Wives and Lovers 

St. Louis Shakespeare returneth

Now that the Macbeth family in Forest Park has been duly dispatched, it's time for St. Louis' other Shakespeare company -- you know, the one that's only been around for 19 years -- to take center stage. St. Louis Shakespeare is offering a balanced season of comedy, tragedy and history.

In what has become a felicitous tradition, before they get to the heavy stuff the company is opening with lighter fare. This year's entry is The School for Wives (July 18-27), a 17th-century French satire that got its author, the peerless Molière, into hot water with clergymen, physicians and other humorless boors who didn't take kindly to being ridiculed. The verse script has been translated into English by the equally peerless Richard Wilbur (see "Stage").

August brings on the Bard. Henry IV (August 8-17) is so crammed with story, it takes two plays to pack it all in. Ostensibly a history chronicle, this rousing saga of insurrection and civil war skillfully weaves comedy, tragedy and history into one absorbing whole. St. Louis Shakespeare did battle with Part 1 last summer; Henry IV, Part 2, this summer's offering, chronicles the demise of Falstaff, Shakespeare's saddest comic figure. Romeo and Juliet, the perennially popular tragedy of young love, concludes the summer season (August 29-September 7), with the delightful As You Like It to follow in November ($13-$17, 314-361-5664, Grandel Theatre, 3610 Grandel Square). -- Dennis Brown

Schneider-Man Live!

THUR 7/17

People who've heard of Bob Schneider but haven't heard his music tend to pigeonhole the Austin-based artist as a "singer/songwriter." That's probably because they've heard of but haven't listened to his sole major-label effort, Lonelyland, released by Universal in 2001. In fact, Lonelyland showcases many of the many sides of Bob Schneider -- at turns jazzy, bluesy, funky and yes, occasionally singer/songwritery. But there's even more to Schneider than that -- witness his work with the Scabs, which resulted in songs like "Big Butts & Blow Jobs" and "Baby Put Your Panties On." Chances are Schneider will let you in on all aspects of his oeuvre -- including material from a long-rumored forthcoming CD -- tonight at Mississippi Nights (914 North First Street; 314-421-3853) Tickets cost $8-$10, and doors open at 7 p.m. -- Tom Finkel

Pomes All Sizes, $3
Hungry Young Poets at Duff's

MON 7/21

What people who don't "get" poetry fail to appreciate is that poetry is the art form with the most compact use of language. Poets (if they know what they're doing) are magicians who cram all the power of words into the tightest space those words can occupy, cutting away the extraneous. What results is an emotional trope that can't really be expressed by a story or novel; it's like refining gold into its purest form.

River Styx magazine's Hungry Young Poets series digs for gold and presents six poets reading their work at 7:30 p.m. at Duff's (329 North Euclid Avenue, $3, 314-533-4541). We like HYP writer Melanie Dusseau's "Postcards of the Next Life" (inspired by frequent New Yorker contributor Charles Simic), in which she imagines the Hard Rock Café in Purgatory and "Paul de-pantsing Judas." -- Byron Kerman

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