Get thee to a theater! 10 can’t-miss local productions this month

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Katy Hahn (L) and Jessica Link in Riverside Theatre’s ‘Uncle Vanya.’ — Rob Merritt/Riverside Theatre

With the variety of offerings in Eastern Iowa, you won’t have to go far to find something for date night, the whole family or just a quiet evening for one. This seems particularly true in September. Shows continuing their runs include:

Mamma Mia!

Old Creamery Theatre, Amana
Runs through Oct. 13

Keegan Christopher serves as director, co-choreographer (with his wife Katie Colletta, who also acts in the show) and actor in this musical, set in Greece, with the rousing music of ABBA. Old Creamery is always worth the drive for high-quality shows in a friendly atmosphere.

The Importance of Being Earnest

Giving Tree Theatre, Marion
Runs through Sept. 22

If a humorous stroll through 18th century Great Britain is more your style, grab a cozy seat to see Oscar Wilde’s classic study in human foibles and mistaken identities. Michele Hinz directs.

Uncle Vanya

Riverside Theatre, Iowa City
Runs through Oct. 6

This staging offers a new translation of Anton Chekhov’s play, which centers on rural life in Tsarist Russia and shifting times and relationships of the time period. Riverside Artistic Director Adam Knight directs this look into family conflict.

The weekend of Sept. 20 welcomes an unprecedented number of show openings to area stages. “We’re calling it ‘ShowPocalypse!’,” said K. Michael Moore, director of The Christians. He went on to issue this invitation: “I’d like to encourage everyone to look at it like they might plan a theater vacation to Chicago or New York, right here in the Corridor. See a show Thursday, see a show Friday, Saturday, Sunday!”

God of Carnage

RHCR Theatre, Cedar Rapids
Runs Sept. 20-28

If you’re looking for something serious and modern, Yasmina Reza’s 2009 Tony Award-winning play might be just the ticket. Brian Tanner directs this examination of the human condition that touches on racism, homophobia and misogyny.

The Christians

City Circle Theatre Company, CCPA, Coralville
Runs Sept. 20-22

Another modern examination of life is offered in Lucas Hnath’s 2015 play, which examines what faith is and how it looks when it is played out in the real world.

Hand to God

Dreamwell Theatre, Public Space One, Iowa City
Runs Sept. 20-28

Set in a small town, a boy’s puppet takes on its own personality. Director Grant Freeman offers us another chance to reflect on life, faith and the ways in which humans are bound together. Not a family show.

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Iowa City Community Theatre, Johnson County Fairgrounds, Iowa City
Runs Sept. 20-29

For some lighter fare, Josh Sazon (director) and Wes Habley (musical director) offer this Stephen Schwartz musical comedy. Knowing the ensembles that ICCT puts together, Pippin is likely to be a raucous good time for all.

Hello, Dolly!

Theatre Cedar Rapids
Sept. 20-Oct. 13

TCR has added shows to make sure everyone gets a chance to see this musical, which features some of the best known show tunes in the canon, including “Penny in My Pocket” and, of course, the title song. Brian Glick directs with the musical direction of Cameron Sullenberger.

If You Build It: Under Construction

SPT Theatre, Shores Central Park
Runs Sept. 20-21

If you’re looking for more music and comedy, attending the first installment of SPT’s 12th season will prompt to you mark your calendars for the rest of If You Build It.

Meet Us at the Horizon

Combined Efforts Theatre, Montgomery Hall, Johnson County Fairgrounds, Iowa City
Runs Sept 27-29

Opening the following weekend is the newest Combined Efforts production. If you enjoy truly local theater, consider joining the audience for the graduate capstone play of Jorrell Watkins, a Diversity and Inclusion Fellow at the University of Iowa Master’s Program. Directed by Jason Grubbe.

All told, if you time it right, you can see three musicals, a variety show, a comedy and five dramas over the next month. “In any given month, I could fill my calendar with large-scale musicals, contemporary plays, cutting-edge work, the occasional classic and even a farce or two,” said Knight. Moore said, “We are extraordinarily lucky to have this abundance of art right in our backyard.”

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