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Sheila R. Schultz

Performance art should look effortless. Picture Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, gliding together across a polished floor. Their dance routine is utterly spontaneous. Live theatre provides similar illusion for our diversion.

Of course Cinderella ends up with Prince Charming. She’s beautiful, obedient and always cheerful. Who wouldn’t be smitten? I was 7 years old. “But, what about me?” I wondered. “What’s in store for girls like us?” The answer seemed painfully clear.

Let’s face it, the villain is the most interesting character in a play. Without a worthy opponent, there’s little suspense. Villains can’t afford to be wishy-washy. They thrive on conflict. They love to concoct schemes to squash the competition. The skewed logic of villains can be seductive. (Aren’t we quick to rationalize our own behavior?)

How can mere mortals hope to compete with superheroes of the big screen? In the realm of entertainment, repeated exposure to CGI and cinematic special effects can skew our expectations. Our attention spans seem ever dwindling and it’s easy to forget that movie images are 2-dimensional illusions.

"Miss Peretti, please spell 'syzygy'"
"S-Y-Z-Y-G-Y. Syzygy."
"We have a winner!"

It's a cliché. Follow your dreams. If you are Alex Owens (Emily Padgett), you will realize your dreams after overcoming pernicious self-doubt and other obstacles. It's better to leap and fall than to never leap at all. Padgett nails the lead with verve. Her dance and vocal skills are excellent. Her acting chops get little workout because the book is clumsy and flimsy .

"Ain’t Misbehavin’" - 2 little words, 5 little syllables conjuring up Fats Waller’s vibrant songbook.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012 21:14

'God's Favorite' is a trial

If anyone can transform the Book of Job into a comedy, it’s Neil Simon. So I thought. I was wrong.

Tuesday, 02 August 2011 10:38

Enchantment Awaits in The Secret Garden

A reverie more than a drama, this production is enthralling. The simple story line is interspersed with dream sequences, incantations and other ethereal elements. This musical ignites our imagination with its hypnotic score by Lucy Simon. Beguiling Irish rhythms compete with plaintive airs. The lush design elements immerse us in an opulent fairy tale juxtaposed with morbid reality. The surrealistic design of Marsh Norman’s libretto prevents the play from wallowing in melodrama. Director Michael Hamilton pulls it all together.

When the meek inherit the earth, Seymour Krelborn (Rob McClure) will be standing in line, tripping over his own shoelaces. He is a nebbish who works at Mushnik’s Flower Shop in the slums where “the folks are broke” and “your life’s a joke”. Seymour sleeps in the basement, wilting alongside his exotic botanical companions.

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