Plays, movies and books about men's "midlife crises" are a dime-a-dozen; it's much less common to see a show that delves, artfully and thoughtfully, into the secret desires of a middle-aged, married woman. Luckily, Dramatic License Productions' humorous, yet realistic, one-woman show, "Shirley Valentine," is here to fill that gap.
There's a contemporary swagger present in the Fox Theatre's current production of "Jersey Boys" that slides smoothly into the history of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. The combination works well, resulting in a smart, snappy production that thoroughly entertains. Openly addressing the influence of perspective and self-interest, the show also avoids self-reverence, even as it keeps the conflict light.
Ah, bliss! Here's a toast to the post-WWI, emerging from the Depression leisure class. Particularly when they are as delightfully portrayed as by the student actors in Washington University's "You Can't Take It with You." The show breezes along, and right past, the bleak realities of the period with a joyful self-indulgence. And, as pithy as the title may seem, there is, after all, a genuine truth hiding underneath the straightforward statement.
Some family secrets are mere trifles, intended to spare hurt feelings. Others are meant to secure someone's place in the family tree or inheritance. And then, there are those family secrets that cause deep hurt and lasting damage. The Repertory Theater's "Other Desert Cities" falls decidedly in the latter.
The story of the community of Gee's Bend, Alabama, its origins and struggles, is an interesting and important square in the American quilt. That this small community also contributed to the American folk art movement in significant ways with their own quilts adds an amazing layer of beauty and warmth. Mustard Seed Theatre's production may lack a bit in vibrant colors and conflict, but the show is grounded with memorable performances and dramatic tension.
Audiences at the beautiful Peabody Opera House were treated to a brief escape from the winter's chill in St. Louis with a warm and inviting production of "Man of La Mancha" from Chasing Windmills LLC. The cast is strong throughout and the story an interesting and engaging interpretation of Cervantes life, as well as his most famous tale.
Though "The Little Dog Laughed" is filled with biting and insightful humor that keeps the audience laughing along, I can't remember the last time a "happy ending" made me feel so blue. The short scenes, well defined characters and sharp direction complement Douglas Carter Beane's Tony Award winning play in Stray Dog Theatre's enjoyable production.
Upstream Theater's poignant production of "Forget Me Not" explores the little known history of non-humanitarian child migration. The story is one of sorrow, regret and pain, and the company does not gloss over this hard truth or the lasting damage this policy inflicted on countless children.
The Black Rep's production of the near iconic "For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf" is a vibrant interpretation that keeps the focus squarely on the material and performances. Based on the 1975 choreopoem by Ntozake Shange, the production features 20 spoken word poems interwoven with choreography, as voiced by seven formidable actresses and musician Jeff Anderson.
Clayton Community Theatre takes a humorous look at the general reverence for and study of all things Shakespeare with Ann-Marie MacDonald's sprightly comedy "Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet)." A near-farcical look at two well-known Shakespearean plays, "Othello" and "Romeo and Juliet," the show succeeds in spirit while it lacks in substance.