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My take: This show was, in fact, the hit of the Fringe Festival, at least as far as audience size went. Every performance was packed. "Between the cast, music and production," wrote Erica Kenney in a review for 88.1 KDHX, "everything came together to make the premiere a hit at St. Lou Fringe and Asperger's: A High Functioning Musical is sure to be around St. Louis for a long time." That looks pretty prophetic right now. This is the sort of show that should work well in the intimate black box theater at Clayton High School.
My take: I haven't listed this in earlier Chuck's Choices because I'm just not that big a fan of the show. But what the heck; this is the last weekend and this production has gotten some good reviews. "To say that Stages St. Louis' production of Legally Blonde sparkles," writes Tina Farmer at KDHX, "seems an understatement; the musical is big and confident, filled with bright lights, pink glitter and, yes, sparkle. The production never takes itself too seriously, however, and the actors work together well, keeping the emphasis on the plot's familiar twists while delivering smart, endearing performances." So go and enjoy, already.
Union Avenue Opera presents Wagner's Die Walküre, the second of the four "Ring" operas, in a condensed and reduced version by English composer Jonathan Dove and director Graham Vick, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 PM, August 16-24. Performances take place at the Union Avenue Christian Church, 733 Union at Enright in the Central West End. The opera is sung in German with projected English text. For more information, visit unionavenueopera.org or call 314-361-2881.
My take: As I noted in a blog post earlier in the week, this is a massively ambitious undertaking for a small opera company that has not shied away from pushing the envelope in terms of what can be accomplished with their financial and physical constraints. It'll be exciting to see what Union Avenue does with this difficult but rewarding material. Note, by the way, that while parking is free, the lot fills up quickly, so it's a good idea to get there early. You can always have a snack and drink (non-alcoholic, alas) in the lobby before the show.
My take: I've known Steve Callahan for many years and can attest to his skill as an actor. As for the play itself, in his review of the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis production back in 2011, Robert Boyd describes it as a "marvelous piece of theater." "In scene after scene," he writes, "the interplay between dark and light, between the character Rothko's deepening delusion and insecurity and Ken's ingenuous desire to read genius into the master and all that he touches, creates astonishing dramatic intensity." Setting the play—which takes place in Rothko's warehouse studio—in an actual warehouses should add verisimilitude.
|Photo: John Lamb|
My take: McCarthy's work is always worth seeing and it's good to see another theatre group on the scene. "The actor-focused Theatre Lab," writes Tina Farmer at KDHX, "makes a bold statement with its inaugural production, The Sunset Limited, directed by Ryan Foizey. Focused on character and intellect, the show benefits from strong performances by Robert Alan Mitchell as Black and Zachary Allen Farmer as White."