Going to see the Nutcracker is every little girl's Christmastime rite of passage. While children might have a difficult time understanding why receiving a nutcracker as a gift would be so fantastic especially when they could be getting the always-gorgeous Holiday Barbie kids really love the ballet's beautiful costumes and the timeless story. And adults, well, they appreciate all of the above, and Tchaikovsky's score of course, but they also apprehensively watch, wondering what would happen if this time, the Mouse King triumphs and we are all forced to live in a kingdom ruled by a giant rodent. Indeed, that would be a scary world, since that big ol' mouse would surely eat all of our cheese....
But we digress. Now's the perfect time to take the kids and give 'em a dose of culture apart from Barbie (or for you to get all worked up about cheese again) as the Moscow Ballet presents the Great Russian Nutcracker Friday at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday at 2 and 7:30 p.m. (November 18 and 19). The performances are held at the Touhill Performing Arts Center on the University of Missouri-St. Louis campus (1 University Drive at Natural Bridge Road), and tickets, which cost $26 to $64, are available at 314-516-4949 or www.touhill.org. Our own Alexandra Ballet hosts the production and has been working with the Russian company to train the many local children also performing, so you and yours might recognize a few familiar faces aside from the mug of that scary Mouse King (shiver). Alison Sieloff
Warm up at the Edison
Just when the weather has taken a turn for the cooler (at least in the evenings) and you finally have to wear a jacket to go with that cute little scarf you've been sporting solo all fall, Madrid's Noche Flamenca heats up St. Louis, courtesy of Dance St. Louis. So in other words, when attending one of the ensemble's performances, you may want to wear that jacket-scarf combo over sexy summer clothes because this group of dancers, singers and guitarists is bound to positively ignite Washington University's Edison Theatre (6445 Forsyth Boulevard; 314-935-6543) with passion and spicy flamenco sensuality. These elements, along with the performers' mad-hot raw talent, should warm you up enough that you'll shed that winter wear and think you're back on summer vacation, drinking sangria by the pitcher ah, those were the days. Performances are at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday (November 18 through 20), and tickets cost $18 to $28. Call Dance St. Louis at 314-534-6622 or MetroTix at 314-534-1111 to purchase tickets; for more information visit www.dancestlouis.org. Alison Sieloff
Love Is the Drug
Warren steals fifteen grand from his old man; his pal Dennis uses the money to jump-start a burgeoning drug-dealing concern. Who says twentysomethings don't have initiative? Kenneth Lonergan's This Is Our Youth brings sex, drugs and post-college angst (oh, and rock & roll) from the Reagan '80s to the Bush Oughts with gritty style. The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis' Off-Ramp series presents This Is Our Youth daily from Wednesday, November 16, through Sunday, December 4 (except on Mondays; visit www.repstl.org for times), at the Grandel Theatre (3610 Grandel Square; 314-968-4925). Tickets are $27 to $45. Paul Friswold
A Birdie in the Service
Is worth two onstage
Imagine the outcry of public anguish if Justin Timberlake were drafted today. Why, half the RFT editorial department would be inconsolably drunk (more so, we mean). Such is the tragedy facing the youth of America in the musical Bye, Bye Birdie. Rock & roller Conrad Birdie has to do his civic duty, and the teenyboppers are distraught. But Birdie's canny agent sees this as the PR coup of a lifetime and intends to milk Birdie's transition from civilian to soldier for all it's worth, with melodious and humorous results. The Webster University Conservatory of Theatre Arts presents Bye, Bye Birdie at 8 p.m. Friday, Saturday, Monday and Tuesday, and at 2 p.m. Sunday (November 18 through 22) at the Loretto-Hilton Center (130 Edgar Road, Webster Groves; 314-968-7128). Tickets are $5 to $10. Paul Friswold
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