During Friday’s opening-night performance, Megan Warren’s voice pierced the darkness to begin the Spotlight Theatre’s production of The Spitfire Grill, her immaculate a cappella vocals grabbing the audience’s attention before the music and lights even dared join her. Before her first song “A Ring Around the Moon” ends, you’ll be entranced by Warren’s depiction of Percy, if not for her plight of starting over after being released from prison. then because the folksy music so perfectly suits her voice.

Is it a success or a failure when a ghost appears during a séance if you don’t actually believe in the occult? The Richmond Hill Players allow you to decide for yourself with their latest production: a delightful take on the ghostly comedy Blithe Spirit.

Mermaids seem to be popular with the kids nowadays. There are local advertisements for actual swim lessons in which children wear mermaid tails and are instructed on how to navigate the water. And Saturday’s matinée-under-the sea-performance of Disney's The Little Mermaid at the Timber Lake Playhouse had tiny-tyke patrons all dressed up in their mermaid tails and crowns just so they could be like their favorite princess Ariel. What a fun way to kick off the inaugural show in the theatre’s 2019 summer season!

It’s an unfortunate tale you’ve heard a lot lately: The Village Theatre, home of New Ground Theatre, wound up with water in the basement this past month. But “The show must go on!” is a cliché for a reason, and Friday's opening-night performance of American La Ronde, indeed, went on as planned to recap the romantic journey of a single silver bracelet.

Though it expresses both the highs and lows of life, the Playcrafters Barn Theatre's Avenue Q – the three-time Tony winner with music and lyrics by Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx and book by Jeff Whitty – is an uplifting treat overall, packed with superb performances.

The Black Box Theatre's Silent Sky, by Laura Gunderson, is uplifting and brilliantly executed. First produced in 2010, the play follows the adult life of far-seeing astronomer Henrietta Leavitt beginning in the late 19th century. Because she is a woman, she's only allowed to do “scut” work – categorizing and cataloging thousands of stars; a daunting task. However, she used the drudgery to pursue and discover a shining truth which changed our understanding of the universe.

In author Aaron Randolph III’s brand-new adaptation of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s classic tale The Little Prince, we’re immediately introduced to Aviator (Randolph) as he tells us a tale from his past, in which he crashed his plane and met a boy, Little Prince (Daniel Rairdin-Hale), who is traveling from planet to planet. Aviator and Little Prince have a lot to learn from each other, and this charming production serves up many life lessons.

I saw Augustana College's exhilarating April 27 production of the musical How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying – the 1961 show that was adapted for film in 1967, and that won seven Tonys, boasts a script by Abe Burrows, Jake Weinstock, and Willie Gilbert and music and lyrics by Frank Loesser, and is based on the book by Shepherd Mead. When you see it, arrive early, so you have time to gaze properly at RaeEllen Walker's dazzling, Art Deco-inspired set with its white floor and black "marble" inlay, turquoise columns, and gold-trimmed black mezzanine and stairs.

I’ve got to hand it to director Kimberly Kurtenbach, who expertly captured every child’s attention before last Thursday’s performance of the Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse's Junie B. Jones Is Not a Crook by blasting the ever-popular Baby Shark. When the dance party was cut off for pre-show announcements, the room full of smiling children was already fully engaged and ready to be wowed.

Don’t let the title of the Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse's Grumpy Old Men: The Musical fool you. I was expecting much yelling at young-'uns and kvetching over chessboards. It’s actually a colorful, fast-paced feast containing no young-'uns (but, yes, one chessboard).

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