St. Louis Stage Capsules

Dennis Brown and Paul Friswold suss out the local theater scene

Newly Reviewed
a feminine ending Amanda (Rachel Hanks) is an uptight, frustrated jingle writer engaged to budding pop superstar Jack (Brendan Allen). Her life is complicated by a flighty mother (Jenn Bock) who's determined to leave her husband (B. Weller) once and for all, and Mom's demand that Amanda come home and help her pack proves the tipping point in Amanda's life. With its overextended music metaphors, Sarah Treem's script is a little precious in the early going, and Hanks has to lift some weighty speeches out of pretentiousness — she's much more engaging in her scenes with Billy (Jonathan Ellison), her first love, a wildly entertaining goofball who helps rekindle her creative spark. Bock's mixture of loopiness and determination to reclaim her life, and Weller's pitch-perfect performance as a bored and boring middle-aged man, also redeem a slow first act. Presented by the NonProphet Theater Company through November 7 at the Regional Arts Commission, 6128 Delmar Boulevard. Tickets are $15 ($12 for students and seniors). Call 636-236-4831 or visit www.nptco.org. — Paul Friswold

Next Fall Reviewed in this issue.

Also Reviewed
The Chosen There is a deliberate sense of balance to Deanna Jent's staging of The Chosen, from the set right through to the performances, which suits this tale of two young men trying to find the shared space where their lives can coexist. Young Orthodox Jew Reuven Malter is portrayed with bluff energy by Adam Moskal; his opposite is Hasidic Jew Danny Saunders, played with an intermittent smugness by David Chandler. They are reflections of their fathers, a gregariously warm Jim Leibrecht playing David Malter and Richard Lewis displaying a gnomic charisma as the reserved Reb Saunders. Aaron Posner's adaptation of Chaim Potok's novel too often relies on telling us what's happening rather than showing, but Adam Moskal carries us through these long passages with his affability and sheer likability. Still, it's Richard Lewis who delivers the night's highlight, when Reb's controlled façade crumbles with the revelation of the Holocaust, and he shows us the frailty of humanity in the face of unimaginable horror. Presented by Mustard Seed Theatre through November 7 at the Fontbonne University Fine Arts Theatre, 6800 Wydown Boulevard, Clayton. Tickets are $20 to $30 ($15 for students and seniors). Call 314-719-8060 or visit www.mustardseedtheatre .com. (PF)

High Sister Jamison (portrayed by film star Kathleen Turner) is a triple threat: a nun, a recovering alcoholic and a social worker. The bullying sister meets her match when she's assigned to the case of a drug-addicted street hustler who might also be a child murderer. Beautifully lit and slickly designed, the Broadway-bound High turns out to be a formulaic evening in the guise of drama. As the raw production drags the viewer through a litany of debasement, it strives mightily to shock and surprise. Yet when the tumultuous evening is over, the biggest surprise might be how little you've actually felt. Through November 7 at the Loretto-Hilton Center, 130 Edgar Road, Webster Groves. Tickets are $18.50 to $70. Call 314-968-4925 or visit www.repstl.org. — Dennis Brown

 
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