A Midsummer Night's Dream at the Rock Island Masonic Temple

Theatre audiences are often witness to romance and, with the right director and performers, occasionally even to true love on stage. Yet it's rare to find passion and even rarer to witness carnality, two qualities that the Prenzie Players present in abundance in their juicy new production of A Midsummer Night's Dream at the Rock Island Masonic Temple.

J. Adam Lounsberry and Nathan Bates in You're a Good Man, Charlie BrownAnyone who has spent a significant amount of time in theatre knows that if your first dress rehearsal goes even the least bit well, there's cause for celebration. Having seen the first dress of the Quad City Music Guild's You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown this past Sunday, I can assure the production's participants: There's cause for celebration, because things appeared to go considerably better than "the least bit well."

Author's note: Prior to my full-time tenure at the Reader, I worked at the Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse, and for Dennis Hitchcock, for 11 years. This was one of those rare interviews that didn't start with a handshake, but rather a hug.

The comic-strip world of Charles M. Schulz's "Peanuts" characters has long delighted children, and the original, 1967 production of the musical You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown - with its cheerful tunes and hummable score - has long been a staple for young performers, having been consistently produced in high schools, middle schools, and even elementary schools across the country.

After the most successful nine-month run that Iowa City's Dreamwell Theatre has ever seen, this sm

all company - which has long performed on borrowed stages and only recently secured a space of its own - is homeless once more.

At roughly the halfway point of Richard Dresser's two-man comedy Rounding Third - currently playing at the Playcrafters Barn Theatre - Michael (Jim Driscoll), a sweet-tempered assistant Little League coach, asks the team's boisterous head coach, Don (Fred Harris Jr.), if they might enjoy a moment of silence; Michael and Don have shared a continual, often exasperated dialogue over several weeks of team play, and Michael wonders if perhaps quiet would be preferable to jabber. "Oh no," says Don. "We don't know each other well enough to not talk."

The idea started with a traffic jam. "This was two years ago," says local poet and storyteller Shellie Moore Guy, regarding the origin of her domestic-abuse performance piece Healing Waters: I Will Carry My Sister's Pain.

New Ground Theatre's presentation of Rebecca Gilman's stalker drama Boy Gets Girl is sensationally entertaining stuff - the most consistently smartly acted and directed work I've yet seen from this organization - and the production becomes all the more impressive when you realize just how easily it could have proven unbearable.

Let me preface my review of the Richmond Hill Players' The Sunshine Boys by saying that if the material itself makes you laugh, you may well be a fan of this production, and at Thursday's opening-night performance, there were quite a few laughers among us.

Like many who wind up pursuing a life in the theatre, Camanche, Iowa, native Dave Bonde never intended to; his plan was to secure a B.A. in Mass Communication. Yet after appearing in his first theatrical production at St. Ambrose University in 1991, Bonde found himself hooked by the allure of the stage, partly because of its connection to his own field of study.

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