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New This Week:
That Uppity Theatre Company presents Every 28 Hours, and evening of one-act plays inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, on Monday, October 24, at 8 p.m. "The One-Minute Play Festival (Dominic D'Andrea, Producing Artistic Director), and Oregon Shakespeare Festival (Claudia Alick, Producer) collaborated to create a collection of 71 one-minute plays from across the country called “Every 28 Hours”. This national partnership focuses on the widely shared statistic that every 28 hours in America, a black person is the victim of systemic violence and is killed by the police, vigilante, or security guard. The performance takes place at the Loretto-Hilton Center on the campus of Webster University. For more information: uppityco.com.
My take: I think the importance of the issues dealt with here pretty much speaks for itself. I realize Monday isn't part of the weekend, but I wanted to make sure this got a shout out from me nevertheless.
My take: Anna and I have shared theatrical and cabaret stages numerous times over the last 15 years or so. She's as gutsy on stage as she is in real life and seeing her on stage is always a pleasure. Reviewing her Fran Landesman show back in 2009, Andrea Braun had this to say: "She has a supple, melodic voice, and she looks like she was born to wear a red dress (and proves that redheads needn't avoid that color) and lean against a baby grand. She is sultry, playful, sad, straight-forward, and she provides the audience with an altogether lovely evening." Anna was still relatively new to cabaret back then and has only gotten stronger over the years. I cant think of a more appropriate performer to celebrate the music of Helen Reddy.
|The Rocky Horror Show|
My take: Get ready for Halloween with this now venerable R-rated send-up of cheesy horror movies. Great art is ain't, but it is great fun if done well, and judging from Steve Allen's review for his Stage Door STL blog, the folks at Stray Dog have, in fact, done it well. "Nothing says Fall and Halloween better than a production of 'The Rocky Horror Show' and Stray Dog brings it back with all of the zaniness, crowd reactions and scantily clad lads and lassies. If you’re familiar with the stage show or the movie (and who isn’t?), you’ll have a great time." I was in Stray Dog's first production of this show back in 2009 and the audience was having at least as much fun as we were on stage. I'd expect the same this time around.
My take: While I haven't seen this particular show, I did review Storm Large's appearance at the Gaslight Cabaret Festival this past November and was mightily impressed. Back then I described her as a one-woman entertainment conglomerate (rock star, author, actor, and songwriter whose work was entertaining, raucously and bawdily funny, entirely genuine and utterly theatrical. If you haven't seen her before, you really should not deprive yourself of the opportunity.
|Until the Flood|
My take: While some reviews for this remarkable one-woman show have been mixed, I'm including it because it shines theatrical light on issues that have remained too long in the darkness in American in general and here in St. Louis in particular. "Through eight sharply drawn characters and a moving spoken word closing," writes Tina Farmer in a soon-to-be-published review at KDHX, "Orlandersmith challenges easy assumptions while making the case for continued conversation. As an actor, she is thoroughly engaging, with a clear purpose and focused action. Her characters are distinct and teeming with authenticity". This show is a remarkably courageous choice for the Rep's main stage and deserves our support.
Photo: Eric Woolsey
My take: Lavonne Byers, who has so many impressive roles to her credit on St. Louis stages, appears to have another hit on her hands with this one-woman show. In her upcoming review for KDHX, Tina Farmer says Ms. Byers "goes both broad and deep when capturing the life and motivation of one of the twentieth century's most popular and divisive female leaders" and that the show "gives us a terrifyingly real and decidedly unromantic view of those who seek to balance power and idealism. The one-woman biography is a stunning success and fitting tribute."
Photo: Jill Ritter Lindberg
My take: Everybody knows Fantasticks, but other Jones/Schmidt shows like I Do, I Do and 110 in the Shade get less attention than they deserve, so it's good to see New Line take on this adventurous 1960s period piece. "Part fable, part love triangle, and part 1960s hippie/Brechtian/Fantasticks-style love-in," writes Richard Green at Talking Broadway, "this seldom-seen show succeeds brilliantly thanks to its post-Vietnam urgency, its post-Civil Rights egalitarianism, and perhaps even a soupçon of pre-Watergate naiveté—along with excellent leads and the sheer wit and exuberance of the whole ensemble."
My take: Upstream has presented some pretty inventive and daring theatre over the years, and their current production appears to be solidly in that same line. "As usual," writes Steve Allen at Stage Door St. Louis, "Upstream Theater brings us provocative and thoughtful theatre. “Suspended” is a story that unfolds slowly but gets to the heart of the matter. Thanks to two outstanding performances and excellent direction, “Suspended” becomes a show that you shouldn’t miss." At the Belleville News-Democrat, Lynn Venhaus says the show is "an absorbing character study with more layers than even the premise implies." Other critics have had good words for it as well.