St. Louis Stage Capsules

Dennis Brown, Paul Friswold and Lew Prince suss out the local theater scene

St. Louis Stage Capsules

Madame Butterfly Reviewed in this issue.

Sarafina Reviewed in this issue.

The Tales of Hoffmann One of Opera Theatre of Saint Louis' great strengths is its willingness to take risks. A depth of talent and a dedication to quality allow the company to try things others would never dream of. OTSL's quirky staging of this Jacques Offenbach favorite takes E.T.A. Hoffmann's macabre visions to their surrealist limits. Soprano Ailyn Pérez and bass Kirk Eichelberger take on four roles apiece, and both are spectacular. Absinthe makes the heart grow fonder indeed. Through June 28 at the Loretto-Hilton Center, 130 Edgar Road, Webster Groves. Tickets are $25 to $110. Call 314-961-0644 or visit — Lew Prince

The Tragedy of King Richard III The winter of our discontent arrives in June in this visually dull production that runs nearly three hours without ever bothering to savor the comic melodrama that permeates Shakespeare's chronicle. On the page, the villainous Duke of Gloucester is cunning, ruthless, outrageous. As portrayed here, Richard takes no relish in the mayhem he is enacting; instead he comes off as colorless and verbose. What might have been an intriguing primer on the excesses of corruptive power becomes an exercise in irrelevance. Performed by Shakespeare Festival St. Louis nightly (except Tuesdays) through June 15 on the Emerson Stage on Art Hill in Forest Park. Admission is free. Call 314-531-9800 or visit — Dennis Brown

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