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My take: The St. Louis Cabaret Conference is the annual week-long professional training camp for cabaret and musical theatre singers. I have attended several editions over the years, including last year's, which was the first one to feature both Next Stop and Pro tracks, so I had a chance to see all of these singers strut their stuff. They're very different but all very talented, and this should be a great evening.
The Presenters Dolan presents Lisa Rothauser and Tor Hyams in Life. Who Knew? on Thursday, March 31, at 8 PM as part of the Gaslight Cabaret Festival. "This show sold out NY's 54 Below, 42 West and Joe's Pub. Lisa is a hometown girl who was in the cast of The Producers on Broadway, and sings like it. Husband Tor Hyams is a Grammy-nominated songwriter. It's a helluva show." The performance takes place at the Gaslight Theater, 358 North Boyle. For more information: gaslightcabaretfestival.com.
My take: I'm putting his show on the list just because it sounds like fun and because I love to support the work of local performers who make good in the Big Apple. If I weren't already committed elsewhere, I would definitely be at the Gaslight for this show.
|Satchel Paige and the Kansas City Swing
Photo: John Gitchoff
The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis presents Satchel Paige and the Kansas City Swing through April 10. "The crack of the bat, the roar of the crowd-it's what every baseball player dreams of. In 1947, Jackie Robinson had broken baseball's color barrier, while Satchel Paige and his Negro League All-Stars were barnstorming against their white counterparts in the Majors. It was baseball by day and jazz by night as the impassioned and devoted players tried to find their place in a country on the verge of change." Performances take place on the mainstage at the Loretto-Hlton Center, 130 Edgar Road in Webster Groves, MO. For more information, call 314-968-4925 or visit repstl.org.
My take: While the reviews for this show have been mixed, I saw it last weekend and was very impressed. It's a fascinating look at a historical turning point both in American history in general and in the history of baseball, our national pastime, in particular. It uses the life of Satchel Paige as a metaphor for the passing of black American institutions that were made irrelevant by integration, and ties it up with the changes taking place in jazz at the same time. This is heady and smart stuff, and while the second act, in particular, could stand with some trimming, it's still a powerful show from the team that brought us the remarkable Fly a few seasons back. At a time when reactionary political forces are trying to undo all the good done since 1947, this show is very relevant.
|Amy Friedl Stoner
The Presenters Dolan presents Amy Friedl Stoner in Tapestry: The Music of Carole King on Friday, April 1, at 8 PM as part of the Gaslight Cabaret Festival. "Amy's got a great voice, and she and her band Mirage do totally right by Carole King." The performance takes place at the Gaslight Theater, 358 North Boyle. For more information: gaslightcabaretfestival.com.
My take: I got to know and appreciate Amy Friedl Stoner's considerable talent last summer at the St. Louis Cabaret Conference and can recommend her work without reservation. And you can hardly go wrong with the music of Carole King.
The Presenters Dolan presents Katie McGrath and Nicole Hudson in Where the Heart Is on Sunday, April 3, at 3 PM as part of the Gaslight Cabaret Festival. "Katie and Nicole join forces to explore one of their favorite and our most urgent topics: St. Louis, the city we love and long to change. Through a combination of songs from Broadway, main street and mean streets." The performance takes place at the Gaslight Theater, 358 North Boyle. For more information: gaslightcabaretfestival.com.
My take: I don't really know Nicole's work, but Katie and I have shared cabaret stages for a number of years now. I have immense respect for her musical and theatrical smarts as well as her keen political intelligence. This should be a great and important show.
|Old Wicked Songs
Photo: Eric Woolsey
My take: I recall being very taken with this script when the Rep did it many years ago. In the Jewish Light, Bob Cohn describes this as "a challenging, thought-provoking play." "Playwright Jon Marans has created a play that ebbs and flows like a musical composition," writes Steve Allen for Stage Door St. Louis. "Yes, the music is at the heart of the production but the real heart in the production is the strength and resolve of teacher and student and the life lessons they each learn from one another. It's a beautiful script handled by two truly great actors."