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Dance St. Louis presents the acrobatic dance troupe Diavolo Friday and 8 and Saturday at 2 and 8 PM. "Diavolo—one of the West Coast’s most prominent dance companies and a designated cultural treasure of the City of Los Angeles—makes its way to St. Louis for a thrilling, playful and gravity-defying performance. Composed of modern dancers, athletes, gymnasts, ballet dancers, martial artists, actors and stunt performers, Diavolo pushes the boundaries of dance through its dynamic movement and signature use of colossal set pieces, including skateboard ramps, a 15-foot staircase, an 18-foot aluminum and steel spinning wheel and a giant cube that turns into a pyramid. Created in 1992 in Los Angeles by Artistic Director Jacques Heim, the Parisian innovator who choreographed Cirque du Soleil’s Las Vegas show KÀ, Diavolo cleverly mixes together dance, acrobatics and architectural engineering into a powerful, awesome and thought-provoking production." The performance takes place at the Touhill Performing Arts Center on the UMSL campus. For more information: dancestlouis.org.
My take: I've never seen the group before, but the promotional videos look pretty exciting—something of a mashup of dance, athletics, and circus. And the Touhill is a comfortable and well-appointed venue.
|Photo: Joan Marcus|
My take: "There's a contemporary swagger present in the Fox Theatre's current production of 'Jersey Boys'," writes Tina Farmer in her KDHX review, "that slides smoothly into the history of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. The combination works well, resulting in a smart, snappy production that thoroughly entertains. Openly addressing the influence of perspective and self-interest, the show also avoids self-reverence, even as it keeps the conflict light." Note that this is not a musical revue but rather a legit book musical about the group's rise to fame and subsequent breakup, so you get some substance with the musical nostalgia.
The Presenters Dolan present Marissa Mulder: The Songs Of Tom Waits Thursday through Saturday, February February 27 - March 1, at 8 PM as part of the Gaslight Cabaret Festival. " Marissa Mulder kicks off our Cabaret in a New Key shows, featuring performers who are pressing the edges of the form. With MD Jon Weber and her entire New York-based band, Marissa encounters the songs of Tom Waits, in a beautiful, crystalline distillation of their power and beauty. Will Friedwald of The Wall Street Journal says that Mulder projects and amplifies her soul through these songs, virtually defining what cabaret is supposed to be. Each of the souls lucky enough to hear the unmissable Ms. Mulder reaches the same end." The performances take place at the Gaslight Theater, 358 North Boyle. For more information: gaslightcabaretfestival.com.
My take: Both Ms. Mulder and her show—which premiered last March at New York's Metropolitan Room—come highly recommended. "Far and away the season's best cabaret show," wrote Stephen Holden in the New York Times, "it is everything the genre can be but almost never is." "Mulder's voice has a retro 1930s and '40s quality, but it al ranges from ethereal to unselfconsciously coquettish," wrote Stephen Hanks in Cabaret Scenes. "Her unaffected mezzo soprano sound is like sweet Tupelo honey dripping slowly off a spoon into a hot cup of tea." Note that the Gaslight Theatre does not have a parking lot, so showing up early is advised if you want to have a chance of finding a spot on Boyle near the theatre. You can always stop by the adjoining West End Grill for a drink or dinner before the show, after all. That's what I usually do.
The Performing Arts Department at Washington University presents the classic comedy You Can't Take it With You Friday and Saturday at 8 PM and Sunday at 2 PM through March 1. Performances take place in the Edison Theatre in the Mallinckrodt Student Center on the Washington University campus. For more information: pad.artsci.wustl.edu or call 314-935-6543.
My take: "The show breezes along, and right past, the bleak realities of the period with a joyful self-indulgence," writes Tina Farmer in her review for KDHX. "And, as pithy as the title may seem, there is, after all, a genuine truth hiding underneath the straightforward statement...The youthful and enthusiastic cast does a splendid job referencing the style and patter of the period, at least if the movies I've seen are any indication. They move confidently, with faced paced, clipped dialogue and an abundance of sight gags that kept the audience chuckling along." The script is one of Kaufman and Hart's best, an unabashedly sentimental hymn to all non-conformity. Few things are more fun than a good production of it, and this one sounds like a winner.
|Photo: Jerry Naunheim, Jr.|
My take: This production has gotten very good press so far. In her review for 88.1 KDHX, for example, Tina Farmer says it's "an intense and deeply personal examination of love and family loyalty that twists audience expectations and still manages to deliver a surprisingly satisfying resolution."