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My take: When I reviewed the tour of the Broadway production back in 2001, I found Aida to be pretty entertaining but rather thin stuff overall. But reviews for the Muny's version have been good and this is certainly a show that allows the Muny to display its glossy tech. "Surely any story involving ancient Egypt has the potential for good visuals," writes Ann Lemmons Pollack, "and the opening scene, taking place in the dessert, pyramids in the background, gives us to understand that this is all fantasy, simply by creating a scene that evokes something from Tatooine in Star Wars." And given the weather lately, you won't have to try very hard to imagine you're in Egypt.
My take: This is not the first local appearance of this odd little musical which first saw the light of day in London in 1997, and I expect it won't be the last. Reviews have been good, which is not surprising, given that this is just the sort of ensemble cast thing Stray Dog does so well. They show is also a kind of memorial to Stray Dog's late production manager Jay Hall, who died during rehearsals.
My take: Amy is a genuinely talented performer with a wide range and a solid voice. She can make you laugh as easily as she can bring a tear to your eye. I've seen her do great work at the St. Louis Cabaret Conference and at the open mic nights at the late, lamented Tavern of Fine Arts.
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.
|The Drowsy Chaperone|
Photo: Peter Wochniak
My take: The Drowsy Chaperone is a very smart and mostly very funny parody of musical theatre and, to a certain extent, the very concept of theatre itself. It's fun to watch, and when I saw the local premiere at the Fox back in 2007 I found my appreciation of its cleverness increasing in retrospect - always a good sign. It's essentially the most elaborate in joke in living memory. I haven't seen the Stages production, but honestly it's hard to see how they could not do well by this very strong material. If you love musical theatre, you won't want to miss it.