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My take: It's my view that some of the best cabaret comes from experienced actors. That's because a well-constructed cabaret show is much like a one-act play, with an emotional arc and a distinct sends of beginning, middle, and end. Actors are most likely to be familiar with that structure. Ms. Skidis is a well-established local actor, so I'd expect this to be a show well worth your attention.
Stone Spiral Coffeehouse presents Jan Marra in a solo concert of original songs on Friday, September 23, at 8 p.m. "The Stone Spiral is in its ninth year of providing the friendliest and tastiest atmosphere in the neighborhood, with newspapers, coffee, tea, beer, wine and most especially espresso. Then there's all the nice plates of food and books to read and art to look at and buy." Stone Spiral Coffeehosue is at 2500 Sutton in Maplewood, MO. For more information: stonespiralcoffee.com.
My take: Jan provided us with some pretty amazing performances at the Cabaret Project's open mic night at the late lamented Tavern of Fine Arts over the years, so this should be a fascinating show. And Stone Spiral is a very funky and intimate setting (I have performed there myself in the past) with a nice selection of food and drink.
|Toy Hyams and Lisa Rothauser|
My take: It's always interesting to hear from singer/songwriter teams. As a bonus, this show provides a behind-the-scenes look at some projects that are still in the development stage. And, let's face it, aren't you just a little bit intrigued by what Green Acres the Musical might sound like? As an added incentive, local musical theatre and cabaret star Ben Nordstrom will be opening for Hyams and Rothauser.
Photo: Jerry Naunheim, Jr.
My take: Laurel wreaths are in order for director Rob Ruggiero and the cast and crew of this production of the utterly brilliant 1971 commercial flop by Stephen Sondheim and James Goldman (best known for his popular comedy/drama "The Lion in Winter"). Broadway and cabaret stars Christiane Noll and Emily Skinner head the large and impressive ensemble cast. This remarkable story of personal and cultural disintegration has always been an expensive challenge to produce, but the Rep has proved to be more than up to the task, getting their 50th season off to a rousing start. The big "mirror" production number, in particular, is a true coup de théâtre, as women of the ensemble execute Ralph Perkins' complex choreography with superhuman precision.
|A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder|
Photo: Joan Marcus
My take: Speaking of rave reviews, this hit Broadway musical has been gather them for some time now, copping the 2014 Tony for Best Musical along the way. This tour has gotten great notices locally. "Sometimes people complain that theater isn’t 'fun", writes Judy Newmark at STLToday.com. "These people need to see 'A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder,' the blithe treat that opened Tuesday at the Fox Theatre. If that doesn’t make them change their minds, nothing will."
|Miss Julie, Clarissa and John|
Photo: Phillip Hamer
My take: Rewriting Strindberg's 1888 tragedy and moving it to the post-Civil War South could be an invitation to disaster, but Mr. Southers appears to have pulled it off, based on the reviews. At Stage Door STL, Steve Allen says the script is "is nothing short of brilliant" while the production itself is "powerful theatre, well directed and a splendid cast who exemplifies the quality and longevity of the Black Rep."