St. Louis Stage Capsules

Dennis Brown and Paul Friswold suss out the local theater scene

The Caucasian Chalk Circle Reviewed in this issue.

Harlem Duet A prequel to Shakespeare's Othello, Djanet Sears' Harlem Duet imagines the dissolution of Othello's (Kingsley Leggs) marriage to African-American grad student Billie (Cherita Armstrong), freeing him up to marry his white co-worker, Mona (Nicole Fabbri). With a narrative split across three time periods (the 1860s, the 1920s and the late 1990s), the story is at times choppy. But the import of the play — a pull-no-punches examination of interracial marriages — is never lost. Presented by the Black Rep through May 18 at the Grandel Theatre, 3610 Grandel Square. Tickets are $17 to $43 ($5 discount for students and seniors; $10 rush seats available for students 30 minutes before showtime). Call 314-534-3810 or visit www.theblackrep.org. — Paul Friswold

Jersey Boys Reviewed in this issue.

KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park: LIVE! The dialogue is craptacular. The special effects are better described as "defects." Scenes are riddled with non sequiturs and clumsy transitions, and the set is constructed out of cardboard — and not the expensive stuff. In short, it's another smash hit from Magic Smoking Monkey. Jim Ousley's script is ridiculously faithful to the original movie — a stink-bomb '70s update of The Phantom of the Opera with KISS as superheroes — down to every last painful quip and Ace Frehley "ack!" Ousley also stars as Paul Stanley, a beacon of vacant sexuality who lights up every scene with severely pursed lips and embarrassingly true-to-the-original dance steps. Aaron Orion Baker's Abner Devereaux is a studied portrayal of megalomania and pouting, and he does the best "I've-been-shot-in-the-junk-by-a-laser-gun" face you'll ever witness. Through May 3 at the Regional Arts Commission, 6128 Delmar Boulevard. Tickets are $15. Call 314-361-5664 or visit www.stlshakespeare.org. (PF)

Parenting 101: A Musical Guide to Raising Parents This extended revue about the trials and tribulations of having children is yet another entry in the "you too can write a musical" sweepstakes. Some people enjoy this kind of entertainment. But the only reason I could think of to return for Act Two was to see if the four energetic actors would have any voices left by evening's end. Open-ended run at the Playhouse at West Port Plaza (second level), Page Avenue at I-270, Maryland Heights. Tickets are $42.50. Visit www.theplayhouseatwestport.com or call 314-469-7529. — Dennis Brown

 
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