Thursday, July 30, 2015

Chuck's Choices for the weekend of July 30, 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:

Beauty and the Beast
The Muny presents Beauty and the Beast nightly at 8:15 PM 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 or call 314-361-1900.

My take: I saw this opening night and was reminded what a good show this is, the Disney brand not withstanding. As I write in my review for KDHX, this is ia big, brash, amusement park of a show. It's fast, colorful, loud, opulent, shamelessly sentimental, cheerfully vulgar, and—there's no getting around it—highly entertaining. The well-known story is simple enough to keep the kids' attention, and polished enough to amuse all but the most jaded adults. If this isn't a family show, I don't know what is. And the Muny is doing a good job of it, even if some of the magic of the original can't be completely replicated on that stage.

"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

My take: As Tina Farmer writes in her review for KDHX, this second part of the LaBute Festival "hits another high note...St. Louis Actors' Studio continues its string of productions featuring strong, original short plays." The five one-act plays feature many prominent local actors both on stage and behind the scenes, and a festival of new plays by local playwrights is always welcome.

Held Over:

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."

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