The Mississippi Bend Players' third season opened on Friday with Neil Simon's Biloxi Blues, a tribute to our military veterans and all the brave men and women who currently serve this great country. This second installment in Simon's semi-autobiographical comedic trilogy – one that begins with Brighton Beach Memoirs and concludes with Broadway Bound – had me rifling through my purse to find a tissue to dry my eyes, given that they were watering so much from laughter. Director and St. Ambrose University theatre professor Cory Johnson, who also gave us MBP's Brighton Beach in 2017, delivered a hilarious show that was not only extremely funny, but touched on some very serious subject matter.

I knew nothing about Five Women Wearing the Same Dress when I walked into the Playcrafters Barn Theatre on Tuesday evening. But it makes the experience even more satisfying when a show goes beyond my expectations. This one did.

With its source material named one of the “Top 100 Picture Books of All Time” by School Library Journal, the Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse's The True Story of the Three Little Pigs will treat audiences to huffing, puffing family fun from June 18 through July 6, bringing authors Jon Scieszka's and Lane Smith's 1989 book to life in an hour-long comedy filled with hilarious escapades, colorful costumes, and a healthy dose of storybook magic.

A literary classic becomes a moving and tune-filled stage entertainment at the Black Box Theatre June 20 through 30, when the Moline venue treats audiences to the beloved characters and timeless charm of Little Women: The Musical, the Tony Award-nominated adaptation of Louisa May Alcott's novel that the Chicago Reader called “an absolute delight” and Broadway.com deemed “a chamber-size musical [that] pulses with a generous affection for its source material.”

The Clinton Area Showboat Theatre's production of A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder is likely the most purely entertaining show I've ever seen. Everything exists to delight, laugh at, or marvel over – as long as you can accept murder as entertainment, which humanity has been doing for at least 2,500 years of recorded history.

Paraphrasing from the latest presentation at the Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse, “If you need musical medication, the Holiday Inn fills the prescription." And June 7's opening night for this Irving Berlin spectacle was certainly therapeutic, delivering a fantastic, high-energy, fast-paced, never-a-dull-moment performance. With its seasoned dancers and strong vocals, you'll thoroughly enjoy this production. It does not disappoint.

During Friday’s opening-night performance, Megan Warren’s voice pierced the darkness to begin the Spotlight Theatre’s production of The Spitfire Grill, her immaculate a cappella vocals grabbing the audience’s attention before the music and lights even dared join her. Before her first song “A Ring Around the Moon” ends, you’ll be entranced by Warren’s depiction of Percy, if not for her plight of starting over after being released from prison. then because the folksy music so perfectly suits her voice.

One of Disney's most cherished animated musicals of all time will roar with glorious theatrical life courtesy of Quad City Music Guild, as the enchanted tale of Beauty & the Beast enjoys a June 14 through 23 run at Moline's Prospect Park Auditorium, the Tony Award-winning smash reuniting audiences with beloved characters and songs in a show Variety magazine praised as an “opulent stage musical” boasting “fantastic production values and a memorable score.”

Winner of three 1985 Tony Awards including Best Play, author Neil Simon's Biloxi Blues kicks off the Mississippi Bend Players' military-themed summer season in Augustana College's Brunner Theatre Center, the comedy's June 14 through 23 run demonstrating why the Wall Street Journal deemed it “the funniest play on Broadway,” and the New York Times labeled it a “joyous and unexpectedly rewarding” entertainment in which “the laughter rarely stops.”

Described by the New York Post as “an irreverent and funny looks at the intricacies of friendship” and by the New York Daily News as “a fresh-as-a-daisy comedy, funny as can be,” Five Women Wearing the Same Dress serves as the latest presentation in the Playcrafters Barn Theatre's Barn Owl Series of one-weekend runs, its June 14 through 16 presentation boasting memorable characters and what TheatreWeek deemed “dialogue that ricochets snappily around the stage.”

Pages