Friday, June 03, 2016

Chuck's Choices for the weekend of June 3, 2016

As always, the choices are purely my personal opinion. Take with a grain (or a shaker) of salt.

Share on Google+:

New This Week:

One Too Many
The Emerald Room at the Monocle presents the a cappella vocal group One Too Many on Saturday, June 4, at 8 p.m. "Six-Man A Capella. Tight harmonies, sharp, funny, homegrown. If you like Straight No Chaser, you'll be very happy. These guys are on the move." The performance takes place in The Emerald Room at The Monocle Bar, 4510 Manchester in The Grove neighborhood. For more information:

My take: These guys came to the open mic night I host for The Cabaret Project at the Tavern of Fine Arts a few months ago and just knocked everybody out. Is the cabaret tent big enough to include a cappella? I'd say so, and I'd say this is just the group to prove it.

The Tavern of Fine Arts presents Tim Schall's Cabaret Party on Saturday, June 4, at 8 p.m. "Hosted by Tim Schall with Carol Schmidt at the piano, this promises to be fun, lively and entertaining - a musical party with Tim, Carol and their talented friends- each singing lots of tunes for you!" The Tavern of Fine Arts is at 313 Belt in the Debaliviere Place neighborhood. For more information:

My take: This is the second in a planned series of showcases of local cabaret talent presented in the informal atmosphere of the Tavern of Fine Arts, which is where I host The Cabaret Project's monthly open mic night. As the executive director of The Cabaret Project and the organizer of the yearly St. Louis Cabaret Festival, Tim Schall is one of the genre's leading exponents here in St. Louis, and Carol Schmidt is one of our most sought-after music directors. Their guests for this first outing are all impressive performers in their own right, so you can expect serious entertainment here.

Held Over:

You can read more about all the upcoming operas at OTSL in my preview post.

La Bohème
Photo: Ken Howard
Opera Theatre of St. Louis presents Puccini's La Bohème opening on Saturday, May 21, and running through June 25. "One of the most performed operas of all time, La bohème has gripped audiences for over a century. Rodolfo and his friends scrape by as bohemian artists, using their wit and charm to escape life's harsher consequences. Rodolfo can't imagine how love will change him until he encounters a beautiful dressmaker, Mimì. Set to lush, irresistible music, Puccini's masterpiece never fails to move audiences to both laughter and tears." Performances take place at the Loretto-Hilton Center at 135 Edgar Road on the Webster University campus. All performances are sung in English with projected English text. For more information: or call 314-961-0644.

My take: Pretty much everything I want to say about this fine production is in my 88.1 KDHX review!. There are some minor aspects of this particular La Bohème that I find less than ideal, but the production as a whole is so very good so often that I have no hesitation in recommending it.

Photo: Ken Howard
Opera Theatre of St. Louis presents Verdi's Macbeth, based on the Shakespeare tragedy, opening on Saturday, May 28, and running through June 26. "This opera is a thriller from start to finish - from the eerie prophecies of witches, to Lady Macbeth's sleepwalking scene, to the chilling and bloody finale. Experience Shakespeare's tale of ruthless ambition and murder as a classic Verdi masterwork, set to some of the most magnificent music in all of opera." Performances take place at the Loretto-Hilton Center at 135 Edgar Road on the Webster University campus. All performances are sung in English with projected English text. For more information: or call 314-961-0644.

My take: I haven't seen this yet and won't get the opportunity to do so for a few weeks, but I'm recommending it anyway because I have always liked this economical and dramatically charged operatic version of Shakespeare's terse tragedy. Yes, it's more Italian than it is Scots or English, but it's rattling good yarn all the same.

The Two-Character Play
The Midnight Company presents The Two-Character Play by Tennessee Williams Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., through June 4. "Two actors, a brother and a sister, are stranded in a theatre, struggling to perform, struggling to survive." Performances take place at the Winter Opera Space, 2322 Marconi on The Hill. For more information:

My take: The recently-concluded Tennessee Williams festival produced a remarkable variety of performances, including an unconventional take on The Glass Menagerie by Upstream and this "weird but oddly wonderful production" (to quote Mark Bretz of Ladue News) of a late and rarely-seen play. It might not be the playwright's best work, but it's being performed by a pair of actors—Michelle Hand and Joe Hanrahan—who are among the best at their craft. That, for me, means that it deserves serious consideration.

Photo: Eric Woolsey
New Jewish Theater presents the musical Yentl through June 5 “Based on Isaac Bashevis Singer's short story “Yentl the Yeshiva Boy” and updated with new music and lyrics by Jill Sobule, “Yentl” tells the story of a young girl in 19th century Eastern Europe forbidden to pursue her dream of studying Talmud. Unwilling to accept her fate, she disguises herself as a man. But when she falls in love, Yentl must decide how far she's willing to go to protect her identity. This marks 40 years since the play - then without music - ran on Broadway. With parallels in Singer's short story coinciding with the burgeoning second wave of feminism, we find Yentl as an outsider seeking to find her own voice within a very proscribed world.” Performances take place in the Marvin and Harlene Wool Studio Theater at the Jewish Community Center, 2 Millstone Campus Drive in Creve Coeur. For more information: or call 314-442-3283.

My take: This "rousing, spirited production" (to quote KDHX critic Tina Farmer) is effectively a world premiere, and I'm a big fan of the idea of bringing new works to local stages. Better yet, New Jewish has assembled a very strong cast for this, headed by Shanara Gabrielle in the title role and Andrew Michael Neiman as her love interest.

No comments: