Theatre is evolving. While some scripts still relate the story of a unique person or community, it seems more writers are attempting to use representative characters to capture something more universal. These shows often consist of monologues that revolve around a central theme, such as girls' and women's lives in A ... My Name Is Alice and female sexuality in The Vagina Monologues. Sometimes, as in The Vagina Monologues, each component is the result of real-life research and interviews conducted and modified by the playwright.

In 1979, Patti Flaherty starred in Born Yesterday at Playcrafters Barn Theatre in Moline. Unfortunately, I hadn't yet made my earthly appearance and was unable to review it. But 35 years later, she's given me the chance by directing the current production of Yesterday on the same stage. The play is fast-paced if easily foretold, the characters are memorable, and the acting is superb.

They said it would be short, and they meant it. Clocking in at just under 45 minutes, last weekend's production of Augustana College's annual Short Play Festival was a collaboration of four student producers and featured Tony Kushner's script East Coast Ode to Howard Jarvis.

Hey you cats, listen up. I saw a show at Circa '21 that's hoppin' and swingin' - like being inside a jukebox. Smokey Joe's Café is where all the cool Daddy-O's and neighborhood gals are dancing to music from the days of the zoot suit up to 1960s love songs. If you're expecting a plot line, a bit of spoken dialogue, you kids won't get it. This musical revue is purely fun. It involves no setup or explanation, and simply celebrates music from days gone by.

Female problems. According to this musical by Nicole Hollander and Cheri Coons, we (as in women) have lots of them. Whether it's ridding our closets of shoes, trying new hairstyles every month, loving our insufficient-but-tolerable husbands, or fretting over the weight gain from (gasp!) a piece of German chocolate cake, we have lots of important issues on our minds that require a lifetime of worry, tummy-tucks, and doctor visits.

A night of reviewing a theatrical production doesn't usually leave me shuffling about the house in my pajamas, checking closets and under the bed for ghosts. But Susan Hill's thriller Woman in Black at Playcrafters Barn Theatre was just chilling enough to send me scurrying under the safety of my bedspread, eyes shut tight to whatever roamed my imagination.

With bright, rainbow wardrobes and electric intensity, the 12-person Opera @ Augustana ensemble of Godspell resembled a contemporary (and Christian) version of Hair. The vibrant student actors last weekend filled Wallenberg Hall at Augustana College with the spirit of music and tromped about the stage praising God and engaging hundreds of audience members with optimistic songs.

With The Primitive opening this weekend, New Ground Theatre is doing something it's never tried before, and director Chris Jansen is very excited. The Primitive "is a charming romantic comedy!" she said.

When Zach Pethoud read the script of The Guys by Anne Nelson, he decided it was an opportunity he couldn't turn down. "I knew right away that if I didn't direct it locally, someone else would," he said. So the Bettendorf native gathered a cast, secured the Bettendorf High School auditorium stage, and worked hard to put together the Quad Cities premiere of the play, which will be presented weekends from December 6 to 14.

Galileo Galilei was a big man who loved eating. Oh yeah, and he's also credited with inventing the telescope and proving the earth rotates around the sun (not vice-versa), and he's considered one of the scientific geniuses of the Renaissance.

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