"I'm Not a Fan of St. Louis:" New York Critic Bashes STL in Meet Me in St. Louis Review


What's not to like about Meet Me in St. Louis? - VIA WIKIPEDIA
  • via Wikipedia
  • What's not to like about Meet Me in St. Louis?

New York native and writer Anthony Stoeckert could have started his CentralJersey.com review of the beloved musical Meet Me in St. Louis with a note about the stars, the charming score, the set design or, really, anything about the show.

But he didn't. Instead, he came after St. Louis, wondering incredulously how people could actually live there when they have overcrowded, ridiculously expensive islands like Manhattan to move to.

"As a proud New Yorker born and raised on Long Island, I cannot imagine anyone preferring St. Louis to New York," Stoeckert says in his theater review. "New York has Broadway, museums, Carnegie Hall, Coney Island and Yankee Stadium. The best St. Louis has to offer is a giant McDonald's sign."

Stoeckert seems to be making a feeble attempt at humor out of his supposition that St. Louis has absolutely no art, musical theater, roller coasters or sports. Either that, or he's just confusing his lack of knowledge about River City as proof that there's nothing worth knowing.

At the very least, he reveals how little research he performed before writing his opening paragraphs. If it's McDonald's that Stoeckert has a problem with, he can take that up with Orlando, where the world's largest entertainment McDonald's and PlayPlace has an arcade and a waterfall. If it's the giant sign he's annoyed by, tough: St. Louis will not apologize for having the world's largest Amoco sign or any other interesting quirk in this city's storied history.

See also: "You Just Don't See That In New York:" MTV Exec Studies the Millennials of St. Louis

In his review of a New Jersey community college production of Meet Me in St. Louis, Stoeckert admits he just can't get past the scene when the family patriarch tells his wife and daughters that they'll soon all move to New York from St. Louis. The sisters can't stand to leave their friends, schoolwork and girlhood crushes behind, especially before the big event that would put St. Louis on the map, the 1904 World's Fair.

Stoeckert doesn't seem to be moved by friendships, first love or even the historic worldwide gathering that descended on Forest Park in 1904. He dismisses the women's protestations as an "ovation of disappointment." (Here at Daily RFT, we're still struggling to understand what that even means. Since "ovation" comes from the Latin root meaning "to rejoice," we like to think an ovation of disappointment from Judy Garland would sound like this: "Oh, brava, Daddy, wonderful job dashing all our hopes and dreams to bits! How extraordinarily delightful that you're separating us from all we've ever known or loved!")

Nothing -- not the clanging of the trolley, not the ringing of the bell -- could warm Stoeckert's heart to St. Louis before he sat down to write review. It wasn't long after he published that he started seeing frustrated reactions from St. Louisans.

Oh, Stoeckert. If our feathers are ruffled, it's because we had to rustle through them to pick out the pest that was bothering us.

H/T Alex Heuer

Follow Lindsay Toler on Twitter at @StLouisLindsay. E-mail the author at Lindsay.Toler@RiverfrontTimes.com.

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Riverfront Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Riverfront Times Club for as little as $5 a month.