Live Entertainment

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.

Sun
06
Sep

Rob Thomas with Plain White T's and Vinyl Station Rocks The Peabody

Rob Thomas on "The Great Unknown Tour" at The Peabody in St. Louis 9/4/2015. Photo Credit: Jeff Ritter

The old adage “good things come to those who wait” was proven true once again on September 4, 2015 as Rob Thomas finally arrived in St. Louis. He had to cancel is tour stop earlier in the summer due to an illness in the family, which is more than understandable. As an apology of sorts for the hassle of having to make folks reschedule their plans, Thomas and his supporting acts, Plain White T’s and Vinyl Station, really cut loose with fun-filled, more-than-your-money’s-worth performance.  Apology happily accepted, Mr. Thomas.

Wed
08
Jul

John Fogerty's 1969 Tour Proves Age Is Irrelevant When You Can Rock

John Fogerty 1969 Tour Photo Credit Jeff Ritter 7/7/15

1969. What does that year make you think of--hippies, Woodstock, Vietnam? If you were a alive and old enough to recognize music you couldn’t have made it through 1969 without hearing Credence Clearwater Revival. John Fogerty, the band’s guitarist, singer and songwriter, was perhaps the most prolific musician ever in a single year. Who else has put out three full albums of all new material in a single calendar year? Not even in the Internet Age does this happen. Credence Clearwater Revival was like a star just bout to go nova—it blazed white hot that year before fading away soon after. Infighting broke up the band and legal battles have kept them from reconciling for decades. Despite the hardships, John Fogerty has endured. He seems pretty happy, just a little more than a month beyond his 70th birthday. He’s got an incredible band on a highly successful tour highlighting the glorious year of CCR and promoting his new book, “Fortunate Son: My Life, My Music” coming out this October.

Tue
07
Jul

SDCC 2015 Survival Guide

SDCC 2015 Guide Click Communications
PR stuff. We get it. Some of it, we ignore, some of it we use.
 
And sometimes it's just too good not to share with our readers. Like this San Diego Comic-Con Survival Guide from our friends at Click Communications. Enjoy!

 

Mon
29
Jun

Outrigger Resorts, Blue Note Entertainment Group Partner to Open Internationally Recognized Music Venue in Waikiki

Blue Note Outrigger Resorts Music Theater Waikiki Critical Blast

WAIKIKI, HONOLULU, HAWAII – Outrigger Resorts is proud to announce a partnership with the iconic Blue Note Entertainment Group, with music clubs in New York, Washington D.C., Milan and two locations in Japan, to bring world-class music performances to Hawaii. Blue Note Hawaii will serve as the state’s premier venue for world-renowned artists, from jazz and blues to Hawaiian favorites.

Located in the former Society of Seven showroom inside Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort, Blue Note Hawaii will feature a wide range of musical entertainment – from local talent to international sensations – for limited engagements. As a part of Outrigger’s ongoing commitment to the musical arts, the performance venue will undergo an extensive, multi-million-dollar revitalization, creating a brand new venue in the heart of Hawaii’s most famed beach resort destination. Blue Note Hawaii is expected to open no later than early 2016.

Tue
02
Jun

New Line Theatre's "The Threepenny Opera" Is An Old Musical With Modern Sensibilities

Todd Schaefer and Cherlynn Alvarez in New Line Theatre's "The Threepenny Opera." Photo Credit: Jill Ritter Lindberg

There's only one way I can think of to do justice to the The Threepenny Opera, a show that debuted in Germany in 1928, features no real hero and is a stark commentary on man's tendency to bring out the worst in himself. The world is going to Hell and humanity is to blame, a sentiment that still rings true today, sadly enough. So with apologies to dramatist Bertolt Brecht and composer Kurt Weill, and even Louis Armstrong and Bobby Darin, here we go...a one and a two and a three and a four...

(To be read by the tune of "Mack the Knife," by Bertlolt Brecht and Kurt Weill. Sorry fellas.)

Oh, the show has a strong cast, dear,
And they showed their skills this night;
Terrific costumes by Sarah Porter, dear,
Keeps them looking out of sight!

When the show starts with Filch and Peachum, dear,
Stark reality starts to spread;
Played by Jeremy Hyatt and Zachary Allen Farmer, 
And Sarah Porter's Mrs. Peachum shares his bed!

Sun
24
May

Wizard World Casts Spell of Mediocrity on Saint Louis

Wizard World Saint Louis 2015 Critical Blast

I have been to all three of the Wizard World Comicons here in Saint Louis, and I have mixed emotions about this one. The second year was better than the previous. I know not every year can always be better and at best it is all subjective anyway. Still, since this was only the 3rd time for the event here in St Louie, I was expecting it to be at least as good and as star studded as the others.

It seemed, though, as the year progressed leading up to this weekend, that the talent that was being signed, while good, was not up to the caliber of the previous two years. Again, I know this is all subjective but compared to who I saw was going to appear at the other WW Comicons throughout the country, the show here in Saint Louis was not getting those who I consider A-Listers. Maybe because this year it was being held on Memorial Day weekend and everyone had plans? I don’t know.

Sat
16
May

Rush's R40 Tour Rocks Scottrade Center

rush R40 Tour May 14, 2015 at The Scottrade Center, St. Louis. Photo by Jeff Ritter

Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson and Neil Peart. Three pretty unassuming Canadians fellows who, unlike many high profile celebrities, can often enjoy a peaceful meal without people recognizing them. I don’t know when they arrived in St. Louis for tonight’s gig at the Scottrade Center, but I bet they’re not quite as incognito here as they might be in Denver or Atlanta or Houston. St. Louis is a Rush town. If Sammy Haggar is our musical mayor, Rush is our Board of Aldermen. Kind of makes you think of their hit “Subdivisions” in a whole different way, doesn’t it?

Thu
07
May

"Thoroughly Modern Millie" Is Thoroughly Entertaining

Thoroughly Modern Millie runs through May 10 at the Kirkwood Community Center

I was recently invited to see Thoroughly Modern Millie at the Robert G. Reim Theatre in the Kirkwood Community Center. Millie, based on the 1967 film of the same name, was a hit on Broadway, winning a number of Tony Awards including Best Musical in 2002. I have always enjoyed works based on the 1920s, from art deco architecture aand design to the lavish lifestyles depicted in books like F. Scott Fitgerald's "The Great Gatsby." I had no idea what to expect from this show, but I had a hunch I'd enjoy it. I was right!

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