Live Entertainment

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!

Sun
19
Apr

"The Mythbusters: Jamie's Farewell Tour" Drops Some Science On St. Louis

Jamie Hyneman and Adam "Han Solo" Savage brought the Mythbusters Tour to St. Louis on 4/18/15. Photo by Jeff Ritter

For thirteen years now, Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage have been making science fun again. When I was in high school (way back in the last century) science classes were often dry, boring exercises in memorization. I really have never understood the American school system’s devotion to memorization. I mean sure, I could be walking along and encounter some metallic substance I’ve never seen before, but having the Periodic Table of Elements in my head won’t do me any good without any wat to measure the atomic weight or analyze its composition—I’d imagine raw, natural tin, aluminum, lead, nickel and silver all look pretty much the same to an untrained eye. I used to be interested in a career in chemistry, but I found science so tedious in my formative years I quickly put science at arm’s length. We never really did anything but memorize formulas, units of measure, blah-blah-blah…zzzzzzzz…

Sat
18
Apr

"I Love Lucy" Live On Stage Is Time Travel At Its Best

"I Love Lucy" Live on Stage, at the Peabody Opera House April 17-19

The much-beloved television series I Love Lucy ended in 1957, nearly 20 years before my time. Thanks to the pioneering ways of stars Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, generation after generation has laughed at the zany antics of “America’s Favorite Redhead.” In the early days of television, most shows were broadcast live in their time zone and as “kinescopes” in other regions—a vastly inferior method that used a television camera to record the image from a television set as the show aired (not unlike people who record TV clips with their cell phones and post them on YouTube today). Desi and Lucille used a three-camera shoot and shot everything on 35mm film so that clean prints could be shown across America. In the show’s second season, Lucille became pregnant and Desi and show producer Jess Oppenheimer decided to rebroadcast the best-received episodes from the previous season, and the ratings were much higher than expected. They had just invented the rerun.

Sun
12
Apr

Stomp Makes Music Out Of The Mundane

Stomp plays the Fox Theatre in St. Louis April 10-12, 2015.

When I was just a small child, I would get my hands on a couple of my mother’s pots and a couple of wooden spoons, and go to town making the most unharmonious racket you can imagine. It wouldn’t take long before those cooking implements were taken away and peace and quiet was restored to the Ritter household. I can’t honestly say that I remember having seen a drummer of any sort before that experience, so maybe it’s more of a primal instinct for humans to make music, however they can manage it. Some people are just plain gifted—prodigies on piano or guitar at a young age that make it look effortless to produce sounds some trained professionals would be hard-pressed to achieve with a lifetime of practice. Some are only concert megastars in the shower or in their car, but either way only in their own heads (that’s me!). Some rare, lucky individuals blaze a new path, turning the kitchenware cacophony of my youth into a fusion of jazz, rock, tap dance and sketch comedy.

Thu
26
Mar

Kinky Boots Is A Sexy Kick To Close The Fox Broadway Season

Steven Booth and Darius Harper in Kinky Boots, through 4/5/15 at the Fox. Photo credit: Matthew Murphy

The 2014-2015 US Bank Broadway Series at the Fabulous Fox Theatre come so to a close with the dazzling musical Kinky Boots. Based on a true story and the 2005 movie of the same name, the Harvey Fierstein (book) and Cyndi Lauper (score) was the darling of the 2013 Tony Awards, winning Best Musical, Best Original Score (Lauper is the first woman in history to win the Tony as a solo female composer), Best Choreography (Jerry Mitchell), Best Orchestrations (Stephen Oremus), Best Sound Design (John Shivers) and Best Lead Actor (Billy Porter). It was also nominated in 7 other categories. That’s quite an accomplishment, and it’s well deserved. Kinky Boots is a sharp, sparkly story of acceptance in the tradition of Hairspray, featuring performances that will stay with the Fox faithful all summer.

Tue
10
Mar

Atlantic City Boardwalk Con Puts Focus Back on Comics, Cosplay

ACBC Atlantic City Boardwalk Con Mike DlAlessio cosplay

For all the spectacle of a San Diego Comic-Con or a Wizard World, there' something that's been slowly slipping away from the concept of the comic book convention: the comic book. Oh, it's still there, but now it's become a mecca for video game developers to show off their latest beta releases and Hollywood movie studios to generate buzz for their next year's action movies.

Mike D'Alessio is no stranger to comic conventions. He may not be known to the fans, but to the industries who attend these conventions, he and his Promoguys Marketing Group are major -- nay, invaluable -- players. Now D'Alessio is bringing all his experience and klout to bear as he brings the first annual Atlantic City Boardwalk Con to New Jersey -- but this isn't just another comic book convention, as you'll see as we talk with Mike about what's going to make this convention bigger and better.

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