Opening the company's second season with a Broadway hit that won seven Tony Awards and nine Drama Desk Awards, the Mississippi Bend Players bring life on the Mississippi to stage-musical life in the June 22 through July 1 presentation Big River, a Mark Twain adaptation praised by the Hollywood Reporter for its “tuneful score” and “episodic storyline that flows as smoothly as the Mississippi River.”

Lauded by Rolling Stone as “the first musical to truly rock” and the winner of four Tony Awards, the theatrical sensation Hedwig & the Angry Inch will be staged in a special three-performance run at the Circa '21 Speakeasy June 23 through 30, its electrifying glam-rock atmosphere inspiring Entertainment Weekly to call the show “groundbreaking and undoubtedly ahead of its time.”

The late, great author and humorist Nora Ephron famously shared this piece of advice for women: “Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim.” That message will also be shared in New Ground Theatre's June 22 through 24 presentation of Nora and Delia Ephron's Love, Loss, & What I Wore, a stage serio-comedy that Variety magazine called “a bittersweet meditation on the joys and tribulations of women's lives” and that the Hollywood Reporter deemed “tender and insightful without being sentimental.”

What's the buzz? I'll tell you what's happening over at the Clinton Area Showboat Theatre – the rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar. And from the outstanding choreography by Katie Johannigman to the stellar vocals by Jesus portrayer Ben Cherington, I was thoroughly entertained.

Big-band music and huge dance numbers filled with sequin gowns and big-city lights are what I experienced at Quad City Music Guild's latest production Mame. With a multitude of cast members to fill the ensemble, Saturday's June 9 performance was packed with comedy, fantastic singing, and extravagant sets.

My kids grew up on Disney's Beauty & the Beast. I've seen the animated movies and TV specials. I've tripped over toys. I have faded photos of my daughter dressed in a brilliant ballroom gown. I've listened to Alan Menken’s soundtrack (with lyrics by Tim Rice and Howard Ashman) hundreds of times, seen the story performed on ice, and watched the live-action film earlier this year. But I’d never seen the Broadway-musical adaptation, and now that the Timber Lake Playhouse has opened its extravagant version of this classic tale, I can cross the live version off of my theatrical bucket list, too.

Based on the beloved Caldecott Honor-winning picture book by six-time Emmy Award winner Mo Willems, Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Musical will delight family audiences at the Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse from June 12 through 30, its tuneful score, charming sentiment, hilarious comic adventures, and on-stage puppets resulting in a show that, according to ChicagoTheatreReview.com, “hits it out of the park.”

One of William Shakespeare's most beloved pastoral comedies gets some youthful spring in its step when Genesius Guild presents its 2018 season debut As You Like It, with the June 16 through 24 run graced by a cast boasting professional actors and Guild veterans alongside no less than 16 students from area high schools.

Nominated for seven Tony Awards, including Best Musical, and the winner of a 1984 Theatre World Award, the delightful musical comedy Baby enjoys a June 14 through 23 staging at Moline's Black Box Theatre, treating patrons to a life-affirming show the New York Times praised for its “buoyancy and charm,” and for “addressing the show's concerns with both humor and intelligence.”

Marijuana is an “unspeakable scourge,” warns The Lecturer (played by an augmentedly-bearded Andy Curtiss) at the start of the QC Theatre Workshop's hilarious production of Reefer Madness. A scourge, warns the man, that's “turning all our children into hooligans and whores!”

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