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Mark Bretz

Time and again the Conservatory of Theatre Arts at Webster University mounts productions that are marvels of excellence.

Caryl Churchill has had an amazing career since she graduated from Oxford University’s Lady Margaret Hall women’s college with a degree in English Literature in 1960. Her plays often focus on sexual politics, the abuse of power and a non-traditional look at history from a feminist point of view.

Saturday, 14 April 2012 23:01

The secret’s in the storytelling

Mary Zimmerman comes by her academic standards naturally, as the daughter of two college professors at the University of Nebraska. Her writing skills, however, are the product of a fanciful imagination that has guided her artistic achievements since childhood.

In Joe Orton’s short but prolific career as a writer, the Englishman developed a reputation for incisive and biting humor that lampooned the Establishment in merry olde England. Before his abilities could fully blossom, Orton tragically was bludgeoned to death by his lover, another writer/actor named Kenneth Halliwell, in 1967 at the age of 34.

In the lobby of the area's local Taj Mahal, otherwise known as the Scheidegger Center for the Arts at Lindenwood University, is a display window paying homage to early 20th century scenic designer Lyobov Popova.

Kirkwood Theatre Guild recently unveiled its 80th season with an audience-pleasing presentation of Noel Coward's charming comedy, Blithe Spirit. It's the type of show and production that has pleased patrons of the venerable community theater for eight decades.

Sam Shepard shocked the sensibilities of American theater when his literary voice first was raised in the 1960s and '70s. At first specializing in absurdist works, his style evolved into an alternate realism, a landscape where emotions and thoughts are as exaggerated as the mythic value of the American West. Such is the setting of Curse of the Starving Class, the first of Shepard's trio of works about the destructive dynamics of a family dysfunctional with a capital 'D.' He followed that foray into family foibles with the Pulitzer Prize-winning Buried Child and the Gothic tale, True West.

Monday, 29 November 1999 18:00

The Spitfire Grill

The Conservatory of Theatre Arts at Webster University

Through December 9, 2007
Reviewed by Mark Bretz
The talented kids in Webster University's Conservatory of Theatre Arts have tested their mettle thus far this academic year with comedy (Anton in Show Business) and the classics (Tartuffe). Now comes their turn to shine in musical theater, with the current production of The Spitfire Grill.
Monday, 29 November 1999 18:00

The Glass Menagerie

Chesterfield Community Theatre

Through 11/18/2007
Reviewed by Mark Bretz
Playwright Tennessee Williams referred to his first major success, The Glass Menagerie, as a "memory play," and indicated that "memory takes much poetic license."
Monday, 29 November 1999 18:00

The Evil Side of Broadway

Soundstage Productions

Through 10/31/2007
Reviewed by Mark Bretz
Minions Café in Maplewood has expanded its horizons in recent months. In addition to the meals and scrumptious desserts (sample either the delectable pecan pie or the mouth-watering apple cake with caramel frosting, among others), the comfortable little establishment is hosting periodic play readings, performances and concerts as well. Case in point is the current offering from Soundstage Productions titled The Evil Side of Broadway.

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