Sure, it’s cliché. But of all the Shakespeare tragedies, Hamlet is my favorite, so I was excited to take in director Alaina Pascarella’s version in Lincoln Park on Saturday night. And Genesius Guild took this classic, trimmed it down, and kept it enjoyable for enthusiastic William Shakespeare fans and newcomers both.

As a rule, I don’t give standing ovations. However, on Friday evening, I gave one of the most honest standing ovations of my life at A Green River, currently running at Augustana College care of the Mississippi Bend Players. Across the board, this show, directed by Philip Wm. McKinley, could have flown across a London sky via umbrella, because it was practically perfect.

Nestled between Lincoln Park’s tall, mature trees, a handful of patrons braved bugs and humidity to settle around the Don Wooten stage for Genesius Guild’s opening night performance of The Bacchae. It’s honestly a shame it wasn’t better attended, because director Patti Flaherty was at the helm of a glorious night of outdoor theatre.

There are two sides to every story. And no matter what you think you know, the Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse’s delightful children’s show The True Story of the Three Little Pigs is here to lay the facts all out for you so you can decide for yourself.

Let’s just go ahead and say it: There was nothing inherently groundbreaking about director Bob Williams’ Beauty & the Beast at Quad City Music Guild. But, in this instance, saying that makes the show an unquestionable success.

During Friday’s opening-night performance, Megan Warren’s voice pierced the darkness to begin the Spotlight Theatre’s production of The Spitfire Grill, her immaculate a cappella vocals grabbing the audience’s attention before the music and lights even dared join her. Before her first song “A Ring Around the Moon” ends, you’ll be entranced by Warren’s depiction of Percy, if not for her plight of starting over after being released from prison. then because the folksy music so perfectly suits her voice.

Is it a success or a failure when a ghost appears during a séance if you don’t actually believe in the occult? The Richmond Hill Players allow you to decide for yourself with their latest production: a delightful take on the ghostly comedy Blithe Spirit.

It’s an unfortunate tale you’ve heard a lot lately: The Village Theatre, home of New Ground Theatre, wound up with water in the basement this past month. But “The show must go on!” is a cliché for a reason, and Friday's opening-night performance of American La Ronde, indeed, went on as planned to recap the romantic journey of a single silver bracelet.

In author Aaron Randolph III’s brand-new adaptation of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s classic tale The Little Prince, we’re immediately introduced to Aviator (Randolph) as he tells us a tale from his past, in which he crashed his plane and met a boy, Little Prince (Daniel Rairdin-Hale), who is traveling from planet to planet. Aviator and Little Prince have a lot to learn from each other, and this charming production serves up many life lessons.

I’ve got to hand it to director Kimberly Kurtenbach, who expertly captured every child’s attention before last Thursday’s performance of the Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse's Junie B. Jones Is Not a Crook by blasting the ever-popular Baby Shark. When the dance party was cut off for pre-show announcements, the room full of smiling children was already fully engaged and ready to be wowed.

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