Lauded by Broadway World as “a fantastic production sure to satisfy old fans and charm new ones,” the theatrical adaptation of one of Hollywood's most revered movie musicals – the timeless Singin' in the Rain – makes its long-awaited return to Rock Island's Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse September 11 through November 2, a Tony Award-nominated stage version that Chicago Theatre Review called “a glitzy, glamorous homage” that “offers up a flood of entertainment.”

While enjoying my Saturday afternoon at the Timber Lake Playhouse, I believe I realized what the “steel” means in the theatre’s latest production – playwright Robert Harling’s Steel Magnolias. Based on Harling’s own personal life experience and the death of his sister, this show has many poignant moments, involving both laughter and tears, as we take a look inside the lives of six eccentric, delicate, but tough-as-steel Southern women in northwest Louisiana.

The roots of the play The 39 Steps were in a 1915 magazine serial by Scottish novelist John Buchan, which became a popular novel, which spawned four more books about its protagonist. It was adapted for film three times, notably (and to great acclaim) by Alfred Hitchcock, and once for television. The first version of the play, written by Simon Corble and Nobby Dimon and billed as a "parody," toured in 1995. Patrick Barlow consequently rewrote their script, premiering his adaptation in London in 2005. His version hopped the pond to become a long-running Broadway smash, nominated for six Tonys in 2008 (including Best Play) and winning two. This month, more than 100 years later, a form of Buchan's story is playing live at the Richmond Hill Barn Theatre. And I highly recommend you see this ingeniously staged, well-performed lark of a show.

Who doesn't like a singing and dancing nun? Because everyone seemed to be delighted at Thursday night's preview of Quad City Music Guild's Sister Act. The evening was filled with comedy and profound contemplation as the habit-wearing sisters praised the Lord in song and dance proclaiming, "It's good to be a nun!"

Assassins, at the Black Box Theatre, is the cheeriest musical about unhappy people who made bad choices that I've ever seen. And prior to Thursday's performance, I didn't know it was literally about those who killed American presidents, or tried to – I just saw "music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim" and said, "I'm in."

It’s a dog-eat-dog world. Literally, in fact, at New Ground Theatre’s production of playwright Micah Schraft's A Dog’s House, when Jock – the dog of Michael (Kyle Taylor) and Eden (Tabitha Oles) – kills the dog new neighbors Robert (Jordan L. Smith) and Nicole (Ashley Hoskins). As Michael and Eden struggle with the moral implications of what to do next, they find out a lot about themselves and their relationship, and Friday's opening-night performance of director Jacque Cohoon’s production was an intimate, emotional experience I wasn’t expecting.

Chivalry is not dead. In fact, in the form of Miguel de Cervantes' Don Quixote, it's very much alive at the Timber Lake Playhouse in the theatre's latest production: the 1965 Broadway-musical hit Man of La Mancha.

The Clinton Area Showboat Theatre's Shout! The Mod Musical played to a full boat on Friday. The performances were exhilarating, and the winning score was comprised of 1960s hits. However, the script made that of Mamma Mia! seem Oscar Wildean. Well, you can't have everything. And what you do have here is substantially entertaining.

Earlier this week, the Educational Theatre Association released its annual “10 Most-Produced High School Plays” list. She Kills Monsters, by Qui Nguyen, is number seven. And other than having plans to see Tuesday’s dress rehearsal at the Playcrafters Barn Theatre, I honestly hadn’t even heard of the play before – but now, after seeing it, understand why it’s such a popular choice.

Winner of two 2008 Tony Awards and the prestigious Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Comedy of 2007, author Patrick Barlow's slapstick thriller The 39 Steps serves as the latest summer presentation at Geneseo's Richmond Hill Barn Theatre, its August 15 through 25 run demonstrating why the New York Times called this Alfred Hitchcock celebration/spoof an “indomitably funny” comedy of “virtuosic clowning.”

Pages