Chuck Lavazzi is the producer for the arts calendars and senior performing arts critic at 88.1 KDHX, the local correspondent for Cabaret Scenes magazine, the host of The Cabaret Project’s monthly open mic night at the Tavern of Fine Arts, and entirely to blame for the Stage Left blog at stageleft-stlouis.blogspot.com. He’s a member of the Music Critics Association of North America and the St. Louis Theater Circle.
Chuck has been acting, designing sound, and occasionally directing theatrical productions since roughly the Bronze Age. His one-man show Just a Song at Twilight: the Golden Age of Vaudeville, presented at the Missouri History Museum, was the opening production of the West End Players Guild’s 101st season. He has also appeared with Stray Dog, Metro Theatre Company, The Rep, Midwest Lyric Opera, St. Louis Actors’ Studio, St. Louis Shakespeare, Shakespeare Festival St. Louis, and even the St. Louis Symphony, where he narrated Peter and the Wolf. He and his lovely wife Sherry live in a house that’s older than both of them put together in the historic and utterly charming Soulard neighborhood.
The first concert of the new symphony season was a study in contrasts, to say the least. Charles Ives's Three Places in New England—still sounding fresh and radical over a century after it was first composed—was the star of the first half of the evening.
The opening concert of the St. Louis Symphony season is always a gala night (and, as Groucho Marx once observed, "a gal a night is plenty for me"), usually marked by at least one orchestral showpiece. The new season opener is no exception, although the showpiece is probably not the kind some of the more conservative members of the audience might expect.
You can't say my picks don't have variety. This week we've got singing Nazis, a tribute to Doris Day, a dark British sex farce, Bernard Shaw set to music, and a classic slice of small town life that never seems to age. These are, as always, my opinions only. No warranties expressed or implied.
The Kander and Ebb musical Cabaret, adapted from Christopher Isherwood's 1939 novelette Goodbye to Berlin, is nearly fifty years old now (it premiered in November of 1966). After multiple revivals and substantial script and score revisions, does this dramatic portrait of a nation on the eve of destruction still have the power to shock and move an audience?
See St. Louis sparkle / When fall nips the air/ There's lots of good theatre / And you must be there. (Apologies to Lerner and Loewe and Robert Goulet). Here's everything I know of on local stages this week. Let me know of omissions or corrections.
["Question Time" is a series of mini-interviews with local performing arts folk and a regular feature of this blog.]
Operating under the Mariposa Artists banner, local cabaret singer and actor Robert Breig has brought a number of top-flight acts to The Chapel Venue recently, including the lyrical and highly personal Ebb and Flow with St. Louis singer Dionna Raedeke and guitarist Mike Krysl and a visit from Palm Springs cabaret star Jerome Elliot. His latest project is Beverly Brennan's Doris Day tribute show A Night With Day, which plays The Chapel Venue Friday and Saturday, September 20 and 21 at 8 PM.
Who: The Hanser-McClellan Guitar Duo
What: European tour preview concert
When: Tonight from 8 to 9 PM
Where: Tavern of Fine Arts, 313 Belt in the Debaliviere Place neighborhood
Why: Kirk Hanser and John McClellan were already established solo artists when they decided to team up in 1996. Together, they've accumulated an impressive collection of rave reviews and have performed everywhere from the Sheldon Classics Series to the annual Chet Atkins Appreciation Society Festival.
Cooler days are ahead but the theatre season remains hot. Here are my picks for the weekend, poppin' fresh from the microwave. Any and all disclaimers apply. Void where prohibited by law.