arts Center
Book by Joe DiPietro
directed by Kyle Donahue, Rockford University Performing Arts alum ’03

This happy musical is inspired by and featuring the songs of Elvis Presley. It’s 1955, and into a “square” little town in a “square” little state rides a guitar-playing young man who changes everything and everyone he meets in this hip-swiveling, lip-curling musical fantasy that’ll have you jumpin’ out of your blue suede shoes with such classics as “Heartbreak Hotel,” “Jailhouse Rock,” and “Don’t Be Cruel.

Spring Concert
Friday, May 10, 2019, at 7:30 pm
Maddox Theatre, Clark Arts Center
Professor Timm Adams, conductor/director
no tickets required, free will donations accepted at the door

Seasonal music featuring Regent Singers, Women’s Ensemble, and the Rockford University Vocal Collective a cappella group.


Fall 2018 Performances 


Carrie the musicalCarrie, the Musical
October 4-7, 2018 (Thursday-Saturday, 7:30 pm; Sunday 2 pm)
Maddox Theatre, Clark Arts Center
Book by Lawrence D. Cohen, Lyrics by Dean Pitchford, Music by Michael Gore.
Directed by Professor Jeff Hendry

Adapted from Stephen King’s novel, Carrie focuses on an awkward teenage girl with telekinetic powers whose lonely life is dominated by her mother, an oppressive religious fanatic. Carrie tries in vain to escape her unhappy home life and be accepted by her schoolmates but to no avail. When she is grossly humiliated by her classmates at the high school prom, she unleashes her wrath in a reign of destructive chaos on everyone and everything in her path.

Spooked: Words & Music for the Dead of Night
Friday, October 26, 7:30 pm
Maddox Theatre, Rockford University
Professor Timm Adams, conductor/director

Join us—if you dare—for one ghoulish night of ghostly sounds, sinister songs, and haunted tales in a Halloween program that will send chills down your spine! Rockford University Performing Arts Department partners with the RU English Department, Rockford Public Library, and Rock Valley College Concert Choir for a night you will not soon forget. In addition to music by classical composers J.S. Bach, György Orbán, and Benjamin Britten, the choirs will also present macabre musical tales from Sweeney Todd, Nightmare Before Christmas, Phantom of the Opera, and Rocky Horror Picture Show. The two winners of the Rockford Public Library/English Department’s “It’s Alive!”: Ghost Story Writing Contest will read their award-winning short stories, and short selections from two of Shakespeare’s darkest scenes will round out the haunted evening. A Costume Contest with prizes of up to $100 gift card will commence at 7:15, and the performance will begin at 7:45.
Don’t miss this spooktacular evening! Suggested donations—$5 for students, $10 for adults—will go to benefit the Friends of Performing Arts’ Star Challenge.

5 women in one dressFive Women Wearing the Same Dress
November 15-18, 2018 (Thursday-Saturday,  7:30 p.m.; Sunday 2 p.m.)
Cheek Theatre, Clark Arts Center
By Alan Ball
Directed by Deborah Mogford

An irreverent and funny look at the intricacies of friendship and the power of similar dressing. It is summer and five women wearing identical unique bridesmaids dresses have survived the elaborate wedding ceremony to find themselves at the ostentatious wedding reception being held on the estate of the bride. There is only so much they can take, so they seek sanctuary in an upstairs bedroom. Each woman has her own reason for avoiding the proceedings below. As the afternoon wears on these five very different women are surprised to discover a common bond. This wickedly funny and touching celebration of life explores the nature of sisterhood and the ever-present question about the behavior of men. You can’t live with them, but can you live without them?

Winter Concert
Fri., Dec.7, 2018, at 7:30 pm
Maddox Theatre, Clark Arts Center
Professor Timm Adams, conductor/director
no tickets required, free will donations accepted at the door

Our choral/vocal concerts in December and May each year highlight the impressive work of our choral groups: Regent Singers, Vocal Collective, Women’s Ensemble, and Gospel Choir. These compelling programs feature a broad variety of music from classical choral repertoire and contemporary a cappella to jazz and musical theater works. 

Box Office
Clark Arts Center
5050 E. State Street
Rockford, IL 61108
fax: 815-394-5167

Fall/Spring Hours:
Mon-Fri - 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm
Summer Hours:
Mon-Thu - 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm