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.

It was a beautiful summer night on Saturday, and I was thrilled to attend the Clinton Area Showboat Theatre’s energetic new musical Smokey Joe’s Café. Celebrating the songs of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, this production took place outdoors, across the street from the Showboat in the charming Riverview Park Bandshell. And from the first note of the first song, I knew I was in for a treat.

The song “Corner of the Sky” has always been one of my favorite Broadway tunes. I love the lyrics, especially, because they touch areas deep inside my heart with their nuances of looking for meaning in life and trying to find a place where you fit in. The words: “Rivers belong where they can ramble / Eagles belong where they can fly / I’ve got to be where my spirit can run free / Got to find my corner of the sky” really ring true in my own experiences. And this song is the centerpiece for the season opener – the musical Pippin now playing at the Timber Lake Playhouse.

Friday was opening night for You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown at the Spotlight Theatre, and it was a crazy, fun evening filled with lighthearted comedy and loaded with some of my favorite area talent. I really enjoyed the simple, childlike playfulness that the entire cast exuded, as it was evident that everyone was having a great time and glad to be back on stage.

What is the essence of an artist? And how do they make themselves unique and entertaining? In my view, an artist is an extremely creative individual who demonstrates the ability to arouse one’s emotions and tantalize their senses, causing them to feel alive. And that’s exactly what I felt during Thursday’s dress-rehearsal preview of La Divina: The Last Interview of Maria Callas, now playing at the lovely Black Box Theatre in downtown Moline.

Area theatre is back, and a beloved series is serving up some good ol’ Midwestern wholesomeness in The Church Basement Ladies in You Smell Barn at the Circa ’21 Dinner Playhouse. This musical comedy was simply the perfect way for the venue to reopen in the wake of last year’s COVID-19 restrictions, and my husband and I had the privilege of attending Friday’s opening-night performance. It was fabulous.

It’s been a painfully long wait, but I finally got to crack open my new notebook and fresh pen for Wednesday night's performance of The Savannah Sipping Society at the Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse.

The Playcrafters Barn Theatre's presentation of The Boxcar Children opened on Friday with a simple, wholesome journey of four Depression-era youngsters and their adventures as recent orphans. Knowing that they will likely go to different foster homes, the Alden children escape into the woods and find a boxcar in which they begin to live, and while the set design was sparse, the actors, for the most part, were excellent – I found myself carefully listening to each character as they expressed their innermost thoughts and feelings. Like the old saying goes, "Less is more," and in this show, I found that to be particularly true.

If you need some inspiration to help you get into the holiday spirit, then you should check out the Spotlight Theatre’s current production of Meredith Willson’s Miracle on 34th Street: The Musical. I was lucky enough to catch a dress rehearsal on Tuesday night and it was delightful. Director Chris Tracy's production of this show I'd never seen before was already polished and ready to go with fantastic singing, dancing, and acting.

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