I was fortunate to attend Tuesday's rehearsal of Augustana College's current offering She Kills Monsters by playwright Qui Nguyen. Director Jeff Coussens and assistant director James Wheeler did stunning work in creating this ambitious production. When we enter the theatre, the stark stone ledges and pre-show music tell us that the show takes place (mostly) in a magical fantasy world, and the set comes to vigorous life after video screens light up, employing film, photos, computer animation, and amusing eight-bit color graphics to establish and enhance settings. I've rarely seen, in local presentations, stagecraft this sophisticated.

Described by the Bay Area Guardian as “inspired and stimulating,” and by the Des Moines Register as a work that “strikes deep into the bones,” author Frank Higgins' evocative Gunplay serves as the fall theatre production at Scott Community College November 21 through 24, its messages so impactful that portions of the play were read on Capitol Hill prior to Congress passing the handgun-violence prevention act known as the Brady Bill.

One of the funniest, most charming, and most popular operas of all time gets a thrilling makeover at Augustana College on November 22 and 23, as the talents of OperX stage their fall production of The Marriage of Figaro – the Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart classic being presented under the direction of Michelle Crouch and boasting a cast of 10 gifted student performers.

It's starting to look a lot like Christmas in the tiny town of Doublewide, Texas, and Saturday's performance of A Doublewide, Texas Christmas by Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope, and Jamie Wooten was a hoot at the Richmond Hill Players' cozy Barn Theatre. It's a silly comedy full of colorful characters and even sillier situations, and judging by the full house and continual laughter, I would venture to say most everyone enjoyed themselves.

Prescription: Murder is the final show in the Playcrafters Barn Theatre's 90th season, which consisted of 11 productions in as many months. (After this, Barn members are taking a well-deserved rest of a month or so before staging their next presentation in February.) I saw Friday's opening-night performance, and if any of the cast, crew, and staff are exhausted from their busy year, it certainly wasn't apparent. Everything flowed.

I attended the Wednesday preview performance of the Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse's Elf: The Musical, and director Jeremy Littlejohn and musical director Travis Smith have clearly concocted a sweet, fluffy treat. The songs may be standard fare, but they're given freshness by the performers, as well as the beautiful costuming by Greg Hiatt.

The Prenzie Players' "The Merry Wives of Windsor" at the QC Theatre Workshop -- November 15 through 23.

A showcase for the beloved Shakespearean figure Falstaff – the jovial, scheming, soliloquizing knight previously featured in Henry VI Parts I and II – the uproarious comedy The Merry Wives of Windsor serves as the latest presentation by classical-theatre troupe the Prenzie Players, its November 15 through 23 run at Davenport's QC Theatre Workshop boasting many familiar area talents in what Broadway World deemed “the most purely farcical of all of [Shakespeare's] works.”

With the Chicago Reader deeming the work “a Preston Sturges comedy stranded at an I-94 truck stop” and “a wild, crotch-grabbing snapshot of life at the margins,” sibling authors Clay and Nate Sander's Losers Bracket makes its Quad Cities debut at Moline's Black Box Theatre November 15 through 24, its local run sure to demonstrate why the Chicago Tribune raved, “The play hums with the kind of quirky, blue-collar, sports-loving bravado that made Bleacher Bums a Chicago classic.”

Local Theatre Auditions/Calls for Entry

Updated: Thursday, November 14, 2019

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.

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