Winner of two 2008 Tony Awards and the prestigious Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Comedy of 2007, author Patrick Barlow's slapstick thriller The 39 Steps serves as the latest summer presentation at Geneseo's Richmond Hill Barn Theatre, its August 15 through 25 run demonstrating why the New York Times called this Alfred Hitchcock celebration/spoof an “indomitably funny” comedy of “virtuosic clowning.”

Two venues in downtown Rock Island will co-host one exciting literary event when the Midwest Writing Center presents readings and a release party for the annual literary magazine The ATLAS, the latest volume of which will, on August 15, be showcased in a late-afternoon event at the Rock Island Public Library and an evening celebration at the neighboring Rozz-Tox.

A day of outdoor fun culminating in an attempt to break a pair of Guinness World Records is set for August 17, when River Action hosts the 10th-annual celebration of paddle sports Floatzilla, with participants and spectators gathering at Rock Island's Sunset Park to see if the Quad Cities can boast the world's “Largest Raft of Canoes and Kayaks” and “Largest Simultaneous Kayak Launch.”

Held in honor of the late Quad Cities native commonly known as “The Jazz Professor,” Polyrhythms hosts a collection of inspired jazz talents in the sixth-annual Bill Bell Jazz & Heritage Festival, an August 16 through 18 weekend celebration at Rock Island's Martin Luther King Jr. Park and Davenport's Redstone Room boasting cultural presentations, family activities, and concert sets with musical luminaries including Chicago-based ensemble the Xavier Breaker Coalition.

With this year's annual concert event taking place, for the first time, on Arsenal Island, fans of rock, pop, and classical musicians are in for a royally good time when the Quad City Symphony Orchestra performs its annual Quad City Bank & Trust Riverfront Pops concert on August 17, this year's outdoor celebration paying tribute to the legacy of Freddie Mercury and his chart-topping band in “The Music of Queen.”

Winner of five Tony Awards and one of the most memorable, iconic, and popular musicals of the last several decades, legendary composer Stephen Sondheim's Assassins hits the stage at Moline's Black Box Theatre August 8 through 18, its twisty, tuneful tale of famed and obscure killers (and would-be killers) lauded by the New York Times for its “astonishing score” in which “sly distortions of familiar musical tropes approximate the skewed ways in which these characters hear everyday melodies.”

Nominated for five 2011 Tony Awards including Best Musical, and based on the beloved film comedy starring Whoopi Goldberg, the tuneful and riotous Sister Act wraps up Quad City Music Guild's 2019 summer season, the show's August 9 through 18 run demonstrating why the Associated Press deemed it “frothy, giggly, and yet often poignant,” as well as “a musical that hits all the right spots, achieving something close to Broadway grace.”

"She Kills Monsters" at the Playcrafters Barn Theatre -- August 9 through 11.

Described by the Chicago Tribune as “clever, funny, moving, lively, and geeky,” and filled with what Time Out Chicago called “deliciously dorky references to the early days of the Internet,” the Dungeons & Dragons-fueled comedy-drama She Kills Monsters serves as the latest production in the Playcrafters Barn Theatre's Barn Owl Series, its August 9 through 11 run guaranteed, according to the New York Times, to “slash and shapeshift its way into your heart.”

Praised by the Los Angeles Times for its “hip, snappy dialogue and contemporary sensibilities,” as well as being an “engaging play [that] explores the reality checks that force lovers to look past their romantic illusions,” Micah Schraft's A Dog's House enjoys a New Ground Theatre staging August 9 through 18, with Broadway World lauding the author's “witty, intelligent, entertainingly thought-provoking script.”

A star of film and television whose DVD for his 2006 Comedy Central special became the first to achieve platinum-sales status, comedian/writer/actor Carlos Mencia takes the stage at Davenport's Rhythm City Casino Resort Event Center on August 11, the latest stop on a busy fall tour that will take the comic from Iowa to California to New York to Florida.