Thursday, December 01, 2016

Chuck's Choices for the weekend of December 2, 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:

Photo: Michael Young
R-S Theatrics presents Boom Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 7 p.m. through December 4. "Jo, a female journalism student, and Jules, a male marine biologist, meet in a subterranean biology lab for an erotic "casual encounter." But there's nothing casual whatsoever about this particular evening. Will meaningless sex have meaning? What's going on in the fish tank? And who is that woman, Barbara, pulling levers in the corner? Something is about to explode." Performances take place at The Chapel, 6238 Alexander Drive. For more information:

My take: Reviews for this latest daring outing by R-S have been quite good. Tina Farmer's review for KDHX is typical. She writes that Boom "peeks into a post-apocalyptic museum where a story of unexpected doom leads to a new creation myth. The humorous pairing of humanity's potential next Adam and Eve is countered by the more clinical, yet nonetheless passionate, observations of our docent, Barbara. The story is part creation myth, part scientific embellishment, and all for laughs in the company's smartly executed retelling."

David Meulemans
The Emerald Room at the Monocle and The Presenters Dolan present singer David Meluemans in December Songs on Friday, December 2, at 7 p.m. "South Florida's David Meulemans shares holiday memories and smooth vocals in this cabaret show comprised of traditional holiday favorites sprinkled with new works. You'll hear “Winter Wonderland” with a Vince Guaraldi feel, and the classic “Home for Christmas” wrapped up in beautiful new arrangements created specifically for this show, right beside some new holiday classics, including “For Christmas All I Need is You” by Bob Levy, and “Hannukah Miracle” by Carla Gordon and Wayne Richards , reflecting Meulemans' penchant for performing brand new material. December Songs makes a “one night only stop” at the Monocle on the way to Manhattan's Metropolitan Room, where Meulemans is currently Artist in Residence." The performance takes place in the Emerald Room at The Monocle, 4510 Manchester in the Grove neighborhood. For more information:

My take: My Christmas elves tell me that this is a big, festive show with lots of great arrangements by the like of Tex Arnold and Sally Mayes. A veteran of the St. Louis Cabaret Conference, David is a smooth presence on stage and the Emerald Room is a very festive venue.

Ari Axelrod
The Emerald Room at the Monocle presents singer Ari Axelrod and pianist/music director Ron McGowan in Taking the Wheel on Saturday, December 3, at 8 p.m. "Recent Webster University graduate Ari Axelrod brings an autobiographical show about a young, ambitious man embarking on life after college. He straddles two, much different worlds only to discover that he will always have a foot in both. Contemporary Broadway, Sondheim and Hebrew Folk Music make up the songlist." The performance takes place in the Emerald Room at The Monocle, 4510 Manchester in the Grove neighborhood. For more information:

My take: Rescheduled from its original October date, this is a show I look forward to seeing. I've seen Ari perform at the St. Louis Cabaret Conference, both from the audience and in class when I attended last year. He's a gutsy performer who has had more experience with life's ups and down than many performers with a lot more mileage behind them. Rich lives make for good cabaret, in my experience.

Held Over:

The 2015 cast of All is Calm
Photo: John Lamb
Mustard Seed Theatre presents the a cappella musical All is Calm Thursdays through Sundays through December 11. “Join us in celebrating the power of peace in this acapella musical based on the true story of soldiers during World War I who for one night, put down their arms and played soccer instead of exchanging bullets.” Performances take place at the Fontbonne Fine Arts Theatre, 6800 Wydown Blvd. For more information, call (314) 719-8060 or visit the web site at

My take: All is Calm has become an annual winter tradition at Mustard Seed. With a script by Peter Rothstein and musical arrangements by Erick Lichte and Timothy C. Takach, this story of the remarkable Christmas truce of 1914—a spontaneous outbreak of peace that occurred at multiple points along the trenches in France—combines splendid and often quite complex a cappella singing with readings of letters from soldiers and other historical documents. At a time when opportunistic politicians are pushing an agenda of hate, fear, and eternal war, this is a play that everyone needs to see. As we used to ask back in the 1960s, "what if they gave a war and nobody came?

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