Conversations With My Father Set in a Canal Street bar, Herb Gardner's semi-autobiographical memory play (the last of Gardner's plays to be staged on Broadway) primarily concerns the playwright's irascible bartender father (Peter Mayer), who presides over a tavern that serves as a halfway house where wayfarers can shed their fidelity to the Old World as they begin their pursuit of the American Dream. Depending on your tolerance for talk, Conversations is either a rich pastiche of random incidents or a drama sorely in need of a spine. Produced by the New Jewish Theatre through October 18 at Clayton High School, 2 Mark Twain Circle, Clayton. Tickets are $32 to $34 ($2 discount for seniors and JCC members). Call 314-442-3283 or visit www.newjewishtheatre.org.
— Dennis Brown
Proposals A summer cabin in the Poconos in 1953 provides the backdrop for several tales of courtship. Mostly the story centers on Josie, who is burdened by too many suitors. As he did at the beginning of his career in plays like Barefoot in the Park, Neil Simon returns to the deification of his first wife Joan (i.e., Josie), who died in 1973. Drenched in the roseate glow of sentimentality, Simon's modestly charming reverie is essentially a two-hour flirtation with an audience that for four decades has relied on him for laughter and escapism. Produced by St. Louis Actors' Studio through October 18 at the Gaslight Theater, 358 North Boyle Avenue. Tickets are $25 ($18 for students and seniors). Call 314-458-2978 or visit www.stlas.org. (DB)