Frankly, I was feeling a bit smug when I entered the Spotlight Theatre on Saturday night. Like many, I've seen The Sound of Music onstage, and the film several times. I know how the scripts and songs differ, and what to expect. Yet this production still astounded me: It's a grand, rich experience.

Every Christmas Story Ever Told (and then some) is a 2007 comedy by John K. Alvarez, Michael Carleton, and James FitzGerald, I saw it at the Richmond Hill Barn Theatre on Thursday's opening night, and it stars Jonathan Grafft as Jonathan, Nathan Johnson as Nathan, and Mike Kelly as Mike. These could be the parts they were born to play.

The Timber Lake Playhouse’s latest jukebox musical, What a Wonderful World, is the magical tale of how Santa and Mrs. Claus try to retire – but in doing so, they must pass the baton to the new Santa, otherwise the North pole, and the fate of Christmas, are in danger of disappearing forever.

A debuting musical of holiday favorites and an original comedic script close the curtain on the Mockingbird on Main's inaugural 2021 season, with the Davenport venue's December 9 through 18 run of Deck Halls treating audiences to six evenings of yuletide revelry written and directed by the theatre's co-founder Tristan Layne Tapscott.

With this version of the Seussical script, director/choreographer Ashley Becher, musical director Shelley Walljasper, and their cast and crew have concocted an entertaining, gratifying experience.

A 178-year-old holiday perennial will be presented in a brand-new old-timey way from December 2 through 12 when Moline's Black Box Theatre presents its debut of A Christmas Carol on the Radio (well, really on stage), a sincere yet cheeky interpretation of Charles Dickens' beloved yuletide classic staged in the style of a 1940s audio-drama.

Ready or not, here come the holidays! I had the privilege to attend the Circa ’21 Dinner Playhouse’s Wednesday-night preview of their latest musical Winter Wonderland. Upon entering the theatre, I was greeted with a lovely arrangement of lighted Christmas wreaths and a cozy set design consisting of a fabulous cabin decked out in all kinds of sparkling ornaments and tinsel, compliments of scenic designer Susan Holgersson and scenic artist Trinity Filut. The surroundings absolutely got me in the holiday spirit.

Local Theatre Auditions/Calls for Entry

Updated: Monday, December 6, 2021

Reviews by Jeff Ashcraft, Patricia Baugh-Riechers, Audra Beals, Pamela Briggs, Dee Canfield, Kim Eastland, Emily Heninger, Heather Herkelman, Paula Jolly, Victoria Navarro, Mark Ruebling, Mike Schulz, Joy Thompson, Oz Torres, Brent Tubbs, Jill (Pearson) Walsh, and Thom White.

Director Luke Vermiere’s Holiday Inn – which I attended on its final, Tuesday-night dress rehearsal – just may have been the dose of “Cindy Lou Who” that I needed to embrace the Christmas spirit, and perhaps this show's one-weekend run will do the same for you.

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