The opening-night, sell-out crowd filling the Black Box Theatre appeared engaged by, and mostly appreciative of, Little Women: The Musical. The talented cast performed with gusto, intelligence, and tenderness, as required. Unfortunately, however, the adaptation itself of the late-19th-century Louisa May Alcott classic left me disappointed overall.

Let’s just go ahead and say it: There was nothing inherently groundbreaking about director Bob Williams’ Beauty & the Beast at Quad City Music Guild. But, in this instance, saying that makes the show an unquestionable success.

The Mississippi Bend Players' third season opened on Friday with Neil Simon's Biloxi Blues, a tribute to our military veterans and all the brave men and women who currently serve this great country. This second installment in Simon's semi-autobiographical comedic trilogy – one that begins with Brighton Beach Memoirs and concludes with Broadway Bound – had me rifling through my purse to find a tissue to dry my eyes, given that they were watering so much from laughter. Director and St. Ambrose University theatre professor Cory Johnson, who also gave us MBP's Brighton Beach in 2017, delivered a hilarious show that was not only extremely funny, but touched on some very serious subject matter.

I knew nothing about Five Women Wearing the Same Dress when I walked into the Playcrafters Barn Theatre on Tuesday evening. But it makes the experience even more satisfying when a show goes beyond my expectations. This one did.

The Clinton Area Showboat Theatre's production of A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder is likely the most purely entertaining show I've ever seen. Everything exists to delight, laugh at, or marvel over – as long as you can accept murder as entertainment, which humanity has been doing for at least 2,500 years of recorded history.

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.

Paraphrasing from the latest presentation at the Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse, “If you need musical medication, the Holiday Inn fills the prescription." And June 7's opening night for this Irving Berlin spectacle was certainly therapeutic, delivering a fantastic, high-energy, fast-paced, never-a-dull-moment performance. With its seasoned dancers and strong vocals, you'll thoroughly enjoy this production. It does not disappoint.

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.

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