A native Kansan I have a BA (Math and Theatre) and MA (Theatre). I was working on a PhD in Theatre when IBM sniffed my math background and lured me away with money enough to feed my (then two) children. Nevertheless I've been active in theatre all my life--having directed fifty-three productions (everything from opera in Poughkeepsie to Mrozek in Woodstock to musical melodrama in Germany) and I've acted in seventy others. Now that I'm retired I don't have that eight-to-five distraction and can focus a bit more. I've regularly reviewed theatre in St. Louis for KDHX since 1991 and am tickled now to also join BWW.
For going on fifteen years now Philip Boehm's Upstream Theater has been giving us some of the finest, most thought-provoking theater in town. Now they have opened a play about two iconic American agitators in the struggle for equal rights: Frederick Douglass and Susan B. Anthony. It's by playwright Mat Smart, and it's called simply a?oeThe Agitatorsa??.BWW Review: WHAMMY! at The Young Liars September 29, 2019
Union Avenue Opera is on a roll! Two homers in a row! First their sublime Candide, and now an equally fine production of Puccini's La bohème. Union Avenue knocked them both right into the bleachers, and those of us who were lucky enough to catch one of those prize performances now own a true treasure. I caught La bohème last night and I think I'll have that experience bronzed.BWW Review: Union Avenue Opera Gives St. Louis a Brilliant CANDIDE July 8, 2019
The Opera Theatre of St. Louis continues its 44th festival season of world class opera with a magnificent production of Giuseppe Verdi's Rigoletto. OTSL presented a splendid Rigoletto fourteen years ago, but this production is, I think, even better. It's the best Rigoletto your ever likely to see.BWW Review: FIGARO is Brilliantly Married in St. Louis May 28, 2019
Opera Theatre of St. Louis has opened its 44th festival season. This is St. Louis' prized centerpiece of opera, with a world-wide reputation. It is famous for its superb productions. The company's home is the beautiful and comfortable 763-seat Browning Theatre at Webster University. Gourmet picnic suppers may be enjoyed before the show on the lovely grounds of the theater. All operas are performed in English with super-titles.BWW Review: Winter Opera brings Remarkable Voices to the Druidic World of NORMA March 11, 2019
The Glass Menagerie has been revered by audiences and critics around the world for three-quarters of a century. I suppose that, like all sacred icons, it occasionally should be taken down a peg or two. The very energetically wild folks at Ten Directions have arrived, axes in hand, to have a chop or two at this old classic. Their Bouffon Glass Menajoree opened last night at the Centene under the aegis of the Young Liars.BWW Review: Boys will be Girls in this Glorious LE CAGE AUX FOLLES March 5, 2019
The New Jewish Theatre has opened 'District Merchants', by Aaron Posner, and it is certainly among the finest productions I've ever seen there. Posner's script is most remarkably beautiful-it's masterful indeed.BWW Review: THE ITALIAN GIRL IN ALGIERS at Winter Opera February 1, 2019
There's that initial low, stealthy tip-toeing pizzicato, like a Warner Brothers cat creeping up on a clever mouse. Then an oboe slips in, and other woodwinds, some piccolo. Then (SURPRISE!) a racing, romping foretaste of the musical fun to follow. It's the utterly delicious overture to Giochino Rossini's L'italiana in Algeri-The Italian Girl in Algiers. It's another bright success in Winter Opera's long list of delights.BWW Review: Upstream Hosts A Merry Debate in WITTENBERG January 29, 2019
The Upstream Theater has opened a lovely production of Wittenberg, by David Davalos. It is a 'tragical-comical-historical play', a genre first mentioned by Polonius and rarely seen thereafter. (I guess Stoppard's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead would fill the bill.) Here in Wittenberg we meet two great figures, Martin Luther and Dr. John Faustus, both professors at the University. Attending their lectures is an ardent young Danish student, Hamlet.BWW Review: THE WOLVES Score Big at the St. Louis Rep January 20, 2019
Four years ago the New Jewish Theatre offered a side-splitting evening of 'Four Old Jews Telling Jokes'; now they offer 'An Act of God'. Once again it's an evening of stand-up comedy. So, who do you think could tell a joke better than an old Borscht-Belt Jewish comic? Do I hear you cry, 'Nobody!'? Well, how about God himself? God's famous for his sense of humor; just look at the book of Job.BWW Review: St. Louis Repertory Theater Presents A DOLL'S HOUSE, PART 2 October 14, 2018
A scandalous drama is still politically potent after 139 years! When Nora Helmer slammed that door in 1879 she told the world that her duty to herself was greater than her duty to her family. Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House has been an iconic inspiration to generations of second-wave feminists. In that simple, strong action Nora--Torvald's 'little songbird'-- flipped the bird to centuries of patriarchy.