It's always amazing to come across a St. Louisan who has yet to attend a production by the Black Rep. We're talking about a theater company that began as artistic director Ron Himes' penniless pipe dream back in 1976 and is now the largest African-American professional troupe in the country, people! Right here in Mound City! Whether performing at the Grandel Theater in Grand Center or at other venues, whether doing dramas or musicals, the Black Rep invariably stages rich, show-stopping performances. Last season's production of Dreamgirls
was a case in point: overwhelmingly heart-rending without being sappy or oversimplified. Mad-fabulous costumery and set design only contributed to the fun. (The Black Rep's talent is even more admirable considering that some of its members work full-time jobs in addition to producing shows.) Coming this season are William Shakespeare's Othello
and August Wilson's Radio Golf
, among other plays that theater addicts and dabblers alike would do well to add to their calendars.