Thursday, November 28, 2019

Chuck's Choices for the weekend of November 29, 2019

This weekend's picks are cabaret at the Blue Strawberry and Metro Theatre Company at the Grandel.

New This Week:

Steve Ross
The Blue Strawberry presents Steve Ross in Cole Porter and Beyond on Friday and Saturday, November 29 and 30, at 8 pm. "Called 'the very personification of the spirit of Cole Porter' by The New Yorker, Steve Ross takes his audience on a musical and anecdotal journey through the songs of this most sophisticated of composers - from his early successes in the Twenties ("I'm In Love Again," "You Do Something To Me," "Let's Do It") through his glory years in the Thirties ( "It's D'Lovely," "In the Still of the Night"), the Forties, noted for his masterpiece "Kiss Me Kate" and his later songs from the Fifties ("I Love Paris," "C'est Magnifique" and "It's All Right With Me." There will also be songs by his contemporaries (and friends) Noel Coward, the Gershwins, Jerome Kern, Rodgers & Hart and ending with a tribute to the great Fred Astaire for whom he wrote one of his undying classics, "Night and Day." Don't you find yourself sometimes just having to go to Cole Porter? And isn't this the best time of year to do it? And isn't Steve the right guy to do it with?" The Blue Strawberry is at 364 N. Boyle in the Central West End. For more information:

My take: Mabel Mercer Award–winning cabaret artist Steve Ross has a long and happy relationship with St. Louis, going back to the early days of the Grandel Cabaret Series. He was one of the first performers to be featured by Jim Dolan's Presenters Dolan organization when it got off the ground many years ago, so his appearance last weekend at Jim's newest venue, The Blue Strawberry, feels a bit like a homecoming. Personally, I have been an admirer of Mr. Ross's debonair, witty, and charismatic work ever since I first saw him at the Grandel in 2001. An evening with Steve Ross an object lesson in why cabaret is such a vibrant art form. Don't miss him.

Held Over:

It's a Wonderful Life
Photo: Jennifer Lin
Metro Theatre Company presents It's a Wonderful Life, based on the classic film, through December 15. "The beloved American holiday classic leaps to life on stage in a delightful, heartwarming new adaptation. John Wolbers' "It's a Wonderful Life" has a clever twist: it's staged as a play within a play, more specifically a radio play within a play. On Christmas Eve 1949, KMTC Radio St. Louis is prepared to perform a live radio broadcast of "It's a Wonderful Life," when unexpected events transform the station's staff into the radio play's actors. Complete with microphones, live sound effects by a Foley artist, 1940s period costumes, and a diverse company of characters, the play tells the story of George Bailey and his discovery of the life-affirming message that one life can change the whole fabric of a community. " The performances take place at The Grandel Theatre, 3610 Grandel Square in Grand Center.. For more information:

My take: Well, it wouldn't be the holidays without someone doing a stage version of this beloved movie. Metro's approach has the advantage of treating it as the basis for a story that's less about the original film and more about the intrepid group of employees of a fictional radio station doing their best to work together to bring it to life over the air. "Metro Theater Company's It's a Wonderful Life brings an hour or so of a captivating and classy good time to an appreciative audience, a terrific start to the holiday season," writes Mark Bretz at Ladue News. "Don't forget to clap on cue."

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