Nominated for five 2001 Tony Awards and currently the ninth-longest-running Broadway musical of all time, the internationally beloved Mamma Mia! enjoys a Countryside Community Theatre and Lancer Productions staging at Eldridge's North Scott High School July 19 through 28, the show's collection of timeless tunes from the Swedish pop group ABBA leading the New York Post to call the experience “one of those nights when you sit back and let a nutty kind of joy just sweep over you.”

Described by the New York Times as “an astonishingly durable interactive murder mystery” with an “inclusive spirit of fun,” the slapstick comedy Shear Madness makes its eagerly awaited return to Rock Island's Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse July 24 through September 7, the theatre's 2016 presentation of the show inspiring the River Cities' Reader's Jeff Ashcraft to deem it “uproarious, farcical, and fabulous,” as well as “one wild and colorful ride.”

As a rule, I don’t give standing ovations. However, on Friday evening, I gave one of the most honest standing ovations of my life at A Green River, currently running at Augustana College care of the Mississippi Bend Players. Across the board, this show, directed by Philip Wm. McKinley, could have flown across a London sky via umbrella, because it was practically perfect.

If you know Joseph & the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, you know it's a fun show. If you've seen the current troupe at the Clinton Area Showboat Theatre, you know how deep-down wonderful they are. And when this company took on this classic musical, I expected to be dazzled. I was, as was the capacity crowd for Saturday's opening matinée performance.

What a magical Saturday afternoon I had at the Timber Lake Playhouse enjoying the company's latest summer production of Into the Woods, a storybook brought to life with fabulous fables and folk tales including those of Jack and the Beanstalk, Cinderella, Rapunzel, and Little Red Riding Hood.

Described by Broadway World as “bursting with show-stopping number after show-stopping number” and by the New York Theatre Guide as “a tap-dancing extravaganza of pure delight,” the exhilarating show-biz salute 42nd Street enjoys a Quad City Music Guild staging at Moline's Prospect Park Auditorium, its July 12 through 21 run demonstrating why this modern stage classic, in its 1980s debut, ran 3,486 Broadway performances and earned Tony Awards for Best Musical and Best Choreography.

With Talkin' Broadway calling it “a lighthearted look at the struggle between art and commerce” as well as “a play that you can't help but love,” the Hollywood period comedy Something Intangible serves as the latest production at Moline's Playcrafters Barn Theatre, with the show's July 12 through 21 run sure to prove why the Philadelphia City Paper deemed it an “:insightful exploration of artists and the people who love – and suffer – them.”

“To be, or not to be: that is the question.” “Brevity is the soul of wit.” “To thine own self be true.” “The lady doth protest too much.” “Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.” Some of the most famous lines in world-theatre history are set to be heard in Rock Island's Lincoln Park when Genesius Guild presents William Shakespeare's timeless classic Hamlet from July 13 through 21, the company's first staging of this revered Elizabethan tragedy in 18 years.

Nestled between Lincoln Park’s tall, mature trees, a handful of patrons braved bugs and humidity to settle around the Don Wooten stage for Genesius Guild’s opening night performance of The Bacchae. It’s honestly a shame it wasn’t better attended, because director Patti Flaherty was at the helm of a glorious night of outdoor theatre.

Directed by acclaimed Broadway veteran Philip Wm. McKinley and written by gifted local playwright Aaron Randolph III, the intense and moving drama A Green River, running July 5 through 14, serves as the second production in the Mississippi Bend Players' military-themed summer season, an exhilarating work described by the River Cities' Reader's Thom White as “not to be missed – not only for being exceptional theatre, but for carrying an important and timely message.”

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