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The Boys Are Back in Town

Gateway Men's Chorus sings out

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Remember the funky '60s television show Laugh-In and Henry Gibson's/Goldie Hawn's delicious duet, "Let's look forward to the day, when you don't have to be happy to be gay"?

Well, that day has arrived, and so has the Gateway Men's Chorus. The boys are back in town, putting on a show of -- what else? -- Broadway tunes, plus two original songs. Set loosely around the plot "two local boys make good in the Big Apple," Broadway Bound is a cosmopolitan cocktail of you-asked-for-it and if-you-sing-it-they-will-come.

"According to our feedback sheets, there's a great audience demand for more show tunes in our productions, and we're obliging," explains Chorus vice president Hugh Pavitt.

For $20-$25 bucks a pop, you can get a Broadway fix here in your own St. Louis backyard, Dorothy, at Washington University's Edison Theatre (Forsyth at Skinker boulevards, 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday, June 20 and 21,, 314-621-7286). They've gathered songs from shows of all eras, including "There's No Business Like Show Business," "Ease on Down the Road," "42nd Street" and "Keep it Gay" (for those space-station inhabitants who didn't see or hear about last season's theater smash, it's a gutbusting number from The Producers).

"It's an actual Broadway show," says Chorus artistic director Merry Keller of the evening as a whole. She guarantees even more big numbers with full chorus, small dance troupe and belting solos as characters "Buddy" and "Beau," the 45 men of the Gateway Men's Chorus, and one female guest sing their tuxedoed hearts out under the stage direction of Brett Macias, who also wrote the script.

The highlight of the show might easily be the sweet-but-hilarious commissioned number, "My Girlfriend," acknowledging the unique relationship between the gay guy and his straight gal-pal. The lyrics to that tune, written by chorus member John Pingree, have been set to music by St. Louisan Neal Richardson, who also arranged the score for the entire show.

"The gay man/straight woman relationship is a strong and important one, à la 'Will and Grace,' and we wanted to honor it here," says Pavitt. "It's not just a TV fantasy; it does exist." -- Cathy Cohn

Hoofing for the Humane Society
Dancers beg for scraps

SAT 6/21

Watch pros dance for the dogs at the annual Animeux de Danse. Pull out your magic wand -- er, pocketbook -- for the Cinderella Fund of the Humane Society of Missouri by attending this lively benefit by local modern-dance company Eclectic E. At 8 p.m., strut down (try not to pant) to St. Louis University High School Performing Arts Center, 4970 Oakland Avenue.

See some clever comedy numbers featuring the female struggle with stretchy things, some "War Whooping" and an effort at anger management. Kids from a summer camp join one number, so bring the family. Directors Kelly Ruesing and Angela Muccigrosso bring their experience from Atrek, MADCO, Southwest Missouri State University and Hunter College. Others woofing it up hail from SMSU, Lindenwood University and Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville.

The Fund finds loving homes for abused and neglected animals with special needs, and the cost won't bite. Recommended donation: $20/advance, $25/door, and $5 for children 11 and younger ($10/door). A dessert reception and raffle follow. Meow at 314-951-1568. -- Regina Popper

Here Comes the Sun
Singers celebrate solstice in song

SAT 6/21

Maybe it's the horseradish and cornfields; maybe it's the chemical plants and slag heaps; but Belleville and its sister towns of Collinsville, Centerville and Fairview Heights have been a source and shelter to some remarkable songwriters. Jay Farrar and Jeff Tweedy are only the two best known examples, but there's also smart-mouthed folk-rocker Chris Mills, the bluesy, flat-picking Joel Mabus, and Earthsol frontwoman Kim Voorman (pictured with Earthsol), among others. It's more than appropriate, then, that the old Main Street of Belleville will host the Summer Solstice Singer/Songwriter Festival, a tongue-twisting pub crawl that hits about every funky tavern and dive in the historic district. Songwriters will perform free unplugged shows during the daylight hours and then take over the clubs, with or without bands, in the evening. Tickets for the pub-crawl are $15 in advance, $20 day of show, but you get a T-shirt and free drink for your money. Not all or even most of the performers hail from Belle Vegas, but some of the main attractions include St. Louis roots-rock stalwart and current Melody Den leader Marc Checik; the sometimes dreamy, sometimes disturbing Fred's Variety Group; Irish-folkie Mitzi McDonald; and well-polished St. Louis veteran Robb Bledsoe. For more information visit or call 618-234-5998. -- Roy Kasten

Slap, Crackle & Pop

TUES 6/24

Stanley Clarke has always been a bass player's bass player, appealing as much to fellow musicians, if not more so, as to the jazz-buying public. He still had peach fuzz on his face when he joined Horace Silver's and Dexter Gordon's bands in the early '70s. After refining the slap-and-pop technique he picked up from Sly Stone's bassist, he joined Chick Corea's Return to Forever and released jazz-fusion LPs until the Bitches' Brew fans could take no more (and those Marsalis boys turned jazz into a slow elevator ride to hell).

Clarke chopped down his corona afro and found his forte: scoring films. His tasteful contributions to the soundtracks for such movies as Boyz N the Hood have made him as sought-after as ever. Now, after a decade without a studio album, Clarke has released 1, 2 to the Bass. His run of string-pops in the title track is sweet, but other tunes on the CD are as comatose-mellow as the pap played by the "smooth jazz" radio station sponsoring Clarke's 8 p.m. concert at the Pageant (6161 Delmar Boulevard, $19.50, 314-421-4400). -- Byron Kerman

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