Arts & Culture » Theater

St. Louis Stage Capsules

Dennis Brown and Paul Friswold suss out the local theater scene

by and


Newly Reviewed
Dirty Blonde Reviewed in this issue.

End Days Deborah Zoe Laufer's oddly comic 9/11 play takes a needlessly serpentine route to reach its destination, but exceptionally strong performances from the cast make the trip mostly worthwhile. World Trade Center survivor Arthur Stein (Terry Meddows) has a wife, Sylvia (Nancy Bell), who has embraced hardcore evangelical Christianity, a teenage daughter, Rachel (Chelsea Serocke), who's an angry, black-clad goth, and a debilitating dose of depression. Enter young neighbor Nelson Steinberg (Clayton Fox), who has his own bummer of a back-story but nonetheless embraces life with an optimism that eventually rouses the Stein family members from their respective funks. Fox makes the science-loving Nelson a hoot, and his awkward, earnest wooing of Rachel gets the most out of both actors. Roger Erb deserves special mention for his dual portrayal of a hippie-casual Jesus Christ and a mercenary and caustic Stephen Hawking. Especially the latter: It takes a gifted actor to deliver condescension through a voice processor, but Erb is more than up to the task. Presented by New Jewish Theatre under the direction of Eric Little through September 25 at the Wool Studio Theatre at the Jewish Community Center, 2 Millstone Campus, Creve Coeur. Tickets are $37.50 to $39.50 ($2 discount for seniors and JCC members). Call 314-442-3283 or visit — Paul Friswold

Red The many contradictory moods of abstract expressionist painter Mark Rothko are on display as he strides about his Manhattan studio preparing a series of murals that will never make it to their intended destination: the Four Seasons Restaurant. It's a towering challenge for any play to build tension when the villain is an unseen building (or, as here, a classy dinery). But as Rothko, Brian Dykstra doesn't allow rationale to deter him; reveling in the artist's excesses, he creates a bold and impassioned portrayal. In Rothko playwright John Logan has found yet another forum (as he did in his screenplays for Gladiator and The Last Samurai) for the musings of a thoughtful combatant. Performed by the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis through October 2 at the Loretto-Hilton Center, 130 Edgar Road, Webster Groves. Tickets are $19 to $72. Call 314-968-4925 or visit — Dennis Brown

We’re keeping you informed…
...and it’s what we love to do. From local politics and culture to national news that hits close to home, Riverfront Times has been keeping St. Louis informed for years.

It’s never been more important to support local news sources. A free press means accountability and a well-informed public, and we want to keep our unique and independent reporting available for many, many years to come.

If quality journalism is important to you, please consider a donation to Riverfront Times. Every reader contribution is valuable and so appreciated, and goes directly to support our coverage of critical issues and neighborhood culture. Thank you.