Steve Callahan

Steve Callahan

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 sixty-eight productions (everything from opera in Poughkeepsie to Mrozek in Woodstock to musical melodrama in Germany) and I've acted in ninety 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 for BWW since 2014.




Favorite Show:

"The Gospel at Colonus" by the St. Louis Black Rep (1996)

Favorite Stories:



MOST POPULAR ARTICLES

Review: MANON LESCAUT at Winter Opera
Review: MANON LESCAUT at Winter Opera
January 19, 2024

Gina Galati’s wonderful Winter Opera company continues its 17th season with Puccini’s Manon Lescaut.  This work, which opened in 1893, was Puccini’s first great hit.  It was rather daring of Puccini to present this piece, based as it was on a novel that had already been adapted to opera by two other composers—first by Daniel Aubert (1856), and then in a hugely successful work by Jules Massenet 1884. 

Review: DON GIOVANNI at Winter Opera
Review: DON GIOVANNI at Winter Opera
November 20, 2023

The wonderful Winter Opera has opened a quite splendid production of what has been called “the opera of all operas”—Mozart’s amazing Don Giovanni.

Review: WRENS at The Kranzberg Arts Center
Review: WRENS at The Kranzberg Arts Center
September 25, 2023

As a man I felt honored to be allowed these glimpses into what it is to be a woman.

Review: RAGTIME at Union Avenue Opera
Review: RAGTIME at Union Avenue Opera
August 22, 2023

When the musical Ragtime was produced for Broadway in 1998 it was a colossal, big-budget show.  It cost some ten million dollars.  What in the world were the folks at tiny little Union Avenue Opera thinking when they decided to include this show in their twenty-ninth season?  Ragtime, the musical treatment of E. L. Doctorow’s vast rambling nostalgic, wonderfully American novel, is far removed from opera.

Review: DON PASQUALE at Union Avenue Opera
Review: DON PASQUALE at Union Avenue Opera
July 31, 2023

Scott Schoonover and his Union Avenue Opera have a long history (now twenty-nine years) of gathering remarkable operatic voices.  Their current production of Donizetti’s Don Pasquale has voices that are astonishingly beautiful!  It’s a work you should not miss!  Two brilliant young stars—Christine Lyons (as Norina) and Namarea Randolph-Yosea (as Ernesto) will show you the real meaning of that mysterious term “bel canto”.

Review: CENTER STAGE at Opera Theatre Of Saint Louis
Review: CENTER STAGE at Opera Theatre Of Saint Louis
June 22, 2023

It was a grandly exciting evening of opera! I “bravo”ed and shouted myself hoarse as the large troupe of singers took their bows—and so did the rest of this huge audienceWhat did our critic think of CENTER STAGE at Opera Theatre Of Saint Louis?

Review: SUSANNAH at Opera Theatre Of Saint Louis
Review: SUSANNAH at Opera Theatre Of Saint Louis
June 14, 2023

It is a brilliant production of the second-most produced American opera. (After 'Porgy and Bess') Gorgeous scenic effects and world-class voices.

Review: COSI FAN TUTTE at Opera Theatre Of Saint Louis
Review: COSI FAN TUTTE at Opera Theatre Of Saint Louis
June 6, 2023

Sublime voices overcome a troubled concept.

Review: TOSCA at Opera Theatre Of Saint Louis
Review: TOSCA at Opera Theatre Of Saint Louis
May 30, 2023

It’s a masterpiece!  Tosca has opened at Opera Theatre of St. Louis, and the production  emphatically reconfirms that group’s status as one of the world’s great opera companies. 

Review: TREEMONISHA at Opera Theatre Of Saint Louis
Review: TREEMONISHA at Opera Theatre Of Saint Louis
May 23, 2023

Last Saturday Opera Theatre of St. Louis premiered a new adaptation of Scott Joplin’s legendary opera Treemonisha.  It is a bright and worthy addition to our recent flurry of adoration of some of America’s major black composers;  the Black Rep closed their stunningly fine evening of Eubie Blake’s music three days earlier.

Review: THE DESERT SONG at Winter Opera
Review: THE DESERT SONG at Winter Opera
March 7, 2023

A stellar cast brightens a Romberg favorite. Operetta, as a genre, arose in the 1850's and swelled into a widely beloved form of entertainment. In America its chief luminaries were Sigmund Romberg, Victor Herbert, and Rudolf Friml. From the 1920's to the '40's the modern musical gradually drove operettas from the stage (except for the happily undying works of Gilbert & Sullivan). And I miss them! So I greatly approve of Winter Opera's offering us this old piece.

Review: SPELLS OF THE SEA at Metro Theater Company
Review: SPELLS OF THE SEA at Metro Theater Company
February 14, 2023

'Spells of the Sea' shows polished professionalism. The marvelous Metro Theater Company has launched it's 50th season of fine theater for children. They open with a world premiere of a musical play, Spells of the Sea, by Guinevere Govea (with contributions by Anna Pickett). It's playing at the Grandel Theater.

Review: VERDI'S MACBETH at Winter Opera
Review: VERDI'S MACBETH at Winter Opera
January 25, 2023

St. Louis’ Winter Opera opened its sixteenth season with a vocally brilliant production of Verdi’s Macbeth.

Review: LA RONDINE at Winter Opera
Review: LA RONDINE at Winter Opera
November 25, 2022

Winter Opera has presented a truly gorgeous production of Puccini's La Rondine (The Swallow). Puccini is the supreme master of romantic melody, and in Rondine he outdoes himself. I love this opera, my heart having been beguiled early by one lilting, gently syncopated romantic waltz refrain that recurs again and again like the memory of a distant sweet infatuation.

Review: THE GOOD SHIP ST. LOUIS at Upstream Theater
Review: THE GOOD SHIP ST. LOUIS at Upstream Theater
November 14, 2022

The world premiere of 'The Good Ship St. Louis' is beautiful, theatrical, stylish, poetic, rich. It's a gracefully told tale of doomed refugees.

Review: A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC at Union Avenue Opera
Review: A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC at Union Avenue Opera
August 25, 2022

This, Sondheim's most charming work, receives a splendid production at Union Avenue Opera. Yesterday I mentioned to two of my kids that we'd just seen A Little Night Music. Now they had both memorized most of Sweeney Todd some forty years ago while in grade school or junior high, so I was appalled to find that neither of them was familiar with this earlier Sondheim masterpiece. What sort of wretchedly deprived childhood had we given them?!

Review: FALSTAFF at Union Avenue Opera
Review: FALSTAFF at Union Avenue Opera
August 1, 2022

Verdi's Falstaff is another glittering gem in the train of Union Avenue Opera. I'm not a big fan of 're-purposing' classic plays. Poor Shakespeare! He's been subjected to such vandalism over the years with modern 'concept' versions of his works. No, I do not want to go to see a trendy lesbian-Hamlet-on-Mars!

Review: EUGENE ONEGIN at Union Avenue Opera
Review: EUGENE ONEGIN at Union Avenue Opera
July 11, 2022

Glorious voices fill Tchaikovsky's masterpiece with beauty. After the tribulations of the pandemic the Union Avenue Opera returns to its lovely home. Here, in the nave of the Union Avenue Christian Church, the company presents first-class opera up-close and intimate. They open their 28th season with a superb production of Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin.

Review: CENTER STAGE at Opera Theatre Of Saint Louis
Review: CENTER STAGE at Opera Theatre Of Saint Louis
June 23, 2022

What did our critic think? Center Stage is a great smörgåsbord of opera- No, no, that's far too Swedish and Lutheran and heavy. If the whole OTSL festival is a great feast, then Center Stage is the delicious icing on the top of that final cake. It's all dessert and no vegetables.

BWW Review: A Revised, Dream-Haunted HARVEY MILK  at Opera Theatre Of Saint Louis
BWW Review: A Revised, Dream-Haunted HARVEY MILK at Opera Theatre Of Saint Louis
June 13, 2022

A marvelously theatrical, dream-haunted evening tells of gay-rights activist Harvey Milk’s life and death.



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