Friday, August 18, 2017

St. Louis theatre calendar for the week of August 21, 2017

Church Basement Ladies
Share on Google+:

The Playhouse at Westport Plaza presents Church Basement Ladies Thursdays through Sundays through October 1. "Church Basement Ladies, a celebration of the church basement kitchen and the women who work there, features four distinct characters and their relationships as they organize the food and the problems of a rural Minnesota church. From the elderly matriarch of the kitchen to the young bride-to-be learning the proper order of things, the book and music give us a touching, funny look at their lives as we see them handle a record breaking Christmas dinner, the funeral of a dear friend, a Hawaiian Easter Fundraiser, and a steaming hot July wedding. They stave off potential disasters, share and debate recipes, instruct the young, and keep the Pastor on due course while thoroughly enjoying, (and tolerating) each other." The Playhouse at Westport Plaza is at 635 West Port Plaza. For more information: playhouseatwestport.com.

Union Avenue Opera presents the Engelbert Humperdinck's Hansel and Gretel Fridays and Saturdays at 8 PM, through August 26. "A deliciously fun retelling of the beloved Brothers Grimm fairy tale that will appeal to audiences of all ages. Though the plot will appeal to children with its tuneful and accessible melodies, the elaborate orchestrations will entice even the most “grown-up” of opera-goers. Once upon a time, two children found themselves lost in a dark forest, until they happened upon a house made entirely of sweets. What happens next … well, that's the story of Hänsel und Gretel complete with a cackling witch, enchanted fairies, and a gingerbread house. In the dizzying excitement of “The Witch's Ride” and the serene beauty of the children's “Evening Prayer,” Humperdinck's music magically evokes the contrasting worlds of the story and the perils of growing up!" Performances take place at the Union Avenue Christian Church, 733 Union at Enright in the Central West End. The opera is sung in German with projected English text. For more information, visit unionavenueopera.org or call 314-361-2881.

The Lemp Mansion Comedy-Mystery Dinner Theater presents The Haunted Hunter through October 27. "The rumor is true! Word on the street? This place is Haunted! That's right! ...and lots of famous sleuths, detectives and ghost hunters from around the world will be there to catch a glimpse of our famous, (and elusive), ghost "Billy", (better known as "Billy, the Spook"). Gee! If someone gets "Whacked", we'll have plenty of detectives to solve the crime, won't we! Everyone plays a part! You could be "Sherlock Homes", "Miss Garble", or even "The Hardly Boys". Call today for tickets to this "hauntingly silly" dinner theater." The Lemp Mansion is at 3322 DeMenil Place. For more information: lempmansion.com.

R-S Theatrics presents the musical In the Heights Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 7 p.m., through September 13. "In the Heights, the 2008 Tony Award Winner for Best Musical, has words and music by Lin-Manuel Miranda, writer of the current Grammy and Tony Award winning hit Hamilton! In the Heights is set in New York City's vibrant Washington Heights, a community on the brink of change, full of hopes and dreams, where the biggest struggles can be deciding which traditions you take with you, and which ones you leave behind. This groundbreaking musical tackles the universal story of chasing your dreams and finding your true home." Performances take place at the .ZACK, 3224 Locust in midttown. For more information: r-stheatrics.com.

The Bissell Mansion Murder Mystery Dinner Theatre presents Smoking Gun through October 29. The Bissell Mansion is at 4426 Randall Place. For more information: bissellmansiontheatre.com.

The St. Lou Fringe Festival runs through August 26 at several venues in the Grand Center area including the Kranzberg Arts Center and the Grandel Theatre. Performances include traditional theater, dance, music, comedy, circus arts, performance art, cabaret, and burlesque, with acts from St. Louis and around the country. "Fringe features an array of original material-meant to celebrate all of the arts. Tech is minimal and time is a factor at our festivals. Shows are often kept brief (Fringes most frequently have shows right around 60 minutes in length) and technical requirements kept simple (minor sets, streamlined cues, nothing elaborate)." For a complete schedule, visit stlouisfringe.com.

St. Louis Shakespeare presents Titus Andronicus Thursdays at 7:30 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., and Sundays at 2 p.m., August 25 - September 3. Performances take place at the Ivory Theatre, 7620 Michigan in the Carondelet neighborhood. For more information, call 314-361-5664 or visit stlshakespeare.org.

Rebel and Misfits Productions presents Uncle Vanya: Valiantly Accepting Next Year's Agony Thursdays through Mondays, August 24 through September 3 (no performance on Labor Day, September 4), as part of its Immersive Theatre Project. "The story of Uncle Vanya follows an elderly professor and his young, glamorous second wife, Yelena, to a rural estate, causing the desires and tempers of those residing there to flare. Matters are brought to a crisis when the professor announces his selfish intention to sell the estate and characters' desperation sets in. Rebel and Misfits' interpretation will begin with a high-tea reception and feature Russian libations at intermission. Audiences can expect direct contact with characters from the show throughout the evening as part of the immersive theatre experience. Performances take place at a private residence at 110 Dielman Road in Ladue. For more information: theimmersivetheatreproject.com.

Looking for auditions and other artistic opportunities? Check out the St. Louis Auditions site.
For information on events beyond this week, check out the searchable database at the Regional Arts Commission's Events Calendar.
Would you like to be on the radio? KDHX, 88.1 FM needs theatre reviewers. If you're 18 years or older, knowledgeable in this area, have practical theatre experience (acting, directing, writing, technical design, etc.), have good oral and written communications skills and would like to become one of our volunteer reviewers, send an email describing your experience and interests to chuck at kdhx.org. Please include a sample review of something you've seen recently.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Chuck's Choices for the weekend of August 17, 2017

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

Share on Google+:


New This Week:

David Giuntoli
The Cabaret Project and The Curtain Call Lounge at the Fox present the Broadway Open Mic Night on Thursday, August 17, from 8 to 11 p.m. Drop by and enjoy a night of great music from St. Louis cabaret artists, backed up by the pianist and music director Carol Schmidt. The special guest MC this month in David Giuntoli. If you're planning to sing, be prepared to do one or two songs and bring music, preferably in your key. It's also recommend that you have your song memorized. The Curtain Call Lounge is next door to the Fabulous Fox in Grand Center. For more information: thecabaretproject.org.

My take: Normally I'd be hosting this, but since I'll be on stage in Stray Dog Theatre's Ragtime (see below) that's obviously impossible. I can tell you from personal experience that this is a great way to check out some local cabaret artists while taking advantage of the Curtain Call's food and drink menu. It's also a great way to try out new material yourself if you're a singer. Note that you can park for free on the street after 7 p.m. as well as in the Fox's lot on Washington.


The St. Lou Fringe Festival opens on Thursday, August 17, and runs through August 26 at several venues in the Grand Center area including the Kranzberg Arts Center and the Grandel Theatre. Performances include traditional theater, dance, music, comedy, circus arts, performance art, cabaret, and burlesque, with acts from St. Louis and around the country. "Fringe features an array of original material-meant to celebrate all of the arts. Tech is minimal and time is a factor at our festivals. Shows are often kept brief (Fringes most frequently have shows right around 60 minutes in length) and technical requirements kept simple (minor sets, streamlined cues, nothing elaborate)." For a complete schedule, visit stlouisfringe.com.

My take: From its humble beginnings as a loosely organized experiment back in 2012, the St. Lou Fringe has evolved into a major performing arts festival, featuring both national touring acts and local performers. It have, in short, come a long way, baby. The Fringe has garnered national media attention and has also formed partnership with many local arts and education organizations. No wonder festival founder Em Piro got a special award from the St. Louis Theater Circle back in 2014 for the Fringe's contribution to the local performing arts scene. There's no better time to fringe.


Held Over:

9 to 5, the Musical
Stages St. Louis presents the 9 to 5, the Musical through August 20. "Based on the seminal 1980 hit movie, this hilarious musical romp that explores friendship and revenge in the Rolodex era is outrageous, romantic, and even a little bit thought provoking in its heroines' desire to break the glass ceiling. Chock-full of upbeat and optimistic songs by country superstar Dolly Parton and featuring the toe-tapping title tune, "9 to 5", three female coworkers concoct a plan to live out their wildest fantasies by giving their sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot of a boss the boot! In the process, the women give their workplace a dream makeover and take control of the company that had always kept them down. A bright and brand new musical bon-bon for STAGES audiences and a celebration for anyone who has ever struggled with any kind of authority figure, you will laugh, cry, and ultimately cheer the exploits of Violet, Judy, and Doralee as they discover the joys of working 9 to 5!" Performances take place in the Robert G. Reim Theatre at the Kirkwood Community Center, 111 South Geyer Road in Kirkwood. For more information: stagesstlouis.org.

My take: Hit movies don't necessarily make hit musicals, but 9 to 5, the Musical works surprisingly well as a stage vehicle. Sadly, the idea of taking revenge on a bad boss is just as timely now as it was when the movie made such a splash almost four decades ago. "Artistic director Michael Hamilton leads an energized cast in a spirited, high-octane performance of this gleeful musical with serious undertones," says Mark Bretz at Ladue News. "The underlying messages about respect and finding your place in the world are nice, though clunky," notes Tina Farmer at KDHX, "and the show wins with its can do attitude and humor."


Out on Broadway
Photo: Jill Ritter Lindberg
New Line Theatre presents the musical revue Out on Broadway: The Third Coming Thursdays through Saturdays at 8 PM through August 19. "Twenty-one years after the first edition premiered, OUT ON BROADWAY: THE THIRD COMING is an original revue of musical theatre songs performed from the perspective of five gay men, an intimate evening of funny and emotional performances, with just five guys, a piano, and no microphones. Some songs will be brought back from the earlier editions, with new songs as well, including numbers from Heathers, Kinky Boots, Hamilton, The Book of Mormon, Dreamgirls, Songs for a New World, Follies, Cabaret, Ordinary Days, Cry-Baby, Bye Bye Birdie, Into the Woods, and other musicals." Performances take place at the Marcelle Theater, 3310 Samuel Shepard Drive, three blocks east of Grand, in Grand Center. For more information, visit newlinetheatre.com or call 314-534-1111.

My take: This is essential cabaret: intimate, acoustic, and heavily informed by American musical theatre. The performers will be familiar to fans of the local theatre and cabaret scene and at least one of them—Ken Haller—has been acting as a kind of roving cabaret ambassador for St. Louis in Chicago and New York.


Ragtime
Photo: John Lamb
Stray Dog Theatre presents the musical Ragtime, based on the novel by E.L. Doctorow, Thursdays through Saturdays through August 19. "Set in the volatile melting pot of New York at the turn of the century, three distinctly American tales are woven together. A stifled upper-class wife, a determined Jewish immigrant, and a daring young Harlem musician are united by courage, compassion, and belief in the promise of the future. As they confront the ongoing contradictions of society, their stories intertwine with notable historic figures in a sweeping musical portrait of an indelible era." Performances take place at The Tower Grove Abbey, 2336 Tennessee. For more information, visit straydogtheatre.org or call 314-865-1995.

My take: Yes, I'm actually in this one, but the fact is that I have been a great admirer of this show since I first saw it on Broadway almost two decades ago. Part historical pageant, part social and political critique and just a bit fantastical, Ragtime captures the wonder, horror, and inevitable decline of the mad optimism that began this century. It should be required viewing for the rabid free marketeers, so-called "white nationalists" (sounds nicer than "Nazis," although apparently some folks are OK with that label as well now) and self-proclaimed populists who would have us believe that turn of the century America was the best of all possible worlds. This is a big, ambitious production, and reviews have been uniformly positive, and sometimes positively giddy. Just one example, from Steve Allen at Stage Door St. Louis: "Strong singing and acting performances highlight this massive undertaking that hits every note and every tug of the heartstrings with unabashed brilliance." All shows are currently sold out for advance purchase, but it you show up at the theater an hour before show time you can be put on a wait list and the chances of being seated are very good. You can have a drink at the bar and check out the selection of fresh-baked pastries while you wait.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

St. Louis theatre calendar for the week of August 14, 2017

9 to 5, the Musical
Share on Google+:

Stages St. Louis presents the 9 to 5, the Musical through August 20. "Based on the seminal 1980 hit movie, this hilarious musical romp that explores friendship and revenge in the Rolodex era is outrageous, romantic, and even a little bit thought provoking in its heroines' desire to break the glass ceiling. Chock-full of upbeat and optimistic songs by country superstar Dolly Parton and featuring the toe-tapping title tune, "9 to 5", three female coworkers concoct a plan to live out their wildest fantasies by giving their sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot of a boss the boot! In the process, the women give their workplace a dream makeover and take control of the company that had always kept them down. A bright and brand new musical bon-bon for STAGES audiences and a celebration for anyone who has ever struggled with any kind of authority figure, you will laugh, cry, and ultimately cheer the exploits of Violet, Judy, and Doralee as they discover the joys of working 9 to 5!" Performances take place in the Robert G. Reim Theatre at the Kirkwood Community Center, 111 South Geyer Road in Kirkwood. For more information: stagesstlouis.org.

The Cabaret Project and The Curtain Call Lounge at the Fox present the Broadway Open Mic Night on Thursday, August 17, from 8 to 11 p.m. Drop by and enjoy a night of great music from St. Louis cabaret artists, backed up by the pianist and music director Carol Schmidt. The special guest MC this month in David Giuntoli. If you're planning to sing, be prepared to do one or two songs and bring music, preferably in your key. It's also recommend that you have your song memorized. The Curtain Call Lounge is next door to the Fabulous Fox in Grand Center. For more information: thecabaretproject.org.

Church Basement Ladies
The Playhouse at Westport Plaza presents Church Basement Ladies Thursdays through Sundays through October 1. "Church Basement Ladies, a celebration of the church basement kitchen and the women who work there, features four distinct characters and their relationships as they organize the food and the problems of a rural Minnesota church. From the elderly matriarch of the kitchen to the young bride-to-be learning the proper order of things, the book and music give us a touching, funny look at their lives as we see them handle a record breaking Christmas dinner, the funeral of a dear friend, a Hawaiian Easter Fundraiser, and a steaming hot July wedding. They stave off potential disasters, share and debate recipes, instruct the young, and keep the Pastor on due course while thoroughly enjoying, (and tolerating) each other." The Playhouse at Westport Plaza is at 635 West Port Plaza. For more information: playhouseatwestport.com.

Slightly Askew Theatre Ensemble presents The Color of August Wednesdays through Saturdays at 8 p.m. through August 19. "Two artists who have been friends since childhood are reunited after an eight-year separation. Maria has triumphed in Laura's absence, but Laura proves to be the stronger of the two in their artistic and personal rivalries." Performances take place at The Chapel Venue, 6238 Alexander Drive. For more information: slightlyoff.org.

Union Avenue Opera presents the Engelbert Humperdinck's Hansel and Gretel Fridays and Saturdays at 8 PM, August 18 - 26. "A deliciously fun retelling of the beloved Brothers Grimm fairy tale that will appeal to audiences of all ages. Though the plot will appeal to children with its tuneful and accessible melodies, the elaborate orchestrations will entice even the most “grown-up” of opera-goers. Once upon a time, two children found themselves lost in a dark forest, until they happened upon a house made entirely of sweets. What happens next … well, that's the story of Hänsel und Gretel complete with a cackling witch, enchanted fairies, and a gingerbread house. In the dizzying excitement of “The Witch's Ride” and the serene beauty of the children's “Evening Prayer,” Humperdinck's music magically evokes the contrasting worlds of the story and the perils of growing up!" Performances take place at the Union Avenue Christian Church, 733 Union at Enright in the Central West End. The opera is sung in German with projected English text. For more information, visit unionavenueopera.org or call 314-361-2881.

The Lemp Mansion Comedy-Mystery Dinner Theater presents The Haunted Hunter through October 27. "The rumor is true! Word on the street? This place is Haunted! That's right! ...and lots of famous sleuths, detectives and ghost hunters from around the world will be there to catch a glimpse of our famous, (and elusive), ghost "Billy", (better known as "Billy, the Spook"). Gee! If someone gets "Whacked", we'll have plenty of detectives to solve the crime, won't we! Everyone plays a part! You could be "Sherlock Homes", "Miss Garble", or even "The Hardly Boys". Call today for tickets to this "hauntingly silly" dinner theater." The Lemp Mansion is at 3322 DeMenil Place. For more information: lempmansion.com.

R-S Theatrics presents the musical In the Heights Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 7 p.m., August 8 - September 13. "In the Heights, the 2008 Tony Award Winner for Best Musical, has words and music by Lin-Manuel Miranda, writer of the current Grammy and Tony Award winning hit Hamilton! In the Heights is set in New York City's vibrant Washington Heights, a community on the brink of change, full of hopes and dreams, where the biggest struggles can be deciding which traditions you take with you, and which ones you leave behind. This groundbreaking musical tackles the universal story of chasing your dreams and finding your true home." Performances take place at the .ZACK, 3224 Locust in midttown. For more information: r-stheatrics.com.

New Line Theatre presents the musical revue Out on Broadway: The Third Coming Thursdays through Saturdays at 8 PM through August 19. "Twenty-one years after the first edition premiered, OUT ON BROADWAY: THE THIRD COMING is an original revue of musical theatre songs performed from the perspective of five gay men, an intimate evening of funny and emotional performances, with just five guys, a piano, and no microphones. Some songs will be brought back from the earlier editions, with new songs as well, including numbers from Heathers, Kinky Boots, Hamilton, The Book of Mormon, Dreamgirls, Songs for a New World, Follies, Cabaret, Ordinary Days, Cry-Baby, Bye Bye Birdie, Into the Woods, and other musicals." Performances take place at the Marcelle Theater, 3310 Samuel Shepard Drive, three blocks east of Grand, in Grand Center. For more information, visit newlinetheatre.com or call 314-534-1111.

Ragtime
Photo: John Lamb
Stray Dog Theatre presents the musical Ragtime, based on the novel by E.L. Doctorow, Thursdays through Saturdays through August 19. "Set in the volatile melting pot of New York at the turn of the century, three distinctly American tales are woven together. A stifled upper-class wife, a determined Jewish immigrant, and a daring young Harlem musician are united by courage, compassion, and belief in the promise of the future. As they confront the ongoing contradictions of society, their stories intertwine with notable historic figures in a sweeping musical portrait of an indelible era." Performances take place at The Tower Grove Abbey, 2336 Tennessee. For more information, visit straydogtheatre.org or call 314-865-1995.

The Bissell Mansion Murder Mystery Dinner Theatre presents Smoking Gun through October 29. The Bissell Mansion is at 4426 Randall Place. For more information: bissellmansiontheatre.com.

The St. Lou Fringe Festival opens on Thursday, August 17, and runs through August 26 at several venues in the Grand Center area including the Kranzberg Arts Center and the Grandel Theatre. Performances include traditional theater, dance, music, comedy, circus arts, performance art, cabaret, and burlesque, with acts from St. Louis and around the country. "Fringe features an array of original material-meant to celebrate all of the arts. Tech is minimal and time is a factor at our festivals. Shows are often kept brief (Fringes most frequently have shows right around 60 minutes in length) and technical requirements kept simple (minor sets, streamlined cues, nothing elaborate)." For a complete schedule, visit stlouisfringe.com.

The Kirkwood Theatre Guild presents Twisted Improv on Friday, August 18, at 8 p.m. at The Steamboat Room, 314 S. Clay in Kirkwood, MO. "Join Adam and his crew for an interactive night of fun and laughter.Beer, wine and food available from Kirkwood Station Brewery." For more information: ktg-onstage.org.

Looking for auditions and other artistic opportunities? Check out the St. Louis Auditions site.
For information on events beyond this week, check out the searchable database at the Regional Arts Commission's Events Calendar.
Would you like to be on the radio? KDHX, 88.1 FM needs theatre reviewers. If you're 18 years or older, knowledgeable in this area, have practical theatre experience (acting, directing, writing, technical design, etc.), have good oral and written communications skills and would like to become one of our volunteer reviewers, send an email describing your experience and interests to chuck at kdhx.org. Please include a sample review of something you've seen recently.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

St. Louis classical calendar for the week of August 14, 2017

Sara Sitzer
Share on Google+:

The Gesher Music Festival presents Beyond the Trenches on Thursday, August 17 at 7:30 p.m. "In our third annual partnership with the Missouri History Museum, Gesher explores music from the World War I era. From America to Europe, the homefront to the trenches, you'll learn the stories behind the music from Gesher Artistic Director Sara Sitzer and hear live performances by the talented Gesher artists! Come early and view the World War I: Missouri and The Great War exhibit in the atrium just outside of the auditorium at the Museum. Free, no reservations." The event takes place at the Missouri History Museum in Forest Park. For more information: www.geshermusicfestival.org.

The Gesher Music Festival presents Prayer for Peace on Saturday, August 19 at 7:30 p.m. "Art and music can tell the stories of war and conflict, but they can also shed rays of hope for a more peaceful future. PRAYER FOR PEACE highlights works by composers who have created beauty despite current events, and offers a chance for reflection and peace even in today's tumultuous world. " The event takes place at the 560 Music Center, 560 Trinity in University City. For more information: www.geshermusicfestival.org.

The Gesher Music Festival presents Transcending Borders on Sunday, August 20 at 3 p.m. "Gesher is the Hebrew word for bridge, which couldn't be more fitting for this program of works by Israeli and Palestinian composers. Join us as we use the power of music to build bridges and facilitate conversation between cultures and nations." The event takes place at the JCCA, 2 Millstone Campus Drive. For more information: www.geshermusicfestival.org.

Sangeetha presents a South Indian (Carnatic) style vocal concert on Saturday, August 26, at 7 p.m. The featured performer is "Ms Vidya Anand, an accomplished musician and teacher based in St. Louis for more than fifteen years. She has performed in many concerts and has also trained many students some of whom have reached the level of singing on their own in solo concert performances. Ms. Anand will be accompanied by Mr. Shiva Sankalp of Columbia, MO, on the violin and Mr. Ram Lakshmanan, another St. Louis based artist, on the mridangam". The concert takes place at the Midwest Conservatory of Music, 15977 Clayton Road. For more information: sangeetha.org.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Chuck's Choices for the weekend of August 11, 2017

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

Share on Google+:


New This Week:

Is He Dead?
Photo: Ron James
St. Louis Shakespeare presents Mark Twain's Is He Dead?, adapted by David Ives, Thursdays at 7:30 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., and Sundays at 2 p.m. through August 13. "When you're a brilliant young artist like Jean-Francois Millet and villainous debt collectors are on your tail, there's only one way out: death. Or faking it. Threatened with debtor's prison, Millet decides his best option is to die and return as the "sister" of the dead painter, much to the confusion of the town and the consternation of his beloved Marie." Performances take place at the Ivory Theatre, 7620 Michigan in the Carondelet neighborhood. For more information, call 314-361-5664 or visit stlshakespeare.org.

My take: Ives is a clever and creative playwright, and it appears that he's done a respectable job of updating Twain's piece with a dash of contemporary humor which St. Louis Shakespeare has exploited neatly. "The current presentation by St. Louis Shakespeare is expertly guided by director Edward Coffield," writes Mark Bretz at Ladue News, "who keeps the shenanigans moving at a brisk pace. He also allows his performers to utilize hyperbole without being too exaggerated, a delicate but important balance."


Newsies
The Muny presents the musical Newsies running through Sunday. "The cult 1992 film became a smash 2012 Broadway musical, and Newsies now makes its long-awaited Muny premiere. With incredible music by Alan Menken, Newsies reveals the thrilling story of the Newsboy Strike of 1899 - how a bunch of rag tag orphans took on the mighty Joe Pulitzer and nearly brought down the city of New York. Newsies at The Muny is guaranteed to make headlines." Performances take place on the Muny's outdoor stage in Forest Park. For more information: muny.org.

My take: The Muny is ending another successful season with what Judy Newmark at STLtoday calls "the show of the summer. It boasts fabulous musical numbers and a terrific story for children and adults alike. Plus, it's never been at the Muny before." "The Muny closes its 99th season with its first production of this energetic, high-stepping Disney musical," writes Mark Bretz, "which is built on strong choreography and the music of Alan Menken, led by a winning performance by Jay Armstrong Johnson as Jack Kelly."

Held Over:


9 to 5, the Musical
Stages St. Louis presents the 9 to 5, the Musical through August 20. "Based on the seminal 1980 hit movie, this hilarious musical romp that explores friendship and revenge in the Rolodex era is outrageous, romantic, and even a little bit thought provoking in its heroines' desire to break the glass ceiling. Chock-full of upbeat and optimistic songs by country superstar Dolly Parton and featuring the toe-tapping title tune, "9 to 5", three female coworkers concoct a plan to live out their wildest fantasies by giving their sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot of a boss the boot! In the process, the women give their workplace a dream makeover and take control of the company that had always kept them down. A bright and brand new musical bon-bon for STAGES audiences and a celebration for anyone who has ever struggled with any kind of authority figure, you will laugh, cry, and ultimately cheer the exploits of Violet, Judy, and Doralee as they discover the joys of working 9 to 5!" Performances take place in the Robert G. Reim Theatre at the Kirkwood Community Center, 111 South Geyer Road in Kirkwood. For more information: stagesstlouis.org.

My take: Hit movies don't necessarily make hit musicals, but 9 to 5, the Musical works surprisingly well as a stage vehicle. Sadly, the idea of taking revenge on a bad boss is just as timely now as it was when the movie made such a splash almost four decades ago. "Artistic director Michael Hamilton leads an energized cast in a spirited, high-octane performance of this gleeful musical with serious undertones," says Mark Bretz at Ladue News. "The underlying messages about respect and finding your place in the world are nice, though clunky," notes Tina Farmer at KDHX, "and the show wins with its can do attitude and humor."


Out on Broadway
Photo: Jill Ritter Lindberg
New Line Theatre presents the musical revue Out on Broadway: The Third Coming Thursdays through Saturdays at 8 PM through August 19. "Twenty-one years after the first edition premiered, OUT ON BROADWAY: THE THIRD COMING is an original revue of musical theatre songs performed from the perspective of five gay men, an intimate evening of funny and emotional performances, with just five guys, a piano, and no microphones. Some songs will be brought back from the earlier editions, with new songs as well, including numbers from Heathers, Kinky Boots, Hamilton, The Book of Mormon, Dreamgirls, Songs for a New World, Follies, Cabaret, Ordinary Days, Cry-Baby, Bye Bye Birdie, Into the Woods, and other musicals." Performances take place at the Marcelle Theater, 3310 Samuel Shepard Drive, three blocks east of Grand, in Grand Center. For more information, visit newlinetheatre.com or call 314-534-1111.

My take: This is essential cabaret: intimate, acoustic, and heavily informed by American musical theatre. The performers will be familiar to fans of the local theatre and cabaret scene and at least one of them—Ken Haller—has been acting as a kind of roving cabaret ambassador for St. Louis in Chicago and New York.


Ragtime
Photo: John Lamb
Stray Dog Theatre presents the musical Ragtime, based on the novel by E.L. Doctorow, Thursdays through Saturdays through August 19. "Set in the volatile melting pot of New York at the turn of the century, three distinctly American tales are woven together. A stifled upper-class wife, a determined Jewish immigrant, and a daring young Harlem musician are united by courage, compassion, and belief in the promise of the future. As they confront the ongoing contradictions of society, their stories intertwine with notable historic figures in a sweeping musical portrait of an indelible era." Performances take place at The Tower Grove Abbey, 2336 Tennessee. For more information, visit straydogtheatre.org or call 314-865-1995.

My take: Yes, I'm actually in this one, but the fact is that I have been a great admirer of this show since I first saw it on Broadway almost two decades ago. Part historical pageant, part social and political critique and just a bit fantastical, Ragtime captures the wonder, horror, and inevitable decline of the mad optimism that began this century. It should be required viewing for the rabid free marketeers, so-called "white nationalists" (sounds nicer than "Nazis"...) and self-proclaimed populists who would have us believe that turn of the century America was the best of all possible worlds. This is a big, ambitious production, and reviews have been uniformly positive, and sometimes positively giddy. Just one example, from Steve Allen at Stage Door St. Louis: "Strong singing and acting performances highlight this massive undertaking that hits every note and every tug of the heartstrings with unabashed brilliance."Tickets are going fast (this weekend is already sold out) so get yours now.

Sunday, August 06, 2017

St. Louis theatre calendar for the week of August 7, 2017

9 to 5, the Musical
Share on Google+:

Stages St. Louis presents the 9 to 5, the Musical through August 20. "Based on the seminal 1980 hit movie, this hilarious musical romp that explores friendship and revenge in the Rolodex era is outrageous, romantic, and even a little bit thought provoking in its heroines' desire to break the glass ceiling. Chock-full of upbeat and optimistic songs by country superstar Dolly Parton and featuring the toe-tapping title tune, "9 to 5", three female coworkers concoct a plan to live out their wildest fantasies by giving their sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot of a boss the boot! In the process, the women give their workplace a dream makeover and take control of the company that had always kept them down. A bright and brand new musical bon-bon for STAGES audiences and a celebration for anyone who has ever struggled with any kind of authority figure, you will laugh, cry, and ultimately cheer the exploits of Violet, Judy, and Doralee as they discover the joys of working 9 to 5!" Performances take place in the Robert G. Reim Theatre at the Kirkwood Community Center, 111 South Geyer Road in Kirkwood. For more information: stagesstlouis.org.

Act Two Theatre presents the drama The Boys Next Door Wednesdays through Fridays at 7:30 and Sundays a 2 p.m. through August 13. "The place is a communal residence in a New England city, where four mentally handicapped men live under the supervision of a young social worker. Mingled with scenes from the daily lives of these four, where “little things” sometimes become momentous (and often very funny), are moments of great poignancy when, with touching effectiveness, we are reminded that the handicapped, like the rest of us, want only to love and laugh and find some meaning and purpose in the brief time that they, like their more fortunate brothers, are allotted on this earth." Performances take place in the St. Peters Cultural Arts Centre at 1 St Peters Centre Blvd, St. Peters, MO 63376. For more information: act2theater.com.

Church Basement Ladies
The Playhouse at Westport Plaza presents Church Basement Ladies Thursdays through Sundays through October 1. "Church Basement Ladies, a celebration of the church basement kitchen and the women who work there, features four distinct characters and their relationships as they organize the food and the problems of a rural Minnesota church. From the elderly matriarch of the kitchen to the young bride-to-be learning the proper order of things, the book and music give us a touching, funny look at their lives as we see them handle a record breaking Christmas dinner, the funeral of a dear friend, a Hawaiian Easter Fundraiser, and a steaming hot July wedding. They stave off potential disasters, share and debate recipes, instruct the young, and keep the Pastor on due course while thoroughly enjoying, (and tolerating) each other." The Playhouse at Westport Plaza is at 635 West Port Plaza. For more information: playhouseatwestport.com.

Slightly Askew Theatre Ensemble presents The Color of August Wednesdays through Saturdays at 8 p.m., August 9 - 19. "Two artists who have been friends since childhood are reunited after an eight-year separation. Maria has triumphed in Laura's absence, but Laura proves to be the stronger of the two in their artistic and personal rivalries." Performances take place at The Chapel Venue, 6238 Alexander Drive. For more information: slightlyoff.org.

The Lemp Mansion Comedy-Mystery Dinner Theater presents The Haunted Hunter through October 27. "The rumor is true! Word on the street? This place is Haunted! That's right! ...and lots of famous sleuths, detectives and ghost hunters from around the world will be there to catch a glimpse of our famous, (and elusive), ghost "Billy", (better known as "Billy, the Spook"). Gee! If someone gets "Whacked", we'll have plenty of detectives to solve the crime, won't we! Everyone plays a part! You could be "Sherlock Homes", "Miss Garble", or even "The Hardly Boys". Call today for tickets to this "hauntingly silly" dinner theater." The Lemp Mansion is at 3322 DeMenil Place. For more information: lempmansion.com.

Is He Dead?
Photo: Ron James
St. Louis Shakespeare presents Mark Twain's Is He Dead?, adapted by David Ives, Thursdays at 7:30 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., and Sundays at 2 p.m. through August 13. "When you're a brilliant young artist like Jean-Francois Millet and villainous debt collectors are on your tail, there's only one way out: death. Or faking it. Threatened with debtor's prison, Millet decides his best option is to die and return as the “sister” of the dead painter, much to the confusion of the town and the consternation of his beloved Marie." Performances take place at the Ivory Theatre, 7620 Michigan in the Carondelet neighborhood. For more information, call 314-361-5664 or visit stlshakespeare.org.

The Muny presents the musical Newsies opening on Monday, August 7, at 8:15 p.m. and running through Sunday. " The cult 1992 film became a smash 2012 Broadway musical, and Newsies now makes its long-awaited Muny premiere. With incredible music by Alan Menken, Newsies reveals the thrilling story of the Newsboy Strike of 1899 - how a bunch of rag tag orphans took on the mighty Joe Pulitzer and nearly brought down the city of New York. Newsies at The Muny is guaranteed to make headlines.” Performances take place on the Muny's outdoor stage in Forest Park. For more information: muny.org.

New Line Theatre presents the musical revue Out on Broadway: The Third Coming Thursdays through Saturdays at 8 PM through August 19. "Twenty-one years after the first edition premiered, OUT ON BROADWAY: THE THIRD COMING is an original revue of musical theatre songs performed from the perspective of five gay men, an intimate evening of funny and emotional performances, with just five guys, a piano, and no microphones. Some songs will be brought back from the earlier editions, with new songs as well, including numbers from Heathers, Kinky Boots, Hamilton, The Book of Mormon, Dreamgirls, Songs for a New World, Follies, Cabaret, Ordinary Days, Cry-Baby, Bye Bye Birdie, Into the Woods, and other musicals." Performances take place at the Marcelle Theater, 3310 Samuel Shepard Drive, three blocks east of Grand, in Grand Center. For more information, visit newlinetheatre.com or call 314-534-1111.

Ragtime
Photo: John Lamb
Stray Dog Theatre presents the musical Ragtime, based on the novel by E.L. Doctorow, Thursdays through Saturdays through August 19. "Set in the volatile melting pot of New York at the turn of the century, three distinctly American tales are woven together. A stifled upper-class wife, a determined Jewish immigrant, and a daring young Harlem musician are united by courage, compassion, and belief in the promise of the future. As they confront the ongoing contradictions of society, their stories intertwine with notable historic figures in a sweeping musical portrait of an indelible era." Performances take place at The Tower Grove Abbey, 2336 Tennessee. For more information, visit straydogtheatre.org or call 314-865-1995.

The Bissell Mansion Murder Mystery Dinner Theatre presents Smoking Gun through October 29. The Bissell Mansion is at 4426 Randall Place. For more information: bissellmansiontheatre.com.

Looking for auditions and other artistic opportunities? Check out the St. Louis Auditions site.
For information on events beyond this week, check out the searchable database at the Regional Arts Commission's Events Calendar.
Would you like to be on the radio? KDHX, 88.1 FM needs theatre reviewers. If you're 18 years or older, knowledgeable in this area, have practical theatre experience (acting, directing, writing, technical design, etc.), have good oral and written communications skills and would like to become one of our volunteer reviewers, send an email describing your experience and interests to chuck at kdhx.org. Please include a sample review of something you've seen recently.

St. Louis classical calendar for the week of August 7, 2017

The Compton Heights Concert Band
Photo: J. Sparks Photography
Share on Google+:

The Compton Heights Concert Band presents the last of its free Musical Mondays concerts, featuring marches, show tunes and classical favorites, at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, August 7th. This week the soloists are tenor Hugh Kash Smith and Winter Opera founder soprano Gina Galati. The concert takes place in Tower Grove Park at the historic Henry Shaw Bandstand. For more information: chband.org.

The Gesher Music Festival presents a Family Concert on Saturday, August 12 at 2 p.m. "Bring the whole family for a 45 minute interactive concert geared towards primary school age children and their entire families. Free, no reservations" The event takes place at the Ferguson Public Library, 35 N. Florissant Road in Ferguson, MO. For more information: www.geshermusicfestival.org.

The Gesher Music Festival presents a Family Concert at the J on Sunday, August 13 at 4 p.m. "Bring the whole family for a 45 minute interactive concert geared towards primary school age children and their entire families." For more information: www.geshermusicfestival.org.

Friday, August 04, 2017

Chuck's Choices for the weekend of August 4th, 2017

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

Share on Google+:


New This Week:

9 to 5, the Musical
Stages St. Louis presents the 9 to 5, the Musical through August 20. "Based on the seminal 1980 hit movie, this hilarious musical romp that explores friendship and revenge in the Rolodex era is outrageous, romantic, and even a little bit thought provoking in its heroines' desire to break the glass ceiling. Chock-full of upbeat and optimistic songs by country superstar Dolly Parton and featuring the toe-tapping title tune, "9 to 5", three female coworkers concoct a plan to live out their wildest fantasies by giving their sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot of a boss the boot! In the process, the women give their workplace a dream makeover and take control of the company that had always kept them down. A bright and brand new musical bon-bon for STAGES audiences and a celebration for anyone who has ever struggled with any kind of authority figure, you will laugh, cry, and ultimately cheer the exploits of Violet, Judy, and Doralee as they discover the joys of working 9 to 5!" Performances take place in the Robert G. Reim Theatre at the Kirkwood Community Center, 111 South Geyer Road in Kirkwood. For more information: stagesstlouis.org.

My take: Hit movies don't necessarily make hit musicals, but 9 to 5, the Musical works surprisingly well as a stage vehicle. Sadly, the idea of taking revenge on a bad boss is just as timely now as it was when the movie made such a splash almost four decades ago. "Artistic director Michael Hamilton leads an energized cast in a spirited, high-octane performance of this gleeful musical with serious undertones," says Mark Bretz at Ladue News. "The underlying messages about respect and finding your place in the world are nice, though clunky," notes Tina Farmer at KDHX, "and the show wins with its can do attitude and humor."


Carousel
Photo: John Lamb
Union Avenue Opera presents the Rodgers and Hammerstein's Carousel Fridays and Saturdays at 8 PM, through August 5. Performances take place at the Union Avenue Christian Church, 733 Union at Enright in the Central West End. " The time is 1873. The place, a small fishing village on the rocky New England coastline. Billy Bigelow, the handsome and swaggering barker for Mrs. Mullin's carousel in the local amusement park, meets Julie Jordan, a lovely young working girl at the nearby mill, when Julie and her friend Carrie Pipperidge come to the carousel. Billy and Julie fall in love and are soon married. But as the community unties against them, it soon becomes apparent that marriage doesn't guarantee "happily ever after." The production is directed by Ken Page. The opera is sung in English with projected English text. For more information, visit unionavenueopera.org or call 314-361-2881.

My take: I'm a great admirer of Union Avenue Opera and it looks like they have a winner with this production. Writing for STLToday.com, my fellow Music Critics Assocation of North America member Sarah Bryan Miller notes that UAO has "assembled a cast of fine singing actors, skilled dancers and a director with major theatrical chops, for a successful whole in the company’s first Broadway outing." Mark Bretz at Ladue News agrees. "Union Avenue Opera’s entry into the rich musical world of composer Richard Rodgers and lyricist Oscar Hammerstein II is a resounding success," he writes, "thanks to the colorful and creative direction of Ken Page and a spirited reading of Rodgers’ score by Scott Schoonover and the UAO orchestra."


A Chorus Line
The Muny presents the musical A Chorus Line through August 4th. "This singular sensation of a musical tells the story of 19 dancers at a final audition, vying for a spot in a Broadway show. A landmark American musical, A Chorus Line has been called "the greatest musical - ever." With music by Oscar and Tony winning Marvin Hamlisch, A Chorus Line celebrates the dreams, guts and sweat that we all need to take our place "on the line." Performances take place on the Muny's outdoor stage in Forest Park. For more information: muny.org.

My take: It hardly seems possible now that when this show first appeared on the Muny stage back in the 1970s, some of the patrons were vastly offended by some of the "adult" material in it. Now the Muny web site describes it as "a landmark American musical" the the current production even includes roles for the Muny Youth Ensemble (a.k.a. the "Muny Kids") this time around. Reviews have been very good. "The Muny's current production reinvigorates the soul of the long-running musical in spectacular fashion" says Tina Farmer at KDHX, "ensuring it feels intimate and personal, while delivering precisely choreographed numbers and standout songs."


Once Upon a Mattress
The Hawthorne Players present the musical Once Upon a Mattress through August 6. "Due to an unhappy curse, King Sextimus is unable to speak. Mean- while, his terror-of-a-wife, Queen Aggravain, has taken over control of the kingdom. In an attempt to keep Prince Dauntless single, has decreed that only the princess that can pass her test may marry her son. Luckily, Sir Harry is able to find an amazing princess who instantly catches the attention of Prince Dauntless. In the end, Winnifred is able to pass the Queen's impossible sensitivity test." The performances take place at the Florissant Civic Center Theatre at Parker and Waterford in Florissant, MO. For more information, call 921-5678 or visit hawthorneplayers.info.

My take: I've always loved that odd little show, with its remarkable score by Mary Rodgers (daughter of Richard) and Marshall Barer and it's slyly funny book. "This is a great old-fashioned, well-crafted, unpretentious American musical comedy," writes Steve Callahan at KDHX, "and director Lori Renna manages it all with great love and respect for the script." If you're looking for some good, old-fashioned musical theatre fun this weekend, this is a good bet.


Out on Broadway
Photo: Jill Ritter Lindberg
New Line Theatre presents the musical revue Out on Broadway: The Third Coming Thursdays through Saturdays at 8 PM, August 3 - 19. "Twenty-one years after the first edition premiered, OUT ON BROADWAY: THE THIRD COMING is an original revue of musical theatre songs performed from the perspective of five gay men, an intimate evening of funny and emotional performances, with just five guys, a piano, and no microphones. Some songs will be brought back from the earlier editions, with new songs as well, including numbers from Heathers, Kinky Boots, Hamilton, The Book of Mormon, Dreamgirls, Songs for a New World, Follies, Cabaret, Ordinary Days, Cry-Baby, Bye Bye Birdie, Into the Woods, and other musicals." Performances take place at the Marcelle Theater, 3310 Samuel Shepard Drive, three blocks east of Grand, in Grand Center. For more information, visit newlinetheatre.com or call 314-534-1111.

My take: This is essential cabaret: intimate, acoustic, and heavily informed by American musical theatre. The performers will be familiar to fans of the local theatre and cabaret scene and at least one of them—Ken Haller—has been acting as a kind of roving cabaret ambassador for St. Louis in Chicago and New York.


Ragtime
Photo: John Lamb
Stray Dog Theatre presents the musical Ragtime, based on the novel by E.L. Doctorow, Thursdays through Saturdays, August 3 - 19. "Set in the volatile melting pot of New York at the turn of the century, three distinctly American tales are woven together. A stifled upper-class wife, a determined Jewish immigrant, and a daring young Harlem musician are united by courage, compassion, and belief in the promise of the future. As they confront the ongoing contradictions of society, their stories intertwine with notable historic figures in a sweeping musical portrait of an indelible era." Performances take place at The Tower Grove Abbey, 2336 Tennessee. For more information, visit straydogtheatre.org or call 314-865-1995.

My take: Yes, I'm actually in this one, but the fact is that I have been a great admirer of this show since I first saw it on Broadway almost two decades ago. Part historical pageant, part social and political critique and just a bit fantastical, Ragtime captures the wonder, horror, and inevitable decline of the mad optimism that began this century. It should be required viewing for the rabid free marketeers, so-called "white nationalists" (sounds nicer than "Nazis"...) and self-proclaimed populists who would have us believe that turn of the century America was the best of all possible worlds. This is a big, ambitious production, and the opening night buzz has been very positive. Tickets are going fast (this weekend is already sold out)so get yours now.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

St. Louis theatre calendar for the week of July 31, 2017

9 to 5, the Musical
Share on Google+:

Stages St. Louis presents the 9 to 5, the Musical through August 20. "Based on the seminal 1980 hit movie, this hilarious musical romp that explores friendship and revenge in the Rolodex era is outrageous, romantic, and even a little bit thought provoking in its heroines' desire to break the glass ceiling. Chock-full of upbeat and optimistic songs by country superstar Dolly Parton and featuring the toe-tapping title tune, "9 to 5", three female coworkers concoct a plan to live out their wildest fantasies by giving their sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot of a boss the boot! In the process, the women give their workplace a dream makeover and take control of the company that had always kept them down. A bright and brand new musical bon-bon for STAGES audiences and a celebration for anyone who has ever struggled with any kind of authority figure, you will laugh, cry, and ultimately cheer the exploits of Violet, Judy, and Doralee as they discover the joys of working 9 to 5!" Performances take place in the Robert G. Reim Theatre at the Kirkwood Community Center, 111 South Geyer Road in Kirkwood. For more information: stagesstlouis.org.

Over Due Theatre presents musical Annie Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 PM and Sundays at 2 PM, through August 2. Performances take place at the Olivette Community Center, 9723 Grandview Drive, in Olivette, MO. For more information, call 314-210-2959 or visit overduetheatrecompany.com.

Clinton County Showcase presents Irving Berlin's Annie Get Your Gun Thursday through Sunday, August 3 - 6. Performances take place at the Avon Theater, 525 North 2nd Street Breese IL. For more information, visit ccshowcase.com.

Act Two Theatre presents the drama The Boys Next Door Wednesdays through Fridays at 7:30 and Sundays a 2 p.m., August 2 - 13. "The place is a communal residence in a New England city, where four mentally handicapped men live under the supervision of a young social worker. Mingled with scenes from the daily lives of these four, where “little things” sometimes become momentous (and often very funny), are moments of great poignancy when, with touching effectiveness, we are reminded that the handicapped, like the rest of us, want only to love and laugh and find some meaning and purpose in the brief time that they, like their more fortunate brothers, are allotted on this earth." Performances take place in the St. Peters Cultural Arts Centre at 1 St Peters Centre Blvd, St. Peters, MO 63376. For more information: act2theater.com.

Carousel
Photo: John Lamb
Union Avenue Opera presents the Rodgers and Hammerstein's Carousel Fridays and Saturdays at 8 PM, through August 5. Performances take place at the Union Avenue Christian Church, 733 Union at Enright in the Central West End. " The time is 1873. The place, a small fishing village on the rocky New England coastline. Billy Bigelow, the handsome and swaggering barker for Mrs. Mullin's carousel in the local amusement park, meets Julie Jordan, a lovely young working girl at the nearby mill, when Julie and her friend Carrie Pipperidge come to the carousel. Billy and Julie fall in love and are soon married. But as the community unties against them, it soon becomes apparent that marriage doesn't guarantee "happily ever after." The production is directed by Ken Page. The opera is sung in English with projected English text. For more information, visit unionavenueopera.org or call 314-361-2881.

The Muny presents the musical A Chorus Line through August 4th. "This singular sensation of a musical tells the story of 19 dancers at a final audition, vying for a spot in a Broadway show. A landmark American musical, A Chorus Line has been called "the greatest musical - ever." With music by Oscar and Tony winning Marvin Hamlisch, A Chorus Line celebrates the dreams, guts and sweat that we all need to take our place "on the line." Performances take place on the Muny's outdoor stage in Forest Park. For more information: muny.org.

Church Basement Ladies
The Playhouse at Westport Plaza presents Church Basement Ladies Thursdays through Sundays through October 1. "Church Basement Ladies, a celebration of the church basement kitchen and the women who work there, features four distinct characters and their relationships as they organize the food and the problems of a rural Minnesota church. From the elderly matriarch of the kitchen to the young bride-to-be learning the proper order of things, the book and music give us a touching, funny look at their lives as we see them handle a record breaking Christmas dinner, the funeral of a dear friend, a Hawaiian Easter Fundraiser, and a steaming hot July wedding. They stave off potential disasters, share and debate recipes, instruct the young, and keep the Pastor on due course while thoroughly enjoying, (and tolerating) each other." The Playhouse at Westport Plaza is at 635 West Port Plaza. For more information: playhouseatwestport.com.

The Lemp Mansion Comedy-Mystery Dinner Theater presents The Haunted Hunter August 4 - October 27. "The rumor is true! Word on the street? This place is Haunted! That's right! ...and lots of famous sleuths, detectives and ghost hunters from around the world will be there to catch a glimpse of our famous, (and elusive), ghost "Billy", (better known as "Billy, the Spook"). Gee! If someone gets "Whacked", we'll have plenty of detectives to solve the crime, won't we! Everyone plays a part! You could be "Sherlock Homes", "Miss Garble", or even "The Hardly Boys". Call today for tickets to this "hauntingly silly" dinner theater." The Lemp Mansion is at 3322 DeMenil Place. For more information: lempmansion.com.

St. Louis Shakespeare presents Mark Twain's Is He Dead?, adapted by David Ives, Thursdays at 7:30 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., and Sundays at 2 p.m., August 4 - 13. " When you're a brilliant young artist like Jean-Francois Millet and villainous debt collectors are on your tail, there's only one way out: death. Or faking it. Threatened with debtor's prison, Millet decides his best option is to die and return as the “sister” of the dead painter, much to the confusion of the town and the consternation of his beloved Marie." Performances take place at the Ivory Theatre, 7620 Michigan in the Carondelet neighborhood. For more information, call 314-361-5664 or visit stlshakespeare.org.

Insight Theatre Company presents Dreamworks' Madagascar - a Musical Adventure Friday at 7 p.m., Saturday at 2 and 7 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m., August 4-6 Performances take place at the Kranzberg Arts Center, 501 N. Grand in Grand Center. For more information, call 314-556-1293 or visit insighttheatrecompany.com.

The Hawthorne Players present the musical Once Upon a Mattress through August 6. "Due to an unhappy curse, King Sextimus is unable to speak. Mean- while, his terror-of-a-wife, Queen Aggravain, has taken over control of the kingdom. In an attempt to keep Prince Dauntless single, has decreed that only the princess that can pass her test may marry her son. Luckily, Sir Harry is able to find an amazing princess who instantly catches the attention of Prince Dauntless. In the end, Winnifred is able to pass the Queen's impossible sensitivity test." The performances take place at the Florissant Civic Center Theatre at Parker and Waterford in Florissant, MO. For more information, call 921-5678 or visit hawthorneplayers.info.

New Line Theatre presents the musical revue Out on Broadway: The Third Coming Thursdays through Saturdays at 8 PM, August 3 - 19. "Twenty-one years after the first edition premiered, OUT ON BROADWAY: THE THIRD COMING is an original revue of musical theatre songs performed from the perspective of five gay men, an intimate evening of funny and emotional performances, with just five guys, a piano, and no microphones. Some songs will be brought back from the earlier editions, with new songs as well, including numbers from Heathers, Kinky Boots, Hamilton, The Book of Mormon, Dreamgirls, Songs for a New World, Follies, Cabaret, Ordinary Days, Cry-Baby, Bye Bye Birdie, Into the Woods, and other musicals." Performances take place at the Marcelle Theater, 3310 Samuel Shepard Drive, three blocks east of Grand, in Grand Center. For more information, visit newlinetheatre.com or call 314-534-1111.

Stray Dog Theatre presents the musical Ragtime, based on the novel by E.L. Doctorow, Thursdays through Saturdays, August 3 - 19. "Set in the volatile melting pot of New York at the turn of the century, three distinctly American tales are woven together. A stifled upper-class wife, a determined Jewish immigrant, and a daring young Harlem musician are united by courage, compassion, and belief in the promise of the future. As they confront the ongoing contradictions of society, their stories intertwine with notable historic figures in a sweeping musical portrait of an indelible era." Performances take place at The Tower Grove Abbey, 2336 Tennessee. For more information, visit straydogtheatre.org or call 314-865-1995.

Hard Road Theatre Productions presents the musical Sister Act through August 6. "Blessed with a rollicking musical score from Alan Menken - the composer who brought us BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, THE LITTLE MERMAID, NEWSIES, and ALADDIN - this divine comedy about a sassy, low-rent lounge singer forced to hide out from the mob in the last place anyone would ever look for her - a convent - recently became one of Broadway's smash hit musicals and continues to attract flocks of faithful followers wherever it goes thanks to its soulful chorus of swingin' sisters." Performances will be held at the Highland Elementary School Auditorium, 12760 Troxler Ave, Highland IL. For more information: www.hardroad.org.

The Bissell Mansion Murder Mystery Dinner Theatre presents Smoking Gun August 4 - October 29. The Bissell Mansion is at 4426 Randall Place. For more information: bissellmansiontheatre.com.

Looking for auditions and other artistic opportunities? Check out the St. Louis Auditions site.
For information on events beyond this week, check out the searchable database at the Regional Arts Commission's Events Calendar.
Would you like to be on the radio? KDHX, 88.1 FM needs theatre reviewers. If you're 18 years or older, knowledgeable in this area, have practical theatre experience (acting, directing, writing, technical design, etc.), have good oral and written communications skills and would like to become one of our volunteer reviewers, send an email describing your experience and interests to chuck at kdhx.org. Please include a sample review of something you've seen recently.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Chuck's Choices for the weekend of July 28, 2017

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

Share on Google+:


New This Week:

Mamma Mia!
The Fox Theatre presents the musical Mamma Mia!, based on the songs of ABBA, Friday through Sunday, July 28 - 30. The Fox Theatre is at 517 North Grand in Grand Center. For more information: fabulousfox.com.

My take: As I wrote in my review of the 2002 USA tour of this show on its first visit to the Fox, I am not now nor have I ever been a fan of the 1970s pop quartet ABBA. When they were cranking out hits like "Dancing Queen", I was sneering at them and listening to Elvis Costello and The Ramones. But when I first saw Mamma Mia! in London back in 2001 surrounded by wildly enthusiastic Brits (who apparently feel about ABBA the way the French feel about Jerry Lewis), I had to admit it was great fun. I found it a completely captivating evening of musical theatre, mostly because Judy Craymer, director Phyllida Lloyd and playwright Catherine Johnson (all from Britain, where this show began) have put together a fast-paced, funny, and occasionally even touching show that can send even a die-hard ABBA hater like yours truly out of the theatre with a smile on his face and a handful of those bouncy, hook-laden melodies rattling around in his brain. So enjoy it, already.


"Sin Titulo"
Photo: Patrick Huber
St. Louis Actors' Studio presents the Neil LaBute New Theater Festival, Part 2 through July 31 at the Gaslight Theatre, 358 North Boyle. The festival features professional, new and previously unproduced one-act plays 45 minutes or less in length, chosen from submissions to the festival over the previous year. . The plays in Part 2 are "Hate Crime" by Neil LaBute, "How's Bruno?" by Cary Pepper, and "Sin Titulo" by Tearrance Chrisholm. For more information call 314-458-2978 or visit stlas.org.

My take: Actors' Studio continues to do local theatre a big service with its yearly survey of new plays, always anchored by a Neil LaBute piece. The Carter Lewis play is a trenchant satire which is very current, which might mean its shelf life is not long; catch it while you can. Writing for Ladue News, Mark Bretz says said the first part of the festival "offers some intriguing works for consideration...check it out both for entertainment and education." "Though they may benefit from a little tightening", writes Tina Farmer at KDHX, "the three plays featured in part two deliver intriguing, thought provoking theater."

Sunday, July 23, 2017

St. Louis theatre calendar for the week of July 24, 2017

9 to 5, the Musical
Share on Google+:

Stages St. Louis presents the 9 to 5, the Musical through August 20. "Based on the seminal 1980 hit movie, this hilarious musical romp that explores friendship and revenge in the Rolodex era is outrageous, romantic, and even a little bit thought provoking in its heroines' desire to break the glass ceiling. Chock-full of upbeat and optimistic songs by country superstar Dolly Parton and featuring the toe-tapping title tune, "9 to 5", three female coworkers concoct a plan to live out their wildest fantasies by giving their sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot of a boss the boot! In the process, the women give their workplace a dream makeover and take control of the company that had always kept them down. A bright and brand new musical bon-bon for STAGES audiences and a celebration for anyone who has ever struggled with any kind of authority figure, you will laugh, cry, and ultimately cheer the exploits of Violet, Judy, and Doralee as they discover the joys of working 9 to 5!" Performances take place in the Robert G. Reim Theatre at the Kirkwood Community Center, 111 South Geyer Road in Kirkwood. For more information: stagesstlouis.org.

Over Due Theatre presents musical Annie Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 PM and Sundays at 2 PM, July 28 - August 2. Performances take place at the Olivette Community Center, 9723 Grandview Drive, in Olivette, MO. For more information, call 314-210-2959 or visit overduetheatrecompany.com.

Union Avenue Opera presents the Rodgers and Hammerstein's Carousel Fridays and Saturdays at 8 PM, July 28 - August 5. Performances take place at the Union Avenue Christian Church, 733 Union at Enright in the Central West End. " The time is 1873. The place, a small fishing village on the rocky New England coastline. Billy Bigelow, the handsome and swaggering barker for Mrs. Mullin's carousel in the local amusement park, meets Julie Jordan, a lovely young working girl at the nearby mill, when Julie and her friend Carrie Pipperidge come to the carousel. Billy and Julie fall in love and are soon married. But as the community unties against them, it soon becomes apparent that marriage doesn't guarantee "happily ever after." The production is directed by Ken Page. The opera is sung in English with projected English text. For more information, visit unionavenueopera.org or call 314-361-2881.

The Muny presents the musical A Chorus Line opening on Saturday, July 29, at 8:15 p.m. and running through the August 4th. "This singular sensation of a musical tells the story of 19 dancers at a final audition, vying for a spot in a Broadway show. A landmark American musical, A Chorus Line has been called "the greatest musical - ever." With music by Oscar and Tony winning Marvin Hamlisch, A Chorus Line celebrates the dreams, guts and sweat that we all need to take our place "on the line." Performances take place on the Muny's outdoor stage in Forest Park. For more information: muny.org.

The Playhouse at Westport Plaza presents Church Basement Ladies Thursdays through Sundays through October 1. "Church Basement Ladies, a celebration of the church basement kitchen and the women who work there, features four distinct characters and their relationships as they organize the food and the problems of a rural Minnesota church. From the elderly matriarch of the kitchen to the young bride-to-be learning the proper order of things, the book and music give us a touching, funny look at their lives as we see them handle a record breaking Christmas dinner, the funeral of a dear friend, a Hawaiian Easter Fundraiser, and a steaming hot July wedding. They stave off potential disasters, share and debate recipes, instruct the young, and keep the Pastor on due course while thoroughly enjoying, (and tolerating) each other." The Playhouse at Westport Plaza is at 635 West Port Plaza. For more information: playhouseatwestport.com.

The Lemp Mansion Comedy-Mystery Dinner Theater presents Death of a Blackheart through July 29. "Welcome aboard the largest, (and safest), cruise liner ever to sail the low seas. That's right. Welcome aboard the Gigantic! But wait! What do I hear? "Argggghhhhhhh!" Avast ye mateys and get yer gizzard ready to be robbed by the most famous pirate ever to pillage a maiden! Of course, we're talkin' Captain Jack Blackheart! He's the pirate that has cheated more people, emptied more pockets and pillaged more ladies than any politician. Gee. I hope no one kills him off. You'll meet lots of fun characters at this show. In fact audience members will get to play lots of fun characters in this show because it's "chock full" of "Fair Maidens", "Lost Boys", "Rival Pirates", and more. One thing is for sure. If you've ever wanted to stand up and shout out Arggggghhhh!...then "Death of a Blackheart" is the show for you!" The Lemp Mansion is at 3322 DeMenil Place. For more information: lempmansion.com.

JPEK CreativeWorks Theatre presents NV and Paige Otis in A Legends Review: Chaka Kahn and Tina Marie on Sunday, July 30, at 3 and 6 p.m. The performances take place at the Kranzberg Arts Center, 501 North Grand in Grand Center. For more information: kranzbergartscenter.org/calendar.

Ignite Theatre Company presents the musical Little Shop of Horrors on Thursday through Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m., July 27 - 30. "The meek floral assistant Seymour Krelborn stumbles across a new breed of plant he names "Audrey II" - after his coworker crush. This foul-mouthed, R&B-singing carnivore promises unending fame and fortune to the down and out Krelborn as long as he keeps feeding it, BLOOD. Over time, though, Seymour discovers Audrey II's out of this world origins and intent towards global domination!" Performances take place at South Hampton Church, 4716 Macklind. For more information: www.brownpapertickets.com.

The Fox Theatre presents the musical Mamma Mia!, based on the songs of ABBA, Friday through Sunday, July 28 - 30. The Fox Theatre is at 517 North Grand in Grand Center. For more information: fabulousfox.com.

St. Louis Actors' Studio presents the Neil LaBute New Theater Festival, Part 2 through July 31 at the Gaslight Theatre, 358 North Boyle. The festival features professional, new and previously unproduced one-act plays 45 minutes or less in length, chosen from submissions to the festival over the previous year. . The plays in Part 2 are "Hate Crime" by Neil LaBute, "How's Bruno?" by Cary Pepper, and "Sin Titulo" by Tearrance Chrisholm. For more information call 314-458-2978 or visit stlas.org.

The Hawthorne Players present the musical Once Upon a Mattress July 28 - August 6. "Due to an unhappy curse, King Sextimus is unable to speak. Mean- while, his terror-of-a-wife, Queen Aggravain, has taken over control of the kingdom. In an attempt to keep Prince Dauntless single, has decreed that only the princess that can pass her test may marry her son. Luckily, Sir Harry is able to find an amazing princess who instantly catches the attention of Prince Dauntless. In the end, Winnifred is able to pass the Queen's impossible sensitivity test." The performances take place at the Florissant Civic Center Theatre at Parker and Waterford in Florissant, MO. For more information, call 921-5678 or visit hawthorneplayers.info.

The Bissell Mansion Murder Mystery Dinner Theatre presents Phantom of the Grand Old Opry through July 30. The Bissell Mansion is at 4426 Randall Place. For more information: bissellmansiontheatre.com.

The Looking Glass Playhouse presents the musical The Rocky Horror Show Friday and Saturday, July 28 and 29. "In this cult classic, sweethearts Brad and Janet, stuck with a flat tire during a storm, discover the eerie mansion of Dr. Frank-N-Furter, a transvestite scientist. As their innocence is lost, Brad and Janet meet a houseful of wild characters, including a rocking biker and a creepy butler. Through elaborate dances and rock songs, Frank-N-Furter unveils his latest creation: a muscular man named Rocky." Performances take place at 301 West St. Louis Street in Lebanon, Ill. For more information, visit www.lookingglassplayhouse.com.

Hard Road Theatre Productions presents the musical Sister Act July 28 - August 6. "Blessed with a rollicking musical score from Alan Menken - the composer who brought us BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, THE LITTLE MERMAID, NEWSIES, and ALADDIN - this divine comedy about a sassy, low-rent lounge singer forced to hide out from the mob in the last place anyone would ever look for her - a convent - recently became one of Broadway's smash hit musicals and continues to attract flocks of faithful followers wherever it goes thanks to its soulful chorus of swingin' sisters." Performances will be held at the Highland Elementary School Auditorium, 12760 Troxler Ave, Highland IL. For more information: www.hardroad.org.

The Unsinkable Molly Brown
The Muny presents the musical The Unsinkable Molly Brown nightly at 8:15 through July 27th. "Hannibal Missouri's own brash and beguiling Molly Brown shines in this exhilarating adaptation of Meredith Willson's 1960 musical. Her rags-to-riches story sparkles with a new book by Dick Scanlan (Thoroughly Modern Millie), and new songs from the Meredith Willson songbook. The tempestuous can't-live-with-him/can't-live-without-him love story that survived the Silver Boom, Gold Rush and sinking of the Titanic returns to the stage with more fun and flair than ever. This is one of those classic musicals that will have your heart soaring!" Performances take place on the Muny's outdoor stage in Forest Park. For more information: muny.org.

St. Charles Community College presents the musical You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown Wednesday through Friday at 7:30, Saturday at 2 and 7:30 p.m, and Sunday at 2 p.m., July 26 - 30. "This revival of the original 1967 musical is a fresh approach to the comic book world of Charles Schulz. All your favorite characters are here: Charlie Brown, Sally, Linus, Lucy, Schroeder, and even Snoopy as they experience "an average day in the life of Charlie Brown." It really is just that - a day made up of little moments picked from various comic strips and set to music. Come see Charlie and the gang battle with kites, book reports, baseball games, Valentine's Day, and childhood crushes before finally realizing what true happiness is all about." Performances take place in the FAB Theater in the Donald D. Shook Fine Arts Building on the campus at 4601 Mid Rivers Mall Drive in Cottleville, MO. For more information, call 636-922-8050 or visit stchas.edu.

Looking for auditions and other artistic opportunities? Check out the St. Louis Auditions site.
For information on events beyond this week, check out the searchable database at the Regional Arts Commission's Events Calendar.
Would you like to be on the radio? KDHX, 88.1 FM needs theatre reviewers. If you're 18 years or older, knowledgeable in this area, have practical theatre experience (acting, directing, writing, technical design, etc.), have good oral and written communications skills and would like to become one of our volunteer reviewers, send an email describing your experience and interests to chuck at kdhx.org. Please include a sample review of something you've seen recently.