Described by Broadway World as “a great evening of theatre” that “hits the mark right from the start,” the area premiere of Grumpy Old Men: The Musical enjoys a April 10 through June 1 run at Rock Island's Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse – an adaptation of the hit film comedy that the Journal Tribune deemed “sometimes touching, sometimes raucous, and at all times enticing.”

JC is in the house – by which I mean Quad City Music Guild's really modern-day Jesus Christ Superstar, a production complete with skinny jeans, loafers, and cell phones. Friday's opening-night performance of this classic with music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Tim Rice was still working out its bugs; there were missed microphone cues in which you couldn't hear the beginnings of songs, and personally speaking, I was a bit confused by Heather Blair's costume design, as it appeared that every actor just went into their closets and picked out something peculiar to wear. But straight out of the gate, Adam Sanders' Judas Iscariot, at least, was powerful in his rendition of “Heaven on Their Minds.”

A Tony Award nominee and Pulitzer Prize finalist will be the special guest in three presentations at Augustana College on March 29 through 30, as the college hosts readings, a playwriting workshop, and an evening celebration with Sarah Ruhl, the author of such critically acclaimed stage productions as Eurydice, Clean House, Dead Man's Cell Phone, and In the Next Room (or The Vibrator Play).

A lauded stage work in which, according to the New York Times, “music, words, and performance meld into a spectrum of clashing emotions” and composer Jason Robert Brown “confirms his sparkling facility as a composer, fluidly mixing diverse styles,” The Last Five Years plays locally in a March 28 through April 7 presentation at Moline's Black Box Theatre, the two-character piece described by Variety as “bittersweet and nearly perfect.”

A Tony Award-winning modern classic will enjoy a special presentation at Moline's Playcrafters Barn Theatre on March 29 and 30, as Bridges Collective and TOH (Testimonies of Hope) Argow's House present author Ntozake Shange's For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide / When the Rainbow Is Enuf, the poetic meditation on African-American life that the New York Daily News called “a triumphant event” and Time magazine deemed “a pognant, gripping, angry, and beautiful work.”

One of the most beloved and iconic rock operas of all time will enjoy a spectacular new staging by the talents of Quad City Music Guild when Moline's Prospect Park Auditorium hosts the March 22 through 31 run of Jesus Christ Superstar, the Andrew Lloyd Webber/Tim Rice classic boasting such unforgettable numbers as “Everything's Alright,” “Hosanna,” “King Herod's Song,” and the timeless ballad “I Don't Know How to Love Him.”

A cold chill ran through the Playcrafters Barn Theatre at Friday's opening-night performance of Arthur Miller's 1953 play The Crucible; a riveting, partially fictionalized story about the hysteria that took place during the Salem Witch Trials in the Puritan town of Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1692. A group of young women are accused of casting spells, communing with the dead, and putting curses on children. The subsequent Salem Witch Trials, meanwhile, consisted of depositions, legal proceedings, hearsay, evidence (or lack thereof), and religious leaders of the day investigating alleged heresy and evil-doings involving the practices of witchcraft and black magic. Director Patti Flaherty delivered a provocative and captivating production that kept you interested and on the edge of your seat.

Described by Time Out New York as an “insanely fun mixtape musical” and by Variety magazine as a show that “gleefully apes the worst excesses of the era's pole-dancing, crotch-grinding, big-hair-tossing movies,” the Broadway smash Rock of Ages lands at Davenport's Adler Theatre on March 17, treating audiences to a celebration of 1980s chart-toppers that NY1 called “so cleverly staged and impressively performed that it's an irresistible, offbeat trip of a show that hits all the right notes.”

It was mentioned – more than once – at its opening-night performance that the Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse’s production of Diamonds & Divas: A Murderous Fiasco was the comedy's United States professional premiere. If we were supposed to be impressed by that fact, it really isn't saying much, as author Robin Hawdon's script would feel right at home with a group of American middle-schoolers. However, the cast, composed of many familiar Circa '21 favorites, injects talent amidst the chaos of this melodramatic escapade, almost fully redeeming an otherwise ridiculous affair.

One of America's most powerful and iconic works by one of the world's preeminent playwrights, Arthur Miller's Tony-winning drama The Crucible will enjoy a March 8 through 17 staging at Moline's Playcrafters Barn Theatre, with the New York Times stating that Miller's wrenching, timeless tale “insists that we identify with not only the victims of persecution but also with those who would judge them.”