Fred Harris Jr. in FencesTheatre


Playcrafters Barn Theatre

Friday, July 9, through Sunday, July 18


So let's say you watched this year's Tony Awards ceremony, saw that the August Wilson drama Fences received awards for Best Revival of a Play, Best Actor in a Play (Denzel Washington), and Best Actress in a Play (Viola Davis), and said to yourselves, "Wow, I'd really like to catch that show someday."

You currently have two options: (1) Book a flight to New York, and cross your fingers that the Broadway production still has a few premium-seat tickets available for $376.50 a pop. Or (2) Drive a few miles and see Fences at the Playcrafters Barn Theatre, with tickets going for $10 each.

I'm presuming you'd like to hear more about the second option?

The sixth in Wilson's legendary 10-part series of Pittsburgh plays - and the first to win its author the Pulitzer Prize - Fences is a tough-minded, deeply emotional family drama set in the 1950s, and since its 1987 debut, Wilson's accomplishment has inspired theatre critics to seek out fresh variants on "extraordinary." (The Chicago Tribute called it "a work of tremendous impact that summons up gratitude for the beauty of its language," and the New York Post raved that Fences boasted "the strongest, most passionate American dramatic writing since Tennessee Williams.")

Yet despite its accolades, you shouldn't enter Wilson's play feeling at all intimidated. For all of its dramatic power, Fences is also oftentimes wonderfully funny, a point that's sure to be made clear by director Craig Michaels and the fantastically gifted area-theatre artists Fred Harris Jr., Shanna Cramer, Reggie Jarrell, and Renaud Haymon. And just think: For the price of one Broadway ticket, you could actually see Playcrafters' show more than 37 times over ... which, given its participants, you may well want to.

Unfortunately, the production only runs seven times between July 9 and 18, so you'd be wise to reserve seats at (309)762-0330 or



Dog Sees GodTheatre

Dog Sees God

Harrison Hilltop Theatre

Thursday, July 15, through Saturday, July 31


The Harrison Hilltop Theatre's latest presentation is Dog Sees God, author Bert V. Royal's pitch-black comedy "unofficially" inspired by Charles M. Schulz's beloved Peanuts characters. And while I'm happy to preview this show directed by Reader employee Chris Walljasper, I feel compelled to say this right off the bat: Do not bring your children.

You may also want to think twice about bringing your grandparents. Or your parents. Or anyone who might feel compelled to bolt after the play's first five minutes, in which the Charlie Brown stand-in is seen mourning the death of his beloved dog, who contracted rabies and wound up killing a little yellow bird.

There are still a few of you left reading this, right?

I hope so, because while Dog Sees God is oftentimes darkly funny, it's also an unexpectedly profound meditation on peer pressure, the challenges of growing up, and the fundamental meaning of life. describes the show as one guaranteed "to cause peals of laughter" and "resonate even with anyone belonging to that small population segment unfamiliar with Peanuts," and the Harrison Hilltop production boasts a cast featuring such talents as Bryan Tank, Cari Downing, Sara King, Annie Walljasper, and Abby Van Gerpen.

"But what's Dog Sees God about?", you may be asking. Well, it imagines Schulz's famed characters - or rather, really-really-really close facsimiles of Schulz's characters - in their teenage years, and finds them now dealing with alcoholism, drug abuse, institutionalization, sexual confusion, sexual abuse, suicide ... .

Seriously. Don't bring the kids. You've been warned.

But if you're the less-easily-traumatized sort, feel free to make reservations for Dog Sees God - running July 15 through 31 - at (563)449-6371 or



the Davenport ChordbustersEvent

Davenport Public Library Eastern Avenue Branch Grand Opening

6000 Eastern Avenue, Davenport

Saturday, July 10


The Davenport Public Library's current summer-reading program is titled "Be Creative @ Your Library." At the rate they're popping up, we might soon be able to be creative at our own individual libraries.

A mere four years after the opening of Davenport's Fairmount Street Library, the city will welcome visitors to its third branch - located at 6000 Eastern Avenue - during the library's grand-opening celebration on July 10. With the building's dedication ceremony beginning at 10:30 a.m., the day will feature staff members offering tours and hands-on instruction on the venue's 20-plus computers, plus special guests who will provide live entertainment for library hounds of all ages (with two of the guests - Clifford and Libby the Library Dog - being literal hounds).

Among Saturday's performers will be the city's harmonious barbershop ensemble the Davenport Chordbusters (at 3 p.m.), folk singer Katie Badger (1 p.m.), and the "wizard rock" musicians of Harry & the Potters (2 p.m.). Noted prestidigitator Rick Eugene will deliver sleight-of-hand tricks aplenty in his noontime magic show, while Curious George himself swings through the library between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.

And all throughout the day, patrons are invited to explore the book, magazine, CD, DVD, and video-game collections, plus the library's community meeting rooms, children's garden, teen area, coffee house, and book store - all of which I was able to see during a recent pre-opening tour with Davenport Public Library PR/Programming Coordinator Angela Campbell.

Allow me to attest, then, that the environmentally friendly, LEED-certified facility is not only functional, but seriously beautiful, with enormous picture windows that (on a bright day) illuminate the whole building without the need for interior lights. There's also so much open space surrounding the library that a shared amphitheater is being built between the library and a nearby, soon-to-be-erected park, work for which will commence, as Campbell told me with a laugh, "as soon as it stops raining every day." So you can expect that in, you know, 2047 or so.

In the meantime, have fun at the library's grand-opening party, more information for which is available by calling (563)326-7809 or visiting



Ricky SkaggsMusic

Ricky Skaggs

Quad-Cities Waterfront Convention Center

Friday, July 9, 7:30 p.m.


If you're a country- and/or bluegrass-music fan, you're no doubt familiar with the discography of Ricky Skaggs, as a quick glance at his biographical material shows that the legendary singer and instrumentalist has released no less than 13 singles.

Hmm ... that sounds a little light for a legend ... . Lemme check those numbers again ... .

A-ha. He actually released 13 singles over the past 30 years that reached number one on Billboard's country-music chart. That makes a lot more sense.

Playing the Quad-Cities Waterfront Convention Center on July 9, this seasoned, Kentucky-based performer has been a beloved musical mainstay for the better part of 40 years, with his chart-topping tunes including such genre classics as "Crying My Heart Out Over You," "I Don't Care," "Heartbroke," "Country Boy," "Lovin' Only Me," and "Cajun Moon."

And oh man but is his trophy mantle full, as the artists has - to date - scored seven Country Music Association Awards, 11 International Bluegrass Music Association Awards, and a whopping 14 Grammy Awards.

Consider yourself a Ricky Skaggs trivia buff? Try matching the star's Grammy-winning album with the category in which he won the award:


1) Ancient Times

2) Fireball

3) Honoring the Fathers of Bluegrass 1946 & '47

4) Restless

5) Same Old Train

6) A Simple Life

7) Songs from the Neighborhood: The Music of Mr. Rogers


A) Best Country Instrumental Performance - 1983

B) Best Country Vocal Collaboration - 1991

C) Best Country Collaboration with Vocals - 1998

D) Best Bluegrass Album - 2000

E) Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals - 2003

F) Best Musical Album for Children - 2006

G) Best Bluegrass Album - 2009


For tickets to Ricky Skaggs' Friday-night concert, contact the Quad-Cities Waterfront Convention Center at (800)843-4753 or



Answers: 1 - D, 2 - A, 3 - G, 4 - B, 5 - C, 6 - E, 7 - F. And remember, that's just half of the albums Skaggs has won Grammys for. Next time he's in town, we'll run a quiz on the other seven ... by which point there could easily be another seven Grammy-winning titles to choose from ... .





Adler Theatre

Saturday, July 17, 7:30 p.m.


"Hey, Mike. I need you to do a What's Happenin' piece on ... ."

"Aw, Jeff, when can I go home? Any time now? I'm still experiencing the fallout from the one shot I had after dinner last night. It was a wonderful day, filled with love and memories. But then I felt something coming over me - some tragedy in waiting - and on my way to the toy store, I saw someone in the road.

"I don't know what the stranger, the wanderer, was doing in this town, but he flagged me down and said, 'Right on time, James! I was conquering fools about an hour ago - that was a crazy game of poker! - and need to see that coalminer Mr. Brown on the road outside Columbus. Whose chariot is this?'

"'Get away!' I shouted. 'I don't know about Mr. Brown!'

"'Ah, Mr. Moon,' he replied, 'the delicate few hold on true, and one day you'll be living in the end, revisited by what is mine. Here's to you and the gift of your war song! To Zion goes I!' And he vanished. Whatever happened yesterday, I'm shattered, and need to lay down.

"Anyway. What's the What's Happenin' on? Try me."

"It's on the platinum-selling rockers O.A.R., playing the Adler Theatre on July 17."

"Oh. You know, I'm not all that familiar with the band ... ."


For tickets to O.A.R.'s Davenport concert - and the chance to hear many of the group's 42 aforementioned songs - call (800)745-3000 or visit



What Else Is Happenin'...?



Thursday, July 8 - Tracy Lawrence. Country star performing as part of the Walcott Truckers Jamboree. Iowa 80 Truckstop (Interstate 80 Exit 284 in Walcott, Iowa). 7 p.m. Free. For more information, visit

Friday, July 9 - Junior Talley: Illusions of Elvis. Concert with one of the country's foremost Presley impersonators. Jumer's Casino & Hotel (777 Jumer Drive, Rock Island). 8 p.m. $15-20. For tickets and information, call (309)756-4600 or visit

Friday, July 9, through Sunday, July 11 - Nitetrotter Music Festival. Three-day festival featuring performances by more than 60 alternative and punk bands. Downtown East Moline between Mixtapes (830 15th Avenue) and Racers Edge (936 15th Avenue). Noon-midnight. $10/day. For information, visit

Saturday, July 10 - Ronnie Spector. Poolside concert with the lead singer of the famed girl group The Ronettes. Riverside Casino & Golf Resort (3184 Highway 22, Riverside). 8 p.m. $15. For tickets and information, call (319)648-1234 or visit

Wednesday, July 14 - Mat Kearney. Pop and rock singer/songwriter in concert, with opener Jane Carrey. The Redstone Room (129 Main Street, Davenport). 7 p.m. $20. For tickets and information, call (563)326-1333 or visit

Friday, July 16 - Casting Crowns. Award-winning Christian musicians in their "Until the Whole World Hears Tour." Adler Theatre (136 East Third Street, Davenport). 7:30 p.m. $17-77. For tickets, call (800)745-3000 or visit

Friday, July 16 - The Commodores. Legendary R&B group in concert. Quad-Cities Waterfront Convention Center (1777 Isle Parkway, Bettendorf). 7:30 p.m. $20. For tickets and information, call (800)843-4753 or visit

Friday, July 16, and Saturday, July 17 - Camp Euforia Music Festival. Seventh-annual celebration of independent music, with performances by Euforquestra, Kyle Hollingsworth, EOTO, and more than two dozen other bands. Camp Euforia (5335 Utah Avenue, Lone Tree). Friday - concerts begin at 5:30 p.m.; Saturday - concerts begin at 10:30 a.m. $55-75 for a two-day pass. For information, visit

Saturday, July 17 - Brad Paisley. Country artist performing in his "H20 World Tour," with special guests Darius Rucker and Justin Moore, plus water-themed activities in the outdoor plaza area. i wireless Center (1201 River Drive, Moline). 7:30 p.m. $25-59.75. For tickets, call (800)745-3000 or visit

Saturday, July 17 - The Daiquiri Factory's Sixth-Anniversary Party. Outdoor party with performances by Hairbanger's Ball and uneXpected on the Great River Plaza Stage. The District of Rock Island. 7 p.m. $10. For information, call (309)283-1809 or visit

Sunday, July 18 - Adekola. Jazz saxophonist performs and educates as part of Polyrhythms' Third Sunday Jazz Matinee & Workshop Series. The Redstone Room (129 Main Street, Davenport). 3 p.m. all-ages workshop, $5/adult, children free; 6 p.m. concert: $10-15. For tickets and information, call (563)326-1333 or visit or



Thursday, July 8, through Sunday, July 18 - A Turn for the Nurse. Zany plots and familial betrayals in Rick Abbot's farce. Richmond Hill Barn Theatre (Richmond Hill Park, Geneseo). Thursdays-Saturdays 7:30 p.m.; Sundays 4 p.m. $8-10. For tickets and information, call (309)944-2244 or visit

Thursday, July 8, through Sunday, July 18 - 100 Saints You Should Know. New Ground Theatre's presentation of Kate Fodor's dramatic comedy. Village Theatre (2113 East 11th Street, the Village of East Davenport). Fridays and Saturdays 7:30 p.m.; Thursdays and Sundays 2 p.m. $12-15. For tickets and information, call (563)326-7529 or visit

Friday, July 9, through Sunday, July 18 - Grease. Quad City Music Guild's presentation of the '50s-era musical comedy. Prospect Park Auditorium (1584 34th Avenue, Moline). Thursdays-Saturdays 7:30 p.m.; Sundays 2 p.m. $10-15. For tickets and information, call (309)762-6610 or visit

Wednesday, July 14, through Saturday, August 28 - Squabbles. In-laws do battle in Marshall Karp's domestic comedy. Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse (1828 Third Avenue, Rock Island). Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Thursday, July 14 - 6 p.m. dinner, 7:45 show; Sundays 4 p.m. dinner, 5:45 p.m. show; Wednesday matinées 11:45 a.m. plated lunch, 1:30 p.m. show. $27.04-46.28. For tickets and information, call (309)786-7733 extension 2 or visit

Thursday, July 15, through Sunday, July 25 - Show Boat. Legendary musical by Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II. Clinton Area Showboat Theatre (311 Riverview Drive, Clinton). Thursdays-Saturdays 7:30 p.m.; Sundays and Wednesdays 3 p.m. $16-20. For tickets and information, call (563)242-6760 or visit

Thursday, July 15, through Saturday, July 24 - Love, Sex, & the I.R.S. Farcical romance by William Van Zandt and Jane Milmore. Timber Lake Playhouse (8215 Black Oak Road, Mt. Carroll). Fridays and Saturdays 8 p.m.; Tuesdays-Thursdays 7:30 p.m., Sundays and Wednesdays 2 p.m.; Sundays 6:30 p.m. $11-20. For tickets and information, call (815)244-2035 or visit



Monday, July 19, through Sunday, July 25 - Rock Island County Fair. Annual, week-long event featuring attractions, rides, food vendors, live music, races, pageants, 4-H displays, and more. Rock Island County Fairgrounds (Archer Avenue and Avenue of the Cities, East Moline). Monday, Wednesday, and Friday 8 a.m. gates; Tuesday and Thursday 7:30 a.m. gates; Saturday and Sunday 9 a.m. gates. Free gate admission. For information, call (309)796-1620 or visit

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