Live Entertainment

Thu
07
Jun

New Line Theatre's YEAST NATION Is Seriously Strange And Infectiously Funny

Micheal Love and Larissa White singing "Life Goes On" in YEAST NATION, New Line Theatre 5/31-6/23 2018 Photo Credit: Jill Ritter Lindberg

When Scott Miller announced that New Line Theatre was doing Anything Goes during their 27th season, the local theatre crowd was abuzz – it seemed too “safe” of a show for the bad boys of musical theatre. Of course they put on a dynamite production. The counterpoint production this season is clearly Yeast Nation, a musical about…yeast. Not the bread kind per se, or any other culinary culture, but the base of the primordial food chain, the single-celled stock of the soup of life. Is it weird? Yes. Is it New Line turned up to eleven, zany and shocking and well-acted with music and songs that are, dare I say it, infectious? Yes, indeed! Yeast Nation is easily the most bizarre musical you’ll see this year and perhaps for many years to come.

Tue
05
Jun

WrestlePro Preview and Predictions - June 8, 2018

WrestlePro makes it's long awaited return to their home at the Rahway Recreation Center in Rahway, NJ on Friday, June 8. Tickets are on sale here!

There are some real big names in the house this month. Tyson Kidd, Demolition, D'Lo Brown, RVD, and Mene Gene Okerland are all here, plus we have Ultimo Dragon, James Ellworth, Flip Gordon, Colt Cobana, and Brandi Rhodes wrestling, along with the always terrific WrestlePro originals.

As usual, WrestlePro has a stacked card, and I am here with your predictions!

Thu
31
May

Clay, Peirson & Pecchioni Sinfully Fabulous In THE BOOK OF MORMON

THE BOOK OF MORMON plays the Fabulous Fox Theatre May 29 - June 3, 2018

When the first National Tour of The Book of Mormon arrived at the Fabulous Fox Theatre in St. Louis several years ago, I was excited to see it. The hype at that time rivaled what you hear about Hamilton today. The show featured book, music and lyrics written by the creators of Comedy Central’s flagship South Park, Trey Parker and Matt Stone and Avenue Q creator Robert Lopez, who also wrote the music for Disney’s animated blockbuster, Frozen. I expected to be in fits of uncontrollable laughter amid moments where my jaw would hang agape at a line that only Archie Bunker or Eric Cartman could get away with. When it was all over, I remember feeling let down. I described it like a boxer pulling their punches when they have their opponent against the ropes. Instead of going in for the crushing blow, they’d stick the jab and then back off.

Wed
30
May

Harry Potter and The Cursed Child Creates Pure Magic in New York's Lyric Theatre

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Part 1 and Part 2

Lyric Theatre in New York City

Main Cast

Thu
17
May

PAX Unplugged 2018 Dates Announced; Tickets on Sale Now

PHILADELPHIA – May 17, 2018 – Tickets for 
Thu
05
Apr

See History Like Never Before With "Hamilton" At The Fox Theatre April 3 - 22

The national tour of "Hamilton"  plays the Fabulous fox Theater April 3 -- 22.

The Fabulous Fox Theatre in St. Louis is host to the national tour of Hamilton, April 3 – 22, 2018. It’s easily the most anticipated show to hit our town’s venerated stage since perhaps the first tour of The Lion King. Over the last few weeks, theatre-minded friends have been talking about the show nonstop. Some have seen it on Broadway. Others have made road trips to catch the tour at stops prior to St. Louis. Many have memorized the cast recording and added hundreds of hits to various YouTube clips. It wasn’t until the night before the performance I was slated to see that I started to get a little apprehensive. The hype for Hamilton has been ridiculously high. How could it possibly live up to the hype?

Hey DJ, gimme a beat…

Hamilton was created by Lin-Manuel Miranda, who was inspired by Ron Chernow’s book about one of the founders of America.

Thu
22
Mar

Understudies Triumph On Opening Night For THE COLOR PURPLE

Bianca Horn (Ensemble/Church Lady), Adrianna Hicks (Celie), Gavin Gregory (Mister), N’Jameh Camara (Nettie)and Angela Birchett (Ensemble/Church Lady)and the North American tour cast of THE COLOR PURPLE. Photo by Matthew Murphy, 2017.

The national tour of The Color Purple swept into the Fabulous Fox Theatre in St. Louis on the first day of spring, March 20, 2018. I have never read the book nor seen the movie, so this was to be my first experience with the Pulitzer Prize-winning story by Alice Walker. I had managed to see the opening credits of the film a handful of times, but I had always attempted to start watching it too late at night and wound up sleeping through it every time. That streak finally came to end and I must admit I was rather shocked by what I’d missed all these years.

Sun
04
Mar

Sarah Porter, Aaron Allen Make ANYTHING GOES A Pleasure Cruise

Sarah Porter, Zachary Allen Farmer and Eileen Engel in New line Theatre's ANYTHING GOES, Mar 1-24, 2017. photo Credit: Jill Ritter Lindberg

New Line Theatre describes itself as “the bad boy of musical theatre.” Co-directors Scott Miller and Mike Dowdy-Windsor certainly never shy away from edgy, sometimes uncomfortable material and have had great success with productions that were terrible flops on Broadway.  Why, then, would these two wild and crazy guys put Anything Goes in the middle of New Line’s 27th season? Isn’t that the polar opposite of a New Line production? Heck, people bring their kids to the free seats at the Muny in Forest Park to see the big splashy tour shows of Anything Goes. Is Scott Miller finally mellowing out after all these years doing shows like Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, Celebration, and Jerry Springer – The Opera?

Thu
01
Mar

Giving Some Lovin' To Steve Winwood's Greatest Hits Tour

Artwork from Steve Winwood's Greatest Hits Live Double Album

When you see a chance, take it. That’s what the man said, right? And why wouldn’t you? The Fabulous Fox Theatre has been host to some amazing musicians with amazingly long careers in recent years. Gladys Knight was a delight, Paul Simon was sensational, Carlos Santana was super, and John Fogerty, well, his show was in a class by itself. Return to Forever, Chick Corea’s jazz super group, was the most inspiring and indescribably beautiful music performance I’ve ever seen. That’s a mighty collection of the best of the best right there, and to join that level of talent you’d have to be pretty special. A multi-instrumentalist, a career spanning more decades than I’ve been alive (and I’m getting old), a career began at the tender age of 14, when there were apparently no child labor laws applicable to piano prodigies in Britain in the 1960s. Yes, the man said when you see a chance, take it, and a full house took the chance to enjoy Steve Winwood live on February 28, 2017.

Thu
01
Feb

WrestlePro - Brace for Impact Preview and Predictions

WrestlePro’s first show of 2018 is going to be a huge one. Brace For Impact will be at WrestlePro's home base at the Rahway Recreation Center in Rahway, NJ on February 3, 2018.

 

Thu
01
Feb

2CELLOS Score Tour Was Like A Wordless AC/DC Concert In St. Louis

2CELLOS The Score Tour played the Fox Theatre 1/29/18.

Let’s do an experiment: when you’re finished reading this sentence, close your eyes, clear your mind, and then think of a cello….hear it playing in your mind…and then open your eyes and continue reading, because otherwise you’ll miss the point of all of this. (I’ll just take a quick nap while you listen to that lovely cello playing in your head….zzz…ready?) OK, now what song did you think of when I said to think of a cello? Was it “The Swan” from Carnival of the Animals by Camille Saint-Saëns? Perhaps Bach’s Cello Suite No. 1 or a cello concerto by Elgar or Dvorak?

Thu
11
Jan

Old Times There Are Not Forgotten? Dolly Parton's Dixie Stampede Gets a Name Change

Dolly Parton's Not-Dixie Stampede

In a time when Confederate statues and flags are being vandalized, removed, or simply voted away, it's shouldn't be surprising to hear that other Southern references are taking the hit. Case in point: Dolly Parton's Dixie Stampede, a dinner theater event in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee (home of Dollywood), as well  as in Branson and Myrtle Beache, will be removing the word "Dixie" from its title.

Dolly explained that the name changes were due to an expansion of the shows into other markets. "By streamlining the names of our shows, it will remove any confusion or concerns about our shows and will help our efforts to expand into new cities," she says. Which probably translates to, "If we wanted to get permits to break ground in these new places, the politicians said we might want to rethink our branding."

Mon
18
Dec

Merry Christmas Charlie Brown Brings Familiar Fun To The Peabody Opera House

Dec 5, 2017 at The Peabody

I had the good fortune to attend A Charlie Brown Christmas Live on Stage at the Peabody Opera House on December 15, 2017. It’s a live version of the classic Peanuts holiday special, with the script verbatim from the show and the music licensed from the Vince Guaraldi Trio, it was a familiar favorite for young and old alike, and indeed I think there were more adults in the audience strolling down memory lane than there were children.

Sun
17
Dec

A Christmas Carol Returns To The Fabulous Fox

A Christmas Carol at the Fox Theatre Dec. 14-17, 2017.

Back in 2013 I reviewed the Nebraska Theatre Caravan‘s production of A Christmas Carol and thoroughly enjoyed it. Four years later I revisited the show, and found it to be a bit underwhelming.

The performance is technically fine, and doesn’t stray from the tried and true formula of Scrooge being a grumpy miser, being visited by his late business partner who heralds the arrival of the Ghosts of Christmases Past, Present ,and Yet to Come before Scrooge realizes how miserable he’s been to everybody  and set s out to make amends. The sets are functional, and some are particularly nice, such as the town square shops in the opening sequence. The costumes are excellent throughout.

Wed
06
Dec

WrestlePro - December 9 Preview and Predictions

Huge weekend for WrestlePro coming up.  They have shows on Friday and Saturday, and both shows are going to feature a huge dose of Impact Wrestling on top of the amazing WrestlePro regulars.

 

Thu
30
Nov

The King and I Shows Why You Can Always Rely On The Classics

Jose Llana and Laura Michelle Kelly in Rodgers and Hammerstein's "The King and I."  Photo Credit: Matthew Murphy

I enjoy seeing new, contemporary theatre, which St. Louis has in abundance.  I also have a deep appreciation for the classics, and sometimes the comfort of seeing Anything Goes or South Pacific is exactly what I want after a stressful week. On November 28, 2017, I finally got to check off a classic from my to-do list that has been “a puzzlement” to me for too long. I guess I always put off watching one of the several Hollywood film versions of the venerable Rodgers & Hammerstein classic The King and I—and I own the one starring Chow Yun-Fat on DVD, still wrapped in plastic—because I wanted to see the pageantry of the stage production first. I’m glad I did. Ace director Bartlett Sher’s Tony Award-winning revival toured to the Fabulous Fox Theatre for a Nov 28- Dec 10, 2017 run that might just be the show to see at the Fox.

Tue
07
Nov

Hawthorne Players' THE SPITFIRE GRILL Serves An Excellent Slice of Small Town Intrigue

Stefanie Kluba, Kathy Fugate and Melanie Kozak in The Hawthorn Player's Production of The Spitfire Grill. Photo Credit: The Hawthorn Players/Ken Clark

One of the best parts of being a theatre critic is the joy of discovering new venues and new shows. On Nov. 3, 2017, I corrected a long overdue oversight. I grew up in North St. Louis County and lived in Florissant for ten years, yet had managed to somehow never set foot in the James Egan Center, aka the Florissant Civic Center. Thus I had never set foot in the spacious Hawthorne Players home at the Florissant Civic Center Theatre before either. The seats rise high and steep enough to see well over anyone’s head in front of you, but not so steep to be problematic for folks like myself with mild mobility issues. The reasonably large stage boasted a gorgeous set designed by Director Ken Clark, built by Master Carpenter/Technical Director Dennis Dudenhoeffer and assisted by the cast and crew of The Spitfire Grill,  the musical I was about to see for the first time.

Sun
29
Oct

Buckingham/McVie Are Still Finger Picking Good

Lindsey Buckingham/Christine McVie played the Fox Theatre on 10/28/17. Photo from www.buckinghammcvie.com

I grew hearing Fleetwood Mac on the radio, but really became aware of them when MTV ran videos for their Tango In the Night hits “Everywhere”, “Seven Wonders,” “Big Love,” and  “Little Lies.” Singer/guitarist Lindsey Buckingham’s “Go Insane” and singer/Keyboardist Christine McVie’s “Got A Hold On Me” were also frequently on MTV in those halcyon days of actual music videos. I remember thinking that Buckingham was a little bit odd, possibly due to his shock of dark curly hair over piercing eyes that seemed to bore into my soul through the television. His voice often seemed somewhat odd too, at least to me. I always thought he’d play a really cool version of the Devil in a long form video or perhaps on Broadway, or maybe even attempt to breakout into film. McVie, on the other hand, seemed much more the wallflower, bashfully sticking to the sidelines while her band mates made the bigger waves.  Those notions were both somewhat accurate and wildly wrong.

Fri
27
Oct

Disney's THE LION KING, the Broadway Musical, is a Roaring Success!

Lion King Broadway

Hakuna Matata! It means no worries! And that's exactly what you'll have when you go see the off-broadway production of Disney's THE LION KING.

On tour, to bring this brilliant musical production to a city near you, it is currently in Syracuse, NY for 3 weeks. At the vintage, and beautiful, Landmark Theater, I wasn't quite sure if it could accomodate a show with large set pieces and near life-size elephant costumes.

But they pulled it off.

Thu
12
Oct

In Saint Louis, Halloween Means The Dave Glover Show

The DGS Halloween Show 2017

Who doesn't love Halloween? Some cultures love it so much, it's not a night but a three-day celebration. Some towns, like Rutland, Vermont, hold a huge parade. And almost everywhere, kids dress up in costumes and go begging for candy. (Here at Critical Blast, we love it so much we dedicate a monthly feature just to people who put on costumes all year long!

For Saint Louis, Missouri, the tradition for almost two decades now has been the Dave Glover Halloween Show, on FM 97.1. Dave and his cohorts, Mark Klose, Rachel Zimmerman, and Tony Colombo, comprise the cast of the consistently number one rated radio show in the market, and the Halloween episode is a huge draw.

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