Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Sixth Annual Kevin Kline Awards • Loretto-Hilton Center

Woo-hoo, the Kevin Kline Awards!  Or if you'd like, think of them as the Tonys -- St. Louis Edition.  They were held yesterday at the Loretto-Hilton Center, and guess who got to go?  Me!  Actually, they were kind enough to ask that I present an award along with the lovely Greg Johnston (who had the wherewithal and good taste to request that Parliament Funkadelic's "Flashlight" be the last song of the night at the after-party).  I was very honored to be included in the festivities.  I got to hang out with and meet some wonderful people and had a fabulous time.  I also had to fight the urge to gawk and point.
Okay, I'll get to the winners in a minute…
As some of you well know, I love me some theatre people, so I was like a kid in a fancy black-tie and sequined candy store.  I must have approached 5 or 6 people to exclaim, "Oh my God I loved you in so and so".  "Oh my God you were so good!"  I stopped just short of seeing if Ka’ramuu Kush wanted to make out.  He's so handsome…  Along with a few others, but I'll leave that alone, shall I?  Yep.  I was that guy.  Do I care?  No, not really.  I mean hell, I got to take a picture with Kari Ely!!  She's the bomb.  I might frame it.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

IN THE NEXT ROOM OR THE VIBRATOR PLAY • The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis (Studio Theatre)

It's the end of the Gilded Age, a time when sex for women is something that's not enjoyed, merely tolerated, and women are suffering from "hysteria" all over the place.  Dr. Givings has harnessed the newfangled power of electricity with a new treatment.  Enter the prototype electronic vibrator -- a device that the doctor has found very successful in treating his patients when applied to their nether regions, producing "paroxysms" in women, and the occasional male patient.  This method of treatment used by physicians during the late 19th century is historically documented, and serves as the basis for Sarah Ruhl's 2009 Tony nominated play.  Although the situations presented provide plenty of hilarity, it's the exploration of the emotional underpinnings of the subject matter that give this play its heart.

Dr. Givings' newest patient, Mrs. Daldry, is suffering from a sensitivity to light, mood swings, and a general nervousness that is causing her and her husband concern.  After a session with this rather scary looking implement, the color returns to Mrs. Daldry's cheeks, and she readily agrees to the suggestion that perhaps another treatment soon would be in order.  Tomorrow perhaps?  Dr. Givings conducts his treatments making small talk with clinical straightforwardness, and you get the feeling he's not really sure how his device works, only that it does.  If the paroxysm isn't achieved in about 3 minutes with his electronic device, he occasionally has to call on his nurse Annie for the uh… manual stimulation of his patients -- a particularly great scene.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

DRIVING MISS DAISY • Dramatic License Productions

Dramatic License Productions' 2011 season opener is a charming presentation of DRIVING MISS DAISY.  The revival of this play has been enjoying a run in NYC at the John Golden Theatre since October 2010, starring Vanessa Redgrave and James Earl Jones, but will close in April.  Now is a great opportunity to see St. Louis' production that will close sooner than that, but luckily, it's easier to get to Chesterfield than it is to get to NYC.

So, it's become obvious that it's just not safe for Daisy Werthan to drive herself anymore.  Her son Boolie has broken the news to her that whether she likes it or not, she's getting a driver, and Hoke Coleburn is the man for the job.  Both Daisy, a Jewish widow, and Hoke, a folksy black Southerner, are strong, proud personalities.  Daisy is convinced her accident was the car's fault, that LaSalles are better than Packards, and consistently denies claims that she's rich, often referring to her rough days coming up on Forsyth Street.  Hoke is an easy talker who appreciates Jews, and doesn't mind telling you of their virtuous thrift.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA • New Line Theatre

This Tony Award winning musical that debuted in 1971 was based on Shakespeare's comedy of the same name -- presumed by many to be his first play.  Not really the Bard's best work, but when adapted into a musical set in the 1970's, this crazy story of love, friendship, betrayal and the fickle nature of humans is brought new life.

We've got Valentine (a soulful voiced Eeyan Richardson) who is about to embark on a journey from the town of Verona to exciting Milan.  He tries to convince his best buddy Proteus (the always uproarious Zachary Allen Farmer) to come along, but Proteus is too in love with Julia (Jeanitta Perkins) to bring himself to leave.  Julia scorns Proteus.  She's "…Not interested in Love" (I find love alarming/I'm happier farming…) until she's "metamorphosed" by love's influence, and she soon falls for him.  Proteus is ordered by his father to go to Milan as well to broaden his horizons, and after he and Julia exchange rings and have a fond, bittersweet farewell, Proteus leaves, heartbroken.  Julia finds out later that that "fond farewell" has resulted in her being knocked up, (an addition to Shakespeare's original story) so she and her friend Lucetta (Terrie Carolan) decide to travel to Milan to tell Proteus in person, but dress as men (becoming the two gentlemen of Verona) to ensure a safe journey.

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