Story: Shlemiel is a simple beadle (minor official) in the town of Chelm, a “village of fools” located between Everywhere and Elsewhere “a long, long time ago.” Shlemiel is exasperating to his wife, who has tolerated his imperfections for 20 years as he goes about his humdrum existence, and she needs to supplement his income in order to have food for their two surviving children.
Story: Three monologues by English playwright Alan Bennett depict the plights of a trio of middle-class, middle-aged Brits who share the common trait of loneliness. Nights in the Gardens of Spain concerns a homemaker, largely ignored by her husband, who becomes involved in an unlikely friendship when her neighbor is convicted of killing her own abusive spouse.
Audiences will be in the middle of the action during this year’s Shakespeare Festival St. Louis’ performances of Twelfth Night in Forest Park. New stage-side seating will place patrons amid the live music, romance and comedy in Shakespeare Glen. Executive director Rick Dildine recently gave LN a sneak peek into the much-anticipated 13th installment of the free annual event, running this spring from May 24 to June 16, with preview plays May 22 and 23.
With a loyal local following and rave reviews from The Wall Street Journal to The New York Times, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis continues to draw adoring audiences from throughout the world. And its new season is set to be no exception. General director Tim O’Leary recently filled us in on the company’s worldwide impact and its four new shows, to feature classic and modern opera, jazz, romance and comedy.
NOTE: The review below was written for the original presentation of Stupefy! last December. The latest production features three new cast members, including Chris LaBanca, Ben Ritchie and John Wolbers, who are replacing Blaine Adams, Rob Suozzi and John Foughty, respectively. Additionally, the new rendition includes a 5-minute video pre-show as well as new scenes and a new ending, all in a “faster than last time” 90 minutes.
Stories: Winning Juliet focuses on the new girl at a high school who runs into unexpected animosity and resentment by some established ‘popular’ students when she decides to audition for the female title role in the school’s production of Shakespeare’s tragedy, Romeo & Juliet.
Story: Katha has a high-powered job in the city that keeps her in high-stress mode. Her husband Ryu is a plastic surgeon who seems always to be on the run. One day, when Katha by chance meets a dapper fellow named Dean on the street and inquires about his ‘retro’ look, he hands her a brochure about the Society of Dynamic Obsolescence.
Story: Chance and Money have been friends since childhood. They struggle to pay the bills in their Spin City neighborhood, but dream of having careers as hip-hop artists. When Money’s girlfriend Joi tells him that she is pregnant, Money sees joining the Army as the only way he can make a steady income to support his growing family. He departs for active duty, leaving Chance and their No Plan B hip-hop duo in mothballs.
Story: May ekes out an existence as a cook at a nameless place in a tiny town on the Mojave Desert. Her home is a drab motel room with a bed, a table, a couple of chairs and drinking glasses stored in the bathroom. Her life is dreary but made drastic as well by the unwelcome arrival of her former lover, Eddie.
Story: The time is December 4, 1956 and the place is Sun Records in Memphis. The tiny, unremarkable building once housed an auto parts store, as owner and producer Samuel Cornelius Phillips reminds himself and visitors, before Sam turned it into a tiny recording studio a couple of years earlier.
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