Live Entertainment

Sun
19
Apr

"The Mythbusters: Jamie's Farewell Tour" Drops Some Science On St. Louis

Jamie Hyneman and Adam "Han Solo" Savage brought the Mythbusters Tour to St. Louis on 4/18/15. Photo by Jeff Ritter

For thirteen years now, Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage have been making science fun again. When I was in high school (way back in the last century) science classes were often dry, boring exercises in memorization. I really have never understood the American school system’s devotion to memorization. I mean sure, I could be walking along and encounter some metallic substance I’ve never seen before, but having the Periodic Table of Elements in my head won’t do me any good without any wat to measure the atomic weight or analyze its composition—I’d imagine raw, natural tin, aluminum, lead, nickel and silver all look pretty much the same to an untrained eye. I used to be interested in a career in chemistry, but I found science so tedious in my formative years I quickly put science at arm’s length. We never really did anything but memorize formulas, units of measure, blah-blah-blah…zzzzzzzz…

Sat
18
Apr

"I Love Lucy" Live On Stage Is Time Travel At Its Best

"I Love Lucy" Live on Stage, at the Peabody Opera House April 17-19

The much-beloved television series I Love Lucy ended in 1957, nearly 20 years before my time. Thanks to the pioneering ways of stars Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, generation after generation has laughed at the zany antics of “America’s Favorite Redhead.” In the early days of television, most shows were broadcast live in their time zone and as “kinescopes” in other regions—a vastly inferior method that used a television camera to record the image from a television set as the show aired (not unlike people who record TV clips with their cell phones and post them on YouTube today). Desi and Lucille used a three-camera shoot and shot everything on 35mm film so that clean prints could be shown across America. In the show’s second season, Lucille became pregnant and Desi and show producer Jess Oppenheimer decided to rebroadcast the best-received episodes from the previous season, and the ratings were much higher than expected. They had just invented the rerun.

Sun
12
Apr

Stomp Makes Music Out Of The Mundane

Stomp plays the Fox Theatre in St. Louis April 10-12, 2015.

When I was just a small child, I would get my hands on a couple of my mother’s pots and a couple of wooden spoons, and go to town making the most unharmonious racket you can imagine. It wouldn’t take long before those cooking implements were taken away and peace and quiet was restored to the Ritter household. I can’t honestly say that I remember having seen a drummer of any sort before that experience, so maybe it’s more of a primal instinct for humans to make music, however they can manage it. Some people are just plain gifted—prodigies on piano or guitar at a young age that make it look effortless to produce sounds some trained professionals would be hard-pressed to achieve with a lifetime of practice. Some are only concert megastars in the shower or in their car, but either way only in their own heads (that’s me!). Some rare, lucky individuals blaze a new path, turning the kitchenware cacophony of my youth into a fusion of jazz, rock, tap dance and sketch comedy.

Thu
26
Mar

Kinky Boots Is A Sexy Kick To Close The Fox Broadway Season

Steven Booth and Darius Harper in Kinky Boots, through 4/5/15 at the Fox. Photo credit: Matthew Murphy

The 2014-2015 US Bank Broadway Series at the Fabulous Fox Theatre come so to a close with the dazzling musical Kinky Boots. Based on a true story and the 2005 movie of the same name, the Harvey Fierstein (book) and Cyndi Lauper (score) was the darling of the 2013 Tony Awards, winning Best Musical, Best Original Score (Lauper is the first woman in history to win the Tony as a solo female composer), Best Choreography (Jerry Mitchell), Best Orchestrations (Stephen Oremus), Best Sound Design (John Shivers) and Best Lead Actor (Billy Porter). It was also nominated in 7 other categories. That’s quite an accomplishment, and it’s well deserved. Kinky Boots is a sharp, sparkly story of acceptance in the tradition of Hairspray, featuring performances that will stay with the Fox faithful all summer.

Tue
10
Mar

Atlantic City Boardwalk Con Puts Focus Back on Comics, Cosplay

ACBC Atlantic City Boardwalk Con Mike DlAlessio cosplay

For all the spectacle of a San Diego Comic-Con or a Wizard World, there' something that's been slowly slipping away from the concept of the comic book convention: the comic book. Oh, it's still there, but now it's become a mecca for video game developers to show off their latest beta releases and Hollywood movie studios to generate buzz for their next year's action movies.

Mike D'Alessio is no stranger to comic conventions. He may not be known to the fans, but to the industries who attend these conventions, he and his Promoguys Marketing Group are major -- nay, invaluable -- players. Now D'Alessio is bringing all his experience and klout to bear as he brings the first annual Atlantic City Boardwalk Con to New Jersey -- but this isn't just another comic book convention, as you'll see as we talk with Mike about what's going to make this convention bigger and better.

Mon
09
Mar

New Line Theatre's Jerry Springer: The Opera Is Obscenely Fun But Not For Everyone

Jerry Springer: The Opera. Image by New Line Theatre, all rights reserved, used with permission.

Jerry Springer is like Coca-Cola. When someone says “Coke” you immediately think “sweet, brown, carbonated beverage.” When someone says “Jerry Springer” you immediately think “cross-dressing Neo-Nazi cheats on his pregnant midget fiancée with his gay first cousin.” Well, okay, maybe not that exact scenario, but you’d agree that it’s within the realm of possibility. The Jerry Springer Show is relevant not because it shows the biggest fools America can produce this side of Congress, but because it has done so with consistently solid ratings for two decades. Jerry himself was not immune. Before he became as big of a household name as, well, that other Jerry (Seinfeld), he was a budding politician in Ohio with dreams of the Governor’s mansion. That fell apart when he bounced a check—a check mind you—to a prostitute.

Sun
08
Mar

Phantom Of The Opera Makes Me Wonder What People See In Webber

"The Gantry" Katie Travis as Christine Daaé and Chris Mann as The Phantom. Photo: Matthew Murphy

For as long as I can remember people have told me, “Oh, you have to see Phantom of the Opera! It’s so terrific, so beautiful.” I suppose I can’t argue with them in terms of statistics. By box office alone, Phantom is the biggest blockbuster in Broadway history. It has been watched and heard for 30+ years in multiple languages around the world. 180 million audience members can’t be wrong, can they? Leave it to me to dissent with the combined populations of Tokyo-Yokohama, Seoul-Incheon, Delhi, Jakarta, and Mumbai, give or take a goodly portion of San Paolo, as of 2010 statistics.  While the pageantry and grandeur of Phantom of the Opera was evident as it opened its roughly 2-wek run at St. Louis’ Fox Theatre, I found it lacking in several areas. You can start sending your hate mail now, or wait until you’ve read the rest—freedom of choice, God bless America!

Sat
28
Feb

The Million Dollar Quartet Returns To Rock The Fox Theatre

The Million Dollar Quartet runs Feb 27 - Mar 1 at the Fox Theatre in St. Louis.

Some critics will scoff at The Million Dollar Quartet for its thin plot and light conflicts. If you see a review of this show somewhere that does exactly that, you should quit reading those critics because clearly they didn’t get it. This is a show based on actual events in which there wasn’t any real conflict. In fact, what conflict there is in this show is probably somewhat inflated if not outright fabricated. Every musical need not be as densely plotted as Rent or as elaborately staged as Warhorse. Sometimes a simple brick backdrop and four talented actors and musicians recreating a magical alignment of budding stars is all you need to keep the audience’s toes a-tappin’ until they raise the roof during the grand finale.

Mon
02
Feb

"Shootin' the Shit " Brings Laughter and Love

Shootin' the $#!% -- Kranzberg Arts Center -- 01/31/15

If you follow the theatre scene in St. Louis beyond the Broadway tour shows at the Fabulous Fox, you will probably recognize their names: Zachary Allen Farmer, Jeffrey M, Wright, and Todd Schaefer. They’ve performed in a wide variety of shows across the St. Louis region, and most recently performed together in New Line Theatre’s brilliant Hand on a Hardbody last spring. Each bring something unique to their roles and this past Saturday night was no exception as the terrific trio took the tiny stage at the Kranzberg Arts Center to perform an adult cabaret set entitled Shootin’ Some $#!%, directed by New Line Theatre’s Mike Dowdy and featuring the music direction and piano playing of Paul Cereghino. It was a one night only show, and if you missed it you missed out on a wonderful hour of song by three excellent voices and ending that you won’t see very often on any stage.

Thu
18
Dec

A Christmas Story: The Musical--An Unfortunately Accurate Retelling Of The Worst Holiday Movie Ever

A Christmas Story plays the Fox Theatre in St. Louis 12/16/14 - 1/4/15.

Christmas is a time for peace on earth and good will towards men. Whether it holds a deep religious meaning for you or you hope to receive this year’s hottest gadget in a gaudy box under your tree, Christmas is a time to gather with family and friends, eat, drink and make merry. It’s also the time when an entire genre of television shows and movies are watched—from “Miracle on 34th Street” and “It’s A Wonderful Life” to How the Grinch Stole Christmas  and Merry Christmas Charlie Brown to “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” and “Elf,” millions of people watch their favorite Christmas programs faithfully every year. For many, that includes “A Christmas Story,” the 1983 tale of a 1940 mid-American holiday season widely regarded as a classic.

Sun
07
Dec

The 24 Hour Play Festival Was Two Hours of Pure Fun

If you’re a writer, the only thing worse than a blank page is a blank page with a deadline.  If you’re an actor, having an extremely short window to learn your lines is surely daunting. What if you put those two challenges together? What you get is the 24 Hour Play Festival, a fundraising event for Theatre Lab and The Players Project Theatre Company. The annual event is a perfect storm for theatre talents: writers are given one week to write and polish their scripts for a short, one act play. That may not sound that bad to the average theatre fan, but a week can feel like a short hour if you’re struggling to find your muse.

Sat
06
Dec

Garth Brooks Sizzles In St. Louis with Trisha Yearwood and Karyn Rochelle

Garth Brooks performs at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, 12/4/14. Photo by Jeff Ritter.

As I write this, 17,000 odd St. Louisians and tourists from far and wide are trying to reach a bar set extremely high. You see, more often than not, weeknight music concerts are typically under-attended and underwhelming. This was not the case on Thursday, December 4, 2014, when country music superstar Garth Brooks and his lovely superstar wife Trisha Yearwood returned to the St. Louis music scene after nearly two decades of the quiet life.

Sat
04
Oct

New Line's Bonnie & Clyde Delights With Heart and Harmonies

Larrisa White and Matt Pentecost in New Line Theatre's Bonnie & Clyde, Photo Credit: Jill Ritter Lindberg

Arthur Penn’s 1967 film “Bonnie & Clyde” is considered to be a masterpiece of American cinema. While not the most historically accurate biography Hollywood ever made, it is a crazy thrill ride, and it had Gene Hackman and Gene Wilder in it. That’s pretty tough to beat in my book. It was at times very funny and very violent, but I can’t recall being emotionally invested in it. When Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow meet their young demise, I wasn’t shocked or moved. It really couldn’t play out any other way.

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