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'Rime of the Ancient Mariner' is a spellbinding tale of adventure, loss and redemption

Samuel Taylor Coleridge's Romantic poem comes to life in this atmospheric and immersive production from Upstream ...

Despite technical failures, 'The Cockfighter' goes for the heart

Frank Manley and Vincent Murphy's "The Cockfighter" presents a dilemma: how does one deal with the inev...

Solving 'The Mystery of Edwin Drood'

When Charles Dickens died, he left unfinished his last novel, “The Mystery of Edwin Drood.” A hundred yea...

For the record, 'Off the Record' is a delight

Political campaigns are crazy frenzied things.  A new production by OnSite Theatre invites us to participate in ...

Humana Festival 2015: A perfect mix of comedy and tragedy makes 'Dot' a festival highlight

I've been attending the Humana Festival of New American Plays at Actors Theatre of Louisville for five years now,...

Rossini’s romantic comedy La Cenerentola, based in part on the classic fairy tale Cinderella, was your prototypical rush job. He threw it together in three weeks at the end of 1816 when the libretto he was supposed to set was rejected by the Papal Censor. By way of contrast, mezzo Abigail Fischer spent months learning the elaborate flourishes of the title role for the current Union Avenue Opera production.

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Director Jason Cannon introduced The Crucible by calling it one of the “best plays of the 20th century.” It’s not, but it may be the most important (and it is very good, as well). This production has a number of highs and a few lows, but is successful overall in conveying the madness of a society gone out of control due to factionalism caused by mistrust, misinformation, and misuse of fundamentalist religious beliefs.

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I don't know if Insight Theatre Company chose Shipwrecked! An Entertainment – The Amazing Adventures of Louis de Rougemont (as Told by Himself) because they thought it's a good play or because it provided roles for the three Joplins – the dean of St. Louis actors Joneal Joplin, his daughter Jen and his son Jared. But it doesn't really matter, because it is, as its title says, an entertainment – and a very pleasant and amusing one – and because they are all three very good performers.

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In these reviews, we don't usually cover high school theatre. We do cover community theatre, including the Clayton Community Theatre. Some community theatres during summer vacation hold workshops or camps for young people, and they put on plays. We don't review those.

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When the meek inherit the earth, Seymour Krelborn (Rob McClure) will be standing in line, tripping over his own shoelaces. He is a nebbish who works at Mushnik’s Flower Shop in the slums where “the folks are broke” and “your life’s a joke”. Seymour sleeps in the basement, wilting alongside his exotic botanical companions.

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This production of the classic movie musicals, "Singin' In the Rain" is as delightful as a cool breeze on a hot St. Louis night .

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The Presenters Dolan brought back one of its most popular cabaret performances with the revival of Song By Song By Sondheim with renowned hometown (well, sorta) boy chanteuse and pediatrician, Dr. Ken Haller. I’ve been meaning to see this show for a long time, and after stints in Chicago and New York (at Don’t Tell Mama!), it’s back – and boy, am I glad I got to see it.

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At the core of The Merry Wives of Windsor are two smart, vivacious and often vicious women, Mistress Page played by Jamie Marble, and Mistress Ford played by Suki Peters.

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Okay. Everyone who knows my definite affinity for edgy, angsty theater, full of meaty character-driven roles for actors to chew on, always find it a little disconcerting to discover that my favorite movie musical is, in fact, The Little write my essay Mermaid – a Disney-fied version of the Hans Christian Anderson fairy-tale of a young sea-siren who falls in love with a young earth-bound Prince, and trades her voice for a pair of human legs to be next to her man (which, is indeed, by the way, a LOT edgier in the fairy-tale version).

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St. Louis audiences are being treated to a lovely feast of John Patrick Shanley. After a surfeit of his popular play, Doubt, in recent years we have, in the past two weeks, been invited to take stimulating sips from Shanley's earlier works. Pat upon the closing of Non-Prophet's splendid Danny and the Deep Blue Sea we have the fine offering of Savage in Limbo by the On Site Theatre Company.

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Songs from an Unmade Bed is an unexpected little gem that follows The Crumple Zone on weekend nights at 10:30 with two stand-alone Sunday matinees, one of which I attended yesterday. It’s diverting, occasionally moving, always relatable, and performed well by the multitalented Justin Ivan Brown. The time is “last night,” according to the program, and the setting is entirely identifiable as New York City. We’re told that’s where the show takes place, but we wouldn’t need to be because the central character (called simply “Man”) sings about the city in both celebration and lamentation, a New York “state of mind,” always at the forefront.

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At the very end of The Crumple Zone, the audience learns what the title means. By then, I just didn’t care. This is a surprisingly amateurish effort by a company that has established itself as a force to be reckoned with since its reorganization and rebirth a couple of seasons ago. It has chosen to focus on gay playwrights and themes, and if there can be such a thing as a “mainstream niche,” Citilites is addressing it. However, this play is wildly uneven, and it was difficult to work up any sympathy for its under-drawn, stereotypical characters easily summed up as follows:

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Turandot is one of the most popular and, in many ways, most controversial of Puccini’s operas. Left unfinished at the time of the composer’s death in 1924, it has never been given a fully satisfactory finale. Critical opinion has been divided on the work’s merits from the first performance. Even the pronunciation of the title character’s name has been disputed. Do you pronounce that final “t” or not?

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