Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Cabaret Review: Emily Skinner's return to The Blue Strawberry is cause for celebration

When I reviewed Emily Skinner's last appearance at The Blue Strawberry in January 2020, I described it as "a show that did everything right and nothing wrong…it was simply nonpareil."  Having seen her new show, "A Broad with a Broad, Broad Mind,” at the Strawberry last Friday (September 17th), I’m tempted to just file the serial numbers off last year’s review and plagiarize it.

Emily Skinner

Because, despite a Plague Year of enforced idleness, Skinner and her pianist, music director, and long-time friend John Fischer were just as brilliant as they were last January. Skinner still has a powerful and versatile voice that she can use to belt or purr as the material demands. Her acting skills, honed from years on the musical theatre stage (she most recently appeared here as Matron "Mama" Morton in "Chicago" at The Muny in August), remain impressive. And her choice of material was just as wide-ranging and artfully assembled.

That’s not to say there weren’t differences this time around. Inspired by Skinner’s experience as a performer who couldn't perform for over a year, "A Broad with a Broad, Broad Mind” was both more bawdy and more reflective in places than her "Broadway My Way" show last year. And this time around, Fischer got a chance to sing with her, most notably and hilariously in “Schadenfreude” (from “Avenue Q”). Here, and in many other moments during the evening, their rapport and easy camaraderie made their work together a joy to behold.

The placement of “Schadenfreude” in the show also demonstrated the meticulousness with which the set list has been assembled. It followed hard upon a beautifully tender rendition of Billy Barnes’ "(Have I Stayed) Too Long at the Fair," with its rueful reflection on what happens when the music stops and the piper has rendered his invoice. The opening lines of “Schadenfreude”—“Right now you are down and out and feeling really crappy / And when I see how sad you are it sort of makes me happy”—offered a perfect way to make an abrupt transition back to comedy that also made dramatic sense. It was smart and it worked.

There were many other wonderful moments like this in the unfailingly entertaining package that is "A Broad with a Broad, Broad Mind.” There were so many, in fact, that I will limit myself to highlighting just a few that I found particularly delightful.

Let’s start with the opening and closing numbers by Sir Elton John: “The Bitch is Back” and “Thank You for Being a Friend.” Performed with unabashedly campy joy, complete with silly eyeglasses, they were the perfect bookends for the show. There was also more fun than you can shake a stick at (“if that’s your idea of a good time,” to quote Groucho) in Skinner’s “Stumble Along” (from “The Drowsy Chaperone”), which she introduced by noting that “in the last ten years I have played three raging alcoholics. And I don’t even drink.”

John Fischer and Emily Skinner channel
Sir Elton

I loved the simple tenderness of Fred Rogers’ “It’s You I Like” (introduced on “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood” in 1984) and the perfect combination of lubriciousness and regret in Rodgers and Hart’s “Bewitched” (a.k.a. “Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered”) from “Pal Joey.” Skinner used the suggestive lyrics from the 1940 original (“horizontally speaking, he’s at his very best”) along with a few I didn’t recognize, possibly from one of the revivals. In any case, it lived up to her advance billing as her “favorite sexy standard.”

And speaking of sex, let us rejoice that Skinner once again gave us a Mae West song, done in a way that perfectly captured West’s style and vocal delivery. This time it was West’s pointed attack on censorship “That’s All Brother, That’s All.” West's original recording of it is a treasured part of my LP collection

Wrapping everything up was Susan Werner’s “May I Suggest,” with its inspiring reminder that “this is the best part of your life.”  Skinner introduced it as “something for you to consider in your week ahead,” but I’d broaden that to say it’s something consider every day that remains to you. As Walt Kelly’s Porkypine once noted, "The best break anybody ever gets is in bein' alive in the first place. An' you don't unnerstan' what a perfect deal it is until you realizes that you ain't gone be stuck with it forever, either."

I called Emily Skinner’s appearance here last year a "knockout". So was this. Thanks to Jim Dolan for bringing her back again.

Cabaret, jazz, and other music events continue at The Blue Strawberry on North Boyle. Currently the club requires proof of vaccination and masking, except when eating or drinking, and tables are spaced far enough apart to inspire confidence. For more information, visit the Blue Strawberry web site. For information on Emily Skinner's upcoming appearances, check out her web site.

This article originally appeared at 88.1 KDHX, where Chuck Lavazzi is the senior performing arts critic.

Sunday, September 19, 2021

St. Louis theatre calendar for the week of September 20, 2021

Now including both on-line and live events during the pandemic. Your event information should be in text format (i.e. not part of a graphic), but feel free to include publicity stills. To get your event listed here, send an email to calendar [at] stageleft.org.

The Bissell Mansion Murder Mystery Dinner Theatre presents Class Reunions Can Be Murder through October 31st at the Bissel Mansion, 4426 Randall Place. For more information: www.bissellmansiontheatre.com

Dean as Dean
The Blue Strawberry presents  Dean Christopher's Rat Pack: Everybody Loves Somebody Some Time Friday September 24th at 7:30 pm. “In Blue Strawberry's opinion, there is no better or funnier Dean Martin impressionist on earth than Dean Christopher, no one better at mixing it up with his audience, and no one with more affection or admiration for Dino. Cabaret? Theater piece? Vegas act?  You decide as you journey through the music and humor of one of the most beloved entertainers of the 20th century - Dean Martin. Brought to life by award winning actor, singer, and impressionist Dean Christopher, featuring Joe Dreyer at the piano.” The Blue Strawberry on North Boyle requires proof of vaccination and masking as part of its COVID careful environment. For more information: bluestrawberrystl.com.

Circus Harmony in St. Louis and Circus Circuli in Stuttgart, St. Louis's German sister city, present Sister City Circus, on Circus Harmony’s YouTube page.  "Through a series of online meetings, workshops, and classes the two troupes created 6 different circus acts and then filmed them at iconic architectural locations in each of their cities." This and many other Circus Harmony videos are available at the Circus Harmony YouTube channel.

ERA Theatre presents the radio play SHE by Nancy Bell with music by Joe Taylor and Lyrics by Nancy Bell via on-demand streaming  "SHE controls the radio station of the fascist regime in power. SHE's also the star of the broadcast. Her recording studio abounds with music and oysters. But in the nearby government camps full of misfits and would-be revolutionaries, only torture and starvation is thick on the ground. Tonight, however, SHE's realm feels different. The bombs sound closer. Time moves faster. But SHE will finish her radio show, and it will be her finest. If executing every number in the broadcast means some people need to die, so be it; it is a small sacrifice. The citizens need her and she will not let them down." SHE is available for digital purchase via bandcamp at eratheatre.bandcamp.com. For more information: www.eratheatre.org

First Run Theatre presents Spectrum 2021: A Festival of Short Plays Fridays and Saturdays at 8 and Sundays at 2 pm, September 24 through October 3. "An evening of ten-minute plays is a rarity, and an evening of eight world premieres is rarer still, but that that is what First Run Theatre is offering this Fall. Throughout the year playwrights in the Midwest of the USA submit their best short work to FRT, who select the best of the best to produce.  A talented writer can write a beginning a middle and an end, a plot and memorable characters into a ten-page gem. You are invited to come and see for yourself." Performances take place at Theatre Guild of Webster Groves, 517 Theatre Lane, Webster Groves, MO. For more information: firstruntheatre.org.

The Lemp Mansion Murder Mystery Dinner Theatre and Jest Mysteries present The Haunted Hunter through through October 30th. "The rumors are true... this place is haunted!  And the word on the street is The Lemp Mansion’s most famous ghost is going to make an appearance tonight!  Lots of famous sleuths, detectives and ghost hunters from around the world will be here to catch a glimpse of our resident apparition.  But some seem to have more than just a passing interest in this paranormal investigation, could it be that they have something more sinister on their mind? Gee!  If someone gets whacked, we’ll have plenty of detectives to solve this Halloween whodunnit, won’t we? " The Lemp Mansion is at 3322 DeMenil Place in south city. For more information: www.lempmansion.co

Rock of Ages
Looking Glass Playhouse presents the musical Rock of Ages September 23 through October 3. “Rock of Ages is a jukebox musical built around classic rock songs from the 1980s, especially from the famous glam metal bands of that decade. The musical features songs from Styx, Journey, Bon Jovi, Pat Benatar, Twisted Sister, Steve Perry, Poison and Europe, among other well-known rock bands.” Performances take place at 301 West St. Louis Street in Lebanon, IL. For more information: lookingglassplayhouse.com.

Opera Theatre of St. Louis presents all six productions of its 2021 festival season, including I Dream a World, the special Juneteenth concert at the Missouri History Museum. streaming on demand through September 30th. Video streams are available on an individual or full season basis. For more information: opera-stl.org.

Prison Performing Arts presents Elsinore by David Nonemaker and Eric Satterfield, Friday and Saturday at 8 and Sunday at 2 pm, September 24-26. “Years before Hamlet uttered, ‘To be or not to be,’ things were not yet rotten in the State of Denmark. In Elsinore, an inspired prequel to Shakespeare's classic, both family and kingdom are poisoned by power, lust, envy, betrayal, and murder.  Elsinore imagines the years before Hamlet avenges his fathers' murder - allowing us to experience the precise moment before Hamlet begins - so we empathize even more how the noble prince is made distraught and melancholy by his father’s death and fueled to avenge Claudius' marriage to his mother and succession to the throne.” Performances take place at The Chapel, 6238 Alexander Drive. For more information: www.prisonperformingarts.org.

Dreaming Zenzile
The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis presents Dreaming Zenzile through October 3rd. “At her final concert, South African musical legend and activist Miriam Makeba delivers the performance of her life, raising the conscience and the consciousness of a people. But the ancestors are calling—transporting her through the music and fractured memories of her past on a spiritual journey of reconciliation. Written and performed by Grammy-nominated international music sensation Somi Kakoma, this world-premiere musical is an electrifying portrait of a revolutionary artist’s singular voice and vision.” Performances take place on the Emerson Main Stage at the Loretto-Hilton Center on the Webster University campus. For more information: www.repstl.org

R-S Theatrics presents While the Ghostlight Burns, a virtual discussion series featuring R-S Artistic Director Sarah Lynne Holt in conversation with St. Louis theatre artists, Mondays at 7 pm.  Conversations will be archived at the R-S Theatrics YouTube channel. For more information: r-stheatrics.com/while-the-ghostlight-burns.html

Sweat
Photo by Philip Hamer
The St. Louis Black Repertory Company opens its 45th Anniversary Season with Sweat by Lynn Nottage through September 26th. “As timely as ever, this Pulitzer Prize winner addresses the complexities of race, class and friendship at a pivotal moment in America. This deeply heartfelt drama is crafted with generous humor and tells the story of a group of co-workers who find friendship working together on a factory floor. When layoffs and picket lines enter the picture, these friends must decide if they should look out for each other — or prioritize themselves.” Performances take place at the Edison Theatre on the Washington University campus. For more information: www.theblackrep.org

Zoo Story
Photo by Patrick Huber
The St. Louis Actors’ Studio presents the one-act plays Zoo Story by Edward Albee and The Dumbwaiter by Harold Pinter Fridays and Saturdays at 8 pm and Sundays at 3 pm, September 24 through October 3. Performances take place at The Gaslight Theater on North Boyle in the Central West End. For more information: stlas.org.

The St. Louis Writers' Group presents the third and final installment of its Festival of One-Act Plays on Tuesday, September 21, at 6:30 pm. The plays are The Girl with the Terry Wall Tattoo by Terry Wall, Brick by David Hawley, Angel  by Aahron Young,  Five Minutes by David Hawley, Downer’s Grove by CJ Zander, and Pirouette by Mario Farewell. The readings take place upstairs at Big Daddy's, 1000 Sidney in Soulard and will also be available via Zoom. For more information, visit the St. Louis Writers' Group Facebook page.

SATE, in collaboration with COCA and Prison Performing Arts, presents Project Verse: Creativity in the Time of Quarantine. Project Verse presents two new plays: Quatrains in Quarantine by e.k. doolin and Dream On, Black Girl: Reflections in Quarantine by Maxine du Maine. The performances are streamed free of charge on SATE’s website and Facebook page. For more information: slightlyoff.org.

SATE also offers streaming performances of the shows originally scheduled for live 2020 productions: The Mary Shelley Monster Show, As You Like It (produced for SHAKE20, Project Verse, and Classic Mystery Game. The shows are available on their YouTube channel.

Stages St. Louis presents the musical Jersey Boys opening on Friday, September 24, at 8 pm and running through October 24. ‘Take an exhilarating journey into the music of the cultural phenomenon’s Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons, with JERSEY BOYS, the Tony Award-winning Best Musical! Featuring 30 show stopping performances of the 60s hits that took the group all the way to the top of the charts, including: “Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You,” Dawn,” and “My Eyes Adored You,” JERSEY BOYS will have you dancing in the aisles and shouting for more!’ Performances take place at The Ross Family Theatre at the Kirkwood Performing Arts Center. For more information: stagesstlouis.org.

The Washington University Performing Arts Department presents the A.E. Hotchner Playwriting Festival Friday at 7 pm and Saturday at 2 and 7 pm, September 24 and 25. “This year three aspiring playwrights will take part in a two-week workshop to develop their plays from the page to the stage. Guest dramaturg, Liza Birkenmeier AB '08, a recent playwright-in-residence at New York talent hub Ars Nova will mentor the writers during the workshop, supported by faculty directors and PAD actors.  We invite you to become a part of the playwriting process at the script-in-hand staged reading of each play.  After each presentation there will be a post-show discussion with the playwright and guest dramaturg in which you, the audience, are an integral part of the process and an ongoing participant in the development of each play.” The readings take place at the A.E. Hotchner Studio Theatre on the Washington University Campus. For more information: pad.wustl.edu.

Bloomsday
West End Players Guild presents Steven Dietz's Bloomsday Thursday through Saturday at 8 pm and Sunday at 2 pm, September 23rd through 26th. “Set in James Joyce’s Dublin, the play takes place 35 years ago, and also on one day last June.  Robert, a 55-year-old American college professor, has spent an academic career studying and teaching Joyce’s masterwork, Ulysses.  His interest in the novel dates from one magical day when he was twenty and he met Caithleen, a 20-year-old tour guide for the James Joyce’s Dublin walking tour.  Caithleen won young Robbie’s heart that day and he very nearly took her away to America, but in the end it was not to be. Robert has returned to Dublin for a reunion with Caithleen, now known as Cait.  But when he arrives for his planned rendezvous with Cait, it is Caithleen he finds instead, having somehow traveled back through the years to that day of their first and only meeting.  Caithleen, Cait, Robert and Robbie do a slow dance back and forth through time, reliving younger days, imagining what might have been and wondering if it still might be.” West End Players Guild this season will employ touchless ticketing, socially-distanced seating and indoor masking of all patrons and front-of-house staff and volunteers. Performances take place at the Union Avenue Christian Church, 733 Union in the Central West End. For more information: westendplayers.org.

Looking for auditions and other artistic opportunities? Check out the St. Louis Auditions site.
For information on events beyond this week, check out the searchable database at the Regional Arts Commission's Events Calendar.
Would you like to be on the radio? KDHX, 88.1 FM needs theatre reviewers. If you're 18 years or older, knowledgeable in this area, have practical theatre experience (acting, directing, writing, technical design, etc.), have good oral and written communications skills and would like to become one of our volunteer reviewers, send an email describing your experience and interests to chuck at kdhx.org. Please include a sample review of something you've seen recently.

Sunday, September 12, 2021

St. Louis theatre calendar for the week of September 13, 2021

Now including both on-line and live events during the pandemic. Your event information should be in text format (i.e. not part of a graphic), but feel free to include publicity stills. To get your event listed here, send an email to calendar [at] stageleft.org.

Alton Little Theater presents Gloria’s Guy Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 pm and Sundays at 2 pm through September 19. Performances take place at The Showplace, 2450 N. Henry St. in Alton, IL. For more information: https://altonlittletheater.org

The Bissell Mansion Murder Mystery Dinner Theatre presents Class Reunions Can Be Murder through October 31st at the Bissel Mansion, 4426 Randall Place. For more information: www.bissellmansiontheatre.com

The Blue Strawberry presents Open Mic Night with Sean Skrbec and Patrick White Sundays at 7 pm. "Come on down and sing, come on down to play, or come on down to listen and enjoy." The Blue Strawberry at 356 North Boyle requires proof of vaccination and masking as part of its COVID careful environment. For more information: bluestrawberrystl.com.

Emily Skinner
The Blue Strawberry presents  Emily Skinner: A Broad with a Broad, Broad Mind Friday at 8 pm and Saturday at 4 and 8 pm, September 17th and 18th.  “In this, her all-new and captivatingly all-in cabaret show, Tony-nominated Broadway star Emily Skinner (Side Show, Billy Elliot, The Full Monty, The Cher Show, Jekyll & Hyde, Dinner at Eight, James Joyce’s The Dead) takes us on a tour of her neighborhood. You don’t get to be a Broadway leading lady without being strong willed. In this show, she lets us see the fight she has (and lets us feel the fight we have) for what she wants and what she believes. A favorite at The Rep in Follies and The MUNY in The Little Mermaid.” John Fischer is the pianist and music director. The Blue Strawberry on North Boyle requires proof of vaccination and masking as part of its COVID careful environment. For more information: bluestrawberrystl.com.

A Call to Conscience Inc. presents Celebration of Survival Friday and Saturday, September 17 and 18, at 7 pm. “Artistic Director Fannie Belle Lebby, describes the show as a ‘choreopoem,’ a phrase coined in 1975 by African American playwright, Ntozake Shange. It is a form of dramatic expression that combines poetry, dance, music, and song. Basically, it’s an opportunity for audiences to hear, share and engage in conversations to help cope with stress and anxiety brought on by more than 17 months of unprecedented living during a global pandemic.” Performances take place at the Centene Center at Grand and Olive in Grand Center. For more information: acalltoconscience.org.

Circus Harmony in St. Louis and Circus Circuli in Stuttgart, St. Louis's German sister city, present Sister City Circus, on Circus Harmony’s YouTube page.  "Through a series of online meetings, workshops, and classes the two troupes created 6 different circus acts and then filmed them at iconic architectural locations in each of their cities." This and many other Circus Harmony videos are available at the Circus Harmony YouTube channel.

ERA Theatre presents the radio play SHE by Nancy Bell with music by Joe Taylor and Lyrics by Nancy Bell via on-demand streaming  "SHE controls the radio station of the fascist regime in power. SHE's also the star of the broadcast. Her recording studio abounds with music and oysters. But in the nearby government camps full of misfits and would-be revolutionaries, only torture and starvation is thick on the ground. Tonight, however, SHE's realm feels different. The bombs sound closer. Time moves faster. But SHE will finish her radio show, and it will be her finest. If executing every number in the broadcast means some people need to die, so be it; it is a small sacrifice. The citizens need her and she will not let them down." SHE is available for digital purchase via bandcamp at eratheatre.bandcamp.com. For more information: www.eratheatre.org

The Lemp Mansion Murder Mystery Dinner Theatre and Jest Mysteries present The Haunted Hunter through through October 30. "The rumors are true... this place is haunted!  And the word on the street is The Lemp Mansion’s most famous ghost is going to make an appearance tonight!  Lots of famous sleuths, detectives and ghost hunters from around the world will be here to catch a glimpse of our resident apparition.  But some seem to have more than just a passing interest in this paranormal investigation, could it be that they have something more sinister on their mind? Gee!  If someone gets whacked, we’ll have plenty of detectives to solve this Halloween whodunnit, won’t we? " The Lemp Mansion is at 3322 DeMenil Place in south city. For more information: www.lempmansion.com

Monroe Actors Stage Company presents Lillian Hellman’s Watch on the Rhine through September 19. “Watch on the Rhine tells the story of an idealistic German who, with his American wife and two children, flees Hitler’s Germany and finds sanctuary with his wife’s family in the United States. He hopes for a respite from the dangerous work in which he has been involved, but his desire for personal safety soon comes into conflict with the deeply-held beliefs which have made him an active anti-Nazi. Told in compelling, human terms, the play is an eloquent and stirring tribute to the brave men and women who, despite all odds, struggled early on to stem the tide of fascism which was soon to spread throughout Europe and the world.” Performances take place at the Capitol Theatre in Waterloo, IL. For more information: www.masctheatre.org.

Opera Theatre of St. Louis presents all six productions of its 2021 festival season, including I Dream a World, the special Juneteenth concert at the Missouri History Museum. streaming on demand through September 30th. Video streams are available on an individual or full season basis. For more information: https://opera-stl.org/streaming.

Somi Kakoma
The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis presents Dreaming Zenzile through October 3rd. “At her final concert, South African musical legend and activist Miriam Makeba delivers the performance of her life, raising the conscience and the consciousness of a people. But the ancestors are calling—transporting her through the music and fractured memories of her past on a spiritual journey of reconciliation. Written and performed by Grammy-nominated international music sensation Somi Kakoma, this world-premiere musical is an electrifying portrait of a revolutionary artist’s singular voice and vision.” Performances take place on the Emerson Main Stage at the Loretto-Hilton Center on the Webster University campus. For more information: www.repstl.org

R-S Theatrics presents While the Ghostlight Burns, a virtual discussion series featuring R-S Artistic Director Sarah Lynne Holt in conversation with St. Louis theatre artists, Mondays at 7 pm.  Conversations will be archived at the R-S Theatrics YouTube channel. For more information: r-stheatrics.com/while-the-ghostlight-burns.html

The St. Louis Black Repertory Company opens its 45th Anniversary Season with Sweat by Lynn Nottage through September 26th. “As timely as ever, this Pulitzer Prize winner addresses the complexities of race, class and friendship at a pivotal moment in America. This deeply heartfelt drama is crafted with generous humor and tells the story of a group of co-workers who find friendship working together on a factory floor. When layoffs and picket lines enter the picture, these friends must decide if they should look out for each other — or prioritize themselves.” Performances take place at the Edison Theatre on the Washington University campus. For more information: www.theblackrep.org

The St. Louis Actors’ Studio presents the one-act plays Zoo Story by Edward Albee and The Dumbwaiter by Harold Pinter Fridays and Saturdays at 8 pm and Sundays at 3 pm, September 17 through October 3. Performances take place at The Gaslight Theater on North Boyle in the Central West End. For more information: stlas.org.

The St. Louis Writers' Group presents a Festival of One-Act Plays on Tuesday, September 14, at 6:30 pm. The plays are Hole in the Ceiling by Andrew Black,  It’s Not Your Fault by Cherie Sampson, Cabin Fever by Aahron Young, The Park Bench by Taylor Kelly, and A Deadly Sin’s Last Supper by Michael Stuart. The readings take place upstairs at Big Daddy's, 1000 Sidney in Soulard and will also be available via Zoom. For more information, visit the St. Louis Writers' Group Facebook page.

SATE, in collaboration with COCA and Prison Performing Arts, presents Project Verse: Creativity in the Time of Quarantine. Project Verse presents two new plays: Quatrains in Quarantine by e.k. doolin and Dream On, Black Girl: Reflections in Quarantine by Maxine du Maine. The performances are streamed free of charge on SATE’s website and Facebook page. For more information: slightlyoff.org.

SATE also offers streaming performances of the shows originally scheduled for live 2020 productions: The Mary Shelley Monster Show, As You Like It (produced for SHAKE20, Project Verse, and Classic Mystery Game. The shows are available on their YouTube channel.

Stray Dog Theatre’s Silver Stage Program presents an on-demand streaming audio version of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. The production features a cast of actors exclusively over the age of 55. For more information: straydogtheatre.org.

The Theatre Guild of Webster Groves presents the comedy Six Rms Riv Vu by Bob Randall through September 19th. “A vacant apartment with six rooms and a river view is open for inspection by prospective tenants, and among them are a man (Paul) and a woman (Anne), strangers when they meet. As the last to leave, they find themselves locked in and though both are happily married, discover a mutual attraction as they wait out the long night ahead.” Performances take place at 517 Theatre Lane at the corner of Newport and Summit in Webster Groves. For more information, visit the Gild's Facebook page.

Bloomsday
West End Players Guild presents Steven Dietz's Bloomsday September 17 through 26. “Set in James Joyce’s Dublin, the play takes place 35 years ago, and also on one day last June.  Robert, a 55-year-old American college professor, has spent an academic career studying and teaching Joyce’s masterwork, Ulysses.  His interest in the novel dates from one magical day when he was twenty and he met Caithleen, a 20-year-old tour guide for the James Joyce’s Dublin walking tour.  Caithleen won young Robbie’s heart that day and he very nearly took her away to America, but in the end it was not to be. Robert has returned to Dublin for a reunion with Caithleen, now known as Cait.  But when he arrives for his planned rendezvous with Cait, it is Caithleen he finds instead, having somehow traveled back through the years to that day of their first and only meeting.  Caithleen, Cait, Robert and Robbie do a slow dance back and forth through time, reliving younger days, imagining what might have been and wondering if it still might be.” West End Players Guild this season will employ touchless ticketing, socially-distanced seating and indoor masking of all patrons and front-of-house staff and volunteers. Performances take place at the Union Avenue Christian Church, 733 Union in the Central West End. For more information: westendplayers.org.

Looking for auditions and other artistic opportunities? Check out the St. Louis Auditions site.
For information on events beyond this week, check out the searchable database at the Regional Arts Commission's Events Calendar.
Would you like to be on the radio? KDHX, 88.1 FM needs theatre reviewers. If you're 18 years or older, knowledgeable in this area, have practical theatre experience (acting, directing, writing, technical design, etc.), have good oral and written communications skills and would like to become one of our volunteer reviewers, send an email describing your experience and interests to chuck at kdhx.org. Please include a sample review of something you've seen recently.

Sunday, September 05, 2021

St. Louis theatre calendar for the week of September 6th, 2021

Now including both on-line and live events during the pandemic. Your event information should be in text format (i.e. not part of a graphic), but feel free to include publicity stills. To get your event listed here, send an email to calendar [at] stageleft.org.

Alton Little Theater presents Gloria’s Guy Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 pm and Sundays at 2 pm, September 10-19. Performances take place at The Showplace, 2450 N. Henry St. in Alton, IL. For more information: https://altonlittletheater.org

The Bissell Mansion Murder Mystery Dinner Theatre presents Class Reunions Can Be Murder through October 31st at the Bissel Mansion, 4426 Randall Place. For more information: www.bissellmansiontheatre.com

The Blue Strawberry presents a singers open mic hosted by Meghan Kirk with Ron McGowan at the piano Tuesday, September 7, from 7 to 9:30 pm. Singers are asked to bring music in their key. The Blue Strawberry at 356 North Boyle requires proof of vaccination and masking as part of its COVID careful environment.  or more information: bluestrawberrystl.com.

Meghan Kirk
The Blue Strawberry presents Open Mic Night with Sean Skrbec and Patrick White Sundays at 7 pm. "Come on down and sing, come on down to play, or come on down to listen and enjoy." The Blue Strawberry at 356 North Boyle requires proof of vaccination and masking as part of its COVID careful environment. For more information: bluestrawberrystl.com.

Circus Harmony in St. Louis and Circus Circuli in Stuttgart, St. Louis's German sister city, present Sister City Circus, on Circus Harmony’s YouTube page.  "Through a series of online meetings, workshops, and classes the two troupes created 6 different circus acts and then filmed them at iconic architectural locations in each of their cities." This and many other Circus Harmony videos are available at the Circus Harmony YouTube channel.

ERA Theatre presents the radio play SHE by Nancy Bell with music by Joe Taylor and Lyrics by Nancy Bell via on-demand streaming  "SHE controls the radio station of the fascist regime in power. SHE's also the star of the broadcast. Her recording studio abounds with music and oysters. But in the nearby government camps full of misfits and would-be revolutionaries, only torture and starvation is thick on the ground. Tonight, however, SHE's realm feels different. The bombs sound closer. Time moves faster. But SHE will finish her radio show, and it will be her finest. If executing every number in the broadcast means some people need to die, so be it; it is a small sacrifice. The citizens need her and she will not let them down." SHE is available for digital purchase via bandcamp at eratheatre.bandcamp.com. For more information: www.eratheatre.org

The Kirkwood Theatre Guild presents Shrek the Musical through September 12th Performances take place at the Reim Theatre in the Kirkwood Community Center in Kirkwood, MO. For more information: www.ktg-onstage.org.

The Lemp Mansion Murder Mystery Dinner Theatre and Jest Mysteries present The Haunted Hunter September 3 through through October 30. "The rumors are true... this place is haunted!  And the word on the street is The Lemp Mansion’s most famous ghost is going to make an appearance tonight!  Lots of famous sleuths, detectives and ghost hunters from around the world will be here to catch a glimpse of our resident apparition.  But some seem to have more than just a passing interest in this paranormal investigation, could it be that they have something more sinister on their mind? Gee!  If someone gets whacked, we’ll have plenty of detectives to solve this Halloween whodunnit, won’t we? " The Lemp Mansion is at 3322 DeMenil Place in south city. For more information: www.lempmansion.com

Monroe Actors Stage Company presents Lillian Hellman’s Watch on the Rhine September 10-19. “Watch on the Rhine tells the story of an idealistic German who, with his American wife and two children, flees Hitler’s Germany and finds sanctuary with his wife’s family in the United States. He hopes for a respite from the dangerous work in which he has been involved, but his desire for personal safety soon comes into conflict with the deeply-held beliefs which have made him an active anti-Nazi. Told in compelling, human terms, the play is an eloquent and stirring tribute to the brave men and women who, despite all odds, struggled early on to stem the tide of fascism which was soon to spread throughout Europe and the world.” Performances take place at the Capitol Theatre in Waterloo, IL. For more information: www.masctheatre.org.

Opera Theatre of St. Louis presents all six productions of its 2021 festival season, including I Dream a World, the special Juneteenth concert at the Missouri History Museum. streaming on demand through September 30th. Video streams are available on an individual or full season basis. For more information: https://opera-stl.org/streaming.

The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis presents Dreaming Zenzile opening on Friday, September 10th, at 8 pm and running through October 3rd. “At her final concert, South African musical legend and activist Miriam Makeba delivers the performance of her life, raising the conscience and the consciousness of a people. But the ancestors are calling—transporting her through the music and fractured memories of her past on a spiritual journey of reconciliation. Written and performed by Grammy-nominated international music sensation Somi Kakoma, this world-premiere musical is an electrifying portrait of a revolutionary artist’s singular voice and vision.” Performances take place on the Emerson Main Stage at the Loretto-Hilton Center on the Webster University campus. For more information: www.repstl.org

R-S Theatrics presents While the Ghostlight Burns, a virtual discussion series featuring R-S Artistic Director Sarah Lynne Holt in conversation with St. Louis theatre artists, Mondays at 7 pm.  Conversations will be archived at the R-S Theatrics YouTube channel. For more information: r-stheatrics.com/while-the-ghostlight-burns.html

The St. Louis Black Repertory Company opens its 45th Anniversary Season with Sweat by Lynn Nottage on Wednesday, September 8th at 7 pm. “As timely as ever, this Pulitzer Prize winner addresses the complexities of race, class and friendship at a pivotal moment in America. This deeply heartfelt drama is crafted with generous humor and tells the story of a group of co-workers who find friendship working together on a factory floor. When layoffs and picket lines enter the picture, these friends must decide if they should look out for each other — or prioritize themselves.” Performances continue through September 26th at the Edison Theatre on the Washington University campus. For more information: www.theblackrep.org

The St. Louis Shakespeare Festival presents The Ville: Avengeance! Thursday through Saturday, September 9-11 at 8 pm. "The Ville neighborhood is one of the most historically significant Black communities in America.  Home to Sumner High School, the first Black high school west of the Mississippi River, the Ville has nurtured cultural icons from Chuck Berry to Tina Turner to Arthur Ashe, Grace Bumbry, Dick Gregory, Robert Guillaume, Robert McFerrin, Sr., the Fifth Dimension and more.  Sumner alumna Mariah L. Richardson is writing the neighborhood adaptation inspired by William Shakespeare's Hamlet and Ville resident Thomasina Clarke will direct." Performances take place outdoors at the Annie Malone House, 2612 Annie Malone Drive. For more information:

The St. Louis Writers' Group presents a Festival of One-Act Plays on Tuesday, September 7, at 6:30 pm. The plays are A Question of Loyalty by Robert K. Maesaka, Role Reversal by James T. Tecu, What is it? by Mario Farwell, Sage by Dennis Fisher, and Window Dressing by Mario Farwell. The readings take place upstairs at Big Daddy's, 1000 Sidney in Soulard and will also be available via Zoom. For more information, visit the St. Louis Writers' Group Facebook page.

SATE, in collaboration with COCA and Prison Performing Arts, presents Project Verse: Creativity in the Time of Quarantine. Project Verse presents two new plays: Quatrains in Quarantine by e.k. doolin and Dream On, Black Girl: Reflections in Quarantine by Maxine du Maine. The performances are streamed free of charge on SATE’s website and Facebook page. For more information: slightlyoff.org.

SATE also offers streaming performances of the shows originally scheduled for live 2020 productions: The Mary Shelley Monster Show, As You Like It (produced for SHAKE20, Project Verse, and Classic Mystery Game. The shows are available on their YouTube channel.

Stray Dog Theatre’s Silver Stage Program presents an on-demand streaming audio version of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. The production features a cast of actors exclusively over the age of 55. For more information: straydogtheatre.org.

The Theatre Guild of Webster Groves presents the comedy Six Rms Riv Vu by Bob Randall September 10th through 19th. “A vacant apartment with six rooms and a river view is open for inspection by prospective tenants, and among them are a man (Paul) and a woman (Anne), strangers when they meet. As the last to leave, they find themselves locked in and though both are happily married, discover a mutual attraction as they wait out the long night ahead.” Performances take place at 517 Theatre Lane at the corner of Newport and Summit in Webster Groves. For more information, visit the Gild's Facebook page.

Vivre Theatre presents Disney’s Beauty and the Beast through September 12th. “Step into the enchanting world of Belle – a young woman who feels trapped in her small town – and the Beast – a young prince trapped under the spell caused by his own selfishness. But time is running out! The Beast and his household will remain cursed forever if the spell is not broken before the last rose petal falls. Based on the Academy Award-winning animated film and filled with all of your favorite songs, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast follows the heartwarming journey of learning how to love and to be loved in return” Performances take place at the James J Eagan Civic Center Theatre in the Florissant Community Center in Florissant, MO. For more information: vivretheatre.com

Looking for auditions and other artistic opportunities? Check out the St. Louis Auditions site.
For information on events beyond this week, check out the searchable database at the Regional Arts Commission's Events Calendar.
Would you like to be on the radio? KDHX, 88.1 FM needs theatre reviewers. If you're 18 years or older, knowledgeable in this area, have practical theatre experience (acting, directing, writing, technical design, etc.), have good oral and written communications skills and would like to become one of our volunteer reviewers, send an email describing your experience and interests to chuck at kdhx.org. Please include a sample review of something you've seen recently.

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Digital Symphony Review: Denéve and the SLSO try a little tenderness

Available through September 25th, the latest digital release from the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra (SLSO) is from a series of concerts originally performed live this past Mother's Day weekend (May 7th through 9th) and reviewed by me back then.  On our way home from the May 8th performance, my wife commented that there was a noticeable warmth to Music Director Stéphane Denève's conducting. I’d say there’s also an affection for both the music and musicians that is well-nigh irresistible.

[Find out more about the music with my symphony preview of the original concert.]

"Songs My Mother Taught Me"

You can hear those qualities in the pair of works that open this concert, picked specifically in honor of Mother's Day: settings of the poem "Songs My Mother Taught Me" by Antonín Dvořák and Charles Ives.

Written for voice and piano, the songs are heard here in arrangements by Michi Wiancko for string orchestra, with a single wind instrument taking the vocal line. Principal Clarinet Scott Andrews is the soloist in the Dvořák and Associate Principal Flute Andrea Kaplan in the surprisingly sentimental Ives. Both use their instruments to sing with a kindheartedness that was a perfect match for the music.

In the original live performance, the placement of Andrews and Kaplan towards the rear of the stage occasionally allowed the accompaniment to overwhelm them. The video overcomes that with a sound balance that makes them more clearly heard (despite the overall lack of audible stereo separation), as well as with close-up shots that allows you to see them playing in a way that could never be achieved in the concert hall. Alicia Revé Like (the narrator for "Peter and the Wolf") reads the English translation of the simple, sentimental poem in between the two performances, which is a nice touch.

Alicia Revé Like

Next is that venerable favorite, Prokofiev’s “Peter and the Wolf,” which has made regular appearances in SLSO programs since 1939, only three years after its first performance by the Moscow Philharmonic. Like’s take on the role of the narrator is a perfect balance of theatricality and simplicity—fun to watch without drawing focus from the many wonderful solo performances by the members of the orchestra. Here, again, the video makes it possible to see each soloist at work with a clarity you can't get any other way—and to get a better look at Like's entertaining performance as well.

Speaking of the soloists, here’s a shout-out to Kaplan’s virtuoso performance as the little bird, with all the rapid “flighty” passages delivered with assurance. Percussionists Alan Stewart, Tom Stubbs, and Will James are particularly fearsome as the hunters, Andrews is a sinuous cat, Principal Bassoon Andrew Cuneo a comically pompous grandfather, and Principal Oboe Jelena Dirks an elegant and, in the end, somewhat mournful duck.

Denève’s interpretation shows his usual fine sense of balance and ability to bring out some of the more interesting details of the score, including Prokofiev’s periodic dips into dissonance. In his introduction to the video, Denève describes the work as being "very dear to me..a lesson of creativity, courage, and freedom for listeners of every generation." That affection for the work is both visible and audible here.

Concluding the festivities is the suite Stravinsky prepared in 1922 from the score for his 1920 ballet “Pulcinella.” The suite takes a collection of tunes by the short-lived (1710-1736) Italian Baroque composer Giovanni Battista Pergolesi (along with a few ohters what were mistakenly attributed to him at the time) and dresses them in the light, transparent style of Stravinsky’s early “Neoclassical” period.

"Pulcinella" Suite

Most of the performances I’ve heard in the past have given this music the kind of bright, nose-thumbing cheer associated with the ballet’s titular commedia dell’arte clown. In the program notes, though, Denève is quoted as describing the suite as “such tender and charming music,” so it’s no surprise that his approach  more on the lyrical side.

Which, as it turns out, works just fine. The wider range of tempi allows movements like the opening Sinfonia to really breathe and makes energetic movements such as the Tarantella-Toccata and the Vivo (with its comic solo delivered with appropriate swagger Principal Trombone Timothy Myers) that much more exhilarating. Denève insures that the many solos can be clearly heard while still maintaining a cohesive ensemble sound.

There is, in short, much to love in this program.

The SLSO Mother's Day program is available on demand through September 25th at the SLSO web site. You can also watch the video version of the concert from the week before the Mother's Day series there through September 4th, along with information on the orchestra's fall series of live concerts, which begins with a special preview concert on September 19th.

This article originally appeared at 88.1 KDHX, where Chuck Lavazzi is the senior performing arts critic.

Sunday, August 29, 2021

St. Louis theatre calendar for the week of August 30, 2021

Now including both on-line and live events during the pandemic. Your event information should be in text format (i.e. not part of a graphic), but feel free to include publicity stills. To get your event listed here, send an email to calendar [at] stageleft.org.

The Blue Strawberry
presents Open Mic Night with Sean Skrbec and Patrick White Sundays at 7 pm. "Come on down and sing, come on down to play, or come on down to listen and enjoy." The Blue Strawberry at 356 North Boyle requires proof of vaccination and masking as part of its COVID careful environment. For more information: bluestrawberrystl.com.

Circus Harmony in St. Louis and Circus Circuli in Stuttgart, St. Louis's German sister city, present Sister City Circus, on Circus Harmony’s YouTube page.  "Through a series of online meetings, workshops, and classes the two troupes created 6 different circus acts and then filmed them at iconic architectural locations in each of their cities." This and many other Circus Harmony videos are available at the Circus Harmony YouTube channel.

ERA Theatre presents the radio play SHE by Nancy Bell with music by Joe Taylor and Lyrics by Nancy Bell via on-demand streaming  "SHE controls the radio station of the fascist regime in power. SHE's also the star of the broadcast. Her recording studio abounds with music and oysters. But in the nearby government camps full of misfits and would-be revolutionaries, only torture and starvation is thick on the ground. Tonight, however, SHE's realm feels different. The bombs sound closer. Time moves faster. But SHE will finish her radio show, and it will be her finest. If executing every number in the broadcast means some people need to die, so be it; it is a small sacrifice. The citizens need her and she will not let them down." SHE is available for digital purchase via bandcamp at eratheatre.bandcamp.com. For more information: www.eratheatre.org

The Lemp Mansion Murder Mystery Dinner Theatre and Jest Mysteries present The Haunted Hunter September 3 through through October 30. "The rumors are true... this place is haunted!  And the word on the street is The Lemp Mansion’s most famous ghost is going to make an appearance tonight!  Lots of famous sleuths, detectives and ghost hunters from around the world will be here to catch a glimpse of our resident apparition.  But some seem to have more than just a passing interest in this paranormal investigation, could it be that they have something more sinister on their mind? Gee!  If someone gets whacked, we’ll have plenty of detectives to solve this Halloween whodunnit, won’t we? " The Lemp Mansion is at 3322 DeMenil Place in south city. For more information: www.lempmansion.com

Moonstone Theatre Company presents Moonstone Connections, a series of in-depth interviews with arts leaders by company founder Sharon Hunter. The latest episode features musical theatre composer and director Kevin Connors. New episodes air the third Tuesday of each month; see linktr.ee/moonstoneconnections for more information.

The Muny presents Chicago, through August 30 through September 5 at 8:15 pm.  'Start the car and head to a “whoopee spot” where crime and corruption are hot! Kander and Ebb’s internationally-acclaimed musical about fame, fortune and justice features a headline-worthy story of how two icon-victs become Jazz Age celebrities. Set during the Prohibition era, this six-time Tony Award-winner, the longest-running American musical in Broadway history, includes showstopping standards such as “Cell Block Tango,” “Mister Cellophane” and the notorious “All That Jazz.”' Performances take place on the Muny's outdoor stage in Forest Park. For more information: muny.org.

R-S Theatrics presents While the Ghostlight Burns, a virtual discussion series featuring R-S Artistic Director Sarah Lynne Holt in conversation with St. Louis theatre artists, Mondays at 7 pm.  Conversations will be archived at the R-S Theatrics YouTube channel. For more information: r-stheatrics.com/while-the-ghostlight-burns.html

SATE, in collaboration with COCA and Prison Performing Arts, presents Project Verse: Creativity in the Time of Quarantine. Project Verse presents two new plays: Quatrains in Quarantine by e.k. doolin and Dream On, Black Girl: Reflections in Quarantine by Maxine du Maine. The performances are streamed free of charge on SATE’s website and Facebook page. For more information: slightlyoff.org.

SATE also offers streaming performances of the shows originally scheduled for live 2020 productions: The Mary Shelley Monster Show, As You Like It (produced for SHAKE20, Project Verse, and Classic Mystery Game. The shows are available on their YouTube channel.

Always...Patsy Cline
Stages St. Louis presents Always…Patsy Cline running through September 5. ‘The touching and true story of country music legend Patsy Cline and her friendship with Texas housewife Louise Seger. Told through the heartfelt and hilarious memories of Louise, ALWAYS… PATSY CLINE is an endearing tale that combines down home humor, unbridled heartache and 27 of Patsy’s unforgettable hits such as “Crazy” and “Sweet Dreams.”’ Performances take place at The Ross Family Theatre at the Kirkwood Performing Arts Center. For more information: stagesstlouis.org.

Stray Dog Theatre’s Silver Stage Program presents an on-demand streaming audio version of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. The production features a cast of actors exclusively over the age of 55. For more information: straydogtheatre.org.

Looking for auditions and other artistic opportunities? Check out the St. Louis Auditions site.
For information on events beyond this week, check out the searchable database at the Regional Arts Commission's Events Calendar.
Would you like to be on the radio? KDHX, 88.1 FM needs theatre reviewers. If you're 18 years or older, knowledgeable in this area, have practical theatre experience (acting, directing, writing, technical design, etc.), have good oral and written communications skills and would like to become one of our volunteer reviewers, send an email describing your experience and interests to chuck at kdhx.org. Please include a sample review of something you've seen recently.

Sunday, August 22, 2021

St. Louis theatre calendar for the week of August 23, 2021

Now including both on-line and live events during the pandemic. Your event information should be in text format (i.e. not part of a graphic), but feel free to include publicity stills. To get your event listed here, send an email to calendar [at] stageleft.org.

Alton Little Theater presents the comedy Kong’s Night Out Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 pm and Sundays at 2 pm, through August 29. "A crazy backstory of the 1933 film with Fay Wray. Every moment is meticulously coordinated with the events depicted in the movie… BUT with mistaken identities, pies in the face, deceit, underhandedness, and even a couple of romances! "  Performances take place at 2450 North Henry in Alton, IL.   For more information, call 618-462-6562 or visit altonlittletheater.org.

The Blue Strawberry
presents Open Mic Night with Sean Skrbec and Patrick White Sundays at 7 pm. "Come on down and sing, come on down to play, or come on down to listen and enjoy." The Blue Strawberry at 356 North Boyle requires proof of vaccination and masking as part of its COVID careful environment. For more information: bluestrawberrystl.com.

Joe Dryer and Rosemary Watts
The Blue Strawberry presents  Joe Dreyer and Rosemary Watts: For Better or Worse Friday, August 27, at 7:30 pm. “Rosemary and Joe are delighted to be back performing live, just in time for their 35th anniversary. Exploring the ups and downs of relationships through music, this “First Couple of St. Louis Cabaret” share gems from the Great American Songbook and stories. Featuring Scott Alberici on clarinet. An accomplished musical theater performer with a wonderful voice, Rosemary has played in long runs of both Menopause, The Musical and I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change. Joe is one of our town’s most sought after music directors and pianists. Together, Joe and Rosemary are a charming, sophisticated and funny husband-and-wife team. They delight audiences with music, stories of songwriters and their own relationship.” The Blue Strawberry at 356 North Boyle requires proof of vaccination and masking as part of its COVID careful environment. For more information: bluestrawberrystl.com.

Circus Harmony in St. Louis and Circus Circuli in Stuttgart, St. Louis's German sister city, present Sister City Circus, on Circus Harmony’s YouTube page.  "Through a series of online meetings, workshops, and classes the two troupes created 6 different circus acts and then filmed them at iconic architectural locations in each of their cities." This and many other Circus Harmony videos are available at the Circus Harmony YouTube channel.

ERA Theatre presents the radio play SHE by Nancy Bell with music by Joe Taylor and Lyrics by Nancy Bell via on-demand streaming  "SHE controls the radio station of the fascist regime in power. SHE's also the star of the broadcast. Her recording studio abounds with music and oysters. But in the nearby government camps full of misfits and would-be revolutionaries, only torture and starvation is thick on the ground. Tonight, however, SHE's realm feels different. The bombs sound closer. Time moves faster. But SHE will finish her radio show, and it will be her finest. If executing every number in the broadcast means some people need to die, so be it; it is a small sacrifice. The citizens need her and she will not let them down." SHE is available for digital purchase via bandcamp at eratheatre.bandcamp.com. For more information: www.eratheatre.org

The Lemp Mansion Murder Mystery Dinner Theatre presents Clueless through August 28. "Welcome to the world of big business, old mansions and family politics. You’re invited To the birthday celebration of the oldest, (and richest), man in town. Lucky you! Some would kill for the opportunity to meet Barnabas Barnaby Baggs, the famous Pickle Baron. He sure has made a lot of enemies on his rise to the top! I hope none of his enemies tries to kill him tonight. But if they do, will you know who did it? Maybe his latest girlfriend? The angry ex-wife? the spoiled nephew? Perhaps the jealous competitor? …Or You? Regardless, you’ll have to figure it whodunnit because we’re Clueless!" The Lemp Mansion is at 3322 DeMenil Place in south city. For more information: www.lempmansion.com

Moonstone Theatre Company presents Moonstone Connections, a series of in-depth interviews with arts leaders by company founder Sharon Hunter. The latest episode features musical theatre composer and director Kevin Connors. New episodes air the third Tuesday of each month; see linktr.ee/moonstoneconnections for more information.

Arianna Rosario and the company of On Your Feet!
Photo by Phillip Hamer
The Muny presents On Your Feet!, through August 27 at 8:15 pm.  “Based on the inspiring true story of the queen of Latin pop, Gloria Estefan and her husband, Emilio, On Your Feet! is a universal sensation that shows what can happen when two people believe in their talent, music and one another.” Performances take place on the Muny's outdoor stage in Forest Park. For more information: muny.org.

R-S Theatrics presents While the Ghostlight Burns, a virtual discussion series featuring R-S Artistic Director Sarah Lynne Holt in conversation with St. Louis theatre artists, Mondays at 7 pm.  Conversations will be archived at the R-S Theatrics YouTube channel. For more information: r-stheatrics.com/while-the-ghostlight-burns.html


St. Louis Public Radio
presents the STLPR Theatre Showcase Friday and Saturday at 7 pm, August 27 and 28. "Join us for the first St. Louis Public Radio Theatre Showcase on the Public Media Commons! Over the course of two nights, we’ll feature short performances by 10 local theatre companies! Bring your favorite lawn chair and a picnic, cold drinks will be available to purchase. Attendance is free but registration is required. Specialty cocktails, local craft beer and more cold beverages will be available for sale at the event by STL Barkeep! Bring your favorite lawn chair, kick back and enjoy the live music in the beautiful Public Media Commons!" The Public Media Commons is at 3653 Olive in Grand Center. For more information: www.grandcenter.org.

The St. Louis Shakespeare Festival's TourCo presents a one-act adaptation of Othello at various area parks through August 28th. "TourCo’s inaugural production of Othello in 24 parks and gathering spaces across Missouri and Illinois. The 90-minute adaptation features Courtney Bailey (Desdemona), Charlie Barron (Iago), Ricki Franklin (Emilia), Hannah Geisz (Roderigo), Jason J. Little (Othello) and Jesse Muñoz (Cassio). All performances begin at 6:30 p.m. unless otherwise noted." For a complete list of dates and locations, visit stlshakes.org/production/othello.

SATE, in collaboration with COCA and Prison Performing Arts, presents Project Verse: Creativity in the Time of Quarantine. Project Verse presents two new plays: Quatrains in Quarantine by e.k. doolin and Dream On, Black Girl: Reflections in Quarantine by Maxine du Maine. The performances are streamed free of charge on SATE’s website and Facebook page. For more information: slightlyoff.org.

SATE also offers streaming performances of the shows originally scheduled for live 2020 productions: The Mary Shelley Monster Show, As You Like It (produced for SHAKE20, Project Verse, and Classic Mystery Game. The shows are available on their YouTube channel.

Always...Patsy Cline
Stages St. Louis presents Always…Patsy Cline running through September 5. ‘The touching and true story of country music legend Patsy Cline and her friendship with Texas housewife Louise Seger. Told through the heartfelt and hilarious memories of Louise, ALWAYS… PATSY CLINE is an endearing tale that combines down home humor, unbridled heartache and 27 of Patsy’s unforgettable hits such as “Crazy” and “Sweet Dreams.”’ Performances take place at The Ross Family Theatre at the Kirkwood Performing Arts Center. For more information: stagesstlouis.org.

Stray Dog Theatre’s Silver Stage Program presents an on-demand streaming audio version of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. The production features a cast of actors exclusively over the age of 55. For more information: straydogtheatre.org.

The Glass Menagerie
Photo by ProPhotoSTL
The Tennessee Williams Festival presents The Glass Menagerie Thursdays through Sundays at 8 pm, through August 29. “Williams’ greatest, most famous, and most personal play. The narrator recalls late in life how his youthful devotion to his sister Rose (Laura in the play) conflicted with his creative passions as he was about to escape from St. Louis for good.” Performances take place outdoors at The Tennessee, 4633 Westminster Place in the Central West End. For more information on this and other festival events: www.twstl.org.

The Tennessee Williams Festival presents Why Did Desdemona
Love the Moor? by Tennessee Williams on Saturday, August 28 at 2 pm.  “Only recently unearthed from the Williams archives, this story of an interracial love affair between a white starlet and a Black author speaks to our times, calling out bigotry and exploring the complexity of racial relationships.” Directed by Thomas Mitchell, this “workshop reading” takes place at The Link Auditorium, 4504 Westminster Place in the Central West End. For more information on this and other festival events: www.twstl.org.

Looking for auditions and other artistic opportunities? Check out the St. Louis Auditions site.
For information on events beyond this week, check out the searchable database at the Regional Arts Commission's Events Calendar.
Would you like to be on the radio? KDHX, 88.1 FM needs theatre reviewers. If you're 18 years or older, knowledgeable in this area, have practical theatre experience (acting, directing, writing, technical design, etc.), have good oral and written communications skills and would like to become one of our volunteer reviewers, send an email describing your experience and interests to chuck at kdhx.org. Please include a sample review of something you've seen recently.