BWW Review:  'KING CHARLES III' Probes Royal Power at the IvoryBWW Review: 'KING CHARLES III' Probes Royal Power at the Ivory
by Steve Callahan - Aug 26, 2018

What is the place of monarchy in today's world? An utterly fascinating 'King Charles III' opens at the Ivory. (more...)

BWW Review: The New Jewish Theatre's Fascinating GOLDA'S BALCONY
by Chris Gibson - Oct 14, 2016

After playwright William Gibson's GOLDA fizzled he reworked the material to form the one woman show GOLDA'S BALCONY. It's been a big success for the actresses who have undertaken the role, and we're lucky to have one of St. Louis' finest portraying this historically important figure. The New Jewish Theatre's current production, which opens their 20th season, gives Lavonne Byers the opportunity to, once again, thoroughly engage and enthrall an audience, while giving us insights into Golda Meir's fascinating life story. This is an incredibly well crafted presentation that definitely deserves your attendance. (more...)

BWW Review: Lovely and Touching SUBLIME INTIMACY by Max and Louie Productions
by Chris Gibson - Dec 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. (more...)

BWW Reviews: The Black Rep's Fascinating Production of EMERGENCY
by Chris Gibson - Sep 12, 2013

St. Louis is home to dozens of theatre companies, most of which have the same problem; finding a venue in which to perform. The Black Rep, which utilized the Grandel Theatre for many years, is now faced with this same issue. But, thankfully, they were able to find space at Washington University, using the A.E. Hotchner Studio Theatre for their latest presentation, playwright Danel Beaty's one-man show, EMERGENCY. For this particular show they've found a perfect fit. In fact, this must-see performance from actor Ron Conner is required viewing. (more...)

BWW Reviews: Black Rep's Premiere Production of SMASH/HIT!
by Chris Gibson - May 9, 2013

I'm still not sure exactly how I feel about the Black Rep's latest premiere production, SMASH/HIT!, although there is certainly a lot of potential to the story, and various elements that make up the plot, it's not completely cohesive. There's an awful lot to digest here in this drama that contains music, which might be better served as a complete musical (or as a less musical drama), instead of winding up neither fish nor fowl. But, I can't honestly say that I can't recommend this show, because it is engagingly acted, contains some catchy tracks, and has fine overall direction. It's a mixed bag, but it's a mixed bag worth seeing for yourself. (more...)

BWW Reviews: The Black Rep's Powerful Production of THE WHIPPING MAN
by Chris Gibson - Apr 4, 2013

THE WHIPPING MAN is a fascinating and intriguing look at religion and the aftereffects of emancipation that's set in the days following the end of the Civil War. It examines a subject unfamiliar to most, and that's the fact that there were slaves on plantations that were raised in the Jewish faith. This interesting twist gives this engaging and powerful story an educational depth that both informs and entertains. Playwright Mathew Lopez's work gets its St. Louis premiere with an excellent production by the Black Rep. (more...)

Erin Davie, Karen Ziemba, and More Earn 2013 Louie Awards Nominations
by BWW News Desk - Jan 18, 2013

The St. Louis Theater Circle has just announced the nominees for the 2013 Louie Awards, honoring excellence in professional theater. The ceremony is set to take place on March 11 at the Gaslight Theater (358 North Boyle Avenue). To reserve tickets, email stltheatercircle@sbcglobal.net. (more...)

BWW Reviews: The New Jewish Theatre Stages Lovely TALLEY'S FOLLY
by Chris Gibson - Dec 8, 2012

If you're looking for heart-warming fare this holiday season, then look no further than The New Jewish Theatre's splendid production of playwright Lanford Wilson's work, TALLEY'S FOLLY. This is a romantic and touching play that features two wonderful performances and masterly direction. It's a perfect contrast to some of the more edgy productions currently playing in town, and it's ideal fit for couples looking for something that's engaging, entertaining, and brimming with hope. For me, this is a great example of must-see theatre. (more...)

BWW Reviews: St. Louis Actors' Studio Present Killer Show with KILLER JOE
by Chris Gibson - Apr 24, 2012

KILLER JOE is a killer show! I only regret not being able to see this show until I'd returned from my vacation, effectively eliminating my chance to laud the show properly in order to drive an audience to it. My sincerest apologies, because I'm a fan of playwright Tracy Letts, and, not having seen this show before, I was unprepared for its sheer rawness. It's a hilarious pulpy send-up on the classic idea of hiring a hitman to off someone in order to benefit monetarily from the situation, and the St. Louis Actors' Studio have outdone themselves with an excellent rendering of this early work. The direction and acting of the entire ensemble is fearless and superb. (more...)

BWW Reviews: The Black Rep's Moving Production of NO CHILD
by Chris Gibson - Mar 20, 2012

With NO CHILD, playwright Nilaja Sun brings to light the troubling failure of the "No Child Left Behind" program. It's a fascinating look at one teacher/artist's attempt to reach a group of student who describe themselves as the worst in the school. Conceived as a one woman play, the work gives an actress the opportunity to portray a number of characters from teachers, to students, to the principal herself, as well as a sage old custodian who acts as a sort of narrator for this play within a play within a play. The Black Rep's thoughtful production is superbly performed and directed, and is so socially relevant that it demands to be seen. (more...)

BWW Reviews: The Black Rep's Funkadelic Production of A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM
by Chris Gibson - Feb 23, 2012

A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM is one of the few Shakespearean plays that's considered totally original, not owing its story to any other source other than the Bard's imagination. It's a delightful romantic comedy with fun, supernatural elements, and unlike his many tragedies and histories, nobody dies. In the hands of The Black Rep, it's been transformed into an absolutely funkadelic experience. Director Chris Anthony has set this version in the 1970's, and as such, it's filled with wildly colored clothing from that period, and features snippets of dialog and music anyone who grew up in that era will recognize. It's also superbly performed. (more...)

BWW Reviews: New Jewish Theatre's Heartbreaking Production of WAY TO HEAVEN
by Chris Gibson - Feb 1, 2012

David Johnston's translation of playwright Juan Mayorga's WAY TO HEAVEN is an intriguing play with an interesting concept and execution. Told in five acts, the work, at first, seems to suffer from repetition, until you begin to realize just how this moment in history actually took place. The act which begins after the intermission brings it all together in a much more satisfying and conclusive fashion. Getting there is frustrating at times, but well worth the trip. The current production by the New Jewish Theatre is a spellbinding true tale that will linger in your memory long after the curtain falls on this show. The ensemble work is exceptional, and the story itself is heartbreaking, powerful stuff. (more...)

BWW Reviews: Black Rep's Excellent Production of ON GOLDEN POND
by Chris Gibson - Jan 17, 2012

I remember seeing the movie version of ON GOLDEN POND, and though it's very well done, it's awfully mawkish and sentimental. I've kind of avoided the movie ever since, just because I really didn't feel like having a cry fest. But, the actual play by Ernest Thompson is surprisingly amusing and touching, and rarely goes overboard on the sentimentality. The Black Rep's current production is a very entertaining, moving, and funny presentation buoyed by the performances of an excellent cast. (more...)

BWW Reviews: St. Louis Actors' Studio and the Black Rep Combine Their Efforts for Informative PALMER PARK
by Chris Gibson - Nov 10, 2011

The late 1960's were a time of great social upheaval, and race riots broke out in a number of major cities, leading to what has been termed 'white flight', as the Caucasians abandoned the urban areas for the suburbs. The latest production at the Missouri History Museum, PALMER PARK, written by playwright Joanna McClelland, is a joint effort between the Black Rep and the St. Louis Actors' Studio that examines this time in our history. But, it focuses specifically on an integrated neighborhood known as Palmer Park, where huge beautiful homes could be purchased relatively cheaply because of their proximity to downtown Detroit. Here, middle class African Americans could mix (in a strict 65% white, 35% black ratio) and mingle in an idyllic setting where many long held myths were shattered. (more...)

BWW Reviews: Shakespeare Festival St. Louis's Charming 1950's Production of THE TAMING OF THE SHREW
by Harrison Kaplan - Jun 12, 2011

A busy month has produced a number of outstanding options for theatre-goers in St. Louis, and even when the weather is as variable as has been over the last few weeks, there's no denying the appeal of watching a fine production of Shakespeare in Forest Park, especially when it doesn't cost you one thin dime to attend (not counting the gas it may take you to get there). Shakespeare Festival St. Louis shrewdly (if you'll pardon the pun) re-imagines one of the Bard's works, THE TAMING OF THE SHREW, with sets, costumes and a Cadillac straight out of the 1950's, and it works like a charm. (more...)

BWW Review: The Black Rep's Moving Production of BLACK PEARL SINGS!
by Chris Gibson - Apr 24, 2011

John and Alan Lomax were pioneering folklorists and ethnomusicologists who tracked down songs and performers to produce field recordings that provide a compelling picture of our cultural history in musical terms. Oft times, their recordings required them to travel to remote locations, or even prisons, to find heretofore undiscovered gems. BLACK PEARL SINGS!, by playwright Frank Higgins, is an intriguing and fictionalized take on their unique talent for ferreting out these songs, here casting an ambitious female in their role. The Black Rep's current production is an engaging glimpse into the processes individuals like the Lomax brothers utilized, and it features sharp direction and a terrific two person cast. (more...)

The Black Rep Presents BLACK PEARL SINGS! 4/20-5/15
by Chris Gibson - Apr 20, 2011

Set in the 1930's, jailed in a Texas prison, Alberta 'Pearl' Johnson has little hope for release and even less for reconnecting with her missing daughter. That is until Susannah Mullally, a song collector on a mission to record pieces of African American culture, overhears Pearl singing while on a visit to the prison. Through her music, Pearl has the unexpected opportunity to earn her freedom and search for her daughter. BLACK PEARL SINGS! is a work that harnesses race relations and the rich oral history of the African American community to build a tale that is funny, touching and compelling. (more...)

The Black Rep Presents BLACK PEARL SINGS! 4/20-5/15
by Chris Gibson - Apr 13, 2011

Set in the 1930's, jailed in a Texas prison, Alberta 'Pearl' Johnson has little hope for release and even less for reconnecting with her missing daughter. That is until Susannah Mullally, a song collector on a mission to record pieces of African American culture, overhears Pearl singing while on a visit to the prison. Through her music, Pearl has the unexpected opportunity to earn her freedom and search for her daughter. BLACK PEARL SINGS! is a work that harnesses race relations and the rich oral history of the African American community to build a tale that is funny, touching and compelling. (more...)

Hottest Articles on BWW St. Louis from 2/27/2011 - 3/6/2011
by BWW - Mar 6, 2011

Hottest Articles on BroadwayWorld.com St. Louis from 2/27/2011 - 3/6/2011. (more...)

Shakespeare Festival St. Louis Announces Cast for THE TAMING OF THE SHREW, 5/25-6/19
by Chris Gibson - Mar 4, 2011

Shakespeare Festival St. Louis has announced the cast of its May 25-June 19 production, THE TAMING OF THE SHREW. 'Once again the Festival has attracted top-tier talent from across the country, and we are in for a fantastic season,' says Executive Director Rick Dildine. As previously announced Sean Graney will direct the production with a design team that includes Scott C. Neale (Scenic Designer), Alison Siple (Costume Designer), John Wylie (Lighting Designer) and Robin Weatherall (Sound Designer). (more...)

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