Share on Google+:
New This Week:
|Inherit the Wind|
Photo: John Lamb
My take: This classic portrayal of the struggle between science and superstition ought to be a museum piece, but the resurgence of radical fundamentalism has created a new wave of attacks on science in our public schools, making this script sadly relevant again. "In a political season," writes Tina Farmer at KDHX, "a play like Inherit the Wind, running through August 28, 2016 at Insight Theatre Company, serves to remind us that our vote often has ramifications that extend well beyond a politician's name or party affiliation. Our response to the challenges that face our country impacts society on every level, including the education of future generations. This stirring production presents a fresh, engaging, and well-performed case for education, helmed by two of our most persuasive stage veterans."
|Mary Shelley Monster Show|
My take: This innovative piece was very well received when it first appeared back in 2014. At the Stage Door blog, for example, Steve Allen called it "a wonderful, creative piece of theatre" while Mark Bretz at Ladue News said it was "riveting and thought-provoking."
The St. Lou Fringe Festival opens on Friday, August 19, and runs through August 27 at several venues in the Grand Center area including the Kranzberg Arts Center (501 N. Grand) and TheStage at KDHX. Performances include traditional theater, dance, music, comedy, circus arts, performance art, cabaret, and burlesque, with acts from St. Louis and around the country. "This year's festival will coincide with Grand Center's new arts event Music at The Intersection and will include both new and familiar programming. 2016 will see the premiere of microtheater (short performances for an audience of no more than 9 patrons in an intimate, immersive setting), spin rooms (post show talk backs an workshops), Voices Unleashed (A number of festival slots are reserved for producers who are underrepresented in mainstream theatrical settings based on ethnicity, gender identity, language, dialect, age, physical ability, BMI, or other barrier), and an incubator program (a specialized collaborative showcase setting with more support for emergent artists). Past favorite programs like Fringe Family and the Artica sculpture garden will again enliven Strauss Park." For a complete schedule, visit stlfringe.comstlfringe.com.
My take: I've been an enthusiastic supporter of the St. Lou Fringe since its scrappy beginnings in June of 2012. Four years later, the Fringe is a major player on the local cultural scene and is attracting attention nation-wide. If you've never "fringed," you have missed an awful lot of unusual—and often unique—entertainment. And this year, with the festival expanded to two weekends, there's no excuse not to check it out.
|Tell Me On a Sunday|
Photo: Jill Ritter Lindberg
My take: Tell Me On a Sunday may be one of the least-known of Andrew Lloyd Webber's many musicals, right down there with the impressive Aspects of Love. As a one-woman show, it's also one of the most modest. It's by no means ALWs best work and, in fact, the composer himself later turned it into the first act of his full-length musical Song and Dance, but is has some fine music, including the lovely "Unexpected Song", and star Sarah Porter has gotten lots of praise for her performance.
My take: As her performance at the St. Louis Cabaret Conference last month reminded me, Kelsey is a very talented performer who very likely has a promising career ahead of her. She's off to New York soon to make a name for herself, so here's your opportunity to say you saw her when.
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.
|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.