At the turn of the 20th century, radium was celebrated as a miracle drug. We know today that radiation can be useful in treating cancer and other diseases. We also know that radiation can cause cancer and other diseases. Back then, a few successes in treating cancer led to a fad for putting radium in a variety of tonics that were supposed to be good for whatever ailed you.
Somebody at R-S Theatrics likes weird. Last year, they produced a staged reading of Andrew Hinderaker's play Suicide, Incorporated. Now they're doing a fully staged production of Suicide, Incorporated. Actually, it's not that much more fully staged that the previous, pretty fully staged one – well staged in both cases.
A lot of terrific acting happens in English playwright Chloe Moss's This Wide Night on the West End Players Guild's stage in the Union Avenue Christian Church. Things can get pretty intense in the 90 minutes or so of this two-character play.
Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope, and Jamie Wooten have made careers – one could say an industry – out of writing comedies about an ethnic group that it is safe to laugh at, Southern whites, usually Texans.
Detective-Inspector Frost failed to solve the apparent kidnapping and probable murder of a baby a dozen years ago in a small English village. Now he's returned to Waverton to try to finish the job before he retires. Welcomed on his first visit, now nobody wants him around.
Fences fills the 1950s slot in August Wilson's magnificent creation of plays for each decade of the 20th century. For me, it is one of the best.
Janet Langhart Cohen, who wrote the current Black Rep production Anne and Emmett, has had a distinguished career as a television journalist. She knows a good story when she sees it, and she knows how to tell it clearly. She knows how to make her thoughts about the story clear, too. And she knows that she must hold her audience's attention.
"The Drowsy Chaperone" is, deliberately, a silly musical. It is a silly musical "within" as its subtitle says, "a comedy." The musical purports to be from the 1920s. The comedy is from today. It has one character. The musical is his favorite show, and he plays his LP of the show for us, magically evoking the original cast to perform it for us.
Sam Bobrick has done a lot of writing for TV. You suspect that watching his play Remember Me?, recently at the Theatre Guild of Webster Groves. Remember Me? is well crafted, funny, and slight. It's set in a prosperous apartment in the Upper East Side of Manhattan. The central couple are middle-aged, well-to-do, bright and articulate.
Playwright Ron Hutchinson came across an amusing incident in the creation of the eternally popular movie Gone with the Wind. Three weeks into shooting the film, producer David O. Selznick, unhappy with the work of director George Cukor and the screenplay by Sidney Howard, suspended work, fired Cukor, and locked himself in his office with new director Victor Fleming and writer Ben Hecht. Selznick gave the trio five days to come up with a new script for the movie. They did.