Two massive tours, two corresponding CDs, two similarly corresponding DVDs, two seasons on the WB network and countless pairs of catchphrase-bearing ladies' thongs into their franchise, the Blue Collar Comedy men are currently gearing up for their third multi-city, gazillions-grossing go-round. Jeff Foxworthy, Larry the Cable Guy, Bill Engvall and....um, that other dude....won't be kicking off "The Blue Collar Comedy Tour: One for the Road" until February, however; so what's a local fan to do in the meantime?
Well, buddy, "here's your sign": If you missed his sold-out performances this past February (or his performances the year before that....or even the year before that), a solo Engvall sates watering country-comedy palates at 7 and 9 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday (November 9 and 10) at Ameristar Casino Bottleneck Blues Bar (1260 South Main Street, St. Charles; 636-940-4300).
Without his three Blue Collar brethren in the wings, the Dallas native doesn't play up his Southern roots quite as fervently, though he still keeps his language relatively clean and his material loosely centered around family life and run-ins with the intellectually challenged. And after six CDs, including last year's Decade of Laughs greatest-hits collection, Engvall has honed the voices with which he portrays his chagrined wife, snooty golf pros, French sharks, neutered cats and other assorted characters for maximum comediocity.
Of course, with tickets ($45 to $55) going faster than a greased pig on fire, you could alternately plan on catching the one-time St. Louis denizen when he's scheduled to roll through again at the beginning of February...and soon after in April. And once more next November. -- Julie Seabaugh
The Seagull Remix
The Fontbonne University Performing Arts Department goes all out with its production of The Seagull: In addition to performing Chekhov's classic about the desire for great love and great art in the face of uninterested paramours and mediocre artistic skills, the department also provides 43 alternate endings for Chekhov's work in the form of Steven Dietz's The Nina Variations. In Dietz's play, the final scene between Treplev and his diffident muse, Nina, is re-imagined and replayed, exploring most (if not all) of the possible outcomes between the two. You don't have to be familiar with The Seagull to enjoy it, but why pass up the chance to see both? The Seagull takes wing at 8 p.m. Friday, November 11, and 2 p.m. Sunday, November 13; Nina plays at 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday (November 12 and 13), all at the Fontbonne University Theatre (6800 Wydown Boulevard, Clayton; 314-889-1425). Tickets are $5 to $10. -- Paul Friswold
Face the Monologues
"Inconceivable!" Wallace Shawn's portrayal of Vizzini in The Princess Bride firmly etched this word into many fine minds, and it appears Mr. Shawn has been pondering the thought himself. Shawn's new play, The Fever, is a meditation on the "inconceivable" moral disconnect between the privileged world and truths of violence and oppression that many people willfully ignore. Ember Hyde stars in this one-woman Hydeware Theatre show as a feverish traveler attempting to justify her own existence, and her performance is followed by Byron Kerman's original monologue, "Man with Shotgun," starring Brian Hyde. Hydeware Theatre (www.hydewaretheatre.org) invites you to "come...and face up to reality" Thursday through Saturday, November 10 through 19 ("Man with Shotgun" is not performed on Thursday), at the Tin Ceiling (3149 Cherokee Street; 314-534-1111). Shows are at 8 p.m., and tickets are $10 to $15. -- Anna Teekell
Ploughing and Reaping
SITI gets medieval on you
Picture, if you will, a young farmer whose wife has recently died in childbirth. Grieving, he cries out to Death, asking why her, why now? And for once, Death or something claiming to represent Death answers. As the widower cites all of humanity's frail beauty and potential and rages against the mortality that stills us, Death pragmatically responds that all things are stilled. Johannes von Saaz's remarkable Death and the Ploughman asks the questions that people have asked of the universe for hundreds of years as proven by the fact that von Saaz wrote his story after his own wife died in childbirth in 1400. The SITE Company performs Michael West's translation of Death and the Ploughman at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday (November 11 and 12) at the Edison Theatre (6445 Forsyth Boulevard; 314-935-6543). Tickets are $18 to $28. -- Paul Friswold
The Vienna Boys' Choir is back!
Now this is old school: The Vienna Boys' Choir was founded more than half a millennium ago all the way back in 1498, during the rule of Emperor Maximilian I. In the 1920s, after hundreds of years in service to the court, the boys' choir became a private institution, adopting the trademark sailor suits and performing around the world. Menudo-like, the Vienna choir boys are forever between the ages of ten and fourteen. The choir's repertoire is extremely broad it even released a pop album, to mixed reviews but it's unlikely that the boys' St. Louis performance will include any Nelly covers. In other words, you're sure to leave satisfied after this traditional show. This Saint Louis Cathedral Concert begins at 8 p.m. at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis (4431 Lindell Boulevard). Tickets are $20 to $30 (at press time only the $40 tickets were sold out). For more information or to purchase tickets, call 314-533-7662 or visit www.stlcathedralconcerts.org. -- Mark Fischer