We have new shows this week from (among others) New Jewish, Upstream, and Winter Opera, along with a return of the raucous and brilliant Lea DeLaria.

We have new shows this week from (among others) Circus Harmony, The Rep, Max and Louie, and Mariposa Productions, along with the monthly singers open mic at Sophie's, hosted by yours truly.

The lull before the summer theatre season kicks off is upon us, but I still have some recommendations' as Chuck's Choices returns from vacation.

New This Week:

The Case of the Missing Belhop

Circus Flora presents its new show, The Case of the Missing Bellhop through May 13. "The world-famous Balding Hotel has long been an exclusive getaway for dignitaries and nobility from around the world. A place where the staff and crew have unusual skills and where people can go about their business without many questions asked - making the hotel famous for luxury and impeccable service. But when a beloved bellhop goes missing, the Balding begins to attract attention. Secrets proliferate and questions abound! What happened to the bellhop, and who knew about it?" The show takes place at Circus Flora's new home at 3401 Washington in Grand Center. For more information: circusflora.org.

My take: Circus Flora is now firmly entrenched as a St. Louis tradition, and the decision to move their annual show from summer to spring means you can mostly beat the heat when you go (although this weekend is looking pretty summery). "The venerable Circus Flora brings fresh acts, a sparkling new lead character and a charming story with a touch of Wes Anderson whimsy to its new permanent home in Grand Center," writes Tina Farmer at KDHX. "The result is a delightfully entertaining and fun to follow along mystery that ups audience interaction as well as eliciting the usual gasps, awes and ahs." 'Nuff said; gather the family together and head down to Grand Center.

The St. Louis Symphony Orchestra presents a showing of the classic musical An American in Paris, with the score performed live by the orchestra under the direction of Norman Huynh, Saturday at 7 pm and Sunday at 3 pm, May 12 and 13. "Winner of six Academy Awards - including Best Picture - and one of the American Film Institute's Top 10 Greatest Movie Musicals of All Time, An American in Paris, stars Leslie Caron and Gene Kelly and features the timeless original music and lyrics by George and Ira Gershwin." The showings take place at Powell Symphony Hall in Grand Center. For more information: stlsymphony.org.

My take: Yes, this isn't really theatre, but An American in Paris has some wonderfully theatrical dance along with a score by George Gershwin, who was one of the great theatre composers of the last century. And it's a live performance by the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, so I'm going to shoehorn it in here. These movie events are always great fun and there's nothing quite like hearing that film score performed by a real orchestra in a real concert hall.

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

Looking for some good family friendly fun this weekend? Let me call your attention to Circus Flora's new show Time Flies.

My hit list was on vacation while my wife and I were tooling around Italy.  Now that it's back, I realize that there is so much great theatre, opera, and cabaret in town this week that I hardly have space to list it all. Here is my very personal list, based entirely on what I've already seen or (in the case of the cabaret shows) on my experience with the performers.

We've got new shows this week at Tesseract, Stray Dog, Washington University, and Solid Lines Production, among others.

New shows this week include a rarely seen opera, a glitzy new musical based on a classic film, and a one-man show about Close Encounters.

It's another big St. Louis theater week, including world premieres, circus arts, cabaret, and children's theatre.

Forget the circus in Washington; we've got the real thing here at City Museum (although with fewer clowns), along with great theatre and cabaret as well.

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