Friday, October 29, 2010

NEXT FALL • The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis

Organized religion can be a bitter pill for many to swallow.  Particularly if you happen to be gay.  That's the underlying tension in the Rep's Studio Theatre opener NEXT FALL, fresh from a Broadway run where it played the Helen Hayes Theatre from March to July 2010, garnering 2 Tony Award nominations for best play and best direction of a play.

It centers around a modern gay couple, Adam and Luke.  Adam (Jeffrey Kuhn), is a neurotic, sarcastic but lovable New Yorker.  He's also an out and proud 40 year old atheist.  His partner of four plus years, Luke (Colin Hanlon), is a southern boy -- an aspiring actor in his 30's and a devout Christian, who has yet to come out to his parents.  He prays before he eats.  And after sex.  He also believes that we all sin and that his homosexuality happens to be his sin.  Hmm…  Modern "Odd Couple" anyone?

Jeffrey Kuhn (Adam)
and Colin Hanlon (Luke).
Repertory Theatre of St. Louis
© Photo by Keith Jochim
The play begins with the sounds of a car crash, the lights come up, and we're in a hospital waiting room.  Luke is in critical condition after being hit by a taxi, and while Adam is on his way, we're introduced to their friends Holly (Marnye Young), who owns the candle shop where they work, Brandon (Ben Nordstrom), also a devout Christian, and Luke's divorced parents Arlene and Butch (Susan Greenhill and Keith Jochim).  The subjects of homosexuality and religion rise to the surface and simmer once Adam arrives at the hospital and comes face-to-face with Luke's bigoted father, who has no idea of the role that Adam has in Luke's life.  Mixed in with these scenes in the hospital, we see through a series of flashbacks the night Adam and Luke met, when they moved in together, and how their differing views of religion have been a source of friction throughout their relationship.  Still, opposing views and all, they love each other unconditionally.  When life pulls the rug out from under this couple, and Adam finds himself in a cold hospital waiting room unsure of what's going to happen next, issues of mortality and faith are examined a little more closely.  Kind of... 

Susan Greenhill (Arlene), Jeffrey Kuhn (Adam),
Marnye Young (Holly), Ben Nordstrom (Brandon)
and Keith Jochim (Butch).
Repertory Theatre of St. Louis © Photo by Jerry Naunheim Jr.
I wanted to love this play -- I really did.  Although it takes a look at some serious issues regarding religious faith, homosexuality and bigotry, the look seems to be only fleeting.  At one point when they're first getting to know each other, Adam and Luke get into a conversation about religion -- Adam cannot fathom how Luke can maintain that, according to his beliefs, if Matthew Shepard hadn’t accepted Christ before he died, he’s in hell, while his killers, as long as they accepted Christ as their Savior, would go to heaven.  Luke quickly asks to change the subject.  No!  Don't change the subject!  Let's go there and really pick it apart and look at it!  To me, both sides of this argument aren't really dealt with in an even-handed way.  Christianity and homosexuality aren't things you can swash over with a broad brush -- there's a lot of gray area, but the polar positions here seem to have been written with the efficiency of an after school special.  There are no easy answers when it comes to this stuff, but although the story is inviting and very moving, the resolve seems a little contrived and less than solid.

Susan Greenhill (Arlene), Colin Hanlon (Luke),
Keith Jochim (Butch) and Jeffrey Kuhn (Adam).
Repertory Theatre of St. Louis © Photo by Jerry Naunheim Jr.
Regardless of my problems with the story, the play does present some provocative themes that will no doubt be around until the end of time, and the performances are wonderful.  Colin Hanlon and Jeffrey Kuhn present a believable couple and caring about these two comes very easy thanks to the delicate direction of Seth Gordon.  Susan Greenhill as Luke's whacky free-wheeling mom Arlene is hilarious and provides much of the comic relief while Keith Jochim as his dad Butch is the kind of guy you just know has a rebel flag somewhere in the house.  He may raise your blood pressure from time to time, but it's evident there's a human being in there who's just worried about his son.  Marnye Young as their friend Holly, a self described "fag-hag", provides a source of comfort for Adam and Luke, and Ben Nordstrom as Brandon is a reserved friend with his own views on the issues at hand.  It's worth checking out, and will provide a little food for thought after the curtain call.


NEXT FALL

Written by Geoffrey Nauffts
Directed by Seth Gordon
Grandel Theatre, 3610 Grandel Square
through November 14 | tickets: $18 - $45
Performances Tuesdays at 7pm, Wednesday to Saturday at 8pm, Sundays at 2pm, selected Sundays at 7pm

Cast:
Susan Greenhill (Arlene), Colin Hanlon (Luke), Keith Jochim (Butch), Jeffrey Kuhn (Adam), Ben Nordstrom (Brandon) and Marnye Young (Holly).

Creative:
Set design by Brian Sidney Bembridge; costume design by Lou Bird; lighting design by John Wylie; sound design by Rusty Wandall; stage manager, Shannon B. Sturgis.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

EVIL DEAD: THE MUSICAL • Stray Dog Theatre


Nothing says Halloween like $35 splatter seats!  At Stray Dog's production of EVIL DEAD: THE MUSICAL, a few extra bucks entitles you to seats in the first couple of rows (if you dare) and a white "I Survived the Splatter Zone" t-shirt, sure to be drenched with fake blood by the end of the show.


This musical send-up is based on Sam Raimi's cult-classic horror flicks, "Evil Dead" and "Evil Dead 2".  It ran off-Broadway in 2006 after enjoying success at Just for Laughs, a Montreal Comedy festival in 2004.  You don't have to be a fan of the Evil Dead films to enjoy this show though.  A vague familiarity with the horror/slasher genre is all you'll need.  I mean, when a story starts out with five college kids heading off to a remote cabin in the woods, you kinda know the deal.

Our ill-fated crew consists of our hero Ash, his girlfriend Linda, his little sister Cheryl, Ash's buddy Scott and his ditzy girlfriend Shelly.  Upon their arrival at the cabin, they discover a few "these will come in handy later on" weapons in the basement, a Book of the Dead left there by the previous occupant, a professor, and his audio recordings of incantations from the book, which of course they play back.  After that, all hell literally breaks loose.

Julie Venegoni (Linda), Gregory Cuellar (Ash)
and Anna Skidis (Cheryl).
Photo credit: John Lamb
Under Chris Owens' direction, this show is a campy, spoofy, pun-filled cheese-fest that practically gives itself a cramp winking at the audience.  Gregory Cuellar makes a splendid Ash.  He heads up the cast with boundless energy and has a slight resemblance to Bruce Campbell from the films.  Anna Skidis as his kid sister Cheryl has a great sense of comic timing and is a very funny "deadite" as she's the first one to enter the ranks of the un-dead.  The creative team make good use of Tower Grove Abbey's stained glass windows, projecting shadows on them when Cheryl ventures out into the woods.  They must go through about 10 gallons of blood packs during the course of the show too, whether it's Ash having to cut off his own possessed hand, poppin' shotgun caps in demons, or decapitating his girlfriend.  And the audience loves it.  Justin Been's set grabs your attention right as you walk in, and the pre-show spooky music sets the tone perfectly.  The acoustics at Tower Grove Abbey always seem a little off, and when you've got a bunch of kids screaming and a bevy of sound effects,  those problems are amplified (no pun intended), but the performances are engaging and the band sounds great, despite a little over-modulation every now and then.  With songs like "What the Fuck Was That?", "Do the Necronomicon" and "All the Men in My Life Keep Getting Killed by Candarian Demons", you'll be in for a fun evening of entertainment.  Perfect for the Halloween season.


EVIL DEAD: THE MUSICAL

Book/lyrics by George Reinblatt
Music by Christopher Bond, Frank Cipolla, Melissa Morris, & George Reinblatt
Directed by Chris Owens
Tower Grove Abbey, 2336 Tennessee Ave.
through October 30 | tickets: $18 - $35
Performances Thursday to Saturday at 8pm
Special added Halloween performance October 31 at 7pm
*Adult content

Cast:
Gregory Cuellar (Ash), Anna Skidis (Cheryl), Julie Venegoni (Linda), Laura Coppinger (Shelly), Antonio Rodriguez (Scott), Ryan Cooper (Ed), Stephanie Merritt (Annie), Matt Anderson (Moose), Steven Castelli (Jake) and Ben Watts (Fake Shemp/Spirit of Knowby).

Creative:
Costumes by Chris Owens; lighting design by Tyler Duenow; scenic/sound design by Justin Been; blood master, Justin Been.

The Band:
Piano/conductor, Joe Dreyer; guitar, Billy Croghan; drums, Sean Lanier; vocal director, Lea Eilers.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

OEDIPUS KING • Upstream Theater

I kicked it up old school Friday, and I don't mean like a show from the 50's.  I mean like a show from 429 B.C., when OEDIPUS KING was written.  I felt compelled to read up on Greek tragedy a bit before seeing this show.  There were a few things I researched (and when I say research I mean surfing the net) that gave me a better footing when it comes to this stuff.  Here's what I learned -- Hubris is bad.  Dramatic irony is fun.  To be born is to know suffering and then die.  Oh, and don't mock the oracles.

Ensemble of OEDIPUS KING
Photo credit: Peter Wochniak
Sophocles wrote a ton of plays for the festivals in Athens dedicated to the god Dionysos and OEDIPUS is considered not only his best, but the greatest of all Greek tragedies and a perfect play -- a tragic hero who goes through a complete reversal of fortune -- powerful and confident in the beginning, weak and pitiful at the end.

The Kranzberg Arts Center was perfect for this play.  At the start, the chorus enters, burning incense and lamenting the fact that Thebes is under some sort of curse.  Crops won't grow, women can't have babies, people are dying all over the place -- it's bad.  They beg King Oedipus to help relieve their suffering.  Oedipus sends his brother-in-law Creon to consult the Delphic oracle for advice, and he comes back and tells Oedipus that Thebes is cursed because the killer of the former King Laius has not been brought to justice.  Until this happens, the city will continue to be besieged.  Oedipus vows to find the murderer, banish him and save Thebes, while possibly ridding himself of a threat to his throne.

Amy Loui (Jocasta) and
J. Samuel Davis (Oedipus).
Photo credit: Peter Wochniak
Oedipus makes a plea to his people to come forward with any information they may have, and when the blind prophet Tiresias comes forward, he knows more that he's willing to tell.  He eventually reveals that it is Oedipus himself who is the murderer.  The King becomes enraged and accuses the prophet and Creon of trying to ruin him.

Oedipus' wife Jocasta tries to comfort him by advising him not to put too much faith in prophets.  She tells him that she and the former King Laius, her first husband, were once told by an oracle that Laius would be killed by the hands of their own son, but that never came to pass -- not only did they leave the 3 day old child out in a field for dead, it was common knowledge that Laius was killed by thieves at a crossroad.  Whew, right?  No.  This doesn't comfort Oedipus.  It reminds him of an altercation he'd had at a similar location on the way to Thebes where he killed a man and his attendants.  It also reminds him of a prophecy he was told years earlier -- that he would shed the blood of his father, and mate with his mother.  Not to mention something a drunken man told him when he lived in Corinth -- that he was not the biological son of the man Oedipus had known as his father.  Now this poor guy isn't even sure who he is.

When a shepherd arrives with news of the death of Oedipus' father in Corinth, Oedipus is overjoyed that he many have eluded part of the oracle's prophecy, but he's still concerned about the possibility of committing incest with his mother.  In an effort to ease his mind, the shepherd tells Oedipus that he was adopted by his parents in Corinth.  He knows this because this shepherd was the very man who had been given an abandoned child from the house of Laius who was left in a field, and presented the boy to the then childless King of Corinth.  Everything starts to come together.  Suicide, self-blinding and much sorrow and disgust ensue.  They don't call it tragedy for nothing.


J. Samuel Davis (Oedipus), Alessandra Silva (Ismene)
and Inka Sklodowska (Antigone).
Photo credit: Peter Wochniak
Yes, I've given a lot of plot here, but I couldn't help myself.  There's a lot of story going on, and although many are familiar with the tale, witnessing this character's relentless pursuit for the truth, and how he unravels his own prophetic destiny, is really kind of magical. Those Greeks were good at theatre. 

J. Samuel Davis is an outstanding Oedipus.  I can't even think of a way to describe his arc from proud "child of fortune" to disgraceful outcast.  He's really good -- as is Amy Loui as his wife/mother (ew) Jocasta.  She realizes the truth before he does, and her anguish is quite palpable.  The Greek chorus and ensemble all do fine work as well.  The set, by Michael Heil, is simple but effective -- dominated by a large tilted circle depicting the iconic image of Oedipus and the Sphinx.  It really gets you in the mindset of an ancient story about to unfold.  The lighting by Steve Carmichael and sound by Philip Boehm again are simple, but accent the moments when realizations are made, and foretold futures are revealed.

This is a must see for lovers of theatre.  For real.

There's a really cool entry on the full-out story of Oedipus here.  I'm kinda fascinated with Greek and Roman mythology stuff anyway.  (My car's name is Mercury)


OEDIPUS KING

Written by Sophocles, in an English version by David Slavitt
Directed by Philip Boehm
Kranzberg Arts Center, 501 North Grand Blvd.
through October 24 | tickets: $15 - $25
Performances Thursday to Saturday at 8pm, Sundays at 7pm, final Sunday at 3pm

Cast:
J. Samuel Davis* (Oedipus), Amy Loui* (Jocasta), John Bratkowski*, Christopher Harris*, Dennis Lebby*, Laurie McConnell*, Peter Mayer* and Emily Piro.
* Member Actors' Equity Association

Creative:
Set by Michael Heil; lighting by Steve Carmichael; costumes by LaLonnie Lehman; sound design by Philip Boehm. 

Thursday, October 14, 2010

HIGH • The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis (pre-Broadway run)

This play comes to the Rep in collaboration with TheaterWorks in Hartford Connecticut where it ran from July 2 to August 22, and the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park where it ran from September 4 to October 2.  Maybe St. Louis is lucky to be the last stop on the list -- HIGH is aiming for a Broadway run in 2011, resulting in much scrutiny and some significant rewrites since its opening in Hartford, so we can assume that the version we'll be seeing here will be very different from what was seen in Hartford.  Actually, the play may change while it's here in St. Louis.  The night I went, there was a post-show discussion and the director explained to us that there was a recent script addition that was omitted that performance.  That's how vigorously this play is being tweaked.  But don't get me wrong -- the fact that this show is a work in progress in no way implies that this is some half-baked idea of a play.  This show in its present form is tight and intense.

Kathleen Turner (Sister Jamison Connelly)
and Evan Jonigkeit (Cody Randall).
Repertory Theatre of St. Louis © Photo by Sandy Underwood
Sister Jamison Connelly (Kathleen Turner), is a foul-mouthed later-in-life nun who counsels at a Catholic rehabilitation center.  The priest who runs the center, Father Michael Delpapp (Michael Berresse) has just added Cody Randall (Evan Jonigkeit), a 19 year old drug addict to her roster.  Cody has a sad history.  Not only has he tried just about every narcotic there is, but was kicked out when he was around 12 years old after his mother, also a drug addict, found one of her johns raping him.  After years of living on the streets, turning to male prostitution to support his drug habit, he has recently been found in a motel room with the body of a fourteen year old boy.  Because there was no apparent evidence that Cody had anything to do with the boy's death, Father Delpapp intervenes to supervise his rehabilitation at the center.  Knowing of Sister Connelly's own struggle with alcohol, Delpapp thinks that she may be able to help him, regardless of her protests that Cody may be too much for her to handle.  Although there is a perfect supply of humor in this story, HIGH deals primarily with alternating themes of shame, redemption and guilt, in which all of the characters must at some point face their own demons.

Evan Jonigkeit (Cody Randall),
Michael Berresse (Father Michael Delpapp)
and Kathleen Turner (Sister Jamison Connelly).
Repertory Theatre of St. Louis © Photo by Sandy Underwood
Kathleen Turner is -- no surprise -- a commanding Sister Jamison, at intervals "breaking the fourth wall", addressing the audience, and letting us in on the rich and colorful stories of her own life.  Most people think of  Kathleen Turner's star turns on the silver screen in films such as "Body Heat", "Romancing the Stone", "The War of the Roses" and many others, but she's got some serious stage chops with 2 Tony Award nominations, and sucks you in from the opening scene.  Evan Jonigkeit's Cody has enough swagger to hold his own opposite Turner, but shows you just enough depth and humanity to make you want to see him conquer his lurid past and present situation.  He's a relative newcomer, but as he fidgets and blusters onstage, he's compelling to watch.  Michael Berresse is an incredibly versatile actor with a Tony Award nomination for KISS ME KATE, and like many other Broadway folks, has appeared on every variation of "Law and Order" about 7,000 times.  His Father Delpapp vacillates between amiable, antagonistic and temperamental as his character's own flaws are exposed.  It's a powerful brew of 3 very talented actors who wear these roles like your favorite and most comfortable sweater -- a credit to not only the actors, but director Rob Ruggiero as well.

The Rep's 763-seat auditorium is perfect for this kind of drama.  David Gallo's sets are simple.  White furniture with door facades that elegantly slide out from slits in the back of the stage, starkly set against a black field, occasionally filled with stars.  The lighting design beautifully accentuates the action with focused spotlights, and harsh shadows when things get heavy.

I plan on seeing this again during its run here, and I suggest you do too.  It's a nice treat to get to see a pre-Broadway run right here in our own backyard and this one will stay with you for awhile.  Go see it.  I'm not kidding.


HIGH

Written by Matthew Lombardo
Directed by Rob Ruggiero
Loretto-Hilton Center, 130 Edgar Road
through November 7 | tickets: $15 - $73
Performances Tuesdays at 7pm, Wednesday to Friday at 8pm, selected Wednesdays at 1:30pm, Saturdays at 5pm, selected Saturdays at 9pm, Sundays at 2pm, selected Sundays at 7pm
*Adult content

Cast:
Kathleen Turner (Sister Jamison Connelly), Evan Jonigkeit (Cody Randall) and Michael Berresse (Father Michael Delpapp).

Creative:
Scenic design by David Gallo; costume design by Jess Goldstein; lighting design by John Lasiter; sound by Vincent Olivieri; makeup design by Joe Rossi.

UPDATE 1.27.11
The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis along with producers Leonard Soloway, Chase Mishkin, Terry Schnuck, Ann Cady Scott, Timothy J. Hampton, James & Catherine Berges and The Shubert Organization announced that HIGH is heading for Broadway.

Previews will begin on Friday, March 25 and open officially on Tuesday, April 19, 2011 at the Booth Theatre (222 West 45th Street, NYC).  The role of Father Michael Delpapp will be played by Stephen Kunken, but the rest of the cast members will remain the same.
Here's to a long run!


UPDATE 4.20.11
Well, this past Tuesday, HIGH opened on Broadway to… less than stellar reviews.  Here's one of the more negative reviews from New York Magazine.
As a result of this, along with the fact that ticket sales have been low, the show is closing this Sunday.
Plays close quickly in the Big Apple when the signs are less than good.  I'm sorry for everyone in St. Louis who had connections with this show.

Oh well -- at least Evan Jonigkeit, John Lasiter and David Gallo have their Kevin Kline Awards...

Sunday, October 10, 2010

NOVEMBER • St. Louis Actors' Studio

The St. Louis Actors' Studio begins its fourth season with David Mamet's NOVEMBER.  Mamet's known for exposing the more corrupt under-belly of things, exploring the decadence people are capable of with a writing style that has come to be known as "Mamet speak", exemplified in plays like his 1984 Pulitzer Prize winner, Glengarry Glen Ross.  Mamet also co-authored the screenplay for the 1997 film “Wag the Dog” that like NOVEMBER, featured Oval Office hijinks and manipulations -- with the president hiring a Hollywood producer to stage a fake war to distract the public from a sex scandal.

So, it's days before the election, and a very unpopular incumbent president, Charles H. P. Smith, is in a dire situation.  His poll numbers are "lower than Gandhi's cholesterol".  When he asks his lawyer why people hate him so much his lawyer replies, "Because you fucked up everything you touched."  Not only that, but his political allies have pulled the financial plug and his devoted speechwriter is on vacation.  Smith is desperate to get re-elected and secure the funds for his presidential library, or at least leave the white house with a little cash in his own pocket.  What's a commander-in-chief to do?

Alan Knoll.
Photo credit: Patrick Huber
This look at a day in the life of a soon to be ex-president has him doing everything from trying to bleed the National Association of Turkey By-Products Manufacturers dry by selling the annual presidential turkey pardon, to having to deal with a Native American chief who wants to build a hotel casino on Nantucket, to conniving with the pork industry, who have already provided him with a pork industry-sponsored “piggy plane” for the exportation of dissidents to Bulgaria.  His lesbian speech writer, Clarice Bernstein, has the formidable task of trying to get the public back on his side with the speech of a lifetime -- but agrees to do so only if the president will marry her and her partner on television.

Alan Knoll does an excellent job in a tough role.  I mean, not only did he have to navigate Mamet's rapid fire f-bomb filled tirades, but here you have a main character -- kind of an idiot, insulting every racial, ethnic and special interest group throughout the play -- who has to try to somehow get the audience in his corner.  John Krewson as his no-nonsense advisor Archer Brown plays a great "straight man" to Knoll's lunacy.  Michelle Hand as the put upon speechwriter, Bernstein, who just wants to marry her partner, provides you with the only person you can really root for.  The cast is rounded out by Chopper Leifheit as the Turkey Representative, and Alan McClintock as Chief Dwight Grackle.


Alan McClintock, John Krewson, Michelle Hand
and Alan Knoll.
Photo credit: Patrick Huber
Foul mouthed, incompetent political power players attempting extortion at every turn with politically incorrect views of the world isn't anything new to anyone who watches the news every now and then.  Maybe that's why, as much as I enjoyed the show, I couldn't get as into it as I thought I'd be able to.  You're assaulted with so many one-liners and over the top developments it felt more like a really long sketch comedy to me than a play.  When this play opened in 2008, Bush was in office, and maybe theatre-goers had more of an appetite for this kind of farce.  Regardless, while it may not be Glengarry Glen Ross, this play does have a lot of laughs, and was a big hit with the opening weekend audience, who laughed from beginning to end.


NOVEMBER

Written by David Mamet
Directed by Bobby Miller
The Gaslight Theater, 358 N. Boyle Ave.
through October 24 | tickets: $24.25 - $29.75
Performances Thursday to Saturday at 8pm, Sundays at 2pm

Cast:
Alan Knoll* (Charles Smith), Chopper Leifheit* (Representative of the National Association of Turkey By-Products Manufacturers), John Krewson (Archer Brown), Michelle Hand (Clarice Bernstein) and Alan McClintock (Chief Dwight Grackle).
* Member Actors' Equity Association

Creative:
Costumes by Bonnie Kruger; set/lighting design by Patrick Huber.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

I LOVE MY WIFE • New Line Theatre

Ah, the 70's.  Reminds me of my beloved chocolate brown corduroy blazer and my parents' misgivings about my insistence that I be allowed to stay up to watch "Maude".  It was also a time when many in the country turned their attention to getting their groove on -- threesomes, foursomes, who cares?  It was the swingin' 70's!  But can the friendship of 2 couples survive the influences of the sexual revolution?  That's what we get to find out in New Line Theatre's 20th season opener, I LOVE MY WIFE.

This was opening night and a few of the for real reviewers, like the people who really know their shit were there.  I got chills.  Okay not really, but you could feel everyone's anticipation to see this show, which hadn't been staged in St. Louis for many years, and that was cool.  I also must say, there were a couple of chicks behind me who apparently were not aware of the "Excuse me, the show has started.  STFU" rule.  Luckily for me, they sat somewhere else for the second act.  At one point early on when one of the couples was getting into bed, one of the girls said, "Oh my God.  Are they gonna get in bed together?"  …  Uh, really?  Did you enjoy your season at the Muny?  But I digress…

Emily Berry (Cleo), Jeffrey M. Wright (Wally),
Sarah Armstrong (Monica), and Todd Schaefer (Alvin),
in New Line Theatre's I LOVE MY WIFE.
Photo credit: Jill Ritter Lindberg
The show follows four good friends, Alvin (Todd Schaefer), his wife Cleo (Emily Berry), Wally (Jeffrey M. Wright ), and his wife Monica (Sarah Armstrong), as they grope their way through the tail end of the 1970's.  Alvin, a slightly uptight furniture mover, is afraid that the sexual liberation bus may have already left the station, so he takes some advice from his buddy Wally, a hip, sleazy but endearing public relations exec., and considers trying a threesome on for size.  He tries to talk his wife into broadening their sexual horizons by inviting Wally's wife Monica into the bedroom.  Although they have all been friends since high school, Alvin has discovered that Monica is all grown up now -- and hot.  But Cleo is more than a little attracted to Wally, and even though she's apprehensive at first, she decides to take the counterculture bull by the horns in a great tune, "Love Revolution".  So on Christmas Eve, Alvin and Cleo agree that they will invite the person who walks into the door first into the sack, but when their pals Wally and Monica walk in together, things really get interesting.  Interesting and hilarious.  Now, it's not as though there's a detailed plot for this show, but under Scott Miller and Alison Helmer's direction, watching it all unfold and seeing how these individuals respond to the opportunity is an entertaining ride, well worth the price of admission.  This show may be set in the 70's, but the themes are still relevant.

Joel Hackbarth (Stanley), Troy Turnipseed (Quentin),
and Zachary Allen Farmer (Harvey),
in New Line Theatre's I LOVE MY WIFE.
Photo credit: Jill Ritter Lindberg
You can't help but like these characters.  You want to see how things turn out for them in the end.  The performances were strong across the board.  Emily Berry has a particularly funny scene when they all try to loosen up by smoking a little hash.  Keep your eye on Joel Hackbarth in the number that follows this scene, "Everybody Today is Turnin' On" for some laughs.  Hackbarth along with Zachary Allen Farmer and Troy Turnipseed provide a charming greek chorus, commenting on the activities of their friends.  The sets are clever (having characters who are furniture movers change the sets around… cool), and the New Line band handled the Cy Coleman score nicely.

In short, go see it.


I LOVE MY WIFE

Book/lyrics by Michael Stewart 
Music by Cy Coleman
Directed by Scott Miller and Alison Helmer 
Washington University South Campus Theatre, 6501 Clayton Road
through October 23 | tickets: $10 - $20
Performances Thursday to Saturday at 8pm

Cast:
Sarah Armstrong (Monica), Emily Berry (Cleo), Todd Schaefer (Alvin), Jeffrey M. Wright (Wally), Zachary Allen Farmer (Harvey), Troy Turnipseed (Quentin) and Joel Hackbarth (Stanley). 

Creative:
Costumes by Thom Crain; scenic design by Todd Schaefer; lighting by Kenneth Zinkl.

The New Line Band:
Piano/conductor, Justin Smolik; keyboard, Sue Goldford; bass, Dave Hall; guitar/banjo, Michael Mason; percussion, Clancy Newell.

ShareThis

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...