Winner of the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and a 2006 Tony Award for star Cynthia Nixon, David Lindsay-Abaire's moving, haunting, unexpectedly funny family drama Rabbit Hole enjoys a September 6 through 8 staging at St. Ambrose University's Studio Theatre, the New York Times praising the work for its “honesty, accuracy, and humor” while adding that the show “inspires such copious weeping among its audience that you wonder early on if you should have taken a life jacket.”

Dead Man's Cell Phone

“When something rings, you have to answer it. Don't you?” pleads Jean (Jessica Taylor), the mousy, bespectacled protagonist of the QC Theatre Workshop's wildly imaginative production of Dead Man's Cell Phone. This Sarah Ruhl play serves as a commentary on how modern technology both isolates us and connects us. Or at least, that's what Wikipedia would like us to believe … .

Soaring with melodies from another galaxy, the Timber Lake Playhouse's Forever Plaid is energetic, light-hearted, and funny in its nostalgic revue of 1950s close-harmony guy groups. Saturday's matinée performance of this outstanding production – directed and choreographed by Gregory Daniels, with the original musical arrangements by James Raitt – just kept getting more entertaining as the show went on.

“Welcome to the Hotel California,” crooned the Eagles as the lights dimmed on Thursday's opening-night performance of California Suite at the Richmond Hill Barn Theatre. It was the perfect – and, let’s be honest, most obvious – song choice for this straightforward production of Neil Simon’s comedy.

Dead Man's Cell Phone

Described by the New York Times as “a hallucinatory poetic fantasy that blends the mundane and the metaphysical, the blunt and the obscure, the patently bizarre and the bizarrely moving,” Tony Award nominee Sarah Ruhl's Dead Man's Cell Phone will enjoy its area debut at Davenport's QC Theatre Workshop August 24 through September 9, Ruhl's funny and thoughtful comedy inspiring SFGate.com to laud the author's “gifts of probing humor, vivid imagination, and poignant humanity.”

We all know that dying is a part of life, but most of us don’t like to think about it. Being a cancer survivor myself, I know all too well what it's like to face death, and whether you're young or old, death does not discriminate. So when I went to see Saturday night's Tuesdays with Morrie – playwright Jeffrey Hatcher's adaptation of Mitch Albom's bestselling memoir – at the Clinton Area Showboat Theatre, I knew, based on its subject matter, that I was in for an emotional roller-coaster ride that would once again make me face the reality of my mortality.

Every once in a while, you see a show in which all the pieces click and it becomes greater than the sum of its parts. In the case of Next to Normal, currently running at the Black Box Theatre, the intimacy of the venue was reflected in the intimacy of the material, and as such, director Kyle Schneider’s dark musical was extremely moving.

With the New York Times lauding Tony Award- and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Neil Simon for “writing at his ebullient best” and “making us laugh so effortlessly,” the playwright's California Suite will enjoy an August 16 through 26 staging in the Richmond Hill Barn Theatre's 50th-anniversary season of returning audience favorites, marking the popular comedy's first performance at any area venue since 2007.

“Mazel tov!” to the Timber Lake Playhouse and its cast of Fiddler on the Roof for eloquently executing this enduring musical with great passion and precision. The full company of performers, directed by William Hayes, delivered a terrifically entertaining production filled with traditional Jewish-dance numbers that were very well done, and I found myself fully engaged during Saturday's matinée performance – not only with the original Broadway choreography reproduced by Jessica Chen, but with each characters’ precarious plight.

When you see a show and your biggest “complaint” was that the wine was too purple, you know you’ve seen something special. The Mississippi Bend Players have brought their A-game to the stage with the world premiere of Beginner’s Luck, a comedy that's not afraid to ask the big question “What do you want from life?” and manages to be completely satisfying without actually delivering a resolution.

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