By Lynn Venhaus
Upstairs or downstairs at the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, you will be rewarded. It just depends what you are in the mood for — non-stop hilarity or thoughtful drama-romance. Why not see them both? This is the last weekend for the exquisite “Nonsense and Beauty” and the second weekend of the smash hit “The Play That Goes Wrong,” which runs through April 7.
The theater schedule is light right now, after all, there is Spring Break and awards to give out, so many rehearsals are underway for the shows to debut next week or the first week of April
In the meantime, if you haven’t seen “La Cage Aux Folles,” head to the Marcelle for quite a treat — New Line Theatre delivers the fun, with Zak Farmer’s tour-de-force performance a must-see.
The youth theater production, “Newsies” opens in St. Charles and Alpha Players of Florissant continues with the comedy “My Three Angels.”
Go see a play! And come to the St.Louis Theater Circle Awards Monday night at the Loretto Hilton to see excellence in regional theater in 2018 recognized and lots o’ good theater celebrated.
“La Cage Aux Folles”
New Line Theatre
Feb. 28 – March 23
Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m.
Marcelle Theater, 3310 Samuel Shepard Drive
What It’s About: What happens when the son of a middle-aged gay couple brings home the daughter of an arch-conservative politician — and her parents — for dinner? Musical comedy ensues.
“La Cage Aux Folles” takes place on the French Riviera for a night of love, laughs, illusions and truths, and the triumph of family over bullies and bigots.
Based on the 1973 French play and its 1978 film adaptation, “La Cage Aux Folles” tells the story of a middle-aged show business couple, grappling with aging, fidelity, kids, and holding on to their dignity when the world around them would rather strip it away. At the center is Georges, a St. Tropez nightclub owner, and his husband Albin, who is also the club’s erratic headliner Zaza. When Georges’ son gets engaged to the daughter of a right-wing politician, we see the politics and culture wars of 2019, at their most ridiculous and most fevered, onstage right in front of us.
Director: Scott Miller and Mike Dowdy-Windsor, with music direction by Nicolas Valdez and choreography by Michelle Sauer and Sara Rae Womack.
Starring: Zachary Allen Farmer (Albin/Zaza), Robert Doyle (Georges), Kevin Corpuz (Jean-Michel), Tielere Cheatem (Jacob), Zora Vredeveld (Anne), Kent Coffel (M. Dindon), Mara Bollini (Mme. Dindon), Lindsey Jones (Jacqueline), Joel Hackbarth (Francis), and as the notorious Cagelles – Jake Blonstein, Dominic Dowdy-Windsor, Evan Fornachon, Tim Kaniecki, Clayton Humburg, and Ian McCreary..
Of Note: In its original 1983 production, the show was a safely old-fashioned musical comedy. But in its 2008 London revival and 2010 Broadway revival, the show was transformed from a lightweight comedy into a more serious story with a lot of laughs.
The original 1983 Broadway production ran four years and 1,761 performances. The show received nine Tony nominations and won six, including Best Musical, Best Score and Best Book — beating out Sondheim’s Sunday in the Park with George. It’s been revived on Broadway and in London multiple times.
“My Three Angels”
Alpha Players of Florissant
March 15, 16, 22-24
The Florissant Civic Center Theater, Parker Rd. at Waterford Dr. alphaplayers.org,
Young People’s Theatre
March 22 – 24, March 29-31
St. Charles Community College
Stage Theatre in Donald D. Shook Fine Arts Building
4601 Mid Rivers Mall Drive, Cottleville, Mo.
What It’s About: Jack Kelly is a charismatic newsboy and leader of a band of teenaged “newsies.” When titans of publishing raise distribution prices at the newsboys’ expense, Jack rallies newsies from across the city to strike against the unfair conditions. They fight for what is right and seize the day!
“Nonsense and Beauty”
The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis
Emerson Studio Theatre
March 6 – 24
What It’s About: In 1930, the writer E.M. Forster met and fell in love with a policeman 23 years his junior. Their relationship, very risky for its time, evolved into a 40-year love triangle that was both turbulent and unique. Based on a true story, Nonsense and Beauty captures the wit and wisdom of one of the last century’s great writers. This world premiere was developed as part of The Rep’s 2018 Ignite! Festival of New Plays.
Director: Seth Gordon
Starring: Jeffrey Hayenga, Robbie Simpson, John Feltch, Lori Vega and
“The Play That Goes Wrong”
The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis
March 15 – April 7
Loretto-Hilton Center, 130 Edgar Road
Box Office: 314-968-4925
What It’s About: Calamity, disaster, fiasco: whichever word you’d like to choose, the opening night performance of “The Murder at Haversham Manor” has gone decidedly wrong. A maelstrom of madcap madness ensues, complete with collapsing scenery, unconscious actors and a stage crew pushed to the brink. Will The Rep survive this train wreck of a play? Come find out!
Director: Melissa Rain Anderson
Cast: Ka-Leung Cheung, Ryan George, Benjamin Curns, Michael Keyloun, Ruth Pferdehirt, Matthew McGloin, John Rapson and Evan Zes.
Of Note: The Rep’s production is the first stand-alone production outside of New York and London. The Broadway run was extended, and now there is a 12-city national tour underway, but this is not a touring show.
Lynn Venhaus has had a continuous byline in St. Louis metro region publications since 1978. She is a Rotten Tomatoes-approved film critic, currently reviews films for Webster-Kirkwood Times and KTRS Radio, covers entertainment for PopLifeSTL.com and co-hosts podcast PopLifeSTL.com…Presents, and writes features and news for Belleville News-Democrat and contributes to other publications. She is a member of CCA, AWFJ and St. Louis Film Critics Association. She is a founding member of the St. Louis Theater Circle.