Written by award-winning author Jennifer Haley, the stage cyber-thriller The Nether opens New Ground Theatre's 2018 season in a production running February 2 through 11, with Haley's acclaimed play earning this rave from the New York Times: “As a parable for where we’re headed on that big old highway in the digital sky, The Nether exerts a viselike grip while taking you down avenues of thought you probably haven’t traveled yet.”

This past Friday was freaky. Because at the opening night for the Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse’s Freaky Friday musical, the many stories of the evening – director Erin Thompson’s return to the theatre where she got her start in 1993’s Annie; her show being Thompson’s first professional directing credit – included the sheer splendor of the entire performance, from the acting to the dancing to the incredible singing. My wife and I definitely left the experience saying, “That was freaky good.”

A biting period comedy about sexual desire, motherhood, jealousy, and the early days of its parenthetical object, Sarah Ruhl's Tony-nominated In the Next Room (or The Vibrator Play) runs at Augustana College January 26 through February 4, treating audiences to a work the New York Times called “insightful, fresh, and funny” and “as rich in thought as it is in feeling.”

The most famed work by one of the most famed authors of stage mysteries will be presented at the Black Box Theatre January 27 through February 11, with the Moline venue housing Anthony Shaffer's mind-twisting Sleuth, which received the 1971 Tony Award for Best Play and was adapted into an Oscar-nominated film starring Michael Caine and Sir Laurence Olivier.

Director Craig Cohoon's production was such a ticklish and sustained creep-out that I chuckled and smiled in appreciation as much as amusement, even when I was silently begging one of our leads to not, not, open that scary-ass door.

Called “a delightfully spunky musical” by Variety magazine and “lively, agile, and full of fun, fun, fun” by DC Theatre Scene, the stage-musical adaptation of Disney's family favorite Freaky Friday runs at the Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse January 17 through 24, bringing to theatrical life the body-switching slapstick, generational laughs, and warm sentiment beloved from the 1976 film with Jodie Foster and Barbara Harris and the 2003 remake with Lindsay Lohan and Jamie Lee Curtis.

Described by Time Out New York as a play that “provides a pleasurable ripple of fear down ones spine and an uncomfortable lurch in the pit of one's stomach,” the two-man chiller The Woman in Black opens the Playcrafters Barn Theatre's 2018 season January 12 through 21, with audiences invited to witness an evocative stage tale that The Daily Mail called “a truly nerve-shredding experience.”

The River Cities' Reader is looking to add two or three area-theatre reviewers to our team, so if you've ever read one of our stage critiques and thought, “Gee, I could do that … “, here's your chance!

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.