A Noël Coward masterpiece boasting period elegance, touching romance, loads of laughs, and more than a hint of the supernatural graces Geneseo's Richmond Hill Barn Theatre stage May 31 through June 9, as the British classic Blithe Spirit treats audiences to one of the most popular comedies of 20th Century world theatre, as well as the show whose most recent Broadway version won co-star Angela Lansbury her fifth Tony Award.

A Tony-nominated musical-comedy delight based on a much-loved Bing Crosby/Fred Astaire film, Holiday Inn will enjoy a luxurious staging in its area debut at Rock Island's Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse, the production's June 5 through July 20 presentation boasting costumes from the show's original 2016 Broadway run and a score of beloved compositions by songwriting master Irving Berlin.

It’s an unfortunate tale you’ve heard a lot lately: The Village Theatre, home of New Ground Theatre, wound up with water in the basement this past month. But “The show must go on!” is a cliché for a reason, and Friday's opening-night performance of American La Ronde, indeed, went on as planned to recap the romantic journey of a single silver bracelet.

Though it expresses both the highs and lows of life, the Playcrafters Barn Theatre's Avenue Q – the three-time Tony winner with music and lyrics by Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx and book by Jeff Whitty – is an uplifting treat overall, packed with superb performances.

A thrillingly Americanized version of a controversial German classic serves as the latest presentation by Davenport's New Ground Theatre, with the May 17 through 26 run of author Steven Dietz's American La Ronde the area premiere of a fierce, compelling work in which, according to the Austin Chronicle, “Desire and resentment battle it out in every scene but never in the same way.”

The Black Box Theatre's Silent Sky, by Laura Gunderson, is uplifting and brilliantly executed. First produced in 2010, the play follows the adult life of far-seeing astronomer Henrietta Leavitt beginning in the late 19th century. Because she is a woman, she's only allowed to do “scut” work – categorizing and cataloging thousands of stars; a daunting task. However, she used the drudgery to pursue and discover a shining truth which changed our understanding of the universe.

In author Aaron Randolph III’s brand-new adaptation of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s classic tale The Little Prince, we’re immediately introduced to Aviator (Randolph) as he tells us a tale from his past, in which he crashed his plane and met a boy, Little Prince (Daniel Rairdin-Hale), who is traveling from planet to planet. Aviator and Little Prince have a lot to learn from each other, and this charming production serves up many life lessons.

Lauded by the New York Times as a “breakthrough musical” that's “savvy, sassy, and eminently likable,” Broadway's puppet-filled smash Avenue Q brings hilarity, unforgettable songs, and loads of sweetly filthy material to Moline's Playcrafters Barn Theatre May 10 through 19, its blend of modern snark and old-fashioned charm described by The New Yorker as “an ingenious combination of The Real World and Sesame Street.”

I’ve got to hand it to director Kimberly Kurtenbach, who expertly captured every child’s attention before last Thursday’s performance of the Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse's Junie B. Jones Is Not a Crook by blasting the ever-popular Baby Shark. When the dance party was cut off for pre-show announcements, the room full of smiling children was already fully engaged and ready to be wowed.

I saw Augustana College's exhilarating April 27 production of the musical How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying – the 1961 show that was adapted for film in 1967, and that won seven Tonys, boasts a script by Abe Burrows, Jake Weinstock, and Willie Gilbert and music and lyrics by Frank Loesser, and is based on the book by Shepherd Mead. When you see it, arrive early, so you have time to gaze properly at RaeEllen Walker's dazzling, Art Deco-inspired set with its white floor and black "marble" inlay, turquoise columns, and gold-trimmed black mezzanine and stairs.

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