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Monday, March 25, 2013

THE WHIPPING MAN • The Black Rep

Matthew Lopez's intriguing play about a Jewish family of sorts premiered in 2011 off-Broadway and garnered Lucille Lortel, Obie and Outer Critics Circle Awards, and it's getting a powerful production in its St. Louis premiere at the Black Rep.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Inaugural St. Louis Theater Circle Awards

Here they are folks, the nominees and award winners for the inaugural St. Louis Theater Circle Awards!  (Another organization in town owns the rights to the name "Louie's", so yeah.  We had to change that!)

Congratulations to all of the nominees and award recipients!

COMEDY

Outstanding Acting Ensemble
Jacob and Jack, New Jewish Theatre
The Comedy of Errors, The Rep
The Divine Sister, HotCity Theatre
The Foreigner, The Rep
The Violet Hour, Max & Louie Productions

Sunday, March 17, 2013

VENUS IN FUR • The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis (Studio Theatre)

Venus in Fur, under Seth Gordon's flawless direction, is currently searing the Rep's Studio stage.  Taking a look at sexual power dynamics with sharp wit, humor and a slightly surreal tone, this Tony nominated play will keep you wrapped around its finger from the start to its satisfying conclusion, and leave you wanting more.

Vanda (Sarah Nedwek) is coming in late for an audition for the play, "Venus in Fur".  Thomas (Jay Stratton), the arrogant director/playwright, is frustrated at not having found the right woman for the part, and after ranting about the "bubble heads" he's had to audition, he's finally preparing to head home when Vanda bursts in, drenched and frazzled from the storm outside.  She immediately plunges into an indelicate barrage of excuses for her tardiness, thinking she's blown it.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

BOEING-BOEING • Dramatic License Productions

You know it's a farce when you notice that the set has 6 doors, am I right?  This one, written by French playwright Marc Camoletti debuted in 1960's Paris and the translated version came to the states in 1965.

Bernard (Chad Morris) is a successful American architect living in Paris.  The play opens with Bernard seeing off his fiancée Gloria (Deanna Mazdra), an airline hostess from Texas.  Or trying to see her off.  She's not in a big rush to leave her husband-to-be, but Bernard seems anxious.  See, Bernard has 3 fiancées, all of them airline hostesses, and naturally, they have no idea about the other women.  In addition to Gloria, there's the lusty Italian, Gabriella (Natasha Toro), and the aggressive German, Gretchen (Emily Baker).  He keeps everything straight by flight timetables.  (Silly Bernard…)  He's convinced that keeping up with the flight schedules, he'll be able to juggle his "international harem".  Helping him keep everything running smoothly is his poor maid Berthe (Kim Furlow).  Her value is wrapped up in her ability to remember what the different women like to eat, and to change the pictures in the bedroom whenever they're in town.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

NEXT TO NORMAL • New Line Theatre

Next to Normal had its Broadway debut in 2009 and won three Tony Awards and a Pulitzer Prize for Drama.  While it's not exactly your standard musical theatre fare, this hard driving rock musical (the second act, in particular, is practically a rock-opera) focuses on the mental illness of a suburban mom and her family -- coming apart at the seams as a result.  The national tour came through St. Louis in 2011, and New Line Theatre presents it in its St. Louis regional premiere with scorching intensity, dotted with dark humor.

The mother at the center of the story, Diana Goodman (Kimi Short), was diagnosed with manic depression sixteen years ago, and has withstood a battery of treatments administered by her doctors, Dr. Madden and Dr. Fine (Zachary Allen Farmer).  Everything from different pharmaceutical cocktails to electroconvulsive therapy to hypnosis, and none of them seem to do much good.  Her husband Dan (Jeffrey M. Wright), as tortured as he is, is also supportive -- desperately trying to hold the family together.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

BRIEFS: A Festival of Short LGBT Plays • La Perla

That Uppity Theatre Company, along with the folks at The Vital VOICE are back with the 2nd Annual installment of Briefs: A Festival of Short LGBT Plays.  The plays featured this year (and in the interest of full-disclosure, I was on the reading committee) are better than last years', covering a range of LGBT-related topics that nicely integrate these issues within the backdrop of everyday life, as opposed to beating you over the head with it "public service announcement" style.  There are comedies, dramas, and something for everyone -- gay or straight.

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