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The International Brotherhood of Magicians, Ring 1, presents its annual Parade of Magic on Saturday, February 24, 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: ibmring1.yapsody.com
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.
The Cabaret Project and The Improv Shop present The Blue Velvet Lounge on Saturday, February 24, at 8 pm. "The Cabaret Project teams up with The Improv Shop to co-present their dynamic, fully improvised theater piece featuring live jazz standards - direct from the mythical Blue Velvet Lounge. Each performance features eight smart, funny improvisers who create the stories and sagas of the patrons of the Blue Velvet Lounge - on the spot. Surrounded by live jazz vocal standards, this character driven story is a different show each night it's performed. The Blue Velvet Lounge is a perfect evening out for lovers of cabaret and comedy. Food and drink available at the Improv Shop." The performance takes place at The Improv Shop, 3960 Chouteau in The Grove. For more information: thecabaretproject.org.
My take: Cabaret shows are carefully planned, but so is a good improv show. Improvisation works best when there's some sort of structure to build on. So combining the two makes more sense than you might think, especially when the singer at the center of it all is local cabaret pro Tim Schall. I saw the show on February 10th and was impressed with the quick wit and inventiveness of the improv performers. Each improv segment is brief and the action shifts from one pair of actors to another quickly. Sometimes it relates directly to the song being sung, sometimes not, but it's always different.
|Bud, Not Buddy|
My take: This original one-act play is a co-production with Jazz St. Louis and, according to Mark Bretz at Ladue News, it's "a sure-fire treat for theater patrons young and old as well as devotees of America's original musical art form." This is the first production on the USA since the play's premiere at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C many years ago, which makes it quite a feather in the cap of Metro. The story it tells of life under American apartheid is one of which far too many people in this country seemed determine to write out of history.
|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 a review of the show last year, "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." Since this is effectively a remounting of that same production, I think I'm on safe ground putting it on the hit list, as I did last January.
|Red Scare on Sunset|
Photo: John Lamb
My take: Actor, female impersonator, and playwright Charles Busch's plays include outrageous classics like Vampire Lesbians of Sodom, Psycho Beach Party, and Die, Mommie, Die! as well as the more mainstream (but no less hilarious) Tale of the Allergist's Wife. "Red Scare on Sunset," writes Mark Bretz at Ladue News, "provides a bevy of laughs about a subject that was anything but funny during its infamous heyday...It’s given a vivid and vivacious treatment by artistic director Gary Bell and his hard-charging cast, including an amazing star turn by Will Bonfiglio as fair Mary."