At times, it was if the stage almost shimmered. The audience applauded the set (well, the costumes really) twice and the singing and dancing were spectacular. Despite a three-hour length, a few draggy parts in Act II while plot points are getting sorted out, and one of the most familiar stories in the world, we loved it all. Michael Hamilton’s "My Fair Lady" is the most beautiful show I’ve seen this year, and it is a lot more than just a pretty face.
To say that Stages St. Louis' production of "Legally Blonde" sparkles seems an understatement, the musical is big and confident, filled with bright lights, pink glitter and, yes, sparkle. The production never takes itself too seriously, however, and the actors work together well, keeping the emphasis on the plot's familiar twists while delivering smart, endearing performances.
Fifty years after her untimely death, the music of Patsy Cline is as beloved as ever, and her influence is still present in both country and pop music. In Stages current production, the voice of Patsy Cline is strong, clear and vibrant, filled with life, laughter and at least a couple of Schlitz beers. It's no wonder, then, that she and her friend Louise Seger are playing to sold out audiences night after night.
The minute C.K. Edwards, Richard Riaz Yoder and Boris York as the New Rhythm Boys stepped or I should say glided onto the stage, my musical loving side knew it was in good hands.
"Ain’t Misbehavin’" - 2 little words, 5 little syllables conjuring up Fats Waller’s vibrant songbook.
Victoria Grant (Janna Cardia) is a divorced, unemployed opera singer who is hungry and cold when she wanders into Chez Lui late one night. There she meets Caroll “Toddy” Todd (David Schmittou), a kindly gentleman who stands her to a hot chocolate and brandy (which is for him) over the protestations of the officious manager, Henri Labisse (James Beaman) who sounds like Inspector Clouseau. Labisse reminds Toddy of his outstanding tab, incurring one of his many minor injuries played for laughs. It is Paris, 1934, and several lives are about to change.
A reverie more than a drama, this production is enthralling. The simple story line is interspersed with dream sequences, incantations and other ethereal elements. This musical ignites our imagination with its hypnotic score by Lucy Simon. Beguiling Irish rhythms compete with plaintive airs. The lush design elements immerse us in an opulent fairy tale juxtaposed with morbid reality. The surrealistic design of Marsh Norman’s libretto prevents the play from wallowing in melodrama. Director Michael Hamilton pulls it all together.
It's understandable that some folks might think a show that opened in 1974 could be dated and silly. I mean, the world has changed a lot in 41 years, right? But wait! when it comes to A Chorus Line, you'd be dead wrong.
Stages St. Louis is currently presenting Rodgers and Hammerstein's 1945 musical State Fair. This is the second time Stages has produced State Fair in its 24 years. I don't know why. State Fair is, to my mind, one of the least of R & H's creations. They originally wrote it as a movie, when Hollywood noticed the success of their ground-breaking Oklahoma! and hoped for another folksy smash about heartland Americans.