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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,...

Janet Langhart Cohen, who wrote the current Black Rep production Anne and Emmett, has had a distinguished career as a television journalist. She knows a good story when she sees it, and she knows how to tell it clearly. She knows how to make her thoughts about the story clear, too. And she knows that she must hold her audience's attention.

Published in Theater Reviews

Change. It’s an inevitable part of life. People come and go, you never step into the same river twice; all that jazz. Self-help books and corporate leadership courses exhort us to embrace change, become change agents, and treat it as an opportunity, not a threat. Somebody moved your cheese? Tough. Go find it.

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We all know Gone with the Wind, that epic movie of a burning city, a tragic love triangle, a gown made from drapes, and a dramatic hillside silhouette with upraised fist underscored by a sweeping theme. Oh, yeah, it was also about a war.

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“What becomes of a dream deferred? /Does it dry up /like a raisin in the sun?” “Harlem” by Langston Hughes.

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A young woman with psychiatric problems tries to sort out her life, and ultimately - and thrillingly - fails.

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A crisp autumn evening, a gourmet meal served under the brand new big top, feats of breathtaking prowess executed by some of the most talented performers ever assembled; ladies and gentlemen, I give you dinner theater Circus Flora style.

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The 25th anniversary production of "Les Misérables" is a few minutes shorter than the original and makes clever use of sophisticated video projection technology that wasn't available in 1985, but it's otherwise every bit as much of a well-oiled theatrical machine as it was the first time I saw it back in the late 1980s.

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Only two people in the cast, the same set and costumes throughout, no show stoppers, no dancing and pretty much all of the dialogue epistolary; could this musical be any more unique?

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Theatre companies keep bashing on about how this play or that play is "relevant to our time," which can get a bit tiresome, but Good really is reflective of us. Despite the fact that it is set in 1930s Germany and was written in Britain 1980, it speaks directly to American politics in 2012.

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The Touhill Performing Arts Center on the campus of University of Missouri St. Louis recently hosted a performance by The Improv Shop troupe. The Improv Shop is a “St. Louis-based improvisational comedy theater and school.”

Published in Theater Reviews

I’ve always maintained—sometimes against stiff critical headwind—that cabaret is essentially a form of musical theatre, and that some of the best cabaret artists are the ones with a solid stage background. If you doubt that, head on over to the Missouri History Museum to see Christy Simmons’s "Count Your Blessings" and be convinced.

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Opportunities to see a Eugene O’Neill play on a St. Louis stage are rare, so you should take the chance to see this one, not just because it’s O’Neill, but because it’s terrific theatre. Director Philip Boehm and his cast and crew have not made a misstep in rendering this difficult masterpiece.

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The New Jewish Theatre’s production of Neil Simon’s Lost in Yonkers is a delight from beginning to end. It isn’t a perfect play, but under the sure direction of Doug Finlayson and the abundance of talent on stage and behind the scenes, it is rendered as a lovely and relatable story of family with all that word emotions that powerful word connotes.

Published in Theater Reviews

The tensions of adolescence blossom into full bloom at an nineteenth-century boarding school.

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I’m not sure how to classify Steven Dietz’s Inventing Van Gogh. It is an epistolary drama constructed in a multi-layered way with aspects of spiritualism and magic realism in the mix. It is didactic (it’s tricky to create dialogue from letters, which is what Dietz has done) but, despite his bona fides and they are impressive, he doesn’t seem up to making many of these speeches sound like anything other than what they are: words meant to be read and not spoken. I’ve only seen one other Dietz play—Becky’s New Car—and I didn’t think much of it either.

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I've admitted often that, with few exceptions, I'm not a lover of experimental theater; however David Lindsay-Abaire's "Wonder of the World" has fallen solidly into the "exceptional" category.

Published in Theater Reviews

"The Drowsy Chaperone" is, deliberately, a silly musical. It is a silly musical "within" as its subtitle says, "a comedy." The musical purports to be from the 1920s. The comedy is from today. It has one character. The musical is his favorite show, and he plays his LP of the show for us, magically evoking the original cast to perform it for us.

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