The musical version of the beloved 1983 movie "A Christmas Story," running at the Fox Theatre through January 4, 2015, features all the highlights of the film, which quickly established itself as a holiday favorite. As such, it's a rollicking, song-filled ride that leads to the perfect Christmas morning in the eyes of a wonderfully average American boy, circa 1940.
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.
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.
"Fiddler on the Roof" is a classic of American Musical Theatre, book by Joseph Stein, music by Jerry Bock, and lyrics by Sheldon Harnick. The story of Tevye and his family in 1905 Tsarist Russia is—as the lyrics of its song, "Sunrise, Sunset" says—laden with happiness and tears.
R-S Theatrics once again chooses to take a different perspective on history, this time looking through the eyes, and hearts, of the women behind the presidents, our first ladies. It's a provocative approach, treated with a sense of the fantastic in Michael John Lachiusa's "First Lady Suite," and the company does a remarkable job of finding meaning, motivation and texture in their production.
With a focus on character development and the struggles of a tiny Wisconsin town, "The Spitfire Grill" is not your typical musical. It's a story of resilience and hope, yes, but it's also a nicely woven exploration of the fragile thread that keeps us from despair, mistrust and cruelty. Insight Theatre Company's current production plays small, drawing the audience in and delivering a warm, intimate story accompanied by heartfelt songs.
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.
The MUNY opens its 96th season with the heartwarming and hopeful musical "Billy Elliot," based on the popular movie, with book and lyrics by Lee Hall and music by Sir Elton John. The moral, a combination of "be true to yourself" and "don't give up your dreams," is clear from early on, and it's nicely conveyed; but it's the dancing that keeps the audience riveted the entire performance.
New Line Theatre's "Hands on a Hard Body" delivers a sobering, but ultimately hopeful, look at contemporary America. Focused on a car dealership contest held in Texas until 2005, the musical features rock songs and pop-influenced ballads interspersed with dramatic scenes. Though the theme of the show has some dark overtones, the feel is warm, a slice of life with a small town familiarity.
Lovely and heartfelt, “Once” tells the story of two musicians who share a deeply profound love that can only be expressed through songs. This beautifully staged and performed tale is bittersweet and softly played in gentle melodies and pure harmonies, with just the right mix of Irish and Czech-influenced folk traditions.