Live! From wherever you're reading this! It's the Second-Annual Reader Tony Awards!

Composer William Flynn's music and lyrics and Rachel Sheinkin's book (with additional material by Jay Reiss) are so full of wit, heart, and humor that I think even a “C”-average delivery would still please. Director Becca Johnson, however, has created a wonderfully paced and creatively performed production, featuring terrific talent that includes the five-member pit orchestra of Peter Letendre, Becky Holland, Sandra Blom, Kyle Jacklin, and music director Kyle Schneider. This show gets an A+ in my book, as there was hardly a moment in which I wasn’t under its, ahem, spell.

Despite its a cappella rendition of “The Yellow Rose of Texas” and repeated employment of the clever, catchy Unknown Hinson song “I Cleaned Out a Room (in My Trailer for You)” during scene changes, no one could mistake the Richmond Hill Barn Theatre's season-ending presentation for a musical. But in director John VanDeWoestyne's Doublewide, Texas, the character attire designed and gathered by costumer Suzanne DeReu is so eye-catching, and so abundant, that it's almost as though this lightweight Southern comedy were instead a lavish Broadway spectacle boasting a cast of 90 and special appearance by the Rockettes. And the Rockettes wouldn't have been funny.

I’m no Brainiac, but I do know this about musicals: When you put together a group of 13 adorable and talented little girls led by a plucky redhead who can sing her heart out, add a rags-to-riches tale enhanced with memorable tunes and dance numbers, and then throw in a scruffy dog that takes stage direction, you’ve got a crowd-pleaser on your hands!

One of the area's most adored holiday traditions returns to Davenport's Adler Theatre on December 9 and 10, when the professional talents of Ballet Quad Cities perform Tchaikovsky's holiday dance classic The Nutcracker in a presentation boasting new choreography by director (and BQC Artistic Director) Courtney Lyon and live accompaniment courtesy of Orchestra Iowa.

An operatic legend will celebrated on-stage when Shelley Cooper, Augustana College's new Assistant Professor of Theatre Arts, brings her one-woman show La Divina: The Last Interview of Maria Callas to the Brunner Theatre Center for a two-night tribute to the iconic figure that legendary composer Leonard Bernstein called “the Bible of opera.”

Described by the New York Times as “effortlessly endearing” and by Variety magazine as “enormously satisfying,” The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee closes the Black Box Theatre's debut season, demonstrating why composer William Finn's celebrated 2005 musical comedy received two Tony Awards and enjoyed a Broadway run of 1,136 performances.

I love going to the Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse – not just for the great shows, but for the memories that the old theatre brings. And on the day after Thanksgiving, I had the good fortune to take my eight year-old grandson John to the opening matinée of Fancy Nancy Splendiferous Christmas, Circa '21's current children’s musical under the direction of Andrea Moore.

An independent-minded heroine, a 1980s-themed Royal Ball, a man in a dress, and a six-foot-three-inch actor playing a character named “Pipsqueak” are among the delights lined up for St. Ambrose University's family production Cinderella, an updated take on the classic fairytale by local playwright Roger Pavey.

Following the success of its 2015 family comedy Fancy Nancy: The Musical, Circa '21 presents another stage adventure with author Jane O'Connor's famed children's-book character in Fancy Nancy Splendiferous Christmas, a holiday-themed musical that inspired praise from the New York Times: “What makes Splendiferous Christmas winning is that it dares to be a little naughty as well as nice.”