The current Alpha Players production takes place in medieval England, as a historian, played with plummy BBC vowels by Chuck Brinkley, informs us. So Destiny Graham's set shows us the facade of a beautifully painted medieval castle. But obviously painted. Obviously a stage set. We are not visiting a realistic representation of King Arthur's Camelot. This is "Spamalot." Monty Python's "Spamalot". It's a show.
Who but Stephen Sondheim would think of a musical about people who shoot at presidents. It's called "Assassins," with Sondheim's music and lyrics and a book by John Weidman. And it works, both as script and in this production.
"Off the Map" is not an easy play to do. It has something a little Chekhovian about it. A family, a friend, an unexpected visitor, isolated, with troubles personal, financial, even, suddenly, erotic.
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.