Riverside Theatre in Iowa City continues its 20th anniversary season with another outstanding Pulitzer Prize-winning drama produced rarely outside urban centers. "Big drama in small places" accurately describes Wit, written by first-time playwright Margaret Edson and originally produced at the Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven, Connecticut, one of the nation's leading producers of contemporary drama.

Why does Elvis Presley captivate us as strongly today as he did the first time he strutted his stuff on Ed Sullivan's stage? Is it his music? Was it the life he lived behind the gates of Graceland that ended so tragically? Many insist Elvis is still alive, swearing they've seen him in every corner of the world.

It might be the season for holiday chestnuts, but Circa's current production of Winter Wonderland, written by Brad Hauskins and arranged by Linda Brinkerhoff, gives a refreshing twist to many holiday favorites as a family searches for an old-fashioned Christmas experience.

The theatre of American politics has been on a 24-hour-a-day run for a week now, and the situation playing out in Florida has a host of entertaining elements; comedy, drama, mystery, and suspense have taken us on a roller-coaster ride of emotional highs and lows. And the players ... oh how the players have stolen the show.

The Creation story has been spun into a multitude of tales that have captivated audiences for centuries, but few are as entertaining as Ghostlight Theatre's current production of Stephen Schwartz's Children of Eden.

You know what they say about smoke and fire, and you'll find a blaze in Circa 21's production of Connie Ray's Smoke on the Mountain. The kindling is Pastor Mervin Oglethorpe's rather lethargic congregation. The match is the Sanders family, a traveling evangelical musical group. Put the two together and a foot-tapping, spirit-lifting evening of song erupts.

It's impossible to guess the content of Roger Karshner's The Man with the Plastic Sandwich by its title. Is the setting a cooking show? Is the "man" a toy-maker creating plastic food for those miniature ovens lining the aisles of local toy stores? One certainly won't expect the play to be about a man suffering through a midlife crisis brought on by being fired from his job after 20 years of loyal service.

What a weekend it was for battles in the Quad Cities. Professional golfers matched strokes at the John Deere Classic. WCW wrestlers brawled at The MARK. But a battle of wits - a wrestling match of a subtler kind - was found at Rock Island's Lincoln Park on Saturday night in the Genesius Guild production of Shakespeare's Richard III.

One of the most difficult challenges directors face when working with a classic - particularly one such as The Wizard of Oz - is maintaining their vision while honoring the cherished memories every audience member holds. Georgia Jecklin, the director of Countryside Community Theatre's production of The Wizard of Oz, accomplished this difficult challenge in a delightfully creative way.

Seascape, the final production of the University of Iowa's Summer Rep season (called "Making Waves: An Edward Albee Festival"), is an interesting variation on a well-worn theme of the playwright: introspection.

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