St. Louis Stage Capsules

Dennis Brown and Paul Friswold suss out the local theater scene

Newly Reviewed
Long Day's Journey into Night Reviewed in this issue.

Marry Me a Little What a delectable treat it is to have a Sondheim revue on hand even as the world is celebrating his 80th birthday and the publication of the first volume of his memoirs. The conceit underlying Marry Me a Little is that we're hearing obscure songs that either were cut from hit Broadway shows before they opened or come from unproduced Sondheim works. But because Marry Me a Little is now nearly 30 years old, even Sondheim's most remote songs have received repeated recordings. Over the course of an hour, eighteen glorious ballads, charm songs and patter songs are sung by Laura Ernst and Scott Tripp. The piano, which is played by director Seth Ward Pyatt, apparently is in the balcony of the Gaslight Theater, which helps to fill the auditorium with sound. The acoustics are terrific. You won't miss a lyric — and what magical lyrics they are. Produced by Citilites Theatre through November 21 at the Gaslight Theater, 358 North Boyle Avenue. Tickets are $18 to $20 ($15 to $17 for students and seniors). Call 314-773-1879 or visit www.citilitestheatre.com.
— Dennis Brown

Treading Backwards Thru Quicksand (Without Wearing Your Water Wings) Mattie (Amy Loui) and Sophie (Edie Avioli) are middle-aged New Yorkers who have recently lost their husbands — the former to infidelity, the latter to death — and who decide to get their grooves back through fruity drinks (blueberry brandy), new men (Tex and Irish Boy) and long conversations on the rooftop. It's a plot familiar to anyone who has fried green tomatoes, got their ya-ya's out, had sex in the city or eaten, prayed and loved (and yes, Jimmy Choo shoes are mentioned more than once). That's either an endorsement or a warning. Despite the limitations of Sandra Marie Vago's script, Avioli delivers a fine performance as a woman haunted, quite happily, by her husband's ghost. The final goodbye between Mattie and the deceased Bernie (Scott Sears) is a genuinely moving scene and makes you wish there'd been more room in the play for the two of them. Presented by Black Cat Theatre under the direction of Wayne Loui through November 20 at the Black Cat Theatre, 2810 Sutton Boulevard, Maplewood. Tickets are $25. Call 314-781-8300 or visit www.blackcattheatre.org.
— Paul Friswold

A Woman's Place: Ordinary Women in Extraordinary Circumstances Reviewed in this issue.

Ongoing
Next Fall As Luke, a rising young actor, hovers between life and death in a Manhattan hospital, his friends and family share an uneasy vigil in a nearby waiting room. Geoffrey Nauffts' play embarks on a series of flashbacks that chronicle Luke's five-year romance with his current partner, Adam. The only obstacle to their total bliss is that Luke is a devout Christian and Adam is not. But every time Luke and Adam wrangle over how religion affects their lives, the scenes abruptly end where they should be starting. The most intriguing story line concerns the eternal impasse between fathers and sons. Keith Jochim is outstanding as Luke's father. Jochim exudes a blundering dignity even as he feigns denial about his son's sexuality. Performed by the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis through November 14 at the Grandel Theatre, 3160 Grandel Square. Tickets are $18 to $45. Call 314-968-4925 or visit www.repstl.org. (DB)
 
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