Melissa Coulter was thrilled when she was asked to direct a show at Ghostlight Theatre. What she didn't yet know was that the show, Das Barbecü, is actually a musical comedy loosely based on Richard Wagner's four-hour Ring opera, is performed in country-western style, and calls for a fairly large cast of about 15 people.

For 43 years, Don Wooten has been re-writing Greek history. His history lessons are anything but serious or classroom-worthy, and that's all right with him. Wooten, the founder of Genesius Guild theatre group, has most recently altered the more outdated sections of Aristophanes' comedy Plutus to make its already-quirky script even quirkier and more accessible to modern audiences. Wooten has added musical numbers and touches of local humor about bridge construction and the Mallards hockey team, and he addresses national issues such as war, education, President Bush, and television infomercials. With a bit of assistance from Aristophanes, Wooten has produced an appealing script.

Quad City Music Guild's Kiss Me, Kate boasts an ensemble of twenty-some gifted performers, including a tap-dancer whose photograph belongs alongside the likes of Gene Kelly, and singers that demonstrate excellent unity in rhythm. The musical is an entertaining, humorous, colorful, and energizing romp through the onstage and back-stage lives of performers in a Shakespearean play, and this production shouldn't be missed.

Three Weird Sisters, sexy love scenes, sword fights, and murder. I tell you, life doesn't get much better than this. Well, at least for a certain theatre reviewer it doesn't. Not even the mosquitoes could keep me from enjoying Riverside Theatre's summer production of Macbeth at the company's Shakespeare Festival in Iowa City.

Local playwright Chris Jansen recently caught the eye of the media with her innovative musical Journey for a Reason, which is being performed by New Ground Theatre (and directed by the author) through Sunday at Rivermont Collegiate in Bettendorf. But credit should also be given to the young performers in Jansen's theatrical creation; most of them are college students, and one is just starting sixth grade.

Though senior citizens, religion, sex, love, and the timely battle between good and evil are all poked fun at in Circa '21's current show, playgoers should be prepared to see more than just a lighthearted comedy. Almighty Bob is quite a funny play, but it also lifts the veil from the element that is our ever-present fear - death - and gives us the playwright's take on how life and death work.

New Ground Theatre, which this season has produced the Pulitzer Prize-winning plays Wit and Proof, will next month stage a musical about teen suicide. Not only that, but the script of said musical was written by the company's artistic director, Chris Jansen.

When Nancy Heerens-Knudson was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1985, her son - who was in kindergarten at the time - thought she was in the hospital for an elbow problem. He didn't know about the breast cancer until he was in sixth grade.

Riverside Theatre's presentations of The Laramie Project have been sold out for the past two weekends, which in itself speaks for this powerful and brilliantly crafted play. Protests are even scheduled outside the Iowa City theatre on Saturday, April 12, in response to the play.

About a year ago, Genesius Guild members J.C. Luxton and Cait Woolley had an idea: to bring Shakespearean theatre to a more intimate space than the outdoor Lincoln Park venue in which the Guild performs every summer.

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