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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: The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis's Incendiary Production of RING OF FIREBWW Reviews: The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis's Incendiary RING OF FIRE
Posted: Dec. 10, 2014


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


BWW Reviews: ANNIE Sparkles at the Fabulous FoxBWW Reviews: ANNIE Sparkles at the Fabulous Fox
Posted: Dec. 3, 2014


BWW Reviews: THE GHOST BROTHERS OF DARKLAND COUNTY at the Peabody Opera HouseBWW Reviews: THE GHOST BROTHERS OF DARKLAND COUNTY
Posted: Dec. 3, 2014


BWW Reviews: Magic Smoking Monkey Theatre's Outrageous CANNIBAL! THE MUSICALBWW Reviews: Magic Smoking Monkey Theatre's CANNIBAL! THE MUSICAL
Posted: Dec. 3, 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: The Black Rep's Timely Production of A RAISIN IN THE SUNBWW Reviews: The Black Rep's Timely Production of A RAISIN IN THE SUN
Posted: Dec. 3, 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: NJT's Fascinating BECOMING DR. RUTHBWW Reviews: NJT's Fascinating BECOMING DR. RUTH
December 20, 2014

Few people reach that status in life where all you have to do is hear their name and you know exactly who they are, but Dr. Ruth Westheimer was certainly one of those individuals that reached that level of fame. Her place in history is undeniable, and she's definitely someone whose journey is inspiring and worthy of inclusion in The New Jewish Theatre's 'chai', or 18th season, which celebrates life. If there is anyone who could truly be called a survivor, but maybe would better be described as a 'thriver', because she seems to have an uncanny drive to succeed, it would be her. NJT's presentation of Mark St. Germain's BECOMING DR. RUTH is a fascinating tour through the highlights and lowlights she dealt with on her rise to becoming a cultural icon, and it's a very entertaining and emotional piece of theatre that should not be missed.
BWW Reviews: A CHRISTMAS STORY: THE MUSICAL at the FOXBWW Reviews: A CHRISTMAS STORY: THE MUSICAL at the FOX
December 20, 2014

I'd heard of Jean Shepherd's work as an author when I was younger, but my first true exposure to him came in 1983 in a tiny, and mostly empty, movie theater where I sat and watched director Bob Clark's wonderful valentine to the late 1930's and early 1940's, A Christmas Story. I've since seen it go from sleeper to television staple, then to the stage in a theatrical version, and now I've had the opportunity to view it as musical. I must say, this endearingly hilarious account of young Ralphie Parker and his quest to own a Red Ryder BB Gun (here essayed by either Evan Gray and Colton Maurer with Cal Alexander as younger brother, Randy) are still funny to me all these years later. The musical, which is currently playing the Fabulous Fox Theatre, is a twinkling Christmas delight, with pleasant, and lively numbers that aim to enhance key moments that you'll recall from the original. This is fun for the whole family, and my son and I had a terrific time.
BWW Reviews: Magical PIPPIN at the Peabody Opera HouseBWW Reviews: Magical PIPPIN at the Peabody Opera House
December 13, 2014

Combining acrobatics with choreography (by Chet Walker) that recalls Bob Fosse's original work on the show, the current touring company of PIPPIN(book by Roger O. Hirson with music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz) at the Peabody Opera House provides quite an enjoyable spectacle. There's a circus-like quality (courtesy of Gypsy Singer) to this presentation that's unexpected, and even a bit magical, making it more suitable for the younger set than some versions, even though most of its sexier elements are still firmly intact. It's certainly well worthy of your time and attention.
BWW News: Stages St. Louis and The Centene Inclusion Project's ROCKIN' THROUGH THE YEARS at Holt High SchoolBWW News: Stages St. Louis and The Centene Inclusion Project's ROCKIN' THROUGH THE YEARS at Holt High School
December 12, 2014

Yesterday morning was kind of a homecoming for me as I returned to Holt High School (Wentzville School District) to check out the Centene Inclusion Project that Stages St. Louis, through their outreach program, Access the Arts, put together. The production, called ROCKIN' THROUGH THE YEARS, allowed students with special needs, including those with physical, cognitive, and developmental challenges to actively participate in a musical presentation along with the drama students at the school. I found the show to be a moving and thoroughly enjoyable experience that allowed these two groups to come together in a truly unique and wonderful way, breaking down barriers that might otherwise keep them from working with one another.
BWW Reviews: The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis's Incendiary Production of RING OF FIREBWW Reviews: The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis's Incendiary Production of RING OF FIRE
December 10, 2014

The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis has produced something truly special with their current presentation of RING OF FIRE - THE MUSIC OF JOHNNY CASH. This is a biographical musical with broad appeal to people of all ages. Created by Richard Maltby, Jr. and conceived by William Meade, the show chronicles the life and times of Johnny Cash from his humble upbringing to his final breath, and it captures it all with over 30 memorable tunes that showcase his wonderful catalog of material, while touching on key events that shaped the "Man in Black", and his beliefs. Ring of Fire is an incendiary delight that will have audiences singing and clapping along to the beat of a man who overcame his personal demons to become a very fondly remembered icon in the world of music. I cannot recommend this show highly enough. You'll simply have to see it for yourself! I personally guarantee that you will be absolutely floored by what you witness. So get your tickets now, because they're going to go fast.
BWW Reviews: Stray Dog Theatre's Side-Splitting THE GREAT AMERICAN TRAILER PARK CHRISTMAS MUSICALBWW Reviews: Stray Dog Theatre's Side-Splitting THE GREAT AMERICAN TRAILER PARK CHRISTMAS MUSICAL
December 10, 2014

Have you ever seen a sequel to a show and thought, wow, that was even better than the original? Well, that's what you're going to think if you take the time to check out Stray Dog Theatre's current production of THE GREAT AMERICAN TRAILER PARK CHRISTMAS MUSICAL (book by Betsy Kelso, with music and lyrics by David Nehls), and you really should see it. It's a return to Starke, Florida, the home of Armadillo Acres, where The Great American Trailer Park Musical took place. It's your chance to catch up on what's been happening in the lives of the amusing and bawdy trio of Betty, Pickles and Linoleum, since we last left them. If you're looking for a quirky Christmas show that's extremely funny and a little bit raunchy, then you owe it to yourself to see this show.
BWW Reviews: David Lanz & Kristin Amarie's Gorgeous FOREVER CHRISTMASBWW Reviews: David Lanz & Kristin Amarie's Gorgeous FOREVER CHRISTMAS
December 8, 2014

As I sit here writing this review I have David Lanz and Kristin Amarie's latest release, FOREVER CHRISTMAS, playing in the background. Any regular reader of my music reviews knows that I have a genuine soft spot in my heart for David's elegant and brilliantly inventive work on piano. He's simply one of the finest musicians in the world, and this collaboration with the love of his life, Kristin, continues his string of unbelievably wonderful and joyous works. This time, the focus is on Christmas, and with a blend of original compositions and some classic holiday fare that have special meaning to each of them, they've managed to capture the spirit of the season with a sense of warmth and sensitivity that's often missing in most holiday collections.
BWW Reviews: ANNIE Sparkles at the Fabulous FoxBWW Reviews: ANNIE Sparkles at the Fabulous Fox
December 3, 2014

Harold Gray, the original creator of the cliff-hanging comic strip that features the pupil-less girl known as 'Little Orphan Annie', may be just a footnote in history, but most people are aware of the musical adaptation, ANNIE, of his creation that premiered in 1977. Even though it was reworked a couple of years ago, that version is not the one that's currently on tour. I didn't see it, so I have no clue what was changed, but I do know that this charming and delightful work by Thomas Meehan, with music by Charles Strouse and lyrics by Martin Charnin, still maintains its humor and heart with its heroine's search for love and acceptance during the darkest days of the depression.
BWW Reviews: THE GHOST BROTHERS OF DARKLAND COUNTY at the Peabody Opera HouseBWW Reviews: THE GHOST BROTHERS OF DARKLAND COUNTY at the Peabody Opera House
December 3, 2014

I guess when you're are a writer of Stephen King's stature you can't help be subject to expectations that are often simply too hard to live up to. Most of the criticism directed at THE GHOST BROTHERS OF DARKLAND COUNTY centers around the book he's cooked up for the show. He and composer (and rock icon) John Mellencamp had been kicking around this idea for about a dozen years, and when it was finally staged it was savaged in a number of ways, with most of the vitriol centered on King's narrative. I wonder if those critics felt the same way a few days after they'd posted their reviews. For me, I've found that the haunting mix of music and imagery has lingered in my memory long after I'd thought it would abate. Charged acting, a terrific roots rock and blues-inflected score, and a story that plays upon simmering tensions that threaten to boil over for the McCandless family, combine to produce something truly special and worthy of appreciation.
BWW Reviews: Magic Smoking Monkey Theatre's Outrageous CANNIBAL! THE MUSICALBWW Reviews: Magic Smoking Monkey Theatre's Outrageous CANNIBAL! THE MUSICAL
December 3, 2014

Back in 1993, CANNIBAL! THE MUSICAL was a peculiar foray into low budget film by director Trey Parker that didn't really find its audience. But, after the phenomenal success of South Park people starting renting it on DVD, soon discovering the kind of quirky humor and tuneful songwriting that had become such an integral part of the animated show's success. With everyone in need of a good laugh during the holiday season, Magic Smoking Monkey Theatre has put together a revival of their 2011 production, and it's every bit as funny and welcome as their original staging, in fact, it's on an even grander scale. This is a show I highly recommend, at least if you have the kind of offbeat sense of humor that I do.
BWW Reviews: The Black Rep's Timely Production of A RAISIN IN THE SUNBWW Reviews: The Black Rep's Timely Production of A RAISIN IN THE SUN
December 3, 2014

Sometimes I'm amazed at the synchronicity that can occur when you see as many plays as I do. For instance, I've had weekends of shows in the past that appeared to be theme related, even though theatre companies are often mapping out their production schedules up to at least a year in advance, and tend to go in their own directions regardless of what other groups are doing. Which brings us to the Black Rep's powerful production of playwright/activist Lorraine Hansberry's work, A RAISIN IN THE SUN. At a time when our community finds itself fractured and unable to come up with solutions that can bring us together and make us whole again, we have the opportunity to see a play that shines a light on just how far we've come, and how far we still have to go.
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.


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