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Photo: David Sanford
My take: Historically bogus though it may be, Richard III is one of Shakespeare's most rippling yarns. Like Macbeth, it's ultimately a straightforward tale of ambition turned toxic with a villain who richly deserves his fate. In her review for 88.1 KDHX, Tina Farmer says this that production "embraces the eloquence of deceit and manipulation in a gleefully dark and riveting production that steamrolls courtly etiquette and political loyalties in pursuit of the crown."
My take: No, this is not the David Giuntoli who stars in Grimm, but rather my fellow Cabaret Project board member in his first solo show. The focus on Sinatra makes perfect sense, given that Mr. Giuntoli is a baritone with a crooner's sensibility and an affection for the Great American Songbook.
Photo: John Lamb
My take: Lee Blessing's work has appeared fairly frequently on local stages in recent years, and with good reason: he's an original and sometimes provocative voice. "An honest look at what is possible -- and seemingly impossible -- in human encounters lies at the heart of many Lee Blessing plays," wrote Michael McGregor in a 2010 review of Great Falls for Oregon Live. "Letting each character have his say -- and his due -- he shines a harsh but understanding light on contemporary American problems."
|Hedwig and the Angry Inch|
Photo: John Lamb
My take: "When Hedwig brings her Angry Inch band to St. Louis," writes Tina Farmer at KDHX, "you better get ready for a punk rock throwback that's still a force to be reckoned with. This is the premise, feel, and atmosphere Stray Dog Theatre has created for their production of John Cameron Mitchell's angry ode to the downtrodden working class, running through April 16, 2016 and directed by Justin Been. This is Hedwig's story and uniquely hers, but she shares kinship with musicians, artists, and rebels -- transgender, queer, and straight -- who have stories they are compelled to tell. Fame be damned." This aggressive rock musical is not new to St. Louis, of course, but Stray Dog is putting their own spin on it by turning their space into the seedy rock club where Hedwig performs, complete with table service.
My take: What can I say about this classic that has not already been said? The type of small town life depicted in Wilder's play (the action place between 1901 and 1913) was already passing from the scene when it premiered in 1938. By rights it should be a museum piece by now. But the writing touches so effectively on the universal human experiences of birth, life, and death that it never seems dated.