Thursday, October 13, 2016

Chuck's Choices for the weekend of September 14, 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:

That Uppity Theatre Company presents Every 28 Hours, and evening of one-act plays inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, on Saturday, October 15, 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 COCA, 524 Trinity in University City. For more information:

My take: I think the importance of the issues dealt with here pretty much speaks for itself.  If you miss this performance, it will be repeated on Monday the 24th at the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis stage at the Loretto-Hilton Center on the Webster University campus.

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."

Marilyn Maye
The Presenters Dolan presents Marilyn Maye on Friday at 8 p.m. and Saturday at 2 and 8 p.m., October 14 and 15, as part of the Gaslight Cabaret Festival. "The queen of nightclub and cabaret singers, Marilyn Maye brings you a Best Of retrospective of the last 60 years. At 88, Marilyn Maye is an electrifying performer, a singer's singer and an artist for connoisseurs." Tedd Firth is pianist and music director for the show. The performances take place at the Gaslight Theater, 358 North Boyle. For more information:

My take: A cabaret legend who appeared a record number of 76 times on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, Maye has been packing them in at Carnegie Hall, New York’s 54 Below, Feinstein’s, Birdland, and in clubs and concert venues throughout the country. Reviewing her appearance here in 2007, I praised her "immediate and honest communication with the audience." "Maye’s boundless energy and obvious delight in her material," I wrote, "in combination with her cheerful, off-the-cuff repartee, establish an immediate bond with those of us on the other side of the spotlight." If you missed her appearance with Ann Hampton Callaway this past summer, here's a chance to see a real pro at work doing what she does best.

Photo: ProPhotoSTL
Upstream Theater presents the world premiere of Suspended by Israeli playwright Maya Arad Yasur, through October 23. "The play shows two refugees who have fled their war-torn country and have landed in a wealthy city where they work as window washers. As their day progresses we learn how deeply they are connected, and why they are suspended between a world they can see but cannot join, between a past scarred by violence and an uncertain future." Performances take place at the Kranzberg Arts Center, 501 North Grand in Grand Center. For more information, including show times:

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.

Held Over:

Photo: Jill Ritter Lindberg
New Line Theatre presents the musical Celebration Thursdays through Saturdays at 8 PM through October 22. "With words by Tom Jones and music by Harvey Schmidt (The Fantasticks, I Do! I Do!, 110 in the Shade), CELEBRATION tells a wild, adult fable set on New Year's Eve, centered on Orphan, an idealistic and cheerfully optimistic young man, who reminds the wealthy and jaded old man William Rosebud Rich of his younger self; Angel, a sweet but not so angelic erotic dancer who longs to be Somebody; and the cynical Potemkin, who serves as narrator, commentator, and instigator. At the story's core is the primal, often comic struggle between youth and old age, innocence and corruption, love and ambition, poverty and wealth, as Angel tries to decide if she would be better served by her feelings for Orphan or Rich's willingness to fulfill all her material dreams." Performances take place at the Marcelle Theater, 3310 Samuel Shepard Drive, three blocks east of Grand, in Grand Center. For more information, visit or call 314-534-1111.

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 naivetĂ©—along with excellent leads and the sheer wit and exuberance of the whole ensemble."

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