Author Emily Mann’s Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters’ First 100 Years is a two-character series of reminiscences taking place entirely in one home, and in close to real time. Consequently, you might not expect the Timber Lake Playhouse’s latest to boast much in the way of technical showmanship. But the visual effect that occurs 30 minutes into director Chuck Smith’s irrepressibly jubilant production is a true stunner, and would no doubt stand as the show’s most magical element if the play were presented wholly free of actors.

Don Faust has accomplished a very difficult achievement: He has written a play. Having written three of my own (two of them produced on-stage), I have something of an understanding of how daunting a task this is, and despite what I felt were some problematic areas in writing and acting, I admire much of what he has done in his play Dad & Me, which I attended on its opening night.

When people are asked what they think of when thinking about Iowa, they mention the following in no particular order: corn, Grant Wood, corn, Field of Dreams, corn, Hawkeyes, corn, Bruce … um … Caitlyn Jenner, corn, pork, corn , and the final answer – Meredith Willson. A famous son from Mason City, Willson is best known for writing and composing the uniquely American musical-theatre classic The Music Man.

Within this review, be prepared to read the gushings of a 33-year-old man re-living a childhood story he has not experienced in probably 15 years. In re-living it, after a decade-plus of growing, there's also some disappointment in struggling to r...

It's 86 degrees on a humid Saturday evening in June, and sitting in Rock Island's Lincoln Park, it's easy to reflect upon a gold and pink summer sun setting in the west. To the south, the lights have just clicked on the basketball courts as a neighborhood pick-up game is in full swing. To the north, a young couple push their giggling toddler on the swings of the playground. And to the east, the lights are dimming on the Italian-Renaissance-inspired structure enveloped in the arms of the giant oaks as another evening of theatre in the park is set to begin.

I love Christopher Durang, and was very much looking forward to his 2013 Tony Award winner Vanya & Sonia & Masha & Spike, currently in production at the Richmond Hill Barn Theatre. Durang has been a successful playwright for more than 40 years, and although this comedy is less edgy and absurd than previous plays, and although I felt Durang’s writing went off-track in the second act, Friday’s production provided many laugh-out-loud, wiping-tears-away moments. I have not felt so just-plain-happy being in the theatre in quite a long time.

There was much to love about the Timber Lake Playhouse’s opening-night presentation of Gypsy. But if pressed for a favorite moment in this dynamically entertaining musical, it might’ve been the one in Act II in which a third-rate burlesque show loses its featured stripper, and our protagonist Mama Rose, without apology or shame, volunteers her long-ignored, wallflower daughter Louise for the job. It wasn’t the narrative turn that got me; it was the response of Timber Lake’s audience, who released a collective “Oh no she didn’t!” gasp-and-laugh implying they were legitimately shocked – shocked! – at Rose’s readiness to pimp out her child. Was this crowd somehow under the impression that, despite all previous evidence, Mama was actually not a monster?

The Clinton Area Showboat Theatre is titling its summer schedule of shows “A Season of American Classics,” and it was kicked off on June 2 with The Odd Couple. And what a kickoff it was, as the ensemble cast, directed by Jami Witt, didn’t have a weak player on the team.

Kermit Thomas, Jim Strauss, Don Faust, and Shellie Moore Guy in A Woman Called Truth"Tell your story!" "But who will listen?"

Those opening lines from A Woman Called Truth, now playing at the Playcrafters Barn Theatre, get the audience ready to hear a character's tale. What the audience does not yet get in those opening lines, however, is how very important that story is, and how beautifully it will be told by a diverse and talented cast.

Sometimes I will read a great book, or see a great play, and wait in excited expectation for the author’s next work. That was my feeling when I attended the District Theatre’s May 13 production of A Behanding in Spokane.

Pages