What three things do you need for a fun night out (in my opinion)? Theatre, toddies and tenpins - and that's exactly what you get at OnSite's “Bowling Epiphany - The Revival”.
High fidelity (noun): the reproduction of an effect (as sound or an image) that is very faithful to the original.
I’m a Christmas fan. Huge. Christmas music, Christmas movies, Christmas TV specials. Especially those that harken me (and tens millions of others) back to precious childhood memories.
OK, I’m gonna start by admitting that I’m biased. (DISCLAIMER: I’ve worked with The Black Rep many a time; however, the bias may not lie where you think it might.) I’m biased because, as I’ve said many times before – I LOVE Christmas music. I play it all year long. I play it on my birthday in July. Fully 1/3 of the tuneage on my 160-gig iPod is Christmas music. So, that being said; I had a ridiculously good time at this year’s version of Black Nativity.
Okay. I like spectacle. I love the circus. I love to dream. Above all, I love Christmas. (Well, actually, Christmas and I are in this "love-hate" relationship, where I love the innate idea and feel of it, but hate when it's all commercialized and dressed up?) But, it's by far my favorite holiday, hands down. All the ducks were lined up, all in a row, ready to be knocked down. This couldn't go wrong, right? So why didn't I love Holidaze by Cirque Dreams, now in production at the Fabulous Fox, much, much more than I did?
In the past two years, there have been at least four productions of Cabaret in St. Louis (and, in the spirit of full disclosure, I was involved with one of them). It's always interesting to see which version of Cabaret is gonna show up: the original 1966 Bob Fosse stage version, the 1972 Fosse-helmed movie version (adding in more of the play on which it is based, I Am A Camera by John Van Druten, and the short story on which that was based -- The Berlin Stories by Christopher Isherwood), the 1987 revival (re-vamped and combining parts of both the previous versions), or the 1998 so-called "Sam Mendes version", which dispatches the Broadway glitz and glamour, focusing on the seedy underbelly of pre-WWII Berlin. This production from the Theater Department at Saint Louis University seems to be mainly the '87 revival (with touches of Mendes thrown in, to make it a little edgier).
From before the moment that the house lights go off, and the bare, black wall we've been looking at lights up with hundreds of tiny stars, we already know what we're in for – because we know that Kathleen Turner is at the Rep to do a star-turn in the world premiere, pre-Broadway drama, High, by Matthew Lombardo, directed by Rob Ruggiero. It takes plenty of fortitude for an actor, whose face we've seen hundreds of times on DVD, and on screens big and small, to bare all, figuratively, for a few hours, live onstage, to a few hundred people. You can never say that Kathleen Turner doesn't have plenty of fortitude.
Upon walking into the Krantzberg Theater, my first thought was “Holy crap! Eugene O'Neill wrote a drawing room comedy? I thought I had stumbled into a production of The Importance of Being Ernest by mistake – which would NOT be a bad thing – I love me some Oscar Wilde, and usually O'Neill tends to be… oh, long-winded. Imagine my surprise, then, when the opening moments of Now I Ask You has a distraught young woman rushing in, putting a gun to her head and presumably pulling the trigger, a la the end of Hedda Gabler? Ah, an O'Neill tragedy after all… But, how did she get to this low point?