In 1988 David Mamet’s Speed the Plow opened on Broadway with its skewering, shocking truths about how films get made in Hollywood. In 2013, no one is unaware of how Hollywood makes the blockbusters or the stars. (If a studio pays enough papers to say a movie or a star is “the next big thing” eventually the average person thinks it’s true.) No longer shocking, but with plenty of meat for discussion, Speed the Plow opened this weekend at the New Jewish Theatre.
Opening night at the Repertory Theatre of St Louis is always a delight, the energy is high and the audience filled with St Louis theater people. And delightful certainly describes the opening night of Jon Jory’s adaptation of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility, not only because the direction is strong, the ensemble equally polished and the technical aspects gorgeous, but also because there are a number of St Louis actors onstage which added to the celebratory atmosphere.
Production still from Stray Dog Theatre's production of Psycho Beach Party. (l to r) Paul Edwards as Yo Yo, Jake Ferree as Provoloney, Ben Watts as Chicklet Forrest, Paul S. Cooper as Kanaka, Zach Wachter as Star Cat.
I love going to Stray Dog Theatre. I love the space, I love that Artistic Director Gary Bell greets everyone by name and with a warm embrace. I think Production Manager Jay Hall is one of the most organized, efficient, positive and kind-hearted people in the St Louis theater scene. Even the volunteers seem genuinely happy to pour you a wet one at the Bark Bar and serve the delicious baked goods (still made by Gary’s sister, Jennifer.) So I was very happy to see the opening night of their latest offering, Psycho Beach Party.
On the Sunday, February 10 Jazz Unlimited, we continue our series on urban centers that have brought great musicians to jazz by having teachers and institutions that bring them into the music at an early age. The Jazz Cities series will feature the second part on musicians born in or nurtured early in their careers in Chicago. Some of the musicians and groups featured will be blues pianist Jimmy Yancey, pianist Joe Sullivan, cornetist Muggsy Spanier, the Benny Goodman quartet with Lionel Hampton and Gene Krupa, vocalists Kurt Elling, Johnny Hartman, Abbey Lincoln and Patricia Barber, The
In 1850, Colonel John O’Fallon led a group of investors in creating the St. Louis Place subdivision just north of St. Louis’ central city. The large plat included a public park, land for housing and sites for churches and businesses. The group had just one issue: the land was outside of the city limits, which would be extended west in 1855.