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Gary Scott

Sunday, 18 January 2009 19:00

Groundwork for the Modern

St. Louis Symphony         

January 16, 2009
Reviewed by Gary Scott
[Pictured: Susan Graham]
Although composers have experimented with atonal music--that is, music without a key or "tonal center"--for about a hundred years now, the concept still seems foreign to our ears.  Atonal music can be interesting, powerful and dramatic, yet it has not garnered a decisive following.  Some have even argued that, far from sounding innovative and original, atonal music can seem trite and static.  But the St. Louis Symphony's performance this weekend of an early masterpiece by an atonal composer, Alban Berg's Seven Early Songs, demonstrated that atonal music can indeed be captivating and tingling with emotion.

Friday, 08 August 2008 19:00

Otello

Union Avenue Opera

Through August 9, 2008
Reviewed by Gary Scott
Now in its 14th season, Union Avenue Opera has established itself as a venue for some of the most purely dramatic works in the entire operatic repertoire.  Through skillful blocking, lighting and scenery, combined with dedicated and gifted performers eager to perform in such a setting, UAO has demonstrated that simplicity and directness can cut to the listener's very soul.  This was ably demonstrated last season by such works as Puccini's Sister Angelica and Bartok's Duke Bluebeard's Castle.  This year, UAO is tackling Giuseppe Verdi's Otello, along with Bizet's Carmen--offset, for variety, by Donizetti's L'Elisir d'Amore.

Friday, 30 October 2009 19:00

The Rocky Horror Show

The NonProphet Theatre Company /The DramaRama Theatre Company

Through October 31, 2009
Reviewed by Gary Scott
Why would you go see a The Rocky Horror Show (the live stage show on which The Rocky Horror Picture Show is based)? To have fun, of course.  for over thirty years now, audiences have responded to Richard O'Brien's take-off on 50's and 60's cinematic schlock with devotion, fervor and love.  And it just doesn't stop.

Saturday, 12 December 2009 19:00

The House of Blue Leaves

houseofblue0912.jpgThe Conservatory of Theatre Arts at Webster University

Through December 13, 2009
Reviewed by Gary Scott
Times change, and so do we.  If you visit the Stage III Theatre at Webster University, in the outside corridor you will see vintage photographs of some of the nuns who helped build Webster as an academic community.  Inside, you can see a play that lightheartedly lampoons nuns and Catholicism as a backdrop to a darker theme of lost hopes and despair.

Saturday, 15 August 2009 15:44

The Diary of Anne Frank

diaryofanne0908-1.jpgThe Lyceum Theatre

Through August 15, 2009
Reviewed by Gary Scott
Driving to the village of Arrow Rock, about forty miles northwest of Columbia, Missouri, home to the lyceum Theatre, is almost like making a sort of theatrical pilgrimage.  (Could this be what Richard Wagner had in mind for visitors to Bayreuth?)  The current production of The Diary of Anne Frank, newly adapted by Wendy Kesselman from the original script of Francis Goodrich and Albert Hackett, makes it a particularly moving journey.
Saturday, 10 October 2009 19:00

The Belle of Amherst

Insight Theatre Company

Through October 11, 1009
Reviewed by Gary Scott
Plays with a cast of one can pose a grueling yet exhilarating challenge to both the single actor as well as to the director and technicians--the production must sparkle with verve, spontaneity, visual energy and quick-moving drama.  The life of Emily Dickinson, one of our greatest poets, brought to life onstage in William Luce's The Belle of Amherst, provides fuel for such a challenge and demonstrates that the life of a single individual can hold an entire audience spellbound.

Friday, 14 August 2009 19:00

Rent

rent0908.jpgTake Two Productions

Through August 15, 2009
Reviewed by Gary Scott
The movie was definitely OK, but Rent is musical theatre that rises to its full glory most fully when performed live onstage.  Improvisational spontaneity, creative movement and plain old hard work from cast and crew make this work shine.  The story of Rent is an old one--boy meets girl, sometimes transposed to boy meets boy or girl meets girl in Jonathan Larson's updating of La Boheme--but it sparkles anew when live actors and crew, be they geniuses or just hard-working performing stiffs, give it their own unique stamp.

Thursday, 25 June 2009 19:00

Il Re Pastore

Opera Theatre of St. Louis

Through June 26, 2009
Reviewed by Gary Scott
Mozart at nineteen seemed to have a clairvoyant vision of the future of Italian opera as he composed Il re pastore (The Shepherd King), over a six-week period.  Although his melodies in this relatively youthful work are not always memorable, their florid effervescence springs onto the stage like jets from a Baroque fountain, belying the serious nature of the work and the questions it raises about government, status and nobility--questions that would dominate Mozart's thinking in later life.

Saturday, 19 September 2009 19:00

William Shakespeare's Greatest Hits

lwilliamshakespearesgreatest.jpgSoundstage Theatre

Through September 20, 2009
Reviewed by Gary Scott
Reader's theatre is an amazingly effective means of enjoying drama and the actor's art.  Soundstage Theatre, being the sole professional venue for reader's theatre in the Midwest, offers "theatre of the mind" from their studio in Crestwood Plaza.  For those who have never experienced the imaginative flow stimulated by the act of a play read with artistic vigor, but devoid of scenery and possessing minimal  action, it is worth a try.  And reader's theatre is something we can all do in our homes or clubs and churches.
 
Saturday, 26 December 2009 19:00

White Christmas

whitechristmas01.jpgThe Fabulous Fox Theatre

December 15 hrough 27, 2009
Reviewed by Gary Scott
Our society has faced a number of challenges over the past year, and, perhaps as a result, we seem to be longing for the nostalgia and comfort of the holiday season.  Even our most cynical curmedgeons seem ready to embrace Christmas this year and plunge headlong into the ghosts of Christmas past, reveling in the hope of reclaiming the joys that inhabit our memories.  What better way could there be to relive the joy of Christmas than to attend a live stage production of Irving Berlin's classic musical, White Christmas?

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