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What's Happenin': July 20 - August 3, 2010 PDF Print E-mail
Lifestyle - Noteworthy Events
Written by Mike Schulz   
Tuesday, 20 July 2010 06:00

Big RiverTheatre

Big River

Clinton Area Showboat Theatre

Thursday, July 29, through Sunday, August 8


Running from now through July 25 is the Clinton Area Showboat Theatre musical titled ... Show Boat. And after that production closes, the Iowa theatre that sits on a big river will present a musical titled ... Big River. I can hardly wait for the Showboat's next outing: Summer-Stock Venue Located Across the Street from a Baseball Park!

Okay, so I made that one up. Still, the Showboat's back-to-back presentation of two Mississippi River-based productions is a clever bit of creative synergy. And few, if any, modern musicals would seem to deserve a river-set staging more than Big River, composer/lyricist Roger Miller's beloved bluegrass musical based on Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

The winner of seven Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Big River is an alternately comedic and dramatic adventure involving Huck, Tom Sawyer, the escaped slave Jim, and other unforgettable characters from Twain's 1884 classic. And when it opened on Broadway in the spring of 1985, the show elicited reviews suggesting that Big River was a worthy companion to the author's masterpiece, with the New York Times praising the "exuberant and tuneful" show for delivering "one lively song after another."

Having just listened to the Big River score again the other day, I can attest that those songs are as invigorating and enjoyable now as they were a quarter-century ago, and if you see the Showboat's production, I guarantee it'll be a long time before you can get such tunes as "Arkansas," "Muddy Water," "Guv'ment," and "Waiting for the Light to Shine" out of your heads. Of course, given our area's weather patterns this summer, I've been humming that last one every damned day since the beginning of June.

Big River runs from July 29 through August 8, and more information and tickets are available by calling (563)242-6760 or visiting



ZZ TopEvent

Great Mississippi Valley Fair

Mississippi Valley Fairgrounds

Tuesday, August 3, through Sunday, August 8


After I asked my boss if I could write a What's Happenin' on this year's Great Mississippi Valley Fair, I was told that yes, I could, "so long as you don't write about fair food." Apparently, I have a habit of babbling on about funnel cakes whenever I compose articles on events of this nature. News to me.

Anyway. Taking place (where else?) at Davenport's Mississippi Valley Fairgrounds from August 3 through 8, the 2010 edition of this eagerly awaited summertime tradition boasts a sextet of exciting grandstand musicians performing nightly at 8 p.m.: Montgomery Gentry (Tuesday), Kellie Pickler (Wednesday), Dierks Bentley (Thursday), ZZ Top (Friday), Eric Church (Saturday), and Blake Shelton (Sunday).

Among the new attractions for this year's fair are daily performances by the musicians and comedians of The Caboodlestoppers, the aerial acrobat Galaxy Girl, and the puppet-show entertainment of Granpa Cratchet. Returning to the grounds are such annual delights as roving performer Todd the Stiltwalker, the irreverent fire-breather Dallas the Fire Guy, and daredevil motorcyclists sailing through the 16-foot-wide Globe of Death.

Plus, you'll be treated to the vocal ensemble The Diamonds, the popular family show Gym Bob's Jamboree, animal acts with the Great Cats of the World and the Frisco Elephants, artwork by chainsaw sculptor Jeff Klatt, local musicians The Lovedogs, Hap Hazzard, Wild Oatz, The Tailfins, Corporate Rock, Keep Off the Grass, Fifth of Country, Buddy Olson, and vodkaseven, and ... .

Funnel cakes! Funnel cakes! Freakin' funnel cakes!!!

I hope you've enjoyed this piece on the Great Mississippi Valley Fair. It's no doubt the last one I'll be allowed to write.

Tickets to the fair are $10 for adults and $3 for ages four through 12; admission to grandstand entertainment requires purchase of a Fun Card. More information on this year's festivities is available by calling (563)326-5338 or visiting



Branson on the RoadMusic

Branson on the Road

Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse

Monday, July 26, and Thursday, July 29


A question currently posed on the Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse's Web site reads: "What do you get when you bring together a fiddle, mandolin, banjo, guitar, upright slap bass, rhinestone costumes, hilarious comedy, and great classic country?"

If you answered, "A typical Monday at Mike's place," you're dead wrong. That's a typical Friday at my place. I can't believe you didn't know that.

If, however, you can't wait for the weekend for a thrilling dose of country and comedy, Circa '21 is happy to host Monday and Thursday concerts with the entertainers of Branson on the Road, the touring artists playing the Rock Island venue on July 26 at 1 and 7:15 p.m., and July 29 at 1 p.m.

Composed of Debbie Horton (the only woman to have played lead guitar for Johnny Cash), Donnie Wright (a frequent headliner at Nashville's Grand Ole Opry and Las Vegas' Golden Nugget), and Brian Capps (whose recent Walk Through Walls CD reached number six on the Americana charts), the award-winning Branson on the Road will deliver country-Western-fueled stage magic to audiences of all ages. They'll also treat crowds to high-energy samplings from the trio's discography of a dozen-plus CDs, many songs from which are as funny as they are hummable.

Don't believe me? All of the following are actual Branson on the Road tunes ... with the exception of one. Which one will you absolutely not hear during the group's Circa '21 concerts?


1) "Burglar Song"

2) "Cherokee Shuffle"

3) "Foggy Mountain Breakdown"

4) "I'm My Own Grandpa"

5) "Three Shots of Gin & You"

6) "Treat Me Like Your Dog"


For more information and tickets to Branson on the Road, call (309)786-7733 extension 2, or visit



Answer: 5 - "Three Shots of Gin & You." Again, that one is only performed at my place on Fridays.



Jon Schraeder, Haley Wolfe, and Susie Schaecter in AnnieTheatre


North Scott High School Fine Arts Auditorium

Friday, July 23, through Sunday, August 1


I was going to tell you that Countryside Community Theatre is staging the musical Annie at North Scott High School, at that it's running from July 23 through August 1.

I was going to tell you that this beloved musical comedy ran for nearly six years on Broadway, and that it received seven 1977 Tony Awards, including Best Musical.

I was going to tell you that Countryside's production is being directed by Christina Myatt, that the show stars Jon Schraeder as Daddy Warbucks, Rachelle Walljasper as Miss Hannigan, and Haley Wolf as Annie, and that the total cast is composed of no less than 60 adult and child performers.

And then, I was going to tell you to show the accompanying photo to your kids, and ask them, "Guess what musical we're going to see?!"

But since your kids are no doubt already in the car, waiting for you to drive them to North Scott, there's little point, right?

For more information and tickets to Countryside's Annie, call (563)285-6228 or visit




Helpful Tips on Appearing More Intelligent Than You Actually Are


AristophanesFollowing last summer's season-ending production of the tongue-twisting Thesmophoriazusae, Genesius Guild is wrapping up this year's schedule of Lincoln Park performances with an Aristophanes title that's a lot easier to pronounce: Ecclesiazusae! (Thanks for small favors, Guild.) Running July 31 through August 8, the annual Don Wooten-adapted burlesque is sure to end the organization's 2010 season with slapstick chases, alternately smart and intentionally groan-inducing puns, and an enjoyable razzing of local and national public figures. (Is anyone else dying to see what Wooten has in store for Blagojevich this year?) But just in case you want to chat about the forthcoming show with friends but don't want to appear completely in the dark, here are five tips to keep you from shrugging your shoulders and sighing, "It's all Greek to me."


1) Know how to pronounce Ecclesiazusae. It's eh-clee-zee-uh-ZOO-say.

2) Know what "ecclesiazusae" means. It's commonly translated as "assemblywomen," or "women in parliament."

3) Know what Ecclesiazusae is about. First staged between 392 and 390 B.C., Aristophanes' satire concerns a group of women who believe the city of Athens would function more smoothly if run by women, and who - disguised as men - convince the Greek assembly to give the idea a shot.

4) Know a fascinating piece of trivia about Ecclesiazusae. Aristophanes' play boasts what is the longest word in Greek, which is transliterated as "lopadotemachoselachogaleokranioleipsanodrimupotrimmatosilphioliparomelitoaktakexhumenokichlepikossuphophattoperisteralektruonoptopiphallidokinklopeleioplagoosiraiobaphetragalopterugon," meaning "a dish compounded of all kinds of fish, flesh, fowl, and sauces."

5) Know how to use that word in a sentence. Tell your significant other, "I'm gonna cook for you tonight, sweetie, because I just found an incredible recipe for a new lopadotemachoselachogaleokranioleipsanodrimupotrimmatosilphioliparomelitoaktakexhumenokichlepikossuphophattoperisteralektruonoptopiphallidokinklopeleioplagoosiraiobaphetragalopterugon!" If he or she doesn't order a pizza before you reach the end of your sentence, you've got a keeper there!


Ecclesiazusae will be performed on Saturdays and Sundays at 8 p.m., admission is free (though donations are happily accepted), and more information is available by visiting



What Else Is Happenin'...?



Thursday, July 22, through Sunday, July 25 - Bix Beiderbecke Memorial Jazz Festival. Annual celebration of musician Bix Beiderbecke, featuring jazz lectures, workshops, and concerts with more than a dozen bands, among them Josh Duffee & His Orchestra, the New Red Onion Jazz Babies, and the Ballyhoo Foxtrot Orchestra. Concerts take place at numerous Davenport venues, including LeClaire Park, the Col Ballroom, and the Clarion Hotel. Times and prices vary. For information and a schedule of events, call (563)324-7170 or visit

Thursday, July 22 - War. Concert with the funk musicians of "Low Rider" and "Why Can't We Be Friends?" Quad-Cities Waterfront Convention Center (1777 Isle Parkway, Bettendorf). 7:30 p.m. $15. For tickets and information, call (800)843-4753 or visit

Thursday, July 22 - Lil Rev's Jews N Blues. Songs, stories, and humor with the Wisconsin-based multi-instrumentalist, singer/songwriter, and music historian. Rock Island Public Library (401 19th Street). 6:30 p.m. Free admission. For information, call the Jewish Federation of the Quad Cities at (309)793-1300, or visit

Friday, July 23 - Tapes 'n Tapes. Minneapolis-based independent rockers in a concert sponsored by Daytrotter, performing with openers Futurebirds. Rock Island Brewing Company (1815 Second Avenue, Rock Island). 8 p.m. $12-$15. For information, e-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or visit For a 2008 feature article on the band, visit

Saturday, July 24 - Daryl Hall & John Oates. Beloved pop superstars performing in their "Do What You Want, Be What You Are" 2010 Tour. Riverside Casino & Golf Resort (3184 Highway 22, Riverside). 8 p.m. $20-$65. For tickets and information, call (877)677-3456 or visit

Saturday, July 24, and Sunday, July 25 - Melapalooza Festival. Two-day, all-ages celebration of independent regional music, with performances by the Post Mortems, the Krank Daddies, August Zimbal, Identity Crisis, the Old 57's and more. Cleveland Park (on the Rock River in Cleveland, Illinois). 11 a.m. gates. $5 per day. For information, visit

Friday, July 30 - The Osmond Brothers. Concert with sibling pop stars Wayne, Jay, Merrill, and Jimmy. Quad-Cities Waterfront Convention Center (1777 Isle Parkway, Bettendorf). 7:30 p.m. $15. For tickets and information, call (800)843-4753 or visit

Wednesday, August 4 - Savoy Brown. Legendary blues-rock innovators in concert. The Redstone Room (129 Main Street, Davenport). 8 p.m. $17. For tickets and information, call (563)326-1333 or visit



Monday, July 26, through Friday, July 30 - Teen & Adult Shakespeare Workshops. An immersion in the craft of Shakespearean language with Andrew Wade - former Head of Voice for London's Royal Shakespeare Company - and a focus on Romeo & Juliet and Macbeth. Davenport Junior Theatre (2822 Eastern Avenue, Davenport). Teen workshops: 12:15-4:15 p.m. Adult workshops: 6-10 p.m. $200 for the week. For information and to register, call (563)326-7862 or visit

Thursday, July 29, through Sunday, August 8 - Curtains. Tony Award-winning musical mystery-comedy. Timber Lake Playhouse (8215 Black Oak Road, Mt. Carroll). Fridays and Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Tuesdays-Thursdays 7:30 p.m.; Sundays and Wednesdays 2 p.m.; Sundays 6:30 p.m. $11-$20. For tickets and information, call (815)244-2035 or visit

Tuesday, August 3, through Saturday, August 7 - Bridge to Terabithia. Children's theatre adaptation of Katherine Paterson's adventure novel. Timber Lake Playhouse (8215 Black Oak Road, Mt. Carroll). Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday 2 p.m. $5. For tickets and information, call (815)244-2035 or visit



Friday, July 23, and Saturday, July 24 - 39th Annual Downtown Street Festival. Arts and crafts, food vendors, family activities, and live music by such local bands as Jim the Mule, Funktastic Five, Cosmic, and Whoozdads. Downtown Davenport, between Brady and Ripley streets. Friday 10 a.m.-midnight; Saturday 9 a.m.-midnight. Free admission. For information, call (563)823-2667 or visit

Saturday, July 24 - Quad-City Times Bix 7. Annual race featuring hundreds of participants on a USAT&F-certified, seven-mile course. Downtown Davenport (Fifth and Brady Streets). 8 a.m. $33-$38 registration fee. For information and to register, call (563)383-2489 or visit

Saturday, July 24 - Golden Dragon Chinese Acrobats. Gravity-defying feats of strength, agility, and contortion with the noted traveling artists. Orpheum Theatre (57 South Kellogg Street, Galesburg). 7 p.m. $7.50-$25. For tickets and information, call (309)342-2299 or visit

Wednesday, July 28, through Saturday, July 31 - Great River Days. Games, rides, vendors, an arts-and-crafts fair, a parade, children's activities, boat rides, a taco-eating contest, a Battle of the Bands competition, a reunion concert with Crusin', and more. Riverfront Park, downtown Muscatine. Wednesday 6 p.m.-midnight; Thursday and Friday 5 p.m.-midnight; Saturday 8 a.m.-midnight. $10-$15 per day, $25 all-week pass. For information, call (563)263-3084 or visit

Friday, July 30 - Bucktown Bash. A celebration of the arts center's fifth anniversary, with refreshments, artwork for sale, and live music by Chris Sheridan, Steven Krug, Emily Jawoisz, and Retro Ron. Bucktown Center for the Arts (225 East Second Street, Davenport). 6-9 p.m. $15. For information, call (309)737-2066 or visit

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