Capsule Reviews

Dennis Brown and Deanna Jent suss out local theater

This Is Our YouthKenneth Lonergan's grim drama about low dealings among upper-crust teenagers in 1982 New York City includes the mandatory spew of profanity, onstage drug-taking, the obligatory flushing toilet — and lots of athletic equipment. Despite some inventive staging by director John Ruocco and three solid performances by Brian Petersson, Will Rogers and especially the wonderfully natural Kristina Valada-Viars in the play's most multifaceted role, it's hard to buy into the premise that these troubled teens are an evocation of America's lost soul during the materialistic Reagan '80s. Performed by the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis through December 4 at the Grandel Theatre, 3610 Grandel Square. Tickets are $31 to $48 (rush tickets available for students and seniors, $8 and $10 respectively, 30 minutes before showtime). Call 314-968-4925 or visit www.repstl.org. (Dennis Brown)

Wicked If you think this re-telling of The Wizard of Oz is successful simply because of the enduring popularity of the source material, go rent Hook and remind yourself of the muck Steven Spielberg made of Peter Pan. It's tough to play fast and loose with a beloved classic, but Wicked works because it is intelligent, imaginative and surprising. No surprise, then, that people who see the show want to turn right around and see it again. There's a lot here to sort out. Add to the brew an addictive pop score by Stephen Schwartz, sung to near-perfection by Stephanie J. Block as Elpheba, the Wicked Witch of the West. Wicked may be leaving St. Louis this weekend, but rest assured: This one's going to be around for a long time to come. Performed through December 4 at the Fox Theatre, 527 N. Grand Boulevard. The show is sold out; for information call 314-534-1111 or visit www.fabulousfox.com. (DB)

 
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