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Chris Gibson

Chris Gibson Chris has been active in the local theatre scene for over 30 years. In addition to his acting work, he's also contributed as a director, writer and composer. Though, initially a film buff, he grew tired of the sanitized, PG-13 rated blockbusters that were being continually shoved down his throat by the studios. An opportunity to review theatre in St. Louis has grown exponentially with the sudden explosion of venues and talent in the region. He now finds himself obsessed with witnessing those precious, electric moments that can only happen live, on stage.
MOST POPULAR ARTICLES
LAST 30 DAYS

BWW Reviews: MADCO's Extraordinary WALLSTORIESBWW Reviews: MADCO's Extraordinary WALLSTORIES
Posted: Nov. 20, 2014


BWW Reviews: The Rep's Thoroughly Engaging A KID LIKE JAKEBWW Reviews: The Rep's Thoroughly Engaging A KID LIKE JAKE
Posted: Nov. 6, 2014


BWW Reviews: MOTOWN THE MUSICAL at the Fabulous Fox TheatreBWW Reviews: MOTOWN THE MUSICAL at the Fabulous Fox Theatre
Posted: Nov. 21, 2014


BWW Reviews: Mustard Seed Theatre's Moving Revival of ALL IS CALMBWW Reviews: Mustard Seed Theatre's Moving Revival of ALL IS CALM
Posted: Nov. 20, 2014


BWW Reviews: Max & Louie Productions' Hilarious CHANCERSBWW Reviews: Max & Louie Productions' Hilarious CHANCERS
Posted: Nov. 11, 2014


LAST 365 DAYS

BWW Reviews: The Muny's Kooky and Outstanding Production of THE ADDAMS FAMILYBWW Reviews: The Muny's Kooky & Terrific Production of THE ADDAMS FAMILY
Posted: Jul. 16, 2014


BWW Reviews: The St. Louis Actors' Studio Intriguing Presentation of the LABUTE NEW THEATER FESTIVAL (Part One)Review: St. Louis Actors' Studio's LABUTE NEW THEATER FESTIVAL (Part One)
Posted: Jul. 16, 2014


BWW Reviews: The MUNY Opens with a Dazzling Production of BILLY ELLIOTBWW Reviews: The MUNY Opens with a Dazzling Production of BILLY ELLIOT
Posted: Jun. 19, 2014


BWW Reviews: New Line Theatre's Wonderful Production of RENTBWW Reviews: New Line Theatre's Wonderful Production of RENT
Posted: Mar. 10, 2014


BWW Reviews: DIRTY DANCING at the Fabulous Fox TheatreBWW Reviews: DIRTY DANCING at the Fabulous Fox Theatre
Posted: Oct. 27, 2014


BWW Reviews: JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT at the Fox TheatreBWW Reviews: JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT at the Fox Theatre
Posted: May. 3, 2014


BWW Reviews: MOTOWN THE MUSICAL at the Fabulous Fox TheatreBWW Reviews: MOTOWN THE MUSICAL at the Fabulous Fox Theatre
November 21, 2014

I have no doubt that MOTOWN THE MUSICAL will be popular with audiences. It does, after all, contain the music that generations have grown up on, and it's still being played today. And, it's interesting that I was flipping channels on TV and saw an infomercial dedicated to the Motown 25th Anniversary special made in 1983 recently. That's the scene that opens the show, and where we first encounter the man who made it all happen, Berry Gordy. He's angry and doesn't want to attend because all his stars have left him for the greener pastures of other labels. This despite it being his own competitive spirit, and the fact that he instilled that in his roster of talent (songwriters, singers, and musicians), that created their desire to further pursue their careers in the first place. That makes for an interesting dichotomy that would seem ripe for the stage. So, why am I so disappointed? Because I wanted a real narrative (Gordy wrote the book himself) that doesn't gloss over important historical events while, at the same time, giving 60 fabulous tunes short shrift.
BWW Reviews: MADCO's Extraordinary WALLSTORIESBWW Reviews: MADCO's Extraordinary WALLSTORIES
November 20, 2014

The Berlin Wall was erected in 1961 to supposedly 'protect' the population of East Germany from succumbing to socialism. But, all it actually accomplished was the emotionally painful separation of families and friends; preventing the so-called defection of individuals looking to avoid living in a communist state. And, until it's destruction in 1989, it served as a grim reminder to the rest of the world that oppression was still very much alive and well (and still is around the globe). Choreographer Nejla Yatkin has taken this dark history lesson and transformed it into a unique work called WALLSTORIES that combines modern dance with interviews she collected and edited, as well as the music of Pink Floyd, Bach, and Larsen and Sherman. MADCO presented this powerful and compelling production at the Touhill November 14-16, for a total of six performances, three of which played to students who were brought in to see the show. It was a truly moving experience that I felt privileged to see.
BWW Reviews: Mustard Seed Theatre's Moving Revival of ALL IS CALMBWW Reviews: Mustard Seed Theatre's Moving Revival of ALL IS CALM
November 20, 2014

Mustard Seed Theatre has brought back their popular staging of ALL IS CALM - THE CHRISTMAS TRUCE OF 1914, which premiered around this time last year, and it's definitely a piece of theatre that demands your time and attention. Somehow I must have missed mentioning this the first time around, but this was originally a broadcast that occurred on Minnesota Public Radio. Artistic director/director Deanna Jent took that raw material and molded it into a moving and compelling stage production that won deserved accolades and awards for its excellence. If you didn't catch it last year, then you need to make sure you do so during its current run, and even if you did see it, I can promise you that it's certainly worth seeing again.
BWW Reviews: Max & Louie Productions' Hilarious CHANCERSBWW Reviews: Max & Louie Productions' Hilarious CHANCERS
November 11, 2014

We are truly lucky in St. Louis to have so many theatre companies that provide us with premier productions of engaging plays from around the globe. Since their inception in 2010, Max & Louie Productions has been one of those troupes that are always on the lookout for something new and different, and with their current presentation of Irish playwright Robert Massey's CHANCERS, they've found a work that fits both criteria. The characters and locations might be foreign, but the situation that drives the play is something we can distinctly identify with as Americans; a desperate need for cash in order to get back on our feet again. Genuinely funny, but with a touch of drama to give it depth, CHANCERS will hit home with anyone who has seen their savings dwindle and their spending tighten due to the current economic conditions.
BWW Reviews: The Rep's Thoroughly Engaging A KID LIKE JAKEBWW Reviews: The Rep's Thoroughly Engaging A KID LIKE JAKE
November 6, 2014

The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis open their Studio Theatre season with playwright Daniel Pearle's A KID LIKE JAKE, a layered and contemporary look at issues of gender identification as seen through the eyes of a pair of concerned parents, who are conflicted in their feelings about the dress up roles their preschool age son is drawn toward. It's an engaging and, in many ways, touching and sensitive production that's sure to spark a lot of positive conversation about the subject, and that makes it important enough in and of itself, but its also a work that makes you really care about these characters in a very raw and emotional way that is quite unexpected.
BWW Reviews: DIRTY DANCING at the Fabulous Fox TheatreBWW Reviews: DIRTY DANCING at the Fabulous Fox Theatre
October 27, 2014

If you're a fan of the film DIRTY DANCING then I have no doubt you'll find plenty to be excited about with the stage version that is currently playing at the Fabulous Fox Theatre. It's extremely faithful to the original movie, in fact it may be so much so that you might ask yourself what the point is, since you can always rent or purchase the DVD and watch it over and over to your heart's delight. But, despite that, I think it's a show that has a very broad appeal, and I can see it winning favor with both fans and newbies. And, there's just something special about seeing a show live that can't be, or rarely is, duplicated by Hollywood. That's why I find it especially odd that it's taken ten years for this show to go on a national tour of the USA since it's conception in 2004 in Australia.
BWW Reviews: The Rep's Wondrous Production of A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAMBWW Reviews: The Rep's Wondrous Production of A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM
October 22, 2014

If I were asked to provide the perfect introduction to the work of playwright William Shakespeare I would advise that person to check out The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis' current production of A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM. Unlike the bard's histories or tragedies, this play is truly lyrical, funny, and filled with magical elements that make it especially appealing. It's also one of his few tales that isn't based on another source, springing with startling originality from his own fervid imagination, which makes it particularly special among his bountiful canon. It seems like I'm always saying this about the Rep, but they provide must-see entertainment on a regular basis, with this enchanting presentation acting as another fine example of their exemplary work.
BWW Reviews: Upstream Theater's Masterful Production of ANTIGONEBWW Reviews: Upstream Theater's Masterful Production of ANTIGONE
October 15, 2014

I've been privileged to see several versions of Greek playwright Sophocles' 2500 year old work ANTIGONE over the years. All of them have been good, and each of them has been uniquely different. A version I caught at a college even went so far as to incorporate the traditional masks that were utilized for the original productions. But, David R. Slavitt's translation is, by far, the most intriguing and accessible version I've ever seen. With the inclusion of a dash of humor to the proceedings he's also managed to enhance the dramatic depth of the tale. Upstream Theater's current production is masterful and powerful in equal measure, providing a memorable experience that demands to be seen.
BWW Reviews: The New Jewish Theatre's Compelling Production of THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANKBWW Reviews: The New Jewish Theatre's Compelling Production of THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK
October 15, 2014

Few stories are as poignant and compelling as THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK, and this adaptation by Wendy Kesselman (originally scripted by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett) is made even more so by enhancing the elements already present that deal with her Jewish faith and burgeoning womanhood. The current production by The New Jewish Theatre is simply heart wrenching in its exquisite and engaging execution. A wonderful cast and sensitive direction allow this true and tragic tale to blossom fully. You can't help but be moved by the events that transpire, and you'll find yourself thinking how important it is that we never forget what happened so that we make sure it is never repeated.
BWW Reviews: Stray Dog Theatre's Excellent Production of AND THEN THERE WERE NONEBWW Reviews: Stray Dog Theatre's Excellent Production of AND THEN THERE WERE NONE
October 15, 2014

Dame Agatha Christie is considered to be one of the most successful authors of all time, with her mystery novels and short stories selling literally millions of copies. In fact, her work has been produced on stage, in films, and on television. Additionally, a lot of the basic ideas and plots have been utilized in countless mediums. But, despite this proliferation, they still remain clever and entertaining in their own right. Stray Dog Theatre's current production of AND THEN THERE WERE NONE is a prime example, combining a great cast, stylish appointments, and solid direction to provide audiences with a terrific experience that's well worth seeing, even if you've been exposed to this, or similar works, before.
BWW Reviews: New Line Theatre's Brilliant BONNIE & CLYDEBWW Reviews: New Line Theatre's Brilliant BONNIE & CLYDE
October 9, 2014

I'm constantly amazed at the way New Line Theatre is able to find so many hidden gems among the countless shows that play on or off Broadway, exposing all of their true beauty and charms in newly imagined stagings. You begin to wonder how critics could be so misguided in their initial assessments, but then you begin to realize that artistic director Scott Miller truly understands, and takes the time to dissect, the reasons behind a good show's commercial failure. And then he fixes it. If you want to see a prime example of this skill, and believe me - you do, then you have to check out New Line's current production of BONNIE & CLYDE. You'll be blown away by how engaging the story and characters are, and you'll be humming the score as you walk out the doors because it's just so incredibly and infectiously catchy.
BWW Reviews: MARTY STUART AND HIS FABULOUS SUPERLATIVES at The SheldonBWW Reviews: MARTY STUART AND HIS FABULOUS SUPERLATIVES at The Sheldon
October 7, 2014

If you listen to a lot popular country music these days you'll find that most of it is really just pop music with a twang. That's not to say it isn't good. In fact, there are some great artists out there writing great tunes, and musicians that can play with astonishing skill and style. It's just that the industry itself has changed. It started with the 'countrypolitan' path artists took during the late 1960's and 70's, when their hits began to crossover to top the pop chart as well as the country ones. Somewhere along the line that true, pure and traditional sound just wasn't as prevalent as it had been. That's why Marty Stuart's appearance at The Sheldon Concert Hall was an event to remember. Marty and his aptly named band mates, The (His) Fabulous Superlatives, reach back to the roots of country music, producing an achingly beautiful sound in the process. Their appearance as the first act on this seasons' folk music series at the hall (October 3, 2014) marked the opportunity to hear this genuinely joyful noise in person.
BWW Reviews: The Rep's Uproarious Production of ONE MAN, TWO GUVNORSBWW Reviews: The Rep's Uproarious Production of ONE MAN, TWO GUVNORS
September 16, 2014

The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis opens their 48th season with one of the most hilarious shows I've ever been privileged to see. ONE MAN, TWO GUVNORS (written by Richard Bean, but based on The Servant of Two Masters by Carlo Goldini) is a brilliant work of pure farcical comic genius, and it's enhanced immeasurably by a bevy of equally appealing musical interludes (some really cool skiffle and beat songs by Grant Olding) that neatly transition the action from scene to scene. You have no excuse not the see this show immediately. It's a wildly funny ride that demands your attendance!
BWW Reviews: Impressive FIDDLER ON THE ROOF at Stages St. LouisBWW Reviews: Impressive FIDDLER ON THE ROOF at Stages St. Louis
September 14, 2014

It's just a fact that Stages St. Louis is a very special theatre company that always brings a sense of joy and enthusiasm to the shows they stage year end and year out. FIDDLER ON THE ROOF, their current production (book by Joseph Stein, lyrics by Sheldon Harnick and music by Jerry Beck), is another terrific example of their expertise in these endeavors. Lovingly crafted and performed with equal parts gusto and tenderness, this is a presentation that perfectly illustrates the art of musical theatre, while also touching the heart and soul of those who view it.
BWW Reviews: Dramatic License Productions' Humorous Presentation of THE GREAT AMERICAN TRAILER PARK MUSICALBWW Reviews: Dramatic License Productions' Humorous Presentation of THE GREAT AMERICAN TRAILER PARK MUSICAL
September 12, 2014

THE GREAT AMERICAN TRAILER PARK MUSICAL, the latest show by Dramatic License Productions, is a nutty little work that lampoons the denizens of its community, as well as a number of aspects of American culture, like the daytime reality TV shows made popular by the likes of Dr. Phil and Jerry Springer. It may be short on plot, but the songs are generally catchy, the characters are sublimely absurd, and the jokes come fast and furious.
BWW Reviews: Mustard Seed Theatre's Powerful Production of THE HUMAN TERRAINBWW Reviews: Mustard Seed Theatre's Powerful Production of THE HUMAN TERRAIN
September 4, 2014

The Human Terrain System is a military initiative designed to utilize the research capabilities of individuals in areas where there are conflicts in order to forge a better understanding of the population of a region by gathering sociocultural information. For example, the intrepid protagonist of playwright Jennifer Blackmer's work, THE HUMAN TERRAIN, is a civilian anthropologist who's been shipped to Fallujah, Iraq (circa 2007-2008). It's her job to attempt to figure out, through intelligence data drawn from contacts, the issues that are driving the local people to commit acts of aggression directed at each other and the military presence that resides there. But, doing so requires her to gain the trust of individuals while also remaining loyal to her country. It's a fine line and a slippery slope to tread, and this powerful and effective production by Mustard Seed Theatre reveals the moral and ethical dilemmas faced by participants in this program.
BWW Reviews: SDT New Works Laboratory's Fun and Funny Production of FOUR SUGARSBWW Reviews: SDT New Works Laboratory's Fun and Funny Production of FOUR SUGARS
August 31, 2014

It's always nice to have the opportunity to attend something new and fresh when you see as many shows as I do, and local playwright/actor/director Stephen Peirick's original play, FOUR SUGARS, delivers an engaging and entertaining experience. In this age of cynicism we currently find ourselves in, it's also a relief, emotionally at least, to find something that's both amusing and hopeful. A well acted and directed presentation of this work was recently produced as part of of SDT's (Stray Dog Theatre) New Works Laboratory (August 21-23), and played to packed houses at the Tower Grove Abbey that definitely appreciated the humor and antics Peirick has crafted. Count me among those who found this to be a wonderfully funny show that truly deserves the warm response that it received.
BWW Reviews: Entertaining Version of GREASE at The MUNYBWW Reviews: Entertaining Version of GREASE at The MUNY
August 5, 2014

There have been a lot of versions of Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey's (book, music and lyrics) GREASE that I've seen over the years. Only one, New Line Theatre's brilliant staging a few years back, actually adhered to the musical as originally conceived. The majority have followed the template laid down by the 1978 movie version that was tailored to fit the stars; Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta. That's the version currently gracing the stage of The MUNY, although it features a number of interesting changes, beginning with a choral version of the opening "Alma Mater" that actually utilizes the lyrics to the song "We Go Together". It's certainly an entertaining ride, and is much improved in many ways over the version staged here back in 2007.
Sam Poon Headlines Kid's Kabaret Benefit for SSM Cardinal Glennon TonightSam Poon Headlines Kid's Kabaret Benefit for SSM Cardinal Glennon Tonight
August 2, 2014

Tonight, August 2, at 7:30 p.m., a performance entitled Kids' Kabaret: A Broadway Inspired Benefit for SSM Cardinal Glennon Children's Medical Center will be held at the beautiful Ivory Theatre at 7620 Michigan Ave, St Louis, MO 63111.
BWW Reviews: Marvelous Production of HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS WITHOUT REALLY TRYING by Stages St. LouisBWW Reviews: Marvelous Production of HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS WITHOUT REALLY TRYING by Stages St. Louis
July 27, 2014

The corporate business world of today is far removed from the tropes that abound in the musical HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS WITHOUT REALLY TRYING, and that's one of things that makes it so interesting and enjoyable to watch, particularly when it's a production as sharply staged and exuberantly performed as the current presentation by Stages St. Louis. This is the type of musical that this company really excels at, and the overall enthusiasm and energy expended on the stage of the Robert G. Reim Auditorium makes this show an absolute must-see!


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