Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Third Annual St. Louis Theater Circle Awards

Another celebration of St. Louis theatre has come and gone, and with a nearly sold out house at COCA, a great time was had by all. And honestly, it's always nice for me to have the opportunity to geek out. I'm always blown away by the talent in this incredibly vibrant theatre community. Kudos and thanks to COCA, HEC-TV, our sponsor, Dominium Realty, and everyone who came out to celebrate.

Congratulations to all of the nominees and award recipients! Here's the list of the 2015 St. Louis Theater Circle Award nominees with the award recipients in red.

Outstanding Ensemble in a Comedy
All in the Timing, St. Louis Actors’ Studio 
Blithe Spirit, St. Louis Actors’ Studio
The Liar, St. Louis Shakespeare
Noises Off, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis
One Man, Two Guvnors, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis

Monday, March 23, 2015

SIGHT UNSEEN • New Jewish Theatre

The New Jewish Theatre's production of Donald Margulies' "Sigh Unseen" centers around Jonathan Waxman, a Jewish painter from Brooklyn, whose work has brought him fame and fortune. But a visit to an old flame spurs a look at his success, and his relationship to it, and the hard face-to-face realizations of what got lost along the way.

Jonathan Waxman (Aaron Orion Baker) is in England for his first London art exhibition, and after he makes an unexpected phone call, he pays a visit to his ex-girlfriend from college, Patricia (Emily Baker). Patricia, once Jonathan's muse, has settled into life in Norfolk with her husband, Nick (David Wassilak), an archeologist, who seems to be less than thrilled about hosting this guest. Afterall, a painting of Patricia that Jonathan illustrated still hangs in the farmhouse that Nick and Patricia share.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

BUYER AND CELLAR • The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis (Studio Theatre)

Jonathan Tolins' tasty one-man play, "Buyer and Cellar", uses Barbra Streisand's 2010 vanity project coffee-table book, “My Passion for Design”, as a jumping off point for the story of Alex, a gay, out of work actor in Los Angeles, and his stint as the sole employee in the underground mall at Ms. Streisand's Malibu estate. Alex, pitch-perfectly played by Jeremy Webb, makes it clear from the beginning that this tale is fictional, though the book itself, along with the basement thoroughfare of shops, is real, which makes this 90-minute gallivant even more delicious. Extra points if you have more than a passing knowledge of Barbra Streisand -- singer, actor, director, producer, diva, and gay icon.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015


"Jerry Springer: The Opera", by Brits Richard Thomas and Stewart Lee, premiered in London twelve years ago and received the 2004 Olivier Award for Best New Musical. If you've ever seen the infamously controversial tabloid talk show that inspired this musical, you can imagine that there's a generous dose of profanity throughout, and subject matter that could make the boldest blush. So, yeah -- while this isn't a musical for the faint-hearted, honestly, there is something disarming and inherently funny about the pairing of operatic music with dirty lyrics, and with this ensemble, under Scott Miller's zestful direction, the emotion churning below the surface of these outrageous stories goes a long way in making the profane more palatable.

We start with Jonathan, the warm-up man (Matt Pentecost), who lays down the general rules for the show to the boisterous studio audience, who await the appearance of Jerry Springer (Keith Thompson) with joyous anticipation. The first act carries on like a typical Springer show, where we meet Dwight (a reliably engaging Zachary Allen Farmer) who is cheating on his fiancée Peaches (Taylor Pietz) with Zandra (a very funny Lindsey Jones), a dope addict. Dwight's also making time with Tremont (Luke Steingruby), a transexual. Fights and profanity ensue. Second up is Montel (Marshall Jennings), who needs to tell his girlfriend, Andrea (Christina Rios), about the secret fetish he harbors and the woman he's been cheating with -- Baby Jane (Pietz). Jennings embraces his number with uninhibited gusto, while the disgust Rios displays is hilarious. The last guests of the act are Chucky (Ryan Foizey), a back-country hick whose girlfriend Shawntel (Anna Skidis) has dreams of being a pole-dancer.