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Story: Spanning a period from 1815 to 1832, Les Miserables tells the story of Jean Valjean against the backdrop of revolution in 19th century France. Imprisoned for 19 years for stealing a loaf of bread to feed his sister’s starving son, Valjean is freed from a slave labor camp only to be branded as an outcast because of his criminal record.
A cool breeze will now flow through the hot summer nights at The Muny in Forest Park. Audiences can sit back and take in the comforting effect of high-tech fans as they experience the open air theater’s new season of shows. The 95th year will open June 17 with Monty Python’s Spamalot, starring John O’Hurley of Seinfeld fame. LN recently spoke with executive director Mike Isaacson for the scoop on the season, its stars and many more surprises.
Well, it’s another B- week at the movies. If you’ve checked all the Oscar nominated films off your list, and you’ve seen Olympus Has Fallen and Oz the Great and Powerful, it might be a good weekend to park on your couch. Here are some options:
Let me start off by saying that had I written my traditional list of Oscar predictions—for which I have a remarkably accurate record. Well, I would have failed miserably this year. This had to have been one of the most unusual, scattered, unpredictable, Academy Awards I have ever seen. That being said, I am prepared to eat a little crow and perhaps do a little Monday morning-quarterbacking.
February is finally here, which means Oscar season is finally here. Nevertheless, the hangover of the January curse still lingers. So I have compiled a list of dos and don’ts, if you are so inclined to head to the theater in the next couple of weeks. These are the dos.
It’s that time of year when A-list actors wait patiently by the phone and pretend that awards mean nothing (and that approval from colleagues and fans is recognition enough), but hoping against hope that their agent calls to tell them they got an Oscar nomination. The nominations were announced last week, and I must say there were a few surprises…and not the good kind.
The Baldwin Report
In the spirit of full disclosure, I have to say that this is my all-time favorite musical. My friends derive great amusement from bringing me to tears at the mere mention of Jean Valjean’s final farewell to Cosette. Nothing was going to make me dislike this film. I mean, honestly, they would have had to try. That being said, the movie is not without its flaws, but all in all, it’s a beautiful, moving production.
The lists are fairly uncontroversial this year. I said fairly. Also, in the spirit of full disclosure, there are three films on the list that I have not yet seen. I just feel that confident. So, without further ado...
I’m not going to lie to you: We are in for a strange month of movies. December is typically peppered with Oscar favorites and holiday family fun, but this year is anything but usual.
Story: Based on French writer Victor Hugo’s 19th century novel, Les Miserables tells the tale of Jean Valjean set against the backdrop of political unrest in 19th century France. Convicted to five years of hard labor for stealing bread to feed his sister’s family, plus another 14 years for trying to escape prison, Valjean is finally released to society in 1815. However, because he’s forced to wear a symbol indicating he’s a former convict, he violates his parole and becomes the subject of a lifelong manhunt by rigid policeman Javert.
Broadway’s Best New Play Tony Award winner War Horse is coming to the Fox Theatre stage as part of the storied venue’s 30th anniversary ‘rebirth’ season. Ladue News recently spoke with Fox Theatricals president Kristin Caskey to get the scoop on the season.
Looking for a meaningful way to honor your mom this Mother’s Day? DIANE KATZMAN’s Mom-a-gram initiative, in partnership with Missouri Baptist Healthcare Foundation, helps uninsured or underinsured women in rural Missouri with the gift of a mammogram, ultrasound or biopsy. Donations levels range from about $136.50 (for a screening mammography) to $1,300 (for a breast biopsy); and for each donation gift of a Mom-a-gram, the donor’s mother will receive a corresponding piece of Diane Katzman Design jewelry, as well as a tribute card for Mother’s Day. Katzman, a breast cancer survivor, started Mom-agram in 2010. To find out more, call 996-5347 or visit missouribaptist.org.
Story: A 20-year drought has resulted in Draconian measures for the residents of a decaying metropolis on the outskirts of a mysterious place called Urinetown. Under strict guidelines enforced by the monolithic UGC (Urine Good Company), impoverished denizens must pay for the privilege to relieve themselves at public urinals that have become the only sanctioned outlets for the most basic of human needs. When Bobby Strong, an assistant urinal custodian, sees his father carted away to Urinetown after relieving himself freely in a public area, the lad leads a revolt of the oppressed against greedy corporate kingpin Caldwell B. Cladwell.
While his widowed father and older brother Tony engage with their colleagues in a lengthy miners’ strike against the government, 11-year-old Billy Elliot accidentally meanders from his weekly boxing lesson into a ballet class in an adjoining community center room.
Play: “Miss Saigon”
How to begin to describe the theater experience in St. Louis in 2007? Certainly the growth in both the quantity and quality of offerings is apparent, with several new theater companies including the St. Louis Actors’ Studio and Mustard Seed Theatre joining more established troupes. The year also marked the opening of several new venues, including Tower Grove Abbey (home of Stray Dog Theatre), Gaslight Theater (home of the St. Louis Actors’ Studio) and Ivory Theater (where New Line Theatre, the NonProphet Theater Company and Hydeware Theatre all reside).