I have a list of movies that should not have been made into stage musicals. I haven't seen the movie of “Dirty Dancing,” but my friends who were at the opening of the stage version at the Fox and have seen the movie told me that the stage version is very true to the movie. Maybe too true. Which is why I might add it to my list.
Naomi Iizuka wrote “Anon(ymous)” for a children's theatre. She tells the story of a young man who was separated from his mother as they were escaping the violence in their native land.
With its skimpy costumes and abundant references in word and deed to sex of various kinds, “The Rocky Horror Show” might seem an unlikely choice for a group calling themselves Family Musical Theater. But someone who first saw “Rocky Horror” on stage or screen 30 years ago could well be joined by a grandchild at this production for a pleasant family outing.
What's the essence of cabaret? Partly it's what my friend Ken Haller (no mean cabaret artist himself) calls the art of telling stories through song. But equally essential, as Karen Mason's show demonstrates, are the arrangements used to tell those stories.
The Over Due Theatre Company is a small impecunious group. With a budget of about two cents and a shoestring they continue to impress me—especially with their musicals.
My favorite company in town, Phillip Boehm's Upstream Theatre, has opened a classic: Sophocles' "Antigone."
If March comes in like a lion it goes out like a lamb—or so they say. On the stage at St. Louis University March is surely roaring in; we're in the middle of a Kansas blizzard that's burying the roads in feet of snow. The last bus from Kansas City, on its way to Topeka, just manages to make it to Grace's Diner only thirty miles into Kansas. It can go no farther until the storm abates and the roads are cleared. So the travelers are stranded here for the night.
The current Alpha Players production takes place in medieval England, as a historian, played with plummy BBC vowels by Chuck Brinkley, informs us. So Destiny Graham's set shows us the facade of a beautifully painted medieval castle. But obviously painted. Obviously a stage set. We are not visiting a realistic representation of King Arthur's Camelot. This is "Spamalot." Monty Python's "Spamalot". It's a show.
Who but Stephen Sondheim would think of a musical about people who shoot at presidents. It's called "Assassins," with Sondheim's music and lyrics and a book by John Weidman. And it works, both as script and in this production.
"Off the Map" is not an easy play to do. It has something a little Chekhovian about it. A family, a friend, an unexpected visitor, isolated, with troubles personal, financial, even, suddenly, erotic.