St. Louis Stage Capsules

Dennis Brown and Paul Friswold suss out the local theater scene

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). Visit www.theblackrep.org or call 314-534-3810. — Paul Friswold

Cherita Armstron and Monica Parks in the Black Rep’s Harlem Duet.
Stewart Goldstein
Cherita Armstron and Monica Parks in the Black Rep’s Harlem Duet.

Jersey Boys Although this saga about the rise and fall of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons is masquerading as a Broadway musical, it also exploits the mass hysteria of a rock & roll concert, emits the echoing sounds of a studio recording session and employs the spare, minimalist dialogue of a lean motion-picture script to serve up a hybrid entertainment with the power of a thunderclap. As wildly satisfying as Act One is, this primer about ego and vanity doesn't kick into high gear until Act Two. The production is as polished as a shiny gold record, and the cast is sensational. Technology makes Jersey Boys an exhilarating experience; the four lead actors — Erik Bates, Steve Gouveia, Christopher Kale Jones and Andrew Rannells — make that experience human and deeply moving. Through May 18 at the Fox Theatre, 527 North Grand Boulevard. Tickets are $28 to $130. Visit www.fabulousfox.com or call 314-534-1678. — Dennis Brown

 
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