Hammerstein and Kern's Show Boat causes no small amount of stress for audiences. Is its depiction of late-nineteenth century blacks as servants racist and demeaning, or is Hammerstein on the side of the angels, illustrating the dehumanizing nature of institutionalized racism? The answer is up to the individual, and that's why Show Boat continues to be valid: If we don't ask ourselves the hard questions, we're never going to find the answers. As you watch the Cotton Blossom's cast of performers and menials fall in love, face prejudice, make mistakes and pursue happiness, think about how far we've come and how far we still have to go. The Muny closes its season with Show Boat at 8:15 p.m. Monday through Sunday (August 9 through 15) at the Muny in Forest Park (314-361-1900 or www.muny.org). Tickets are $9 to $66.
Aug. 9-15, 2010