Even as Applegate is making cheerful in Anything Goes, across the street and down the block Circus Flora will be back on the Powell Hall parking lot (Samuel Shepard Drive and North Grand Boulevard; www.circusflora.org). You know what that means: Giovanni Zoppé — better known and loved as Nino the Clown — will be holding court under the Big Top. Nino barely speaks, but his silent visuals elicit roars of laughter. Even as we gasp for breath, we sense that our souls have been filled with wonder. How does Nino do that — and so effortlessly? Circus Flora's summer run takes place May 30 through June 23.

There are still more clowns this spring. Herman Gordon steps into the paws and whiskers of the Cowardly Lion in The Wiz at the Grandel Theatre (3610 Grandel Square; 314-534-1834 or www.theblackrep.org), courtesy of the Black Rep May 29 through June 29. Speaking of whiskers, expect to see at least sideburns on Hugh Russell, who will be tongue-twisting his way through Major Stanley's "I Am the Very Model of a Modern Major General" in the venerable Pirates of Penzance (1879) at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis (in repertory May 25 through June 29) at the Loretto-Hilton Center (130 Edgar Road; 314-961-0644 or www.opera-stl.org). Another old chestnut, Brandon Thomas' Charley's Aunt (1892) will be staged on alternate weekends (June 14 through 30) by Act, Inc. (Fontbonne University Fine Arts Theatre, 6800 Wydown Boulevard; 314-725-9108 or www.actincstl.com). Jack Dryden will be doing the farcical cross-dressing honors as Lord Fancourt Babberley and — apart from stage adaptations of Dickens — how often do you get to see a character with a name like that?

Four nights before spring comes to an official end, the Muny in Forest Park (314-361-1900 or www.muny.org) opens its current season with the uproarious Monty Python musical Spamalot (June 17 through 23). If you're not yet exhausted from two months of cavorting, King Arthur (in the regal presence of John O'Hurley, Seinfeld's memorably imperious J. Peterman) and his merry band will be only too happy to teach you how to look on the bright side of life. The goofy Spamalot is sure to provide us with the last laugh(s) of spring and the first of summer.

Alesya Gulevich at Circus Flora.
Courtesy Circus Flora
Alesya Gulevich at Circus Flora.

—Dennis Brown

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