The rape and murder of an innocent 13-year-old factory girl and the subsequent incarceration and trial of the accused rapist is most definitely not a standard musical theme. R-S Theatrics production of "Parade," a musical by Alfred Uhry and Jason Robert Brown, bravely explores this story in a moving, and often emotionally compelling, show.
"Never safe - always R-S" is the somewhat cryptic motto of R-S Theatrics, a local small professional theatre company that boldly goes where many other groups have rarely, if ever, gone before. An outgrowth of the now defunct Soundstage Productions, which specialized in staged readings of new and rarely-performed scripts, R-S is fearless about bringing different and challenging material to St. Louis audiences. Their current project, Jason Robert Brown's 1998 musical drama "Parade," just might be the Platonic Ideal of an R-S show.
Alex Phillips and David Reddick
There are two types of cafes in the movies. There's the hive of romance -- think Brad Pitt and Claire Forlani in "Meet Joe Black" -- a cozy room with warm, milky drinks and longing eyes.
One of R-S Theatrics’ promotional slogans is “Never safe. Always R-S.” I think this means that the company doesn’t put on tired old shows, and is true to its self-definition, but I’ve never thought it made much sense until now.
Somebody at R-S Theatrics likes weird. Last year, they produced a staged reading of Andrew Hinderaker's play Suicide, Incorporated. Now they're doing a fully staged production of Suicide, Incorporated. Actually, it's not that much more fully staged that the previous, pretty fully staged one – well staged in both cases.
Mr. and Mrs. Zero (Chuck Brinkley, Kimberly D. Sansone) have been married 25 years. Mr. Zero has worked as a bookkeeper for 25 years. Mr. Zero is unhappy. Mrs. Zero is unhappy. When Mr. Zero is fired instead of getting the promotion he expected, he kills his boss, is executed and eventually learns the secret. The end.
Neil Labute's Autobahn is a pleasant twist from the usual structure of plays. It is a compilation of seven short plays, presented as one. Each vignette, or short one act takes place in the front seat of an automobile with two characters, and of course, different situations that range from serious to funny to absurd.
Jesus would have hopped the ‘A’ Train to come watch this performance. Spectacular! Guirgis’ masterful story telling was obvious from the beginning. The play starts with Angel Cruz (Adam Flores) front center on his knees attempting to pray in a prison cell. And from there on out I was hooked.
I am very glad to be making the acquaintance of the plays of Rajiv Joseph. His Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo is one of the best new plays I've seen in recent years. It is a little strange. Half the cast, including the eponymous tiger, spends most of the play as ghosts. But how else are you going to deal with the absurdities of the war in Iraq?
What do you do when you’re tired of writing cards for Hallmark? Get a job personalizing suicide notes, of course! That is, if you can convince a paranoid, foul-mouthed, profit-driven businessman to hire you. That is precisely what happens at the beginning of Suicide, Incorporated by Andrew Hinderaker, staged by RS Theatrics, an offshoot of Soundtage.