Share on Google+:
New This Week:
My take: Lina Koutrakos and Rick Jensen have become familiar figures on the local cabaret scene over the years, first as regular faculty members in the St. Louis Cabaret Conference, and then as directors and advisers for many local performers. And, as I wrote in my review of their appearance at the Gaslight Theatre back in 2015, that fact that they have been performing as creative partners for decades, giving their work on stage the kind of easy camaraderie that comes only with experience. It makes for an evening that easily draws the audience into their musical conversation and quickly dissolves the fabled fourth wall. Together, they unfailingly deliver a mix of passion, wit, and polished musicianship that's just unbeatable.
|The cast of Bravura|
My take: Circus Harmony does excellent outreach work that demonstrates how the arts can make a big difference in the community. If you've ever seen a Circus Flora show, of course, you've seen some of Circus Harmony's students at work as The St. Louis Arches, but the organization's reach and mission go far beyond that. "Circus Harmony," according to their web site, "teaches the art of life through circus education. We work to build character and expand community for youth of all ages, cultures, abilities and backgrounds. Through teaching and performance of circus skills, we help people defy gravity, soar with confidence, and leap over social barriers, all at the same time." Since their 2001 Circus Salaam Shalom, which brought Jewish and Muslim kids in St. Louis together, Circus Harmony has been advancing its philosophy of "peace through pyramids, harmony through handspirngs" to "inspire individuals and connect communities."
My take: The St. Louis cabaret scene has really taken off in recent years, with many new performers joining established local stars like Tim Schall and Ken Haller. I think it's important to support young cabaret artists taking their first steps in the genre, and I'm also a big fan of The Monocle's Emerald Room space. It's intimate and classy with just a touch of kitsch. Go and enjoy the music, the drinks, and the snacks.
Kirkwood Theatre Guild presents the comedy Wake Up, Cameron Dobbs by St. Louis playwright Steve Peirick January 20-29. "Some would say Cameron Dobbs is a loser who never gets a break. He's turning 30 and all he wants is a quiet birthday dinner with his brother, Owen, and sister-in-law, Abby. Unfortunately, they have different plans. Unknown to Cameron, Abby has decided to fix him up with her friend, Natalie, and Owen has invited their loving but neurotic mother, Helen. Cameron is not thrilled by these surprise guests, and to add to his chagrin, the dinner menu is a list of food to which he is allergic. After an unenthusiastic introduction, Natalie convinces Cameron to leave the dinner party and celebrate with her. As his family awaits his return, Cameron begins the journey toward recreating his life and embracing manhood." Performances take place in the Robert G. Reim Theatre of the Kirkwood Community Center, 111 South Geyer Road. For more information, call 314-821-9956 or visit ktg-onstage.org.
My take: I haven't seen Kirkwood's production, but having worked on the world premiere of this very funny play at West End Players several years ago, I can attest to the high quality of the script. Although it's essentially a situation comedy, Wake Up, Cameron Dobbs goes in unexpected and very smart directions. This is at least it's third local production, and I expect there will be more as time goes by.
|All My Sons|
Photo: Jerry Naunheim, Jr.
My take: Given the current depraved state of our national morality and what would appear to be our appalling acceptance of war as just another product, it seems almost quaint to raise the issue of war profiteering these days—which is why it so desperately needs to be done. Miller's play, in contrast with war-mongering politicians, has a strong moral core and is getting what Bob Cohn in the Jewish LIght calls "a powerful, riveting production." I'm not entirely happy wih some of director Seth Gordon's choices, but for me the importance of this play's message is what really counts.
|Menopause the Musical|
My take: This popular ensemble show has been around for a while now, having premiered in 2001 in Orlando, Florida, in a 76-seat theatre that once housed a perfume shop. It's last visit at the Westport Playhouse was ten years ago, and it seems to have lost none of it's comic shine. "Who will enjoy this," asks Ann Lemmons Pollack in her blog, "beyond women of what the call un age certain? People of both genders around them unless they have no sense of humor. That includes family, friends and co-workers. One of life's cruel jokes is that the menopause hits many households about the same time adolescence does. Here's something to tide us over."