Thursday, November 26, 2015

Chuck's Choices for the weekend of November 27, 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:

The 2013 production of All is Calm
Mustard Seed Theatre presents the acapella musical All is Calm Thursdays through Sundays, November 27-December 20. "Join us in celebrating the power of peace in this acapella musical based on the true story of soldiers during World War I who for one night, put down their arms and played soccer instead of exchanging bullets." Performances take place at the Fontbonne Fine Arts Theatre, 6800 Wydown Blvd. For more information, call (314) 719-8060 or visit the web site at

My take: This show is apparently going to be a holiday tradition at Mustard Seed, and with good reason. The story of the remarkable holiday truce that spontaneously interrupted the insanity of World War I remains an inspiring reminder of what happens when ordinary people ignore the manipulations of their leadership and allow their basic decency to take control of their actions. The lesson for contemporary politics is clear. "The singing is deep, strong and wide ranging in voice," wrote Dennis Corcoran in his review of the 2013 production for KDHX, "with arrangements spanning the complex to the surprisingly simple and pure...This show is a special treat. "

Animals Out of Paper
Photo: Michael Young
R-S Theatrics presents Animals Out of Paper Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 7 p.m., through December 8 "When a reclusive origami artist opens her studio to a teenage prodigy and his eager high-school teacher, she discovers that life and love can't be arranged neatly in this drama about finding the perfect fold." Performances take place at The Chapel, 6238 Alexander Drive. For more information:

My take: As someone who entered into a major love affair with origami as a youth, I find the subject of this play fascinating. In her review for KDHX, Tina Farmer says that Animals Out of Paper "is a cerebral story about intimacy told from three incomplete and deeply emotional perspectives. As such, there are thoughts left unsaid, confusion caused by good intentions, and anger and hurt that springs from misplaced need and misunderstood actions. Each character is authentically human and flawed, and the actors and Schaefer don’t hesitate in peeling back the skin and showing the turmoil, indecision, and impulses that drive the characters. The show poses more questions than it answers and opens more wounds than it heals, making for a compelling, if at times messy, story arc."

Christy Simmons
Topper Productions presents Christy Simmons in A Woman of a Certain Age on Sunday, November 29 at 3 p.m. "Christy Simmons takes to the stage at the beautiful Boom Boom Room, to explore the many contrasts between life as a twenty-something, and life as a well-beyond-twenty-something. Always funny and engaging, Christy tackles her subject matter with wit, honesty, a touch of wistfulness and romance, and an impressive variety of songs from The Great American Songbook. The song list ranges from Harold Arlen and Johhny Mercer, to Sondheim, and even Billy Joel. She is backed-up by some of St. Louis' premier musicians; Joe Dryer (Piano), Clancy Newell (Drums), and Dave Troncoso (Bass), to provide an afternoon of truly wonderful music, and story-telling." The performance takes place at The Boom Boom Room, 500 N. 14th St. downtown. For more information:

My take: It has been a while since Christy has brought her big, brassy, sassy stage persona to the local cabaret scene, so this is a welcome return. Ms. Simmons has a well-trained voice that can belt or purr as needed, so she’s equally at home up-tempo numbers and ballads. And she has some pretty impressive sidemen this time around, including Joe Dreyer, a guy with some solid cabaret credentials of his own. I know nothing about the Boom Boom Room, but I know plenty about Ms. Simmons and that's enough to recommend this show.

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