Tuesday, October 18, 2016

A Bit of News... • Yes, I’m gonna use the words “I” and “My” a lot

For those first hearing this, I'm bowing out of the St. Louis Theater Circle. This is nothing at all personal, as I value all of the new friendships I’ve made through the Circle, and this incredible theatre community. I'm still going to review shows, but I need to just ease back on the number of plays and musicals I see a little bit.

Honestly, my 9 to 5 job as a video editor has required more of my time lately -- called in for late weekday nights and weekend assignments, and that's made blogging challenging. And, as most know, I’m already challenged when it comes to getting stuff out on time. The annual number of shows required for members (40) is more than fair, considering the massive number of shows that happen in St. Louis during any given year -- but if I can't hold up my end of the bargain, I'd rather step aside, out of the group, relieve some of the pressure, and try to work on becoming a better reviewer/writer, while keeping the job that pays the mortgage.

Friday, October 7, 2016

CELEBRATION • New Line Theatre

Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt’s musical is pretty much devoid of any conventional narrative, with roots that reach back to ancient ritual and the winter solstice -- the planet’s shortest day and longest night. Clashes between Winter and Summer, from the beginning of time, have proven that the young inevitably conquer the old, and in Celebration, fresh ambition stamps out numb indifference. The musical premiered Off-Broadway in 1969, but lost a little bit of its magic when it moved to the bigger Ambassador Theatre on Broadway. Rarely produced, the musical has undergone revisions over a long period of time, and New Line Theatre is the first to premiere this revised version. Under the lively direction of Scott Miller and Mike Dowdy-Windsor, the intimate black box space at the Marcelle seems like a marvelous fit.

It’s New Year’s Eve, and Orphan (Sean Michael), a young innocent, is in the big city, hoping to get the rights to his farm back so he can grow living things. The deed to the land is currently held by William Rosebud Rich (Zachary Allen Farmer).

Monday, October 3, 2016

REMEMBER ME • Shakespeare in the Streets: Maplewood

Shakespeare in the Streets, one of the outreach programs under Shakespeare Festival St. Louis, celebrates its fifth anniversary this year. Combining a community’s individuality and history with one of Shakespeare’s plays, past years have included Cherokee Street, the Grove, Clayton and Old North St. Louis. This year, Shakespeare in the Streets had its biggest audience yet, featuring Maplewood. Instead of one play though, playwright-in-residence Nancy Bell blends a mash-up of Hamlet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Macbeth, and a dash of Romeo & Juliet, to tell a tale of shared community stories from the residents of Maplewood, and she does so skillfully. The production features professional actors and local residents and students, but also these magnificent puppets, up to about 15 feet tall, courtesy of the talented artists from Living Arts Studio. These striking creations represent Maplewood’s past -- or more appropriately, Maplewood’s ghosts.

Friday, September 30, 2016

FOLLIES • The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis

The Rep’s 50th anniversary season kickoff was met with a palpable buzz -- and for good reason. While comfortably residing within the canon of Sondheim musicals, Follies is not often produced, but the Rep has pulled out all the stops on this one in an impressive reminder of why this musical is so cherished.

It’s 1971, and the home of the “Weismann's Follies” has long since seen its last lavish production number, and a reunion is taking place. Set designer, Luke Cantarella’s gorgeous backdrop of the dilapidated Weismann Theatre, is where the shadows of yesteryear mingle with the present talk of glamorous days gone by, and attempts to reverse the past bring regret. With a nimble cast of 28, including four sharp leads, a sweet 12-piece orchestra and Rob Ruggiero’s shrewd direction, the Rep’s production of this classic is a definitive one.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Love? Actually... • R-S Theatrics

Dedicated to presenting thought provoking St. Louis premieres, R-S Theatrics is at it again. R-S opens its “Season of Semi-Requited Love” with a collection of mostly musical one-acts to fill out a terrific evening, including its first-ever staging of a short opera by Steven Serpa.

Act 1 of the evening is a cabaret called “Out of a Bowl,” where random audience members come onstage and pull pieces of paper out of a bowl, and the corresponding numbers picked -- a mix of solos, duets and group numbers, are performed by members of the cast. The night I attended, Kelvin Urday performed “Mr. Brightside” by the rock band “The Killers” -- a song about crushing infidelity and its results. There was also Lindsay Gingrich, performing “Gooch’s Song” from Mame, Omega Jones and Eileen Engel in an entertaining, scenery-chewing "The Song That Goes Like This" from Spamalot, and a duet from Rent with Gingrich and Sarajane Alverson. The cabaret portion ended with a rousing group number, if memory serves, “Somebody to Love” from Queen.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

TELL ME ON A SUNDAY • New Line Theatre

New Line Theatre closed its 25th anniversary season with an unlikely choice. It was an intimate, one-act, one-person musical about a British girl, Emma, living in the States and steering her way through the ups and downs of a string of romantic journeys. This lesser known musical from Andrew Lloyd Webber (Cats, Evita, Jesus Christ SuperstarPhantom of the Opera) was initially conceived as a cycle of shows for television. It eventually became the first act of Song & Dance in the early 80’s debuting in the West End, and then was finally re-introduced as a stand-alone one-act in 2003, with an Off-Broadway debut in 2008. While one-person shows fill some with dread, I would say to you; fear not. New Line veteran Sarah Porter definitively came into her own here. With a sung-through score of over 20 songs, Porter holds the evening together with a style that made it look easy.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

BAT BOY: THE MUSICAL • Stray Dog Theatre

In 1992, Weekly World News published an outrageous, recurring story about a “bat child” spotted in a southern cave in West Virginia. Keythe Farley, Brian Flemming (book) and Laurence O'Keefe (songs) turned this tabloid tale into a musical about a family that takes Bat Boy in, and the effect this addition has on the family and their rural town of Hope Falls. As you might imagine, the show’s camp-factor is high, but Stray Dog Theatre’s production also unearths the show’s inherent themes of “otherness,” bonding, prejudice and fear, and grounds it with some strong, ardent performances.

Corey Fraine is the show’s intrepid and agile titular character, equipped with pointy ears and fangs. After being discovered by the Taylor kids, an alarmed Bat Boy takes a bite out of Ruthie (Lindsey Jones), gets a beatdown from Ruthie’s brother Rick (Michael A. Wells), and is taken to the Parker’s home to be put down. Thomas Parker (Patrick Kelly) is the local veterinarian, but by the time he gets home, Mrs. Meredith Parker (Dawn Schmid) has taken a liking to the little fella, and their teenage daughter, Shelley (Angela Bubash), takes to Bat Boy with all the passion of a child smitten with a puppy.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

GREY GARDENS • Max & Louie Productions

In 1975, a documentary by Albert and David Maysles related the story of two cloistered, interdependent, eccentric residents living in a wealthy East Hampton neighborhood. After years of prosperity, the ocean of money slowed to a trickle for Edith "Big Edie" Bouvier Beale and her daughter, Edith "Little Edie" Bouvier Beale (the aunt and first cousin of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis), yet they persevered within the walls of a dilapidated, 28-room mansion named Grey Gardens. Though this once glorious, now filth-ridden estate had become overrun with cats, raccoons, fleas (the filmmakers had to wear flea collars), and had practically no running water, Big and Little Edie remained there, in secluded squalor, for over 50 years. The film won acclaim for its “direct cinema” styled rendering of these two fascinating women, and in 2006, this material was adapted into a musical by Doug Wright (book), Scott Frankel (music) and Michael Korie (lyrics). Max & Louie Productions seems to have gotten all of the right people in all of the right places to make this St. Louis premiere soar.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

COMPANY • Insight Theatre Company

When Company opened in 1970, it was considered a “concept musical.” Abandoning a linear narrative, its vignettes center around a milestone birthday for Robert, a single guy living in New York city. Bobby, as his friends call him, is the favorite third wheel among his "good and crazy" married friends, and though he extols the virtues of the single life (much to the envy of his male buddies), the attempts to set him up with a nice girl to settle down with, the frustrations of the women he's dating, and the reflections that always come with turning a year older, shake the comfort of his bachelor status.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

ATOMIC • New Line Theatre

The origins of the atomic bomb don’t initially sound like your typical musical theatre fare. But Danny Ginges and Philip Foxman’s Australian import about the unleashing of the world’s first nuclear weapons on Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of WWII, along with the lead up to it, provide plenty of cloudy emotional fallout, and in that respect, it’s right up New Line’s alley. Spanning a period of time from the 1930’s to the end of the 50’s, this story looks at the moral complications that come with creating of a weapon of annihilation -- born from science, but ending with massive human casualties, and heavy consciouses.

Zachary Allen Farmer, in an imposing and compassionate performance, is Hungarian born Jewish physicist Leo Szilard, who flees Germany to escape the looming shadow of Hitler’s Nazis. After winding up in America with his long-time girlfriend Trude (Ann Hier, impressive in a juicy role), he meets and collaborates with other brilliant physicists in a World War II arms race. A passionate Reynaldo Arceno is Nobel Prize-winning Italian physicist Enrico Fermi, Sean Michael gives a strong performance as the obnoxious “father of the hydrogen bomb,” Edward Teller, and a fittingly harsh General Groves.

Friday, June 17, 2016

A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM • Shakespeare Festival St. Louis

Royal nuptials, a romantic mis-match, an amateur theatre troupe, and a band of mischievous fairies in an enchanted wood. What could happen, right? You’ll find out in Shakespeare Festival St. Louis’s delightful production of one of the Bard’s most accessible comedies, happening now in Forest Park, and it’s got all of the elements to entertain folks of all ages.

The action is connected through the imminent wedding of Duke Theseus of Athens (Paul Cereghino) and Amazonian Queen, Hippolyta (Jacqueline Thompson), along with a pair of mixed up kids in love. And not in love. Hermia loves Lysander, but an arrangement has already been made promising her to Demetrius. Hermia couldn’t care less about Demetrius, but her bff Helena has eyes only for him. What a hot mess.

Friday, June 3, 2016

BROKEN BONE BATHTUB • That Uppity Theatre Company & The Drama Club Stl

Siobhan, in a cast after injuring her hand in a bicycle accident in Brooklyn, finds taking showers too cumbersome, so she’s been taking baths in the houses of friends, and in this uniquely intimate production, you are among those friends. That Uppity Theatre Company and The Drama Club Stl have come together to present a St. Louis premiere, created and performed by Siobhan O’Loughlin, that dares to get to the crux of what theatre’s all about. Not an escape, but a connection.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

YENTL • New Jewish Theatre

This is not your aba’s Yentl. Probably most closely associated with the 1983 vanity project movie musical -- directed, co-written, co-produced, and starring Barbra Streisand, this version is not that. This adaptation, like the film, is based on Leah Napolin and Isaac Bashevis Singer’s 1975 play, but supplemented with original songs by singer-songwriter, Jill Sobule (“I Kissed a Girl”). The result is a modernized rendering that complements the original story with contemporary hues.

Yentl (Shanara Gabrielle) feels choked by her restrictive shtetl in late 1800’s Poland. To the dismay of her father (Terry Meddows), Yentl values learning and the study of the Talmud over “girl things” like cooking and working on finding a husband, but intellectual pursuits of religious texts were forbidden for women. Yentl wasn’t even allowed to say Kaddish for her father’s funeral, not that that stopped her. Gabrielle plays the title character with full range, delivering the more heartfelt of Sobule’s songs with honest appeal. To quench her thirst for knowledge, Yentl dresses as a man and calls herself Anshel to attend a Yeshiva in Bechev. She quickly becomes friends with Avigdor (Andrew Michael Neiman), a bright fellow student who’s been recently dumped by his ex-fiancee, the town’s local beauty, Hadass (Taylor Steward). Yentl finds herself attracted to both. The “platonic-plus” attraction between Yentl and Avigdor is palpable, but never really addressed, and Neiman relays his character’s love for his friend with a subtle thread of conflict that plays wonderfully. The attraction Hadass feels for Yentl is softly delivered in Steward’s performance while she anxiously watches Yentl eat, or enjoys deeper conversations that are usually off-limits, never realizing at the time that she's disguised as a man.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

THE TWO CHARACTER PLAY • The Midnight Company

“The Two Character Play,” one of the many offerings during this year’s inaugural Tennessee Williams Festival St. Louis, is one of Williams’s later works, and performed in The Learning Center on Westminster Place, formerly known as the Wednesday Club. In the late 1930’s, the Wednesday Club's stage was the home of the Mummers of St. Louis theatre troupe, where a few of Tennessee’s early plays were debuted. It’s poignantly fitting that this play is performed in this creaky old house, where Williams found his beginnings.

Felice (Joe Hanrahan) and Clare (Michelle Hand) are siblings and actors, preparing to perform one of Felice’s own works to, possibly, an audience, in a run-down theatre in a nowhere town. Abandoned by their company, with no home except for the theatre, it doesn’t take long to see signs of damage between these two. Their ex-colleagues called them “insane.” After Felice goes through what seems like a long-practiced ritual of preparing his sister for a performance, the play-within-the-play begins -- about a dysfunctional brother and sister, no less. In the play’s play, the siblings are survivors of a shared childhood trauma that leaves them constantly on a precipice, where the prospect of just leaving their house brings on a burden of apprehension. In some of the humorous moments that are sprinkled throughout, their characters’ lines are forgotten and improvised, and aside from a southern dialect put on for the “performance,” the line between the characters’ plight and the actors’ realities is razor thin to the point of invisibility, with looming shadows left by a confined, stress, drug, and alcohol-addled existence.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

TRASH MACBETH • ERA

Equally Represented Arts is back with another enveloping, innovative production that places Shakespeare’s Macbeth at its spine, and includes excerpts ranging from Emily Post's Etiquette and 1950's advertisements, to Sun Tzu's The Art of War, with a little Book of Revelation thrown in for good measure. Whaaa?! And you know what else? It works. Created by an ensemble of theatre artists and accented and complemented by ERA’s trademark movement and choreography, these dissimilar texts are carefully and shrewdly woven through one of Shakespeare’s most well-known tragedies, resulting in a surprising harmony between the Bard’s story of murderous ambition, and our modern, media-soaked, consumer-driven world of consumption. It’s also quite a blast.

Welcome to the Macbeth’s for a dinner party that you won’t soon forget.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

IVANOV • St. Louis Actors' Studio

Nikolai Ivanov, and most of his countrymen, are suffering from numbing boredom. But Ivanov is not only bored as hell, he’s irascible. He disparages just about everyone who crosses his path, he neglects his sick wife in favor of socializing with friends, and he’s up to his nose in debt. St. Louis Actors' Studio closes its ninth season with an excellent production of Anton Chekhov’s first full-length play, written in 1887 and set against the cold, rural Russian countryside. With dreary outlooks spiked with humorous satire, it feels like a prototype for his trademark themes, and there’s a visible gun. So you know what that means.

Drew Battles plays Ivanov with a palpable fatigue -- languishing under a weight of self loathing he can’t figure out. His depression never seems to damper the mood of Borkin though. He manages Ivanov’s mostly barren farms, always coming up with schemes to make money, and Dave Wassilak lends a comically inflated confidence to every plan he hatches. Adding to the humor is Ivanov’s penniless Uncle, Count Shabelsky (Bobby Miller), who lives with Ivanov. In between his grumbling, he’s just about the only one who shows Anna (Julie Layton), Ivanov’s wife of five years, withering from tuberculosis, any compassion. Anna’s doctor, Lvov (Reginald Pierre), is also an Anna advocate. Lvov is disgusted by Ivanov’s treatment of her and exasperated at the very mention of him. While Lvov insists that he is an honest man, Pierre’s cagey portrayal keeps you guessing at his motives, and his patient, keenly portrayed by Layton, is affectingly tragic.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

BRIEFS: A Festival of Short LGBTQ Plays • That Uppity Theatre Company and Vital VOICE Magazine

That Uppity Theatre Company and Vital VOICE were back again last weekend for "Briefs: A Festival of Short LGBTQ plays,” presenting eight works selected from over 200 nation-wide submissions. Presented by Pearl Vodka and celebrating its 5-year anniversary, the festival’s cornerstone of diverse subject matter has attracted a wider net of St. Louis talent and also widening LGBTQ and racial diversity. The plays were varied in tone, but there was a thread of family, love and acceptance that seemed to run underneath many. Max Friedman, playwright of “The Grind,” directed by Gad Guterman, was the winner of this years’ second annual Ken Haller Playwriting Competition for LGBTQ and Allied Youth.

Friday, April 8, 2016

HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH • Stray Dog Theatre

Stray Dog’s latest production has every bit the vibe of a rock concert when you walk into the theatre. The band, typically secluded somewhere behind the set, is front and center, warming up before the show. Rob Lippert’s scenic design features TV screens and speakers galore. The bar, usually out in the lobby, is in the house on the floor against the stage, with a pair of Stray Dog alums (the night I went) serving as bartenders. So grab a drink and buckle up -- you’re about to be entertained by the song stylings of Hedwig, a genderqueer rock singer from East Germany, and her band, The Angry Inch.

Hedwig (Michael Baird) is in town for a St. Louis engagement, and during her roughly 90-minute show, we’ll hear about her younger years as Hansel Schmidt, her travels, misadventures, heartbreaks and her surgically fucked-up sex change operation that leaves her with, what Hedwig has titled, an “angry inch” -- her band’s namesake. A cheeky, tortured and fiercely funny Baird is in full command of this diva, carrying the titular headliner on his shoulders, holding the audience, and making the most of John Cameron Mitchell’s improvisational book. At times full of cavorting swagger and at other times slowing heartbreak, Baird physically and vocally handles numbers like, "The Origin of Love,” "Wicked Little Town" and “Midnight Radio” assuredly.

Monday, April 4, 2016

OLD WICKED SONGS • New Jewish Theatre

Jon Marans' Pulitzer Prize-nominated play offers a lot of layers underneath a facade that seems, initially, predictable. Stephen Hoffman is a 25 year old piano prodigy who’s burned out, and though he’s a “superb technician,” he’s lost touch with his passion. He has traveled to Vienna, Austria to study accompaniment with a Professor Schiller, but learns, much to his irritation, that he must first spend three months with Professor Mashkan to study singing.

Why singing? Well, by Schiller’s reckoning, before sitting in front of those black and white keys, an accompanist has to experience the other side of the equation -- the singing part, for a broader understanding of that connection. As portrayed by Will Bonfiglio, Hoffman’s a tense, walled-off young man from the minute he steps into Josef Mashkan’s studio -- flinching at the threat of a hand on his shoulder and impervious to Mashkan’s natural charm. Jerry Vogel is perfectly cast as Professor Mashkan, who feels deeply, musically and otherwise. Intimate, grumbly and funny, with an anti-jewish veneer he displays like a shield, he tries to urge Hoffman to tap into the emotional side of the music -- a probing that peels away the layers of both characters.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

MOLLY’S HAMMER • The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis (Studio Theatre)

In the 1980’s, the threat of nuclear war hung heavy over the country like radioactive ash. That threat, and Liane Ellison Norman's book, Hammer of Justice, inspired Tammy Ryan’s play, receiving its world premiere, thanks to the Rep’s Ignite! New Play Festival last season.

The story follows Molly Rush, a member of a group of peace advocates called the Plowshares Eight. In 1980, they entered the General Electric Re-entry Division in Pennsylvania, damaged nuclear nose cones and drenched blueprints and documents in blood. Ryan’s play focuses in on Molly Rush, a mother of six whose faith drives her and others to do what they feel is a moral responsibility, and Nancy Bell beautifully holds the center as Molly.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Fourth Annual St. Louis Theater Circle Awards • Skip Viragh Center for the Arts

Another St. Louis Theater Circle Awards ceremony has come and gone, and the award recipients, as well as the impressive bevy of nominees, are a testament to the talent we’re lucky enough to have in “the Lou.” Here’s the list of the nominees, with the award recipients in red. Congrats to all! And a huge thanks to those who attended, watched at home, and came out to see the enormous variety of theatre on offer each and every year.
Yay, theatre!!!
(If you missed it, you can stream the show courtesy of HEC-TV.)


Outstanding Ensemble in a Comedy
Bad Jews, New Jewish Theatre
Mr. Burns: A Post-Electric Play, R-S Theatrics
The 39 Steps, Slightly Askew Theatre Ensemble
Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, St. Louis Actors’ Studio
Wild Oats, St. Louis Shakespeare

Saturday, March 12, 2016

AMERICAN IDIOT • New Line Theatre

The fury that simmers within generations of young adults is nothing new, but New Line’s current production of Green Day’s American Idiot, adapted from the band’s 2004 concept album of the same name, is painted in sharp-edged, pop-punk strokes that strike a familiar chord, particularly now. With the country in the midst of a divisive political season, Billie Joe Armstrong and Michael Mayer’s rock opera about coming of age in a post 9/11 world of uncertainty, taps into an angry restlessness that’s as palpable today as it’s ever been.

The show’s opening sets the tone with an eruption of its title number, “American Idiot.” Three disillusioned twenty-somethings, Johnny (Evan Fornachon), Tunny (Frederick Rice) and Will (Brendan Ochs), are sick of the monotony of suburbia, and plan to head off to New York City, answering a call in search of... something. Anything. As long as it’s away from where they are now.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

I'LL BE BACK BEFORE MIDNIGHT • Stray Dog Theatre

Stray Dog’s latest production, a two-act play written in 1979 by Peter Colley, has a familiar assortment of promising, hair-raising set-ups. The Sanderson couple, Greg and Jan (Jeff Kargus and Angela Bubash), have retreated to the country so Jan can get a breather from the world after a recent breakdown. Greg seems attentive enough to his wife, who is a little unnerved by the creepiness of the run-down farmhouse where they’ll be staying. A neighboring farmer, George (Mark Abels), full of folksy charm, hearty chuckles, and a supply of ominous stories about vengeful ghosts who supposedly plague the house, comes by every now and then for a spot of whiskey and conversation, but his stories don’t do anything for Jan’s state of mind. To top things off, Jan’s unease is heightened by an imminent visit from Greg’s sister Laura (Sarajane Alverson). Laura shares a tight bond with her brother, but she and Jan have never gotten along.

Friday, February 12, 2016

UNDERNEATH THE LINTEL • New Jewish Theatre

A library book that’s 113 years overdue sets the action off in Glen Berger’s 2001, one-actor play in NJT’s latest production. Our protagonist, a Dutch Librarian, is determined to hunt down whomever checked out a Baedeker's travel guide in 1873. WAY overdue. A trail of clues propels her (often portrayed as a ‘him’) out of her strait-laced job and off on an existential quest.

Against Kyra Bishop’s spare set with a blackboard, slide projector and screen, and an old suitcase, our Librarian (Glynis Bell), a resolute lover of order who wears her date stamper around her neck like a piece of jewelry, begins a presentation that she’s called, “An Impressive Presentation of Lovely Evidences.” Within the pages of this long overdue travel guide she finds in the overnight slot, the Librarian discovers a laundry ticket from 1913 that willfully leads her to London. Taking a leave from her job, she lingers and follows hints, girded with a gut-level belief that she may have stumbled across evidence of The Wandering Jew -- a mythical figure from medieval Christian folklore. It concerns a man doomed to roam the earth until the second coming -- punishment for his reproach of Jesus on the way to his crucifixion.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Fourth Annual St. Louis Theater Circle Awards Nominations

The nominations are out! Here's the full list of this year's fourth annual St. Louis Theater Circle Awards nominees. The ceremony will be on Monday, March 21st at a new location -- the Skip Viragh Center for the Arts at Chaminade College Preparatory School. The ceremony starts at 7pm, and the buffet begins at 5:30. If you're a fan of St. Louis theatre (and who isn’t, really?), consider picking up a ticket or two to the show! Tickets can be reserved here. If you can't make it, the ceremony will once again be televised on HEC-TV and streamed on the HEC web site.

Congratulations to all of the nominees!

Outstanding Ensemble in a Comedy
Bad Jews, New Jewish Theatre
Mr. Burns: A Post-Electric Play, R-S Theatrics
The 39 Steps, Slightly Askew Theatre Ensemble
Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, St. Louis Actors’ Studio
Wild Oats, St. Louis Shakespeare

Friday, January 15, 2016

THE LION IN WINTER • The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis

If you think the recent holidays were stressful for your family, trust me -- it’s nothing compared to the rancor going on in James Goldman’s 1966 dramatic comedy, “The Lion in Winter.” Historic tidbits inspired the playwright, a lover of history, to create this fictionalized account of King Henry II of England and his medieval Royal Family’s contentious battle for the throne.

It’s 1183, and the aging Henry (Jeffrey King) is holding the Royal Christmas Court at his Chinon Castle in France. Henry’s limp from a bad leg is overcome by the audacious but charming nature that King gives the character. Carol Schultz is, like Henry, aging, but sharp as a tack and sentimental as a vigilant Eleanor of Aquitaine, Henry’s wife, who is allowed a discharge from her imprisonment (it’s the holidays) to partake in some spirited and savage sparring about which of their three sons should take the crown.

ShareThis