Thursday, June 30, 2016

Chuck's Choices for the weekend of June 30, 2016

As always, the choices are purely my personal opinion. Take with a grain (or a shaker) of salt.

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New This Week:

42nd Street
The Muny presents the musical 42nd Street running nightly at 8:15 pm through June 30 in the outdoor theatre in Forest Park. "All-singing! All-tapping! One of the biggest, boldest, brashest musicals in Broadway history, this song-and-dance extravaganza remains the ultimate backstage musical. Yet, beneath all the hip hooray and ballyhoo, this 'lullaby of Broadway' reminds us that Broadway dreams still do come true." For more information, visit or call 314-361-1900.

My take: Here's your last chance to catch the glitzy all-singing, all-dancing extravaganza. Reviews have been good (see Tina Farmer's comments at KDHX for an example) and, frankly, given how awful so much of the news is these says, even if this weren't such a solid production, I might recommend it anyway. Remember: "There's a Sunny Side to Every Situation".

Grand Center presents the Grand Center Theatre Crawl on Friday, July 1, from 6 to 9 p.m. at various locations in the Grand Center Arts District. " It's a “tasting menu” of the best of St. Louis theatre, and it's free! Every half hour, 6-9pm, you'll stroll to a different Grand Center venue for a short show from local theatre companies. See shows from nineteen St. Louis theatre companies, and yes, there will be prizes!" Featured theatre companies include Prison Performing Arts, West End Players Guild, St. Louis Actors' Studio, Insight Theatre Company, R-S Theatrics, and Union Avenue Opera. For more information:

My take: Here's a chance to get sneak previews of some of what's coming up on local stages. I'll be there as part of the West End Players Guild team with a preview of our opening production of Tom Stoppard's Arcadia. Come on down!

Held Over:

Alice in Wonderland
Photo: Peter Wochniak
Stages St. Louis presents the musical Disney's Alice in Wonderland through July 3. "Tumble down the rabbit hole with Alice as she falls into the madcap world of Wonderland and meets such extraordinary characters as Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum, the Mad Hatter, the Queen of Hearts, and the frantically late White Rabbit. Inviting and magical, Disney's ALICE IN WONDERLAND is a fantastic adventure the whole family can enjoy! Based on the classic literary tales of Lewis Carroll and the beloved Walt Disney film, this whimsical journey to a land beyond imagination is sure to bring you and yours the perfect“Zip-A-Dee-Do-Dah” day." Performances take place in at the Playhouse at Westport Plaza. For more information, visit or call 314-821-2407.

My take: Looking for theatre that's fun for the whole family? Stages has a deal for you. Children's theatre can sometimes feel like it's aimed not so much at children as at simple-minded adults. Such is apparently not the case here. "Children will likely be enthralled by the clever dialogue, catchy songs, and abundantly joyful tone of the show" writes Tina Farmer at KDHX, "so much so that the simple but effective lesson about being true to yourself can easily sneak its way into their brains. Parents and older kids have not been forgotten, and most will appreciate the pop culture references, fast pacing, comic choreography, and high quality singing that ties the show up in a delightful bow."

It Shoulda Been YouPhoto: Peter Wochniak
Stages St. Louis presents the musical It Shoulda Been You through July 3. "You are cordially invited to join us for what is certain to be the wedding of the year! Direct from Broadway and in its Mid-Western premiere, IT SHOULDA BEEN YOU comes to STAGES with a mad-cap wedding celebration we know you won't want to miss! After all, who doesn't love a wedding? Especially one that includes a beautiful blushing bride, her uninvited and unrequited boyfriend, a groom with a secret, a sister with her own hidden agenda, and a pair of mothers from hell. This refreshingly modern romantic comedy has more than a few surprising twists in store as out comes the bride and groom in a wedding you are sure to remember. Be the first to say “I do” to this wonderfully witty musical that kept Broadway audiences rolling in the aisles. " Performances take place in the Robert G. Reim Theatre at the Kirkwood Community Center, 111 South Geyer Road in Kirkwood. For more information, visit or call 314-821-2407.

My take: This world premiere musical has gotten considerable praise from my fellow critics. "Strong actors abound in the production," says Laura Kyro at KDHX, "and most have excellent singing voices." At Broadwayworld, Chris Gibson calls it a "superbly rendered presentation" and strongly recommends it.

Circus Flora presents its new show, Pastime, through July 3 under the air-conditioned, red-and-white, big top tent in Grand Center next to Powell Hall. "Along with runs and hits, the box score will fill-up with flips, flights, and laughs throughout PASTIME. When the hometown Zephyrs struggle to get out of last place, only their biggest fan and some incredible (and unlikely) stunts can help them turn their season around. Join us, and the magic of baseball." For more information:

My take: Although I was born and have spent most of my life in St. Louis, there are some local traditions and institutions that I never have and probably never will understand. White Castle, for example, or the business about asking where you went to high school. What's THAT all about, anyway? Circus Flora, though, is a St. Louis tradition that anyone can embrace. And what could be more St. Louis than a show inspired by baseball? Happy 30th birthday, Circus Flora. The elephant after which you are named may have retired to Florida long ago, but you're still going strong.

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