The day was gray and ordinary. All it needed was for someone to make the sun shine bright – and I had high hopes that might be a certain magical nanny, currently dominating the stage at the Muny.
To say that Stages St. Louis' production of "Legally Blonde" sparkles seems an understatement, the musical is big and confident, filled with bright lights, pink glitter and, yes, sparkle. The production never takes itself too seriously, however, and the actors work together well, keeping the emphasis on the plot's familiar twists while delivering smart, endearing performances.
The St. Louis Actors' Studio certainly doesn't lack ambition, as evidenced by the decision to devote a full month to a slate of new, unproven works. The first part of the festival set the tone with assertive, contemporary shows that bristled with tension and energy. The company's production of the second series of new short plays fully demonstrates that commitment to previously untested material and ideas as well as emerging playwrights.
Stray Dog Theatre closes its tenth season with the deliciously twisted musical "Little Shop of Horrors." One of the delights of this musical is that even though we know the story, the show, when done well, feels fresh. As usual, the company does not disappoint with this production, adding a touch of earnest to the inside jokes and dark humor inherent in the original script.
A rousing rendition of the title song from "Oklahoma!" can go a long way toward redeeming even a mediocre production of the musical. Fortunately, the current production by Family Musical Theatre needs little redemption.
"Les Miserables" is back at The Muny this week, just as it was back at the Fox last fall, and probably will return to each of them again and again. It is a very popular show.
It has been ten years since Union Avenue Opera presented Puccini’s 1904 “Japanese Tragedy” “Madama Butterfly”, and if the current production is any indication, they have waited far too long. Musically and dramatically it’s solid work, with eye-catching sets and costumes to boot.
The U.S. had been an Asian empire at least since the Spanish-American War. But the engagements in the Pacific in World War II brought the culture conflicts of East and West home more thoroughly than ever before, penetrating even that most popular and American of entertainments, musical comedy. The result was two of the finest works by the leading post-war words-and-music team, Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II.
The St. Louis Actors' Studio kicks off its inaugural "LaBute New Theater Festival," part one, with five well-written, well-performed new works that pack a punch. Each piece features contemporary persons in contemporary settings exploring the fine art of living, and the selection committee is to be commended on their choices.
Gitana Productions joyfully and effectively struts its stuff with the entertaining, educational and dance infused play "Soy Yo!' (or I am me). This original piece, written with attention to detail and heart by Mariah L. Richardson, celebrates "what it's like to be both Black and Latina" in middle America with genuine affection and an eye to educating all audiences about the diversity of the American experience.
Performance art should look effortless. Picture Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, gliding together across a polished floor. Their dance routine is utterly spontaneous. Live theatre provides similar illusion for our diversion.