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Overture Center announces 2010-2011 season

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Overture Center for the Arts has announced the schedule of touring events for the 2010-2011 season. The trend of lighter schedules continues. There are 32 events on the upcoming roster, down from 38 last year and around 60 in years before that. Perennial Overture acts like the Capitol Steps are not to be seen, and there are no prominent solo comedians in the vein of this year's Lily Tomlin or last season's Bill Cosby.

What is there? There is quite a bit of Broadway. That builds on the grand gesture of The Lion King, which opens Tuesday at Overture for a nearly month-long run. The highlight for 2010-2011 is the Wizard of Oz-themed musical Wicked. Other big musicals include Legally Blonde and Les Miserables.

There also are fewer big-name musical performers this time, though this gay man can't help but be excited at the booking of one of the biggest names for his tribe: Liza Minnelli, with a Z. He's not a singer, but celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain is, like Liza, part of what Overture is calling the celebrity series.

A music act that's sure to be a big draw is the Pink Floyd Experience, who visited a couple of years ago on a night when, if memory serves, State Street smelled like marijuana.

The cabaret series continues with Justin Hayford and Beckie Menzie & Tom Michael, and children's fare includes Ferdinand the Bull and Lemony Snicket's The Composer Is Dead. There are dance offerings (River North Dance) and world music offerings (the Chieftans). And longtime Overture favorites Second City, the Chicago comedy troupe, pays a visit with a holiday revue.

Here's a chronological list of events.

22 - 30 Wicked

1 - 10 Wicked
23 Liza Minnelli

11 Mariachi Los Camperos
18 Anthony Bourdain
20 River North Chicago Dance Company
21 Strega Nona: The Musical
27 28 Drumline LIVE!

11 The Second City: Dysfunctional Holiday Revue

15-16 A Second Helping: The Church Basement Ladies Sequel
26 Remember Me, by Parsons Dance with East Village Opera Company 28-30 Mamma Mia!

5 Popovich Comedy Pet Theater
12 David Garrett
14 Valentine's Day Cabaret Dinner: Beckie Menzie & Tom Michael
20 Ferdinand The Bull
22-27 Young Frankenstein

2 The Chieftains
6 Lemony Snickets The Composer is Dead
12 Pink Floyd Experience
12 The Very Hungry Caterpillar & Other Eric Carle Favorites
21 Piano Jazz Summit
26 New York Gilbert & Sullivan Players: The Mikado
29 Momix: Botanica

1 Michael Feinstein and His Big Band: The Sinatra Project
2 The Peking Acrobats
5-10 Legally Blonde
15 Lakota Sioux Dance Theatre
29 Say Goodnight, Gracie

1 Per, or the Mysteries of the Night
7 Cabaret Dinner: Justin Hayford, Unsung Cole Porter
8 Mother's Day Cabaret Brunch and Dinner: Justin Hayford
10-15 Les Misérables

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