Saturday, September 28, 2019

ANGELS IN AMERICA PART TWO: PERESTROIKA • The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis

“If the snake sheds his skin before a new skin is ready, naked he will be in the world, prey to the forces of chaos.” This is a line delivered by the “oldest living Bolshevik” at the start of Perestroika, Part Two of Angels in America. It’s a fitting image for the events that play out in the culmination of Tony Kushner’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play, as the folks we met in Part One continue to cross paths, forming unlikely and often hilarious duos, shoved into chaos by the unavoidable momentum of change.

Thursday, September 12, 2019


It’s been over 25 years since Tony Kushner’s Angels in America opened on Broadway, but the Rep’s season opening production of this two-part epic is confirmation of its enduring potency. It’s set in the 1980s during the apex of the AIDS crisis (and the Reagan administration’s lack of urgency in responding to it), but like most classics, there are far-sighted echoes throughout that resonate today. From anxiety about the environment and the cruelty of personal and political self-interests, to the little triumphs of hopeful persistence in the face of fear and uncertainty, the characters in Kushner’s script navigate individual turmoil between the blurred lines of cold realities and fantastical visions, taking on a heavy load, but never straying from a sharp sense of humor. The subtitle, A Gay Fantasia on National Themes, winks at the play’s overall topics, but gives no hint of its remarkable ability to be as expansive as it is intimate. Under Tony Speciale’s graceful direction and a superb cast, Angels in America: Millennium Approaches, stimulates the senses.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

OSLO • The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis

In a White House Rose Garden ceremony in 1993, the Oslo I Accord, an effort that sought to bring an eventual end to the ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestine, was signed. A play about the events that led up to the Accords may seem like dry material, but any qualms about that will be gone minutes into the first scene. Under Steven Woolf’s tight direction of a dynamic cast, the Rep’s production of playwright J.T. Rogers’ partially fictionalized retelling is a thriller that takes you underneath what was happening on the surface -- to back-channel diplomacy and sky-high stakes, with a perfect measure of humor.