Often, mass tragedies are best understood not through bare statistics, but through personal stories of those affected. My Brother's Gift, a play by Claudia Haas based on the real experiences of survivor Eva Geiringer Schloss, tells one of these stories. I saw it on Saturday at the Black Box Theatre, and director, designer, and Black Box co-founder Lora Adams and her cast and crew have put together a spare, straightforward production that serves both as a remembrance and a call to action.

A heckuva lot of talented people put this production together; see it now, while the duck's still in the pond.

Disaster!, created by Seth Rudethsky, written by Rudethsky and Jack Plotnick, and now at the Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse, combines classic catastrophic-cinema elements with '70s pop tunes, and director/choreographer Amy McCleary, music director Ron May, and all involved came together to create this silly, music-filled diversion.

I saw Playcrafters' A Raisin in the Sun on Saturday, and am happy to say that director Gaye Shannon Burnett's production does full justice to this gem.

I enjoy seeing a beloved musical that's so well-known I could easily sing along (though I never would). It's also fun seeing familiar faces and saying, "Hey, I know her!" "I acted with him!" Countryside Community Theatre's Joseph & the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is that kind of show. It's both a classic and a family affair, as many summer productions with this company are.

Romeo & Juliet is one of William Shakespeare's best-known plays – "most often heard of," I mean, because many don't actually know it.

After a rough few weeks, I wanted a diversion. So even though I hadn't read the Natalie Babbitt novel on which it's based, I was happy to attend Thursday's final dress and tech rehearsal for Tuck Everlasting at the Spotlight Theatre. I left feeling both impressed and refreshed.

Knowing the Peanuts characters' backgrounds, and aspects of the comics and the animated specials, will boost your enjoyment, but it's an amazing, worthwhile experience either way.

In November, I saw the original play "Jacques"alope by the Haus of Ruckus team of TJ Green and Calvin Vo at the Mockingbird on Main. It was a lively, uproarious quest story. Imagine my delight when I learned that it had gotten a baby brother!

Director Shelley Cooper, vocal-music director Maureen Holmes, and instrumental-music director Michelle Crouch led the performers, crew, and staff in Augustana's The Threepenny Opera, and I was confident that the theatre and music departments here could pull the show off beautifully. They did, with energy, enthusiasm, and so much talent. The expressive actors here are skilled beyond their years.