Live Entertainment

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.

Sat
31
Oct

Jeffrey M. Wright Delights at the Gaslight Cabaret Festival

Jeffrey M. Wright, entertainer extraordinaire, performed at The Gaslight Cabaret Festival on 10/24/15.

It takes a certain kind of chutzpah to set upon any stage and perform in front of a bunch of strangers. Be it stand-up comedy, dramatic or musical theatre, vocal or instrumental music, it takes guts and nerve perhaps even more than talent. Of course when someone has immense and diverse talents to go along with that particular blend of gumption and verve, the results are often magical.

Fri
30
Oct

Hopeful Agnostic. Accidental Exorcist: Dave Glover and The Exorcist House

Dave Glover 97.1 FM Halloween Show Exorcist House Destination America Exorcism Live RJ Carter Critial Blast

Dave Glover is the modern example of taking failure, adding more failure to it, chucking it all away with an "Eff this," deciding to be yourself, and riding that all the way to fame and success. A mediocre attorney, Glover left the law to take on a radio talk show about legal matters -- which was going nowhere. Finally, one day early in his career, the legal questions fell by the wayside to be replaced by penis jokes and tales of his OCD. And a Saint Louis legend was born.

Fri
16
Oct

DOGFIGHT's Humor and Heart Launch Stray Dog Theatre's 13th Season

Stray Dog Theatre's DOGFIGHT, through October 24, 2015

 The joy of seeing a theatrical show for the first time is that everything is a surprise. Such was the case with DOGFIGHT, a musical presented by Stray Dog Theatre. Based on a 1991 film starring River Phoenix (which I don’t believe I’ve ever seen), with the book by Peter Duchan and music and lyrics by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, DOGFIGHT was not exactly what I expected – which is kind of funny, because I really didn’t know what to expect. I guess I had decided from the title alone that it would be a gritty war story with music both rousing and melancholy. Instead, it turned out to be a funny and touching love story, and I was not at all disappointed to have my preconceived notions dashed.

Sun
11
Oct

New Line's Excellent HEATHERS May Be More Relevant Than Ever

Cameisha Cotton, Sicily Mathenia and Larissa White in New Line Theatre's HEATHERS, through 10/24/15. Photo Credit: Jill Ritter Lindberg

There seems to be no shortage of musicals based on popular films these days. Some of them are pretty good; SISTER ACT was hilarious, and you can bet pretty much any Disney adaption will be top notch. Others, such as DIRTY DANCING and A CHRISTMAS STORY, probably should have been left where they belong -- on dusty VHS tapes. Then there are the unexpected conversions of cult movies to musical theatre that one wouldn’t expect to see. That’s where New Line Theatre excels, in bringing the unexpected to the St. Louis theatre scene. They did an incredibly tense musical version of the horror classic NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD a couple of seasons ago that had my niece and I jumping out of our seats. Their current production is HEATHERS, based on the 1989 dark comedy starring Wynona Ryder and Christian Slater. I know dark comedy has been around probably forever, but I think that was the film that I first really became aware of the concept.

Thu
08
Oct

George Takei Central Focus of Broadway's ALLEGIANCE

Allegiance George Takei Broadway Mike Maillaro Critical Blast

I saw my first Broadway show when I was 18 years old. A friend of mine bought me tickets to see LES MISERABLES as a High School graduation present. Since then, I have probably been to about twenty other shows (LES MISERABLES is still my favorite...I have seen it at least five times). Unfortunately, since our kids were born, my wife and I don't get to go as much as we would like. Getting to New York is a bit of a hassle, and the tickets are expensive. Not to mention adding on the cost of eating dinner in New York. A night at a Broadway show will typically end up costing us over $500 bucks.

From the first time I heard George Takei speaking about ALLEGIANCE about two or three years, we have been excited to see it. In fact, we have had our tickets pre-ordered since February. After a long hard road to get to Broadway, ALLEGIANCE finally opened in previews on October 6, and we were there!

Mon
05
Oct

Pulp Heroes One of Many Discussions at Archon 39

RJ Carter AJ Matthews Van Allen Plexico Guy Anthony De Marco Archon

Half the fun of going to Archon is visiting with old and new friends, and sitting in on interesting panel discussions.

The other half of the fun is rushing around breathlessly to those panel discussions, lugging with you about a hundred pounds of books and visual aids, which you rush to get put up before the first guests arrive.

Tue
08
Sep

Nick Jonas is HOT at the New York State Fair

As he walked on stage to music playing and thousands of screaming fans, Nick Jonas wasted no time with introductions. Leading off with the hit song, "Chains", he rocked the packed crowd in Syracuse, NY. Jonas planned to take over the New York State Fair and he did just that. It was hard to tell if there was a wicked drum beat, or if it was the collective heartbeats of his adoring fans.

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - Live Entertainment