Thursday, February 02, 2017

Chuck's Choices for the weekend of February 3, 2017

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:

Intimate Apparel
Photo: Eric Woolsey
New Jewish Theater presents Intimate Apparel through February 12. "New York, 1905, Esther, a black seamstress, lives in a boarding house where she sews intimate apparel for clients ranging from wealthy white patrons to prostitutes. As the other denizens of the boarding house marry and move away, Esther remains, lonely and longing. Through a mutual acquaintance, she begins to receive beautiful letters from a lonesome Caribbean man working on the Panama Canal. But Esther's heart seems to lie with the Hasidic shopkeeper from whom she buys cloth, and his heart with her, but the impossibility of the match is obvious to them both. The play offers poignant commentary on an era when the cut and color of one's dress-and of course, skin-determined whom one could and could not marry, even talk to in public." 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: Lynn Nottage's play has received plenty of praise since it was first performed in Baltimore in 2003. The subsequent New York production, for example, got the Outer Critics Circle award for Outstanding Off-Broadway Play. The New Jewish Theatre production is getting its share praise as well. Ann Lemmons Pollack calls it a "remarkable evening of theatre." "Outstanding performances by the entire cast under Gary Barker’s meticulous and well-crafted direction," writes Mark Bretz at Ladue News, "make Intimate Apparel a rare beauty stitched from the finest theatrical cloth." Try it on this weekend.

Rachel Tibbetts and Joe Hanrahan
The Midnight Company presents Little Thing, Big Thing Thursdays through Saturdays at 8 p.m. through February 11 " LITTLE THING, BIG THING tells the story of a nun, Sr. Martha, and an ex-con, Larry O'Donnell, who are thrown together in a desperate quest to safeguard film exposing deadly misdeeds of a powerful oil company. Chased by hired killers and corrupt cops, they risk their lives and head to Dublin to do the right thing, and deliver the film to the right hands. " Performances take place at Avatar Studios, 2675 Scott Avenue, downtown. Downtown. For more information:

My take: Joe Hanrahan's Midnight Company has mostly served as a platform for edgy one-man shows starring Mr. Hanrahan, but this time around it's a two-character show that is essentially, as Mark Bretz writes at Ladue News "a caper with heavy doses of wry comedy sprinkled along the way in the friendly if sometimes combative banter between the two main characters...Little Thing, Big Thing doesn’t attempt to be profound and that’s why it succeeds as much as it does. It’s a ripping good yarn told just right, one that will leave you in a light-hearted mood after the performance as you head toward the local pub for a pint or two to discuss." Sounds like a plan to me.

The International Brotherhood of Magicians, Ring 1, presents its annual Parade of Magic on Saturday, February 4, at 2 and 7 p.m. "Top professional magicians from all over the Midwest will converge on St. Louis to present TWO shows filled with fun, laughter and of course Magic! Nowhere else can you find such great entertainment for such an affordable price. Award winning magicians from the International Brotherhood of Magicians will be appearing and disappearing in a magical experience guaranteed to be unforgettable! A Great Family Event! You've seen them on TV and now you can see them Live!" Performances take place at the Kirkwood Community Center, 111 South Geyer Road. For more information:

My take: I got my start in showbiz as a magician, performing for kids shows and touring with a local variety show troupe. I'm no longer a member of the Society of American Magicians (the other big magic association, next to the IBM) but I'm still a sucker for a good magic show like this one. If you're looking for something that will be entertaining for the whole family, this is a good bet.

Held Over:

Menopause the Musical
The Playhouse at Westport Plaza presents Menopause the Musical, "a celebration of women and The Change," through February 12. The Playhouse at Westport Plaza is at 635 West Port Plaza. For more information:

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 they 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."

Alan Ox
The Marcelle Theater presents Alan Ox in the original one-man musical There's an Alien in My Soup opening on Thursday, January 26, and running through February 4th. The show "breaches the UFO taboo by diving headfirst into it. No holds barred. Featuring 7 military personnel coming forward, forsaking their anonymity to share what really happened behind closed doors when 'they' came to visit Earth." Performances take place at the Marcelle Theater in Grand Center, three blocks east of Powell Hall. For more information:

My take: So far all I have seen of this show is one of the seven monologues and the song that goes with it—a British music hall pastiche titled "Call On the British"—but that was enough to spark my interest. The part was smartly acted by Mr. Ox and the song was a hoot. I won't get to see the show until the Friday night but the idea sounds appealing enough to merit inclusion here.  You can find out more by checking out my interview with Alan Ox.

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