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New This Week:
|The Ugly Duckling|
My take: I don't normally list children's theatre here, but Lightwire's show appears to be something all ages can enjoy. Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tale has been updated to include a ninja-style battle between the duckling and an alley cat looking for a bit of duck dinner, and if the video promos I have seen are any indication, the visuals are stunning. The Advocate calls it "a total delight." Take the kids and check it out.
My take: I haven't seen the Washington University production, but if you haven't already experience this remarkable piece of theatre, I'm recommending that you do so purely on the strength of the script. As I wrote in my review of the 1996 tour of this show, Angels in America boasts some of the most intelligent and compelling dramatic and comedic writing to grace the American stage in decades.
Photo by John Flack
My take: A smart, hip, and very funny parody of Sesame Street, Avenue Q is also an entertaining (if R-rated) story of college-educated twentysomethings--both flesh and foam rubber--coming to grips with the economic, political and sexual facts of life. The show is good, not-so-clean fun and always worth seeing. This production is "outrageously funny" (Calvin Wilson, STLToday). "A blend of national and local talent brings zest, exquisite precision and rampant enthusiasm to this delightful version of the Tony Award-winning musical melange of puppeteered optimism at its finest," writes Mark Bretz at Ladue News.
|Milk Like Sugar|
Photo by Phil Hamer
My take: Once again, the Black Rep presents an important new lay that tackles contemporary issues in a dramatically effective way. In his review for STLToday, Calvin Wilson calls this "an intriguing portrait of working-class life in the tradition of Lorraine Hansberry's 'A Raisin in the Sun' and John Osborne's 'Look Back in Anger'...In a culture that all too frequently demonizes African-American youth, 'Milk Like Sugar' is a much-needed and admirably nuanced response." "Director Nicole Brewer and her youthful, talented cast capture the essence of this convincing and thoughtful drama," writes Mark Bretz at Ladue News.
Photo by Peter Wochniak
My take: The Oslo peace accords might not seem as the most likely subject for a successful play, but then, neither would nuclear physics, and that didn't stop Michael Frayn from writing a hit with Copenhagen. In fact, as Ann Lemmons Pollack writes, "how the accord came to be is a fascinating and very human story about how individuals can make a difference in the world...It's a fascinating play, well written and surprisingly funny." At Ladue News, Mark Bretz writes that "Steven Woof, The Rep's Augustin artistic director, makes his final directorial effort at the helm of The Rep a smashing success with this riveting, superbly acted and beautifully modulated production." I saw this last weekend and was completely captivated by it.