Circa ’21 is getting ready to celebrate its 40th  birthday next June, but the Rock Island dinner theater has already announced its 40th anniversary season beginning in November.

It’s an action-packed lineup boasting six marvelous musicals – among them a Tony-nominated musical based on an Oscar-winning movie, and two of the most beloved Broadway titles in the history of American theatre.

circa holly jollyThe season begins with the return of a delightful holiday revue last produced in 2009 — Circa ’21’s “Holly Jolly Christmas” (rated G), running Nov. 9 through Dec. 29. Featuring more than 30 traditional song favorites that you and your family know and love, this tale finds Santa and Mrs. Claus hosting a variety show boasting Broadway-style dancing, stunning costumes, and warmhearted humor.

That holiday gig is followed by the area debut of Broadway’s Tony-nominated “Ghost: The Musical” (rated PG-13). Based on the beloved big-screen romance that won two Academy Awards, this moving, funny, and truly magical production tells the tale of an earthy murder and a love that extends into the afterlife. The production runs Jan. 11 through March 11.

circa music manThe long-awaited return of one of the most popular musicals of all time, Meredith Willson’s “The Music Man,” (rated G) is up next, running March 15 through May 13. The six-time Tony Award-winning musical comedy is the story of the charming con artist Harold Hill and the sensible Marian the librarian, and has been entertaining audiences since 1957. Featuring such timeless song classics as “76 Trombones,” “Trouble,” “Goodnight, Ladies,” and “Till There Was You,” it’s a family-friendly story to be shared with every generation.

Another brand-new musical treat is in store for 2017, as Circa ’21 presents the area debut of the musical “Snapshots: A Musical Scrapbook” (rated PG), running May 24 through July 15. In this romantic comedy about how love united a couple and life pushed them apart, some of modern theatre’s best-loved stage tunes are on hand via the song catalog of composer Stephen Schwartz, who has won three Oscars and three Grammy Awards to date, and whose much-loved musicals include “Wicked,” “Pippin” and “Children of Eden.”

Midsummer brings with it the return of another Broadway smash that has delighted audiences for generations – “Seven Brides For Seven Brothers,” (rated G), running July 19 through Sept. 16. Based on the timeless 1954 film, its list of catchy show tunes includes “Bless Your Beautiful Hide,” “Wonderful, Wonderful Day,” “When You’re in Love,” and “Spring, Spring, Spring.”

Circa wraps up its 40th season with the songs and stage energy of the legendary Johnny Cash in “Ring of Fire” (rated PG). In this thrilling musical revue running Sept. 20 through Nov. 4, a set of gifted performers and instrumentalists sing through some of the greatest songs of one of America’s most brilliant singer/songwriters, bringing dazzling new life to classics such as “Country Boy,” “A Thing Called Love,” “I Walk the Line,” and “The Man in Black,” and deliver a particularly exhilarating rendition of “I’ve Been Everywhere.”

Circa ’21 productions are performed on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at 7:45 p.m. (with doors opening at 5:45 p.m. and a buffet dinner served from 6 to 7 p.m.), Sundays at 5:45 p.m. (3:45 p.m. doors, 4 to 5 p.m. dinner), and Wednesday matinées at 1:30 p.m. Each performance is also preceded by a 15-minute stage entertainment with the Circa ’21 Bootleggers, one of only two performing wait staffs in the entire country.

Season subscriptions – available in Bronze, Silver, Gold, Ruby, the all-access Diamond Pass, Student and Show Only – are also available for Circa ’21’s six upcoming shows, and can, as with individual tickets, be purchased through the Circa ’21 ticket office. For reservations, contact the theatre at 1828 3rd Ave., Rock Island or by calling (309) 786-7733, ext. 2 or visiting

Sean Leary is an author, director, artist, musician, producer and entrepreneur who has been writing professionally since debuting at age 11 in the pages of the Comics Buyers Guide. An honors graduate of the University of Southern California masters program, he has written over 50 books including the best-sellers The Arimathean, Every Number is Lucky to Someone and We Are All Characters.