While the two-year-old Spotlight Theatre, 1800 7th Ave., Moline, continues to be closed to big productions during Covid, it also continues to shine a light on creative alternative programming.

“As theaters and playhouses continue to close permanently around the country, we are determined to continue to provide new and innovative entertainment for you and remain present in our community,” the Spotlight said in a recent e-mail, announcing a new jazz lounge Thursday and film showing Friday.

Spotlight Theatre Continues to Shine With New Programs“In order for us to do that, it will also take a community dedicated to saving the arts in our rich and vibrant area. We have lots of opportunities, and chances to do so in the upcoming weeks,” the theater said. “We will be providing new forms of entertainment all while adhering to the restrictions and guidelines recommended by the state. We hope to continue to be a beacon of light, if even for a respite of time from the troubles of today.”

Sara Tubbs – co-owner of the Spotlight with her husband, Brent – returned to the stage in two performances of a Disney-themed cabaret Sept. 4 and 5, singing “Mother’s Knows Best” from “:Tangled” and “You’ll Be in My Heart” from “Tarzan.” They had solid audiences, selling out the second night (with a 50-person maximum capacity), she said this week.

“It was just awesome. I felt like everybody needed it,” Sara said. “The performers needed it, the audience needed it. We got incredible feedback from everyone.”

Audience members had to be spaced out in the large 550-seat theater, and had to have their temperatures taken to enter and wear a mask while seated. “We didn’t have any issues,” she said, adding they also had a good turnout for the Sept. 12 musical theater trivia night, at nine tables.

This Thursday, Sept. 24, from 7 to 9 p.m., Sara will debut a new Jazz Lounge Thursday series, performing with pianist Mason Moss, primarily jazz standards like “Cheek to Cheek,” “Love is Here To Stay,” “Come Fly with Me” and “Over the Rainbow.” Admission is $10.

“It was a collective effort, we’ve been brainstorming with our staff,” she said of coming up with new programs. “Everyone helps come up with ideas, things to do, and we bounce ideas off of each other.”

Spotlight Theatre Continues to Shine With New ProgramsMoss (who recently accompanied Shelley Cooper’s two-weekend cabaret at Rock Island’s Speakeasy), will play some solos at the Spotlight and share some duets with Sara Tubbs. They’re scheduled for three straight Thursdays so far, and will take it from there based on public interest.

“We wanted something that could happen every week,” Sara said. “On weekends, we may have other things going on. I’m so excited; it’s going to be fun. The bar will be open; you can take drinks in the theater. There will be tables, where we’ll have different sized tables.”

Masks will be required for patrons, and the new bar is off the foyer on the main floor, she said.

This show will also be streamed live online over Zoom. If you purchase a streaming ticket, you will be emailed the link prior to the show. For a single view (one person), the cost is $8. For a group viewing, the cost is $15.

On Friday, Sept. 25, the theater will host a 7 p.m. showing of the film “Little Shop of Horrors,” also for $10. Popcorn and concessions will be sold, and masks are required.

Directed by Frank Oz, “Little Shop of Horrors” is the 1986 film adaptation of the 1982 off-Broadway musical comedy of the same name by composer Alan Menken and writer Howard Ashman, which in turn was based on the 1960 film directed by Roger Corman, about a geeky florist shop worker who finds out his Venus flytrap can speak.

Spotlight Theatre Continues to Shine With New ProgramsThe film stars Rick Moranis, Ellen Greene, Vincent Gardenia, Steve Martin, and Levi Stubbs as the voice of Audrey II.

On Saturday, Oct. 3, at 8 p.m. (for ages 18 and up), the Spotlight will host the return of Mary Quite Contrary’s House of Burlesque, which debuted there in March.

“This haunting Burlesque Production follows the thrilling yet terrifying journeys of Sam and Dean Winchester and every supernatural force in-between,” according to a show synopsis. “Come investigate all the things that bump & grind in the night. MQCHOB is hitting the stage again just in time for Halloween.”

VIP tickets are $25, which include floor seating and a Halloween merch goodie bag. General admission and livestream tickets are $15. Masks will be required to join in the Halloween Burlesque festivities, but don’t fret there will be a Halloween/Best Mask contest at intermission.

The Spotlight also plans a Halloween theme cabaret Oct. 16-18, at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday. That will include a big group opener and closer, from “Beetlejuice” and “Nightmare Before Christmas,” with other songs from Halloween-themed movies and Spotlight Theatre Continues to Shine With New Programsmusicals, Sara said.

That show will be $20 admission.

On Wednesday, Sept.30, Baked Beer & Bread Co. will have a benefit show for the Spotlight at the restaurant, 1113 Mound St., Village of East Davenport.

Dinner, with wine pairings and an improv comedy show costs $80 per person. Performers will be Brent Tubbs, Megan Warren, Jeff DeLeon and Amelia Fischer.

Dinner will include a five-course meal with wine pairing –

1st Course – Spinach Salad with warm bacon vinaigrette & crumbled cranberry & cinnamon crusted goat cheese.
2nd Course – Creamy butternut squash soup.
3rd Course – French Onion Stuffed Mushrooms.
Main Course – Beef Roulade, tri color potato medley with shallots & rosemary & bacon wrapped asparagus.
Dessert – Truffle Flight.

Reservations must be made by Sept. 26 at 563-232-1251. There will be 11 tables of 4 available + 6 spots of 2 each at the bar (reduced cost of $50).

For Spotlight tickets, call 309-912-7647 or visit www.thespotlighttheatreqc.com.

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Spotlight Theatre Continues to Shine With New Programs
Jonathan Turner has been covering the Quad-Cities arts scene for 25 years, first as a reporter with the Dispatch and Rock Island Argus, and then as a reporter with the Quad City Times. Jonathan is also an accomplished actor and musician who has been seen frequently on local theater stages, including the Bucktown Revue and Black Box Theatre.