It's magical to enter the theatre at Prospect Park and take in the huge, overarching proscenium studded with large round bulbs and that dark-red velvety curtain. Before Thursday's preview performance, I took a deep, happy breath as I absorbed this classic-American-theatre ambiance and anticipated a dazzling musical spectacle – and Quad City Music Guild gave me what I wanted.

Sure, it’s cliché. But of all the Shakespeare tragedies, Hamlet is my favorite, so I was excited to take in director Alaina Pascarella’s version in Lincoln Park on Saturday night. And Genesius Guild took this classic, trimmed it down, and kept it enjoyable for enthusiastic William Shakespeare fans and newcomers both.

I won't be coy: The Playcrafters Barn Theatre's Something Intangible, by Bruce Graham, is an imagining of the relationship between brothers Walt and Roy Disney, but with the names changed. They co-founded the Disney Bros. Studios, with Walt the visionary and Roy the money man.

Whenever I visit Geneseo's Richmond Hill Barn Theatre, I'm reminded of how wholesome, welcoming, and beautiful this location in the Midwest is, and how this unique venue is truly a lovely place to take in a show. The players’ latest production, author Jack Sharkey's Missing Link, is a marital comedy full of all kinds of twists and turns, mistaken identities, and romantic conundrums, and it gives patrons a lighthearted look at the things we do for love.

Nominated for five 2001 Tony Awards and currently the ninth-longest-running Broadway musical of all time, the internationally beloved Mamma Mia! enjoys a Countryside Community Theatre and Lancer Productions staging at Eldridge's North Scott High School July 19 through 28, the show's collection of timeless tunes from the Swedish pop group ABBA leading the New York Post to call the experience “one of those nights when you sit back and let a nutty kind of joy just sweep over you.”

Described by the New York Times as “an astonishingly durable interactive murder mystery” with an “inclusive spirit of fun,” the slapstick comedy Shear Madness makes its eagerly awaited return to Rock Island's Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse July 24 through September 7, the theatre's 2016 presentation of the show inspiring the River Cities' Reader's Jeff Ashcraft to deem it “uproarious, farcical, and fabulous,” as well as “one wild and colorful ride.”

As a rule, I don’t give standing ovations. However, on Friday evening, I gave one of the most honest standing ovations of my life at A Green River, currently running at Augustana College care of the Mississippi Bend Players. Across the board, this show, directed by Philip Wm. McKinley, could have flown across a London sky via umbrella, because it was practically perfect.

If you know Joseph & the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, you know it's a fun show. If you've seen the current troupe at the Clinton Area Showboat Theatre, you know how deep-down wonderful they are. And when this company took on this classic musical, I expected to be dazzled. I was, as was the capacity crowd for Saturday's opening matinée performance.

What a magical Saturday afternoon I had at the Timber Lake Playhouse enjoying the company's latest summer production of Into the Woods, a storybook brought to life with fabulous fables and folk tales including those of Jack and the Beanstalk, Cinderella, Rapunzel, and Little Red Riding Hood.

Described by Broadway World as “bursting with show-stopping number after show-stopping number” and by the New York Theatre Guide as “a tap-dancing extravaganza of pure delight,” the exhilarating show-biz salute 42nd Street enjoys a Quad City Music Guild staging at Moline's Prospect Park Auditorium, its July 12 through 21 run demonstrating why this modern stage classic, in its 1980s debut, ran 3,486 Broadway performances and earned Tony Awards for Best Musical and Best Choreography.

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