Anthony Wininger's "Theater for Men" was an interesting set featuring two short pieces accompanied by a lecture. The two pieces were a speech by Cato the Elder, performed in contemporary dress, and a subversively funny short play by George Kaufman that parodies gender behavior with deceptively sharp observations delivered in sweet words and coded phrases.
Somewhere in Lebanon, in a dark, cold prison cell, three men wait to learn their fate. Will they be killed by their captors? Will their respective governments negotiate for their freedom? Will they lose their minds and slowly go insane as they wait in the small, cramped cell for release, or at least some news from home? "Someone Who'll Watch Over Me" examines these questions in this gut-wrenching drama set in a single, dark cell.
As a reviewer, comedy is one of those arts I don't typically cover; and, though I'm not exactly sure how to approach the show as a whole, St. Louis' own The World's Greatest Comedians convinced me that the future of comedy is in good hands, and I need to see more comedy. Who doesn't like a good laugh?
It's doubtful that the 2006 stage adaptation of Disney's 1999 animated film “Tarzan” will ever make anybody's list of Great Musicals. But the Phil Collins score (expanded from the five numbers he wrote for the movie) is filled with songs that are never less the serviceable and, in the case of “You'll Be in My Heart” and “Sure as Sun Turns to Moon,” really quite moving.
I have been a big supporter of the St. Lou Fringe festival since its inception three years ago. This year I was out of town for most of the festival’s run (June 18-22), so I only got to six events. Rather than writing a review of each one, I have decided put them into three groups: hits, misses, and flops (a.k.a. “I want my 45 minutes back”). Here are two misses and a flop, in descending order of quality.
I have been a big supporter of the St. Lou Fringe festival since its inception three years ago. This year I was out of town for most of the festival’s run (June 18-22), so I only got to six events. Rather than writing a review of each one, I have decided put them into three groups: hits, misses, and flops (a.k.a. “I want my 45 minutes back”). We’ll start with the hits.
On July 17th, 1794, the sixteen women of the monastery of the Carmel of Compiègne in France were guillotined by the revolutionary government for refusing to abandon their vows and their community. The execution, which is widely believed to have been instrumental in bringing about the end of the Reign of Terror ten days later, inspired a novella, a play, and finally, Francis Poulenc's opera "Dialogues of the Carmelites" in 1953.
Seattle Magician Christopher Bange brings his family friendly humor and action-infused act to the St. Lou Fringe 2014 Festival of Performing Arts with 50-minutes of skillful slight-of-hand magic and engagingly comedic banter.
The MUNY opens its 96th season with the heartwarming and hopeful musical "Billy Elliot," based on the popular movie, with book and lyrics by Lee Hall and music by Sir Elton John. The moral, a combination of "be true to yourself" and "don't give up your dreams," is clear from early on, and it's nicely conveyed; but it's the dancing that keeps the audience riveted the entire performance.
Terrence McNally's Tony award winning play deals openly with the personal side of the lives of several gay men. In its moving,production, Stray Dog Theatre seems more relaxed and comfortable with the script, including its themes and nudity. The resulting show, with strong acting and direction, is an enjoyable combination of fresh and familiar.
"A genuine religious conversion," wrote psychologist William James in The Varieties of Religious Experience, "is the outcome of a crisis." In the case of French composer Francis Poulenc, the crisis was precipitated by the deaths of several friends. A 1935 pilgrimage to the Sanctuary of the Blessed Virgin Mary at Rocamadour in the south of France sealed the deal, but the most profound effect of that conversion would not be seen for another two decades, when Poulenc got a commission in 1953 to write a new opera from music publisher Ricordi.
Trivia question: what do Pablo Picasso, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Man Ray, Henri Matisse, and Ernest Hemingway all have in common? Answer: they all frequented the Saturday evening salons at 27 Rue de Fleurus in Paris presided over by Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas. And they're all characters in the world premiere production of "27," at Opera Theatre.
It has been over three decades since I saw the 1979 Marvin Hamlisch and Carole Bayer Sager musical "They're Playing Our Song" on tour at the old American Theatre. I remembered it as a funny, sweet, and charming little show but, of course, memory is an unreliable witness. Is it as good as my memory said it was? And does the new Stages production do it justice?
New Line Theatre's "Hands on a Hard Body" delivers a sobering, but ultimately hopeful, look at contemporary America. Focused on a car dealership contest held in Texas until 2005, the musical features rock songs and pop-influenced ballads interspersed with dramatic scenes. Though the theme of the show has some dark overtones, the feel is warm, a slice of life with a small town familiarity.
I can sum up the Opera Theatre production of Donizetti's 1832 romantic comedy "The Elixir of Love" in one word: bravi. Or maybe that should be "bravissimi," since every aspect of this funny, endearing, and beautifully sung show deserves heaps of praise.