“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.”

Romantic entanglements, mistaken identities, and loads of laughs will be on hand when Geneseo's Richmond Hill Barn Theatre presents the July 11 through 21 run of playwright Jack Sharkey's Missing Link, a heartwarming and hilarious entertainment by the author of the theatre company's previous hits I Take This Man and 100 Lunches: A Gourmet Comedy.

There are two sides to every story. And no matter what you think you know, the Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse’s delightful children’s show The True Story of the Three Little Pigs is here to lay the facts all out for you so you can decide for yourself.

Noises Off, by English playwright Michael Frayn, is a 1982 comedic farce of epic proportions, and you will likely either love this show or hate it. The guy sitting next to me, for instance, did not come back after intermission. The lady in front of me laughed hysterically. And an older fellow in the front row seemed to be dozing off. So there was definitely a wide range of audience reactions to this gag-filled production.

Noël Coward's 1941 comedy Blithe Spirit was adapted for film in 1945, as well as for television and radio and as a musical. It's been offered by multitudes of theatres, now including the Clinton Area Showboat Theatre – which proved, on Friday, that their production can stand with the best of them.

The opening-night, sell-out crowd filling the Black Box Theatre appeared engaged by, and mostly appreciative of, Little Women: The Musical. The talented cast performed with gusto, intelligence, and tenderness, as required. Unfortunately, however, the adaptation itself of the late-19th-century Louisa May Alcott classic left me disappointed overall.

A classic Greek tragedy making its first return to the Quad Cities in more than 15 years, Euripides' arresting tale of The Bacchae will be staged by Genesius Guild June 28 through July 7, the outdoor Lincoln Park presentations boasting a cast of 17 and its central characters performing in period-appropriate Greek masks.

Let’s just go ahead and say it: There was nothing inherently groundbreaking about director Bob Williams’ Beauty & the Beast at Quad City Music Guild. But, in this instance, saying that makes the show an unquestionable success.

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