By the Boards: Dennis Brown on the STL Theater Scene May 28-31
Locally, the Black Rep has a tradition of closing its season with a musical. This year it's the single-minded revue Blues in the Night with jazzy, sometimes bawdy, tunes like "Reckless Blues," "Wild Women Don't Have the Blues" and "Wasted Life Blues." So you know what you're getting before you go in.
Which cannot be said for a first-timer heading to Jason Robert Brown's audacious and lovely two-character exploration of a marriage, The Last Five Years, which is being presented by New Jewish Theatre.
|Whitney Curtis | stagesstlouis.org|
|Ben Nordstrom as Seymour in Stages St. Louis' Little Shop of Horrors|
Then there is Little Shop of Horrors at Stages St. Louis. At the ripe old age of 27, Little Shop still feels as fresh as if it was written last week. This show gives hope to every aspiring theater composer: If a cheesy Roger Corman comedy, presumably filmed in two days, can be adapted into a successful musical, then there's no such thing as a bad idea. And in the early years of its 1982 off-Broadway run, part of the show's success was linked to the concept of "you're not gonna believe this, but...." A quarter-century and more than 2,200 performances -- not to mention a hit movie, a Broadway revival and umpteen high school stagings -- later, the surprise element is pretty much gone. Now we can appreciate this melodic account of a carnivorous plant run amok for the sheer audacity of its theatricality. Feed me!