While Friday’s opening night for Countryside Community Theatre’s production of Newsies: The Musical didn’t completely change my mind about the plot points (why is “Santa Fe” now the opening number?!), director/choreographer Ashley Mills Becher’s version packed big punches of fun and personality that made the night undeniably exciting.

I had the pleasure of attending Friday’s performance of The Mountaintop at the Quad Cities’ newest live-theatre venue, the Mockingbird on Main. Penned by American playwright Katori Hall, this story is a fictional depiction of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his last night on earth, the eve of his assassination. As as directed by Kira Rangel, with production design by Savannah Bay Strandin and Tristan Tapscott, this piece takes patrons into the unique inner struggles of one of the most influential civil-rights leaders of all time.

At last! After being pandemic-delayed for 17 months, it was finally opening night for the long-awaited Circa ’21 Dinner Playhouse production Saturday Night Fever. And Friday’s performance transported an extremely excited audience back to the 1970s for a disco revolution in which there was a whole lot of incredible dancing going on.

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.

This 2005 show set in Minnesota in the mid-'60s, has inspired such a ravenous fandom that there are now seven related musicals in this series. The Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse has produced some of them – one just this spring. Yet somehow, I'd so far escaped these ladies' clutches. I'm here to tell you I was clutched, but good, at Thursday's opening-night performance at the Clinton Area Showboat Theatre.

Including its music direction by Michael McBride and Stancato's and associate Felicia Finley’s choreography, this outstanding production brought a brand-new, never-before-seen concept to this powerful musical. It really made me think about the story I was witnessing in a very contemporary, creative way.

This past weekend, in all its masked glory, Genesius Guild’s Hippolytus featured gorgeous face coverings designed by Daitlyn Duffy and fitted by Bob Hanske, and these were certainly not your typical COVID-era face masks, either; they were works of art that amazingly kept mouths uncovered. When paired with Sara Wegner’s absolutely beautiful costumes, I was swept up in the story before anyone said a single word.

Even within the subset of meritorious solo or duo shows, author Lauren Gunderson's I & You is a particularly outstanding and imaginative two-person play unlike any I've seen in the Quad Cities, and one to which the Black Box Theatre did full justice. I attended opening night as one member of an equally appreciative crowd.

Family history can often be synonymous with family drama. And anyone who has ever argued over ownership of a family heirloom with their sibling will probably appreciate the Playcrafters Barn Theatre's current production.

Once Mamma Mia!'s overture started and the curtains opened – my my – it was nothing short of theatre magic.

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