Friday, September 18, 2015

Chuck's Choices for the weekend of September 18, 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:

All the Way
Photo: Jerry Naunheim, Jr.
The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis presents the drama All the Way through October 4. " It's 1963. Following the assassination of JFK, Lyndon Johnson becomes America's "accidental president." Launched into the presidency over a country in turmoil, LBJ maneuvers and manipulates his way through a series of power plays to pass the Civil Rights Act and to guarantee a full term in the Oval Office. Deception, bullying and blackmail are all strategies in his arsenal. But in this 2014 Tony Award Winner for Best Play, featuring a large landscape of people and characters, LBJ makes clear that it's not personal, it's just politics. " Performances take place on the mainstage at the Loretto-Hlton Center, 130 Edgar Road in Webster Groves, MO. For more information, call 314-968-4925 or visit

My take: If this play tells us anything, it's that the fight for justice never ends because the forces of hate, fear, and repression never go away. Brian Dyskstra heads a large and impressive cast as LBJ, beset on all sides because he decided to place principle above party and the good of the nation about political expedience by pushing through the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It's hard to imagine a contemporary politician at the national level who would have this kind of courage, which does not bode well for the republic. This is great theatre and a great moral lesson. You will be sorry if you miss it. Performances continue through October 4th.

The Tavern of Fine Arts presents Werner and the Pyroclastic Flow with Bob Chamberlin on piano in Love, Death, and Miscellaneous, an evening of "music, humor, and more music and humor." The performance takes place on Friday, September 18, at 8 p.m.. The Tavern of Fine Arts is at 313 Belt at Waterman in the Central West End. There's free parking in the lot right across the street. For more information: 314-369-8330.

My take: Honestly, I have no idea whether this will be worth seeing or not, but if I were available tonight I'd be there just because it sounds fascinating. And I dearly love the Tavern as a performing arts space, especially for music. They have a great wine list, a nice selection of food, and free parking right across the street as well. The location in the DeBaliviere Place neighborhood is quiet and classy, surrounded mostly by condos and a nice class of apartments.

Held Over:

Alton Little Theater presents the musical revue Forbidden Broadway through Sunday at 2450 North Henry in Alton, IL. "In this Off-Broadway hit musical revue, Broadway's greatest musical legends meet Broadway's greatest satirist in this hilarious, loving, and endlessly entertaining tribute to some of theater's greatest stars and songwriters. Hailed a “hilarious and brilliantly wicked” by The New York Times, you do not have to be a Broadway musical fan to enjoy this immensely entertaining show. This fall-down funny roast of Broadway features outrageous costumes and hilarious rewrites of the songs you know and love." For more information, call 618.462.6562 or visit

My take: I haven't see the ALT production, but I have seen earlier versions of the various Forbidden Broadway revues and they've been pretty consistently hilarious, so you know they're working with good material.

Mr. Burns
Photo: Michael Young

R-S Theatrics presents Mr. Burns: a Post-Electric Play through September 20. " Mr. Burns tells the story of a group of survivors recalling and retelling an episode of the TV show The Simpsons shortly after a global catastrophe, then examines the way the story has changed seven years after that, and finally, 75 years later." Performances take place at The Ivory Theatre, 7620 Michigan in the Caroldelet neighborhood. For more information:

My take: I'm on the play reading committee at West End Players Guild. We read and considered this one for our coming season but ultimately rejected it, in part, because we thought it might be too technically demanding. it is, however, a wildly innovative concept that raises interesting questions about how legends are born and mutate. R-S is always up to a challenge and it will be interesting to see what they do with this odd little play. Reviews have been good. Tina Farmer calls it "thoroughly enjoyable and refreshingly different production" at KDHX while over at Ladue News, Mark Bretz calls it "a most provocative piece of theatrical terror."

Tell Me Somethin' Good
Photo: Stewart Goldstein

The Black Rep presents the musical revue Tell Me Somethin' Good through September 20. "One of the most popular shows ever produced at The Black Rep. This critically acclaimed audience favorite is a stroll down memory lane, beginning with street corner acapella doowop and moving through the 60s, 70s,80s right to hip hop. Nonstop music will have you dancing in your seats and in the aisles. " Performances take place at the Edison Theatre on the Washington University campus. For more information:

My take: This upbeat revue has been a favorite at the Black Rep for some time now. It gets refreshed and rearranged a bit with each new production, so expect some new faces and new songs in this celebration of fifty years and some change of black American musical experience. Black Rep artistic director Ron Himes, quoted in the St. Louis American notes that the show "is the most popular musical in Black Rep history. We've had more people come into the lobby and say, ‘when are you gonna bring tell me something good again?'" When would be now, as the kickoff the the company's 39th season.

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