You know ABBA, right? The 1970s pop group, beloved worldwide, wrote and recorded the catchiest tunes this side of Lennon and McCartney? The Swedish foursome were all over the airwaves, and still are, and their body of work was the springboard that launched the musical Mamma Mia! The Timber Lake Playhouse is running its spectacular production of the show now. Grab a seat before they're gone.

One of the most political of ancient-Greek comedies – and, in adapter Don Wooten's hands, one of the most nuttily satisfying – serves as Genesius Guild's traditional season-ending slapstick when the company presents Ecclesiazusae from July 27 through August 4, Aristophanes' one-act farce delivering laughs, commentary, and a madcap, Mack Sennett chase around Rock Island's Lincoln Park stage.

Named “Best Musical of the Year” by Time magazine, Newsweek, and the Outer Critics Circle Awards, the tuneful, tap-dancing entertainment Dames at Sea serves as the season-ending production for the Mississippi Bend Players at Augustana College's Brunner Theatre Center, the show's July 26 through August 4 run demonstrating why the New York Times called it “a gem of a musical” and United Press International deemed it “an instant hit.”

It's magical to enter the theatre at Prospect Park and take in the huge, overarching proscenium studded with large round bulbs and that dark-red velvety curtain. Before Thursday's preview performance, I took a deep, happy breath as I absorbed this classic-American-theatre ambiance and anticipated a dazzling musical spectacle – and Quad City Music Guild gave me what I wanted.

Sure, it’s cliché. But of all the Shakespeare tragedies, Hamlet is my favorite, so I was excited to take in director Alaina Pascarella’s version in Lincoln Park on Saturday night. And Genesius Guild took this classic, trimmed it down, and kept it enjoyable for enthusiastic William Shakespeare fans and newcomers both.

I won't be coy: The Playcrafters Barn Theatre's Something Intangible, by Bruce Graham, is an imagining of the relationship between brothers Walt and Roy Disney, but with the names changed. They co-founded the Disney Bros. Studios, with Walt the visionary and Roy the money man.

Whenever I visit Geneseo's Richmond Hill Barn Theatre, I'm reminded of how wholesome, welcoming, and beautiful this location in the Midwest is, and how this unique venue is truly a lovely place to take in a show. The players’ latest production, author Jack Sharkey's Missing Link, is a marital comedy full of all kinds of twists and turns, mistaken identities, and romantic conundrums, and it gives patrons a lighthearted look at the things we do for love.

Nominated for five 2001 Tony Awards and currently the ninth-longest-running Broadway musical of all time, the internationally beloved Mamma Mia! enjoys a Countryside Community Theatre and Lancer Productions staging at Eldridge's North Scott High School July 19 through 28, the show's collection of timeless tunes from the Swedish pop group ABBA leading the New York Post to call the experience “one of those nights when you sit back and let a nutty kind of joy just sweep over you.”

Described by the New York Times as “an astonishingly durable interactive murder mystery” with an “inclusive spirit of fun,” the slapstick comedy Shear Madness makes its eagerly awaited return to Rock Island's Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse July 24 through September 7, the theatre's 2016 presentation of the show inspiring the River Cities' Reader's Jeff Ashcraft to deem it “uproarious, farcical, and fabulous,” as well as “one wild and colorful ride.”

As a rule, I don’t give standing ovations. However, on Friday evening, I gave one of the most honest standing ovations of my life at A Green River, currently running at Augustana College care of the Mississippi Bend Players. Across the board, this show, directed by Philip Wm. McKinley, could have flown across a London sky via umbrella, because it was practically perfect.

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