Amadeus Thirty years after its sensational Broadway debut, Peter Shaffer's rococo account of jealousy, temptation and betrayal in the eighteenth-century Vienna court of Emperor Joseph II remains an evening of pomp, interspersed with snatches of glorious Mozart music. But with the passing of the decades, this story of a mediocre musician who personally holds God responsible for his mediocrity now feels hollow at the core. Because the story does not stand up to close scrutiny, rather like a child's top Amadeus must be kept spinning or it will topple over. This production has too many words and not enough spin. Produced by the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis through October 4 at the Loretto-Hilton Center, 130 Edgar Road, Webster Groves. Tickets are $18 to $68 (rush seats available for students and seniors, $10 and $15, respectively, 10 minutes before showtime). Call 314-968-4925 or visit www.repstl.org.
— Dennis Brown
Into the Woods Four years ago James Lapine, who wrote this perennially popular deconstruction of fairy tales with Stephen Sondheim, told Riverfront Times he had never seen a production of the musical that he didn't like. Since then there probably have been more local stagings of this tale about fearsome giants who wreak havoc throughout a far-off kingdom (whose inhabitants do not live happily ever after) than any other play, including A Midsummer Night's Dream. Now it's Stray Dog Theatre's turn to take on Sondheim and Lapine's skewed yet sprightly adaptation of Grimm's fairy tales. It's a version that will be enjoyed most by those viewers who are seeing the musical for the first time. Through October 10 at the Tower Grove Abbey, 2336 Tennessee Avenue. Tickets are $20 ($18 for students and seniors). Call 314-865-1995 or visit www.straydogtheatre.org. (DB)
Top Girls Reviewed in this issue.