Spring Arts Guide

Spring Arts Guide

APRIL

Friday, April 25

Wild Blue Yonder
Blue Man Group is a pretty tight musical group, an adroit team of silent comedians and a more-than-capable gang of technologically enhanced magicians. Combine all of that with the group's love of pop art and surprises, and you have one of the more unpredictable theatrical experiences you'll ever see. The blue men's ability to switch from making a spontaneous piece of art via projectile paint vomiting to catching marshmallows in their mouths to running a small camera down a throat, all while projecting that footage on a massive overhead video screen, keeps you on your seat. It's a peculiar skill set, and it produces a singularly memorable night. The Blue Man Group performs at 8 p.m. Friday, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday, and 2 and 7:30 p.m. Sunday (April 25 through 27) at Peabody Opera House (1400 Market Street; 314-499-7600 or www.peabodyoperahouse.org). Tickets are $27 to $92. Paul Friswold

Talking at Windmills
What do we modern Americans know about our country's original inhabitants? All in all, not much, really — Native Americans seem to exist in a nebulous realm of half-understanding for most of us. There's perhaps an analogous situation half a world away: It pertains to Australians and the Aboriginals among them. Long before Britain began colonizing the Australian mainland in the eighteenth century, Aboriginals were indigenous to this vast territory. David Milroy's play Windmill Baby, which has already been hailed as an Australian classic in its homeland, offers a glimpse into this little-known (to Americans, anyway) world of the Aboriginal experience Down Under. Maymay is an elderly Aboriginal woman who returns to the pastoral cattle station she worked on as a domestic 50 years ago. Her vivid memories carry a story of love, violence and sudden ruin, told within the larger historical context of the Aboriginal people in servitude to white Australians. Upstream Theater Company presents Windmill Baby at 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and at 7 p.m. Sunday (April 25 through May 10) at the Kranzberg Arts Center (501 North Grand Boulevard; 314-863-4999 or www.upstreamtheater.org); there is a 3 p.m. matinee on Sunday, May 11. Tickets are $20 to $30. — Alex Weir
Donelle Wollford as Richard Pryor, 
performing as Mudbone.
Donelle Wollford
Donelle Wollford as Richard Pryor, performing as Mudbone.
Ed Asner has a great New Deal for you.
Ed Asner has a great New Deal for you.

The Great American Symphony
Aaron Copland's Symphony No. 3 swung for the bleachers and hit them. During the 1940s, American composers — seeking a vehicle with which to rival the monolithic European tradition, whose shadow they labored under — strove for the distinctly native voice, the Great American Symphony. In his Symphony No. 3, Copland realized this ambition fully. Now, who better to interpret Copland's grand vision than Leonard Slatkin? The former Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra conductor was nominated for a Grammy for his work leading the SLSO in its 1992 rendition of Copland's Third; this weekend he makes his return to St. Louis to pick up the baton again. "Slatkin Conducts Copland 3" commences at 10:30 a.m. Friday, April 25, at Powell Symphony Hall (718 North Grand Boulevard; 314-534-1700 or www.slso.org), with additional performances at 8 p.m. Saturday and at 3 p.m. Sunday (April 26 and 27). Included in the program are works by Sierra and Saint-Saëns. Tickets are $28 to $119. — Alex Weir

Saturday, April 26

Closing Time Overruled
Fail! That one word sums up Prohibition just fine. What began in Kansas as a grassroots temperance movement to curb Americans' raging alcoholism led eventually to the passage of the 18th Amendment, outlawing the manufacture, transportation and sale of intoxicating liquors. But Prohibition surely didn't stanch Americans' thirst, not by a country mile. A new exhibit at the Missouri History Museum (Lindell Boulevard and DeBaliviere Avenue; 314-746-4599 or www.mohistory.org) examines — through a beer glass, brightly — this pivotal experiment in our social history. American Spirits: the Rise and Fall of Prohibition comprises more 100 rare artifacts, an actual re-created speakeasy, films, music, photographs, multimedia exhibits and more. A flask won't do for this volume of boozy information and materials; best bring a barrel or two. The exhibit opens Saturday, April 26, and is open every day through Sunday, August 17. Tickets are $5 to $10, and children younger than eighteen are free. — Alex Weir

Sunday, April 27

Roosevelt Revived
Imagine the intense pressure and the colossally high risk of failure in the conception and execution of the one-man play. It's just you, the lone actor, out there, facing the terrifying vision — the vertiginous free fall — of a large audience with nothing to distract it from focusing on anything but you and your potential flubs. Yikes. The entire prospect demands nothing less than an actor of rare nerve and ability, one such as Ed Asner. In his drama FDR, Asner has perfected his long tenure in his art and earned a berth for himself in the same solo-actor pantheon that includes Hal Holbrook's classic portrayal of Mark Twain. Witness the veteran actor's acclaimed turn as Franklin Delano Roosevelt at 7 p.m. Sunday, April 27, at the Edison Theatre on the Washington University campus (6445 Forsyth Boulevard). The performance is a benefit for the New Jewish Theatre, and tickets are $50 to $150. For more information call 314-442-3283 or visit www.newjewishtheatre.org. — Alex Weir

MAY

Thursday, May 1

Fortune Favors the Bold
Carl Orff's Carmina Burana is as much a harbinger of spring as the budding of the trees and the return of songbirds. Orff's masterpiece takes its content and form from the medieval poems satirizing the then-current rules for Catholic priests and the coeval idea of the wheel of fortune. This wheel has nothing to do with Pat Sajak and everything to do with the concept of what goes around comes around. All things were cyclical to the medieval mind, and so you fell from king to pauper as the wheel of your life turned. Thanks to Orff's driving rhythms and the text's imagery of joyous carousing, new love and lands of plenty, Carmina Burana is a thrilling experience. But a little introspection yields a better understanding of Fortune's machinations. Consider Olim lacus colueram, the exact middle piece in the cantata; this song is sung from the point of view of a swan that's being slow roasted in the tavern where everyone is having such a jolly time. As the swan laments its lost freedom and beauty, the crowd roars its delight — and soon the crowd shall roast while someone else cavorts. Carlos Izcaray conducts the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, accompanied by the St. Louis Symphony Chorus and the St. Louis Children's Choirs, through Carmina Burana at 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday (May 1 through 4) at Powell Symphony Hall (718 North Grand Boulevard; 314-534-1700 or www.slso.org). Tickets are $30 to $109. — Paul Friswold

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