One of the magical qualities of theater, and a characteristic that makes dark comedy so thoroughly enjoyable, is its ability to take characters you would avoid in real life and transform them into oddly sympathetic and completely likeable anti-heroes. Such is the case with Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht's deftly nuanced, purposefully amoral comic musical "The Threepenny Opera."
It's time to find your comfy sweatpants, pop open a Pabst Blue Ribbon and check in on the residents of the Armadillo Trailer Park, the happiest down-on-its luck spot in America. This season, the residents are busily singing songs and decorating their trailers in hopes of winning $10,000 from "Mobile Homes and Gardens" magazine.
St. Louis Shakespeare's Magic Smoking Monkey Theatre company once again strikes gold, this time with "Cannibal: The Musical," a hilariously twisted homage to the classic Hollywood musical written by Trey Parker, half of the creative team behind "South Park" and "The Book of Mormon." Cannibal tells the ill-fated story of a group of miners who met their demise on the trail to Colorado gold.
The MUNY Theater closes out its eight-week season with this classic American musical, and I don't imagine they could make a better choice. With hummable songs, witty dialogue and pratfalls aplenty, this is the type of show the MUNY excels at -- it's big, bold and filled with laughs, romance and hope.
Stray Dog Theater's production of "Funny Girl" is an ambitious undertaking -- the leading role is incredibly difficult, a demanding part that requires exceptional vocal range and power, spot-on comic timing and an actress willing to play up her less glamorous side. And the supporting cast must include top-notch dancers, strong voiced character actors and a leading man with incredible charisma.
There's a sweet and honest charm to "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum." The show doesn't over-promise and it's impossible to take too seriously, ensuring it remains a favorite go-to show for amateur and professional companies alike. With a focus on frequent and easy laughs, the show is also a can't-miss crowd pleaser.