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My take: What can I say? It's our fifth birthday party. Come one down and share a song or just enjoy the entertainment.
The Theatre Guild of Webster Groves presents John Patrick Shanley's drama Doubt Fridays through Sundays through May 21. "Father Flynn enjoys a secure appointment and popularity in the community until Sister James suspects him of carrying on an improper relationship with the school's first African-American student. Sister Aloysius, the school's authoritarian principal, sets out to remove Flynn. Gender politics, race relations and the role of the church, questions about personal responsibility, doubt, right and wrong are all brought to bear here. So much in Doubt is about what is left unsaid and continually running beneath the surface." Performances take place in the Guild theatre at Newport and Summit in Webster Groves, MO. For more information: theatreguildwg.org or call 314-962-0876.
My take: Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, Shanley's play is a masterful examination of the dangers of both moral certainty and ethical blindness—issues which are once again part of the national dialogue, thanks to an excess of both qualities in the current administration. Jane Abling, who has the pivotal role of Sister Aloysius, is an actress I've known for many years both professionally and personally. She's just about ideal for this part.
|A Human Being Died that Night|
My take: As Judy Newmark writes in her review, this script is not without its issues, but the ideas it deals with are important and the performances by its two-person cast are outstanding. LIght entertainment it ain't, but it deserves our attention.
Photo: Carol Rosegg
My take: I've always been a fan of this musical. Jonathan Larson's score is inventive and stylistically eclectic and his lyrics are artful and intelligent. What strikes me about Rent is how much this modern and supposedly revolutionary show reminds me of another one to which those same adjectives were applied back in 1968: Hair, the show that defined the genre of rock musical. Like Hair, Rent takes jabs at the older generation - mine - and thumbs it's nose at the American status quo from the bottom of the economic pyramid. Unlike Hair, though, it's less overtly political, covers a wider emotional spectrum, and may actually be a better piece of theatre.
|Will Mr. Merriweather Return From Memphis?|
Photo: Peter Wochniak
My take: Here's another Williams oddity that's getting an innovative and much-praised presentation. Performed in Stockton House, a mansion just east of Powell Hall built in 1890 and now on the National Register of Historic Places (you've undoubtedly noticed it if you're a regular at the St. Louis Symphony), the production has the audience follow the actors through the rooms of the house. With cross-gender casting, dancing, and live music, this show "feels like the sort of nonrealistic fantasy Williams might have enjoyed himself," according to Judy Newmark at Stltoday.com.. As I noted in my own review for OnSTL, it's inscrutable fun and well worth a visit.