Out on a Limb

Conductor Stephen Mager, leading members of the St. Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra, is sympathetic both toward his singers and toward Hailstork's score. Jim Burwinkel's set, Robin VerHage-Abrams' costumes and John G. Wylie's lighting are all first-rate. Millie Garvey's choreography, complete with high-kicking saloon girls, is delightful.

Joshua's Boots will receive two more performances this weekend, and it is really worth a trip, even if you're no longer a young person.

-- Harry Weber

Nunsense II: The Second Coming
By Dan Goggin
Goldenrod Showboat

Those who find risible the idea of nuns in traditional habits singing, dancing and cracking bad jokes can laugh the night away on the Goldenrod Showboat these days, where the second of Dan Goggin's bewilderingly successful scenarios for the five Little Sisters of Hoboken occupies the stage. I like bad jokes more than most, but I'm bemused by the proliferation and repetition of these trifles, which long ago succumbed to the law of diminishing returns for me.

But the current cast plays the material with skill and relish, sharply defining each sister. Susan Filtrante presides firmly as the mother superior, with Paula Scarbrough archly second-guessing her as her lieutenant. As Sister Robert-Anne from the mean streets of Brooklyn, Stephanie Tennill strides about in red high-top sneakers, and Katie Nestor makes a winsome novice. Marian L. Holtz has played Sister Amnesia so often, she could probably do it in her sleep. But sleep you probably won't, though groan you may, at Nunsense II.

-- Bob Wilcox

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