The Fabulous Fox Theatre has announced the cancellation of the remaining shows on its 2020 calendar:  A Christmas Carol and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer the Musical.  Both shows were December specials on the U. S. Bank Broadway Season and neither had been put on sale.  “We look forward to resuming a full holiday schedule in 2021” said John O-Brien, director of programming for the Fabulous Fox.

Limited Tours of the Fabulous Fox Theatre have resumed. Tours will be conducted on Saturdays at 10:30 a.m. and include a presentation on the Wurlitzer organ.  Advance purchase is required at FabulousFox.com or by calling MetroTix at 314-534-1111. Tickets will be delivered to guests’ mobile devices.  In order to avoid contact, paper tickets will not be issued.   Ticket sales will close at 5 p.m. the Friday prior to each tour.  The Fox Box office is currently closed and tickets will not be available for purchase on the Saturday of the tour.

In order to assure the safety of our guests and guides, in addition to touch-less ticketing, the following protocols will be followed.  All guests are required to wear masks and will have their temperature taken with no-touch devices before entering the theatre.  Fox tour guides and personnel will wear masks and will have their temperature taken when they check in for duty. Social distancing will be practiced and monitored during the entire tour experience.  Each tour’s capacity is limited to 15 guests.  The theatre will be thoroughly cleaned with emphasis on high touch areas prior to each tour.

The Fabulous Fox Theatre has announced the postponement of three fall shows that were to open the 2020-2021 U.S. Bank Broadway Season Ticket package and one season special. “In light of the current status of the COVID-19 virus, the Fox and our producing partners have agreed that tour dates for fall of 2020 must be re-scheduled for the safety and well-being of our guests, staff, casts and crew” said John O-Brien, director of programming for the Fabulous Fox.   The seven-show season ticket package will now open with Disney’s FROZEN February 10-21. 

The postponed musicals are:  MEAN GIRLS scheduled for September; MY FAIR LADY scheduled for October; JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR scheduled for November and CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY scheduled for December.

“As a presenter of national tours, we are in ongoing conversations with producers and agents each and every week.  The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on the touring industry as theatres and booking agents across America reinvent calendars that were two to three years in the making” said O’Brien.  “In addition to the four shows mentioned above, we are also finding new dates for CATS and HAMILTON which were postponed in the spring.”

Ain’t Too Proud The Temptations musical

THE CURRENT SEVEN-SHOW SEASON TICKET PACKAGE IS:

FROZEN * February 5-21, 2021

AIN’T TOO PROUD * March 2-14, 2021

THE PROM * April 6-18, 2021

PRETTY WOMAN * April 27-May 9, 2021

Plus 3 additional musicals to be announced later.

Tony nominees Beth Leavel and Brooks Ashmanskas in “The Prom”

THE SCHEDULE OF SPECIALS IS:

A CHRISTMAS CAROL * December 3-6, 2020

RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER * December 18-19, 2020

BLUE MAN GROUP * March 19-21, 2021

HAIRSPRAY * June 4-6, 2021

Additional information about the Season Ticket package and specials will be released when the pandemic eases and shows confirm their re-routing plans.

Phil Stanton (from left) Chris Wink and Matt Goldman are the founders of Blue Man Group.

The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis has announced that it will postpone the beginning of its 2020-2021 season until at least December 2020 in order to ensure the safety of its patrons, guest artists, staff and volunteers.

Following months of consultation between the theatre’s leadership, board members and fellow St. Louis cultural institutions, The Rep will push back its usual September start time and reconfigure its schedule for the upcoming season. The theatre’s plan is to reopen in December with A Christmas Carol and then run an extended winter/spring season in 2021.

The Rep will formally announce its rescheduled season on September 1.

“While we are going to greatly miss connecting with our patrons in September, we understand that The Rep exists within a much larger public health picture for the St. Louis region,” said Hana S. Sharif, The Rep’s Augustin Family Artistic Director. “We want to ensure that when we reopen, it’s in a way that maximizes the health and safety of our community. We look forward to throwing open our doors this December to launch the joyous holiday tradition of A Christmas Carol for St. Louis families.”

As part of its planning, The Rep has banded together with its fellow cultural organizations as part of the St. Louis Reopening The Arts Work Group. This collective is forming a unified plan that takes under consideration the CDC’s recommendations as well as any federal, state and local government directives.

“Our group is exploring the implementation of disinfecting, social distancing, face coverings, temperature screenings and more throughout all St. Louis arts venues,” Sharif said. “Our goal is to create a safe environment for everyone to enjoy live art, music and theatre as soon as possible.”

The Rep, as a member of the League of Resident Theatres (LORT), is also collaborating closely with the five labor unions whose members help to bring its plays to the stage, ensuring that the theatre will continue to provide a safe and healthy workplace.

Until it returns to staged productions, The Rep will continue its educational and outreach work throughout the St. Louis community, including free efforts like Play at Home and the WiseWrite Digital Play Festival. Stay tuned to repstl.org for continued updates, as well as exciting virtual arts activities.

The Fabulous Fox Theatre is excited to announce a fetch 2020-2021 U.S. Bank Broadway Series. You can sit with us! When MEAN GIRLS opens the seven-show season ticket package this September. You’ll dance all night when the Lincoln Center Theater Production of Lerner & Loewe’s MY FAIR LADY graces the Fox stage in October. Hear the evolution of an icon when THE CHER SHOW turns back time and experience the Broadway magic only Disney can deliver at their newest hit musical FROZEN. Get ready for those Grammy winning songs and Tony winning moves when AIN’T TOO PROUD – THE LIFE AND TIMES OF THE TEMPTATIONS makes its St. Louis debut. Throw on a corsage because it’s time to dance at Broadway’s hit musical comedy THE PROM. Fall in love all over again when PRETTY WOMAN: The Musical dazzles audiences as the final show in the Broadway series.

MEAN GIRLS | September 22 – October 4, 2020

Direct from Broadway, MEAN GIRLS is the hilarious hit musical from book writer Tina Fey (“30 Rock”), composer Jeff Richmond (“Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”), lyricist Nell Benjamin (Legally Blonde) and director Casey Nicholaw (The Book of Mormon). Cady Heron may have grown up on an African savanna, but nothing prepared her for the vicious ways of her strange new home: suburban Illinois. Soon, this naïve newbie falls prey to a trio of lionized frenemies led by the charming but ruthless Regina George. But when Cady devises a plan to end Regina’s reign, she learns the hard way that you can’t cross a Queen Bee without getting stung. New York Magazine cheers, “MEAN GIRLS delivers with immense energy, a wicked sense of humor and joyful inside-jokery.” USA Today says, “We’ll let you in on a little secret, because we’re such good friends: GET YOUR TICKETS NOW!”

MY FAIR LADY | October 14-25, 2020

From Lincoln Center Theater and director Bartlett Sher comes “a sumptuous new production of the most perfect musical of all time” (Entertainment Weekly), Lerner & Loewe’s MY FAIR LADY.  Boasting such classic songs as “I Could Have Danced All Night,” “The Rain in Spain,” and “Wouldn’t It Be Loverly,” MY FAIR LADY tells the story of Eliza Doolittle, a young Cockney flower seller, and Henry Higgins, a linguistics professor who is determined to transform her into his idea of a “proper lady.”  But who is really being transformed?

THE CHER SHOW | November 17-29, 2020

The Tony Award®-winning musical! Her life. Her story. Her legend. Superstars come and go. Cher is forever. For six straight decades, only one unstoppable force has flat-out dominated popular culture — breaking down barriers, pushing boundaries, and letting nothing and no one stand in her way. THE CHER SHOW is the Tony Award-winning musical of her story, and it’s packed with so much Cher that it takes three women to play her: the kid starting out, the glam pop star, and the icon. THE CHER SHOW is 35 smash hits, six decades of stardom, two rock-star husbands, a Grammy®, an Oscar®, an Emmy®, and enough Tony Award-winning Bob Mackie gowns to cause a sequin shortage in New York City, all in one unabashedly fabulous new musical that will have you dancing in the aisles!

Disney’s FROZEN | February 10-21, 2021

From the producer of The Lion King and Aladdin, FROZEN, the Tony®-nominated Best Musical, is now on tour across North America, and the critics rave, “It’s simply magical!” (LA Daily News). FROZEN features the songs you love from the original Oscar®-winning film, plus an expanded score with a dozen new numbers. An unforgettable theatrical experience filled with sensational special effects, stunning sets and costumes, and powerhouse performances, FROZEN is everything you want in a musical: It’s moving. It’s spectacular. And above all, it’s pure Broadway joy.

AIN’T TOO PROUD – THE LIFE AND TIMES OF THE TEMPTATIONS | March 2-14, 2021

AIN’T TOO PROUD – THE LIFE AND TIMES OF THE TEMPTATIONS is the electrifying new smash-hit Broadway musical that follows The Temptations’ extraordinary journey from the streets of Detroit to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. The winner of the 2019 Tony Award for Best Choreography, it’s a thrilling story of brotherhood, family, loyalty, and betrayal during a decade of civil unrest in America. Set to the beat of the group’s treasured hits, including “My Girl,” “Just My Imagination,” “Get Ready,” “Papa Was a Rolling Stone,” AIN’T TOO PROUD tells the unforgettable story of the legendary quintet that Billboard Magazine named the greatest R&B group of all time.

The Prom

THE PROM | April 6-18, 2021

Everyone’s invited to the joyous Broadway hit that New York Magazine calls “smart and big-hearted” and The New York Times declares it “makes you believe in musical comedy again!” THE PROM is a new musical comedy about big Broadway stars on a mission to change the world and the love they discover that unites them all.  Variety raves, “It’s so full of happiness that you think your heart is about to burst.” And The Hollywood Reporter cheers, “It’s comic gold!” You belong at THE PROM!

PRETTY WOMAN: The Musical | April 27 – May 9, 2021

After an incredible run on Broadway, Audience Choice Award winner PRETTY WOMAN: The Musical is now on tour! PRETTY WOMAN: The Musical is brought to life by a powerhouse creative team representing the best of music, Hollywood, and Broadway. Featuring direction and choreography by two-time Tony Award® winner Jerry Mitchell (Hairspray, Kinky Boots, Legally Blonde), an original score by Grammy® winner Bryan Adams and Jim Vallance (“Summer of ’69”, “Heaven”), and a book by the movie’s legendary director Garry Marshall and screenwriter J.F. Lawton, Pretty Woman: The Musical will lift your spirits and light up your heart. “If you love the movie, you’ll love the musical!” (BuzzFeed News).

Series Specials

Six Broadway specials will be offered to 2020–2021 season ticket holders for priority seating before their public on-sale dates.

A holiday classic, Nebraska Theatre Caravan’s A CHRISTMAS CAROL will return December 3-6 and the “most famous reindeer of all” will soar into the Fox December 18-19 in RUDOLPH THE RED NOSED REINDEER. A new mesmerizing production of JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR will kick off the New Year January 26-31. Experience the smash hit phenomenon that is BLUE MAN GROUP March 19-21. Discover the mystery of a brave young woman’s past in the romantic and adventure-filled musical ANASTASIA May 14-16. You can’t stop the beat when HAIRSPRAY takes you back to the 1960s May 21-23.

New seven-show season ticket packages will go on sale June 8 at 10 a.m. Current U.S. Bank Broadway season ticket holders will receive their renewal information the week of March 23. On-sale dates for individual shows will be announced later. For more information, please call the Fox Subscription office at 314-535-1700. Groups of 10 or more should call 314-535-2900 for special rates and reservations. The Broadway Series at the Fabulous Fox Theatre is presented by U.S. Bank.

2020 – 2021 U.S. Bank Broadway Series Shows and Specials:

(The Seven Season Ticket shows are in bold)

MEAN GIRLS * September 22 – October 4, 2020

MY FAIR LADY * October 14-25, 2020

THE CHER SHOW * November 17-29, 2020

A CHRISTMAS CAROL * December 3-6, 2020

RUDOLPH THE RED NOSED REINDEER * December 18-19, 2020

JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR * January 26-31, 2021

Disney’s FROZEN * February 10-21, 2021

AIN’T TOO PROUD – THE LIFE AND TIMES OF THE TEMPTATIONS * March 2-14, 2021

BLUE MAN GROUP * March 19-21, 2021

THE PROM * April 6-18, 2021

PRETTY WOMAN: The Musical * April 27 – May 9, 2021

ANASTASIA * May 14-16, 2021

HAIRSPRAY * May 21-23, 2021


 The theatre will produce classics Moby Dick and Little Shop of Horrors, as well as two world premieres at two different theatres this season
 ST. LOUIS — The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis announces a dynamic new set of shows for its 2020-2021 season designed to delight, excite and engage theatregoers like never before.

“This year, we want to share the magic of The Rep with both our longtime supporters and new audiences across the region,” said Hana S. Sharif, The Rep’s Augustin Family Artistic Director. “Our new season will feature classics, contemporary thought-provoking shows and robust family programming to make theatre accessible to more people than ever before.”

The 2020-2021 season will include well-known works such as Moby Dick and Little Shop of Horrors, as well as groundbreaking contemporary plays like Hir, a dark comedy that explores family dysfunction and gender roles in America, and Mlima’s Tale, a captivating work from two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Lynn Nottage.

The Rep will also debut world-premiere productions of Top of the World, a riveting psychological thriller, and The Gradient, a daring new play set in a near-future world where there are rehabilitation centers for men accused of sexual misconduct.

Sharif announced the season lineup at an event Thursday evening at Delmar Hall emceed by Julie Tristan, award-winning host and journalist for 98.1 FM and KPLR 11, and featuring special guest Missouri State Sen. Jamilah Nasheed, who delivered a proclamation welcoming Sharif to Missouri.

For the first time, two of The Rep’s productions this season will be presented in partnership with COCA – Center of Creative Arts in the soon-to-be-opened, state-of-the-art Berges Theatre in University City.

“Welcoming partners such as The Rep into our space is just the type of new programming we envisioned as we launched COCA’s expansion plans,” said Kelly Pollock, Executive Director of COCA. “Hosting part of The Rep’s season in the new Berges Theatre creates an opportunity to support professional theatre in St. Louis, while providing opportunities for young people brings us all closer to creating a St. Louis that is connected and inclusive.”

Event guests also got a sneak peek of the 2020-2021 season lineup with a special musical performance from Little Shop of Horrors, performed by vocalists Shayna Blass and Mark G. Meadows.

In addition to the six Mainstage shows and three Studio shows, The Rep will also produce the story of Donny Hathaway in Twisted Melodies, three productions for young audiences as part of its Imaginary Theatre Company, as well as an expanded New Play Festival in the fall. This season also kicks off a new holiday tradition with a December production of Charles Dickens’ classic, A Christmas Carol. (Detailed descriptions and run dates of all shows below and at repstl.org/2020-2021).

ABOUT THE REPERTORY THEATRE ST. LOUIS
The Rep is the St. Louis region’s most honored live professional theatre company. Founded in 1966, The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis is a fully professional theatrical operation belonging to the League of Resident Theatres, The League of St. Louis Theatres and is a constituent member of Theatre Communications Group, Inc., the national service organization for the not-for-profit professional theatre. Learn more about The Rep at www.repstl.org.


The Rep’s 2020-2021 Season

MAINSTAGE:

Little Shop of Horrors
Book by Howard Ashman
Music by Alan Menken
Lyrics by Howard Ashman
 
Previews: Sept. 4-10, 2020
Performances: Sept. 11 – Oct. 2, 2020
Performed at the Loretto-Hilton Center for the Performing Arts (130 Edgar Rd.)
 
It’s a classic tale, really: Girl meets boy. Boy meets carnivorous alien plant. Carnivorous alien plant develops an insatiable taste for blood. Join Seymour and Audrey on this musical comedy joy ride bursting with pop melodies, soul ballads and girl group swagger. Buckle up for an evening of romance, action and a just a touch of overzealous dentistry.
 
Top of the World
by Catherine Butterfield
 
Performances: October 2020
Performed at COCA’s Berges Theatre (524 Trinity Ave.)
 
A riveting psychological thriller makes its world premiere at The Rep. Following the suicide of his wife, television crime show runner Brendan Murray desperately seeks any clues he might have missed. The mystery deepens when an episode of Brendan’s TV show begins to mirror his real-life tragedy all too closely. As Brendan and his family replay their memories seeking answers, they only unlock more questions. One question looms above the rest: how do they find a pathway to healing?
 
The Great Leap
by Lauren Yee
 
Previews: Oct. 30 – Nov. 5, 2020
Performances: Nov. 6-22, 2020
Performed at the Loretto-Hilton Center for the Performing Arts
 
Armed with a lethal crossover dribble and a knack for devastating trash talk, 17-year-old Manford Lum is the star point guard of a U.S. college basketball team traveling to Beijing for an exhibition match between two rival coaches. But as this Chinese-American phenom arrives amidst the roiling backdrop of the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests, Manford discovers himself at the epicenter of a personal, political and cultural standoff. Lauren Yee’s formidable play bristles with all the relentless energy of its underdog hero.
 
Native Gardens
by Karen Zacarias
 
Previews: Jan. 15-21, 2021
Performances: Jan. 22 – Feb. 7, 2021
Performed at the Loretto-Hilton Center for the Performing Arts
 
“The difference between a flower and a weed is a judgment.” In Karen Zacarías’ brilliant comedy, cultures and gardens collide, turning well-meaning neighbors into feuding enemies. The play begins as a polite backyard dispute between the young, upwardly mobile Del Valles and the thoroughly Baby Boomer Butleys. But as the pairs squabble over the two feet of dirt where their properties meet, the action spirals into a symphony of inspired chaos.
 
Oo-Bla-Dee
by Regina Taylor
 
Performances: February 2021
Performed at COCA’s Berges Theatre
 
The piano is rollicking, the bass is thumping and the saxophone is wailing. It can only mean one thing: Evelyn Waters & The Diviners are in town. Regina Taylor’s swinging musical chronicles a 1940s Black female jazz band as they journey from St. Louis to Chicago seeking fame and freedom in a climate of racism, sexism and an unforgiving industry. Inspired by the true stories of Billie Holiday, Sweethearts of Rhythm, Valaida Snow and May Lou Williams, Oo-Bla-Dee celebrates all the women musicians who fought for and earned their rightful place in American history.
 
Moby Dick
Adapted by David Catlin
From the book by Herman Melville
 
Previews: March 12-18, 2021
Performances: March 19 – April 11, 2021
Performed at the Loretto-Hilton Center for the Performing Arts
 
Madness, obsession and bloodlust take harrowing flight in a thrilling revision of Melville’s masterpiece. Captain Ahab’s hunt for the great White Whale soars to new heights through exhilarating acrobatic and theatrical spectacle that invites audiences into the heart of the action. This adaptation from Lookingglass Theatre Company brings a literary legend to life in an experience that’s both visceral and evocative.
STEVE WOOLF STUDIO SERIES:

Hir
by Taylor Mac
 
Previews: Oct. 9-15, 2020
Performances: Oct. 16 – Nov. 1, 2020
Performed at the Loretto-Hilton Center for the Performing Arts
 
As Isaac returns from the war zone of Afghanistan, he finds fresh battle lines have been drawn in his childhood home. This dark comedy sees the soldier’s dysfunctional family in a total role reversal: a tyrannical father enfeebled by sickness, a once timid mother drunk with power and a sibling transitioning into a person he doesn’t recognize anymore. With the family’s former identity upended, old wounds and unresolved grudges drag them into all-out chaos.
 
The Gradient
by Steph Del Rosso
 
Previews: Jan. 8 – Jan. 14, 2021
Performances: Jan. 15-31, 2021
Performed at the Loretto-Hilton Center for the Performing Arts

In this world premiere satire set in the not-so-distant future, a new facility promises to take men accused of sexual misconduct and rehabilitate them into responsible citizens. But inside the walls of The Gradient, the culture ruled by profit margins and corporate buzzwords muddles its high ideals. New employee Tess is eager to do her part, but finds herself locked in a subtle psychological battle with her latest client – one who has the perfect answer to her every question. Steph Del Rosso’s bold new play asks: can we mass-produce forgiveness?
 
Mlima’s Tale
by Lynn Nottage
 
Previews: March 26 – April 1, 2021
Performances: April 2-18, 2021
Performed at the Loretto-Hilton Center for the Performing Arts

Mlima, a majestic and powerful African elephant, is murdered for his tusks. From beyond the veil of death, Mlima’s spirit follows the path of his tusks on a moving, lyrical journey through the dark world of the international ivory trade. From Lynn Nottage, the two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright of Sweat and RuinedMlima’s Tale is a captivating and haunting fable come to life.
Kelvin Roston Jr. as Donny Hathaway
SPECIAL SHOWS:*
 
Twisted Melodies
Written by and starring Kelvin Roston, Jr.
 
Performances: July 2020
 
This powerful one-man show is based on the life of St. Louis soul music icon Donny Hathaway, perhaps best known for his duets with Roberta Flack. Twisted Melodies is an immersive and crushing play about the brilliant singer and composer’s compelling inner struggle. Torn between the muses that inspire him and the mental illness that torments him, Hathaway evaluates his life in a gripping performance by St. Louis native Kelvin Roston, Jr.
 
A Christmas Carol
by Charles Dickens
Adapted by Michael Wilson
 
Previews: Dec. 6-10, 2020
Performances: Dec. 11-30, 2020
Performed at the Loretto-Hilton Center for the Performing Arts
 
At long last, the ghosts of Ebenezer Scrooge’s past, present and future have caught up with him. Now London’s most infamous miser must take a transformative journey as he faces the worst parts of himself and discovers unexpected redemption. Families are sure to delight in this enchanting winter’s tale filled with the wonder of Christmas in a theatrical extravaganza unlike any that St. Louis has seen before. Don’t miss the start of a new tradition as The Rep launches its annual production of Michael Wilson’s fantastical adaptation of Charles Dickens’ beloved tale.

* Single-ticket exclusives
IMAGINARY THEATRE COMPANY:
 
A Gnome for Christmas
by Sarah Brandt
Music and lyrics by Stephen James Neale
 
A warm-hearted holiday musical sprinkled with fun and hijinks, A Gnome for Christmas returns to the Imaginary Theatre Company. Lulu’s father is an inventor…just not a very successful one. After another of his failed inventions lands the family at a rundown farmhouse, Lulu’s about ready to give up. But when mysterious and magical things start happening, it seems that this farm might be home to more than meets the eye. A mischievous enchanted gnome, Timmy, is determined to bring Lulu a little Christmas cheer. With memorable songs and lovable characters, it’s the perfect holiday confection.
 
Puss in Boots
by Nathan and Jennifer Roberts
 
Everyone’s favorite feline fable is here to charm and beguile! The miller’s son is not finding life easy, with barely a penny to his name and no inheritance from his father, save for a useless cat and a pair of too-small boots. But this cat hides a secret: She can talk! And sing! And she has a plan to take them from the poorhouse to a princely castle. But how long can this extraordinary kitty keep up the ruse before the cat is out of the bag? Bring the whole family and share the legend of Puss in Boots!
 
Tomás and the Library Lady
Adapted by José Cruz Gonzalez
From the book by Pat Mora
 
Dive into a fantastical world of books in this celebratory true story. As Tomás’ family heads north to Iowa for work, they find fewer and fewer people who speak their native Spanish language. Looking for a place to fit in, Tomás finds a new passion when he befriends a librarian who introduces him to the magical world of books. This enchanting story adventures through the pages of towering dinosaurs and ferocious tigers, igniting Tomás’ imagination and bringing the audience along for the ride.

By CB Adams
Contributing Writer
We are living in the age of the Christmas-industrial complex. Never before have we had such a wealth of holiday entertainments, from dancing sugar plum fairies to prancing Grinches. The slate of stage, film, television, radio and music options means you can curate a Christmas season experience exactly to your liking.
One franchise rules them all, Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” and one character from that novella, Ebenezer Scrooge, stands scowling above the holiday fray, waiting, not for his close-up, but his redemption.
So imagine the challenge faced by Charles Jones, the founder and creator of the Nebraska Theatre Caravan, as he adapted Dickens’ tale for the stage more than 40 years ago. The field of Christmas Carol  interpretations was full even then, including several well-known films starring the likes of George C. Scott, Lionel Barrymore, Alastair Sim, Albert Finney and, ahem, even Jim Backus, to say nothing of later incarnations by Jim Carrey and Patrick Stewart. So there were plenty of ways to present “the wicked old screw.”

According to Jones’ own introduction, “I think of this adaptation and the production of “A Christmas Carol” as a masque. It is not a musical comedy.”
A masque, in case your theater history is a bit rusty, was a form of festive entertainment popular with the royals in 16th- and early 17th-century Europe. Masques were especially popular in Merry Old England, where they were considered among the highest art forms. The Puritans in the 1600s tried their Scroogely best to abolish masques, but they have persevered in one form or another to the present day.
This bit of history provides the key for Jones’ approach. It’s a bit like adapting the story of the Titanic – we all know the ship sinks in the end. The transformation of Scrooge from miser to magnanimous mensch has entered our cultural lexicon and shared imaginations.
There’s a reason this story has resonated from its publication in 1843 as well as a reason that Nebraska Theatre Caravan’s production of Jones’ adaptation has had a successful 40-year run. Although not a “musical comedy” by Jones’ definition, is certainly is music-filled and definitely played to lighter, comedic effect.
There’s nary a bleak Dickensian Victorian moment to be had during the play’s two acts. For instance, the Charity Men, who are usually presented as serious solicitors for charity, enter Scrooge’s place and request a donation with the buffoonery of Lauren and Hardy, though they are toned down in their appearance at the play’s conclusion.
One of the most successful aspects is the show’s pacing. As played by 23 actors in multiple roles, one scene moves swiftly into another – advantageous in our age of short attention spans. Andy Harvey as Scrooge carries the show with a solid supporting cast.
Special effects also move the story along and hold their own in comparison to those in the filmed adaptations, though the Ghost of Christmas Past’s spectral presence seemed, like Scrooge’s bed clothes, a bit frayed around the edges and in need of a refresh.
One of the highlights of this production is the seamless integration of traditional Christmas carols into the action. Especially noteworthy is “Dancing Day” and “Susanni” during the Fezziwig Warehouse scene, “The Holly and the Ivy” and “The Other Night” in the Cratchit home scene, and “The Polka” and “Greensleeves” during the festivities at Fred and Millie’s home.
If this production were a beer, it would be “Scrooge Lite.” Perhaps harkening to its heartland roots, it is a steak and potatoes adaptation – and a good value for the ticket price. This is not a bad thing for its intended, broad audience. It’s simple enough for children to follow along – and laugh along – and fulfilling enough for adults to enjoy the same things.
This production’s longevity is well-deserved and a popular choice – among so many – for some families who make it an annual event.
“A Christmas Carol” played at the Fox Theatre Dec. 6-9.

By Lynn Venhaus
Managing Editor
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, and there are offerings to get you into the Christmas spirit — whether traditional like ‘A Christmas Carol” or “A Christmas Story,” or more humorous parodies, like Magic Smokey Monkey’s take on the stop-motion animation TV classics.
God’s a character in both Stray Dog’s “The Most Outrageous Story Ever Told” and New Jewish Theatre’s “An Act of God.:
Warm family-fare like “Annie” and “Smoke on the Mountain: Homecoming” are on community theater stages.
Whether you’re feeling like Scrooge (two productions) or ready to deck the halls (Church Basement Ladies, A Christmas Story), go see a play!
(Editor’s Note; Been having lots o’ computer problems, so this is late this week, but the good news is that a new laptop is ready to hook up! YAY. Apologize for delays.)
Alan Knoll in “An Act of God.” Photo by Eric Woolsey“An Act of God”
New Jewish Theater
Nov. 29 – Dec. 16
Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7:30 p.m., Saturdays at 2 and 8 p.m., and Sundays at 2 p.m.
Wool Studio Theatre
Jewish Community Center, 2 Millstone Campus, Creve Coeurwww.newjewishtheatre.org
314-442-3283.
What It’s About: Delivering a new and improved set of Commandments, God’s introduction of the revised laws is positive, insisting on separation of church and state, and encouraging us to believe in ourselves, not some elderly white guy in the sky. He sets the record straight, and he’s not holding back.
Director: Edward Coffield
Starring: Alan Knoll, Cassidy Flynn and Amanda Wales
“All Is Calm”Mustard Seed Theatre
Nov. 15 – Dec. 16
Thursdays through Sundays
Fontbonne Fine Arts Theatre
6800 Wydown Blvd.www.mustardseedtheatre.com
314-719-8060
What It’s About:  Celebrate the power of peace in this acapella musical based on the true story of soldiers during World War I who for one night, put down their arms and played soccer instead of exchanging bullets.
Director: Deanna Jent
“Annie”
Clinton County Showcase
Dec. 7 – 16
Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., Sunday at 2 p.m.
The Avon Theatre
525 N. Second St., Breese, IL
www.ccshowcase.com
What It’s About: The sun will come out tomorrow…With equal measures of pluck and positivity, little orphan Annie charms everyone’s hearts despite a next-to-nothing start in 1930s New York City. She is determined to find the parents who abandoned her years ago on the doorstep of a New York City Orphanage that is run by the cruel, embittered Miss Hannigan. With the help of the other girls in the Orphanage, Annie escapes to the wondrous world of NYC.
“Away in the Basement: A Church Basement Ladies Christmas”The Playhouse @ Westport
Nov. 8 – Jan. 6
635 Westport Plaza in Maryland Heightswww.playhouseatwestport.com
MetroTix: www.metrotix.com or 314-534-1111
What It’s About: An all-new holiday show is set in 1959, on the day of the Sunday School Christmas Program. During holiday preparations, the down-to-earth ladies are creating their own memories from Christmases past and present. Content to do things the way they have always been done, yet pondering new ideas, the reality of everyday life hits home as they plan the Sunday School Christmas Program.
As the children rehearse in the sanctuary, several of the ladies are in the kitchen finishing up the treat bags filled with apples, peanuts and ribbon candy while the others put the final touches on the nativity pieces. As they mend old bathrobe costumes, discuss the politics of who’s going to play the various roles, little do the ladies know what surprises are in store for them.
Known for their hilarious antics and subtle charm, they are once again called upon to step in and save the day!
Directors: Lee Anne Mathews and Emily Clinger, with music direction by Joseph Dreyer
Cast: Rosemary Watts, Lee Anne Mathews,
Of Note: Performances are Sundays and Tuesdays at 2 p.m., Thursdays and Fridays at 2 p.m., Saturdays and Wednesdays at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Additionally, tickets will be available at the Playhouse @ Westport Plaza box office one hour prior to show time. Groups of 10 or more can call 314-616-4455 for special rates.
All five installments of the musical comedy “Church Basement Ladies” are inspired by the books of author/humorists Janet Letnes Martin and Suzann Nelson, including the bestseller “Growing Up Lutheran.”
“A Christmas Carol”Dec. 6 – 9
The Fox Theatre
Friday at 7: 30 p.m., Saturday at 2 and 7:30 p.m., Sunday at 1 and 6 p.m.www.fabulousfox.com
Tickets: MetroTix.com
What It’s About: An annual tradition, presenting Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” the timeless tale of Ebenezer Scrooge on a journey through time and space, forced to confront his past, present and future through the aid of his spiritual guides.
Of Note: The Nebraska Caravan production has 23 actors playing the characters.
“A Christmas Carol”
Dec. 6 – 9
Thursday through Saturday at 7:30 p.m., Sunday at 2 p.m.
Looking Glass Playhouse
301 St. Louis St.
www.lookingglassplayhouse.com
“A Christmas Story”
Jerry Naunheim Jr. PhotoThe Repertory Theatre of St. Louis
Nov. 28 – Dec. 23
Mainstage, Loretto-Hilton Centerwww.repstl.org
314-968-4925
What It’s About: “You’ll shoot your eye out”! An adaptation of the classic holiday film, “A Christmas Story” is about Ralphie Parker’s quest to get a Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas. Filled with small-town family vignettes and colorful characters,
Director: Seth Gordon
Starring: Charlie Matthis, as nine-year-old Ralphie, and Ted Deasy, as the grown-up Ralph who narrates the play.
Brad Fraizer is The Old Man, Laurel Casillo is Mother, Spencer Slavik is younger brother Randy, Jo Twiss is Miss Shields. Tanner Gilbertson, Gigi Koster, Ana McAlister, Rhadi Smith and Dan J. Wolfe are featured child performers.
Of Note: The show had an acclaimed run at The Rep in 2009.
“Doomsday Faust”
Equally Represented Arts and
Dec. 5 – 8
Centene Center for the Arts, 3547 Olive Street
What It’s About: A post-modern collage that re-imagines Marlowe’s tragic hero is an ambitious businessman who strikes a deal with the devil to become the most magical and powerful leader on the world stage. This is a re-imagined post-modern collage that says Faustus’ doomsday, as well as our own, is just on the horizon.
“The Holiday Stop-Motion Extravaganza Parody”Nov. 30 – Dec. 8
St. Louis Shakespeare’s Magic Smoking Monkey Theatre
Regional Arts Commission  in University City
Wednesday and Thursday, Dec. 5 and 6, 8 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, Dec. 7 and 8, 8 p.m. and 10:30 p.m.
www.brownpapertickets.com/event/3739606
What It’s About: Join Rudolph, Santa, Hermey, Bumble, the Miser Bros and other wonderful misfits as they parody your favorite 1970s childhood holiday shows by Rankin/Bass. If you’ve ever had aspirations of becoming a dentist, this parody is for you! This parody includes: “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” and “The Year Without Santa Claus.”
Director: Suki Peters
Starring: Ben Ritchie, Tyson Blanquart, Amy Kelly, Ron Strawbridge, Payton Gillam, Robert Thibaut, Stan Davis, Joseph Garner, Joseph Cella, Jeremy Branson, Shannon Nara, Cliff Turner and Mike Stephens.
Of Note: Magic Smoking Monkey is partnering with Shriner’s Hospital to help make the holidays merry and bright for children in the St. Louis area. Bring a new, unwrapped toy to the box office with you on any night of the performance to be entered in a special drawing to win 4 tickets to a future Magic Smoking Monkey production.
“The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told”
Stray Dog Theatres’ The Most Outrageous Story Ever ToldStray Dog Theatre
Dec 6 – 22
Thursdays through Saturdays at 8 p.m.
Special performance Wednesday, Dec. 19
Tower Grove Abbey, 2336 Tennessee Ave.www.straydogtheatre.org
314-865-1995
What It’s About: This outlandish comedy by Paul Rudnick is about the first men on earth, Adam and Steve, and their lesbian friends Jane and Mabel, who decide to start civilization, despite the challenges. The stage manager, who might be God, leads them through the Garden of Eden, the Great Flood, a visit with a Pharaoh and the Messiah’s birth.
Director:
Starring: Patrice Foster, Luke Steingruby, Jennelle Gilreath, Stephen Henley, Maria Bartolotta, Angela Bubash, Jeremy Goldmeier, Dawn Schmid.
Of Note: For mature audiences.
Stray Dog Theatre presents The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told Thursdays through Saturdays, December 6 – 22. There will also be a show at 8 pm on Wednesday, December 19. “First men on earth Adam and Steve and their lesbian friends Jane and Mabel decide to start civilization, despite the provocative challenges of procreation. They are led by the stage manager (who may be God) through the Garden of Eden, the Great Flood, a visit with a highly rambunctious Pharaoh, and finally, the birth of the Messiah. This outlandish comedy is a perfect alternative holiday treat!” Performances take place at The Tower Grove Abbey, 2336 Tennessee. For more information, visit straydogtheatre.org or call 314-865-1995.
“Of Human Kindness – An Evening of Short Plays Thursdays through Saturdays at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.,
Dec. 6 – 16
Black Mirror Theatre Company
Kranzberg Arts Center
Tickets: MetroTix.com
What It’s About: Discarded lives. Some bound by hate, some by indifference – all human. All true stories, true enough – informed by eye witnesses: the psychiatrist who spoke of his homeless clients’ longing to lead meaningful lives, or the homeless man who told of his need for validation; by the letters from Mom and Dad – advice on growing up Black in America, or of Saint Maria Skobtsova who had the Jewish children hidden in her trash emptied to freedom outside of the city – executed, among so many others, in Ravensbruck; or of Isabella, Sojourner Truth, a Dutch speaker, beaten by her English owners for not obeying orders she couldn’t understand yet she became an ardent, iconic American voice for equal treatment of all.
“Perfect Arrangement”R-S Theatrics
The Marcelle Theatre
Dec. 7 – 23
Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., Sundays at 7 p.m.
www.r-stheatrics.com
“Smoke on the Mountain: Homecoming”
Alton Little Theatre
Dec. 7 – 16
Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m.
Alton Little Theatre, 2450 N. Henry in Alton
618-462-6562www.altonlittletheater.org
What It’s About: The Sanders Family, subject of the “Smoke on the Mountain” musicals, continue to be roles models of inspiration, humor and hope. Songs are a mix of Southern Gospel, hymns, country and bluegrass favorites from the World War II era.
“The Three Sisters”
Webster University’s Conservatory of Theatre Arts
Nov. 28 – Dec. 9
Wednesday through Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m.
Emerson Studio Theatre at the Loretto-Hilton Center
Webster University campus.www.webster.edu
314-968-7128
What It’s About: Adapted by Sarah Ruhl, the Chekhov play is about three sisters trapped in a provincial Russian town after the death of their father, and lament the passing of better times and long for the excitement of Moscow. One of them has married a local teacher; another has become a teacher herself; the third has settled for a dull job in the local telegraph office. Their principal interest is focused on the officers of the local regiment, of which their father had been commandant, men who bring a sense of sophistication and the world outside to their suppressed existence. In the end the fateful pattern of their lives is made clear –their dreams will be denied but, despite all, there must always be hope, however futile, and the ways of the world are to be accepted, if not understood
“Tribes”St. Louis Actors’ Studio
Nov. 30 – Dec. 16
Thursdays through Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m.
Gaslight Theatre, 358 N. Boyle.
314-458-2978
www.stlas.org
What It’s About: Billy was born deaf into a hearing family. He was raised inside its fiercely idiosyncratic and politically incorrect cocoon. He has adapted brilliantly to his family’s unconventional ways, but they’ve never bothered to return the favor. It’s not until he meets Sylvia, a young woman on the brink of deafness, that he finally understands what it means to be understood.
Director: Annamaria Pileggi
Starring: Miles Barbee, who is deaf; Ryan Lawson-Maeske, Bridget Bassa, Elizabeth Townsend, Greg Johnston and Hailey Medrano.
Of Note: This comedy-drama by Nina Raine was staged in London in 2010 and off-Broadway in 2012, winning the Drama Desk Award for Best New Play.
William Roth, founder and artistic director of St. Louis Actors’ Studio, has announced that they will donate $2 of each ticket price to Deaf Inc, St. Louis. Deaf Inc is dedicated to providing effective communication access to the deaf, hard of hearing and hearing individuals in the St. Louis area. For more on this organization, visit www.deafinc.org.
Opening Night and all Sunday and Thursday performances will be sign-interpreted for our deaf patrons. Email [email protected] for details.
For more on Miles Barbee, visit www.milesbarbee.com.
“Wonderland: Alice’s Rock and Roll Adventure”Metro Theatre Company
Dec. 2 – Dec. 30
The Grandel Theatre, 3610 Grandel Square in Grand Center
www.metroplays.org
What It’s About: Part rock concert, part theater, all of your favorite characters as Metro Theater Company presents this new, wild and wondrous take on Lewis Carroll’s beloved, poetic tale of self-actualization. A cast of actors/musicians plays an eclectic mix of everything from soul and rock to punk to ska as Alice chases through Wonderland in search of her own inner musical voice. A fun, hip, and refreshing fusion of music, theatre and poetry, it is the search for one’s authentic self, asking how can you march to the beat of your own drummer when you’re still writing the song? It places Alice in a strange, new world, where she conquers her fears and uses her musical skills to defeat the Jabberwock.

By Lynn Venhaus
Managing Editor
Fa la la la la! Local stages are the gift that keeps on giving this holiday season. We have merry, bright and thoughtful holiday productions opening and continuing, so pick from the pile of presents under the tree – “It’s a Wonderful Life,” “A Christmas Carol,” “A Christmas Story,” “All is Calm.” “Away in a Basement: Church Basement Ladies Christmas” and a “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” parody.
Comedies and dramas are presented by college theater departments: “The Crucible” at Saint Louis University, “Beyond Therapy” at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and “The Three Sisters” at Webster University.
For adult comedies pondering life, “Every Brilliant Thing” wraps up its run, “An Act of God” starts.
You are certain to find something that suits your tastes. Go see a play!
Alan Knoll in “An Act of God.” Photo by Eric Woolsey“An Act of God”
New Jewish Theater
Nov. 29 – Dec. 16
Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7:30 p.m., Saturdays at 2 and 8 p.m., and Sundays at 2 p.m.
Wool Studio Theatre
Jewish Community Center, 2 Millstone Campus, Creve Coeurwww.newjewishtheatre.org
314-442-3283.
What It’s About: Delivering a new and improved set of Commandments, God’s introduction of the revised laws is positive, insisting on separation of church and state, and encouraging us to believe in ourselves, not some elderly white guy in the sky. He sets the record straight, and he’s not holding back.
Director: Edward Coffield
Starring: Alan Knoll
 
“All Is Calm”Ann K Photography“All Is Calm”
Mustard Seed Theatre
Nov. 15 – Dec. 16
Thursdays through Sundays
Fontbonne Fine Arts Theatre
6800 Wydown Blvd.www.mustardseedtheatre.com
314-719-8060
What It’s About:  Celebrate the power of peace in this acapella musical based on the true story of soldiers during World War I who for one night, put down their arms and played soccer instead of exchanging bullets.
Director: Deanna Jent
 “Away in the Basement: A Church Basement Ladies Christmas”The Playhouse @ Westport
Nov. 8 – Jan. 6
635 Westport Plaza in Maryland Heightswww.playhouseatwestport.com
MetroTix: www.metrotix.com or 314-534-1111
What It’s About: An all-new holiday show is set in 1959, on the day of the Sunday School Christmas Program. During holiday preparations, the down-to-earth ladies are creating their own memories from Christmases past and present. Content to do things the way they have always been done, yet pondering new ideas, the reality of everyday life hits home as they plan the Sunday School Christmas Program.
As the children rehearse in the sanctuary, several of the ladies are in the kitchen finishing up the treat bags filled with apples, peanuts and ribbon candy while the others put the final touches on the nativity pieces. As they mend old bathrobe costumes, discuss the politics of who’s going to play the various roles, little do the ladies know what surprises are in store for them.
Known for their hilarious antics and subtle charm, they are once again called upon to step in and save the day!
Directors: Lee Anne Mathews and Emily Clinger, with music direction by Joseph Dreyer
Cast: Rosemary Watts, Lee Anne Mathews,
Of Note: Performances are Sundays and Tuesdays at 2 p.m., Thursdays and Fridays at 2 p.m., Saturdays and Wednesdays at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Additionally, tickets will be available at the Playhouse @ Westport Plaza box office one hour prior to show time. Groups of 10 or more can call 314-616-4455 for special rates.
All five installments of the musical comedy “Church Basement Ladies” are inspired by the books of author/humorists Janet Letnes Martin and Suzann Nelson, including the bestseller “Growing Up Lutheran.”
“Beyond Therapy”
Southern Illinois University Edwardsville
Nov. 28 – Dec. 2
Wednesday through Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.
Dunham Hall Theater
618-650-2774
www.siue.edu
“A Christmas Carol”
Nov. 29 – Dec. 1 at 7:30 p.m.
Lindenwood University
Schediegger Center for the Arts, St. Charleswww.lindenwood.edu
What It’s About: An annual tradition, presenting Charles Dickens” “A Christmas Carol,” timeless tale of Ebenezer Scrooge on a journey through time and space, forced to confront his past, present and future through the aid of his spiritual guides.
“A Christmas Story”
Curtain’s Up Theater
Nov. 29 – Dec. 2
Thursday and Friday at 7:30 p.m., Saturday at 2 and 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.
Alfresco Art Center, 2401 Delmar in Granite City
www.curtainsuptheater.com

 
The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis
Nov. 28 – Dec. 23
Mainstage, Loretto-Hilton Centerwww.repstl.org
314-968-4925
What It’s About: “You’ll shoot your eye out”! An adaptation of the classic holiday film, “A Christmas Story” is about Ralphie Parker’s quest to get a Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas. Filled with small-town family vignettes and colorful characters,
Director: Seth Gordon
Starring: Charlie Matthis, as nine-year-old Ralphie, and Ted Deasy, as the grown-up Ralph who narrates the play.
Brad Fraizer is The Old Man, Laurel Casillo is Mother, Spencer Slavik is younger brother Randy, Jo Twiss is Miss Shields. Tanner Gilbertson, Gigi Koster, Ana McAlister, Rhadi Smith and Dan J. Wolfe are featured child performers.
Of Note: The show had an acclaimed run at The Rep in 2009. “A Christmas Story”
The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis
“The Crucible”
St. Louis University Theatre
Nov. 29 – Dec. 2
Thursday through Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.
Xavier Hall, 3373 West Pine Mall
314-977-3327www.slu.edu/utheatre
Tickets through Metrotix.com or 314.534-1111 or at the door
What It’s About:  The 1953 Tony Award winner for Best Play is a powerful drama about the Salem witch trials. The story of one Puritan community reveals the destruction caused by mass hysteria and socially sanctioned violence.
Director: Lucy Cashion
“Every Brilliant Thing”R-S Theatrics
Nov. 16 – Dec. 2
Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 7 p.m.
Kranzberg Arts Center black box theatre
www.r-stheatrics.com
What It’s About: When a six-year-old starts a list of every brilliant thing in life to encourage her despondent mother, little does she know that the list will take on a life of its own and thread its way throughout the girl’s life. Hilarious and heartbreaking, this one-woman show reminds us to celebrate the beauty in our lives and in those we love.
Starring: Nancy Nigh
Ron james photo“The Holiday Stop-Motion Extravaganza Parody”
Nov. 30 – Dec. 8
St. Louis Shakespeare’s Magic Smoking Monkey Theatre
Regional Arts Commission,  in University City
Friday and Saturday, Nov. 30 and Dec. 1 – 8 p.m. show; Dec. 2 – 2 p.m., Wednesday and Thursday, Dec. 5 and 6, 8 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, Dec. 7 and 8, 8 p.m. and 10:30 p.m.
www.brownpapertickets.com/event/3739606
What It’s About: Join Rudolph, Santa, Hermey, Bumble, the Miser Bros and other wonderful misfits as they parody your favorite 1970s childhood holiday shows by Rankin/Bass. If you’ve ever had aspirations of becoming a dentist, this parody is for you! This parody includes: “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” and “The Year Without Santa Claus.”
Director: Suki Peters
Of Note: Magic Smoking Monkey is partnering with Shriner’s Hospital to help make the holidays merry and bright for children in the St. Louis area.  Bring a new, unwrapped toy to the box office with you on any night of the performance to be entered in a special drawing to win 4 tickets to a future Magic Smoking Monkey production.
 “It’s a Wonderful Life”
Wentzville Christian Church Theatre Group
Nov. 29 – Dec. 1
Thursday and Friday at 6 p.m. and Saturday at noon and 6 p.m.
Wentzville Christian Church, 1507 Highway Zwww.wentzvillecc.org
What It’s About: In our American culture It’s a Wonderful Life has become almost as familiar as Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. The story is a natural for a stage adaptation: the saga of George Bailey, the Everyman from the small town of Bedford Falls, whose dreams of escape and adventure have been quashed by family obligation and civic duty, whose guardian angel has to descent on Christmas Eve to save him from despair and to remind him-by showing him what the world would have been like had he never been born-that his has been, after all, a wonderful life.
“It’s a Wonderful Life Radio Play”
Nov. 29 – Dec. 1
The Bankside Repertory Theatre Company                                                                                          The Jacoby Arts Center
627 E. Broadway in Alton
www.banksiderep.com
What It’s about: This beloved American holiday classic comes to captivating life as a live 1940s radio broadcast. With the help of an ensemble that brings a few dozen characters to the stage, the story of idealistic George Bailey unfolds as he considers ending his life one fateful Christmas Eve.
Starring: Spencer Sickman, Caitlin Mickey, Mindy Steinman Shaw, Scott Grady, Jack Dearborn, Steve Potter, Lorian Warford, Lorian Warford, Olivia Steele, and Nick Trapp.
“The Three Sisters”
Webster University’s Conservatory of Theatre Arts
Nov. 28 – Dec. 9
Wednesday through Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m.
Emerson Studio Theatre at the Loretto-Hilton Center
Webster University campus.www.webster.edu
314-968-7128
What It’s About: Adapted by Sarah Ruhl, the Chekhov play is about three sisters trapped in a provincial Russian town after the death of their father, and lament the passing of better times and long for the excitement of Moscow. One of them has married a local teacher; another has become a teacher herself; the third has settled for a dull job in the local telegraph office. Their principal interest is focused on the officers of the local regiment, of which their father had been commandant, men who bring a sense of sophistication and the world outside to their suppressed existence. In the end the fateful pattern of their lives is made clear –their dreams will be denied but, despite all, there must always be hope, however futile, and the ways of the world are to be accepted, if not understood
Actor Miles Barbee, provided photo“Tribes”
St. Louis Actors’ Studio
Nov. 30 – Dec. 16
Thursdays through Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m.
Gaslight Theatre, 358 N. Boyle.
314-458-2978www.stlas.org
What It’s About: Billy was born deaf into a hearing family. He was raised inside its fiercely idiosyncratic and politically incorrect cocoon. He has adapted brilliantly to his family’s unconventional ways, but they’ve never bothered to return the favor. It’s not until he meets Sylvia, a young woman on the brink of deafness, that he finally understands what it means to be understood.
Director: Annamaria Pileggi
Starring: Miles Barbee, who is deaf; Ryan Lawson-Maeske, Bridget Bassa, Elizabeth Townsend, Greg Johnston and Hailey Medrano.
Of Note: This comedy-drama by Nina Raine was staged in London in 2010 and off-Broadway in 2012, winning the Drama Desk Award for Best New Play.
William Roth, founder and artistic director of St. Louis Actors’ Studio, has announced that they will donate $2 of each ticket price to Deaf Inc, St. Louis. Deaf Inc is dedicated to providing effective communication access to the deaf, hard of hearing and hearing individuals in the St. Louis area. For more on this organization, visit www.deafinc.org.
Opening Night and all Sunday and Thursday performances will be sign-interpreted for our deaf patrons. Email [email protected] for details.
For more on Miles Barbee, visit www.milesbarbee.com.
Shannon Cothran and Alicia Reve Like“Wonderland: Alice’s Rock n Roll Adventure”
Metro Theatre Company
Dec. 2 – Dec. 30
The Grandel Theatre, 3610 Grandel Square in Grand Center
www.metroplays.org
What It’s About: Part rock concert, part theater, all of your favorite characters as Metro Theater Company presents this new, wild and wondrous take on Lewis Carroll’s beloved, poetic tale of self-actualization. A cast of actors/musicians plays an eclectic mix of everything from soul and rock to punk to ska as Alice chases through Wonderland in search of her own inner musical voice. A fun, hip, and refreshing fusion of music, theatre and poetry, it is the search for one’s authentic self, asking how can you march to the beat of your own drummer when you’re still writing the song? It places Alice in a strange, new world, where she conquers her fears and uses her musical skills to defeat the Jabberwock.

By Lynn Venhaus
Managing Editor
Whether acting or directing, Jacqueline Thompson is drawn to characters who say something.
She is currently in rehearsal for a new Shakespeare Festival St. Louis program, “In the Works,” about different ways to tell stories. She is excited about this new venture, which hopes to engage people indifferent or intimidated by William Shakespeare.
“It’s a great tool to show how Shakespeare can be incorporated in other ways of storytelling. It’s also a great way to introduce a new demographic of audience members who are not fans of the Bard. The intersection between the classical and new work offers a starting point for new discovery,” Thompson said.

Building on the Festival’s summer productions in Forest Park and the acclaimed Shakespeare in the Streets program, “In the Works” will present contemporary American plays by writers in dialogue with Shakespeare.
The first season is headlined by the regional premiere of “Into the Breeches!”, which will be staged Oct. 28 – Nov. 24 at The Grandel Theatre. It stars Kari Ely, Ben Nordstrom, Gary Wayne Barker, Michelle Hand, Katy Keating, Mary McNulty, Laura Resinger and Thompson. It is directed by Nancy Bell, a Take Ten subject in June. https://stllimelight.com/2018/06/20/take-ten-with-nancy-bell/
The hilarious and heartwarming “Into the Breeches!” is a look at the World War II home front and a group of ladies left behind. In 1943, they band together to keep the local theater going with their very own production of “Henry V.” The all-female cast shows how art and comedy can come together in even the darkest times.
The play had its critically-acclaimed world premiere in January 2018 at the Tony-winning Trinity Repertory Company. This will be its first production in St. Louis. There will be 16 performances of “into the Breeches!” throughout the month-long run.
Chicago playwright George Brant, the play’s author, also wrote “Grounded,” which starred Anne Hathaway during its New York run.
What Thompson likes about the play is it demonstrates the power of women in solidarity.
“This message is so vital and crucial during this current time in history. Through this production, they are shifting and changing the narrative of the city and theatre. They are using the stage to guide their audience in re-imaging what these characters and story can be,” she said.
Thompson has worked with Shakespeare Festival St. Louis for five years, beginning with the “Shakespeare in the Streets” venture, “Old Hearts Fresh,” which took place in The Grove neighborhood in 2013. In fact, a mural of the show, including her likeness, is still there on Manchester Avenue.
Jacqueline Thompson at the mural in The Grove that bears her image. Photo by August Jennewein, UMSL Daily Blog.She directed “The World Begun,” the Shakespeare in the Streets production based on “Twelfth Night” and presented in the Old North city neighborhood in 2015, and co-directed “Blow Winds,” this summer’s program at the downtown St. Louis Public Library. She also acted in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” in Forest Park in 2016.
She is a Shakespeare fan. She likes “When the text settles into your body and full comprehension is merged with your modern interpretation.  A friend told me once that she was fascinated with how he used literary devises to translate language into art. I agree,” she said.
Thompson, who grew up in Black Jack, returned home after school in 2012 to play a role at The Black Rep. She was hired at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, where she is currently an assistant professor of theater.
She has been on local stages ever since, also working with The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, Upstream Theater, SATE, New Jewish Theatre, Metro Theater Company and Mustard Seed Theatre.
In March, she won Best Actress in a Drama for her performance in “Intimate Apparel,” presented in early 2017 by New Jewish Theatre. Set in 1905, she played Esther Mills, a talented seamstress who makes intimate garments for a wide range of clientele in Harlem.
“She has dreams of opening a beauty parlor and being married — with no prospects in sight until a mysterious gentleman caller begins to write letters,” she said. “At the beginning of the show, the audience sees her frustration and despair of longing for things she feels she should have acquired by this age in life.”
During the process, she reflected on a poem by Sonia Sonchez:
“And I cried. For myself. For this woman talking about love. For all the women who have ever stretched their bodies out anticipating civilization and finding ruins.”
Jacqueline Thompson and Jim Butz in “Intimate Apparel.: Photo by Peter Wochniak.Thompson said Esther represents the insatiable desire and risk of the human quest to experience/find love.
“She comprised and sacrificed, hoping that this man would feel her void. She gave all of herself, hoping that she would be enough to make him stay. The play ends where it begins, except she’s loss so much — friendships, possibilities, dreams but yet, she’s there starting again,” she said.
“She represents the will to move forward in spite of pain, disappointment and circumstance. This woman approached me after the Circle Awards and said Esther is every woman’s story,” she said.
“A Human Being Died That Night”Thompson was busy last year – in addition to “Intimate Apparel,” she starred in “Dot” at The Black Rep, “A Human Being Died Last Night” at Upstream Theatre and directed “Of Mice and Men” for Slightly Askew Theatre Ensemble.
She also was featured in a Super Bowl 2017 public service announcement, “Smart Phone,” by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Addiction.
PSA Video during 2017 Super Bowl:

After “Into the Breeches!” her next project is directing “District Merchants” at New Jewish Theatre.
It is playwright Aaron Posner’s version of Shakespeare’s “The Merchant of Venice,” about love and litigation, deep passions and predatory lending, and will be staged Jan. 24 – Feb. 10. One description said It is about the endless complexities and contradictions of life in America.
“In the Works” will also feature family matinees of “A Most Outrageous Fit of Madness,” a new play for young audiences by the Festival’s playwright-in-residence Nancy Bell, which is inspired by the mistaken identity hijinks of “The Comedy of Errors,” as well as staged readings of the Festival-commissioned “The Thousand Natural Shocks,” a moving coming-of-age story about a teenage boy who finds strength and resilience through a high school production of “Hamlet.”
Characters that have something to say.
For a detailed In the Works schedule and to order tickets, please visit www.sfstl.com/in-the-works, or call Metrotix at 314-534-1111.
Student tickets to all performances are free with an ID but advanced reservations are recommended. A limited number of “Pay What You Can Nights” are scheduled for the “Breeches!” performances on Nov. 7 and 14, and should also be reserved ahead of time. Military discounts are available as well.
Here’s Jacqueline Thompson’s answers to our questions:1. Why did you choose your profession/pursue the arts?
“I like to think it chose me. I always was curious about storytelling. My first undergrad major was journalism. The arts always created a space where my passion was greater than my fear. As a child, I was extremely shy and quiet.  I would cringe when I was called on at school but created a world of my own at home with my dolls. Creating characters with my Barbies, singing around the house and writing stories was my greatest joy. As an adult, I saw the power of sharing experiences of humanity on stage and the necessity for it to be seen through a myriad of lens.”
How would your friends describe you?
“I called one of my dear friends, Melinda, whom I have known since high school so this is real: supportive, loving, thoughtful, thrill-seeking, hilarious and smidge bit insane (Insane? Thanks friend!)”
How do you like to spend your spare time?
“What’s that? No seriously, I love music! Random fact, I also wanted to be a radio deejay growing up. I can tell what a song is from the first few seconds of listening, like a human Shazam. I enjoy live music and concerts when not working.”
What is your current obsession?
“My 2-year-old nephew and 5-month niece. They are everything good and right in my world.”
What would people be surprised to find out about you?
“My sense of humor! My close friends say I’m hilarious. I’m the friend that will take you on a new adventure and you will have the most peculiar experience and remember it always.  They call it my shenanigans!”
Can you share one of your most defining moments in life?
“Last year, my grandmother and stepfather passed two days apart. My grandmother was my center and my stepfather had been in my life since the age of 3. After eight months of watching them suffer, my priorities and passions shifted. My focus became less about career moves and more about living a fulfilled life. I am more concerned now with cultivating and nurturing my relationships, experiencing new adventures with more traveling and being present for my family.
Who do you admire most?
“I have great admiration for my past teachers and professors in theatre. Women who nurtured, protected, inspired and challenged me to be my best self. Much love to Julie Mock, Cecilia Jenkins, Nefertiti Burton, Lundeanna Thomas and the late Carol Mitchell Leon.”
What is at the top of on your bucket list?“To perform internationally.”
What is your favorite thing to do in St. Louis?“I love Forest Park!”
What’s next?
“Into the Breeches” at Shakespeare Festival St. Louis and directing “District Merchants” for New Jewish Theatre
Here’s More to Know:Name: Jacqueline ThompsonBirthplace: St. LouisCurrent location: St. LouisEducation: B.A., Clark Atlanta University; M.F.A., University of LouisvilleDay job: Theatre Professor at University of Missouri– St. LouisFirst job: TargetFirst role: 3rd grade — sassy kid in a church play and a butterfly.Favorite roles/plays: “For Colored Girls,” “Intimate Apparel” (Esther) and “Dot” (Shelly).Dream role/play: Would love to Direct “Head of Passes” by Tarell Alvin McCraney, interested in performing a one –woman show.Awards/Honors/Achievements: Regional Arts Grant, TCG’s Rising Leaders of Color, St. Louis Theater Circle Award for outstanding actress in a drama 2018, for “Intimate Apparel.”Favorite quote/words to live by: “One day at a time” and Mariane Williamson’s poem, “Our Deepest Fear.”A song that makes you happy: Jill Scott, “Golden”
The cast of “Dot” at the Black Rep. Jacqueline Thompson is far right.