The Black Rep's world premier of Steve Broadnax and Michael Bordner's "Smash/Hit" is neither an off-the-chart success nor a box office flop, but it has the chance to develop into a solid hit. Building on the tradition of popular music as cultural touchstone, the show weaves original songs throughout its narrative. The varying lyrical quality and roughly mixed beats reveal not only a drive to share our stories with others, but an attempt to gain understanding, affect behavior and change lives through music.
First produced and well-received by critics and audiences in 1954, “The Bad Seed” holds up remarkably well for a nearly 60 year old play. It was adapted by Maxwell Anderson from William March’s novel of the same title, and it became a popular film also.
Chekhov wrote his wistfully bleak “The Three Sisters” fifty years before Beckett wrote his existentially bleak “Waiting for Godot”. Each play shows a world where hope must ultimately end in disappointment. But, because of some tragic flaw in the human spirit, after each disappointment that hope must, in desperation, be rekindled.
Bullying could be considered a kind of “violent delight” (Shakespeare’s words, though that wasn’t his subject) to those who practice it, but they are a cowardly breed. Cyberbullying is a great temptation to young people who have all manner of Facebook/Twitter/Instagram, etc. ways to connect with each other that can allow them, if they choose, to taunt others anonymously.
"In the Next Room (or the vibrator play)" follows the structure of a farce and, as such, multiple characters' lives become crisscrossed, and star-crossed, in order to bring to light the primary themes of the play. Interestingly, these themes are relevant not only to Victorian times, but, in many ways, the present.
Leonard Bernstein was arguably the most prodigiously gifted musician in America’s history. He was a world-class conductor, pianist and educator, and his prolific outpouring of compositions included symphonies, ballets, piano choral and chamber music, film scores, hit Broadway musicals and operas. Among his shelves-ful of awards from around the world we find nine Grammys and two Tonys.
Samuel Becket's "Waiting for Godot" is considered one of the masterpieces of modern theater and yet it is performed rarely. St. Louis Actor's Studio's production, directed by Bobby Miller, has some good moments but does not, in the end, reveal to the audience why this piece of work is considered so great.
"Into the Woods" is one of my favorite Sondheim musicals – which is to say, one of my favorite musicals, period.
Farce requires a high degree of craft. Great skill is required, both in writing farce and in playing farce. Ken Ludwig has written one extremely well crafted farce. He's written others that are not as well crafted. Lend Me a Tenor is the extremely well crafted one. Leading Ladies is one of the others.
I approached the Mustard Seed Theatre's production of Charlotte Brontë's "Jane Eyre" with a "how are they going to make it work on stage" skepticism. The 400-plus page novel spans a woman's life, from abusive childhood experiences through near death, attempted murder, arson and a suicide to finding love, happiness and acceptance. That simply seems a bit too much to convey in a single night of theater.
With her plays "The Clean House", "Dead Man's Cell Phone", and "In the Next Room", Sarah Ruhl has become one of my favorite playwrights. She combines a quirky sense of humor with a serious examination of life in a way that appeals to me. And she writes good theatre.
I think I'm not giving anything away when I suggest that when in a play set in Spain in the 15th century the Inquisition examines a priest who has married a Jewish woman and who is himself a Jew, that examination is not likely to end happily for the priest.
St. Louis’s own Keith Jozsef is a member of that increasingly rare species of showbiz fauna, the professional magician. Not only that, but a professional magician with a full-evening magic show—something rarely seen these days outside of high-traffic tourist traps like Las Vegas or Branson.
For the last few years, smaller theatre companies seem to be in flux, coming and going, starting and stopping, or just in limbo for a while. But that’s not the case with West End Players Guild.
According to many students and fans of stage musicals, Arthur Laurents’, Jule Styne’s, and Stephen Sondheim’s "Gypsy: A Musical Fable" is the best of the best traditional book musicals ever produced.
Rigby brings home the gold! Once or twice in your lifetime, if you’re lucky, you may be blessed to see a performance that is iconic—that is simply perfect in every way.
Not all actors can find and maintain the proper form for playing the stylish comedy of Noel Coward, the immensely popular British playwright and actor of the last century. As with all comedy, the actors must always convince us of the reality of their characters and of what is happening to them, even when what is happening moves beyond the reality of what happens to most of us every day. That's what makes it funny.
Tesseract Theatre appears to have been around for about a year now, but they've been flying under the radar for most of us. I gather they did something at the Fringe last summer, but I haven't seen any announcements from them or about them on either of the web theatre lists. But Chuck Lavazzi, combing the Regional Arts Commission's ArtsZipper in his quest to get every last theatre performance covered on KDHX, saw a notice of a production last month by them at RAC. So I took a look.
In 1937 Australian dock-workers refused to load scrap iron into ships destined for Japan because imperial “fascist” Japan was attacking China. Then-Attorney-General Robert Menzies threatened to jail any workers who refused to load this “pig iron”. Thus Menzies, earned the soubriquet “Pig-iron Bob”. He went on to lead the “Liberal” (actually conservative) party to victory and to become Australia’s longest-reigning Prime Minister. His reactionary followers were called the “pig-iron people”.
"All the Single Ladies" features Seth Ward Pyatt, the accompanist and host, and a variety of actresses using song to explore the idea of being single. Not simply single because "you haven't met that certain someone yet," but single because you've been left, or because you're being strung along, cheated on or cheated with, or perhaps because you decided you prefer being alone to the alternatives you've tried.