On paper, "Spring Awakening" shouldn't be an enormously popular coming-of-age musical. The songs are raw and rock infused and the story lacks a stereotypical happy ending. Still, the show is joyfully energetic and the themes are expressed with a thoughtful approach, resulting in a moving, bittersweet production.
"Orders" is a contemporary show that asks an age old question: why do people serve - their country, others, or God -- and how does a young adult know when they are being called to service? Too often, military service seems like a career option of last choice and religious service an outdated, old-fashioned idea. But what if you're the one feeling the call?
Act Two Theatre closes their season with a rousing, nostalgic trip to rural, Depression-era America courtesy of "Smoke on the Mountain." This heartwarming show is filled with bluegrass-infused hymns, spiritual witnessing and more than a few moments of pure comedy as the congregation of the Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church kicks off its first Saturday night worship service.
What happens when a child is imaginative and bright in ways that challenge social norms? Should the child be coached to emphasize or hide personality traits or behaviors deemed by some to be socially inappropriate? At what age do these questions begin to matter, to the children or to the parents?
As the global economy begins to rebuild after the recent economic recession, a lot of people who once considered themselves comfortable are finding it difficult to rebound. Max & Louie's United States premiere of the Irish play "Chancers," by Robert Massey, takes a darkly comic look at the very real, and sometimes very desperate, straights of the struggling middle class.
It is not uncommon to see a romantic comedy that features a love-triangle even one in which an historic figure come to life in modern times. It is, however, considerably less common that the three characters involved are well past the bloom of youth. Dramatic License Productions' staging of "Rembrandt's Gift" is a touching, funny and sometimes bittersweet look at love, and life, that fearlessly tackles the subject of growing older in uncertain economic times without losing it's light, comedic touch.
St. Louis Shakespeare warms up fall with a breezy, optimistic interpretation of one of Shakespeare's most popular romantic comedies. Set in Italy at the end of World War II, this version is bubbly and cheerful, filled with a hopeful tone and vibrant personality. The play overflows with sharp observations and broad humor, and the company meets the upbeat, eternally romantic tone in an enjoyable production that's constantly in motion, but never hurried.
The story of Anne Frank, the young Jewish girl who hid in a tiny annex with her family to avoid deportation to the concentration camps during World War II, is well known. Her tragic fate has been told time and again since the discovery of her diary shortly after the war's end. And yet, in an age of history deniers, and in a world where genocide is still a threat, it is important that this story be told again, and again, in the hope that a lesson will be learned and such atrocities will never be repeated.
The classic style of the mid twentieth century murder mystery is ever-present in Stray Dog Theatre's production of "And Then There Were None," one of Agatha Christie's most popular stories. The entire show, from the mid-century modern furnishings to the gorgeous costumes, perfectly coiffed hair and well-stocked bar, references the stereotypes of the period, as do the characters.
HotCity theater brings Larry Kramer's heartbreaking "The Normal Heart" to life in a dark, somber production filled with an endless parade of the dead and dying, running through September 27, 2014 the Kranzberg Arts Center.