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.

Share on Google+:

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 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 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:

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

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

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:

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, "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."

No comments: