The musical "Hairspray," based on the John Waters' movie of the same name, uses the styles, culture, music, and civil rights movement of the 1960s to flip an exuberant middle finger to a lot of "isms" that are, unfortunately, still present in everyday America. The lighthearted musical demonstrates, with an abundance of humor and insight, just how silly people look when they let superficial qualities, like race or size, determine their relationships with others.
There's a lot of charm and plucky energy in Kirkwood Theatre Guild's tale of life as a single girl, circa 1922, running through May 10, 2015. The lead character, "thoroughly modern" Millie Dillmount, is filled with optimism and a spunky, can-do attitude. She's "fresh-from-the-farm" innocent, but with the smarts to quickly figure out the big city. Jeff Smith, a roguish boy with a kind heart and easy charm, matches Millie in wit and good-natured spirit, though he puts on a tough exterior.
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.
With this inspiring, engaging musical, the Black Rep once again demonstrates why it is among the most consistently exceptional theater companies in the region. From the selection of material to the technical details to the casting, the company produces compelling shows that entertain without shying away from substantive themes and provocative subjects.
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's current production of "Grease" is light, frothy, nostalgic fun. The music has the snappy, upbeat feel of early rock, and the dancing, costumes and vernacular dialogue are evocative of the period.
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.
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.
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.