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: Entertaining Version of GREASE at The MUNYBWW Reviews: Entertaining Version of GREASE at The MUNY
Posted: Aug. 5, 2014


BWW Reviews: SDT New Works Laboratory's Fun and Funny Production of FOUR SUGARSSDT New Works Laboratory's Fun and Funny Production of FOUR SUGARS
Posted: Aug. 31, 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: Rep Opens Season with Sexy and Captivating Production of CABARETBWW Reviews: Rep Opens Season with Sexy and Captivating Production of CABARET
Posted: Sep. 16, 2013


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: 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: Upstream Theater's Brilliant DIARY OF A MADMANBWW Reviews: Upstream Theater's Brilliant DIARY OF A MADMAN
Posted: Oct. 9, 2013


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!
BWW Reviews: The Muny's Kooky and Outstanding Production of THE ADDAMS FAMILYBWW Reviews: The Muny's Kooky and Outstanding Production of THE ADDAMS FAMILY
July 16, 2014

Cartoonist and creator of the creepy and kooky characters that make up THE ADDAMS FAMILY, Charles Addams, probably never envisioned his work gracing the Broadway stage, but then, could anyone have imagined that such a thing would come to pass. After all, the original single panel cartoons only hinted at the oddly dark nature of his characters. The rest was fleshed out by a terrific TV show that ran in the early sixties, and a couple of feature films that came along in the early 1990's. The current production of the Broadway show is now playing The MUNY, and it's a riotously amusing presentation that had me and my son laughing at the onstage antics (book by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice), and bouncing along to the catchy score (Andrew Lippa). This is an exceptional show that features a great cast who seem to be having an absolutely splendid time. The Addams Family is must-see entertainment.
BWW Reviews: The St. Louis Actors' Studio Intriguing Presentation of the LABUTE NEW THEATER FESTIVAL (Part One)BWW Reviews: The St. Louis Actors' Studio Intriguing Presentation of the LABUTE NEW THEATER FESTIVAL (Part One)
July 16, 2014

St. Louis should feel honored that the St. Louis Actors' Studio has established a new summer tradition with their LABUTE NEW THEATER FESTIVAL which began last week. It is an opportunity for all theater-goers to see fresh one act plays that are both thought-provoking and engaging. As a special treat playwright/screenwriter/director Neil LaBute also contributes a piece each year. This event is truly special and one that should not be missed.
BWW Reviews: The Union Avenue Opera's Exquisite Production of LA TRAVIATABWW Reviews: The Union Avenue Opera's Exquisite Production of LA TRAVIATA
July 16, 2014

When you think of classic operas LA TRAVIATA is certainly one that immediately comes to mind. Composer Giuseppe Verdi (with a libretto by Francesco Maria Piave) created a wonderful piece that has stood the test of time, and when hearing it, you'll often find a number of familiar themes, some of which have appeared as background underscoring for cartoons, films, and commercials. It has all the elements that define our conceptions of what opera is: a superb score, the demand for inspired performances, and a tragic love story. The Union Avenue Opera has put together a memorable and moving production of this timeless work that demands your time and attention.
BWW Reviews: The Muny's Intoxicating Production of THE GERSHWINS' PORGY AND BESSBWW Reviews: The Muny's Intoxicating Production of THE GERSHWINS' PORGY AND BESS
July 9, 2014

Though the weather was stormy on the opening night of the MUNY's presentation of the American Repertory Theater's 2011 update of THE GERSHWINS' PORGY AND BESS, and believe me I drove through some heavy downpours as I made my way to Forest Park, somehow the rain held off and allowed this wonderful show to proceed. Purists have been in an uproar over the fact that the original show has been altered, and while I certainly understand what all the fuss was about, there's no denying the fact that this new interpretation is a moving and compelling production that's definitely a winning crowd-pleaser.
BWW Reviews: Family Fun as TARZAN Swings into Action at The MUNYBWW Reviews: Family Fun as TARZAN Swings into Action at The MUNY
June 28, 2014

Edgar Rice Burroughs (1875-1950) got into writing as a lark, musing that he could produce stories that were better than the pulp fiction that was currently on display. Of course, the rest is history, with the prolific author producing a number of memorable series (Tarzan, John Carter, Pellucidar, etc) that are still selling today. His most famous creation, Tarzan of the Apes, became a cultural icon shrewdly marketed in comic strips, novelty items and motion pictures. But, I wonder how the writer would have felt about his hero singing on stage about his conflicts and feelings? Actually, I think he'd be pleased because the story, expanded and slightly altered here and there from Disney's animated film version of TARZAN, still remains true to his original concept (book by David Henry Hwang). And,the MUNY's current production is great family fun that tackles issues of loyalty and love against an action-packed jungle backdrop that cleverly brings to life the creatures that inhabit that world.
BWW Reviews: Stages St. Louis's Charming Production of Disney's SLEEPING BEAUTYBWW Reviews: Stages St. Louis's Charming Production of Disney's SLEEPING BEAUTY
June 23, 2014

Along with their regular productions each season, Stages St. Louis always presents a show that's part of their Theatre for Young Audiences series. Since I've been reviewing theatre in St. Louis I've made an effort to attend one of these performances (with my son along for the experience) because they're always very well done, and it's important to me that children are exposed to the arts. This year's effort is Disney's SLEEPING BEAUTY, and it continues an excellent tradition of providing families with a lively and fun show that's a genuine treat.
BWW Reviews: Stray Dog Theatre's Compelling and Poignant Production of LOVE! VALOUR! COMPASSION!BWW Reviews: Stray Dog Theatre's Compelling and Poignant Production of LOVE! VALOUR! COMPASSION!
June 20, 2014

A lot happens over the course of the three acts that comprise playwright Terence McNally's work LOVE! VALOUR! COMPASSION!. What's particularly interesting is that way that he balances the funny moments that occur with the more poignant ones. There's no doubt that it's an important gay play, and yet, what I got out of the experience had nothing to do with homosexuality, but with the sheer humanity on display here. Stray Dog Theatre has assembled a talented and brave cast (there's a considerable amount of nudity) that really brings each of these characters to life in meaningful ways. This is powerful and compelling theatre that demands to be seen.
BWW Reviews: The MUNY Opens with a Dazzling Production of BILLY ELLIOTBWW Reviews: The MUNY Opens with a Dazzling Production of BILLY ELLIOT
June 19, 2014

Another St. Louis tradition continues this summer with the start of the MUNY's 96th season. The opening show is BILLY ELLIOT the Musical, and there are some absolutely electric moments to be found here. Adapted from the excellent film of the same name, the story follows a young boy who would rather dance in the ballet than take boxing lessons, drawing the ire of a strict father who's coping with the loss of his wife, and the possible loss of his livelihood due to the current politics of the time. The story is set in the early 1980's during the time that union-busting Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was in power, and personally orchestrating the swift decline of a once thriving British coal industry. Despite this rather dire backdrop, this is an inspirational show that's well worth seeing under the stars in Forest Park.
Sam Poon to Headline Kid's Kabaret Benefit for SSM Cardinal Glennon, 8/2Sam Poon to Headline Kid's Kabaret Benefit for SSM Cardinal Glennon, 8/2
June 9, 2014

On August 2, at 7:30 p.m., a performance entitled KID'S 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. Young actor Sam Poon is turning thirteen years old, and instead of a party, he is returning to St. Louis from NYC to perform in a show with many of his friends to raise money for the hospital that saved his life as an infant. Sam suffered from pertussis (whooping cough) and was septic as a young infant, and suffered a cardiac arrest. The doctors and nurses at SSM Cardinal Glennon saved his life. Rather than receiving gifts for his first teenage birthday, he would much rather give a gift to the children cared for by SSM Cardinal Glennon.
BWW Reviews: Circus Flora's Delightful Production: THE PAWNBWW Reviews: Circus Flora's Delightful Production: THE PAWN
June 9, 2014

Here in St. Louis we should never take for granted the fact that we have our very own circus. Of course, I'm talking about Circus Flora, the one ring big top that you'll find around this time every year situated just behind Powell Symphony Hall. And, this is a circus with a great deal of thought behind it. A theme is chosen, the book is written, acts are put together with an original score (composers Miriam Cutler and Janine Del'Arte), and a show is presented that combines all these elements in grand fashion. Take your family to CIRCUS FLORA'S THE PAWN (through June 22, 2014) and they will not be disappointed!
BWW Reviews: THEY'RE PLAYING OUR SONG Shines at Stages St. LouisBWW Reviews: THEY'RE PLAYING OUR SONG Shines at Stages St. Louis
June 9, 2014

I've always been curious about THEY'RE PLAYING OUR SONG, but I'd never had the chance to see it before. You have to be intrigued by the fact that prolific playwright Neil Simon wrote the book, and also because Marvin Hamlisch and Carole Bayer Sager, who are responsible, together and separately, for some of the biggest hits to come out of the 1970's and early 80's, wrote the score. So, I'm here to report that the current production by Stages St. Louis is a delightful romantic comedy filled with catchy tunes that would make a perfect "date night" for couples.
BWW Reviews: New Line Theatre's Wonderful Production of HANDS ON A HARDBODYBWW Reviews: New Line Theatre's Wonderful Production of HANDS ON A HARDBODY
June 2, 2014

Looking over a list of New Line Theatre's shows for the past 23 years is a very telling experience. This is a group dedicated to restoring the old and embracing the new. That's why their current production of HANDS ON A HARDBODY shouldn't shock you that it's so damn good (it really is), because this is exactly what they do so well. They take something tuneful and different, perform it enthusiastically in an intimate environment, and the audience is rewarded with a fresh and invigorating experience. Go see HANDS ON A HARDBODY now!
 BWW Reviews: St. Louis Actors' Studio's Powerful Production of THE HOMECOMING BWW Reviews: St. Louis Actors' Studio's Powerful Production of THE HOMECOMING
June 2, 2014

Harold Pinter's THE HOMECOMING has been referred to as one of his early 'menacing' comedies. I suppose that that's an accurate enough description, but I would say that the actual humor is pitch black in nature. It's a twisted tale that Pinter writes, and it's funny in the most unsettling ways. Characters ask questions that are often ignored, leaving long uncomfortable silences that truly speak volumes. The St. Louis Actors' Studio has assembled a superb cast that understands this material has to be played straight to really pay off, and under Milton Zoth's expert direction they excel.
BWW Reviews: Shakespeare Festival St. Louis's Triumphant Productions of HENRY IV and HENRY VBWW Reviews: Shakespeare Festival St. Louis's Triumphant Productions of HENRY IV and HENRY V
June 2, 2014

Since the stories and cast of HENRY IV (pts. 1 & 2) and HENRY V intertwine, it's only fitting that I review Shakespeare Festival St. Louis' marvelous productions together. The shows will alternate (every evening except Tuesdays), and there will be special performances the next two weekends where both plays will be performed back to back. It's an amazing feat and since it's free to the public there's no reason not to pack up the whole family for a trip to Forest Park to check out these entertaining history lessons. Artistic Director Rick Dildine has put together an experience that I cannot recommend highly enough. It's truly a triumph.
BWW Reviews: WIZARD OF OZ Is A Decidedly Mixed Bag at the Fox TheatreBWW Reviews: WIZARD OF OZ Is A Decidedly Mixed Bag at the Fox Theatre
May 23, 2014

I hesitated to review the current touring production of THE WIZARD OF OZ (Fox Theatre, through May 18, 2014), which has been adapted by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Jeremy Sams, because even though I thought it told essentially the same tale as the original, I didn't particularly care for it. There's certainly a lot more spectacle than you'd find in your typical production, but the script is so camped up, and the additional songs so mundane, that it comes off as trying that they may have been trying a little too hard when they updated the show. In any event, the flashy and colorful show seemed to appeal to the crowd, but I'm wondering if they're aware of how much it's been pared down technically so that it could tour and play different size venues.
BWW Reviews: The New Jewish Theatre's Hilarious Production of OLD JEWS TELLING JOKESBWW Reviews: The New Jewish Theatre's Hilarious Production of OLD JEWS TELLING JOKES
May 15, 2014

It's impossible to analyze humor, and even if you try to it just takes all the fun out of it anyway. Some say jokes are mostly 'tragedy plus time', and that 'laughter is the best medicine'. Both are true to a certain extent. So, when it comes to reviewing OLD JEWS TELLING JOKES (created by Peter Gethers and Daniel Okrent), I think any kind of critical analysis would be a boring waste of time. And, in a time when show titles can sometimes be cryptic metaphors, it's nice to see something so simple and direct as one that succinctly and accurately sums up the premise of this show. The current production by The New Jewish Theatre is a well-cast, smartly directed show that delivers hearty laughs from start to finish. Everyone could use a good chuckle now and then, so I strongly suggest you check out this hilarious show!


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