I was delighted to catch Friday’s opening-night performance of the new musical comedy Disenchanted! at the Circa ’21 Dinner Playhouse. Directed by Corinne Johnson, with musical direction by Ron May, this show is about the other sides – more disgruntled sides – of the lives of fairytale characters made famous through the wonderful world of Walt Disney, with Snow White and her gang of dissatisfied co-princesses venting their frustrations as storybook/movie characters.

There were people dancing in the aisles at the Timber Lake Playhouse on Friday night, with patrons enjoying the theatre's current and vibrant musical production Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story. Audience members absolutely went wild for author Alan Janes' show – they were on their feet, clapping, cheering, and singing along to such classic tunes as “Peggy Sue,” “Maybe Baby,” and “Oh Boy.” The atmosphere was positively charged, and I found myself singing along, too. It was so good to see people cutting loose and having a fantastic time.

On Wednesday night, I attended a preview of the Black Box Theatre’s latest presentation The Guys, written by Anne Nelson. Based on a true story, the play follows an editor named Joan (Jennifer Cook Gregory), who receives an unexpected phone call from Nick (Jim Harris), a fire captain who has lost most of his men in the 9/11 attacks. Directed and designed by Lora Adams, The Guys is a poignant and conversational piece that brought forth, to me, many horrific and sad images from that devastating day.

The joint was really jumping at the Timber Lake Playhouse on Friday as the company presented its rendition of Ain’t Misbehavin', an energetic tribute to the songs of Thomas “Fats” Waller.

Does everything that happens to us happen by chance? Or could our reactions to life’s events change their outcomes in small or large ways? (I've heard it said before that what might break one person may actually strengthen another, and although we cannot control outside events or circumstances, we can choose how we react.) These thought-provoking questions came to mind as I finished watching Sunday’s matinée performance of playwright Nick Payne’s Constellations, now playing at the Clinton Area Showboat Theatre.

It was a lovely summer evening at the Timber Lake Playhouse on Friday night, with glowing stringed lights hanging throughout the campground that added a tranquil feeling outside. Inside the theatre, it was equally pleasant, with the welcoming, rustic set design by Sherri Howells providing a fabulous, bluegrass-and-country playing area for the venue's latest musical presentation The Robber Bridegroom.

I had the pleasure of attending Friday’s performance of The Mountaintop at the Quad Cities’ newest live-theatre venue, the Mockingbird on Main. Penned by American playwright Katori Hall, this story is a fictional depiction of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his last night on earth, the eve of his assassination. As as directed by Kira Rangel, with production design by Savannah Bay Strandin and Tristan Tapscott, this piece takes patrons into the unique inner struggles of one of the most influential civil-rights leaders of all time.

Including its music direction by Michael McBride and Stancato's and associate Felicia Finley’s choreography, this outstanding production brought a brand-new, never-before-seen concept to this powerful musical. It really made me think about the story I was witnessing in a very contemporary, creative way.

At last! After being pandemic-delayed for 17 months, it was finally opening night for the long-awaited Circa ’21 Dinner Playhouse production Saturday Night Fever. And Friday’s performance transported an extremely excited audience back to the 1970s for a disco revolution in which there was a whole lot of incredible dancing going on.

I was inside – bare-faced, cool, and enjoying the air conditioning – last Thursday for the opening performance of All Shook Up at the Clinton Area Showboat Theatre.

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