Best Comeback

City Players of St. Louis

For six decades, as far back as the 1930s, City Players was an active part of the local community-theater scene. But in recent years the group fell on hard times. So there was a communal sigh of relief three years ago when Ted Gregory stepped up to try to restore the theater's fading reputation. Alas, his season opener in 2001, The Vampires by Harry Gregorian, was a fright -- and for all the wrong reasons. Forget the deficient material; the set was a shambles and the lighting was nil. But Gregory has hung in there, and with gratifying results. From imaginative joint ventures (the God of Vengeance plays in tandem with New Jewish) to obvious crowd-pleasers (Smoke on the Mountain) to solidly produced classics (Harold Pinter's The Homecoming), City Players now offers an eclectic mix of satisfying theater -- and the lights even work. The comeback has been so complete that City Players has even changed its name to City Theatre. Whatever they choose to call themselves, we wish them continued growth.
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