Wednesday, 17 January 2018 16:49

Chuck's Choices for the weekend of January 17, 2018

Written by 
"The Marvelous Wonderettes" at the Rep "The Marvelous Wonderettes" at the Rep

The weekend starts early this time with Storm Large at the Sheldon on Wednesday.


New This Week:


Circus Harmony: Legato

Circus Harmony presents Legato Saturday at 2 and 7 PM and Sunday at 2 PM, January 20 and 21. The show is "a look at circus thru the decades from 1920-2010." Performances take place at City Museum, 701 N. 15th Street. Show admission is free with museum admission. For more information: circusharmony.org.

My take: Circus Harmony does excellent outreach work that demonstrates how the arts can make a big difference in the community. If you've ever seen a Circus Flora show, of course, you've seen some of Circus Harmony's students at work as The St. Louis Arches, but the organization's reach and mission go far beyond that. "Circus Harmony," according to their web site, "teaches the art of life through circus education. We work to build character and expand community for youth of all ages, cultures, abilities and backgrounds. Through teaching and performance of circus skills, we help people defy gravity, soar with confidence, and leap over social barriers, all at the same time." Since their 2001 Circus Salaam Shalom, which brought Jewish and Muslim kids in St. Louis together, Circus Harmony has been advancing its philosophy of "peace through pyramids, harmony through hand springs" to "inspire individuals and connect communities."


Menopause the Musical

The Playhouse at Westport Plaza presents Menopause the Musical, "a celebration of women and The Change," through February 12. The Playhouse at Westport Plaza is at 635 West Port Plaza. For more information: westportstl.com.

My take: This popular ensemble show has been around for a while now, having premiered in 2001 in Orlando, Florida, in a 76-seat theatre that once housed a perfume shop. It's last visit at the Westport Playhouse was ten years ago, and it seems to have lost none of it's comic shine. "Who will enjoy this," asks Ann Lemmons Pollack a review of the show last year, "beyond women of what they call un age certain? People of both genders around them unless they have no sense of humor. That includes family, friends and co-workers. One of life's cruel jokes is that the menopause hits many households about the same time adolescence does. Here's something to tide us over." Since this is effectively a remounting of that same production, I think I'm on safe ground putting it on the hit list, as I did last January.


Storm Large

The Presenters Dolan present Storm Large and her band on Wednesday, January 17, at 8 pm. "When she is not with her band (including two members of Everclear), Storm fronts Pink Martini and symphony orchestras. This is a different Storm - a sexed-up, powerhouse club rocker; a soulful, spiritual, secular hymnodist; an enchanting storyteller made all the more so by her band's impossibly evocative underscoring. And that astonishing voice." The performance takes place at the Sheldon Concert Hall on Washington in Grand Center. For more information: metrotix.com

My take: I have seen two of Storm Large's previous appearances here in St. Louis, in 2014 and 2015, and I can say from personal experience that she's one-woman entertainment conglomerate (rock star, author, actor, and songwriter) whose work is entertaining, raucously and bawdily funny, entirely genuine and utterly theatrical. If you haven't seen her before, you really should not deprive yourself of the opportunity, especially in a great venue like the Sheldon.


Held Over:


Fences
Photo: USI Media

The Black Rep presents the August Wilson's Fences through January 14. "This sensational drama starred James Earl Jones on Broadway in 1987 as Troy Maxson, a former star of the Negro Baseball League who now works as a garbage man in 1957 Pittsburgh. Excluded as a black man from the major leagues during his prime, Troy's bitterness takes its toll on his relationships with his wife and his son, who now wants his own chance to play ball. " Performances take place at the Edison Theatre on the Washington University campus. For more information: theblackrep.org.

My take: This production certainly appears to have hit a home run with local critics. Tina Farmer at KDHX calls it "finely wrought" and "hard-hitting" white Steve Allen at Stage Door STL says "it's a play you won't want to miss." "If anyone needs to consider whether August Wilson may have been America's greatest playwright of the Twentieth Century," writes Ann Lemmons Pollack "please go to the Black Rep's production of Fences at Washington University's Edison Theatre." 'Nuff said.


The Marvelous Wonderettes
Photo: Eric Woolsey

The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis presents The Marvelous Wonderettes through January 28. "The pop doesn't stop in this smash hit musical! A high school prom in 1958 and a 10-year reunion in 1968 provide the backdrop for some of the biggest hits of both decades, performed by an irrepressible quartet of young women. Featuring a stacked playlist that includes "Mr. Sandman," "It's in His Kiss," "Respect," "Son of a Preacher Man" and "Lollipop," it's a joyous snapshot of a musical era." Performances take place at the Loretto-Hilton Center on the Webster University campus. For more information: repstl.org.

My take: This looks like great fun and judging from the reviews that's just what it is. Tina Farmer at KDHX says it's "an entertaining escape with a soundtrack you can dance to." "Great, almost giddy fun during this cold winter of our discontent," writes Ann Lemmons Pollack. "If you're in the mood for a little 'Respect,'" writes Mark Bretz at Ladue News, "check out The Marvelous Wonderettes and step back in time when you were younger and high school was the place to be." It may be light as chiffon, but maybe that's not such a bad thing right now.

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