Hey you cats, listen up. I saw a show at Circa '21 that's hoppin' and swingin' - like being inside a jukebox. Smokey Joe's Café is where all the cool Daddy-O's and neighborhood gals are dancing to music from the days of the zoot suit up to 1960s love songs. If you're expecting a plot line, a bit of spoken dialogue, you kids won't get it. This musical revue is purely fun. It involves no setup or explanation, and simply celebrates music from days gone by.

Female problems. According to this musical by Nicole Hollander and Cheri Coons, we (as in women) have lots of them. Whether it's ridding our closets of shoes, trying new hairstyles every month, loving our insufficient-but-tolerable husbands, or fretting over the weight gain from (gasp!) a piece of German chocolate cake, we have lots of important issues on our minds that require a lifetime of worry, tummy-tucks, and doctor visits.

A night of reviewing a theatrical production doesn't usually leave me shuffling about the house in my pajamas, checking closets and under the bed for ghosts. But Susan Hill's thriller Woman in Black at Playcrafters Barn Theatre was just chilling enough to send me scurrying under the safety of my bedspread, eyes shut tight to whatever roamed my imagination.

With bright, rainbow wardrobes and electric intensity, the 12-person Opera @ Augustana ensemble of Godspell resembled a contemporary (and Christian) version of Hair. The vibrant student actors last weekend filled Wallenberg Hall at Augustana College with the spirit of music and tromped about the stage praising God and engaging hundreds of audience members with optimistic songs.

Galileo Galilei was a big man who loved eating. Oh yeah, and he's also credited with inventing the telescope and proving the earth rotates around the sun (not vice-versa), and he's considered one of the scientific geniuses of the Renaissance.

What is truth? This is an age-old question, pondered by millions of people over the centuries. According to the story of Rashomon, truth lies in the eye of the beholder. As the wigmaker in the story says, "People see what they want to see, and say what they want to hear." Unlike many other treatments of the question of truth, Rashomon does not expose truth as absolute; it explores truth as a constantly shifting abstract idea, based solely on the perceptions of humans.

After seeing Riverside Theatre's annual monologue performance Walking the Wire during its three-day run last weekend, I'm already looking forward to next year. Rarely is a collection of monologues presented locally (with the exception of the woman-power fundraiser The Vagina Monologues, which is structured more like a play), and the Iowa City theatre's Wire provides a unique opportunity for viewers to absorb an assortment of unpublished works presented by diverse individuals. While a few of the pieces were lacking in either character believability or author voice, most of the two- to 10-minute monologues were very engaging.

Riverside Theatre's production of Noel Coward's relationship-centered play Private Lives is such a captivating romp through France in the 1920s, and there were moments I was so happily lost in the action, that I never wanted to return to contemporary Iowa City.

I don't like to start reviews with questions, but New Ground Theatre's current production of Lobby Hero raises some interesting ones. (1) Is a hero someone who, when faced with a moral dilemma, reveals deep dark secrets that will get a friend in big trouble? 2) Does sliding indifferently through life without ever changing viewpoints, challenging ideas, or standing up for personal rights gain someone hero status? The answer to both, obviously, is no. A hero is defined by my dictionary as "a man of great courage, nobility, etc. or one admired for his exploits." So what was playwright Kenneth Lonergan thinking when he used a lazy, noncommittal lobby security guard as a protagonist of his play Lobby Hero?

For 43 years, Don Wooten has been re-writing Greek history. His history lessons are anything but serious or classroom-worthy, and that's all right with him. Wooten, the founder of Genesius Guild theatre group, has most recently altered the more outdated sections of Aristophanes' comedy Plutus to make its already-quirky script even quirkier and more accessible to modern audiences. Wooten has added musical numbers and touches of local humor about bridge construction and the Mallards hockey team, and he addresses national issues such as war, education, President Bush, and television infomercials. With a bit of assistance from Aristophanes, Wooten has produced an appealing script.

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