Donna Parrone has been involved with St Louis theater since moving here in the 1980's. She is one of the founders of HotHouse Theatre (now HotCity) and has been an actor, a producer, a director and an educator.
4000 miles is a long way to bike, from Washington State to Greenwich Village, New York. But bike it Leo does, and arrives at his grandmother’s apartment at three in the morning, redolent with the scent of travel. And at first, there’s an equally wide chasm of misunderstanding between 21 year-old Eco-hippie, Leo and 91 year-old leftist, Vera. So begins the Repertory Theater of St Louis’ studio offering, 4000 Miles by Amy Herzog, skillfully directed by Jane Page.
What fan of history or baseball, wouldn’t love to travel back to 1947 to witness the drama of Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier in his historic season with the Brooklyn Dodgers? 10-year-old Joey Stoshack has the ability to do just that, even though he was born in 2002. He just holds a baseball card in his hand, thinks about where he wants to go and poof! There he is, 1947, Brooklyn, Jackie Robinson, Branch Rickey and oh yeah, suddenly he’s black.
Upstream Theater has a reputation for doing the unusual and their newest offering, Café Chanson, conceived and directed by Ken Page, is unusual and wonderful. From the moment Bill Lenihan leads the audience from the lobby to the theater, playing "La Vie En Rose" on his accordion, you know this will be a unique experience. When I saw the list of songs I thought, “Oh, this is a cabaret.” But it isn’t, it is something else entirely, a lyrical, smoky, memory play told in rhyme and song. The actors don’t sing as much as they continue the story with the music.
2011 saw the Occupy movement and the beginning of a national discussion of fairness, equality and compensation disparity. How is it we live in this land of “equality” but experience such disproportion? David Lindsay-Abaire’s script, Good People, explores these questions and shows us that neither side is wholly right or wholly wrong. He gives us plenty to discuss but no answers. This is my favorite kind of theater, hot button issues without preachy solutions.