Sunday, July 26, 2015

St. Louis theatre calendar for the week of July 27, 2015

[Looking for auditions and other artistic opportunities? Check out the St. Louis Auditions site.]

For information on events beyond this week, check out the searchable database at the Regional Arts Commission's events web site.

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Anything Goes
Stages St. Louis presents Cole Porter's Anything Goes through August 16. "Set sail on the S. S. American with a zany group of travelers, bound from New York to merry old England, where gangsters, socialites, and arrow-collar lads collide in a true tap-sensation from a by-gone era when travel was still fun and as unpredictable as the weather. There'll be laughs a-plenty set to a raucous and romantic Cole Porter score. Enjoy meltingly romantic melodies as "I Get A Kick Out Of You," "It's De-Lovely," "Easy To Love," "You're The Top," and "Anything Goes," that will inspire an uproarious and tune-filled trip across the Atlantic where ANYTHING GOES!" Performances take place in the Robert G. Reim Theatre at the Kirkwood Community Center, 111 South Geyer Road in Kirkwood. For more information, visit stagesstlouis.org or call 314-821-2407. Read the 88.1 KDHX review!

The Muny presents Beauty and the Beast nightly at 8:15 PM, opening on Wednesday, July 29 and running through Friday, August 7, in the outdoor theatre in Forest Park. "'Be Our Guest' for the magical family extravaganza, Disney's Beauty and The Beast, returning to The Muny for 10 amazing performances. This enchanting, musical tells the classic love story set to the Academy Award® winning music of Alan Menken and Tim Rice. Based on the 1991 hit animated film, Disney's Beauty and The Beast has become one of the most popular musicals in the world. For 97 years, The Muny 'family show' has been one of the greatest St. Louis traditions, and our production of this Disney classic show will thrill you and your family!" For more information, visit muny.org or call 314-361-1900.

The Lemp Mansion Comedy-Mystery Dinner Theater presents A Fistful Of Hollers through August 29. The Lemp Mansion is at 3322 DeMenil Place. For more information: lempmansion.com.

The Randy Dandies presents Burlesque Bingo on Thursdays from 9 to 11 p.m. "As anyone who frequents the bingo parlors knows, the facade of genteel decorum drops once the first game is won. The first cry of "Bingo!" fires up the blood something fierce, and all bets are off from that point forward. Now, imagine what would happen if you throw semi-clad young women into the mix - Ok, now stop imagining. The Randy Dandies present Burlesque Bingo from 9pm to 11:30 pm on Thursdays, and and it promises all the thrills of cutthroat bingo, with the added titillation of local burlesque performers and specialty variety acts plus silly prizes." The show takes place at Meyer's Grove, 4510 Manchester in the Grove neighborhood. For more information: therandydandies.com.

Carousel
The Hawthorne Players present the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical Carousel July 31 - August 9. "Carousel tells the story of a swaggering, carefree carnival barker, Billy Bigelow, who falls in love with a mill worker, Julie Jordan. Years after he dies tragically, Billy is given a chance to return for a day to try to brighten the life of his unhappy 15-year-old daughter Louise. He watches as the school principal inspires Louise by assuring her that so long as she has hope in her heart, she'll never walk alone." The performances take place at the Florissant Civic Center Theatre at Parker and Waterford in Florissant, MO. For more information, call 921-5678 or visit hawthorneplayers.com.

The Further Adventures of Hedda Gabler
Photo: Kim Carlson
St. Louis Shakespeare presents The Further Adventures of Hedda Gabler by Jeff Whitty Thursdays at 7:30 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., and Sundays at 2 p.m., July 31 - August 9. "This play follows Hedda into the hereafter. There, she encounters Mammy of "Gone With the Wind" fame, and they join forces. Along the way, they encounter starlets, leading ladies, and other madwomen locked in the literary attic, in this darkly funny show." Performances take place at the Ivory Theatre, 7620 Michigan in the Carondelet neighborhood. For more information, call 314-361-5664 or visit stlshakespeare.org.

The Bissell Mansion Murder Mystery Dinner Theatre presents Get “Hitched” To A Redneck Or Die July 31 - October 31. The Bissell Mansion is at 4426 Randall Place. For more information: bissellmansiontheatre.com

Take Two Productions presents the musical Legally Blonde through August 1 The show is recommended for mature audiences. Performances take place at Bayless High School Auditorium, 4532 Weber Road in South County. For more information, visit taketwoproductions.org.

Insight Theatre Company presents Ken Ludwig's farce Moon Over Buffalo through August 9. "Moon Over Buffalo centers on George and Charlotte Hay, fading stars of the 1950's who are playing Private Lives and Cyrano De Bergerac in rep in Buffalo, New York. On the brink of a disastrous split-up, they receive word that they might just have one last shot at stardom: Frank Capra is coming to town to see their matinee, and if he likes what he sees, he might cast them in his new film. Unfortunately for George and Charlotte, everything that could go wrong does. As a result, this tribute to "Life in the Theatre" is simply outrageously hilarious!! " Performances take place in the Heagney Theatre, 530 East Lockwood on the campus of Nerinx Hall High School in Webster Groves. For more information, call 314-556-1293 or visit insighttheatrecompany.com.

"Deirdre Dear"
Photo: John Lamb
St. Louis Actors' Studio presents the Neil LaBute New Theater Festival, Part 2 through August 2 at the Gaslight Theatre, 358 North Boyle. The festival features professional, new and previously unproduced one-act plays 45 minutes or less in length, chosen from submissions to the festival over the previous year. The plays in Part 2 are "Kandahar" by Neil LaBute; "Pitch" by Theresa Masters; Marc Pruter; "Homebody" by Gabe Mckinley; "Deirdre Dear" by Norman Yeung; and "There You Are" by Fran Dorf. For more information, call 314-458-2978 or visit stlas.org.

Rigoletto
Union Avenue Opera presents Verdi's Rigoletto Fridays and Saturdays at 8 PM, July 31 - August 8. "A tale of innocence lost, Rigoletto is Verdi's tense and brutal tale of a deformed court jester caught in a snare of corruption, lechery, and vengeance. It is a chilling whirlwind of revenge: Rigoletto, jester to the Duke of Mantua, cannot protect the person he most loves from the person he most loathes. His beloved daughter Gilda falls in love with the hated Duke and eventually sacrifices her life to save the Duke from the assassin hired by her father. This iconic melodrama boasts an action-packed plot and a parade of brilliant music, including the Duke's boastful “La donna è mobile,” Rigoletto's “Cortigiani, vil razza dannata,” and Gilda's stunning “Caro nome.”" Performances take place at the Union Avenue Christian Church, 733 Union at Enright in the Central West End. The opera is sung in Italian with projected English text. For more information, visit unionavenueopera.org or call 314-361-2881.

Hard Road Theatre Productions presents Shrek the Musical Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. through August 2. Performances will be held at Highland Elementary School Auditorium, 12760 Troxler Avenue in Highland, IL. For more information: www.hardroad.org.

The Chapel Venue presents This Is Not Funny, a new play directed by Anna Skidis and devised by the cast. Performances take place Thursday through Saturday 8 p.m. and Sunday at 7 p.m., July 30 - August 2. The Chapel is 6238 Alexander Drive. Tickets are available at the door.

Over Due Theatre presents the musical The Wizard of Oz Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 PM and Sundays at 2 PM through August 2. Like so many girls her age, little Dorothy Gale of Kansas dreams of what lies over the rainbow. One day a twister hits her farm and carries her away over the rainbow to another world. Come join Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tinman, the Cowardly Lion and Toto as they travel the universe of Dorothy's imagination." Performances take place at the Olivette Community Center, 9723 Grandview Drive, in Olivette, MO. For more information, call 314-210-2959 or visit overduetheatrecompany.com.

Would you like to be on the radio? KDHX, 88.1 FM needs theatre reviewers. If you're 18 years or older, knowledgeable in this area, have practical theatre experience (acting, directing, writing, technical design, etc.), have good oral and written communications skills and would like to become one of our volunteer reviewers, send an email describing your experience and interests to chuck at kdhx.org. Please include a sample review of something you've seen recently.

St. Louis classical calendar for the week of July 27, 2015

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The Compton Heights Concert Band presents free Musical Mondays concerts featuring marches, show tunes and classical favorites at Mondays at 7:30 p.m. through August 3rd. The guest performers this week (July 27) are Red Lehr and The St. Louis Rivermen. The concert takes place in Tower Grove Park at the historic Henry Shaw Bandstand. For more information: chband.org.

Hugh Smith
The Compton Heights Concert Band presents free Sunday Serenades concerts featuring marches, show tunes and classical favorites on Sundays at 7:30 PM. The guest performer this week (August 2) is tenor Hugh Smith. The concerts takes place in Francis Park at Donovan and Eichelberger on the Compton Heights Band's "Carol Joy Brooks Memorial" Stage. For more information: chband.org.

The Lemp Neighborhood Arts Center presents Orchestrating Diversity's Youth Orchestra in Celebrating Sibelius on Sunday, August 2, at 1 p.m. "Orchestrating Diversity is a social change program which empowers young people through the education and performance of orchestral music. Our organization brings professional musicians and college faculty to young inner-city students in an intensified educational program. This summer, students in our Urban Youth Orchestra have been working tirelessly to provide an exciting performance of Sibelius' works. The concert will feature the famous Symphony No. 2, The Swan of Tuonela, and Two Pieces for Cello and Orchestra Op.77. Come celebrate the 150th anniversary of Sibelius' birth and watch our inspiring young musicians showcase the culmination of their hard work." The performance takes place at the Demetrious Johnson Charitable Foundation, 724 Union Boulevard. For more information: www.lemp-arts.org.

3rd Millennium World's Fair
The Tavern of Fine Arts presents The 3rd Millennium World's Fair chamber ensemble performing a variety of Michael Hagmeier's original World Chamber Music works and a few classical pieces, on Tuesday, July 28, at 8 p.m. Included on the program will be some pieces written this year honoring the St. Louis area. The Tavern of Fine Arts is at 313 Belt in the Debaliviere Place neighborhood. For more information: tavern-of-fine-arts.blogspot.com.

The Tavern of Fine Arts presents violinist Hannah Frey and pianist Jennifer Spohr in a program of French music by Ravel, Franck, and Messiaen on Friday, July 231, at 8 p.m. The Tavern of Fine Arts is at 313 Belt in the Debaliviere Place neighborhood. For more information: tavern-of-fine-arts.blogspot.com.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Chuck's Choices for the weekend of July 24, 2015

As always, the choices are purely my personal opinion. Take with a grain (or a shaker) of salt.

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New This Week:

Anything Goes
Stages St. Louis presents Cole Porter's Anything Goes through August 16. "Set sail on the S. S. American with a zany group of travelers, bound from New York to merry old England, where gangsters, socialites, and arrow-collar lads collide in a true tap-sensation from a by-gone era when travel was still fun and as unpredictable as the weather. There'll be laughs a-plenty set to a raucous and romantic Cole Porter score. Enjoy meltingly romantic melodies as "I Get A Kick Out Of You," "It's De-Lovely," "Easy To Love," "You're The Top," and "Anything Goes," that will inspire an uproarious and tune-filled trip across the Atlantic where ANYTHING GOES!" Performances take place in the Robert G. Reim Theatre at the Kirkwood Community Center, 111 South Geyer Road in Kirkwood. For more information, visit stagesstlouis.org or call 314-821-2407.

My take: Porter's hit-laden score and the breezy (and often revised book) combine for great fun, and it looks like Stages is doing it justice. "Every song, every character, every step, every gesture, every tiny comic bit is perfect," writes Steve Callahan at KDHX. "Every single moment of this show is a delight."

Into the Woods
The Muny presents the Muny premiere of Stephen Sondheim's Into the Woods nightly at 8:15 PM through Monday, July 27, in the outdoor theatre in Forest Park. "Could there be a better stage than The Muny for Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine's landmark Broadway musical Into The Woods? After two Broadway productions and countless worldwide editions (including an upcoming feature film), this hilarious, surprising and timely musical makes its Muny premiere! Into The Woods takes classic fairy tale characters (Cinderella, Rapunzel, Little Red Ridinghood and more!) and sends them into the woods - at the same time! With a delicious score featuring the poignant "No One is Alone," "Agony," and "Last Midnight," this magical evening will put a lump in your throat and a smile on your face." For more information, visit muny.org or call 314-361-1900.

My take: I'm astonished that it has taken the Muny this long to mount this remarkable (if flawed) Sondheim masterpiece. Go and wonder at this inventively revisionist take on classic fairy tales.

Christine Ebersole
The Cabaret Project presents two-time Tony Award winner Christine Ebersole in concert on Friday, July 24, at 8 PM as part of the 2015 St. Louis Cabaret Festival. "Ebersole is one of Broadway's leading ladies. She won her first Tony award for her performance in 42nd Street and, of her second Tony winning role in Grey Gardens, The New York Times said "Ms. Ebersole's performance is one of the most gorgeous ever to grace a musical."" The performance takes place at The Sheldon Concert Hall, 3648 Washington in Grand Center. For more information: thecabaretproject.org.

My take: In addition to performing in the Caberet Festival, Ms. Ebersole is also teaching in the St. Louis Cabaret Conference, which runs concurrently with the Festival. Her musical intelligence and theatrical insight have been impressive, so you can expect to be mightily entertained by her at the Sheldon. Spring for a VIP ticket and you can attend the private champagne reception with the star after the show.

The Skin of Our Teeth
Photo: John Lamb
Clayton Community Theatre presents Thornton Wilder's The Skin of Our Teeth Thursdays through Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. through July 26. " This Pulitzer prize-winning work by one of America's best-known playwrights delivers an allegory about the life of mankind through the story of the Antrobus family in New Jersey." Performances take place at the Washington University South Campus Theatre. For more information, call 314-721-9228 or visit placeseveryone.org.

My take: Wilder's classic fantasy isn't seen that often these days, so a new production is always welcome. At KDHX, Steve Callahan says the CCT staging "is crafted with love and it touches the heart of this wonderful play. And it will touch your heart."

Held Over:

The Killing of Sister George
Max and Louie Productions presents the dark comedy, The Killing of Sister George by Frank Marcus through July 26. "Lusty, gin-swilling, cigar-chomping, lesbian, June Buckridge plays the beloved rural nurse, Sister George, the maternal heart and soul of the folksy BBC radio serial Applehurst. When studio executives decide to boost ratings and neutralize their difficult star's public relations problems, the queen of the soaps finds her throne in jeopardy. The undercurrents pull June, her fragile younger 'companion,' and a wily female BBC executive into a precarious minefield of mayhem and manipulation." Performances take place at the Wool Studio Theatre at the JCC, 2 Millstone Campus Drive. For more information, visit maxandlouie.com.

My take: Marcus's 1964 play was considered pretty scandalous in its day, mostly because of the implied (but never explicitly stated) lesbian relationship between the two main characters (a relationship made more manifest in the 1968 film version). It looks less shocking these days, but it still plays out as pretty dark farce. The Max and Louie production has apparently not downplayed any of that. "Director Brooke Edwards," writes Tina Farmer at KDHX, "neither shies away from nor overemphasizes the cruelty inherent in the women's relationship or June's apparent dislike of nearly everyone who crosses her path..The show is a dark farce, almost a play of very bad manners, and the humor helps to keep the tone light and the action moving forward, and I very much enjoyed the performances while appreciating, if not quite embracing, each character's choices."

St. Nicholas
The Midnight Company presents Joe Hanrahan in Connor McPherson's one-character one-act play St. Nicholas in rotating repertory with McPherson's The Good Thief through July 26. The performances take place at Herbie's Vintage 72, 405 N. Euclid in the Central West End. A special pre/post-theatre menu will be available before or after the show, cocktails will be available for the performance, and live music will follow Sunday performances. For more information: midnightcompany.com.

My take: Joe Hanrahan has become something of a one-man theatre company over the past several years, taking one-character plays to unusual venues including the St. Lou Fringe (where his House was a highlight this year). Herbie's Vintage 72 certainly qualifies as non-traditional theatre space: an upscale French brasserie-style restaurant that has been a fixture in the Central West End for decades now.

St. Nicholas is the story of an alcoholic theatre critic who becomes enamored of a not-overly-talented actress, only to find himself sucked into a cult of vampires. "The plot and action represent, in many ways, a rather straightforward tale of redemption in the making" writes Tina Farmer at KDHX. "It is Hanrahan's skillful interpretation that compels us to lean in and listen to his tale. Through inflection, movement and direct invitation, he lures us in then wanders, pontificates and weaves this strangely satisfying and textured story." The Good Thief is the story of a Dublin burglary that goes wrong and erupts into a gun battle with multiple casualties. "The episode he recounts is so violent that at times," writes Judy Newmark at stltoday.com, "you might find yourself covering your eyes or your mouth — only to realize that, of course, there's nothing to see but a small man who has to use his fingers to make a “gun.” That's the power of good storytelling."

Saturday, July 18, 2015

St. Louis classical calendar for the week of July 20, 2015

The Compton Heights Concert Band presents free Musical Mondays concerts featuring marches, show tunes and classical favorites at Mondays at 7:30 p.m. through August 3rd. This week (July 20), the guest artists are The Prettiots. The concert takes place in Tower Grove Park at the historic Henry Shaw Bandstand. For more information: chband.org.

Red Lehr and the St. Louis Rivermen
The Compton Heights Concert Band presents free Sunday Serenades concerts featuring marches, show tunes and classical favorites on Sundays at 7:30 PM. The guest performers this week (July 26) are Red Lehr and The St. Louis Rivermen. The concerts takes place in Francis Park at Donovan and Eichelberger on the Compton Heights Band’s "Carol Joy Brooks Memorial" Stage. For more information: chband.org

The Gateway Festival Orchestra presents Hidden Hymns and Chants...by Chance?, a free concert on Sunday, July 26, at 7:30 PM. "Enjoy a free live concert by a fifty-piece professional orchestra. Bring a lawn chair or a blanket for relaxing on the grass in beautiful Brookings Quadrangle on the campus of Washington University. Parking is free and plentiful. Ted Drewes Frozen Custard is available for purchase, and children receive an attendance prize." The concert features Gordon Jacob's Fantasia on the Alleluia Hymn, Felix Mendelssohn's Symphony No. 5 (Reformation), Vaclav Nelhybel's A Mighty Fortress, Max Bruch's Kol Nidrei, and Jean Sibelius's Finlandia. The concert takes place at the Brookings Quadrangle on the Washington University campus. For more information: www.gatewayfestivalorchestra.org.

The Chartreuse Ensemble
The Tavern of Fine Arts presents the Chartreuse Ensemble performing The Water Cycle, new trio works by Matthew Chamberlain, Luke Carlson, Nicholas Benavides, Theophilus Chandler, Bethany Younge, and Peter Swendsen that brings together music from the Pacific, the Atlantic, and the Great Lakes, on Thursday, July 23 at 8 p.m. The Tavern of Fine Arts is at 313 Belt in the Debaliviere Place neighborhood. For more information: tavern-of-fine-arts.blogspot.com.

The Tavern of Fine Arts presents Eliana Haig performing an unaccompanied solo viola recital on Saturday, July 25 at 5:30 p.m. The Tavern of Fine Arts is at 313 Belt in the Debaliviere Place neighborhood. For more information: tavern-of-fine-arts.blogspot.com.

St. Louis theatre calendar for the week of July 20, 2015

[Looking for auditions and other artistic opportunities? Check out the St. Louis Auditions site.]

For information on events beyond this week, check out the searchable database at the Regional Arts Commission's events web site.

Share on Google+

Anything Goes
Stages St. Louis presents Cole Porter's Anything Goes through August 16. "Set sail on the S. S. American with a zany group of travelers, bound from New York to merry old England, where gangsters, socialites, and arrow-collar lads collide in a true tap-sensation from a by-gone era when travel was still fun and as unpredictable as the weather. There'll be laughs a-plenty set to a raucous and romantic Cole Porter score. Enjoy meltingly romantic melodies as "I Get A Kick Out Of You," "It's De-Lovely," "Easy To Love," "You're The Top," and "Anything Goes," that will inspire an uproarious and tune-filled trip across the Atlantic where ANYTHING GOES!" Performances take place in the Robert G. Reim Theatre at the Kirkwood Community Center, 111 South Geyer Road in Kirkwood. For more information, visit stagesstlouis.org or call 314-821-2407.

The Muny presents the Muny premiere of Stephen Sondheim's Into the Woods nightly at 8:15 PM, opening on Tuesday, July 21 and running through Monday, July 27, in the outdoor theatre in Forest Park. "Could there be a better stage than The Muny for Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine's landmark Broadway musical Into The Woods? After two Broadway productions and countless worldwide editions (including an upcoming feature film), this hilarious, surprising and timely musical makes its Muny premiere! Into The Woods takes classic fairy tale characters (Cinderella, Rapunzel, Little Red Ridinghood and more!) and sends them into the woods - at the same time! With a delicious score featuring the poignant "No One is Alone," "Agony," and "Last Midnight," this magical evening will put a lump in your throat and a smile on your face." For more information, visit muny.org or call 314-361-1900.

The Randy Dandies presents Burlesque Bingo on Thursdays from 9 to 11 p.m. "As anyone who frequents the bingo parlors knows, the facade of genteel decorum drops once the first game is won. The first cry of "Bingo!" fires up the blood something fierce, and all bets are off from that point forward. Now, imagine what would happen if you throw semi-clad young women into the mix - Ok, now stop imagining. The Randy Dandies present Burlesque Bingo from 9pm to 11:30 pm on Thursdays, and and it promises all the thrills of cutthroat bingo, with the added titillation of local burlesque performers and specialty variety acts plus silly prizes." The show takes place at Meyer's Grove, 4510 Manchester in the Grove neighborhood. For more information: therandydandies.com.

The St. Louis Cabaret Conference presents the Cabaret Conference Showcase on Saturday, August 25, at 8 p.m. "The St. Louis Cabaret Conference celebrates its 10th anniversary as one of nation's top training programs in the art of cabaret. Singers come from all around the country as well as our hometown to be mentored by the renowned artists who are performing as part of the St. Louis Cabaret Festival. This is the closing night revelry to honor their work. Don't miss this audience favorite and the go-to singer showcase of the year. Seats are limited. Who knows -- maybe the next St. Louis Cabaret Festival headliner will be on the stage! Directed by Marilyn Maye, Faith Prince, Peisha McPhee, Tim Schall and music directed by Tedd Firth, Alex Rybec and Michael Orland." Singers will include KDHX's own Chuck Lavazzi. The performance takes place in the cabaret space at the Kranzberg Arts Center, 501 North Grand in Grand Center. For more information: thecabaretproject.org.

Christine Ebersole
The Cabaret Project presents two-time Tony Award winner Christine Ebersole in concert on Friday, August 24, at 8 PM as part of the 2015 St. Louis Cabaret Festival. "Ebersole is one of Broadway's leading ladies. She won her first Tony award for her performance in 42nd Street and, of her second Tony winning role in Grey Gardens, The New York Times said "Ms. Ebersole's performance is one of the most gorgeous ever to grace a musical."" The performance takes place at The Sheldon Concert Hall, 3648 Washington in Grand Center. For more information: thecabaretproject.org.

Circus Harmony presents The Flying Trapeze Show Saturday, July 25, at 4 p.m. The performance takes place at Union Station downtown. Show admission is free with museum admission. For more information: circusharmony.org.

The Lemp Mansion Comedy-Mystery Dinner Theater presents A Fistful Of Hollers through August 29. The Lemp Mansion is at 3322 DeMenil Place. For more information: lempmansion.com.

The Good Thief
The Midnight Company presents Joe Hanrahan in Connor McPherson's one-character one-act play The Good Thief, in rotating repertory with McPherson'sSt. Nicholas through July 25. The performances take place at Herbie's Vintage 72, 405 N. Euclid in the Central West End. A special pre/post-theatre menu will be available before or after the show, cocktails will be available for the performance, and live music will follow Sunday performances. For more information: midnightcompany.com.

The Cabaret Project presents composer, lyricist and performer Jason Robert Brown in concert on Thursday, August 23, at 8 PM as part of the 2015 St. Louis Cabaret Festival. "Brown is the ultimate multi-hyphenate -- an equally talented composer, lyricist and performer -- with sold out performances of his solo concerts around the world. Jason may be best known for composing the dazzling scores to several of the most renowned musicals of his generation: Parade (Tony award), 2014's The Bridges of Madison County (2nd & 3rd Tony Award) and 2015's Honeymoon in Vegas. His Off Broadway smash The Last Five Years is now a 2015 feature film starring Oscar nominee Anna Kendrick and Tony nominee Jeremy Jordan." The performance takes place at The Sheldon Concert Hall, 3648 Washington in Grand Center. For more information: thecabaretproject.org.

The Killing of Sister George
Max and Louie Productions presents the dark comedy, The Killing of Sister George by Frank Marcus through July 26. "Lusty, gin-swilling, cigar-chomping, lesbian, June Buckridge plays the beloved rural nurse, Sister George, the maternal heart and soul of the folksy BBC radio serial Applehurst. When studio executives decide to boost ratings and neutralize their difficult star's public relations problems, the queen of the soaps finds her throne in jeopardy. The undercurrents pull June, her fragile younger 'companion,' and a wily female BBC executive into a precarious minefield of mayhem and manipulation." Performances take place at the Wool Studio Theatre at the JCC, 2 Millstone Campus Drive. For more information, visit maxandlouie.com. Read the 88.1 KDHX review!

Take Two Productions presents the musical Legally Blonde July 24 - August 1 The show is recommended for mature audiences. Performances take place at Bayless High School Auditorium, 4532 Weber Road in South County. For more information, visit taketwoproductions.org.

Marilyn Maye
The Cabaret Project presents Marilyn Maye in Sinatra-Her Way on Wednesday, August 22, at 8 PM as part of the 2015 St. Louis Cabaret Festival. "Marilyn Maye holds the record for number of appearances by a any singer on the Tonight Show (76), has been honored at the Smithsonian, and was one of Ella Fitzgerald's favorite singers. Johnny Carson called her "Super Singer" and she is proving him right. She is currently at the peak of her form, selling out clubs and concert halls around the country. Who better to salute the songbook of the man who sang them all?" The performance takes place at The Sheldon Concert Hall, 3648 Washington in Grand Center. For more information: thecabaretproject.org.

The Bissell Mansion Murder Mystery Dinner Theatre presents Mayhem In Mayberry through July 26. The Bissell Mansion is at 4426 Randall Place. For more information: bissellmansiontheatre.com

Insight Theatre Company presents Ken Ludwig's farce Moon Over Buffalo July 24 - August 9 "Moon Over Buffalo centers on George and Charlotte Hay, fading stars of the 1950's who are playing Private Lives and Cyrano De Bergerac in rep in Buffalo, New York. On the brink of a disastrous split-up, they receive word that they might just have one last shot at stardom: Frank Capra is coming to town to see their matinee, and if he likes what he sees, he might cast them in his new film. Unfortunately for George and Charlotte, everything that could go wrong does. As a result, this tribute to "Life in the Theatre" is simply outrageously hilarious!! " Performances take place in the Heagney Theatre, 530 East Lockwood on the campus of Nerinx Hall High School in Webster Groves. For more information, call 314-556-1293 or visit insighttheatrecompany.com.

St. Louis Actors' Studio presents readings of plays by the High School finalists in the Neil LaBute New Theater Festival on Saturday, July 25, at 11 a.m. at the Gaslight Theatre, 358 North Boyle. The festival features professional, new and previously unproduced one-act plays 45 minutes or less in length, chosen from submissions to the festival over the previous year. The plays, written by local area high school students, are "Listen To Me" by Benjamin Killeen; "Zodiac" by Meghan Rivkin; "The Day Netflix Crashed" by Veronica Silva; "Coming In" by Hannah Ryan; and "Guilt" by Sydney Cimarolli. For more information, call 314-458-2978 or visit stlas.org.

"Kandahar"
Photo: John Lamb
St. Louis Actors' Studio presents the Neil LaBute New Theater Festival, Part 2 July 24 - August 2 at the Gaslight Theatre, 358 North Boyle. The festival features professional, new and previously unproduced one-act plays 45 minutes or less in length, chosen from submissions to the festival over the previous year. The plays in Part 2 are "Kandahar" by Neil LaBute; "Pitch" by Theresa Masters; Marc Pruter; "Homebody" by Gabe Mckinley; "Deirdre Dear" by Norman Yeung; and "There You Are" by Fran Dorf. For more information, call 314-458-2978 or visit stlas.org.

OnSite Theatre presents The Runaway Cupcake: A Play About Eating for Families Who Eat Fridays and Saturdays at 7 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. through July 26. The play " introduces audiences of all ages to an affable Baker who has just one day to fend off an insistent Bill Collector. A modern-day Mom and Boy have a sizable order that may save the day, but a magical Cupcake is causing mischief, and a mysterious fairy-tale Girl complicates everything-perhaps for the better. Performances take place at SweetArt bakery and art gallery, 2203 S 39th St. in the Shaw neighborhood. For more information: onstietheatre.org.

The Midnight Company presents Joe Hanrahan in Connor McPherson's one-character one-act play St. Nicholas in rotating repertory with McPherson's The Good Thief through July 26. The performances take place at Herbie's Vintage 72, 405 N. Euclid in the Central West End. A special pre/post-theatre menu will be available before or after the show, cocktails will be available for the performance, and live music will follow Sunday performances. For more information: midnightcompany.com. Read the 88.1 KDHX review!

Hard Road Theatre Productions presents Shrek the Musical Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m., July 26 - August 2. Performances will be held at Highland Elementary School Auditorium, 12760 Troxler Avenue in Highland, IL. For more information: www.hardroad.org.

The Skin of Our Teeth
Photo: John Lamb
Clayton Community Theatre presents Thornton Wilder's The Skin of Our Teeth Thursdays through Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. through July 26. " This Pulitzer prize-winning work by one of America's best-known playwrights delivers an allegory about the life of mankind through the story of the Antrobus family in New Jersey." Performances take place at the Washington University South Campus Theatre. For more information, call 314-721-9228 or visit placeseveryone.org.

St. Charles Community College presents the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical State Fair Tuesday through Sunday, July 21-26. Performances take place in the Donald D. Shook Fine Arts Building on the campus at 4601 Mid Rivers Mall Drive in Cottleville, MO. For more information, call 636-922-8050 or visit stchas.edu.

Over Due Theatre presents the musical The Wizard of Oz Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 PM and Sundays at 2 PM, July 24 - August 2. Like so many girls her age, little Dorothy Gale of Kansas dreams of what lies over the rainbow. One day a twister hits her farm and carries her away over the rainbow to another world. Come join Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tinman, the Cowardly Lion and Toto as they travel the universe of Dorothy's imagination." Performances take place at the Olivette Community Center, 9723 Grandview Drive, in Olivette, MO. For more information, call 314-210-2959 or visit overduetheatrecompany.com.

Would you like to be on the radio? KDHX, 88.1 FM needs theatre reviewers. If you're 18 years or older, knowledgeable in this area, have practical theatre experience (acting, directing, writing, technical design, etc.), have good oral and written communications skills and would like to become one of our volunteer reviewers, send an email describing your experience and interests to chuck at kdhx.org. Please include a sample review of something you've seen recently.

Friday, July 17, 2015

The Absolute Beginner's Guide to Paris, or, Fifty Million Frenchmen Can't be Wrong

Yours truly outside the legendary
Lapin Agile cabaret in Montmartre
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[Note: this is a revised and updated version of an article originally published back in the fall of 2012. We're making a return trip to the City of Light this fall, so I felt it was time to revisit it. And besides, the blog where this originally appeared has since winked out of existence.]

Now that we're back from our first trip to the French capitol, I'd like to share some of what we learned—some of it from experience, some from our friend Eric who has been paying annual visits to the city for decades. These are not insider tips (it was our first trip, after all), but I think you'll find them useful.

Let's start with some general information.

Be Prepared: if your credit card company is anything like mine, they'll want to be notified of plans to use the card outside of the USA since their fraud-detection systems with otherwise flag those charges as possibly suspect. You'll probably want to contact the bank that issued your ATM card as well to make sure it will be accepted outside of the country and to find out what extra charges might apply for withdrawals made abroad.

Language: While it's a good idea to learn enough basic French to (say) read a menu, the fact is that most of the people you'll deal with in a city like Paris will be able to speak enough English to make communication relatively easy. Indeed, our experience was that most Parisians would rather try to deal with English than listen to a native Anglophone mangle French. And don't underestimate the value of sign language; that's how we managed to make a purchase at a fromagerie (cheese shop) where the owner spoke no English at all.

That said, if you want to tackle French, a good way to start is with Duolingo. Available as both a web site and mobile app, Duolingo makes learning a new language into a game, encouraging you to earn points (called "lingots") by studying daily, translating articles, and generally giving yourself some exposure to your new language on a regular basis. You should probably still do some vocabulary study in addition, but Duolingo will help you get over the "I don't know anything" hump.

Courtesy: If our experience is any indication, the legendary rudeness of Parisians is, like Thurber's unicorn, a mythological beast. I saw no evidence that Parisians were any more discourteous than residents of any other major world hub. We generally found that if we treated people with courtesy it was returned. Maybe some of this myth is due to a simple misunderstanding. When you enter a shop or other place of business in Paris, it's common practice to say "bonjour" before getting down to business. Not doing so is seen as rude.

Hector Guimard's original Art Nouveau entrance
of the Paris Métro in Abbesses station
en.wikipedia.org
Getting Around: Just about anywhere in Paris is easily reached via the Metro (subway) and/or bus and/or RER suburban rail system. Tickets for all three can be purchased singly or in bulk with either cash or credit card from terminals at just about any Metro station. Your best bet is a carnet—a packet of ten one-way tickets at a discount price. We went through several during our stay. And don't worry about leftover tickets; they don't expire, so you can use them the next time you're in town. For more information, check out the RATP web site.

Speaking of Metro stations, don't neglect the Plan du Quartier map, usually found at the platform. It'll show you where the various exits (sorties) lead—very useful for getting your bearings when you get topside. And, of course, large Metro system maps are posted at each station to assist in making transfers.

Plan to do a lot of walking in Paris. The streets of Paris teem with interesting sights, sounds, and (thanks to the many chocolatiers, patisseries, pistacheries, boulangeries, fromageries, and cafes) smells. Even if you're just trying to get from point A to point B, you'll find that (to quote an old advertising slogan) getting there is half the fun.

As for driving, don't even think about it. That's a sport strictly reserved for the natives.

rentalfrance.com
The Apartment: There are plenty of reasonable hotels in Paris, of course, but give serious consideration to renting an apartment instead, especially if you plan to stay for more than a day or two. The convenience of having your own kitchen and laundry facilities can't be overstated. Most neighborhoods will have a plethora of food and wine stores within easy walking distance (so not every meal has to be from a restaurant) and being able to wash your clothes means you can pack a lot less. There are plenty of places to be had at VRBO as well as Air BNB, along with many smaller operators such as Paris Perfect, Vacation in Paris, ParisBestLodge, RothRay, and Barclay International. Fodors has an old but still useful article on the subject.

The two-bedroom we shared with friends in the 6th Arrondissment (from RentalFrance, pictured) was a classic example. It was next door to a Carrefour supermarket and a wine shop, a block away from a pharmacie (drug store), and smack in the middle of a vast array of shops and restaurants of every possible variety. We had fresh baguettes and pastries every morning, as much reasonably priced wine as we could drink, and, with the exception of the pharmacie (see below), pretty much any consumer goods we needed.

In sickness and in health: While there are plenty of drugstores (easily distinguished by "green cross" signs) in Paris, the line of over-the-counter drugs differs considerably from those available in the USA, and your favorite remedy might not be available. My advice is to bring your preferred OTC medications with you. That includes items you might or might not need, like cold medicine. My attempts to locate a decent cough suppressant/expectorant were spectacularly unsuccessful, as were my wife's to locate an antihistamine/decongestant combo that did not include acetaminophen.

There's an app for That: If you have a smartphone, there are some incredibly useful (and cheap) apps that can add considerably to your Parisian experience. The one we used the most often was the TripAdvisor. It includes a downloadable Paris map along with a database of Metro stations, attractions, restaurants, and so on. Combine that with your phone's GPS capability and you have an invaluable navigation tool. At one point it enabled us to track down a nearly invisible restaurant (Le Petite Prince de Paris) tucked away at the end of a small pedestrian lane. TripAdvisor has downloadable maps for many major cities world-wide. Their SeatGuru app is also handy for picking the best airline seats, and GateGuru makes airline connections less painful.

Other useful offline mapping apps are PocketEarth for IOS and CityMaps2Go by Ulmon. Both include a database of attractions, hotels, public transport stops, and other useful information.

You'll also want an app (like Convert or Units Plus) that enables you to do money, volume and temperature conversion. The RATP app is useful for its zoomable Metro map; ditto MxData's Paris Metro app, which also includes a handy route planner.

Speaking of smartphones, if you plan to use your cell for voice calls you'll need to contact your carrier about adding a calling plan that will allow you to send or receive calls and text messages while abroad. Unless you have a lot of money to throw around, you'll also want to disable cellular data completely and confine your data use to Wi-Fi hotspots; international data rates are astonishingly high.

You might also want to invest in a VPN (Virtual Private Network) product like Hotspot Shield (a one-year subscription is only $12), Cloak, or TunnelBear that allows you to set up a secure connection to the Internet, thereby reducing the risk of your Facebook, Twitter, or email account being hijacked by someone using a "sniffer" program at a public Wi-Fi point.

The best way to spend your first afternoon
What to do on Day One: Let's face it, no matter how good the flight over to Paris is, you will almost certainly be jet lagged when you hit town. My recommendation? Don't plan on anything elaborate. Consider spending the afternoon on a cruise of the River Seine followed by a long, leisurely late lunch or early dinner. It's a great way to get a feel for the city and where some of the big tourist attractions are located, and doesn't take that long. We used Vendettes du Pont Neuf. They start at Pont Neuf, go all the way to just west of the Eiffel Tower, then swing around Ile Saint-Louis to return to the starting point.

Another option is Bateaux Mouches, which is a bigger operation with larger boats and (probably) more tourists. They leave from Pont Iena and cover much the same area. They're a bit more expensive (13.5 Euros vs. 10 Euros last time I checked) but it's not exactly a major investment either way.

Got any other suggestions? Leave me a comment.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Chuck's Choices for the weekend of July 17, 2015

As always, the choices are purely my personal opinion. Take with a grain (or a shaker) of salt.

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New This Week:

Andy Christopher as Buddy Holly
The Muny presents presents the Muny premiere of Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story nightly at 8:15 PM, July 13-19, in the outdoor theatre in Forest Park. " The story of beloved American rock 'n' roll icon Buddy Holly explodes onto The Muny stage in Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story. Buddy Holly created the sounds and styles that made American rock 'n' roll, and this fantastic show features songs you've loved for decades: "That'll Be The Day," "Why Do Fools Fall in Love," "Peggy Sue," and "Johnny B. Goode!" Another Muny premiere, Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story is an all-American summer night's energy boost!" For more information, visit muny.org or call 314-361-1900.

My take: This is a classic "jukebox musical" in that it's mostly a celebration of the music of Buddy Holly grafted on to a lightweight biography of the singer, who died tragically young (age 22) in the light plane crash that also claimed the lives of pop stars Ritchie Valens and J.P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson (an event memorialized as "the day the music died" in Don McLean's "American Pie"). Great art it ain't, but it looks the the Muny is giving it a big, flashy, and very polished production. In her review for 88.1 KDHX, Tina Farmer describes this as "a rousing, high energy tribute to the prolific musician that highlights not only his status as an early rock icon, but also his contributions to the civil rights movement as demonstrated through both his actions and a genuine appreciation for the music that developed from the African American blues tradition." "Led by the frenzied and inspired performance by Andy Christopher in the title role," writes Mark Bretz at Ladue News, "it’s so easy to enjoy the sounds of 1950s pioneer rock on The Muny stage."

Photo: John Lamb
Union Avenue Opera presents Mozart's Don Giovanni Fridays and Saturdays at 8 PM, through July 18. Performances take place at the Union Avenue Christian Church, 733 Union at Enright in the Central West End. The opera is sung in Italian with projected English text. For more information, visit unionavenueopera.org or call 314-361-2881.

My take: You wouldn't know it from the ominous opening chords, but Don Giovanni is technically an opera buffa - an 18th-century mix of the comic and the dramatic with the emphasis on the former. And while the libretto by Mozart's frequent collaborator Lorenzo DaPonte has more than its share of humor, it also has love, lust, intrigue, betrayal, murder, a hint of the supernatural, and a morally uplifting finale in which we are reminded that "sinful lives will end in hell." No wonder this particular version of the Don Juan legend has remained in the repertory since 1787. What Don Giovanni mostly has, of course, is some of Mozart's finest music for the theatre - hardly surprising, since it dates from the same year as the "Prague" Symphony (K. 504), the K. 515 and K. 516 string quintets, and Eine Kleine Nachtmusik. It also boasts an almost perfect balance between action and introspection. "From the moment that Scott Schoonover raised his baton to invoke that incredible athletic overture," writes Steve Callahan at KDHX, "it was re-confirmed to me that Don Giovanni is indeed the zenith of 18th Century opera...As is its wonderful common practice Union Avenue Opera has found superlative voices for this production." "Union Avenue Opera has opened its 21st season with a strong and wonderful performance that features many excellent voices," agrees Mark Bretz at Ladue News, "some familiar and others making their UAO debut, in a production guided masterfully by conductor Scott Schoonover and director Jon Truitt."

The Killing of Sister George
Max and Louie Productions presents the dark comedy, The Killing of Sister George by Frank Marcus through July 26. "Lusty, gin-swilling, cigar-chomping, lesbian, June Buckridge plays the beloved rural nurse, Sister George, the maternal heart and soul of the folksy BBC radio serial Applehurst. When studio executives decide to boost ratings and neutralize their difficult star's public relations problems, the queen of the soaps finds her throne in jeopardy. The undercurrents pull June, her fragile younger 'companion,' and a wily female BBC executive into a precarious minefield of mayhem and manipulation." Performances take place at the Wool Studio Theatre at the JCC, 2 Millstone Campus Drive. For more information, visit maxandlouie.com.

My take: Marcus's 1964 play was considered pretty scandalous in its day, mostly because of the implied (but never explicitly stated) lesbian relationship between the two main characters (a relationship made more manifest in the 1968 film version). It looks less shocking these days, but it still plays out as pretty dark farce. The Max and Louie production has apparently not downplayed any of that. "Director Brooke Edwards," writes Tina Farmer at KDHX, "neither shies away from nor overemphasizes the cruelty inherent in the women's relationship or June's apparent dislike of nearly everyone who crosses her path..The show is a dark farce, almost a play of very bad manners, and the humor helps to keep the tone light and the action moving forward, and I very much enjoyed the performances while appreciating, if not quite embracing, each character's choices."

“Cold in Hand” by Steve Apostolina
St. Louis Actors' Studio presents the Neil LaBute New Theater Festival, Part 1 through July 19 at the Gaslight Theatre, 358 North Boyle. The festival features professional, new and previously unproduced one-act plays 45 minutes or less in length, chosen from submissions to the festival over the previous year. The plays in Part 1 are "Kandahar" by Neil LaBute; "Cold in Hand"; "Custom" by Mark Young; "A Taste of Heaven" by Chris Holbrook; "Stand Up for Oneself" by Lexi Wolfe; and "A Stranger Here Myself" by Rich Orloff. For more information, call 314-458-2978 or visit stlas.org.

My take: Reviews of part one of the festival indicate that it's something of a mixed bag, with the best notices going to LaBute's own contribution "Kandahar," about a returning war veteran whose inability to adjust to life stateside has violent consequences. But that's what you should expect from a festival of new plays by new playwrights. "Take off the rose-colored glasses and look at different aspects of human nature, as seen through the eyes of prolific playwright Neil LaBute and emerging provocative writers" writes Lynn Venhaus at the Belleville News-Democrat. "LaBute, who peers into the blackness of men’s souls and writes clearly about good and evil, presents his distinctive style, as well as the contest winners, over the next few weekends at the LaBute New Play Festival." "The first set of plays provides a lot of variety," writes the St. Louis Theatre Snob, "played out on Patrick Huber’s minimal and incredibly versatile set, and is a promising start to this year’s festival. "

St. Nicholas
The Midnight Company presents Joe Hanrahan in Connor McPherson's one-character one-act play St. Nicholas in rotating repertory with McPherson's The Good Thief through July 26. The performances take place at Herbie's Vintage 72, 405 N. Euclid in the Central West End. A special pre/post-theatre menu will be available before or after the show, cocktails will be available for the performance, and live music will follow Sunday performances. For more information: midnightcompany.com.

My take: Joe Hanrahan has become something of a one-man theatre company over the past several years, taking one-character plays to unusual venues including the St. Lou Fringe (where his House was a highlight this year). Herbie's Vintage 72 certainly qualifies as non-traditional theatre space: an upscale French brasserie-style restaurant that has been a fixture in the Central West End for decades now.

St. Nicholas is the story of an alcoholic theatre critic who becomes enamored of a not-overly-talented actress, only to find himself sucked into a cult of vampires. "The plot and action represent, in many ways, a rather straightforward tale of redemption in the making" writes Tina Farmer at KDHX. "It is Hanrahan's skillful interpretation that compels us to lean in and listen to his tale. Through inflection, movement and direct invitation, he lures us in then wanders, pontificates and weaves this strangely satisfying and textured story." The Good Thief is the story of a Dublin burglary that goes wrong and erupts into a gun battle with multiple casualties. "The episode he recounts is so violent that at times," writes Judy Newmark at stltoday.com, "you might find yourself covering your eyes or your mouth — only to realize that, of course, there’s nothing to see but a small man who has to use his fingers to make a “gun.” That’s the power of good storytelling."

Held Over:

The Fantasticks
Insight Theatre Company presents the classic musical The Fantasticks through July 18. "This long running show is a funny and romantic musical about a boy, a girl, two fathers, and a wall. The narrator, El Gallo, asks the audience to use their imaginations and follow him into a world of moonlight and magic. The young lovers do come to realize that, just as El Gallo had said, 'Without a hurt, the heart is hollow.'" Performances take place in the Heagney Theatre, 530 East Lockwood on the campus of Nerinx Hall High School in Webster Groves. For more information, call 314-556-1293 or visit insighttheatrecompany.com.

My take: The Fantasticks is one of the great musicals of the past century, with a memorable score and a funny and literate book. Based on Rostand's The Romancers, the show has a very Gallic outlook on life and love that makes it unusual in American musical theatre and always worth seeing. "If you are among the few who have never seen a production of The Fantasticks," writes Bob Wilcox at KDHX, "the current one at Insight Theatre Company offers you a splendid introduction to this ever-charming musical."

Sunday, July 12, 2015

The St. Louis classical calendar for the week of July 13

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The Compton Heights Concert Band presents free Musical Mondays concerts featuring marches, show tunes and classical favorites at Mondays at 7:30 p.m. through August 3rd. This week (July 13), the concert is a Tribute to Julie Andrews. The concert takes place in Tower Grove Park at the historic Henry Shaw Bandstand. For more information: chband.org.

The Prettiots
The Compton Heights Concert Band presents free Sunday Serenades concerts featuring marches, show tunes and classical favorites on Sundays at 7:30 PM through July 26. This week (July 19), the guest artists are The Prettiots. The concerts takes place in Francis Park at Donovan and Eichelberger on the Compton Heights Band’s "Carol Joy Brooks Memorial" Stage. For more information: chband.org.

The Gateway Festival Orchestra presents Exceptional Expatriates, a free concert on Sunday, July 19, at 7:30 PM. "Enjoy a free live concert by a fifty-piece professional orchestra. Bring a lawn chair or a blanket for relaxing on the grass in beautiful Brookings Quadrangle on the campus of Washington University. Parking is free and plentiful. Ted Drewes Frozen Custard is available for purchase, and children receive an attendance prize." The concert features Antonin Dvorak's Symphony No. 9 in E (“from the New World”), Serge Koussevitzky:'s Concerto for Double Bass and Orchestra, Gian-Carlo Menotti's"Introduction, March and Dances” from Amahl and the Night Visitors, and Igor Stravinsky's"Berceuse and Finale” from The Firebird. The concert takes place at the Brookings Quadrangle on the Washington University campus. For more information: www.gatewayfestivalorchestra.org.

The Tavern of Fine Arts presents a classical open stage night on Monday, July 13, from 7:30 – 9 PM. "Come by yourself or bring your quartet. Sight read through a Beethoven quartet or use this as an opportunity to put the finishing touches on that Hindemith Viola Sonata you have been working on. All ages and skill levels are welcome. We have a 6' grand piano and an accompanist.” The Tavern of Fine Arts is at 313 Belt in the Debaliviere Place neighborhood. For more information: tavern-of-fine-arts.blogspot.com.

The Tavern of Fine Arts presents Molto Italiano, an interactive concert of bel canto Italian favorites featuring soprano Sarah Orlovsky, tenor Justin E. Moore, with pianist Sarah Troxler, on Tuesday, July 14, at 8 p.m.. The evening features the music of Bellini, Rossini, Tosti, and more! The Tavern of Fine Arts is at 313 Belt in the Debaliviere Place neighborhood. For more information: tavern-of-fine-arts.blogspot.com.

Adam Gabbert
The Tavern of Fine Arts presents classical guitarist Adam Gabbert on Thursday, July 16, at 8 p.m. "Adam Gabbert is a classical guitarist from St. Louis. His guitar studies were based out of Webster University and also led him to the Conservatoire National à Rayonnement Régional in Nice, France. Adam performs regularly around St. Louis both solo and with the guitar trio Nylonica." The Tavern of Fine Arts is at 313 Belt in the Debaliviere Place neighborhood. For more information: tavern-of-fine-arts.blogspot.com.

The Tavern of Fine Arts presents The Tuscany Trio performing music by Vivaldi, Dring, Francaix, and Poulenc on Friday, July 17, at 8 p.m. The Tavern of Fine Arts is at 313 Belt in the Debaliviere Place neighborhood. For more information: tavern-of-fine-arts.blogspot.com.

The St. Louis theatre calendar for the week of July 13, 2015

[Looking for auditions and other artistic opportunities? Check out the St. Louis Auditions site.]

For information on events beyond this week, check out the searchable database at the Regional Arts Commission's events web site.

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The Wildey Theater presents Always...Patsy Cline on Thursday through Sunday, July 16-19. "Always...Patsy Cline is a tribute to the legendary country singer who died tragically at age 30 in a plane crash in 1963. The show is based on a true story about Cline's friendship with a fan from Houston named Louise Seger, who befriended the star in a Texas honky-tonk in l961, and continued a correspondence with Cline until her death." The Wildey Theatre is at 252 North Main Street in Edwardsville, Illinois. For more information, visit wildeytheatre.com.

Anything Goes
Stages St. Louis presents Cole Porter's Anything Goes July 17 - August 16. "Set sail on the S. S. American with a zany group of travelers, bound from New York to merry old England, where gangsters, socialites, and arrow-collar lads collide in a true tap-sensation from a by-gone era when travel was still fun and as unpredictable as the weather. There'll be laughs a-plenty set to a raucous and romantic Cole Porter score. Enjoy meltingly romantic melodies as "I Get A Kick Out Of You," "It's De-Lovely," "Easy To Love," "You're The Top," and "Anything Goes," that will inspire an uproarious and tune-filled trip across the Atlantic where ANYTHING GOES!" Performances take place in the Robert G. Reim Theatre at the Kirkwood Community Center, 111 South Geyer Road in Kirkwood. For more information, visit stagesstlouis.org or call 314-821-2407.

First Run Theatre presents the drama The Bones of Malcom Madcuff by Davd Hawley Fridays and Saturdays at 8 PM and Sundays at 2 PM through July 19. "When impecunious medical student Frank takes rooms overlooking the cemetery with Victor, he and his very modern fiancée Miriam, are unaware of the macabre sideline in that Victor is running with his shady business partner, Malcolm MacDuff. When Miriam's redoubtable mother, Mrs. Forbes, decides to provide a little assistance to Frank's studies, an anatomical skeleton needs to be procured. But when Malcolm pushes things too far, he looks like taking the blame for both himself and Victor, something he is not likely to forgive. Investigating officer, Sergeant Moscrop of the Edinburgh, police has dealt with all manner of criminals, but he's never dealt with a felon like this before. Is Victor haunted by more than just memories?" Performances take place at De Smet Jesuit High School Theatre 233 N. New Ballas Rd. For more information, call (314) 352-5114 or visit www.firstruntheatre.com.

Andy Christopher as Buddy Holly
The Muny presents presents the Muny premiere of Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story nightly at 8:15 PM, July 13-19, in the outdoor theatre in Forest Park. " The story of beloved American rock 'n' roll icon Buddy Holly explodes onto The Muny stage in Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story. Buddy Holly created the sounds and styles that made American rock 'n' roll, and this fantastic show features songs you've loved for decades: "That'll Be The Day," "Why Do Fools Fall in Love," "Peggy Sue," and "Johnny B. Goode!" Another Muny premiere, Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story is an all-American summer night's energy boost!" For more information, visit muny.org or call 314-361-1900. Read the 88.1 KDHX review!

The Randy Dandies presents Burlesque Bingo on Thursdays from 9 to 11 p.m. "As anyone who frequents the bingo parlors knows, the facade of genteel decorum drops once the first game is won. The first cry of "Bingo!" fires up the blood something fierce, and all bets are off from that point forward. Now, imagine what would happen if you throw semi-clad young women into the mix - Ok, now stop imagining. The Randy Dandies present Burlesque Bingo from 9pm to 11:30 pm on Thursdays, and and it promises all the thrills of cutthroat bingo, with the added titillation of local burlesque performers and specialty variety acts plus silly prizes." The show takes place at Meyer's Grove, 4510 Manchester in the Grove neighborhood. For more information: therandydandies.com.

Don Giovanni
Photo: John Lamb
Union Avenue Opera presents Mozart's Don Giovanni Fridays and Saturdays at 8 PM, through July 18. Performances take place at the Union Avenue Christian Church, 733 Union at Enright in the Central West End. The opera is sung in Italian with projected English text. For more information, visit unionavenueopera.org or call 314-361-2881. Read the 88.1 KDHX review!


Family Musical Theater presents the Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice's musical Evita through July 19. "Evita concentrates on the life of Argentine political leader Eva Perón, the second wife of Argentine president Juan Perón. The story follows Evita's early life, rise to power, charity work, and eventual death. The musical began as a rock opera concept album released in 1976. Its success led to productions in London's West End in 1978, winning the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Musical, and on Broadway a year later, where it was the first British musical to receive the Tony Award for Best Musical." A portion of the proceeds from the performances of "Evita" will benefit Support Dogs, Inc., a St. Louis-based non-profit that provides service dogs and pet therapy to those in need in St. Louis and nationwide. Performances take place at the Ivory Theatre, 7622 Michigan. For more information, visit www.familymusicaltheater.org or call 314-571-9579.

The Fantasticks
Insight Theatre Company presents the classic musical The Fantasticks through July 18. "This long running show is a funny and romantic musical about a boy, a girl, two fathers, and a wall. The narrator, El Gallo, asks the audience to use their imaginations and follow him into a world of moonlight and magic. The young lovers do come to realize that, just as El Gallo had said, 'Without a hurt, the heart is hollow.'" Performances take place in the Heagney Theatre, 530 East Lockwood on the campus of Nerinx Hall High School in Webster Groves. For more information, call 314-556-1293 or visit insighttheatrecompany.com. Read the 88.1 KDHX review!

The Lemp Mansion Comedy-Mystery Dinner Theater presents A Fistful Of Hollers through August 29. The Lemp Mansion is at 3322 DeMenil Place. For more information: lempmansion.com.

The Midnight Company presents Joe Hanrahan in Connor McPherson's one-character one-act play The Good Thief, in rotating repertory with McPherson'sSt. Nicholas through July 25. The performances take place at Herbie's Vintage 72, 405 N. Euclid in the Central West End. A special pre/post-theatre menu will be available before or after the show, cocktails will be available for the performance, and live music will follow Sunday performances. For more information: midnightcompany.com.

Alton Little Theater presents the musical Grease Thursdays through Sundays, through July 19, at 2450 North Henry in Alton, IL. "Get out your leather jackets, pull on your bobby socks and take a trip to a simpler time with the high school musical, Grease. Danny is the leader of the "Burger Palace Boys", a super cool, hard-looking group of high school wheeler-dealers...or so they think! Sandy is Danny's love interest; sweet, wholesome, naïve and cute." For more information, call 618.462.6562 or visit altonlittletheater.org.

The Killing of Sister George
Max and Louie Productions presents the dark comedy, The Killing of Sister George by Frank Marcus through July 26. "Lusty, gin-swilling, cigar-chomping, lesbian, June Buckridge plays the beloved rural nurse, Sister George, the maternal heart and soul of the folksy BBC radio serial Applehurst. When studio executives decide to boost ratings and neutralize their difficult star's public relations problems, the queen of the soaps finds her throne in jeopardy. The undercurrents pull June, her fragile younger 'companion,' and a wily female BBC executive into a precarious minefield of mayhem and manipulation." Performances take place at the Wool Studio Theatre at the JCC, 2 Millstone Campus Drive. For more information, visit maxandlouie.com. Read the 88.1 KDHX review!

The Bissell Mansion Murder Mystery Dinner Theatre presents Mayhem In Mayberry through July 26. The Bissell Mansion is at 4426 Randall Place. For more information: bissellmansiontheatre.com

“Cold in Hand” by Steve Apostolina
St. Louis Actors' Studio presents the Neil LaBute New Theater Festival, Part 1 through July 19 at the Gaslight Theatre, 358 North Boyle. The festival features professional, new and previously unproduced one-act plays 45 minutes or less in length, chosen from submissions to the festival over the previous year. The plays in Part 1 are "Kandahar" by Neil LaBute; "Cold in Hand"; "Custom" by Mark Young; "A Taste of Heaven" by Chris Holbrook; "Stand Up for Oneself" by Lexi Wolfe; and "A Stranger Here Myself" by Rich Orloff. For more information, call 314-458-2978 or visit stlas.org.

The Midnight Company presents Joe Hanrahan in Connor McPherson's one-character one-act play St. Nicholas in rotating repertory with McPherson's The Good Thief through July 26. The performances take place at Herbie's Vintage 72, 405 N. Euclid in the Central West End. A special pre/post-theatre menu will be available before or after the show, cocktails will be available for the performance, and live music will follow Sunday performances. For more information: midnightcompany.com. Read the 88.1 KDHX review!

Clayton Community Theatre presents Thornton Wilder's The Skin of Our Teeth Thursdays through Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m., July 16-26. " This Pulitzer prize-winning work by one of America's best-known playwrights delivers an allegory about the life of mankind through the story of the Antrobus family in New Jersey." Performances take place at the Washington University South Campus Theatre. For more information, call 314-721-9228 or visit placeseveryone.org.

OnSite Theatre presents The Runaway Cupcake: A Play About Eating for Families Who Eat Fridays and Saturdays at 7 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m., July 17-26. The play " introduces audiences of all ages to an affable Baker who has just one day to fend off an insistent Bill Collector. A modern-day Mom and Boy have a sizable order that may save the day, but a magical Cupcake is causing mischief, and a mysterious fairy-tale Girl complicates everything-perhaps for the better. Performances take place at SweetArt bakery and art gallery, 2203 S 39th St. in the Shaw neighborhood. For more information: onstietheatre.org.

Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville Summer Showbiz presents Shrek the Musical running through July 19. Performances take place in the Dunham Hall theater on the campus in Edwardsville, IL. For more information, call 618-650-2774 or visit siue.edu.

Would you like to be on the radio? KDHX, 88.1 FM needs theatre reviewers. If you're 18 years or older, knowledgeable in this area, have practical theatre experience (acting, directing, writing, technical design, etc.), have good oral and written communications skills and would like to become one of our volunteer reviewers, send an email describing your experience and interests to chuck at kdhx.org. Please include a sample review of something you've seen recently.