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St. Louis Stage Capsules 

: Dennis Brown and Paul Friswold suss out the local theater scene

The Dead Guy Reviewed in this issue.

The Little Dog Laughed Diane, the combustible actor's agent at the center of this wicked satire, is the goddess of the Hollywood deal, and God help anyone who gets in her way. One of the keen accomplishments of Douglas Carter Beane's play is that he manages to transform an essentially humorless harridan into a delightful howl, and actress Erika Rolfsrud in turn transforms the role into an exploding firecracker. She dominates the evening every time she appears. Oh yes, there's a plot too, something to do with Diane working like a beaver to keep the public from learning that her most saleable client, a hunk of a movie star, is a closet queen. But what works best here is Rolfsrud, who is a joy to behold as she pricks the cynical show biz industry with a hail of poison darts. Performed by the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis through November 30 at the Grandel Theatre, 3610 Grandel Square. Tickets are $18 to $50. Call 314-968-4925 or visit www.repstlorg. (DB)

She Loves You! It's hard to explain why Elvis impersonators usually seem so tacky, yet Beatles re-creations — even when the re-enactors are a little long in the tooth — are full of joy. Perhaps it's because with the Beatles, music trumps personality. There's lots of music here, live and loud, to remind us of those vital years in the turbulent 1960s when every few months brought an astonishing new gift from John and Paul, even occasionally George. This revue attempts to take us into the studio for that celebrated first broadcast on the Ed Sullivan Show, then it wants to re-create the excitement of a performance in Shea Stadium. But considering the confines of the West Port playing space, it works best if you think of it as a Las Vegas lounge act. She Loves You! is an orgy of ongoing melody, and on its own terms, is very satisfying indeed. Through January 4, 2009, at the Playhouse at West Port Plaza (second level), Page Avenue at I-270, Maryland Heights. Tickets are $44 to $48. Visit www.theplayhouseatwestport.com or call 314-469-7529. (DB)

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