Stephen Vrtol joins RSO Feb. 28

Celebrated local actor Stephen Vrtol joins Music Director Steven Larsen and the Rockford Symphony Orchestra as narrator in HK Gruber’s Frankenstein!! at 8 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 28 at the Coronado Theatre. This performance is part of the RSO’s “Monsters & Heroes” concert to open with Rameau’s Suite from Hippolyte Et Aricie and to conclude with Beethoven’s mighty Symphony No. 3, Erocia.

Composed in 1976 and performed more than 1,000 times throughout the world, Gruber’s Frankenstein!! remains a stunning musical work filled with many surprises. Some critics through the years have described the score as wild and weird, crazy and scary, surreal and unsettling, mad and irreverent, funny and charming, grizzly and bizarre, zany and serious.

“This is certainly one of the most unusual orchestral works ever conceived,” says Steven Larsen. “The music has a wonderful whimsical feeling to it, and I know our audiences will delight in its unexpected nature.”

Giving voice to the music will be Stephen Vrtol, who acts as narrator, reciting and singing various poems about monsters and superheroes by H.C. Artmann. He will also play various toy and percussion instruments to accent the music, as will musicians of the orchestra, offering a witty and unconventional musical display for the audience.

Stephen Vrtol is a native of Freeport. He attended Rockford College and in 1979 began a 15-year association with the New American Theater as a staff actor, teacher and director. In 1994, Vrtol began working with the Janet Wattles Center, where he founded the “Stars of Light” Theatre Troupe, whose purpose is to fight the stigma of mental illness and to help dispel the myths that surround it. Vrtol also taught theater at Keith Country Day School for three years.

The Rockford Symphony Orchestra offers free pre-concert lectures with Steven Larsen prior to all RSO Classics concerts. These informative talks are open to all ticket holders, and are designed to enhance the concert-going experience by providing insight into the music and composers to be performed. Pre-concert lectures begin at 7 p.m. in the Coronado Theatre.

Tickets for “Monsters & Heroes” are available by calling the Rockford Symphony Orchestra box office at 965-0049. Tickets are $15, $28 and $36. This concert, part of the Conflux Design Classics Series, is sponsored by SAVANT Capital Management and the RSO’s Larsen Circle. For more information about this concert or other RSO performances, please call 965-0049 or visit the Web site at

Enjoy The Rock River Times? Help spread the word!