Monday, January 30, 2012

The Seventh Annual Kevin Kline Awards Nominations

It's that time again!  The Kevin Kline Awards honor excellence in St. Louis professional theater, and are presented by the Professional Theatre Awards Council, and the nominees for the Seventh Annual Kevin Kline Awards are out!

The Award winners will be announced in a ceremony on Monday, April 2nd at the Loretto-Hilton Theater, and it's open to the public.  Congratulations to all of the nominees!  Yay, theatre!!!!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

OLEANNA • HotCity Theatre

HotCity is kicking off their 2012 season with this tense, explosive play written by David Mamet, that will surely leave an impression as you head to your car after the show.

The play begins in the office of John (John Pierson), a college professor, who is meeting with one of his students, Carol (Rachel Fenton).  Carol, meek and self-effacing, has received a failing grade on a paper, and is seeking the help of her rather condescending, smug and verbose professor.  Carol admits that she is having a difficult time understanding John's class, his book, and just about everything he's saying most of the time.  She quotes from her extensive notes and frantically jots down everything he says to her, but she remains overwhelmed by the material, is offended by his assertion that higher education is like "systematic hazing", and thinks she's stupid.  John tries to console Carol by opening up and telling her that he wasn't the best student himself back in the day, but key points during this conversation are interrupted by phone calls from John's wife.  John, who's an inch away from being granted tenure along with a sizable raise, is also getting ready to close on a new high dollar house.  His wife keeps calling about last minute details and wants him to come out to the property.  After numerous interruptions, one coming just as Carol was going to reveal something about herself, John eventually offers to give her an "A" in the course if she would agree to come back to his office for talks about the coursework.  After an innocent hand on the shoulder is quickly shrugged off by Carol, the first act ends.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

AVENUE Q • [insert name here] Theatre Company

[insert name here] Theatre Company, recently a project under the wing of Stray Dog Theatre, took a hiatus in 2011, but now they're back with this dynamic furry-faced coming-of-age musical that still maintains its edge.  Debuting on Broadway in 2003, this Tony Award winning musical may have puppets in it, but as lovable as they are, they're often naughty and foul-mouthed, so leave the kids at home.  For the rest of you, sit back and enjoy this energetic cast of humans, and their fuzzy counter-parts as they all endeavor to find their way in a fictitious neighborhood in New York City -- winking, dirty and Sesame Street style.  Yay!!!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE • The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis

Often when I'm writing blog posts, I try to remind myself not to use too many adjectives.  And then there's this post…  I'm not even sure where to start it's so good.

The Rep. is currently presenting Stephen Sondheim (my hero) and James Lapine’s achingly beautiful Sunday in the Park with George, and this production, exceptionally directed by Rob Ruggiero, is impressive.  The "George" of the title is French painter, Georges Seurat.  Seurat developed a technique of painting called pointillism in the 1880's, in which small dots of basic color are juxtaposed to form different hues when viewed from a distance.  This Pulitzer Prize, Tony Award winning musical uses Seurat's masterpiece (a two-year effort), "A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte", as a jumping off point, but this show is about way more than just a painting.  It's about one of Sondheim's favorite themes -- human connection (and/or the lack of being able to obtain it).

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

THE SEAFARER • West End Players Guild

This 2006 play from Irish playwright, Conor McPherson, is currently onstage presented by the West End Players Guild, and if you're into Irish plays, this one's for you.  This show also shares the same name of an old English poem that deals with the hardships of life, God, the devil and the afterlife.  Cool, right?!

Sharky (Matt Hanify) is returning to his coastal hometown near Dublin after being let go from his chauffeuring job.  Good thing too, cause his older brother Richard (Robert Ashton) needs some looking after -- another reason Sharky is heading home.  Richard is blind, after hitting his head in a spill into a dumpster.  Richard is also cantankerous and likes his drink, which sucks for Sharky because he's trying to give up the bottle. On Christmas Eve, no less.  Richard has invited a couple of blokes over for a little poker -- Ivan (Charles Heuvelman), who's practically a constant houseguest, avoiding his own home life, and Nicky (John Reidy), who is dating Sharky's ex (awkward).  Nicky shows up with a bottle of booze, and a mysterious Mr. Lockhart (Barry Hyatt).  Sharky has some dark secrets from his past, and during a few moments alone between the two of them, it appears that this Lockhart guy seems to know everything about them.  Turns out, the devil spends his time on Christmas Eve collecting overdue souls, and Lockhart is intent on collecting Sharky's.  Really interesting premise -- a bunch of moonshine soaked Irish guys getting together for some Pre-Christmas cheer, and the Prince of Darkness shows up in a snazzy suit trying to get Sharky to "come through the old hole in the wall" with him.  Spooky…

Monday, January 9, 2012

LA CAGE AUX FOLLES • The Fox

Wow.  It's been a long time since I've been to a show.  Hello again, theatre.  I've missed you…

Next in the Fox's Broadway series is a show based on Jean Poiret's 1973 play that was later adapted into a musical in 1983.  That production won a bunch of Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Book, Original Score and Actor.  Its 2004 revival won the Tony for Best Revival of a Musical, as did this current revival from 2010.  Many of us may be most familiar with the 1996 film version with Robin Williams and Nathan Lane, "The Birdcage".  Similar to "The Addams Family", "La Cage" involves an "I'm bringing a fiancée home whom the folks may not be too crazy about" scenario, packaged in rainbow colored sequins -- and it's a blast.

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