Jenny Winn, Christopher Thomas, and Sheri Hess in Into the Woods rehearsal So, fellow fans of the former Brew & View, there's good news and bad news:

The good news is that the building that housed this haven for independent releases (and those who love them) will once again be open for business.

The bad news is that it won't be screening independent movies. Or, for that matter, movies of any kind.

Yet while the hearts of film lovers might break, those of theatre lovers should rejoice, as Derek Bertelsen and Tyson Danner realize a live-entertainment dream with the August 10 unveiling of the Green Room, their new theatrical venue at 1611 Second Avenue in the District of Rock Island.

"The Secret Garden" ensemble members Derek Bertelsen, whose production of the musical The Secret Garden opens at St. Ambrose University's Galvin Fine Arts Center this Friday, repeats a common theatrical refrain: "It's hard being a director."

Yet it's important to understand that what Bertelsen probably means is that it's hard being a director when you're his age, as he follows that statement with, "You watch the Tony Awards and, you know, most of the directors winning awards are in their 40s. So you're, like, 'I've got about 20 years. I can fool around.'"

Yes, you read that correctly. The man directing The Secret Garden, with its cast of 19, has to wait nearly two decades before he reaches his 40s. And, for the second year in a row, this theatre major at Millikin University has a rather adventurous idea of what constitutes "fooling around" on summer break.

How wonderful and humbling the last eight months have been.

When you hear director Kevin Pieper describe the Quad City Music Guild's production of A Christmas Carol as "a new show to the area," it's easy to be skeptical. Haven't we already seen this holiday chestnut - and in this area, no less - more times than we can count? (Hell, I've been in it twice since 1994.)

By the time the amateur male strippers perform their exuberant, baring-it-all finale in the Timber Lake Playhouse's The Full Monty, it might take all your will to not leap from your seat and join them. The high spirits generated by this show are a little overwhelming; with the possible exception of the Clinton Area Showboat's current production of Ruthless, The Full Monty is the best time I've had at the theatre in two months. It's joyous, technically dexterous, thrillingly performed, and, best of all, absolutely fearless. (You're aware of this by the end of the overture, when a bare-assed stripper, hounded by female groupies, races across the stage.)