Story: There’s hell to pay, which generally is OK with Morticia Addams, when she suspects that her beloved husband, Gomez, is keeping a secret from her. That’s not happened before in their boisterous, 25-year marriage, which generally has been a quarter-century of good times in their decrepit home hidden (somehow) within New York City’s fabled Central Park.
It seems that every year, the window that defines summer vacation closes ever so slightly: Cranky has a summer school class, Whiny needs to be back for sports, Punch has camp. Summer used to mean June, July and August—Memorial Day to Labor Day. Now, summer is a two-week span in mid-July. Nevertheless, I’m determined to make the most of it, so I pack the car, load the family and head north. No matter how demanding the family schedule, nothing can replace a northern Michigan getaway. And, of course, whether we go for two weeks or two months, one thing always remains consistent: the drive.
Story: The Old Testament story of Joseph, the favorite son of Jacob, is told in a musical format, including Joseph’s betrayal by his 11 jealous brothers, who sell him into slavery. Later, Joseph’s uncanny ability to interpret dreams gains him the confidence of the Egyptian pharaoh when he tells the pharaoh what the ruler’s own troubling dreams mean in reality.
Story: In a comfortable, old-fashioned home, Frank Gianelli talks about “tengo famiglia.” That’s Italian for “I support a family,” but Frank says it means even more than that, it means that a man “is doing well for my woman and my children. I have a reason for being alive.”
As we head into the heat of July—and yet another summer of sequels, prequels and remakes—I was forced to remind myself that sometimes, it's not all that bad. OK, it’s usually pretty bad. I only need to take a quick peek at Caddyshack 2 on TBS to be reminded of that. So, either I truly am the eternal optimist or I have developed some bizarre, cinematic form of Stockholm syndrome because I keep going back, hoping that maybe this time, the sequel (or the prequel or the re-imagining) will be worth the price of a ticket.
Story: Four vignettes all are set in the suite of a London hotel overlooking Hyde Park. In Settling Accounts, successful Welsh novelist Brian is shocked to learn that he is suddenly bankrupt. As he pieces together what happened, he realizes that his financial advisor Billy has drained Brian's bank accounts. Before Billy can skip town, however, he finds himself at the business end of Brian’s revolver, attempting to ‘explain’ what has happened to the money.
Story: An American physician, an Irish journalist and an English academic find themselves unwillingly sharing the same tiny cell after each of them is captured by unseen terrorists and held hostage in Lebanon. With only a chair, a Bible and a Quran for diversions, the chained prisoners are left to conversations in which they can recount their lives as well as dream of better days ahead, hoping against reality for freedom from their private hell while clinging desperately to sanity.
I will be brief: On the one hand, I can appreciate the tongue-in-cheek references to big box-office sequels. We can almost chuckle at how the film beats a dead horse with constant quips about formula plots and increased production budgets…almost. Honestly, I really could have appreciated all the wink-and-a-smile,‘breaking-the-fourth-wall’ references if filmmakers had put an iota of thought into the script. It’s all well and good to joke about how sequels are more expensive, less amusing repeats of the original, but to then go ahead an actually be just that is mind-boggling. It would seem the joke is on us.
Story: Henry Saunders has big plans for the Cleveland Grand Opera Company. Although the company is struggling with everyone else in the Great Depression, its general manager Saunders has come up with a dazzling idea for a fund-raiser: Get renowned opera star Tito Morelli, aka Il Stupendo, to perform the title role in Verdi’s Otello with the Cleveland Grand Opera. When Morelli accepts the assignment, Henry’s hopes are raised even higher.
With school out, kids are roaming the house at all hours, shedding clothes like peanut shells at the ballpark. The demands for food, rides, cash, sleepovers, upgrades, apps, and—strangely—privacy are incessant. My reverence for the teaching profession is renewed. (Although I’m not sure how many kids interrupt their teacher at his or her desk to call their cell phone because they can’t find it—but still.) Suffice it to say, the house is bustling. I say this because it only emphasizes the stupidity of my idea.
Story: Young Oliver Twist survives on gruel and grit at a London orphanage workhouse in the mid-19th century. When he’s sold by overbearing beadle Mr. Bumble to the undertaker Mr. Sowerberry, Oliver is forced to sleep in a casket. After he gets into a fight with Sowerberry’s apprentice, he escapes into the streets of London.
Story: Ten down-on-their-luck contestants vie for the ownership of a new ‘hardbody’ pick-up truck being given away at a Nissan dealership in Longview, Texas. The trick is for a contestant to keep at least one hand on the vehicle at all times (apart from brief, infrequent breaks) until the other nine contestants drop out. It’s every man for himself, every woman for herself and everybody for the keys to a fresh start to their troubled lives.
So, school’s out. Cranky, Whiny and Punch are loose for the summer. It’s great—truly. No more grueling classes from eight in the morning until three in the afternoon. No more sports teams. No more homework. No more 'school-night' curfew. The problem is, those were the only things that simultaneously kept the kids accounted for and out of my hair.
Under the stars in Forest Park, the lights will soon go up on another memorable season of musicals created exclusively for The Muny’s storied stage. “There really is nothing like it in the world,” says Muny executive producer and artistic director Mike Isaacson.
On my way out the door to attend my first-ever Zumba class at the Webster Groves Recreation Complex, I scoffed at my boyfriend when he wished me luck. "It's just a dance class," I told him. "I've taken a dance class before—I think I can handle it."
So last week, Rolling Stone magazine came out with its readers’ poll, listing the 25 funniest films of all time. It’s an easy out for the magazine: When outraged fans post about missing movies or complaints about certain ones on the list, the editors can simply fall back on the 'readers’ poll' excuse. No going out on a limb there.
We all know Missourian Samuel Langhorne Clemens (better known to the world as Mark Twain) for his wit, humor and sarcasm; but as might be expected, the author had a very visual artistic side, as well.
Story: It’s been a while since Teddy’s been back to the modest home in North London where he grew up. His mother has passed away, but his father and two brothers still live there, along with his dad’s brother Sam.
From the simple act of playing catch with his son in the backyard to the big moment of walking his daughter down the aisle, dad holds a special place in our hearts throughout childhood and beyond. And those moving experiences have inspired many a song about the everlasting father-child bond. Here, leaders in local theater share their favorite songs about dad—who always will be their leading man.
So. Last week I wrote a column on twists on the concept of the honeymoon. In it I mentioned that language is fluid and constantly evolving. Words that were cutting edge six months ago will paint you the fool if you use them today. I asked Cranky (16) if the party she attended last week was ‘off the chain’ and received an eye roll-head shake combination usually reserved for pathetic losers…wait.
You love them, or perhaps you can’t stand them, but our TV dads are always there for us, ready whenever you need a dose of drama, laughter or even fantasy. Here is my list of the most memorable dads on television:
Story: Three short plays by Carter Lewis take an amusing look at modern-day foibles against the flavorful backdrop of Meskerem Ethiopian Restaurant. In the first vignette, No Preying, bellicose Heddie is busy browbeating Christian Agatha with her aggressive brand of atheism, ranting that God is no more likely to exist than giant insects.
So, we’re all painfully aware that language is fluid and evolving—we have YOLO to thank for it, after all. Words change and new words crop up all the time. Ginormous is now a word—a real word—not something cute your 3-year-old says. I actually think in this mile-a-millisecond world, language is doing more than evolving, it’s trending—and the word 'trending' is an example. New words are hip, boss, keen, even though those descriptors are not…or are they? Did I mention language also is cyclical? Words are stretched and deconstructed and truncated and manipulated into common usage. Some gather momentum, others peter out (phat). One of the current words in the spotlight is moon, or more accurately, honeymoon.
Story: You want a story? There is no story, per se. This one-act comedy consists primarily of five performers delivering old jokes, new jokes, clever jokes, silly jokes, risqué jokes and a few unfunny jokes as they ‘work the room’ for yuks and lots o’ smiles while entertaining their audience.