Hearings. Depositions. Victims. Accusers. Lies. I am not talking about our recent news cycle, but rather Augustana College’s production of The Crucible. When director Jennifer Popple decided to set her show in the unspecific future, she couldn’t possibly have guessed that 2018, without even trying, would give the play such abundant relevance.

It was Sunday, October 30 in 1938 New York, and the country was on edge as Orson Welles went live via Madison Avenue and the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) in a Halloween episode hosted by Mercury Theater on the Air. A dramatic, science-fiction radio play, the program caused panic amongst communities who mistook the broadcast for real-life events as alien invaders, described in detail, appeared ready to take over the world.

That's the real-life tale told in the Black Box Theatre's unique production of War of the Worlds: A Radio Play, and while Friday's performance was only about an hour long with no intermission, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Based on the novel by H.G. Wells and adapted from the radio-play script by Howard E. Koch, this singular story directed and designed by Lora Adams is quite different from the theatrical productions I typically attend – and different in a good way.

If Halloween is approaching, it must be time for that annual theatrical command: “Let's do the 'Time Warp' again!” Consequently, the Circa '21 Speakeasy will stage its third-annual presentation of the cult-musical smash The Rocky Horror Show from October 19 through 27, treating audiences to live performances of classic songs and, of course, prop bags to complete the interactive experience.

The beloved tale of a pig, a spider, and a timeless storybook friendship kicks off Davenport Junior Theatre's 67th season with the October 13 through 21 presentation of Charlotte's Web, the 1952 children's book by E.B. White now being brought to stage life in a colorful, fun-filled production involving more than 40 students from 11 different area cities.

There was a certain air of rowdiness at the Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse's opening-night production of Mama Won't Fly, and rightfully so, as the champagne fountain was flowing in celebration of the theatre's final production of its 41st season. Everyone seemed ready for a good laugh, and on those terms, I don't think any of us left disappointed.

Reviews by Jeff Ashcraft, Patricia Baugh-Riechers, Audra Beals, 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.

Local Theatre Auditions/Calls for Entry

Updated: Monday, October 15, 2018

Playcrafters’ presentation of The Laramie Project is, as you might imagine, not the feel-good production of 2018. But it is a raw and emotional retelling of a story that gripped the world.

There was a sanctuary in the sanctuary, and what a gorgeous venue: the Spotlight Theatre nestled inside the old Scottish Rite Cathedral in downtown Moline. Consequently, you could feel the excitement in the air for the opening night of co-owners and co-directors Brent and Sara Tubbs’ first musical, The Hunchback of Notre Dame. And boasting songs from the Disney film, music by Alan Menken, lyrics by Stephen Schwartz, and a book by Peter Parnell (based, of course, on Victor Hugo's novel), this production was the perfect opener for this magnificent site.

In the Prenzie Players’ current Henry VIII: All Is True, men outnumber the women in the cast. (Isn’t that typical of Shakespeare, really?) Yet while the performers in director Alaina Pascarella’s presentation were collectively strong, Henry VIII’s legacy, and this production, would have been significantly less memorable without the women.

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