Spoiler Alert: The ship sinks.

But what didn't sink was April 28's opening-night production of Augustana College's musical Titanic. Beginning with its opening number that wowed me in terms of sound quality and the power of its ensemble cast, I had to occasionally remind myself that I was at a college production.

Before the lights went down on January 13's opening night of the Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse's Ghost: The Musical, producer Denny Hitchcock informed the audience of the show's background, telling us that although it was originally produced on Broadway with a cast of 22, this version was scaled down to a cast of 10. But even though this minimized presentation is the story of a ghost, director Jerry Jay Cranford's show is anything but transparent and weightless.

The Prenzie Players' As You Like It starts out in true Prenzie form, with short vignettes taking place before the show actually begins. The first person we see is Denise Yoder as Touchstone, the fool of William Shakespeare's comedy, and as she performs some funny bits involving origami and audience interaction, Yoder's opening scenes seem mostly improvised. I will say, though, that during the December 8 preview, there was a lot more going on during this prelude, with a guitarist playing off to the side, and different music playing in the background over the dialogue – it was almost too much, and hard to hear what was being said. But once we actually got to the script, director Kitty Israel's production was off and running.

'Tis the season to be … silly?

That certainly seems the case for the Playcrafters Barn Theatre's production of Stocking Stuffers. Chock full of funny characters and Christmas spirit, this show by author Geff Moyers offers everything from hip reindeer to talking stockings – a collection of sketches, with no real storyline, designed to get you in the holiday mood.

One thing I love about QC Theatre Workshop productions is that from the moment you walk into the building, you’re not walking into a converted gymnasium – you're walking into a specific space in which the story you're about to see takes place. I've previously participated in a couple of QCTW shows, one of them a Sam Shepard play, and can say that the company did a fantastic job of re-creating its space for the October 14 performance of Shepard's Buried Child. Scenic designer Matt Elliott and painter Emma Brutman have created a set that creeps you out from the moment you step foot into the playing area. The moldy walls appear to be crying, bleeding, or both, and the mold ends in jagged, sharp edges that look like bite marks, giving the whole set a sense of decomposition that fits this play perfectly.

Spoiler alert: Deathtrap, now running at the the Playcrafters Barn Theatre, is awesome. In fact, since I started reviewing a little less than a year ago, this was certainly the most enjoyable night of theatre I've yet had.

The Fantasticks, the 1960 musical with a score by Harvey Schmidt and lyrics and book by Tom Jones, is a love story with a twist, and the Richmond Hill Barn Theatre production that I saw on August 11 offered some sweet moments propped against a score I did not particularly care for. Its central idea and story, however, I loved.

When walking into Quad City Music Guild’s production of Children of Eden on August 7, I had no idea what sort of beautiful music my ears were about to be treated to. The story I was familiar with. Composer Stephen Schwartz's score, however, was all new to me, and director Bill Marsoun has assembled a fantastic cast with which to tell this biblical story of the Earth's creation.

Being a 33-year-old male, I don’t know that I'm the prime demographic for the Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse's Menopause: The Musical. But then again, maybe I am. I certainly learned a lot about the “change, change, change,” as they refer to it in the opening number set to the tune of “Chain of Fools,” and at the July 5 preview performance, I witnessed a very polished performance – even if I did find myself asking a lot of questions.

You’ve probably all heard of the Avengers. You’ve probably not heard of the Revenger's.

The Prenzie Players' production of The Revenger’s Tragedy takes a dark look at ambition, lust, a lover’s vengeance, and the drive to achieve it, and is lacking any real superheroes. Director Matt Moody modernizes this Thomas Middleton play written in the early 1600s mostly with the employment of modern clothing, and although the work is centuries old, a lot of its subject matter, unfortunately, is still relevant today.

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