When I was in seventh grade, my chorus class took a charter bus up to Chicago to see Joseph & the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. From a row near the back of the theatre, I watched the vibrant speck that was Donnie Osmond belt out the tunes "Close Every Door" and "Joseph's Coat." On the return trip home, while the chaperone mothers murmured in fascination over the dark-haired leading man, we chorus students amused ourselves with a Joseph sing-along. The music was just that unforgettable and appealing, even to our usually unimpressionable teenage minds.

"What I cannot create, I do not understand." - Richard Feynman

New Ground Theatre's upcoming show, QED, traces the many accomplishments of physicist Dr. Richard Feynman, including his formula for quantum electrodynamics (which gives this play its title) and his participation in the development of the atomic bomb.

Preparing for a show in the location the set pieces are constructed, rehearsals held, and technical adjustments made is the easiest way to ensure the fluidity of all theatrical aspects as performance time approaches.

The Prenzie Players are so serious about presenting innovative interpretations of Shakespeare's scripts, they promise audience members "won't forget our shows, ever." Pretty lofty standards for a small group of Quad Cities actors who hold performances in rented found spaces (currently the Rock Island Housing Authority building) and use minimal props, costumes, staging, and production.

Just when I was convinced that Picasso at the Lapin Agile would endure as Steve Martin's wittiest, funniest theatre script, the multi-talented writer/actor/comedian has outdone himself, with the adapted comedy The Underpants.

Once in a while a script lingers in a realm of such greatness that it demands the patience, creativity, and collaboration of the most dedicated and talented individuals in theatre to do justice to the playwright's original intentions.

New Ground is one of my favorite local theatre groups because it doesn't settle for slapstick comedies, cliché-filled scripts, or sappy dramas. Instead, the not-for-profit organization with the mission to "bring the best in contemporary and original theatre to the Quad Cities" does superb work living up to that goal. New Ground's upcoming show, Talley's Folly, the recipient of the 1980 Pulitzer Prize for drama, is certainly no exception to the "best theatre" rule and is perhaps one of the most unconventional, intriguing love stories I've ever seen on stage. The production opens August 26 and runs through September 5 at Rivermont Collegiate in Bettendorf.

Sean Leary is sticking to basics. The author and producer of the innovative Your Favorite Band believes - despite the unique combinations of film, theatre, and music media used during the performances - that "a good story will always be the key to a successful show. " We'll see whether he followed this maxim and how local audiences respond to his part-live-theatre, part-film show when Your Favorite Band starts a two-week run August 5 at ComedySportz.

Richmond Hill Players Theatre has done a very good thing. Instead of usual attempts to "wow" audiences with edgy (and, in my opinion, too brilliantly written for community theatre) scripts such as Steve Martin's Picasso at the Lapin Agile or efforts to appeal to the older generation with shows such as On Golden Pond and Driving Miss Daisy, the organization's current production of Desk Set settles contentedly into a much-needed middle ground.

If Peter Jackson taught the world anything with his epic three-movie The Lord of the Rings series, it's that audiences want their Tolkien to be faithful to the original work. So when Susan Holgersson started comparing J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit with Patricia Gray's script, "I started to realize there was a situation there," she said. Playcrafters Barn Theatre decided about a year ago to do the play, and Holgersson was selected as its director in August.

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