It Had to be You Stellie Siteman and Jerry Vogel comprise the agreeable cast of this formulaic two-character courtship comedy, set on Christmas Eve in New York City. Originally written by, for and mostly about the hyperkinetic Renee Taylor and Joseph Bologna, this easygoing staging from a new theater company called Max and Louie Productions relies more on soft-sell than in-your-face. The laughs tend to flow naturally, of their own accord. The plot is fairly predictable in an unpredictable kind of way — which is to say that from the outset, we know where these characters are going to end up; we just don't know the specifics of how they're going to get there. The play, which offers nothing of substance, is the most inoffensive kind of escapist fare. And yet, on a hot summer night, a Christmas comedy can feel downright cooling. Through August 1 at the Jewish Community Center, 2 Millstone Campus Drive, Creve Coeur. Tickets are $25 ($20 for students and seniors). Call 800-838-3006 or visit www.maxandlouie.com.
— Dennis Brown
Promises, Promises This once-popular Neil Simon/Burt Bacharach/Hal David musical based on Billy Wilder’s perfect 1960 movie satire The Apartment gets the Stages treatment — which means that, despite occasional moments where the acting personalities transcend the staging (most particularly, Ben Nordstrom and Brandi Wooten for ten blissful minutes at the top of Act Two) — Promises, Promises winds up feeling (and sounding) like just about every other Stages St. Louis production. When this wistful musical premiered in 1968, it introduced a unique pop score that moved Broadway music in a new direction. Here, alas, the once-driving melodies by Bacharach and David are about as exciting as listening to “the best of Broadway” on Muzak. Through August 15 at the Robert G. Reim Theatre, 111 S. Geyer Road, Kirkwood. Tickets are $49 ($28 for children, $46 for seniors; rush seats for students and seniors $15 at the door). Call 314-821-2407 or visit www.stagesstlouis.org. (DB)
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