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Monday - August 2, 2021
Quad Cities USA - Guide to Davenport & Bettendorf Iowa and Rock Island & Moline Illinois
 

REVIEW: New Davenport Mockingbird Theater Scales Thrilling Mountain in Debut

July 30th, 2021
REVIEW: New Davenport Mockingbird Theater Scales Thrilling Mountain in Debut

One of the absolute thrilling joys of theater is not only how it brings fictional characters to life, but illuminates the intimately human struggles and triumphs of well-known, real-life icons. The Quad-Cities premiere of “The Mountaintop” – an emotional, haunting reimagining of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s last night on earth – is an extraordinary example. The 90-minute, two-person Katori Hall play debuted Thursday night at the new Mockingbird on Main, a beautiful, 40-seat cabaret at 320 N. Main St., Davenport, created by Tristan Tapscott and Savannah Bay Strandin. The mood before... Read More

REVIEW: Circa’s “Saturday Night Fever” A Brilliant Mix Of Escapism And Coming-Of-Age Tale

July 29th, 2021
REVIEW: Circa's "Saturday Night Fever" A Brilliant Mix Of Escapism And Coming-Of-Age Tale

The economy is in shambles. The world is a mess. Young people feel as if they have little to no hope to achieve the American dream they’ve been promised. And so, for many young people struggling with this realization, escapism is paramount to balancing out their lives and getting them through. Sound familiar? It should, because it certainly describes the world today, particularly for the millenial and Gen Z generations, and, as Circa ’21’s great and gritty musical adaptation of “Saturday Night Fever” displays, there’s a fine line between the blinding dazzle of... Read More

REVIEW: Playcrafters’ “The Piano Lesson” Has Strong, Charismatic Cast, But Doesn’t Quite Hit The Right Notes

July 19th, 2021
REVIEW: Playcrafters' “The Piano Lesson” Has Strong, Charismatic Cast, But Doesn’t Quite Hit The Right Notes

I wanted to like the African-American drama “The Piano Lesson” at Playcrafters Barn Theatre much more than I did. It truly has all the ingredients to make something special, but Saturday night’s version appeared undercooked and not quite ready to serve as a fully satisfying meal. The Pulitzer Prize-winning play by August Wilson (1945-2005), who died of liver cancer at age 60, is part of the playwright’s epic “American Century Cycle” that documents the Black experience. Each of the 10 works reflects a different decade of the 20th century, and “The Piano Lesson” is set in 1936, as... Read More

REVIEW: Amazing Vocals and Dance in Circa ’21’s “Saturday Night Fever” Lift Light Over Darkness

July 16th, 2021
REVIEW: Amazing Vocals and Dance in Circa '21's “Saturday Night Fever” Lift Light Over Darkness

The stage musical “Saturday Night Fever” has a serious split personality. Adapted from the Oscar-nominated 1977 movie smash that catapulted the Bee Gees to international fame and made a household name of star John Travolta, the jukebox musical that makes its stunning area premiere at Circa ’21 wants to be a carefree disco dance party. But behind the sparkly glitter, multi-colored lights and comfortably familiar hits lies a dark, depressing story – full of anguish, conflict and dashed dreams. In a way, it’s the opposite vibe of “Mamma Mia!” (another show built on 1970s favorites, by... Read More

REVIEW: “Mamma Mia!” at Music Guild is a Spectacular, Fun Feast for the Senses

July 9th, 2021
REVIEW: “Mamma Mia!” at Music Guild is a Spectacular, Fun Feast for the Senses

For someone like me, who hadn’t seen a big musical with a big cast – live and in person – in 18 months, getting back to Quad City Music Guild Thursday night for the last dress rehearsal of the new “Mamma Mia!” (after nabbing next to the last spot in the parking lot) was a terrific treat. My son Josh and I wore masks and sat in the back row – but every one of the 535 seats in the Prospect Park theater is great, because you’re at Music Guild, seeing immensely talented people pursuing their passion: putting on the best possible entertainment and faithfully reflecting some of the greatest... Read More

REVIEW: Countryside’s ‘Music Man’ Hits Inconsistent Notes

June 27th, 2021
REVIEW: Countryside's 'Music Man' Hits Inconsistent Notes

There’s a moment when Countryside’s The Music Man sparks and crackles to life and it’s courtesy of tiny Grace Shinn (played by the sweet Mary Murphy). She single handedly puts the show in her pocket and runs away with it three different times. It’s heart-warming, downright adorable and makes you so happy theatre is back LIVE and off the SCREEN! It makes you wish more of the show was about HER. Unfortunately, it’s not and unfortunately, we rarely get that high from the rest of this production of The Music Man. The Music Man is a treasure. It is a tried and true old school chestnut that... Read More

REVIEW: Augustana Musical Theater Prof Offered a Wonderful Time in Personal “Mary and Ethel” Tribute

June 27th, 2021
REVIEW: Augustana Musical Theater Prof Offered a Wonderful Time in Personal “Mary and Ethel” Tribute

You know when they say film versions of stage plays often “open them up” with exterior settings or other visual changes that are not possible or feasible in a theater? Well, two already remarkable stage shows at this month’s Mississippi Bend Players – the top-notch professional summer stock at Augustana College – have benefitted from that approach, both without leaving an indoor theater. Just a week after its first 2021 production, “Red” (which premiered in 2012 at QC Theatre Workshop), MBP again transformed the Brunner Theatre Center into a spacious, sophisticated cabaret with Shelley... Read More

REVIEW: Genesius Guild’s ‘Measure for Measure’ Really Measures up

June 24th, 2021
REVIEW: Genesius Guild's 'Measure for Measure' Really Measures up

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? More specifically, a summer evening spent watching a performance of Shakespeare as the sun shines golden on a stone amphitheater? Genesius Guild is showing “Measure for Measure (abridged)”, which will run for two more nights on June 26 and June 27 at 7pm in the Rock Island Lincoln Park “Measure for Measure” showcased a metatheatrical experience and began by introducing the actors to the stage as themselves. Throughout the play, the actors remained visible to the audience. Such a peculiar opening invites the audience to partake in... Read More

REVIEW: Electrifying, Literate “Red” Pulses With Emotion, Brilliance at Augustana

June 17th, 2021
REVIEW: Electrifying, Literate “Red” Pulses With Emotion, Brilliance at Augustana

Words and art are my business – as tools, objects of affection, contemplation and worship, ways to make sense and meaning of life – as they are for “Red,” the brilliant, caustic, literate John Logan play given a fantastic, thrilling new production by Mississippi Bend Players at Augustana College. Over an emotional 90-minute rollercoaster — in an action-packed, dialogue-dense one act, first-class director Cait Bodenbender and peerless actors Mike Schulz and Tristan Odenkirk grab your attention and never let go. It’s as riveting, passionate, thought-provoking – and deeply committed... Read More

REVIEW: Moline’s Music Guild Returns With Streamed, Fairly Lifeless “Spamalot”

June 11th, 2021
REVIEW: Moline’s Music Guild Returns With Streamed, Fairly Lifeless “Spamalot”

I really wanted to enjoy Quad-City Music Guild’s first complete musical in a year and a half, “Monty Python’s Spamalot,” which is available to be streamed online June 11 and 12 at 7:30 p.m., and June 13 at 2 p.m. But due more to its supremely silly, groan-inducing, seemingly unending source material than its eminently capable cast and crew, this two-hour-plus filmed version is disappointingly lifeless and unsatisfying. Despite opening on the day where the state of Illinois is allowing all theaters to open at full audience capacity, the Guild months ago decided to stage “Spamalot” with... Read More