Jim Driscoll and Dana Moss-Peterson in Death of a SalesmanThe Richmond Hill Barn Theatre's Death of a Salesman marks one of James Driscoll's most powerful, effective, fully realized performances to date, which is saying a lot given the actor's résumé, which includes roles such as Long John Silver in the Playcrafters Barn Theatre's Treasure Island and his multiple characters in last year's Anton in Show Business for New Ground Theatre. During Friday's presentation, I was awed by Driscoll's ability to shift from sanity to a mental confusion bordering on insanity as his Willy Loman transitioned from his vision of his past to a moment in the present. Driscoll accomplishes this both through physical gestures, such as rubbing his head as if sweating, and vocal inflection, as his voice becomes more frantic and emotional during his state of confusion.

Greek drama is designed to make audiences think and feel, and while I'm not sure I did much of either at the Saturday-night performances in Rock Island's Lincoln Park, I sure did grin a lot.

Chris Hicks, Bryan Woods, and Rae Mary Regardless of style or genre, entertaining theatre has a way of putting audiences in great moods - I've personally smiled through well-staged productions of such varied, inherently tragic shows as Death of a Salesman and A Streetcar Named Desire and Hedda Gabler. And despite their seriousness, Genesius Guild's Seven Against Thebes and Antigone were a terrific time; the shows may not have had the knockabout power you hope for from Greek drama, but they certainly were enjoyable.

Michael Kennedy and Barbara Fayth Humphrey A half-hour before Friday's performance of On Golden Pond at the Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse, the theatre's producer (and Pond director) Dennis Hitchcock took the stage, and after making the traditional opening-night welcomes, warned that the show's first act alone ran nearly 80 minutes - a long haul, he explained, for elder audiences. Yet I'm thinking that Hitchcock's announcement was made less out of concern for the crowd's bladders than out of justifiable pride - a trek to the restroom would force people to miss parts of the show, and with the stunningly fine performance Michael Kennedy is giving here, who would want to miss even one?

Chances are you've at least heard of Death of a Salesman; Arthur Miller's play, it seems, is always around. So when Iowa City's Riverside Theatre stages a production of this classic script, they're facing some high expectations. After all, this isn't just any play.

Since St. Ambrose University's production of Urinetown at the Galvin Fine Arts Center has already closed, there's probably not much point in a review. So consider this a thank-you note instead. I had more fun at the school's production of this 2001 musical comedy than I have at nearly any other entertainment I've been to over the past few months. The show was terrifically staged and, almost across the board, vibrantly performed, but most inspiring of all, the audience was truly alive to it; Urinetown smashes the understood conventions of musical theatre to smithereens, and the Friday night crowd appeared positively delighted that it did. The show was a risk, and one that paid off big time.

Since 1990, I've attended more than 25 plays at Augustana College, yet I've never seen one that made better use of the Potter Hall stage than The Laramie Project.

Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead, which recently closed St. Ambrose University's 2004-5 theatre season, is a tough play to produce effectively at the collegiate level: How do you present Tom Stoppard's mordantly funny rumination on mortality and the meaninglessness of existence with performers this young?

Once in a while a script lingers in a realm of such greatness that it demands the patience, creativity, and collaboration of the most dedicated and talented individuals in theatre to do justice to the playwright's original intentions.