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.
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MOST POPULAR ARTICLES
LAST 30 DAYS

BWW Review: The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis' Outstanding New Musical GEORAMAReview: The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis' Outstanding New Musical GEORAMA
Posted: Jan. 25, 2016


BWW Review: Disney's NEWSIES at The Fox TheatreBWW Review: Disney's NEWSIES at The Fox Theatre
Posted: Jan. 25, 2016


BWW Review: The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis Roars Mightily with Superb THE LION IN WINTERBWW Review: The Rep Roars Mightily with Superb THE LION IN WINTER
Posted: Jan. 15, 2016


BWW Review: The New Jewish Theatre's Thought-Provoking UNDERNEATH THE LINTELBWW Review: The New Jewish Theatre's Thought-Provoking UNDERNEATH THE LINTEL
Posted: Feb. 3, 2016


LAST 365 DAYS

BWW Review: Great WICKED at The Fabulous Fox TheatreBWW Review: Great WICKED at The Fabulous Fox Theatre
Posted: Dec. 11, 2015


BWW Reviews: The MUNY's Awesome INTO THE WOODS at Forest ParkBWW Reviews: The MUNY's Awesome INTO THE WOODS at Forest Park
Posted: Jul. 22, 2015


BWW Reviews: Nostalgic I LOVE LUCY LIVE ON STAGE at the Peabody Opera HouseBWW Reviews: Nostalgic I LOVE LUCY LIVE ON STAGE at the Peabody Opera House
Posted: Apr. 21, 2015


BEST OF 2015 by Chris GibsonBest of 2015 by Chris Gibson
Posted: Jan. 4, 2016


BWW Review: The MUNY's Spectacular OKLAHOMA!BWW Review: The MUNY's Spectacular OKLAHOMA!
Posted: Aug. 12, 2015


BWW Review: The New Jewish Theatre's Thought-Provoking UNDERNEATH THE LINTELBWW Review: The New Jewish Theatre's Thought-Provoking UNDERNEATH THE LINTEL
February 3, 2016

Over the years I've learned a tremendous amount about the Jewish religion and its traditions through the plays and people I've come in contact with at The New Jewish Theatre. But, I have to admit that I never knew the story of the 'wandering Jew', although I'd grown up with parents who loved flora and fauna, and often had the plant growing outside that was nicknamed for the tale. I brought my son along with me to see the show because I want him to be well rounded and know as much as he can about the belief systems of all cultures. Glen Berger's wonderful play, UNDERNEATH THE LINTEL, is a sort of detective story that is truly, as artistic director Kathleen Sitzer described it; a testament to faith. It achieved precisely what I had hoped it would do as well by provoking an interesting discussion between my son and I as we talked on the way home. This is a very well done production that provides must-see entertainment, while also giving its audience plenty to ponder.
BWW Review: The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis' Outstanding New Musical GEORAMABWW Review: The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis' Outstanding New Musical GEORAMA
January 25, 2016

Thanks to the developmental work that occurred during The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis' Ignite! Play Festival in 2014 we now have the opportunity to witness the fruit of their labors; the world premier of a very entertaining new musical called GEORAMA. This play tells a fascinating story that is truly a forgotten piece of history that deserves to be celebrated. This production is staged in the Studio Theatre of the Loretto-Hilton, and that adds additional atmosphere and intimacy that makes the story connect in a uniquely vibrant manner. As an avid film fan, I'd read a bit about the history of 'motion pictures', and found countless early examples of flip books, and the like, but nothing prepared me for the sadly neglected tale of John Banvard, who created a virtual recreation of the wonders of the Mississippi River on a scrolling canvas that stretched for miles. That's quite a feat, and so is this staging. I cannot recommend it highly enough! It's truly a show that deserves an audience both young and old to appreciate, or become aware of, something that was truly as magical as the spectacle this artist created.
BWW Review: Disney's NEWSIES at The Fox TheatreBWW Review: Disney's NEWSIES at The Fox Theatre
January 25, 2016

It's not unusual for movies to be adapted for the stage these days, in fact, it's become rather commonplace. But typically, musicals written for the screen that flop (even though they might have a rather substantial cult following), are usually avoided for obvious reasons. Although, that didn't stop the producers of XANADU from plowing forward, go figure. The Disney film NEWSIES actually seems likes a logical choice to revamp and produce on the stage, and it wound up winning Tony Awards for best score and choreography back in 2012, and becoming quite the hit. So why am I so surprised? I guess because the current touring production, while occasionally dazzling, comes off slightly uninspired and flat. Now, don't get me wrong, there are some really fine performances, an eye catching scenic design, cool effects, and energetic choreography that certainly lives up to expectations. And, like the film, an awful lot of people, both young and old, are guaranteed to truly love this show, as evidenced by the very enthusiastic response from the audience at the performance I attended.
BWW Review: The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis Roars Mightily with Superb THE LION IN WINTERBWW Review: The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis Roars Mightily with Superb THE LION IN WINTER
January 15, 2016

Although I've seen the successful 1968 film version of THE LION IN WINTER, I'd never had the opportunity to watch the actual stage play which it's based upon, until now. Maybe it was the washed out prints that turned me off to it initially, but it's an absolute revelation to see The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis' superb production. What always seemed too stage bound and static in the film is vibrant and intense in person. Forget the movie and enjoy the brilliance of James Goldman's script which is brimming with intensity and passion, and full of clever twists and turns. An excellent cast and expert direction make this must-see entertainment that demands your time and attention.
BEST OF 2015 by Chris GibsonBEST OF 2015 by Chris Gibson
January 4, 2016

My lists for the best plays/musicals in St. Louis is in chronological order. I'm not limiting myself to any specific number of entries either. These are simply the best productions and performances in various categories that I witnessed during a packed year filled with companies closing and new ones opening. It continues to be a great time to be a theater-goer in our town, with many, many choices of quality shows available for your viewing pleasure on any given day or evening. My favorite show among all thesel selections just might be Upstream Theater's THE RIME OF THE ANCIENT MARINER. My son and I attended, and were simply delighted by the mix of music and drama occurring on stage. It was a magical experience that I was able to share with my then nine year old little boy, and we both highly recommend that you check out the band Sleepy Kitty.
BWW Review: Stray Dog Theatre's Maniacally Funny DEVIL BOYS FROM BEYONDBWW Review: Stray Dog Theatre's Maniacally Funny DEVIL BOYS FROM BEYOND
December 21, 2015

Each December Stray Dog Theatre chooses an unconventional show to celebrate the season. It's always something unusual, and often something somewhat shocking. I like that idea of going against the grain, and giving audiences relief from the Christmas overload that all forms of media utilize at this time of year. To close out 2015, they've chosen the campy and wildly over the top DEVIL BOYS FROM BEYOND, a sort of mash-up of ideas plucked from 1950's and early 60's science fiction fare like Mars Needs Women and Invasion of the Body Snatchers. There's also an early effort from the UK called Devil Girl from Mars, which may have provided inspiration for authors Buddy Thomas and Kenneth Elliott (music and original sound design by Drew Fornarola). Whatever the case, this is a truly nutty, whacked-out comedy that has something to offend everyone, but somehow rises above its initial shock value with allusions to equal pay for women, and the need for the acceptance of alternative lifestyles. Stray Dog Theatre's latest yuletide foray is a delightfully twisted blast from the past!
BWW Review: Great Performances Highlight St. Louis Actors' Studio's THE GIN GAMEBWW Review: Great Performances Highlight St. Louis Actors' Studio's THE GIN GAME
December 16, 2015

When it comes to classifying THE GIN GAME, it's a bit of a sticky wicket. On the cover of Donald Coburn's play it says it's a tragicomedy, and yet it won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. No wonder my fellow critics and I felt a bit confused as to where it should fall categorically. Personally, the amount of humor present leads me to side with way the play was published. Probably the most famous couple to play the leads in this two person play were Hume Croyn and Jessica Tandy, but many, many others have revived the play over the years. Luckily for you, the current production of this engaging and entertaining work features two of St. Louis' finest actors; Linda Kennedy and Peter Mayer. Under the guidance of director John Contini, this pair provide a wonderful experience that deserves your time and attention. Go see it.
BWW Review: Lovely and Touching SUBLIME INTIMACY by Max and Louie ProductionsBWW Review: Lovely and Touching SUBLIME INTIMACY by Max and Louie Productions
December 14, 2015

In his director's notes Ken Page mentions that he had a conversation with a dear friend where they were trying to define 'the place that exists beyond ordinary relationships or sexual discovery.' That became the name of Page's latest play, SUBLIME INTIMACY. And, it's an apt title for this artistic endeavor that is lovingly crafted and executed. Page, a playwright, director, and an actor on stage and on screen, has produced another unusual and compelling work, much as he did with an earlier work, CAFE CHANSON. Both are decidedly different, but each turns a number of theatrical conventions on their heads with their mix of narrative, music, and in this case especially, dance. Max & Louie Productions have given us a rare treat that could only come from the mind of someone who is a genuine artist in the broadest sense. The result is a very engaging and magical show that features fine performances, some terrific paintings, and sharply honed direction that pulls together cherished memories to illustrate (sometimes literally) the emotional power that 'a poet of the body' can have on various individuals.
BWW Review: Great WICKED at The Fabulous Fox TheatreBWW Review: Great WICKED at The Fabulous Fox Theatre
December 11, 2015

WICKED is pure spectacle, or to quote Glinda the Good Witch herself, it's a 'thrill-ifying' experience that both dazzles and delights, backed by terrific performances and eye-popping scenic design and special effects. It's a prequel of sorts to L. Frank's Baum's Wizard of Oz series of books, that is unexpected, and infused with a positive message about accepting people for who they are and not how they appear. The current touring production playing currently gracing the stage of The Fox Theatre is always a cool show to see, especially if you bring along a youngster who's familiar with the story, but always had questions about why there were good and bad witches
BWW Review: Thrilling and Hilarious PETER AND THE STARCATCHER at The Repertory Theatre of St. LouisBWW Review: Thrilling and Hilarious PETER AND THE STARCATCHER at The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis
December 11, 2015

There are some St. Louis connections in this current production of PETER AND THE STARCATCHER. There's local author Ridley Pearson who, along with Dave Barry, crafted a terribly interesting and arresting 'prequel' to the story of Peter Pan with their entertaining novel Peter and the Starcatcher. The stage version of this tale, written by Rick Elice, is an equally imaginative and inspired effort that utilizes a relatively small cast, with just about everyone playing multiple roles, that takes off at a frenetic pace that captures the same qualities that distinguished the original work. I'd seen a touring version over a year ago, but this production by The St. Louis Repertory Theatre is absolutely amazing. It just seems fresher, more touching, and more joyful. I highly recommend this show, as it appeals to families with humor and heart that anyone old or young can enjoy!
BWW Review: Smokey Robinson and Mario Frangoulis Bring Down the House at The PeabodyBWW Review: Smokey Robinson and Mario Frangoulis Bring Down the House at The Peabody
December 7, 2015

A special concert for Voice for Veterans, which seeks to give aid and housing to homeless veterans, took place at The Peabody Opera House on Sunday night (December 6, 2015), and it was a simply joyous experience. Sometimes benefit shows can be a rather somber affair, but that was not the case at all with the pairing of international singing star Mario Frangoulis and the legendary Smokey Robinson. In fact, it was a very enjoyable evening that showcased the talents of both artists who each made the point that homelessness and veteran are two words that should never be associated. These are, after all, men and women who serve our country with the knowledge that they may never make it back, or if they do, may find themselves disabled, or without a place they can call home. If you attended, then you know this was a great cause that featured superb talent giving their all to bring this issue to the forefront, while delivering entertaining and moving sets.
BWW Review: The Fox Theatre Presents Eye-Popping CIRQUE DREAMS HOLIDAZEBWW Review: The Fox Theatre Presents Eye-Popping CIRQUE DREAMS HOLIDAZE
December 7, 2015

Neil Goldberg who created and directed CIRQUE DREAMS HOLIDAZE, wanted to create a Cirque show that was not only family-friendly, but one that could tour the country. His ideas, based partly on his own ornament collection, came to fruition with this unique holiday extravaganza. It's filled with music (some original by Jill Winters and David Scott, as well as Lance Conque and Tony Aliperti), but also a number of familiar seasonal favorites), incredible circus performers (sans animals, of course, although some performers portray different ones, like rope-skipping reindeers), and a colorful staging that's incredibly busy with movement. This eye-popping show is currently playing The Fox Theatre through December 6, 2015.
BWW Review: Intense BAD JEWS at The New Jewish TheatreBWW Review: Intense BAD JEWS at The New Jewish Theatre
December 5, 2015

Playwright Joshua Harmon has created an intensely dark comedy/drama with his work BAD JEWS. It's a stunning piece that never runs out of steam, even though it maintains a high level of emotional upheaval throughout its 90 minute running time. It's certainly humorous, but it also has a serious tone that leaves audiences with plenty to ruminate on, long after the cast take their bows and the lights come up. That's good theatre in my book. It makes you think, to the point where you may even feel a bit guilty about the laughs it provides. But, that's part of its charm. You may even find yourself moved by an ending that comes about rather unexpectedly. The New Jewish Theatre is currently producing an extremely well cast and directed presentation of this recent (2012) play, and it's one I highly recommend.
BWW Review: Wondrous TALES OF CHRISTMAS by Mario FrangoulisBWW Review: Wondrous TALES OF CHRISTMAS by Mario Frangoulis
December 4, 2015

I had the opportunity to chat with international singing star Mario Frangoulis the other day, and it was a simply delightful experience. He'll be performing in St. Louis at the Peabody Opera House on December 6, 2015 along with the legendary Smokey Robinson in a concert that will benefit the Voices For Veterans Organization. This is a group that seeks to end homelessness, especially for those forgotten and neglected soldiers who have bravely served our country. It's a great cause, and it should be a fabulous event. Mario spoke with me about his career, and in particular, his latest release, a holiday album titled TALES OF CHRISTMAS.
BWW News: SATE to Present Unique Staging of AS YOU LIKE ITBWW News: SATE to Present Unique Staging of AS YOU LIKE IT
December 3, 2015

In February 2016, SATE will adapt Shakespeare's beloved pastoral comedy As You Like It and set the story of Rosalind, Celia, Orlando, Jacques, and Touchstone amidst the Depression-era Ozark forests, complete with original, Old-Time tunes played live by the cast and Jason Scroggins, of the local band, The Foggy Memory Boys. Old-Time music features playing styles that pre-date bluegrass, emerging from the string band tradition stretching back to the early years of United States history. SATE's adaptation takes place in 1929 when Union Electric began to buy-out farm property to create what is now the Lake of the Ozarks. Duke Senior, one of the usurped land owners now lives in the forest with her farm hands. Duke's daughter, Rosalind, has determined to find and live with her mother in the forest along with her cousin, Celia and friend, Touchstone. Along the way and disguised as a boy, leading to her mistaken identity as Ganymede, she meets and falls in love with Orlando, another usurped land-owner. Learning the Ozark ways of life from the locals, Rosalind, Orlando, Celia, and Duke find love, music, and a home among the trees of an Ozark forest.
BWW News: Mario Frangoulis and Smokey Robinson at the Peabody Opera HouseBWW News: Mario Frangoulis and Smokey Robinson at the Peabody Opera House
December 4, 2015

Sunday, December 6, 2015 at 7:00PM at the Peabody Opera House in St. Louis, the stage will be electric with the one-and-only Motown icon Smokey Robinson and 'best male classical crossover artist,' Mario Frangoulis will share their talent in support of putting an end to veteran homelessness. The Voices for Veterans St. Louis concert is made possible with the generous support of Boeing Defense and Ameren Missouri, and is presented by Give US Your Poor, Eisenhower Fellows of St. Louis and Attila Glatz Concert Productions.
BWW Review: Moving and Memorable ALL IS CALM: THE CHRISTMAS TRUCE OF 1914 by Mustard Seed TheatreBWW Review: Moving and Memorable ALL IS CALM: THE CHRISTMAS TRUCE OF 1914 by Mustard Seed Theatre
November 30, 2015

So I'm watching a Paul McCartney DVD, which is a collection of videos he released over the years, and I start to queue up the one for the song "Pipes of Peace", and I notice immediately that the short film is based on the Christmas Truce of 1914. I don't recall any history classes I had in school ever mentioning this moment in time, and that's why I think it's so important that people see Mustard Seed Theatre's production of ALL IS CALM: THE CHRISTMAS TRUCE OF 1914. They need to know that even in the midst of the gruesome and grueling trench fighting that was emblematic of the first World War, there was this one day where the soldiers from both sides laid down their arms and celebrated the holiday. In fact, after seeing it twice before, I wanted to make sure that my wife and son were exposed to this beautiful and touching show. It's a moving piece that you simply must see!
BWW Review: Enlightening and Riveting I AND YOU By The Repertory Theatre of St. LouisBWW Review: Enlightening and Riveting I AND YOU By The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis
November 5, 2015

There's something truly remarkable about playwright Lauren Gunderson's work I AND YOU that's difficult to explain without spoiling the experience. So, I'll tread lightly. Just know that you should definitely check out this terrific new work that gives anyone who watches it insight, not just in how our kids live their lives these days, but also into how the power of Walt Whitman's 'Leaves of Grass' can still resonate with a modern reader who has the perception to see how it speaks to all of humankind in its grace, beauty, and wisdom. This is a brilliantly engaging show that's a perfect fit for the intimacy of the Emerson Studio Theatre, where The St. Louis Repertory is presenting it. This is a fresh and invigorating production, and it's absolutely mandatory that you see it!
BWW Review: Wondrous and Magical MATILDA THE MUSICAL at The Fox TheatreBWW Review: Wondrous and Magical MATILDA THE MUSICAL at The Fox Theatre
October 26, 2015

I first became aware of author Roald Dahl from watching the film Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, although I didn't read the book it was based on, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, until later, finding it much darker in tone than the movie, but very entertaining nonetheless. After that exposure I remember watching the Tales of the Unexpected series on television, which was based on his short story collection of the same name. I never read Matilda, but I wish I had, and I think I'm going to in the near future, because we share something in common; the love of books of all kinds. MATILDA THE MUSICAL brings this tale to life in impressive fashion (book by Dennis Kelly, music & lyrics by Tim Minchin), with this story of a precocious little girl, whose parents don't understand her. It's a wondrous show, filled with memorable songs that snugly fit and advance the action, and an incredible cast that will have you rooting for them every step of the way. It's truly magical, and definitely a must-see, for families, and even those who don't have them. You have to see this glorious production that's currently playing at the Fox Theatre through November 1, 2015.
BWW Review: The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis' Spine-Chilling ANGEL STREET (GASLIGHT)BWW Review: The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis' Spine-Chilling ANGEL STREET (GASLIGHT)
October 21, 2015

Every season the Repertory of St. Louis plucks a gem or two from the past to mix in with some of their more current selections. It's undoubtedly a treat when it happens, because there's always something there that rings true with a modern audience. Whether it's a comedy whose jokes still maintain a since of topicality due to our current economic or political woes, or a drama that gives us insight into situations that are still being addressed, the Rep finds these works that are, in a sense, timeless. British writer Patrick Hamilton came up with some interesting and dark works that Hollywood embraced and had success putting up on the big screen. One of those was the play GASLIGHT (another was Hitchcock's ROPE) which changed its name for its American premier to ANGEL STREET. Although already lensed before in Britain, the 1944 Hollywood film version is a classic, featuring the smoothly sinister acting of Charles Boyer subtly menacing our fragile heroine, played by Ingrid Bergman. But now you can see the play as it was originally written, and marvel at how this piece, in the right hands, can still be the same suspense-filled thriller it was intended to be. This is expertly crafted entertainment that will surely get you in the mood for the Halloween season, and I highly recommend it!


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