Live Entertainment

Thu
14
Apr

ARROW and LEGENDS OF TOMORROW Star Announced for Heroes and Villains FanFest!

Heroes and Villains FanFest has expanded their celebrity guest list for the upcoming event in NY/NJ. This time their bringing in Caity Lotz, who is currently a time-traveling LEGEND for DC's latest CW hit series.

WARNING: This announcement / analysis contains SPOILERS for a recent episode of CW's ARROW.

Her character, Sara Lance, went from party girl (sneaking off with her sister's boyfriend, Oliver Queen) to a deadly assassing with a crew of time-travelers; trying to stop a madman from destroying the world as we know it.

Thu
07
Apr

Beautiful Score and Fine Performances Enlighten the Dark BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY

THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY at the Fox Theatre, St. Louis. Photo by Matthew Murphy

 THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY is the Tony Award winning musical based on the novel by Robert James Waller, which in turn was made into a hit 1995 film directed by and starring Clint Eastwood with Meryl Streep. I have somehow managed to miss the film and never got around to the book. I entered the resplendent Fox Theatre in St. Louis knowing only that it was a musical and a love story, and that there were likely going ot be bridges of some sort. I’d like to tell you that I always plan to see shows like this with zero preconceived notions, but this one was just providence.

Wed
06
Apr

Charming HELVETICA Tells A Writer's Story From the Story's Perspective

Katie Palazzola and Kelvin Urday in Tesseract Theatre's production of HELVETICA. Photo Credit: Jackie Zigler.

I never got into film and theatre criticism because I like to second-guess the artistic vision of a director or debate the relative merits of a given lead in a musical. I have my opinions, sure, but it’s a deeper passion that drives me to rush from a 50-hours a week day job to theatres all over town, and whether it’s serenely sung or admirably acted, for me it always comes down to the story. The story is everything. If you don’t have a strong, compelling story to tell, no matter how intricate or simple the plot, you won’t have an audience for very long. HELVETICA, a new play by Will Coleman, should have an audience for years to come. Unfortunately, the Tesseract Theatre is only running their delightful program from April 1- April 10 in the Regional Arts Commission Building in the Delmar Loop.

Wed
06
Apr

Stephen Amell to Appear at Heroes & Villains Fan Fest in July

The star of the hit CW series ARROW, and playing Casey Jones in the upcoming TMNT sequel, will headline the Heroes & Villains Fan Fest, as the first wave of guests are announced.

Joining Stephen Amell, on the early short-list of guests, are ARROW co-stars: David Ramsey (John Diggle) and Willa Holland (Thea Queen).

The Heroes & Villains Fan Fest is a 2-day event that occurs at the Meadowlands Exposition Center in Secaucus, NJ during the first weekend of July.

Tue
05
Apr

Wizard World 2016 a bigger attraction than the Arch

Wizard World Saint Louis 2016

This past weekend, Wizard World descended upon Saint Louis in an epic blaze of glory that had this nerd and the throngs of nerd-dom far and wide in 7th Heaven.

 

Sun
03
Apr

2CELLOS Fuses Classical and Hard Rock For Fantastic Concert

2CELLOS played the Fox Theatre in St. Louis, March 31, 2016. Look for their new CELLOVERSE album!

If you don’t believe that a YouTube video about a two man band with over 56 million views is a sign that those two fellows might actually be just as good in person, then you don’t deserve to be on the Internet. I first discovered 2CELLOS the way most of the world has, from fun video clips showing these two good-looking European boys doing to cellos what superstars like Angus Young and Eddie Van Halen do to guitars—namely, beat them up like they owe them money. Two most folks, the word “cello” calls to mind a soft string quartet that plays Celine Dion or The Righteous Brothers while you make your way through the food line at your cousin’s wedding. Unless you were in your school’s orchestra from an early age, you probably couldn’t pick the cello out of any music with more than a couple of instruments involved, sight unseen. After watching them perform live at the Fabulous Fox Theatre, I will never underestimate the power of the cello again.

Tue
22
Mar

Wizard World Comic Con Returns to St. Louis

Wizard Word Saint Louis 2016

No it’s not an April Fool’s joke, Wizard World Comic Con returns to St. Louis for the fourth time, April 1-3, 2016. The lineup is jam packed with artists, authors, graphic designers, cartoonists, illustrators, cosplay guests, and iconic replica vehicles. In addition, the schedule boasts celebrities from Daredevil (Charlie Cox, Elden Henson, Jon Bernthal), Jessica Jones (Mike Colter, David Tennant), Doctor Who (Billie Piper, Matt Smith, David Tennant), Voice Actors from Halo (Steve Downes, Jen Taylor), and much more who will be conducting panels, signing autographs, and posing in photo ops. 

On the show floor you'll be sure to find hundreds of amazing vendors with great art, comic books and collectibles. And this year for the first time in St. Louis, Wizard World is adding a gaming to the mix. You'll be able to play the games as well as compete in tournaments for cash prizes.

Thu
17
Mar

Did She Really Love SHE LOVES ME?

She Loves Me Musical Zachary Levi Laura Benanti

SHE LOVES ME presented by The Roundabout Theatre on Broadway is literally a story you’ve seen before. If you’ve ever seen Tom Hanks/Meg Ryan's YOU’VE GOT MAIL or James Stewart/Margaret Sullavan’s THE SHOP AROUND THE CORNER, you've heard this story. Boy meets girl, boy and girl strongly dislike each other, but work together, craziness ensues, low and behold they’ve loved each other the entire time, happy ending. It’s actually quite a unique story as far as rom-coms go.

Thu
17
Mar

IF/THEN Demands And Rewards Your Full Attention

The Cast of IF/THEN. Photo Credit: www.FabulousFox.com

IF/THEN is a different sort of musical than what you may be used to. It’s not an “easy” show; you probably won’t sit there quietly singing to yourself and straining against your better judgment to get up and dance along as you might with MAMA MIA!, GREASE or ANYTHING GOES. It’s a deeper, more introspective production with top-flight acting and powerful vocals.  It’s not a show for those of you who don’t care for intricate plots and complicated narrative. IF/THEN rewards the vigilant observer with a rich character study, more multi-layered than you’d typically expect from your traditional musical fare. 

Wed
09
Mar

NOISES OFF Turns The Laughter On In O'Fallon

Mike McPartland, Anthony Wininger, Cassie Elam and Bill Blanke in NOISES OFF thru Mar 13, 2016. Photo Credit: John Davidson

I’m a bit of a comedy snob. I can’t stand stupid comedy: low brow, “Whoa, Dude, I’m like, whatever!” fare is completely lost on me. I appreciate a more subtle hand in humor, a sly wit, a surprising turn of phrase. The British to be particularly adept at that brand of comedy, so it was much to my delight that I watched NOISES OFF, a stage comedy written by celebrated English playwright Michael Frayn and directed by Melissa Boyer for the O’FallonTheatreWorks. My only dismay is that it took me so long to discover this hilarious play.

Sun
06
Mar

New Line Theatre's AMERICAN IDIOT Is A Sly But Powerful Wake Up Call

New Line Theatre's production of AMERICAN IDIOT, Mar 3 - 26, 2016. Photo Credit: Jill Ritter Lindberg

The New Line Theatre kicked off their second production in their swanky new digs in the Marcelle Theatre with AMERICAN IDIOT, a mostly sung through musical written by Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong and Michael Mayer, featuring the entire American Idiot album with a few numbers from 21st Century Breakdown included too. Obviously, if you’re a Green Day fan you’ll probably love the show. Me, I’m not a huge fan. I don’t necessarily dislike the band; I just don’t typically listen to them. Immediately after the performance, my first reaction was, “Nice performed by some great talents, but I don’t have much sympathy for these presumably upper-middle class suburbanites being self-destructive by cooking their heroin and meth on the silver spoons they were born with.” And yet something deep in my guts said, “Sleep on this one.

Fri
26
Feb

BEAUTIFUL: THE CAROLE KING MUSICAL Is A Toe-Tapping Celebration Of An Underappreciated Artist

BEAUTIFUL at the Fox Theatre, St. Louis. PHOTO CREDIT: Joan Marcus

I’ll admit it—I’m embarrassed. What I knew about Carole King before arriving at the Fabulous Fox to see BEAUTIFUL: THE CAROLE KING MUSICAL consisted mostly of the soft rock easy listening stuff I used to get subjected to when my coworkers would insist on tuning our radio to the “Delilah” show on KEZK in St. Louis. I knew she won a Grammy forTapestry and you can hear “It’s Too Late,” “I Feel The Earth Move,” and “A Natural Woman” pretty regularly still today. I knew she was elected into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, but they let Green Day and The Public Enemy in too--Run DMC and Public Enemy got in before Peter Gabriel, Rush (are you kidding me?), Lou Reed, Hall & Oats, Nirvana and KISS. Don’t get me wrong—I enjoy rap music a great deal, but this isn’t the Hip Hop Hall of Fame, this is Rock & Roll. Carole King, no disrespect intended, didn’t really strike me as a rock star either.

Thu
21
Jan

EXTRA! EXTRA! Disney's NEWSIES Dance Numbers Salvage Drab Production!

NEWSIES plays at the Fox Theatre Jan 19-31.

Disney is known in the theatre world for elaborate and grandiose productions like THE LION KING and BEAUTY AND THE BEAST. Those shows feature exciting sets, memorable songs, exciting costumes and touching stories. Perhaps that’s why I was disappointed with Disney’s NEWSIES, based on the 1992 film which in turn was inspired from David Nasaw’s book CHILDREN OF THE CITY. No matter the medium, the story is an interesting piece of actual history that just didn’t translate into a must-see show. It will play well enough at the Fabulous Fox, where St. Louis’ own Alex Prakken will grace the venerable stage as Oscar Delancey, one of tightwad newspaper magnate Joseph Pulitzer’s heavies. Pulitzer founded the New York World and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, but the show arrives just a little too late for Pulitzer to be a major villain in St. Louis—you can blame Enos S. Kroenke for that.

Wed
13
Jan

What's it like to attend a taping of "The Late Show With Stephen Colbert"?

For Christmas, my wife was able to get us tickets for the January 8 taping of THE LATE SHOW WITH STEPHEN COLBERT.  I have been a huge Colbert fan for a long time now.  We actually got to attend two tapings of THE COLBERT REPORT back in the day (and we got to attend a tapings of THE DAILY SHOW WITH JON STEWART and THE LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN too). 

I don’t think most of our readers have gotten the experience of what it’s like to attend a TV taping, so I thought I would walk them through the whole process.  In my opinion, there has to be a far better way of doing it, but pretty much every taping I’ve been to has been exactly the same. 

Sat
12
Dec

Third Time Is Still A Charm For WICKED At The Fox Theatre

Mary Kate Morrissey as Elphaba the Wicked Witch, December 10, 2015 at the Fox Theatre, St. Louis.

When I see a musical theatre production for the first time, you pay close attention to the story and the song lyrics. I let the music envelope me and let the set and costumes bring me on stage and pull me into their world. The second time I start noticing little things, like how lines are delivered differently from the actor who played the roll the last time the tour rolled through town. The third time, I keep my peripheral senses open to hear the gasps of delight of the audience around me, enjoying the same reactions I had the first time. That's why my third time seeing WICKED at the Fabulous Fox Theatre was still just as charming and fun as the first time I saw it.

Sun
06
Dec

CIRQUE DREAMS HOLIDAZE Is A Crazy Christmas Circus Of Fun

CIRQUE DREAMS HOLIDAZE plays the Fox Theatre in St. Louis Dec 4-6, 2015.

I might not be a big fan o f clowns, but I’m a huge fan of clowning around. Sing a song, tell a joke, perform a little stunt or better still, a little magic, and bring a smile or even a laugh from the grumpiest of Scrooges—that’s what the holidays are all about, right? CIRQUE DREAMS HOLIDAZE, a kind of circus/variety show hybrid with a wonderfully low creepy clown threshold (none!),brought, smiles, laughs, cheers, gasps of awe, appreciative whistles and tons of applause from the Fox Theatre audience in St. Louis on December 4, 2015. Like most of the audience I had to deal with a variety of community holiday events, the typical Friday night traffic, and traffic jams that had some highway commuters parked for more than a mile. I’d imagine more than a few of us arrived feeling mighty grumpy, but I’m quite positive we all went home very happy.

Sat
28
Nov

Straight No Chaser: THE NEW OLD FASHIONED Tour Mixes Fresh "A Cappella" Cocktails

Straight No Chaser performing at the Fox Theatre, St. Louis, 11/27/15. Photo Credit: Jeff Ritter

If you’re in the mood for a classic cocktail, you might order up an Old Fashioned—a jigger of bourbon, two dashes of Angostura bitters, a lump of sugar and just a splash of water. It’s a drink that goes back to the 19th century and is something every bartender should know how to mix. “THE NEW OLD FASHIONED,” however, is an entirely different yet no less potent concoction of heartwarming harmonies, familiar aural flavors and inhibition-busting a cappella, served Straight No Chaser, in the Indiana tradition. Welcome to your new addiction. Please tip generously.

In fact, here’s a tip for you: if you have an opportunity to see Straight No Chaser live in your town, you owe it to yourself to do so. They’ll lift your spirits, get your toes a-tappin’, and stay for a solid hour after the show to meet you and sign your CD, t-shirt, and ticket stub, or perhaps even one of your children. You won’t find too many musical acts more accommodating!

Wed
18
Nov

IRVING BERLIN's WHITE CHRISTMAS Gets The Holidays Started In Style

Photo by Kevin White

IRVING BERLIN’S WHITE CHRISTMAS is gracing the stage at the Fabulous Fox Theatre from November 17-22, 2015, just in time for…Thanksgiving. You can blame WICKED’s December residency for that, but that’s fine, really. The retail stores rolled out their Christmas gear before Halloween, so chances are you’ve already been dreaming of a white Christmas. And why wouldn’t you? After all, Bing Crosby’s rendition of the Irving Berlin classic is the best selling single of all time, according to the good folks at Guinness Book. Chances are you’ve seen the old movie or witness the production on previous tours, but believe it or not, I’ve never seen it before tonight.

Sun
15
Nov

Gladys Knight and the O'Jays Bring Hits and Smiles to the Fox Theatre

The O'Jays: Walter Williams, Eric Grant and Eddie Levert, at the Fox Theatre, 11/13./15. Photo by Jeff Ritter

When you hear the word “Motown” any number of names should immediately spring to mind: Barry Gordy Jr., Diana Ross and The Supremes, The Four Tops, The Jackson 5, Marvin Gaye, The Marvelettes, Smokey Robinson, and of course, Gladys Knight & The Pips. When I found out that the Empress of Soul was coming to the Fabulous Fox Theatre in St. Louis on November 13, 2015, I was excited. When I found out she was sharing the bill with the O’Jays, the Ohio soul standouts who struck gold time and time again on Philadelphia International Records, I was over the moon. I had to be there to witness these legends for myself.  

Mon
09
Nov

Mitch Ellis-Yapp Makes THE ELEPHANT MAN Marvelous

The cast of THE ELEPHANT MAN, Nov. 5-8, 12-15 at The Looking Glass Playhouse. Photo Credit: Gigi Dowling Urban

For many of us, I suspect our first exposure to the bizarre, grotesque world of “Ripley’s Believe It Or Not” sort of human oddity is The Elephant Man. Born Joseph Merrick but commonly referred to as John due to some confusion from his physician’s memoir, The Elephant Man is still a medical mystery. He’s been the subject of both film and stage, the latter originating in the form of a play by Bernard Pomerance. THE ELEPHANT MAN is now playing through November 15 at the charming Looking Glass Playhouse in Lebanon, Illinois, a reasonably short drive east from St. Louis. If you appreciate strong acting and stirring human drama, the show is most certainly worth the trip.

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