Friday, October 09, 2015

Chuck's St. Louis Theatre Choices for the weekend of October 9, 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:

Maxine Linehan
The Presenters Dolan present Maxine Linehan in An Immigrant's Story on Friday and Saturday, October 9 and 10, at 8 PM as part of the Gaslight Cabaret Festival. "A singer and performer as likable as she is talented, Maxine Linehan's show is about leaving Ireland over a decade ago and a new life in America. Songs of Ireland, songs of America, the kind of songs and stories that have become our cultural history. Your or your ancestors came here from somewhere, and this is your story too." The performance takes place at the Gaslight Theater, 358 North Boyle. For more information:

My take: Having just returned from a trip to Ireland myself, I'm interested to see what Ms. Linehan has to say about the experience of emigrating here. If the trailers at the Gaslight Cabaret Festival web site are any indication, Ms. Linehan is equally comfortable with both Irish folk material and numbers from the Great American Songbook. The show will be lively at the very least; Ms. Linehan's opening act will be a trope of Irish folk dancers from the Clarkson School of Irish Dance.

St. Louis University Theatre presents Trash Macbeth through October 11. "Based on Shakespeare's text, this semi-devised, ensemble-built, original content piece considers the 1950's housewife while asking the question: How can we re-purpose waste into something beautiful? Performed by six actors with all costume, scenic and prop elements created from found, not purchased, materials." Performances take place in Xavier Hall, 3373 West Pine Mall. For more information, call (314) 977-2998 or visit

My take: In a review due to be published this weekend, 88.1 KDHX reviewer Sarah Richardson says that "[t]he fates that are spun and the lives unwound in this tragedy reach astounding dramatic heights thanks to a marvelous alchemy of all the elements of theatre: design, staging, performance, and text...A delicious, theatrical nightmare par excellence." Sometimes a university setting is the only place really risky theatre can take place, and St. Louis University has demonstrated in the past that it's not afraid to take chances.

Held Over:

Black and Blue
Photo: ProPhotoSTL
Gitana Productions presents Black and Blue by by Lee Patton Chiles with music by Tbeats Entertainment at 7 p.m. on Friday, October 9. "An original play of hope and healing, exploring the assumptions that all young black men are dangerous, and that all cops are bad." Performances take place at St. Louis Community College at Meramec located at 11333 Big Bend Rd. "An original play of hope and healing, exploring the assumptions that all young black men are dangerous, and that all cops are bad." For more information:

My take: The events in Ferguson, Missouri, last year resonated throughout the nation. Originally presented back in June, this drama by St. Louis playwright Lee Patton Chiles is, in the words of KDHX theatre reviewer Tina Farmer, "a thought provoking, well-acted and strongly worded play that stirs discussion in an attempt to create a fuller, more varied and nuanced understanding of racial conflict, not only in St. Louis but across America." Theatre can educate, enlighten, and provoke as well as entertain, and it looks like Gitana has a production here that does all three.

Valhalla Cemetery and The Hawthorne Players present Voices Of Valhalla: A Hayride Through History through October 10. Hayrides through Valhalla Cemetery depart every fifteen minutes beginning at 6:30 each evening as members of the Hawthorne Players portray some of the noted locals buried in Valhalla. Valhalla Cemetery is located at 7600 St. Charles Rock Road. For more information, visit

My take: I had a chance to both see and appear in this annual event for the first time last year, and I must say that I was impressed by the professionalism of both the script (assembled by director Larry Marsh from historical sources) and the quality of the performances. Here's how it works: you pile on a hay wagon and are driven through historic Valhalla Cemetery. At various points during the ride, the wagon stops and an actor portraying a historical figure buried at Valhalla steps out of the darkness and delivers a monolog on his or her life. They can be comic, tragic, or a combination of the two, but they're always well researched and informative.

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