Thursday, October 27, 2016

Chuck's Choices for the weekend of October 28, 2016

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

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New This Week:

Tovah Feldshuh
The Presenters Dolan presents Tovah Feldshuh in Aging is Optional on Friday and Saturday, October 28 and 29, at 8 p.m. as part of the Gaslight Cabaret Festival. "Broadway star and four-time Tony Award nominee (Lend Me a Tenor, Golda's Balcony, Yentl, Sarava) brings her cabaret show to town. "Aging is Optional" is an age-defying romp. As Tovah puts it, "Some people call them decades; I call them my collected works." Broadway' sTovah Feldshuh has earned four Tony Award nominations and is currently a regular on TV's The Walking Dead and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend." The performances take place at the Gaslight Theater, 358 North Boyle. For more information:

My take: Needless to say, I'm automatically drawn to a show with a title like this one, since it largel captures my attitude towards life at this point. Besides, I have always felt that actors have an advantage when approaching the art of cabaret since a good cabaret show is much like a one-act play, and actors are already familiar with the form. And Ms. Feldchuh's acting credentials are, as the press release material demostrates, impressive.

Christina Rios
The Emerald Room at the Monocle and The Presenters Dolan present singer Christina Rios in In 18 More Years, I Will Be Able To Sleep Again on Saturday, October 29, at 7 p.m. "A seasoned performer and a mother of four, Rios is returning to the cabaret stage with a show about the joys and heartbreak of parenting. Come enjoy an evening of Steven Schwartz, Kacey Musgraves, Fleetwood Mac, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and more as Rios uses her versatile voice and signature wit to explore the gooey lows and incredible highs of parenting. Leah Luciano is pianist and music director for the show, which is directed by Ben Nordstrom." The performance takes place in the Emerald Room at The Monocle, 4510 Manchester in the Grove neighborhood. For more information:

My take: Trained as a classical singer and boasting many years of experience in the theatre, Ms. Rios would almost be over-qualified for the cabaret stage, if such a thing were possible (and I don't think it is). We've had some sneak peeks at her show at the Cabaret Project open mic nights every Wednesday at The Monocle, and based on that alone I think you can expect a great show. Besides, the Emerald Room is a very cool space and The Monocle has an impressive bar.

Winter Opera St. Louis presents Lehar's comic operetta The Merry Widow Friday at 8 PM and Sunday at 3 PM, October 28 and 30. Performances take place at The Skip Viragh Center for the Arts at Chaminade College Preparatory School, 425 S. Lindbergh. For more information, visit

My take:This durable 1905 romantic comedy is a perennial favorite with many opera companies, and with good reason. Done well, it as bubbly as Champagne and as bright as a Christmas tree. If you're looking for something to lift your spirits and make you forget the ugliness of our curent political climate, this might be just the ticket.

Held Over:

Golda's Balcony
Photo: Eric Woolsey
New Jewish Theater presents Golda's Balcony through October 30 "This is a strong show about a strong woman, Israel's fourth Prime Minister, Golda Meir. We meet her as she struggles with what became known as the Yom Kippur War in 1973 and which was very nearly a disaster for the State of Israel. The play asks us to consider what happens when idealism becomes power." 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: 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."

The Rocky Horror Show
Stray Dog Theatre presents the rock musical The Rocky Horror Show through October 29. “The cult classic is back! After a flat tire has them stuck in a storm, sweethearts Brad and Janet come upon the eerie mansion of Dr. Frank-N-Furter. Once inside, a houseful of colorful characters take the couple on a bizarre journey they will never forget. This raucous musical is an over-the-top tribute to mid-20th century science fiction and horror B-movies." Performances take place at The Tower Grove Abbey, 2336 Tennessee. For more information, visit or call 314-865-1995.

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.

Until the Flood
Through November 6, the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis presents Until the Flood. Writer, performer and Pulitzer Prize finalist Dael Orlandersmith spent a week in St. Louis interviewing people from every corner of the region about recent social unrest. From these conversations, she has crafted a play that reflects the complexity of St. Louis. Performances take place at the Loretto-Hilton Center on the Webster University campus. For more information:

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". Having seen the show myself, I can only add that this is a beautifully written and flawlessly acted show that deals in a surprisingly even-handed matter with emotionally fraught material. Even the most thoroughly repellent character in the play is still recognizably human. This show is a remarkably courageous choice for the Rep's main stage and deserves our support.

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