St. Louis Stage Capsules

Dennis Brown and Paul Friswold suss out the local theater scene

Newly Reviewed
The Abominable Dr. Phibes...in 3-D Reviewed in this issue.

Jersey Boys It has been three years since this hit musical about how four New Jersey teens became the chart-topping Four Seasons — and how they screwed up their phenomenal success — first played the Fox. So how is the tour holding up? In a word: Pow! Jersey Boys, a veritable primer about ego and vanity in the poisonous world of pop music, still delivers a super-charged jolt. The staging remains as polished as a gold record. Part Broadway musical, part rock & roll concert, part studio recording session, this hybrid entertainment is at times insanely satisfying. High-tech showmanship continues to make Jersey Boys an exhilarating experience. But the four lead actors — Matt Bailey, Steve Gouveia, Quinn VanAntwerp and especially Joseph Leo Bwarie as lead singer Frankie Valli — make that experience human and deeply moving. Through May 29 at the Fox Theatre, 527 North Grand Boulevard. Tickets are $33 to $90. Call 314-534-1678 or visit www.fabulousfox.com.
Dennis Brown

The Lady With All the Answers Reviewed in this issue.

Suicide, Incorporated Jason (Mark Kelley) left his job as a greeting-card writer to take a position at Legacy Letters, the company that helps you hone your suicide note into a thing of beauty. His new boss, Scott (B. Weller), is a paranoid big into team building who dreams of cracking the lucrative male suicide market and franchising the company, and the arrival of new client Norm (Charlie Barron) might put him over the top. Yes, Andrew Hinderaker's script requires you to suspend a fair bit of disbelief, but the payoff's worth it. Kelley's big-hearted portrayal of Jason, who secretly wants to save Norm from killing himself, provides a framework for both actors to examine grief and the male psyche. Barron's slow-motion revelation about how he got to this point is worth the price of admission, while Weller's foul-mouthed Scott provides uncomfortably hard-edged laughs at the expense of his employees (another view of male coping methods and the damage they wreak). Presented by RS Theatrics under the direction of Randy Stinebaker and Christina Rios through May 22 at the ArtSpace at Crestwood Court (formerly Crestwood Plaza), Watson and Sappington roads, Crestwood. Tickets are $10. Call 314-968-8070 or visit www.soundstageproductions.net. — Paul Friswold

Ongoing
Dark Matters Bridget Cleary (Sarah Cannon) disappears one evening, leaving her husband Michael (David Wassilak) and teenage son Jeremy (Tyler Whiteman) to wonder and argue about what happened. Her return comes with news of alien beings and their plans for Jeremy, causing rifts to develop between husband and wife and father and son. Roberto Aquirre-Sacasa's script allows the possibility that Bridget is not as crazy as she appears, and director Justin Been maintains the suspense so that each of the actors is able to convince you, ever so briefly, that they're the only sane member of the family. The real aliens in the play are the members of the Cleary family, who have grown (or moved) apart from one another to the point where they no longer recognize each other as human beings. It's a gripping depiction of post-nuclear suburban desperation fraught with menace and aided by uniformly fine performances. Presented by Stray Dog Theatre through May 21 at the Tower Grove Abbey, 2336 Tennessee Avenue. Tickets are $20 ($18 for students and seniors). Call 314-865-1995 or visit www.straydogtheatre.org. (PF)
 
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