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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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
Posted: Nov. 5, 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

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

BWW Reviews: Lively and Fun HOLIDAY INN at The MunyBWW Reviews: Lively and Fun HOLIDAY INN at The Muny
Posted: Jul. 7, 2015

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!
BWW Review: The New Jewish Theatre's Moving and Hilarious THE SUNSHINE BOYSBWW Review: The New Jewish Theatre's Moving and Hilarious THE SUNSHINE BOYS
October 21, 2015

The New Jewish Theatre opens their season with a nicely staged presentation of Neil Simon's lovingly written tribute to the those long gone days of vaudeville, THE SUNSHINE BOYS. As you would expect from such a prolific and gifted writer, the jokes come fast and furious, reflecting the nature of the characters as much as the subject matter, particularly with regards to Willie Clark, and his habit of finding some wry and cynical take on any conversation directed toward him. It's a reflex, and one I totally get, because I often find myself doing the same thing. It's a defense mechanism, I suppose. And, if this seems like I'm getting a little deep, that's because this version of the show has a certain poignancy and emotional affectation that provides the play with additional depth. Perhaps that's due to the fact that the main actors are normally ones you would find doing predominately dramatic works. But, this is proof positive that you can't always judge an actor by their portfolio, because they confound expectations with their superb performances. Go see this wonderfully fresh take on THE SUNSHINE boys, you'll certainly be glad you did.
BWW Review: Upstream Theaters Wonderful DE KUS/THE KISSBWW Review: Upstream Theaters Wonderful DE KUS/THE KISS
October 16, 2015

Playwright Ger Thijs' work, DE KUS has been splendidly translated by Paul Evans in Upstream Theater's production of THE KISS. There is a certain magic in these woods where a chance encounter takes place. It's that old adage about the importance of first impressions, but taken to show that second and third and fourth, etc impressions can be more even more revealing, and honest. That's the sense of wonder we experience watching this unique play, set in a woodland, path strewn Dutch forest, where a man and woman meet repeatedly, and find new "hidden truths" that allow each of them to delve a bit closer into the life of the other. It's a truly special show that captures the imagination in unexpected fashion, somehow transforming a black box theatre into a beautiful landscape where personalities begin to emerge as an unlikely couple come together, to ponder, console, and pass the time. This is just a terrific show that completely demands your attendance.
BWW Review: Stray Dog Theatre's Touching and Affecting DOGFIGHTBWW Review: Stray Dog Theatre's Touching and Affecting DOGFIGHT
October 16, 2015

I remember when the film version of DOGFIGHT was release, and how I was initially repelled by the very concept, but then I saw the film, and I understood. You'll understand even more when you take in Stray Dog Theatre's local premiere presentation of the musical version of DOGFIGHT, and it's and absolute must see! This is truly a revelatory experience, with a smart book by Peter Duchan, and wonderfully arranged music and lyrics by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul. It's a cool score that lifts the action in an even more affecting manner than the movie does. It's the intimacy we experience when we see something live unfold before our eyes. This is a truly wondrous production that will move you, and that's what theatre is all about.
BWW Review: New Line Theatre's Dark and Outstanding HEATHERSBWW Review: New Line Theatre's Dark and Outstanding HEATHERS
October 7, 2015

The 1980's were an interesting time for movies with teen comedy/dramas seemingly appearing everywhere, and one of the most intriguing aspects of these pictures was the absence of many adult characters. The late John Hughes was responsible for several "brat pack" films that established a distinct tone for this genre, but it was near the end of this cycle that director Michael Lehmann and screenwriter Daniel Waters put together something that took those established tropes in an entirely different, and decidedly dark, direction with the movie HEATHERS. The musical version had a run Off-Broadway in 2014, and now you can see it in all its pitch black glory with New Line Theatre's amazing production, which opens their 25th season. Not only is it a fantastic and edgy show, but it also marks their first presentation in their new venue, the Marcelle Theater (lovingly designed by Rob Lippert). This is a dazzling and intense show that features a smartly crafted book and score, courtesy of Laurence O'Keefe and Kevin Murphy, as well as an excellent cast and expert direction. This is beyond must-see entertainment. This is an accomplishment you absolutely have to check out. You'll be dazzled by its brilliance, and completely floored by the wonderful performances you'll be witness to.
BWW Review: Fitfully Funny SEMINAR by The St. Louis Actors' StudioBWW Review: Fitfully Funny SEMINAR by The St. Louis Actors' Studio
October 4, 2015

When you're a creative person it's very important to have other people check out your work, not just for validation, but to give you good, honest feedback. It's a vital part of the process, because it's a way for you to tweak the things that are good to make them better, and also to cut the things that just don't work for whatever reason. Playwright Theresa Rebeck applies this notion to fiction writers in her work SEMINAR. The St. Louis Actors' Studio is currently presenting a production of this play, and it's an interesting, if only fitfully amusing, look at how a group of writers react to the various criticisms they receive once they've signed up and paid for seminar with someone who's achieved a modicum of success in his given field. I think this will mostly appeal to those prospective authors who are curious about how such a seminar would function, and I think the general public will find it fairly entertaining, but not nearly as funny, or serious, as it could be.
BWW Review: The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis' Powerful and Compelling ALL THE WAYBWW Review: The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis' Powerful and Compelling ALL THE WAY
September 17, 2015

Taking it's name from the campaign slogan Lyndon B. Johnson would utilize for his run for the presidency in 1964, playwright Robert Schenkkan has crafted a brilliant, compelling, and very informative work with ALL THE WAY that picks up right after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in November of 1963. Schenkkan has actually written another play (THE GREAT SOCIETY) that follows subsequent events in Johnson's life from 1964-1968. But, here the focus is on that tumultuous period when the nation was basically in shock as they witnessed their iconic fresh-faced president being gunned down, and with it their dreams of a 'new frontier'. However, they didn't realize they were in the hands of a career politician who knew that the road to something more than an 'accidental' presidency lay in his ability to make sweeping changes in our society, no matter what the cost. The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis opens their season with a masterful production of this intriguing play, and I think you'll be blown away by revelations that have been glossed over in history books. A very strong cast and crew bring this story to life with amazing results that are thought-provoking and fascinating.
BWW Review: STAGES St. Louis' Heart-Warming and Hilarious THE FULL MONTYBWW Review: STAGES St. Louis' Heart-Warming and Hilarious THE FULL MONTY
September 14, 2015

If you've seen the movie version of the THE FULL MONTY, and even if you haven't, you should make it a point to see STAGES St. Louis' current production of the musical version, because it's a fabulous show. Sometimes it's silly, sometimes it's serious, but one thing is certain, it's a show that tugs at the heart and has you rooting hard for these unemployed steel workers to pull off the scheme one of them hatches in order to earn some real cash. The show is wonderfully cast, and smartly directed, and more importantly, features a splendid, catchy score (music and lyrics by David Yazbek), and a top notch script by Terrence McNally that retains a lot of the more significant issues that made the movie so special to begin with. At its core it's a story of hope and following your dreams in the face of adversity, something we could all use more of, and that alone makes it an absolute must-see event.
BWW Review: Black Rep's Fun and Funky TELL ME SOMETHIN' GOODBWW Review: Black Rep's Fun and Funky TELL ME SOMETHIN' GOOD
September 10, 2015

The sheer breadth of material from the 1950's to the 1990's covered in TELL ME SOMETHIN' GOOD is just staggering. With the inclusion of over 60 tunes, Ron Himes has conceived a revue that plays like a musical history lesson, transporting us back to the humble beginnings of R&B, and revealing the lasting impact that these songs have made. The Black Rep opens their season with a classic from their repertoire, and it features an enthusiastic and talented cast that are perfectly capable of recreating these vintage numbers for a new generation to enjoy.
BWW Review: Mustard Seed Theatre's Truly Touching Production of THE AMISH PROJECTBWW Review: Mustard Seed Theatre's Truly Touching Production of THE AMISH PROJECT
September 4, 2015

As playwright Jessica Dickey reveals in her notes in the program, THE AMISH PROJECT is a fictionalized realization of an actual event that occurred in Nickel Mines, which has an Amish community. There, several female children were senselessly gunned down in their school room by a very troubled man who then killed himself. There is more to the story, and a simple search on the internet will reveal even more gruesome details. In fact, you'll find out that school shootings have, sadly, been going on for hundreds of years. This is not a new phenomenon, but a disturbing one nonetheless. Dickey explains that the schoolhouse no longer exists, but was razed by the Amish community and designated as a grazing area with three maple trees being the only reminder of the place where the tragedy happened. To maintain their anonymity, Dickey creates characters who are meant to represent various individuals, and gives us an unflinching glimpse into the scene that took place, while also respecting their privacy and helping us to better understand the surprising sense of forgiveness and acceptance that the Amish practice, even if others still find their ways to be unusual in this modern age we live in. Mustard Seed Theatre opens their season with this intensely powerful and moving work, and it's required viewing for any fan of exceptional theatre.
BWW Book Review: Alex Sheremet's Insightful WOODY ALLEN: REEL TO REALBWW Book Review: Alex Sheremet's Insightful WOODY ALLEN: REEL TO REAL
August 28, 2015

One of the things I truly enjoy about being a critic is not just the fact that I get to cover the St. Louis theater scene, but also that I receive countless opportunities to review other mediums within the artistic world of creation. I've had the request to deliver my thoughts and opinions on concerts, CDs, DVDs, art, and books. The printed word is something I've always enjoyed, and when that book concerns music, theater or film, it touches on subjects that are especially near and dear to my heart. So, when I was contacted by Ascot Media Group about Alex Sheremet's ebook, Woody Allen: Reel to Real (Take2 Publishing), I naturally jumped at the chance. Not only because I've always admired Woody's movies, but because I feel he's never been given a truly honest and thorough examination of his vast body of work. Writer Alex Sheremet has taken on the task, and since it is truly a digi-dialogue, it will be an ever evolving piece that will continue to grow as Allen continues to make films, and as discussions occur concerning their validity and worth.
BWW News: STAGES St.Louis' CHEERS! Benefit for Education and Artistic ProgramsBWW News: STAGES St.Louis' CHEERS! Benefit for Education and Artistic Programs
August 19, 2015

I had the distinct privilege of being invited to attend Cheers! STAGES St. Louis' Annual Summer Cabaret last week, and it was a unique and fun experience that I was able to share with my young son. It's a yearly event that's designed to raise funds for STAGES' educational and artistic programs, and it featured a number of very interesting and entertaining performances, as well as some tasty appetizers and desserts prepared by Michael Brightman's With Love Catering. To say the event was a success is an understatement. What made this particular presentation especially memorable was the world premiere of a work-in-progress production of THE STORY GOES ON, which is a brand new revue of the songs of Richard Maltby, Jr. and David Shire.
BWW Review: The MUNY's Spectacular OKLAHOMA!BWW Review: The MUNY's Spectacular OKLAHOMA!
August 12, 2015

It's most certainly a renowned and respected classic of musical theatre, and the fact is that it's so popular that you're likely to find a production playing somewhere in the world at any given moment. One of my early reviewing assignments was covering the show back in 2007, the last time it played here. Of course, I'm talking about Rodgers and Hammerstein's iconic OKLAHOMA!. This lovingly rendered production breathes new life into a show that's an absolute natural for the outdoor setting that The MUNY's stage provides. See it, and be enriched by a vibrant presentation that's a perfect way to introduce your family to the considerable charms of this musical, as well as the venue staging it!
BWW Reviews: Family Fun at The MUNY with BEAUTY AND THE BEASTBWW Reviews: Family Fun at The MUNY with BEAUTY AND THE BEAST
July 30, 2015

Each year The MUNY makes it a point to present a full-blown musical that's aimed at the younger set. This year it's BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, which was given the patented Disney treatment when adapted for the stage from their own 1991 animated film. So, it retains plenty of the elements that made the film so successful, while also featuring some additional songs by Alan Menken, Howard Ashman and Tim Rice, some of which were cut from the movie. There's no denying the appeal of this material, and it's a perfect way to introduce kids to the wonders of live theatre in such a lovely setting, and on such a grand scale.
BWW Reviews: Stages St. Louis' Delightful and De-Lovely ANYTHING GOESBWW Reviews: Stages St. Louis' Delightful and De-Lovely ANYTHING GOES
July 24, 2015

When you've been reviewing shows for a while you're bound to see a few more than once or twice. And, while I've had the opportunity to see ANYTHING GOES a couple of times before, I can honestly say this is the finest production I've been privileged to attend. Packed with a slew of memorable tunes (music and lyrics by the late, great Cole Porter), a clever and very amusing script (new book by Timothy Crouse and John Weidman), high energy dancing, and a top notch cast, this ranks as one of my favorites shows of the year. Stages St. Louis consistently delivers quality entertainment, but this presentation far exceeded my already high expectations, and I honestly consider it to be a must-see! It's a genuine crowd pleasing experience that will make you want to come back for more. But, get your tickets now, because it will surely sell-out quickly!
BWW Reviews: Ricky Skaggs, Sharon White & Ry Cooder at The Sheldon Concert HallBWW Reviews: Ricky Skaggs, Sharon White & Ry Cooder at The Sheldon Concert Hall
July 23, 2015

When an audience gives a group of performers a standing ovation before they've even played a single note you know you're in for a very special evening. Such was the case this past Monday (July 20, 2015) at The Sheldon Concert Hall, as Ricky Skaggs, Sharon White, Ry Cooder and company took to the stage to perform a memorable and moving collection of classic gospel, country, and bluegrass tunes. It really doesn't get any better than this if you're a fan of the roots of country music. Not too far removed in execution from the terrific performance earlier this year by Marty Stuart and His Fabulous Superlatives, this is a group of musicians who seek to keep the fire burning for tunes that seem to have a life all their own, even if a lot of them have been overlooked, underplayed, and overshadowed by the pop sensibilities that have overtaken a great deal of modern country music. If you missed it, then you should be kicking yourself - this was pure bliss from start to finish.
BWW Reviews: The MUNY's Awesome INTO THE WOODS at Forest ParkBWW Reviews: The MUNY's Awesome INTO THE WOODS at Forest Park
July 22, 2015

I purposely avoided the recent film version of INTO THE WOODS because I really didn't find the previews or the stunt casting appropriate. For me, it's a work that requires an audience to use their imagination to a great extent, and movies tend to give form to those things that are much better left conjured up in your own mind. That's why my son and I absolutely loved The MUNY's current presentation of the show. Let's face it, a woodland setting created utilizing green screen technology and a few key set pieces is nowhere near as effective at conveying the atmosphere desired, especially when you already have those actual elements growing freely at the back of this marvelous outdoor stage. Stephen Sondheim (music and lyrics) and James Lapine (book) crafted a brilliant mash-up of several fairy tales and fables that is smart, funny, and, ultimately, touching. When I asked my boy what he thought of the show at the end of the night he neatly summed it up: 'I thought it was awesome!' I agree wholeheartedly. Superbly cast and conceived, this is a production that's simply tailor made for The MUNY. Go see it, and take your kids with you! It may have a few moments that are a bit gruesome or adult in content, but they'll have a wonderful time, and so will you!



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