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New This Week:
|Beautiful—The Carole King Musical|
Photo: Joan Marcus
My take: Abby Mueller shines in the title role of this bright, fast-paced jukebox musical loosely based on the early years of Carole King's songwriting career, culminating with her emergence as a singer in her own right with her best selling Tapestry LP in 1971. The performers playing pop idols like The Drifters, The Shirelles, Little Eva, and The Righteous Brothers, though, really steal the show. There's just enough plot to keep things going without getting in the way of a nostalgic score that highlights hits by King and her first songwriting partner (and first husband) Gerry Goffin as well as equally well-known tunes by their fellow songwriters at Adlon Music, Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil. Go and enjoy.
Webster University's Conservatory of Theatre Arts presents Molière's comedy The Miser Wednesdays through Sundays through February 28. "Molière's classic comedy introduces us to Harpagon, a man so consumed by greed that he is set on sacrificing the happiness of his children in marriages of convenience. But Harpagon's son and daughter, Valère and Mariane, will plot against their father to marry those they love instead. Molière treats the age-old conflict between love and money with unparalleled and sparkling wit." Performances take place in the studio theatre at the Loretto-Hilton center on the Webster University campus. For more information, events.webster.edu or call 314-968-7128.
My take: The Webster Conservatory is one of the best college theatre groups in town, often producing work of real professional quality. As Steve Callahan writes in his review for KDHX, "director Rick Dildine and his student cast are placing before us a toothsomely light soufflé...As usual with Conservatory productions there are very strong performances—and excellent diction—from the student actors."
My take: A cabaret show based on classic TV songs and themes? Like activating the Bolonium Interface Device on "Star Trek", it's a crazy idea but it just might work! Since Ken has already quoted me in his promotional material, you might as well read the complete review of the first performance of this show in 2012 at the KDHX web site. Ken has been a fixture of the local cabaret scene for a while now and is one of our most reliably polished performers.
The Stage@KDHX presents Tim Schall: 1961 on Friday, February 26, at 8 PM. "In 1961 the Beatles debuted at the Cavern Club in Liverpool, Bob Dylan entered the Greenwich Village folk scene, 19 year old Carole King wrote her first #1 hit, Moon River won the Oscar for Best Song and in February of that year Tim Schall was born! Join Tim as he celebrates his birthday in a show dedicated to the music of his natal year." Carol Schmidt is pianist and music director for the show, with Michele Isam on percussion, vocals, and sax and Ben Wheeler on bass. The Stage@KDHX is in the KDHX building at 3524 Washington in Grand Center. For more information: ticketfly.com.
My take: I saw this show the first time around back in 2014. It was a polished, well-paced, and exceptionally entertaining evening back then. Since then Tim and music director Carol Schmidt have been refining the arrangements and have added the multi-talented Michele Isam (with Ms. Schmidt, the other half of the local jazz/pop/rock duo Jasmine from many years ago), so this is clearly one you don't want to miss.
|And in This Corner...Cassius Clay|
My take: "Goodwin's script is crafted to draw in audience members of all ages," writes Shannon Cothran at KDHX, "and he has succeeded with "In This Corner...." A mixture of poetry and prose, the play manages to tell the story of a boy who becomes a champion despite living within a culture of hate while showing us the flaws that make him human." I've been very impressed with Goodwin's work at the Humana Festival in Louisville in 2012 and in 2014, so I'm not surprised to hear that the playwright has struck gold again.
Photo: Peter Wochniak
My take: The playwright who gave us the brilliant Invisible Hand at the Rep Studio back in 2012 it again with a powerful portrayal of the problems immigrants face, especially when they're part of a demonized and poorly understood minority. How much can you assimilate before you lose your own identity? And is it ever enough for people who will always see you as the "other" no mater what you do or say? We learn from history that we do not learn from history, which makes this a very relevant play these days.
Photo: Valerie Goldston
My take: Composed largely of young actors who were part of the late HotCity Theatre, YoungLiars is certainly taking risks with this innovative first production, which decants an 18th century comedy into some colorful new bottles. "All in all," writes Steve Callahan at KDHX, "this debut promises great things from The Young Liars. It's filled with quite wonderful style and artifice. "
Photo: John Lamb
My take: This appears to be a good weekend for hard-nosed dramatic examinations of big social and political issues, with both this show and the Rep's Disgraced. "Director Lee Anne Mathews has tackled the difficult script with sensitivity and a subdued confrontational approach," writes Steve Allen at Stage Door St. Louis. "It works well in easing the audience into this slippery subject matter and gives the proper amount of tension on stage. Playwright Johanna Adams has fashioned a difficult script that opens a lot of conversation about a problem that is all too often ignored- the high suicide rate among younger people." "Playwright Johnna Adams has written a compelling and riveting if also highly disturbing drama that pushes the two performers in its one act and 75 minutes to emotional exhaustion, along with the audience," writes Mark Bretz at Ladue News.