Director Aaron Baker-Loo created a memorable musical production – though, admittedly, I found the whole saga more depressing than I remembered. Luckily for the Spotlight, their presentation is also an enchanting spectacle that is more than enough to keep even the youngest viewer interested.

2013's Exit Laughing is at Geneseo's Richmond Hill Barn Theatre, and it is a damn good time. Director Mike Skiles and his cohorts have built an entertaining, satisfying production on the foundation of a solid script.

With Tony Award winner Mary Zimmerman's play lauded by the Los Angeles Times as a work "that ratchets the suspense to Hitchcockian heights," the fairytale-themed thriller The Secret in the Wings enjoys its area-debut staging in St. Ambrose University's Studio Theatre from April 12 through 21, this exciting, unsettling stage piece inspiring the Chicago Reader to state, "It's tasteful and smart, and it respects the mystery at the heart of the tales it tells."

This spring, the student talents of Augustana College's OperX ensemble will treat audiences to alternating performances of both a full opera and excerpts from the operatic repertoire, with the gifted singers and director Patrick McNally staging composer Henry Purcell's Dido & Aeneas on April 19 and 21, and works by Mozart, Bernstein, Bizet, and Donizett in the vocal revue Set the Scenes on April 20.

A tale as old as time will be given a magical new stage presentation when the University of Dubuque's Heritage Center unveils the classic story of Beauty & the Beast on April 21, with the gifted members of the Panto Company USA bringing the beloved musical to life with flawless comic banter and lavish dance routines.

Kelsey Walljasper directed this slick, joyous production, with Mitch Carter as music director, and with a lovely balance of comedy and heart, it's inspiring, not too serious, and looks and sounds fabulous.

A 2017 Tony Award nominee and Drama Desk Award winner, as well as a work by the masterful composing team of Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty, Broadway's Anastasia makes its local-theatre debut with an April 12 through 21 run at Moline's Spotlight Theatre, the musical lauded by Time Out New York as "a sweeping adventure, romance, and historical epic whose fine craftsmanship will satisfy musical-theatre fans beyond the show's ideal audience of teenage girls."

Hailed by the New York Times as “a perfect joy” and by the Los Angeles Times as “a timeless farce,” Tony- and Oscar-winning author Tom Stoppard hysterical one-act comedy The Real Inspector Hound enjoys an April 18 through 21 staging in Scott Community College's Black Box Theatre, this theatrical satire also lauded by The Telegraph as a work that "brilliantly nails the clichés of the reviewer's craft."

With his play lauded by Theatre in Chicago as a work that "stands out for its blend of historical depth and personal insights," David Payne brings his nationally touring one-man show Churchill to Davenport's Adler Theatre on April 9, the piece allowing the British character actor to portray a famed historical figure previously portrayed by Gary Oldman, who won an Academy Award for playing Churchill, and Albert Finney, Brendan Gleeson, and John Lithgow, all of whom won Emmy Awards as the former British Prime Minister.

Winner of six 2013 Tony Awards including Best Musical and Best Score for pop icon Cyndi Lauper, the high-kicking musical Kinky Boots kicks of Quad City Music Guild's 2024 season with an eagerly awaited Prospect Park Auditorium run April 5 through 14, the show called “cause for celebration” by Entertainment Weekly and, according to Time Out New York, “the very model of a modern major musical.”