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Gary Scott

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?

Sunday, 24 January 2010 19:00

Werther

werther.jpgWinter Opera St. Louis

January 16 and 17, 2010
Reviewed by Gary Scott
The growth of opera around the country just seems to keep on going and growing.  In just the past several days St. Louisans have been able to attend a live Met broadcast as well as stage productions by the Teatro Lirico d'Europa (La Traviata) and our own Winter Opera St. Louis (formerly New Opera of St. Louis), presenting Jules Massenet's Werther for the first time in over twenty years.  Although conceived during the Romantic era, Werther is an opera that continues to speak to the angst of our own time, and provides a superb vehicle for regional opera companies.  It also gives us the opportunity to become better acquainted with a composer who is worthy of the increasing attention paid to him, but who is all too often only remembered for one solitary piece, the "Meditation" from his opera Thais.

Saturday, 01 May 2010 11:16

Wagner's Greatest Hits.

It sometimes seems that, nearly 140 years after his death, we are still trying to figure out just who Richard Wagner really was.  He was a poet, a philosopher, a creator of dramatic prose--and most of us have heard about his racism, directed towards Jews and others whom he regarded as cultural interlopers.  But one fact remains undisputed:  Wagner was undoubtedly one of the greatest composers who ever lives, and one of the most inspiring.  Even the Nazis, in their stupefied state, were able to realize his greatness, and, sadly, co-opt his message to subsume into their own world view.

The St. Louis Symphony

May 7 through 9, 2010
The St. Louis Symphony closed out its current subscription season with yet another blockbuster program.  Pianist Horacio Gutierrez soloed in Sergei Rachmaninov's ever-popular Piano Concerto No. 2, and the Symphony was joined by the Symphony Chorus, soprano Christine Goerke and baritone Brett Polegato for the too-rarely-performed Sea Symphony of Ralph Vaughan Williams.  Given the breadth, vision and diversity of musical though of each work, either would have made almost a complete program in itself, but guest conductor Robert Spano--on loan from Atlanta--brought both masterpieces to the capacity audiences assembled in Powell Hall.

Sunday, 27 September 2009 19:12

Gustav Mahler and Osvaldo Golijov

St. Louis Symphony

September 25 and 26, 2009
Reviewed by Gary Scott
Opening night for the 2009-10 season of the St. Louis Symphony brought together the works of two Jewish composers, born exactly 100 years apart, and on opposite sides of the globe, yet perhaps sharing bonds that transcend space and time.  Osvaldo Golijov, born in 1960 in Argentina, brings a similar love of nature and folk/ethnic music that captivated Gustav Mahler, born in 1860 in Bohemia.

Friday, 07 May 2010 18:00

Witness for the Prosecution.

Theatre Guild of Webster Groves

April 30 through May 8, 2010
Reviewed by Gary Scott
Years after her death, Agatha Christie's stories and plays continue to draw legions of loyal fans.  Her is appeal is very understandable when you see a play like Witness for the Prosecution, currently in production at the Theatre Guild of Webster Groves.  Normally, Christie's works are a bit tongue-in-cheek even though they deal with the serious topic of homicide.  Witness, however, is long but spellbinding, and the drama is non-stop, right down to the multiple surprises at the end.

Saturday, 15 May 2010 18:00

The Soundstage Radio Hour.

Soundstage Productions

May 7 through 16, 2010
Reviewed by Gary Scott
Not only is Soundstage productions the only professional readers' theatre company in the Midwest, but it continues to improve its craft, never pausing to rest on its laurels.  The current production, The Soundstage Radio Hour, features vintage scripts from episodes of "My Friend Irma", originally broadcast in 1947, and "The Romance of Helen Trent", originally aired in 1939.  Anyone who feels that readers' theatre might be stale and boring is in for a pleasant surprise.  The period costuming and pre-show antics from the cast even provide visual stimulation that is normally lacking in readers' theatre.

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