Terrence McNally's play Love! Valour! Compassion! is generally remembered as "the play with quite a bit of male nudity," a reputation that it doesn't really deserve. The nudity isn't what it's all about, after all; it's merely incidental, and male, so it seems out of the ordinary. Set in the vacation home of Gregory, a successful choreographer, the play follows eight friends as they spend three summer holiday weekends together. Long-time partners Arthur and Perry are idealized by the other men as the perfect couple, even if they are a little dull; Gregory worries about his advancing age; and Buzz, the loveably boisterous costume designer who is HIV-positive, masks his own fears of death behind a sturdy wall of humor and theatrical trivia. It's a play about people who have nothing in common but their friendship and their own humanity, as feeble and angry and frightened and occasionally naked as they may be. Citilites Theatre returns from a fifteen-year absence with Love! Valour! Compassion! at 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 7 p.m. Sunday (January 7 through 17) at the Kranzberg Arts Center (501 North Grand Boulevard; 314-773-1879 or www.citilitestheatre.com), and there are plans for a full season beyond that. Tickets are $15 to $20.
Thursdays-Sundays. Starts: Jan. 7. Continues through Jan. 17, 2010