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

Union Avenue Opera presents two company premieres in 2019

Christine Brewer returns to Union Avenue Opera for role debut as The Old Lady in Bernstein’sCandide

Union Avenue Opera announces 25th Anniversary Gala, October 10, 2019

Christine Brewer

Over 21 artists will make their Union Avenue Opera (UAO) debut this summer as the company celebrates its 25th Anniversary Season. The seven-week summer season will open Friday, July 5 with Bernstein’s hilarious, philosophical, and fast-paced take on Voltaire’s 1759 biting satire of the same name, Candideand will feature the return of Christine Brewer to the UAO stage. The season continues through August 24th with performances of Puccini’s operatic blockbuster La bohème, a tribute to UAO’s tradition of presenting operas in original languages, and the St. Louis premiere of Tom Cipullo’s Glory Denied, the true saga of Vietnam veteran Colonel Jim Thompson, the longest-held American POW in US history.

The 25th Anniversary Season will culminate with a Gala on Thursday, October 10 at the Barnett on Washington. Guests will enjoy cocktails and hors d’oeuvres followed by a masterfully crafted gourmet meal with a special musical performance by three notable UAO alum: Kenneth Overton (Stephen Kumalo, Lost in the Stars), Elise Quagliata(Sister James, Doubt), and Marsha Thompson (Abigaille, Nabucco). The evening will be hosted by Kathy Lawton Brown of Classic 107.3, The Voice for the Arts in St. Louis

“UAO started off small but mighty. I was a 22-year-old, just out of college looking for opera conducting experience and with the help of the Arts Group of Union Avenue Christian Church we set out to ‘put on a show’” recalls UAO Founding Artistic Director Scott Schoonover. “Our first budget was $5,000 which included everything! Our first auditions drew 17 people, and our orchestra was a string quartet. The cast and I helped build the sets and costumes, and we held 6 performances each with about 50 people in attendance. Minutes before the first performance, the lighting system blew, and we had to perform with just the house lights – it wasn’t fun at the time, but we laugh about it now. Each season has been a season of growth for UAO – for me personally, for our artists, our staff, our infrastructure, and our board of directors – and we are now ready to tackle Season 25.”

In total, UAO will create over 150 opportunities during the festival season both on stage, in the pit, as part of the design/production teams not to mention the nearly 100 volunteers who will give of their time and talents. All operas will be fully staged and performed in their original language with project English Supertitles on the Union Avenue Opera stage at 733 N. Union Blvd, STL 63108, and accompanied by a full orchestra, all members of the AFM Orchestra Union.

Over the past twenty-four years, UAO has grown in artist quality and excellence. Known throughout the region for presenting original language operas such as Nabucco, Rigoletto, La traviata, and Wagner’s epic four-part Ring cycle alongside newer works including Lost in the Stars, Dead Man Walking, A Streetcar Named Desire, and Doubt.

Single tickets are on sale for as low as $32 and subscription packages start at $80. Tickets may be purchased online at www.unionavenueopera.org, by phone at (314) 361-2881, and in person at Union Avenue Opera, 733 N. Union Blvd, St. Louis, MO, 63108. Student rush tickets are available at the door for $15 (cash only) with a valid student ID. There is ample free parking available.

Leonard Bernstein’s: CANDIDE

Scottish Opera Version Four Performances: July 5, 6, 12, 13 at 8:00 p.m.

Presented in English with English supertitles

War! Earthquakes! Disease! Very bad things happen to very good people (and plenty of bad ones too). When young Candide’s marriage proposal to a baron’s daughter doesn’t quite go as planned, this naïve student of optimism is thrust into an eye-opening odyssey across lands near and far, discovering the horrors of existence at every turn.Candide is part opera, part musical, and entirely irreverent. Voltaire’s philosophical spoof becomes a brilliant and breathless operetta set to a vivid score by Bernstein which abounds with spectacular music that includes a famous overture, the soprano showpiece “Glitter and Be Gay,” and the soaring finale, “Make our Garden Grow.” Through all its hysterical scouring of 18th-century wickedness and woe, Candide still finds a way to move and inspire with life-affirming lessons that, surprisingly, ring just as true today.

World-renowned opera legend, Christine Brewer, returns to the UAO stage in her role debut as The Old Lady inCandide. Schoonover will conduct while local director Annamaria Pileggi makes her UAO directorial debut. Jesse Darden and Brooklyn Snow make their UAO debuts as Candide and Cunegonde while Thomas Gunther returns as Voltaire/Pangloss following last year’s successful UAO debut as Captain Corcoran in H.M.S. Pinafore. Local actors Greg Johnston and Graham Emmons make their UAO stage debuts covering a variety of supporting characters. The chorus is composed of 16 of the area’s most talented emerging artists including Leann Schuering,Liya Khaimova, Anthony Heinemann, and Aleksandar Dragojevic. 

“I have always enjoyed and been impressed with productions I have seen at UAO and I can’t think of a better place to make my opera directorial debut!” said Pileggi. “I love the sweeping and theatrical nature of Candide. The breadth and scope of the story, along with the lushness and scale of Bernstein’s music make Candide a quintessentially live event.”

Candide – Jesse Darden*

Voltaire/Pangloss – Thomas Gunther

Maximillian – Charlie Tingen*

Cunegonde – Brooklyn Snow*

Paquette – Gina Malone

The Old Lady – Christine Brewer

Captain/Vanderdendur – Christopher Nelson*

Director – Annamaria Pileggi*

Conductor – Scott Schoonover

Scenic Designer – Otiz Sweezy*

Lighting Designer – Michael Sullivan

Costume Designer – Teresa Doggett

Technical Direction – Theatre Marine Productions

Properties Designer – Kate Slovinski

Giacomo Puccini’s: LA BOHÈME 

Four Performances: July 26, 27, August 2, 3 at 8:00 p.m.

Presented in Italian with English supertitles

Join the Bohemian Revolution in the heart of 19th-century Paris as a group of struggling artist strives to create beautiful art, find love, and ultimately live life to the fullest in this romantic operatic blockbuster. Rodolfo and his friends scrape by using their wit and charm to escape life’s harsher consequences until a chance encounter one winter night when Mimi asks Rodolfo to light her candle, changing everything and sending the pair into a deep, passionate whirlwind. At the same time, Marcello can’t resist the flirtatious charms of the feisty Musetta. Follow the triumphs and toils of this band of struggling young artists as they search for love, life, and laughter against impossible odds. For over 100 years, La bohème, Puccini’s most celebrated opera, has moved audiences to laughter and tears with its irresistible music and timeless tale. 

Ukrainian born soprano, Yulia Lysenko makes her UAO debut in the role of the ill-fated Mimi alongside Cree Carrico as Musetta in La bohème. Jesse Donner returns following his triumphant UAO debut as Ismaele in Verdi’sNabucco last summer. Andrew Wannigman (Jigger, Carousel), Nicholas Ward (Pish-Tush, The Mikado) and Scott Levin (Pooh-Bah, The Mikado) also return to UAO as Marcello, Schaunard, and Alcindoro respectively while Isaiah Musik-Ayala makes his UAO debut as Colline. Elizabeth Hastings (Cenerentola ’11) returns to conduct the 16 chorus and 8 children’s chorus members while St. Louis’ Mark Freiman (Nabucco) directs.

“For people of all ages who have never been to an opera or find it intimidating, La bohème is a great first opera” said Freiman. “The story is surprisingly simple, the music is lush and melodic, there is a lot of humor, and one can’t help but fall in love with the characters. There is nothing like seeing La bohème close-up in an intimate setting like UAO. Our production of La bohème will be traditional, but every production is different, making it fresh and exciting for the audience.”

Mimi – Yulia Lysenko*

Rodolfo – Jesse Donner

Musetta – Cree Carrico*

Marcello – Andrew Wannigman

Schaunard – Nicholas Ward

Colline – Isaiah Musik-Ayala*

Alcindoro/Benoit – Scott Levin

Customs Agent – Randell McGee

Director – Mark Freiman

Conductor – Elizabeth Hastings

Scenic and Lighting Designer – Patrick Huber

Costume Designer – Teresa Doggett

Technical Direction – Theatre Marine Productions

Properties Designer – Kate Slovinski

Tom Cipullo’s: GLORY DENIED

Based on the novel “Glory Denied” by Tom Philpott

Presented in English with English supertitles

Performances Aug. 16, 17, 23 and 24 at 8 p.m.

America’s longest-held prisoner of war dreams of coming home. But home is a place he will not recognize. Follow the gut-wrenching saga of Colonel Jim Thompson as he transitions from the jungles of Southeast Asia to the tree-lined streets of suburban America. Glory Denied speaks to the plight of so many of our veterans who nobly fought for their country but face huge challenges when it comes to re-assimilating into society—and their longed-for normal lives—after service. This true story explores the unimaginable bravery asked of soldiers and the nature of hope itself. It is a story of a nation divided and a country that changed significantly in the decade of his imprisonment. Tom Cipullo’s Glory Denied made waves in opera circles when it premiered a decade a go and continues to do so today.

The Glory Denied cast of four includes David Walton (Albert, Albert Herring) as Younger Thompson, Peter Kendall Clark in his UAO debut as Older Thompson, Karina Brazas (Yum-Yum, The Mikado) as Younger Alyce, and Gina Galati (Donna Elvira, Don Giovanni) as Older Alyce. Schoonover conducts as St. Louis native Dean Anthonymakes his UAO directorial debut.

“Glory Denied is an emotional rollercoaster” said Anthony. “What we see in Glory Denied is the cause and effect on all sides. So often, lives of POWs have been forgotten and just become a part of our past. The sacrifice and commitment of these women and men who served our country should never be forgotten. As well as the families who were back home.” 

Older Thompson – Peter Kendall Clark*

Younger Thompson – David Walton

Older Alyce – Gina Galati

Younger Alyce – Karina Brazas

Director – Dean Anthony*

Conductor – Scott Schoonover

Scenic Designer – Roger Speidel

Lighting Designer – Joe Clapper

Costume Designer – Teresa Doggett

Technical Direction – Theatre Marine Productions

Properties Designer – Kate Slovinski

*UAO stage debut

Don’t miss UAO’s Free Friday Night Lecture Series at 7:00 p.m. before the performance in the Union Avenue Fellowship Gallery presented by Dr. Glenn Bauer of Webster University (July 5, 12, 26 August 2, 16, 23). Lectures are free and open to the public.

25th ANNIVERSARY GALA

Thursday, October 10 at 6pm

The Barnett on Washington [3207 Washington Blvd]

Join us as we celebrate Union Avenue Opera’s 25th Anniversary in the festive ambiance of The Barnett on Washington. Enjoy cocktails and hors d’oeuvres followed by a masterfully crafted gourmet meal with a musical performance by Kenneth Overton (Stephen Kumalo, Lost in the Stars), Elise Quagliata (Sister James, Doubt),Marsha Thompson (Abigaille, Nabucco) and hosted by Kathy Lawton Brown, Classic 107. 3. Tickets are on sale now. Call 314-361-2881 or visit unionavenueopera.org for more information.

### 

About Union Avenue Opera – UAO was founded in 1994 to bring affordable, professional, original-language opera to St. Louis, a mission the company continues to pursue to this day. UAO is committed to hiring the most talented artists, directors, designers and technicians both locally and from across the United States. UAO provides promising young singers the first steppingstone of their professional career. UAO is a publicly supported 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization registered in Missouri. In 2018 UAO became an OPERA American Professional Company Member. OPERA America is the national membership organization for artists, administrators and audiences, dedicated to support the creation, presentation and enjoyment of opera.UAO offers vibrant and affordable opera experiences in original languages to audiences who reflect the breadth and diversity of the St. Louis region from the acoustically superb sanctuary of an historic church located in the urban Visitation Park neighborhood in St. Louis’ Central West End. Financial assistance has been provided by the Missouri Arts Council, a state agency, and with support from the Regional Arts Commission, and PNC Arts Alive.  Emily (DePauw) Stolarski Administrative Director | Union Avenue Opera733 N. Union Blvd | St. Louis, MO 63108 | 314-361-2881 Our 25th Anniversary SeasonCandide: Scottish Opera Version – July 5, 6, 12, 13La bohème – July 26, 27, August 2, 3Glory Denied – August 16, 17, 23, 24 The mission of Union Avenue Opera is to provide professional opportunities for gifted, emerging artists and to offer vibrant and affordable opera experiences in original languages to audiences that reflect the breadth and diversity of the St. Louis region. Believing that the arts are vital to the health and reputation of a community, Union Avenue Opera is committed to its urban setting, educational outreach and artistic integrity.

By Lynn Venhaus Managing Editor THE BIZ IN SHOW: Congratulations to the recipients of this year’s St. Louis Arts Awards, which took place Jan. 21 at the Chase Park Plaza Royal Sonesta Hotel. Arts honorees included: Chris Hansen, executive director of the Kranzberg Arts Foundation, received Arts Innovator of the Year; Carrie Houk of the Tennessee Williams Festival, Arts Startup of the Year; Noémi and Michael Neidorff, Excellence in Philanthropy; Ken Page, Lifetime Achievement in the Arts; Brent Benjamin, Saint Louis Art Museum, Excellence in the Arts; Sue Greenberg, Volunteer Lawyers and Accountants for the Arts, Champion for the Arts; and Amy Freet, Ferguson-Florissant School District, Art Educator of the Year.

Bryan Batt and Carrie Houk at A&E Arts Awards.

Nominations are sought from the community every spring by
the Arts and Education Council, who convenes a selection panel made of past
honorees, arts patrons, artists and others to review the nominations and select
the honorees.

A&E Council has recognized more than 175 artists,
educators, philanthropists, corporate citizens and arts groups since 1992.

Bryan Batt, who starred in “Mad Men” and appeared as Edna Turnblad in “Hairspray” at The Muny, will be returning in May for the Tennessee Williams Festival, Carrie Houk said. Exciting news to come! ***DOWN-HOME DIVA:  Grammy-winning artist, world-class soprano and proud resident of Lebanon, Ill., Christine Brewer can be seen in Doug Cuomo’s opera “Doubt” on PBS.

Christine Brewer of Lebanon, Ill.

The Minnesota Opera production is airing on the “Great
Performances” program and is now available for streaming on pbs.org/gperf and
PBS apps. Check local listings for programming. PBS Local is Ch. 9 KETC
and Ch. 8 WSIU in Carbondale.
The opera is based on playwright John Patrick Shanley’s acclaimed 2005 Broadway
play, which was later adapted into an Academy Award-nominated film in 2008
starring Meryl Streep and Philip Seymour Hoffman.

The Union Avenue Opera company produced “Doubt” here in the summer of 2016, with Brewer as Sister Aloysius.

Brewer was on hand to introduce a showing and participate in a Q&A Jan. 27 at The Hettenhausen Center for the Performing Arts on the campus of her alma mater, McKendree University, in Lebanon, Ill. The opera also stars Adriana Zabala as Sister
James, Matthew Worth as Father Flynn and Denyce Graves as Mrs. Miller

 Great Performances
Executive Producer David Horn said “Doubt’ is a powerful story that has
resonated with Broadway and movie audiences alike. Minnesota Opera has brought
the story to life in an exciting new way, highlighting the company’s depth of
talent and willingness to take on the challenge of an emotionally charged new
work.”

In 1964 at a Bronx Catholic Schools, a battle of wills is ignited when Sister James shares her suspicion that Father Flynn, the progressive pastor, may be abusing the school’s only African-American student. Sister Aloysius, the school’s iron-fisted principal, embarks on a personal crusade to discover the truth. Brewer will return to the Union Avenue Opera stage this summer as the Mother Abbess in “The Sound of Music.” Performance dates are July 5, 6, 12 and 13. ***NO DAY BUT TODAY: The Fox Network has confirmed that the original Broadway cast of  the landmark musical “Rent” will be on the “Rent Live!” telecast Sunday, Jan. 27, from 7 to 10 p.m. on KTVI (ch. 2 local).

The original 1996 cast includes Tony winner Idina Menzel
who played Maureen Johnson, Tony nominee Adam Pascal as Roger Davis, Tony
nominee Daphne Rubin-Vega as Mimi Marquez, Anthony Rapp as Mark Cohen, Jesse L.
Martin as Tom Collins, Fredi Walker as Joanne Jefferson, Taye Diggs as Benny
and Wilson Jermaine Heredia in a Tony-winning turn as Angel.

Original Broadway Cast 1996The live cast will include Vanessa Hudgens as Maureen
Johnson, Brennin Hunt as Roger Davis, Tinashe as Mimi Marquez, Jordan Fisher as
Mark Cohen, Tony nominee Brandon Victor Dixon as Tom Collins, Kiersey Clemons
as Joanne Jefferson, Mario as Benny and Valentina as Angel, with Tony nominee
Keala Settle as the “Seasons of Love” soloist.

Jonathan Larson’s musical about a group of friends
surviving in New York City at the during the AIDS crisis won the 1996 Tony
Award for Best Musical and a Pulitzer Prize, among many others. A film
adaptation was released in 2005, featuring most of the original cast.

Original director Michael Greif is helming the TV version.  Producers include Julia and Al Larson, Jonathan’s
sister and father.

 ***FIT AND FAB: Conquering Mount Olympus, St. Louisan Derik Scott, 30, is the Reigning Titan after competing Jan. 24 on NBC’s “The Titan Games,” which is hosted by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Scott, a lawyer and professional mixed martial-arts fighter, grew up in Jefferson and south St. Louis counties. He is a 2006 graduate of Lindbergh High School and attended Lindenwood University, where he competed on the diving team and graduated in 2009.

Derik Scott of St. Louis

He earned his law degree from Baylor University and lived
in the Dallas area, moving back to the ‘Lou in 2015. This past summer, he moved
again, taking a job as general counsel with a chain of fitness centers.

His parents, Kevin and Dana Scott, owned Scotts Gymnastics
in Crestwood. He won his first national championship at age 7.

The 10-episode athletic competition show began Jan. 3 and is
produced by the team behind “America’s Ninja Warriors.”

Jeff Wright

HEAR YE: Local singer-actor Jeffrey M. Wright will be a guest performer at the CabaretFest in Provincetown, Mass., late May/early June. More details to come.

Alexandra Kay

Local singer-actress Lexi Krekorian returns to her roots, coming in from L.A. to play on Saturday, Feb. 16, with her Alexandra Kay Band at the Silver Creek Saloon & Grill, 2520 Masscoutah Ave., in Belleville. Matt Wynn will open the show that begins at 8:30 p.m. Cover is $5.

Lexi, aka Alexandra Kay, can be seen in the original Netflix reality series, “Westside.” She is from Waterloo, Ill.

The Zombies of PenzancePhoto by Jill Ritter Lindberg

***THE SINGING DEAD: The script, full piano-vocal score and live original cast recording of ‘The Zombies of Penzance” are now available on Amazon.com.

New Line Theatre’s world premiere of this comic-horror opera adaptation of Gilbert and Sullivan’s “The Pirates of Penzance” was in October 2018, with new text by Scott Miller and music adaptation and orchestration by John Gerdes. It contains adult language and adult content.

The cast album features the entire original St. Louis cast and band, recorded in front of a live audience at the Marcelle Theater in the Grand Center Arts District, recorded and mixed by New Line sound designer Ryan Day.

The show’s writers are also
accepting requests for production rights.

New Line’s original Zombies of
Penzance cast included Sean Michael as Frederic, Melissa Felps as Mabel,
Zachary Allen Farmer as Major-General Stanley the Zombie Hunter, Dominic
Dowdy-Windsor as the Zombie King, Kent Coffel as Zombie Sam, with Mara Bollini,
Robert Doyle, Matt Hill, Lindsey Jones, Tim Kaniecki, Kyle Kelesoma, Melanie
Kozak, Sarah Porter, Christina Rios, and Kimi Short.

The Zombies of Penzance band
included Nicolas Valdez (Conductor/Piano), John Gerdes (French Horn), Lea
Gerdes (Reeds), Joseph Hendricks (Bassoon), Emily Trista Lane (Cello), Twinda
Murry (Violin), Kelly Austermann (Reeds), and Hope Walker (Reeds).

The show was directed by Scott Miller and Mike Dowdy-Windsor, with music direction by Nicolas Valdez.***

GO SEE A PLAY POLL: Want to see “Avenue Q” at the Playhouse at Westport? We are giving away two tickets for the Thursday, Jan. 31, performance. To enter this drawing, send your name, phone number and your answer to the question on Favorite Musicals About Neighbors by noon on Tuesday, Jan. 29 to: [email protected] All entries will be placed into a drawing, and winner will be notified that afternoon.What Is Your Favorite Musical About Neighbors?Avenue Q The Fantasticks Fiddler on the Roof In the Heights Promises, Promises Rent

Send your choice to Lynn Venhaus, [email protected], by Tuesday. Jan. 29, at noon.***WORD: What do you say when you receive three Oscar nominations for Best Picture, Adapted Screenplay and Best Actor for “A Star Is Born”?

Oscar nominees Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper“Everyone who worked on this film truly risked putting themselves out there — in the hope that in doing so people will connect and feel something deep and personal — the way films have made me feel since I was a kid.  When I got this opportunity I knew I had to risk it all because I may never get another chance — so to be here today in a place where people who have seen the film are talking about how it makes them feel, something deep — that simple human thing — that we need each other — and the Academy to recognize that this morning — I just am so grateful.” – statement from Bradley Cooper***

Awards March 25

THEATER PROM: More than 100 shows were produced by 40 companies during the calendar year for consideration for the St. Louis Theater Circle Awards. Nominations for the seventh annual ceremony were announced Jan. 25.Circle members recently voted for five nominees in 34 categories each — 54 shows received nominations, presented by 23 companies, and 120 artists recognized.

I am a founding member, and published the list here. https://stllimelight.com/2019/01/25/evita-streetcar-lead-st-louis-theater-circle-nominations/

The awards will be presented on Monday, March 25, on the Browning Mainstage at the Loretto-Hilton Center on the Webster University campus, home of The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis. Admission remains $15 per person, and tickets can be purchased through www.brownpapertickets.com. Instead of a pre-show dinner, appetizers and drinks will be available from Llewellyn Catering***

Nominations for the Theatre Mask Awards (plays) and Best Performance Awards (musicals) will be announced at the 10th annual AFL Trivia Night this Friday, Feb. 1 at St. Joseph’s Parish Center in Manchester. Go to this page to sign up and for more information. The 70s theme is just for costumes (optional) and tables.http://www.artsforlife.org/trivia-night-1.htmlTRIVIA TIME-OUT: Whether you are a RENT-head or not, you must admit that “Rent” changed the cultural landscape when it opened on Broadway April 29, 1996, after being workshopped and off-Broadway. The night it was to be unveiled to the public, Jan. 25, 1996, composer-writer Jonathan Larson was found dead from an aneurysm (later diagnosed Marfan Syndrome). At the New York Theatre Workshop, the cast went on to sing-through the score for a closed audience of Jonathan’s family and friends instead.After its move to the Niederlander Theatre, it spent 12 years there and is the 11th-longest running musical of all-time. And it also pioneered the Broadway ticket lottery. Here are a few questions – test your knowledge (Answers Below):

The musical is based on what Puccini opera?Anthony Rapp, who originated the role of Mark
Cohen, went to high school with stage and screen star John Barrowman and comic
actor Andy Dick in what northern Illinois town?Four cast members were nominated for Tonys, but
who won?The cast of “Rent” performed “Seasons of Love” on the
opening day of the 1996 Democratic convention (Aug. 26). A year later,
President Bill Clinton and his wife Hillary took Chelsea to see it for her 17th
birthday.
Another Broadway legend was inspired by seeing it when he turned 17 – Lin-Manuel
Miranda. He called it a revelation.
Here is the cast of “Rent” singing at the Chicago convention: https://youtu.be/WlOWRrXqTr4

Answers: 1. “La Boheme” 2. Joliet, Ill. 3. Wilson Jermaine Heredia, who played Angel. (Adam Pascal, Daphne Rubin-Vega and Idina Menzel were also nominated.) ***

Broadway fan David Letterman

MEMORY LANE: Friend to the Broadway theater community, David Letterman’s talk show “Late Night” debuted on Feb. 1, 1982, filmed at the NBC Studios in Rockefeller Center.

He moved to CBS on Aug. 30, 1993, broadcasting “Late Show” from the historic Ed Sullivan Theatre in mid-town Manhattan, in the heart of the Broadway theater district, and retired May 20, 2015. With his 33 year-tenure, he became the longest running talk show host ever.

Known for often presenting new musicals in thrilling live
performances, that mantel has moved to his successor, Stephen Colbert’s show in
the Ed Sullivan Theatre, and also Seth Meyer’s late-night show on NBC.
Letterman also involved local theaters and performers in comedy bits, and Broadway
stars were frequent guests.

When Letterman retired, Playbill published an article “Letterman Loves Broadway!” and included clips of some show performances, including “American Idiot,” “Catch Me If You Can,” “Nice Work if You Can Get It,” Spring Awakening,” “Jersey Boys,” “Lion King,” “Wicked,” “Million Dollar Quartet,” “The Producers,” “Spider-Man,” and “Young Frankenstein,” with revivals of  “Anything Goes,” “Cabaret,” “Hair,” “West Side Story,” “South Pacific” and “How to Succeed.”

Here is the article link with the video clips. “Matilda,” “Pippin” and “Rocky” have been removed, but all the mentions above are still there.

http://www.playbill.com/article/letterman-loves-broadway-see-more-than-two-dozen-thrilling-musical-performances-from-the-late-show-video-com-349539