With the New York Times calling it “the kind of unheralded gem that sends people into the streets babbling and bright-eyed with the desire to spread the word,” author Annie Baker's thoughtful comedy Circle Mirror Transformation enjoys an August 18 through 27 staging as part of the Playcrafters Barn Theatre's Barn Owl Series, the stage piece also lauded by Variety magazine as “orchestrated with a subtlety and unfailing naturalness that makes the play's small revelations disarming and unexpected.”

Full disclosure: Although decently familiar with the franchise, I am not a hardcore Harry Potter fan, so a good handful of the jokes and spoofy bits in the Spotlight Theatre’s Puffs likely went over my head – but I still had fun and laughed a lot. So if you’re a Potter-head, I'm sure you'lll have a magically good time.

Murder for Two, now playing at the Clinton Area Showboat Theatre, is incredible. It’s fast, frantic, and fun, and it’s also the hardest I’ve laughed in I couldn’t tell you how long. My first draft of this review was simply “Go see this show” copied-and-pasted a few hundred times. In lieu of a lackluster Shining reference, take this instead;: A shining review.

Steve Martin got famous as a stand-up comic, but in truth, he's a Renaissance man.

Don’t even read what I’m writing here if you haven’t yet made a reservation to see Much Ado About Nothing. There are only four shows left, tickets are going fast, and you do not want to miss it. If this were a text message, I’d have added about a million more explanation points. I'm serious. Secure your seat before you keep reading, or it might be too late.

An official selection for July's IUGTE 20th Anniversary event in Austria and next month's Fort Worth Fringe Festival, Shelley Cooper's one-woman musical Jenny Lind Presents P.T. Barnum enjoys a three-performance run at Moline's Black Box Theatre from August 11 through 13, its creator/star's previous solo productions in the area including popular presentations of Mary & Ethel: How I Learned to Sing and La Divina: The Last Interview of Maria Callas.

Praised by Broadway World as "a wonderful night of theatre" and by NBC2 as a work that "evokes memories and warm feelings with a lot of laugh-out-loud moments," author Joe DiPietro's warmhearted comedy Over the River & Through the Woods enjoys an August 17 through 27 engagement at the Richmond Hill Barn Theatre, its Geneseo run sure to demonstrate why Chicago Critic raved, "At any stage of life – as child, young adult, parent, or grandparent – this charming play will touch your heart.

Designed for fans of the hit Coen-brothers film O Brother, Where Art Thou? and the Circa ‘21 Dinner Playhouse favorite Southern Crossroads, the Mockingbird on Main's bluegrass musical Big Rock Candy Mountain will receive an August 17 through 20 engagement at Moline's Black Box Theatre, its classic tunes including such iconic numbers as “House of the Rising Sun,” “Keep on the Sunny Side of Life,” and “Will the Circle Be Unbroken?”

Lauded by Time Out New York for its “infectiously energetic 1960s tunes” and by The New Yorker for its “well-judged humor and elegant strokes of observation,” the Broadway-musical smash Jersey Boys – running August 17 through 27 – closes the 2023 summer season at Mt. Carroll's Timber Lake Playhouse, this multiple Tony Award winner a show that, according to Broadway World, “rousingly recreates the catchy songs, convoluted lives, and roller-coaster careers of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons.”

Directed by Tom Walljasper, Countryside’s Into the Woods is a lot of fun and a great excuse to get out of the crushing summer humidity.