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Steve Callahan

Saturday, 15 March 2014 20:16

Everything's Hunky-Dory in Titipu!

Ko-Ko san and Nanki-Poo compete for the hand of the lovely Yum-Yum as Pish-Tush and Poo-Bah tend to civic duties in the town of Titipu in Gilbert and Sullivan's "The Mikado".

Winter Opera is closing its seventh season with a very strong production of Gaetano Donizetti's "Lucia di Lammermoor."

Nine years ago I fell in love with an adorable musical when it came to the Fox.  It was "Mamma Mia!" and I loved it not just because of its engaging and imaginative music, but because the story was a lovely old-fashioned romantic situation-comedy, simply and economically told with sensitivity and moderation.  Well, that old flame is back in town, and God, how she's changed.  Nine years ago I left the Fox full of warmth, with just the gentlest sweet hint of heartache.  This time it was more like heart-burn:  "Mamma Mia!", that'sa one spicy meatball!   Quick, the Alka Seltzer!

Tuesday, 10 December 2013 11:54

'Black Nativity' makes a joyful noise!

The St. Louis Black Rep fills its new home to overflowing with bright talent and Christmas joy!  Their production of "Black Nativity" is a glorious celebration now playing at the Emerson Theatre at Harris-Stowe University.

A lovely, sensitive new play, "The Two Sisters," by Dennis Corcoran has opened at St. Louis Community College at Meramac.  It's set in 1980 in the women's prison at Armagh, Northern Ireland, and it addresses the heroism—and the brutishness—that can arise in religious and political conflict.

Pinocchio has been with us for a hundred and fifty years now, delighting readers of all ages and frightening those of tender years.  Last week-end COCA brought us an admirable staging of Carlo Collodi's beloved tale, produced by the Théâtre Tout à Trac from Canada[1].  It was part of the company's premiere English-language tour of this show.

The First Run Theatre produces only world premieres.  In a new venture the company is presenting "Spectrum" their very first fully rehearsed and staged evening of very short plays—that is, plays from ten to twenty minutes long.  This is a very challenging format.  The author has not the leisure to spend much time on character development or plot complexities.  He must be concise and efficient, yet still effectively dramatic or comic.  And the evening, though rather mixed, is most definitely a success.

Like you, I think I read Henry James' "The Turn of the Screw" in Freshman English.  This so-called "ghost story" is rather rough going for a Freshman, what with James' long, formal, rambling, ornately qualified, vaguely Germanic sentences.  But I went to COCA!  There Jeffrey Hatcher's graceful stage adaptation of the story cut through all that stylistic filigree to take us swiftly, cleanly and clearly to the heart of this fearful story.  And, with stunning economy, it was done with simply a chair and two very gifted actors.

Well, with Mel Brooks you get Mel Brooks.  The Over Due Theatre Company has opened a production of Brooks' musical adaption of his own wacky spoof movie, "Young Frankenstein."   (Oops!  Make that "Young Frankensteen".)

What's that crashing against your screen door?   Well, if it were mid-summer it would, of course, be all those June-bugs.  But in October it's got to be that annual infestation of zombies.  There's no escape!   They're out there, everywhere!  And they will get you! 

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