Like all great plays, Arthur Miller's "Death of a Salesman" benefits from a wide range of interpretations, if they are faithful to the text and internally consistent. So much is in the play that there are multiple ways of pulling it out.
When I praised Heather Matthews' performance in "Victor/Victoria" at Family Musical Theater, I said I did not recall having seen her before but hoped I would see her again. Now I have seen her again, though it took me awhile to realize that I was seeing her again.
Going to Florissant to see the Alpha Players' production of “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee,” I was thinking, do I really have to sit through “Spelling Bee” again? Yes, it's a charming and clever piece, but four or five or six times is enough. You can only squeeze so much out of it.
Neil Simon's "Laughter on the 23rd Floor" is a memory play. A writer remembers his younger days and the people he worked with on his first job in the big time.
"Musical Comedy Murders of 1940" seeks a slasher who killed three dancers in the chorus of a musical called "Manhattan Holiday." It also has other villains. That's why playwright John Bishop had to make it the "Musical Comedy Murders of 1940," even though he wrote it in 1987: one set of villains are Nazi saboteurs.
Isabel Allende established herself as a major Latin American writer in 1982 with her first novel, "The House of the Spirits." It traces four generations of a family through the upheavals in Allende's native Chile.
Playwright Brian Friel, best known for "Dancing at Lughnasa," wrote "Lovers" fairly early in his career. It's now being produced by West End Players Guild under Jan Meyer's sure-handed direction.
As a friend and I were leaving Webster University's small Stage 3 after seeing "Smokey Joe's Cafe: The Songs of Leiber and Stoller," he observed that the productions of the Webster Conservatory of Theatre Arts are a great bargain. You can see terrifically talented young people, directed by top-flight theatre folks, young people who may go on to be multiple Tony Award winners. Some have them have done so. And you can see them for less than one-tenth what you'd pay to see them later on Broadway.
I've seen "Les Miserables" several times at the Fox, in two versions, and a couple of times at The Muny. But the current production by the Alpha Players of Florissant is the first I've seen by a community theatre group. It will not be the last. It's a daunting project, and I hope it continues to be done as well as they're doing it at Alpha Players.