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Tina Farmer

In 1986, a lonely librarian in charge of the overnight return box at her location begins an unexpected and surprising journey when she discovers a returned book that is one-hundred and thirteen years overdue. So begins the New Jewish Theatre's production of "Under the Lintel," a play filled with questions, clues, and unexpected adventure that artfully ponders the nature of faith.

The Emerald Room at the Monocle in the Grove continues its series of high-quality, highly entertaining cabaret shows with Anna Blair's "I Am Reddy, Hear Me Roar." Blair hones in on the storytelling aspects of Reddy's catalog, presenting emotionally rich interpretations and clever mash-ups that reframe the songs with a contemporary sensibility.

The Black Rep's production of Dominque Morisseau's searing contemporary drama "Sunset Baby" is a tense show that suffers no fools and offers no easy answers. Set in an urban neighborhood rife with gun crime, prostitution, and drugs, the show avoids simple stereotypes and pat responses. Instead we see authentic people, with significant flaws and genuinely admirable qualities combined, who are trying to make their way to a better place.

Kirkwood Theater Guild satisfies fans of period romantic comedy with the stylishly predictable "Enchanted April," by Matthew Barber. Set in 1922, the show introduces Lottie Wilton and Rose Arnott, two English housewives afflicted with a deep malaise. Both notice an advertisement offering an Italian castle for rent during the upcoming month of April, and the two indulge in a bit of daydreaming together. Lottie impulsively places a deposit on the castle, then lures Rose in by finding two female companions to split the costs for their stay.

The story of the first Plantagenet king comes to life in James Goldman's deeply researched historical drama, set in 1183 but scripted with contemporary dialogue and influences. The show peaks into the personal life of Henry the second, revealing the temperament, motivations and seemingly callous behavior of those in power.

Set in 1929, First Run Theatre's "The Other Side," by local playwright David Hawley, is a clever period piece that uses the era's heightened interest in spirituality to deliver a intriguing dose of comic suspense. The show introduces audiences to Ph.D. students and burgeoning conmen Stan Ramsbottom and Kevin Kelly, who decide to finance their continuing education by masquerading as spiritualist, a psychic or medium with the ability to communicate with the dead, and his sidekick.

The Peabody Opera House embraced the spirit and hope of the holiday season by staging a fantastically colorful and heart-warming version of "Elf, the Broadway Musical" that thoroughly entertains audiences of all ages. The show is a fast-paced romp that reminds us to be open to love and life's possibilities while encouraging us to reconnect with our sense of childlike wonder.

Once again, the St. Louis Repertory Theatre's Imaginary Theatre Company has crafted a delightful, inventive performance for young audiences that manages to entertain the adults in attendance as well. The traditional fairytale of a struggling but kind shoemaker who receives help from elves to create the beautiful shoes he desperately needs to sell translates well to the stage. The show is entertaining and light, with whimisical touches that endear us to the characters while sprinkling in lessons on kindness, learning, and cooperation.

The "Holli Dazzle Naughty or Nice Cabaret," featuring emcee Kylie Bear, pianist and one-line comeback specialist Ron Bryant, and chanteuse and drag entertainer Jessica Lee Foster, puts a little spice into the season with a festive evening of fun among friends. True to tradition, the show features a number of guest entertainers who complement the featured artists and may vary from performance to performance.

What does it mean to be a Jewish millennial in America in the twenty-first century? And who decides, or how does one decide, if you are a "good Jew" or a "bad Jew"? In the New Jewish Theatre's production "Bad Jews," these questions confront three cousins, Daphna and brothers Liam and Jonah. They are together for their grandfather's Shiva, a week-long period of mourning and contemplation following the funeral of a close family member. The three must decide which one of them will become the owner of their grandfather's "chai" necklace.

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