By Any Other Name

Roseanne's still sweet

WED 10/19

Bring on the loose-meat sandwiches! Not only has Roseanne Barr already reminded us how she raised the sitcom, er, bar with the recent DVD release of Roseanne: The First Complete Season, but the Blue-Collar Domestic Diva also reminds us why she was the highest-ranked woman (at No. 9!) on Comedy Central's list of the greatest stand-ups of all time with a 7:30 p.m. performance at the Touhill Performing Arts Center on the University of Missouri-St. Louis campus (1 University Drive at Natural Bridge Road).

"I get a little fired up and drop the F-word with some regularity," she offers as a preview. "Plus I have a, shall we say, 'revealing' finale? It's not as if Roseanne Connor was a soft-spoken powderpuff or anything, but there were restrictions on network TV that we don't have in this live format.

"I take what I think are some well-deserved jabs at the President. But I make pretty good fun of myself, too, and I also give it to politicians in general, the diet industry, showbiz, organized religion, baby boomers, TV gurus, Big Business, married people, single people, gay people, straight people. People are laughing, though, everywhere I do my show, and that's how I know I'm on the right track."

Since the end of her Emmy-winning sitcom's nine-year run, Barr has devoted herself to family life, and she recently completed a kids' music-video DVD titled Peanut Butter and Jellyfish. As for career highlights and lowlights, well...as she said, she can make pretty good fun of herself. "[The episodes] hold up, and a lot of times I laugh when I remember things that were going on off-camera," Barr says. "The longevity of the appeal of the Roseanne show is my biggest accomplishment. Would I have done anything differently, career-wise? I can think of a particular song I would have started in a lower key...."

Tickets are $19 to $35; call 314-516-4949 or visit www.touhill.org for more information. -- Julie Seabaugh

Release the Bats
Die Fledermaus

SUN 10/23

At first blush, an evening of opera may not seem that appealing as a Halloween-time activity. But this is operetta, and Johan Strauss' Die Fledermaus is the basis for many a sitcom Halloween episode. Husband and wife philanderers Gabriel and Rosalinde attend the same racy masquerade ball, unaware that the other is also in attendance. Disguised and hot-to-trot, Gabriel unknowingly hits on his own wife (the horror!); she's fresh from a tryst with former lover Alfred, so she has little room to be angry (but fellas, you know she is). All of this skullduggery is set in motion by the mysterious Dr. Falke, who is upset about having to wear a bat costume. Comedy and small revenge then ensue, roll credits. The Czech Opera Prague presents Die Fledermaus at 7 p.m. at the Touhill Performing Arts Center on the University of Missouri-St. Louis campus (1 University Drive at Natural Bridge Road; 314-516-4949 or www.touhill.org). Tickets are $35 to $50. -- Paul Friswold

Speed Kills

New Line Theatre has a Halloween treat in store for St. Louis. Eric Dienstfrey's The Amberklavier or: The Most Horrifying Tale of Science-Fact is a blacker-than-black musical comedy about one man's quest to curb his methamphetamine addiction. The trick-or-treat saga's stunning cast includes God, the Angel of Death and a stripper. What more to expect from the creator of last season's atonal musical-comedy sensation, She's Hideous?

The Amberklavier runs two nights only, Tuesday and Wednesday (October 25 and 26), at 8 p.m. at the Art Loft Theatre (1529 Washington Avenue; 314-773-6526 or www.newlinetheatre.com). Tickets are $10 and available only at the door. To add to the spookiness, anyone who comes dressed as David Bowie gets in for half price (no specification on which era Bowie). -- Anna Teekell

Emphasis on "Man"

Eschewing the makeup and prosthetics of the David Lynch film The Elephant Man, Bernard Pomerance's play relies on the actor's skill alone to convey the physical deformities John Merrick endured. While this may disappoint the Fangoria crowd, fans of illuminating acting thrill to the fantastic transformation that takes place onstage, as a hobbled and contorted Merrick (played by Andrew Neiman, pictured) finds the shining jewel of his own soul through the patient care of Dr. Treves, and reveals it through word and (limited) gesture. Stray Dog Theatre presents its production of The Elephant Man at 8 p.m. Thursday and Saturday and at 2 p.m. Sunday (October 20 through November 6, with an additional 8 p.m. show on Friday, October 21) at Clayton High School (1 Mark Twain Circle, Clayton; www.straydogtheatre.org or 314-531-5923). Tickets are $15 to $18. -- Paul Friswold

 
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