New season includes world premieres of ‘Dreaming Zenzile’ and ‘The Gradient,’ plus ‘The Trinity River Plays,’ an original work by Rep playwright-in-residence Regina Taylor 

 The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis (The Rep) is pleased to announce its 2021-2022 Season, featuring two world premieres. The season kicks off September 10 with the world premiere production of ‘Dreaming Zenzile,’ a musical about the South African songstress Miriam Makeba, written and performed by Grammy-nominated international music sensation Somi Kakoma.

‘Dreaming Zenzile’ will be followed by the world premiere of Steph Del Rosso’s ‘The Gradient,’ a satire set in the not-so-distant future in which a new facility promises to take men accused of sexual misconduct and rehabilitate them into responsible citizens. The Charles Dickens’ classic ‘A Christmas Carol’ will become a new holiday tradition under the direction of Hana S. Sharif, Augustin Family Artistic Director at The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis. The second half of the season will feature ‘The 39 Steps,’ a farce written by Patrick Barlow adapted from the novel by John Buchan and the Alfred Hitchcock film; ‘The Trinity River Plays,’ a trilogy exploring one woman’s life journey by The Rep’s playwright-in-residence, Regina Taylor; and ‘House of Joy,’ an action-adventure romance by Madhuri Shekar.

The full schedule for the 2021-2022 Season is as follows:

  • Dreaming Zenzile: September 10 – October 3, Loretto-Hilton Center for the Performing Arts
  • The Gradient: October 1 – October 24, Catherine B. Berges Theatre at COCA
  • A Christmas Carol: December 3 – 23, Loretto-Hilton Center for the Performing Arts
  • The 39 Steps: January 21 – February 13, Loretto-Hilton Center for the Performing Arts
  • The Trinity River Plays: February 11 – March 6, Catherine B. Berges Theatre at COCA 
  • House of Joy: March 18 – April 10, Loretto-Hilton Center for the Performing Arts

“We are excited to be returning to the stage for a new season of live theatre featuring the work of thought-leading playwrights including our own playwright-in-residence, Regina Taylor,” said Hana S. Sharif, Augustin Family Artistic Director at The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis. “We know our audiences have been eager to return to the theatre and we’re delighted this compelling season offers something for everyone to enjoy.”

Subscriptions for The Rep’s 2021-2022 season are available now, and single tickets go on sale August 2. For more information and to purchase, visit repstl.org

Hana S. Sharif

About The Repertory Theatre of 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. Visit www.repstl.org for more, and find The Rep on FacebookTwitterInstagram and YouTube.


Metro Theater Company (MTC), St. Louis’s premiere theater for youth and families, presents a special virtual event for families this December to help keep the community connected during a holiday season that has been transformed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

MTC’s A Christmas Carol brings together artists, athletes, civic leaders, media personalities, and first responders, for a streamed reading of Charles Dickens holiday classic Thursday, December 10 at 6:30 p.m. and Sunday, December 13 at 2:30 p.m. The public can register for free or make a donation with their registration. As a thanks for a donation of $50 or greater, audiences can receive a commemorative DVD or digital download of the broadcast. The DVDs will be available for all donations made through January 1, 2021.

The beloved holiday story of redemption, transformation, and goodwill comes to life in this all-St. Louis reading. Metro Theater Company Artistic Director Julia Flood adapted the story to produce the hour-long program.

More than 25 outstanding St. Louisans serve as readers for the broadcast, each contributing excerpts on camera, stitched together to create the final broadcast. While additional readers will still be announced, the lineup includes Emmy-nominated television star Ellie Kemper, St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, two-time Tony Award-winning actress Judith Ivey, St. Louis Cardinals president of baseball operations John Mozeliak, Grammy Award-winning soprano Christine Brewer, film, stage and voice actor Ken Page, nationally syndicated columnist and St. Louis Post-Dispatch editor Aisha Sultan, St. Louis-based American Ninja Warrior Jamie Rahn, president of the St. Louis Black Authors of Children’s Literature Julius B. Anthony, and medical director for the St. Louis Fire Department Mark Levine

Metro Theater Company’s virtual reading follows a long tradition of readings of Dickens’ novella. Public readings of A Christmas Carol—one of the most beloved and famous holiday stories ever written—have been around since 1853. Dickens adapted the work for public readings, doing more than 120 performances until his death in 1870. The popularity of the readings—staged readings, radio-style readings, family readings, and now virtual readings—continues as does the enchantment of the story of Ebenezer Scrooge, and his transformation into a sympathetic man through visits from the ghost of Jacob Marley and the spirits of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come. 

All funds raised through donations to this event will support MTC’s programs during COVID-19 to connect young people to the power and impact of theater, through live performances, virtual programs, and arts-integrated classroom experiences. Corporate and individual sponsorships are available.

WHEN:       Thursday, December 10 at 6:30 p.m. and Sunday, December 13 at 2:30 p.m.  

WHERE:       Virtual Event at http://metroplays.org/christmascarol 

TICKETSTickets are free. Donations are appreciated. Registration is required to receive the link for streaming.

A downloadable digital recording or commemorative DVD is available through January 1, 2021 with a donation of $50. Donors who give $250 or greater will receive the recording as well as a commemorative set of MTC mugs and a hot chocolate mix from St. Louis’s own Kakao Chocolates.

To register for free or to make a donation, please visit http://metroplays.org/christmascarol

NOTES:        A Christmas Carol: A St. Louis Virtual Holiday Reading is 60 minutes and recommended for ages 6 and up

Major support for Metro Theater Company is provided by Emerson, Centene, Arts & Education Council, Berges Family Foundation, Kranzberg Arts Foundation, Missouri Arts Council, National Endowment for the Arts, and Regional Arts Commission. 

About Metro Theater Company: Since 1973, Metro Theater Company has been creating productions that respect young people’s intelligence, tell compelling stories, stimulate curiosity and provoke thoughtful reflection. The Company has reached a total audience of more than two million and has a national reputation for excellence in the field of professional theater for young audiences. Metro Theater Company has received major honors and awards, both locally and nationally. The company is led by Artistic Director Julia Flood and Managing Director Joe Gfaller. For more information, visit http://metroplays.org

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.