Area theatre is back, and a beloved series is serving up some good ol’ Midwestern wholesomeness in The Church Basement Ladies in You Smell Barn at the Circa ’21 Dinner Playhouse. This musical comedy was simply the perfect way for the venue to reopen in the wake of last year’s COVID-19 restrictions, and my husband and I had the privilege of attending Friday’s opening-night performance. It was fabulous.

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.

What is the essence of an artist? And how do they make themselves unique and entertaining? In my view, an artist is an extremely creative individual who demonstrates the ability to arouse one’s emotions and tantalize their senses, causing them to feel alive. And that’s exactly what I felt during Thursday’s dress-rehearsal preview of La Divina: The Last Interview of Maria Callas, now playing at the lovely Black Box Theatre in downtown Moline.

In The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) [revised]director Brent Tubbs has taken the dreary health precautions we've become inured to and turned them into comedic assets.

Once again, and hopefully for good, theatre is back in the Quad Cities, and the Black Box Theatre is dipping its toe into the world of live performances with Dick Tracy: A Live Radio Play. Director Lora Adams started Saturday's performance by describing it as a helping of Chinese Food Theatre: We would be full when we left, but hungry for more theatre soon. While this metaphor made me chuckle, I soon realized just how true it was. This charming foray back into theatre definitely left me eager for more.

The plot for Waiting for Godot, currently running at Moline’s Black Box Theatre, is rather simple: Two men wait near a tree for the infamous Godot. It’s unclear how many days they’ve already been waiting, or how much longer the wait will take. How the men pass time makes up the meat of this story, and Samuel Beckett’s absurdist classic ultimately grapples with the age-old question: What does it all mean?

Family. Love. Money. Major occupiers of our time; continual goals and sources of both stress and joy. We want them and work for them, or in spite of them. They facilitate our dreams, or get in their way. We race toward our desires until Death, who always wins, tells us we're done.

It’s been a painfully long wait, but I finally got to crack open my new notebook and fresh pen for Wednesday night's performance of The Savannah Sipping Society at the Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse.

If you’re hoping to see some live theatre to forget COVID-19 and the pandemic we’re in, then the Black Box Theatre’s latest, The 39 Steps: A Live Radio Play, is not for you – because director Lora Adams and her fantastic cast have embraced the challenges of producing theatre in 2020 in a way that manages to pay respect to this invisible virus while still keeping the show lighthearted and charming.

English people have a deserved reputation for rigid politeness, avoiding embarrassment, and keeping improprieties secret. These personality traits help drive much of the comedy of English farces. They drive this English story in an entirely different direction. Inside the proper tea kettle of this crowd, there's a bubbling mass of depravity and perversion threatening to boil, shriek, and spew forth secrets. Here, the unspeakable is spoken – for the most part … eventually … – with plenty of mystery yet to wonder over.

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