Westward Expansion – World-Class Entertainment Blossoms in the Naperville Area

March 2021 View more


There was a time for Naperville residents when going out for dinner and a show meant making the 40-mile trek into Chicago. Fast-forward to 2013, and the entertainment landscape has evolved dramatically. Thanks to a combination of upgraded facilities and increased bookings, a night out in Naperville and its neighboring communities, is no longer the understudy option that it once seemed.

Wentz Concert Hall

With Pfeiffer Hall, North Central College had for years been presenting a reasonably diverse slate of entertainment offerings. But the game changed considerably in 2008, when this aesthetically appealing and sonically impressive 617-seat newcomer opened its doors. While not the largest of the College’s now four venues in terms of capacity, it is unquestionably the most prominent. It’s a showplace for the arts that has been roundly lauded for its pristine acoustics and has hosted everyone from jazz pioneer Herbie Hancock to world-famous cellist Yo-Yo Ma.

Branford Marsalis Quartet

March 1

A major booking for NCC, the veteran tenor saxophonist hits Wentz Hall with a rare new addition to his long-running group, the 22-year-old drumming dynamo Justin Faulkner.

171 E. Chicago Avenue, Naperville

630.637.7469  |  www.finearts.northcentralcollege.edu/venue/wentz-concert-hall

McAninch Arts Center

This three-space complex, commonly known as the Mac on the campus of the College of DuPage, has been presenting theatrical and musical performances since 1981, and is the home base of the Buffalo Theatre Ensemble. In November, the Mac closed for what is to be a massive 18-month renovation, during which time its scheduled 2013 performances will be outsourced to various other area theatres and concert venues.

425 Fawell Boulevard, Glen Ellyn



Tivoli Theatre

This massive Jazz Age gem knows what butters its popcorn—second-run movies and free-refill refreshments are still the main attraction on most nights. But for a place that manages to fill plenty of its 1,000-plus seats with that tried-and-true formula, the Tiv has been opening its doors to more live music and theater performances, including recent concerts from the likes of Poi Dog Pondering and JJ Grey & Mofro.

Ramsey Lewis Trio  

March 1 

As one of the beneficiaries of the ongoing renovation at the McAninch Arts Center, the Tiv managed to snag this high-profile date with the legendary Chicago pianist.

5021 Highland Avenue, Downers Grove

630.968.0219  |  www.classiccinemas.com/location.aspx?house=912

Paramount Theatre

This old movie house in the heart of downtown Aurora celebrated its 80th anniversary in 2011 and has arguably never looked better. But it’s not just the classic Art Deco design flourishes that are sparkling these days. The Broadway Series—the theater’s risky gambit of producing brand-name musicals in house—has been a critical and commercial smash, keeping the seats filled and the marquee lit for more nights than ever before.


April 13-14 

While the majority of March is given over to the latest in-house musical (Fiddler on the Roof), this long-running percussion celebration stops in for a couple of nights next month to rattle the old theater’s rafters.

8 E. Galena Boulevard, Aurora



 Special Engagements

Sometimes the arts turn up in the most unexpected of places, adding yet a few more strands to the growing tapestry of cultural life in the western suburbs. 


Kirk Road and Pine Street, Batavia

630.840.2787  |  www.fnal.gov/finearts

Nuclear science gives way to classical music when the Arianna String Quartet takes the stage on March 16.

Morton Arboretum

4100 Illinois Route 53, Lisle

630.725.2066  |  www.mortonarb.org

The first buds of the season may be a few weeks away, but the sounds of the 16th and 17th Century will be blooming in the Arbor Room on March 3 thanks to the ensemble Rook.

Mayslake Peabody Estate

1717 W. 31st Street, Oak Brook

630.206.9566  |  www.mayslakepeabody.com 

The PianoForte Foundation presents its Jazz Salon concerts in the Tudor Revival mansion, featuring the duo of vocalist Grazyna Auguscik and pianist Ben Lewis on March 7.