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Tina Farmer

Playwright Christopher Durang won a Tony Award for this insightfully hilarious look at aging and modern life through a lens tinted with Chekhov and Greek tragedy. The actors in The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis' production of "Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike" bring these characters to life convincingly, emphasizing their quirks, vanities and flaws in a production layered with humor and pathos, second questions and, perhaps, second chances.

St. Louis Shakespeare completes its commitment to producing all of William Shakespeare's plays with "Blood Reigns: Henry VI and the War of the Roses," a thoroughly compelling show culled from "Henry VI," parts 1, 2 and 3. The show, as adapted by director Christopher Limber, Michael B. Perkins and Robin Weatherall, brings Shakespeare's history to life with clarity and emotional undertones that color the performances.

Donald Margulies writes interesting, contemporary plays that make up with intellect what they lack in action and movement. The New Jewish Theatre's production of "Sight Unseen," his play examining the value of art, the ambition of the artist, and the repercussions of past relationships, is a finely wrought drama that celebrates his cerebral approach.

Arthur Miller's famed play "The Crucible," introduced American audiences to the young girls of Salem Massachusetts and the famed witch trials and burnings that followed their accusations. Laurie Brooks presents a different viewpoint in "Afflicted, Daughters of Salem" her thoughtful and well-researched imagining of the lives of these young girls, and Metro Theater Company's current production at the Missouri History Museum through March 22, 2015.

With a sure hand and acerbic wit, New Line Theatre's artistic director Scott Miller once again stages a thoroughly enjoyable evening of musical entertainment and humor. "Jerry Springer the opera," running through March 28, 2015, is not going to appeal to every audience, however.

The Fox Theatre's recent production of "Million Dollar Quartet," the musical based on the famous, one-time only jam session with the stars of Sun Studio, is a rousing and rollicking good time. A celebration of the early days of rock and roll and the influence and knack for talent of Sam Phillips, the show is a quick trip back in a time machine with a feel good, optimistic slant.

With her fanciful play "Or," Liz Duffy Adams has reimagined the early Restoration period with a touch of James Bond, a dose of women's liberation and a heaping helping of pop sensibility and color. Slightly Askew Theatre Ensemble's production of the inventive work adds enthusiasm, a touch of steampunk style and a heaping handful of sass. Under the direction of Ellie Schwetye and dramaturge Louise Edward Neiman, the many disparate influences fit together wonderfully in this stylishly entertaining production.

If there's one thing Edward Albee knows, without equivocation, it is the darker side of intimacy. The deep cuts two people can inflict on each other, the way they keep jabbing at the same wounds, ensuring they never heal but remain raw and painful. "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf," perhaps Albee's most well known work, is a tour de force in this respect, and the St. Louis Actors' Studio production does not disappoint.

The St. Louis Repertory Theatre's current production, "The Winslow Boy," by Terrence Rattigan, is, at its heart, a play about fatherly love, loyalty and social justice. The show is thoughtfully directed by Steven Woolf, and features fully engaged, well-developed performances by a strong ensemble.

Mustard Seed Theatre's current production is essay writer the world premier of local playwright Rob Maesaka's touching historic fiction, "White to Gray." The story intertwines interracial romance and ages-long battles between parents and their children with history. In particular, the show offers a personal glimpse into the effect of World War II on Japanese Americans in Hawaii (as well as other American communities).

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