Thursday, April 21, 2016

Chuck's Choices for the weend of April 21, 2016

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:

Bosnian-American: The Dance of Life
Photo: John Lamb
Mustard Seed Theatre presents Bosnian-American: The Dance of Life, Thursdays through Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. through May 1. "Born in Bosnia and raised in St. Louis - painful history meets present reality in this collaboratively created script that celebrates the true stories of our neighbors." 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: Unlike some cities I could name, St. Louis has opened its doors to Muslim immigrants—especially those from Bosnia—and experienced considerable economic growth in the neighborhoods were they have settled. Mustard Seed has turned their experiences into what Steve Callahan calls "a most heartening and hopeful evening celebrating the Bosnian-American experience." At Ladue News, Mark Bretz writes: "Bosnian/American: The Dance for Life succeeds as a tribute to the valiant spirit of a people and culture driven from their homeland to start life anew in a land a continent away."  The show is a bit rocky in spots, but its heart is in the right place, which counts for a lot.

Angela Sapolis
The Emerald Room at the Monocle and The Presenters Dolan present Angela Sapolis in I Couldn't Have Said it Better on Saturday, April 23, at 7:30 p.m. "A native of St Louis, Angela Sapolis has made a name for herself on stages from coast to coast, and as far away as Tokyo. "I Couldn't Have Said It Better" is a potent marriage of words and music, taking us on a journey through the peak experiences of life, guided by the wit and wisdom of the world's great thinkers, writers, and musicians. Angela is sincerely grateful to her mentor, teacher, and friend, the legendary Andrea Marcovicci, for her invaluable support in creating this show." The performance takes place in the Emerald Room at The Monocle, 4510 Manchester in the Grove neighborhood. For more information:

Gail Payne
The Emerald Room at the Monocle and The Presenters Dolan present Gail Payne in Let it Shine on Thursday, April 21, at 7:30 p.m. "Four years ago, Gail Payne mustered the courage to let her light shine as she serenaded friends in her living room. Living into her dream of singing professionally, "Let It Shine" is Payne's fifth solo cabaret show demonstrating her passion and talent for masterfully weaving together songs and stories not only about her journey to sing solo, but also to find love and live happily ever after. Music will include classics from the Great American Songbook, Broadway, jazz, folk/country, and popular music." The performance takes place in the Emerald Room at The Monocle, 4510 Manchester in the Grove neighborhood. For more information:

My take: Ms. Payne and Ms. Sapolis are veterans of the St. Louis Cabaret Conference, a week-long intensive training program for musical theatre and cabaret singers. It attracts some top-flight talent. You can't go wrong with their of these very talented and engaging women, and the Emerald Room is a very cool venue.

Trash Macbeth at St. Louis University
Equally Represented Arts presents Trash Macbeth opening on Wednesday, April 20, and running through May 7th. "Lady Macbeth says, 'What's done cannot be undone.' But can it be repurposed? Based on Shakespeare's iconic tragedy, ERA's experimental production Trash Macbeth resuscitates meaning within a climate of destruction, reestablishes the societal norms of America's most traditional era, and reframes the value of our revered Shakespeare, housewifery, and garbage. Trash Macbeth is a full-length, theatrical production created by an ensemble of theatre artists with text from Shakespeare's Macbeth, Emily Post's Etiquette, the book of Revelations, Dr Benjamin Spock's Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care, and 1950's era advertisements." Performances take place at The Chapel, 6238 Alexander Drive. For more information:

My take: In a review of the original St. Louis University production of this last October, 88.1 KDHX reviewer Sarah Richardson wrote 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." This is a chance to see the play done by the ensemble whose founder, Lucy Cashion, created the piece for St. Louis U. last fall. Ms. Cashion has made a name for herself locally for her ingenious reworkings of classic plays.

Held Over:

David Guintoli
The Emerald Room Cabaret presents David Giuntoli in Sinatra...The Man and His Music on Friday, April 22, at 8 p.m. "David Giuntoli sings songs that Frank Sinatra made famous. He would have been 100, if alive, and although he was from a different era, his musical stylings are a as swinging today as they were in the 40s, 50s, and 60s when he was at his peak. Sinatra had a gift of taking songs from great composers like, Cole Porter, Jimmy Van Heusen, Sammy Cahn, and, along with his fantastic arrangements, giving them that “Sinatra” stamp. The show includes these songs; I've Got the World on a String, All or Nothing at All, The Best is Yet to Come, I've Got You Under My Skin, The Way You Look Tonight, Angel Eyes, Fly Me to the Moon, Night and Day, The Lady is a Tramp and more." The show features Adam Maness on piano and Ben Wheeler on bass. The performance takes place in The Emerald Room at The Monocle Bar, 4510 Manchester in The Grove neighborhood. For more information:

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. Last week's show was sold out, hence the reprise.

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