Thursday, December 07, 2017

Chuck's Choices for the weekend of December 8, 2017

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:

A Jewish Joke
Photo: Eric Woolsey
New Jewish Theater presents A Jewish Joke through December 10. "During the 1950's, the great era of Jewish humor, we meet irascible comedy screenwriter Bernie Lutz who is about to open a big movie. When he discovers to his surprise -- and chagrin -- that his name appears on Senator Joseph McCarthy's infamous "black list," Bernie is confronted with the dilemma of naming names and implicating his writing partner in order to save himself and his career. This poignant solo comedy shows one small man facing the tough American events of the mid-20th century. A story as relevant today as it was during the McCarthy era." Performances take place in the Marvin and Harlene Wool Studio Theater at the Jewish Community Center, 2 Millstone Campus Drive in Creve Coeur. For more information: or call 314-442-3283.

My take: With the paranoia-drenched fascism McCarthy championed on the rise again, this play feels sadly timely. "The deceptively straightforward show reflects on a time in U.S. history when citizens were encouraged to turn against each other with suspicion and distrust," Tina Farmer reminds us in her review for KDHX. "Though filled with a keen sense of humor, the lesson of this poignant tale is one we would be well advised to heed in today’s tumultuous times."

The King and IPhoto: Matthew Murhpy
The Fabulous Fox presents Rodgers and Hammerstein's The King and I through December 10th. "Set in 1860's Bangkok, the musical tells the story of the unconventional and tempestuous relationship that develops between the King of Siam and Anna Leonowens, a British schoolteacher whom the modernist King, in an imperialistic world, brings to Siam to teach his many wives and children. Winner of the 2015 Tony Award® for Best Musical Revival." The Fox is at 527 North Grand in Grand Center. For more information:

My take: This show is a classic for some very sound reasons, and this tour of the recent Lincoln Center revival appears to be a good one. "[Director Bartlett] Sher's re-telling of this iconic show pays homage to the classic," writes Shannon Cothran in her KDHX review, "reviving memorable scenes and choreography from Jerome Robbins, but the story doesn't feel stale: Every bow, smile, and turn of the wrist feels fresh and delightful".

Steel Magnolias
Photo: Justin Been
Stray Dog Theatre presents the comedy/drama Steel Magnolias Thursdays through Saturdays through December 16. "All the ladies who are 'anybody' flock to Truvy's beauty salon where she dispenses shampoos and free advice. Filled with hilarious repartee and good ol' Southern charm, the play explores the lives of six remarkable women and the special qualities that make them truly touching, funny, and marvelously amiable company in good times and bad." Performances take place at The Tower Grove Abbey, 2336 Tennessee. For more information, visit or call 314-865-1995.

My take: A hit on Broadway in 1987 and in cinemas in 1989, Steel Magnolias is a heartfelt tribute to the resiliency of its small town characters and to the importance of friendship in hard times. In his review for Ladue News, Mark Bretz notes that Stray Dog Artistic Director Gary Bell "directs with a sure and steady touch, maintaining the focus on Harling’s fun-loving but also tender script."

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