In announcing the 2011 concert schedule for Ravinia, president Welz Kauffman this week said the North Shore festival's non-classical lineup features "something palatable to both baby boomers and babies." Palatable, maybe -- but not very spicy.
Ravinia's summer pop shows are certainly heavy on the boomers, including returning acts such as Robert Plant (in June with his Band of Joy, following their April 9 date at the Auditorium Theatre), the Moody Blues, Peter Frampton, Hall & Oates and the first Ravinia performance by Chicago since 1972. Making Ravinia debuts this summer will be Deep Purple, Lynyrd Skynyrd and two nights with Steely Dan.
For the "babies," Ravinia's offerings include Chicago singer-actress Jennifer Hudson, Maroon 5 (two shows), Carrie Underwood, Lifehouse, Guster and (taking the "babies" remark literally) 11-year-old classical crossover singer Jackie Evancho. Yes, of course there's a BoDeans show.
Rufus Wainwright returns to Ravinia bearing five Shakespeare sonnets set to music, which were co-commissioned by the Ravinia Festival and the San Francisco Symphony. He'll perform them on a program that includes Berlioz and Mendelssohn, then return for a second act of his pop material.
Jazz concerts in the pavilion this year will feature Wynton Marsalis with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, Pink Martini, the overdue Ravinia debut of pianist Eldar Djangirov and perennials such as Dave Brubeck, Ramsey Lewis and, of course, Tony Bennett.
Tickets are available now with a donation to Ravinia. Public ticket sales begin April 27. For more information, visit ravinia.org.
Here's a complete list of the non-classical pavilion concerts at Ravinia this season:
June 10 -- The Judds
June 11 -- The Moody Blues
June 12 -- Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis
June 16 -- Robert Plant & His Band of Joy
June 17 -- The Go-Go's and the B-52's
June 18 -- Deep Purple with the Ravinia Festival Orchestra
June 19 -- Dirty Sock Funtime Band
June 19 -- Dave Brubeck & Sons
June 23 -- k.d. lang
June 25 -- "A Prairie Home Companion" with Garrison Keillor
June 26 -- Hall & Oates
June 30-July 1 -- Maroon 5
July 2 -- Tom Chapin & Friends
July 3 -- Ralph's World
July 3 -- The Music of ABBA
July 5 -- Peter Frampton
July 10 -- Ramsey Lewis Trio with Pink Martini
July 16 -- Jennifer Hudson
July 22 -- Five for Fighting with Michelle Branch
July 29 -- BoDeans
Aug. 10 -- Los Lobos with Los Lonely Boys
Aug. 12-13 -- Steely Dan
Aug. 14 -- Rufus Wainwright with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Aug. 20 -- Lifehouse
Aug. 21 -- Lyle Lovett & His Large Band
Aug. 25 -- Gypsy Kings
Aug. 26 -- Tony Bennett
Aug. 27-28 -- Chicago
Sept. 1 -- Lynyrd Skynyrd
Sept. 2 -- Doobie Brothers
Sept. 3 -- Guster
Sept. 4 -- Carrie Underwood with the Ravinia Festival Orchestra
Sept. 11 -- John Hiatt & the Combo