The Children's Hour "Everybody lies, all the time." So states a well-intentioned doctor midway through Lillian Hellman's 1934 melodrama about the repercussions of the Big Lie. Seventy-five years later, Hellman's oh-so-civil tale of quiet destruction continues to resonate: Watch for it next season in London, then New York, with Keira Knightley and Elisabeth Moss. In those same roles, Deborah Becker and NoreenAnn Moore may lack star polish, but they've got the requisite passion. As two teachers accused of being lesbians, the actresses ride on the backs of Hellman's sharp, declarative sentences to tell a tale that retains a surprising immediacy. Performed by Clayton Community Theatre through November 21 at the Washington University South Campus Theatre, 6501 Clayton Road, Clayton. Tickets are $15 ($12 for students and seniors). Call 314-721-9228 or visit www.placeseveryone.org. (DB)
The Good Doctor Reviewed in this issue.
Rock 'n' Roll Reviewed in this issue.
South Pacific Don't let the low-key opening fool you; once South Pacific gets a head of steam, it really moves. Rodgers and Hammerstein's musical about love and war is jampacked with great numbers and strong performances by our thwarted lovers, Nellie Forbush (Carmen Cusack) and Emile de Becque (David Pittsinger). Cusack captures the right blend of naïve enthusiasm and confusion for country bumpkin Nellie, but Pittsinger's operatic vocals are occasionally too ponderous for the light score. (You'd kill to have his speaking voice, though, a penetrating, bass-heavy instrument that delivers his lines with sophistication.) Timothy Gulan crafts a cunning and funny performance as inveterate con artist Luther Billis, and he and the male company knock "There's Nothing Like a Dame" out of the park. Anderson Davis likewise stuns with restrained anger during "You've Got to Be Carefully Taught," Thomas Cable's still-potent explanation of American racism. Through November 21 at the Fox Theatre, 527 North Grand Boulevard. Tickets are $28 to $70. Call 314-534-1678 or visit www.fabulousfox.com. — Paul FriswoldOngoing
Marry Me a Little What a delectable treat it is to have a Sondheim revue on hand even as the world is celebrating his 80th birthday and the publication of the first volume of his memoirs. The conceit underlying Marry Me a Little is that we're hearing obscure songs that either were cut from hit Broadway shows before they opened or come from unproduced Sondheim works. But because Marry Me a Little is now nearly 30 years old, even Sondheim's most remote songs have received repeated recordings. Over the course of an hour, eighteen glorious ballads, charm songs and patter songs are sung by Laura Ernst and Scott Tripp. The piano, played by director Seth Ward Pyatt, apparently is in the balcony of the Gaslight Theater, which helps to fill the auditorium with sound. The acoustics are terrific. You won't miss a lyric — and what magical lyrics they are. Produced by Citilites Theatre through November 21 at the Gaslight Theater, 358 North Boyle Avenue. Tickets are $18 to $20 ($15 to $17 for students and seniors). Call 314-773-1879 or visit www.citilitestheatre.com. (DB)
Treading Backwards Thru Quicksand (Without Wearing Your Water Wings) Mattie (Amy Loui) and Sophie (Edie Avioli) are middle-aged New Yorkers who have recently lost their husbands — the former to infidelity, the latter to death — and who decide to get their grooves back through fruity drinks (blueberry brandy), new men (Tex and Irish Boy) and long conversations on the rooftop. It's a plot familiar to anyone who has fried green tomatoes, got their ya-ya's out, had sex in the city or eaten, prayed and loved (and yes, Jimmy Choo shoes are mentioned more than once). That's either an endorsement or a warning. Despite the limitations of Sandra Marie Vago's script, Avioli delivers a fine performance as a woman haunted, quite happily, by her husband's ghost. The final goodbye between Mattie and the deceased Bernie (Scott Sears) is a genuinely moving scene and makes you wish there'd been more room in the play for the two of them. Presented by Black Cat Theatre under the direction of Wayne Loui through November 20 at the Black Cat Theatre, 2810 Sutton Boulevard, Maplewood. Tickets are $25. Call 314-781-8300 or visit www.blackcattheatre.org. (PF)
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