By Lynn Venhaus
Managing Editor
St. Charles will literally become a ghost town when actors take over the streets during “Legends and Lanterns” this weekend and next. Strange things will be happening not only in neighborhoods but on local stages this week, too.
More Halloween spirit can be found in “Evil Dead: The Musical” at Stray Dog Theatre and “The Zombies of Penzance” at New Line Theatre.
The Bard gets spooky in “Macbeth,” and Rebel and Misfits starts its third Immersive Theatre Project Oct. 24 with a preview of “Macbeth: Come Like Shadows.”
The Bard also gets stormy in “The Tempest,” a gender-swap production from St. Louis Shakespeare.
For fantasy fun, Variety Club celebrates its 10th season with “The Little Mermaid” at the Touhill.
Times, they are a-changing for women in “A Doll’s House, Part 2,” now surprising audiences at The Rep, while a punk-rock, lesbian chef holds court in “Raging Skillet at The New Jewish Theatre.
The LGBTQ community is sharing their stories in “The Coming Out Festival” from the Q Collective. The tragic hate-crime death of Matthew Shepard is explored in “The Laramie Project” at Clayton Community Theatre.
Mustard Seed Theatre offers a provocative look at sin, grief and grace in “The Last Days of Judas Iscariot,” with 13 actors portraying 27 characters.
Fun, fantasy, comedy, drama, spooky or tragic — take your pick, but Go See a Play!

Amanda Brasher rehearses “Weird” by Nicholas Pappas in The Coming Out Festival.The Coming Out Play Festival
The Q Collective
Oct. 19 and 20
Friday at 7 p.m., Saturday at 4:30 p.m. and 8 p.m.
The Monocle on Manchester in the Grove
What It’s About: Six one-act plays that explore the coming out experience.
“A Doll’s House, Part II”
The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis
Oct. 11 – Nov. 4
Browning Mainstage, Loretto-Hilton Center
130 Edgar
Michael James Reed as Torvald and Photo by Peter Wochniak, ProPhotoSTL.comWhat It’s About: Lucas Hnath’s audacious sequel was written more than 135 years after Henrik Ibsen’s original. The familial drama remains a foundational piece of theater, with a still-controversial ending in which a married woman chooses to walk out on her family. But in 2017, Hnath took the themes and characters of that familiar classic and flipped them on their heads, imagining what would happen if protagonist Nora Helmer returned home 15 years after her dramatic exit.
Director: Timothy Near
Starring: Caralyn Kozlowski, Andrea Abello, Michael James Reed, Tina Johnson
Photo by John Lamb“Evil Dead: The Musical”
Stray Dog Theatre
Oct. 11 – 27
Thursday through Saturday; Added performance Wednesday, Oct. 24
Tower Grove Abbey
What It’s About: Based on the 1980s cult classic “Evil Dead” films, this campy show bursts with farce and blood. Five college kids take a trip to a remote cabin in the woods and encounter ancient evil spirits and revenge-seeking Candarian demons.
Director: Justin Been, with music direction by Jennifer Buchheit and choreography by Sam Gaitsch.
Starring: Riley Dunn, Dawn Schmid, Maria Bartolotta, Josh Douglas, Stephen Henley, Jennelle Gilreath, Kevin O’Brien, Corey Fraine and Christen Ringhausen.
Of Note: Some performances are sold out, and tickets are predicted to be limited during run. Wait lists will begin nightly at 7 p.m. (when the lobby opens) at the box office for any unclaimed seats and those will be handed out at 7:55 p.m.
The Splatter Zone is considered Signature Seating. With your purchase of a “Splatter Zone” seat you also receive an exclusive T-Shirt with just enough white space for us to create a one-of-a-kind souvenir.
Those adventurous enough to sit in the “Splatter Zone” are encouraged to dress down. Stray Dog Theatre is not responsible for property damage or loss resulting from the “Splatter Zone.”
“The Laramie Project”
Clayton Community Theatre
Oct. 11 – 21
Thursdays through Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m.
Washington University South Campus Theatre (old CBC high school)
What It’s About: Based on the true story of gay Matthew Shepard, the 21-year-old victim of a hate crime in 1998 in Laramie, Wy., “The Laramie Project” unfolds through the words of people in Laramie who were interviewed by members of Tectonic Theater Company in the 18 months following Matthew Shepard’s death (Oct. 12, 1998), creating a portrait of the community and key individuals in the aftermath of the event and as the victim’s killers were brought to trial and convicted.
Director: Jim Danek
Starring: Jim Abels, Kelly Hunter, Jack Janssen, Mark Lull, Tim Naegelin, Elizabeth Penny, Tina Renard, Lucy Sappington, Rob Tierney, Johnathon Waller, Chrissie Watkins
Of Note: This is the 20th anniversary of Matthew Shepard’s death.
In connection with its production, Clayton Community Theatre will be hosting post-show discussion of the issues raised in the play on Friday, Oct. 19. These conversations will be hosted by Denny Patterson, who has studied the Shepards, the Matthew Shepard Foundation, and their ongoing legacy.
Chris E. Ware and Jesse Munoz as Judas and Jesus. Ann K Photography“The Last Days of Judas Iscariot”
Mustard Seed Theatre
Oct. 10 – 28
Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday at 8 p.m., Sunday at 2 p.m., No Friday
Fontbonne University Fine Arts Theatre
6800 Wydown
What It’s About: Set in Purgatory, the trial to determine Judas’ fate is underway. A defense attorney argues that the disgraced disciple should not be damned for all time, that others are culpable in the greater scheme of things, while an overzealous prosecutor thinks a special place in hell is just fine.
A jury will decide Judas’ fate, but not before a parade of high-profile witnesses take the stand
Director: Adam Flores, resident artist
Starring: Courtney Bailey Parker, Rae Davis, Graham Emmon, Carmen Garcia, Chelsea Krenning, Erick Lindsey, Carl Overby, Chandler Spradling, Arielle Rovinsky, Rachel Tibbetts, Chris E. Ware, and Eric Dean White
Of Note: Mature/adult subject matter, language and content. Not recommended for children.
There are no Friday performances. Thursday evening performances on Oct. 18 and 25 are Pay With A Can/Pay What You Can performances.
Photo by Ann K Photography
“Legends and Lanterns”
Historic Main Street in St. Charles
Oct. 20-21, 26-28
Saturday, Oct. 20 – 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday, Oct. 21 – noon to 5 p.m.; Friday, Oct. 26, from 5 to 8 p.m.; Saturday, Oct. 27 – 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Sunday, Oct. 28 – noon to 5 p.m.
What It’s About: This Halloween, St. Charles will become literally a ghost town. Historic Main Street will be invaded by a plethora of playful paranormal poltergeists from parts unknown. These notorious and infamous witches, villains, and spirits from lore and legend will unleash the magic of their enchanted lanterns to bring you eerie entertainment. But don’t worry, these friendly ghouls have more treats to offer than tricks, and they enjoy meeting “little monsters” of all ages.
Finding its inspiration from the past, Legends & Lanterns offers the vintage charm of Halloween in the 1910s-1930s, to the historical rituals and customs brought to the holiday by the Druids and Victorians, to the ethereal atmosphere depicted in American ghost stories and Brothers Grimm fairy tales.
As you explore every mysterious nook and cranny of Main Street, you’ll unearth various activities that will bring to “life” the backstories and origins of this beloved holiday, All Hallow’s Eve. It’s a little bit silly. It’s a little bit macabre. But it’s all fun.
Some of the programs include “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” “Writers Block: Unbound,” and “Eerie Jamboree.”
Pick-up your official Legends & Lanterns Passport at the Tourism Center (230 South Main Street), Scarecrow Glen, Hayride Locations, or Plaza del Dia de los Muertos.
The Little Mermaid presented by Variety – Children’s Charity St. Louis at Touhill at University of Missouri – St. Louis on Oct 23, 2014.“The Little Mermaid”
Variety Theatre
Thursday through Sunday, Oct. 18 – 21
Touhill Performing Arts Center
University of Missouri – St. Louis
What It’s About: Sing, dance and swim along as we follow Ariel’s journey to walk on land and find true love. Celebrating its 10th anniversary, Variety Theatre is the country’s only production of its kind. Featuring an inclusive children’s ensemble performing alongside a professional adult cast, this Broadway classic is a must-see event.
Director: Lara Teeter
Starring Terrence Mann as King Triton; Berklea Going as Ariel; David Bryan Johnson as Prince Eric; Joy Boland as Ursula: Drew Humphrey, Alan Knoll, Ian Nolting, Dustin Crumbaugh, Michael Hawkins, Chandler Ford, Will Bonfiglio, Eileen Engel, Larissa White, Whit Reichert, Corbyn Sprayberry, Dena DiGiancina, Allison Newman, Caitlin Witty, JR Pruski, Jimmy Capek and Mason Kelso.
Of Note: In 2018, Variety Theatre was awarded the “Special Award for a Body of Work” by the St. Louis Theater Circle, an honor only presented when it is felt it is truly deserved.
“Macbeth: Come Like Shadows”
Rebel and Misfits Productions
Immersive Theatre Project
Oct. 24 – Nov. 10
Wednesday through Saturday at location patrons are bused to.
What It’s About: Dive into a shocking world and discover the heart and dark underbelly of a story that you have undoubtedly come in contact with before, but never allowed full access to the dripping heat and intimacy pulled along by its characters. This is one of Shakespeare’s boldest and most passionate plays deeply imagined.
Who are the inhabitants?  Why do their souls choose the courses they embark upon?  What is behind the door? Immerse yourself in a world of direct interaction, walk into this complexly-woven tale, wade into its unlocked depths.
Co-Directors: Kelly Hummert, Sean Patrick Higgins with Jordan Woods assisting.
Starring: Sean Patrick Higgins, Jeffrey Cummings, Spencer Sickmann, Reginald Pierre, Paul Cereghino, Shane Signorino, Kelly Hummert, Aarya Locker, Phil Leveling, Patrice Foster, Joel Antony, Hailey Medrano, Tyler Cheatem, Cynthia Pohlson, Ali Linderer, Kevin Corpuz and Jordan Woods
Of Note: We invite you to meet these characters as you never have before. Drink with them.  Dance with them.  Share your secrets with them. They will, in turn, weave you into the fabric of the action. Come and experience this high-octane, dangerous, and sexy world, where nothing is ever quite what it seems.
Pick Up Location: 1615 South Broadway, St Louis, MO 63104 (parking lot near DB’s), buses will transport the audience to and from the location.
“The Naked Magicians”The Playhouse at Westport
Oct. 19-21 (5 shows)
Tickets: MetroTix at or by phone at 314-534-1111. Additionally, tickets will also be available at the box office one hour prior to show time.
What It’s About: The Naked Magicians, the world’s naughtiest and funniest magic show, strips away the top hats and capes to promise full-frontal illusions with magic, muscles and endless laughs.
Starring: Mike Tyler and Christopher Wayne, two of Australia’s most famous magicians, w who have performed in seven countries and 200+cities. “Good magicians don’t need sleeves and great magicians don’t need pants,” Tyler said.
Of Note: They are back by popular demand after their sold-out performances last year. Post-show meet-and-greet tickets for an additional $20.
The show includes coarse language, sexual references and some nudity and is intended for audiences 18+. For more information, go to
“Raging Skillet”New Jewish Theatre
Oct. 4 – 21
JCCA Wool Theatre, Creve Coeur
What It’s About: A tasty adaptation of celebrity Chef Rossi’s autobiographical memoir, “Raging Skillet” – is equal parts book launch, cooking demonstration, heaping helping of comedy and a side of Jewish mother guilt.  When Rossi’s Jewish mother discovers the microwave, home-cooked meals become a thing of the past. What starts as a rebellion against her Orthodox parents, chauvinism in the kitchen and the pressures of conformity ends with Rossi becoming New York’s #1 punk-rock, Jewish, Lesbian caterer. This hilarious and heartfelt new comedy is based on her true-life story.
Director: Lee Anne Mathews
Starring: Sarajane Alverson as Chef Rossi, Kathleen Sitzer as her mother, and Erin Renee Roberts as DJ Skillet, sous chef and part-time DJ.
Of Note: Talkback scheduled for Oct. 18.
There is food.
“Redemption of a Dogg”
Stifel Theatre
Friday, Oct. 19, at 8 p.m.
What It’s About: Je’Carvous Johnson’s new stage play examines the internal battle one man has between preserving his lifelong legacy and losing the love of his life, when he is faced with choosing fame and fortune over faith and family. It is set against a backdrop of Snoop Dogg’s greatest hits.
“The Rocky Horror Show”
Washington University
The Performing Arts Department
Oct. 19 – 28
Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., Sunday at 2 p.m.
Edison Theatre
What It’s About: Cult classic rock musical. Newlyweds Brad and Janet have blown a tire. They abandon their car and stumble into Frank N Furter’s castle in Transylvania.
“Silent Sky”
Insight Theatre Company
Oct. 19 – Nov. 4
Thursdays through Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m.
Kranzberg Arts Center, 510 N. Grand
314 – 556-1293
What It’s About: When Henrietta Leavitt begins work at the Harvard Observatory in the early 1900s, she isn’t allowed to touch a telescope or express an original idea. Instead, she joins a group of women “computers,” charting the stars for a renowned astronomer who calculates projects in “girl hours” and has no time for the women’s probing theories. As Henrietta, in her free time, attempts to measure the light and distance of stars, she must also take measure of her life on Earth, trying to balance her dedication to science with family obligations and the possibility of love.
Director: Maggie Ryan
Cast: Gwen Wotawa, Henrietta Leavitt; Alex Freeman, Peter Shaw; Jennifer Theby-Quinn, Margaret; Jenni Ryan, Willamina; and Chrissy Steele – Abigail.
Of Note: The true story of 19th-century astronomer Henrietta Leavitt explores a woman’s place in society during a time of immense scientific discoveries, when women’s ideas were dismissed until men claimed credit for them. Social progress, like scientific progress, can be hard to see when one is trapped among earthly complications; Henrietta Leavitt and her female peers believe in both, and their dedication changed the way we understand both the heavens and Earth.”
“The Tempest”
St. Louis Shakespeare
Oct. 12 – 21
Ivory Theatre
7620 Michigan
What It’s About: A story of shipwreck and magic, “The Tempest” begins on a ship caught in a violent storm. Alonso, the king of Naples, is on board. On a nearby island, the exiled Duke of Milan, Prospero, tells his daughter, Miranda, that he has caused the storm with his magical powers.
Director: Patrick Siler
“Workers’ Opera”
Bread and Roses
Saturday, Oct. 20
Communications Workers of America Local 6300
Brunch Buffet & Performance Tickets are $20 in advance or at the door
Westport: 2258 Grissom Drive St. Louis, MO 63146
What It’s About: Written and performed by members of Service Employees International Union, Communications Workers of America, United Media Guild, Labor Engagement for the United Way, and others involved in the arts and organized labor.
Every sketch is full of good music, some history and lots of political humor featuring these workers-turned-actors.
Director: Kathryn Bentley, associate professor at SIU-Edwardsville and Artistic Director of the Black Theater Workshop. Music and script editing by Colin McLaughlin.

“The Zombies of Penzance”
New Line Theatre
Sept. 27 – Oct. 20
Thursdays through Saturdays at 8 p.m.
The Marcelle Theater
3310 Samuel Shepard Drive in Grand Arts Center
Tickets: 314-534-1111
What It’s About: The world premiere of the rock musical, “The Zombies of Penzance: At Night Come the Flesh Eaters,” is based on Gilbert and Sullivan’s “The Pirates of Penzance.”
Based on the conceit that the original draft, never seen before, was dated December 1878, Major-General Stanley is a retired zombie hunter, who doesn’t want his daughters marrying the dreaded Zombies of Penzance, for obvious reasons.
Co-Directors: Scott Miller and Mike Windsor-Dowdy. Miller has painstakingly reassembled these rediscovered materials into their original form, filling in the gaps with educated guesses based on other G&S shows and drafts. St. Louis composer and orchestrator John Gerdes is reconstructing Sullivan’s music.
Cast: Most of the cast from New Line’s public reading in January will return, with 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, with Mara Bollini, Kent Coffel, Robert Doyle, Matt Hill, Lindsey Jones, Tim Kaniecki, Kyle Kelesoma, Melanie Kozak, Sarah Porter, Christina Rios, and Kimi Short.
Of Note: New Line Theatre, “the bad boy of musical theatre,” opens its 28th season of adult, alternative musical theatre. New Line has shocked the music world by discovering a controversial, long-lost first draft by the legendary British team of librettist W.S. Gilbert and composer Arthur Sullivan, who together wrote 14 comic operas between 1871 and 1896.
One of the team’s best-known works, The Pirates of Penzance, originally debuted in New York in 1879, and was revived to great success in the early 1980s with Kevin Kline, Linda Ronstadt, and Rex Smith. What we now know is that there was an earlier, stranger draft of the show, which nobody knew about, with most of the same characters but a somewhat different plot.

By Lynn Venhaus
Managing Editor
Kelly Hummert doesn’t sit still for very long, nor does she stay on the sidelines of life. Not when she can convince people to see the world differently through theater.
She founded Rebel and Misfits Productions in 2016. As artistic director and producer, she has overseen four plays so far.
She has acted in three: Pony in “The Realistic Joneses,” Ophelia in “Hamlet: See What I See” and Olivia in “Sex with Strangers.”
Last summer, she directed “Uncle Vanya: Valiantly Accepting Next Year’s Misery,” an Immersive Theater Project. For their performances, both Andrew Michael Neiman and Jim Butz won awards from the St. Louis Theater Circle in March.

“My goal is to change the way people look at the world through my shows. That has not changed,” she said. “One goal that is evolving is to tour with my immersive work. I think there is a good chance that will happen this next year, which is thrilling.”
In creating the Immersive Theatre Project portion of her company, she wanted to tear down the fourth wall between spectator and performer, to involve the audience in a unique way.
Rebel and Misfits focuses on St. Louis premieres of works by other writers in NYC and Chicago.
Her latest production, “The Realistic Joneses,” opened July 25 and is running until Aug. 12. The play is a St. Louis premiere and has earned uniform rave reviews from local theater critics.
“(Playwright) Will Eno is a pal of mine, and I found this play to be a great accomplishment for him. It’s a very funny and a very rare, contemplative piece of theatre. After many years working on male-led pieces, he introduced us to these two women, who are very rounded and complete as human beings,” she said.
“I love him so much as a person and as a writer, and I felt it was an oversight that the play had not been produced here. He and I share a lot of the same ideas as storytellers.  We like to take our audiences on a full journey, and we want them to leave changed somehow by what they have witnessed,” she said.
“It may be a more traditional play than St. Louis is used to me presenting, but it falls very much in line with my mission as a producer. Also, I felt that this was a great time to tell that particular story. For all its deep questions, at the end of the day, it reminds us that we are not alone, no matter if the world around us is literally falling apart.”

Alan Knoll and Kelly Hummert “The Realistic Joneses” Photo by Eric Woolsey
Kelly grew up in Breese, Ill., and graduated from the Webster University Conservatory of Theatre Arts in 2003.
She performed in school musicals at Mater Dei High School and with metro-east community theaters Clinton County Showcase and Looking Glass Playhouse, but decided to concentrate strictly on acting, not singing, while in college.
After appearing in “Macbeth” at the St. Louis Shakespeare Festival in Forest Park, she headed to New York City. While living there for eight years, she appeared in five Broadway shows, a few movies and did other stage work.
She played Viola in “Twelfth Night” at Brooklyn Shakespeare Experience, Maggie in “After The Fall” with Stage 15 Productions, Medea in “Medea Redux” in The 24 Hour Plays at the Public, the New York premiere of Kato McNickle’s “Swimming In The Ocean,” and Helen in the workshop of “Warning: Adult Content at MCC.”
Film credits include “The Devil Wears Prada,” “The Marconi Brothers,” “The Good Shepard” and “Across the Universe.”
Moonlighting as an event producer, she met her future husband, Amit Dhawan of St. Louis, managing partner of Synergy Productions.
She moved back to St. Louis to get married in 2011. Their daughter Lila Evangeline was born July 22, 2014, and she put the arts on hold for a while. She wanted to spend time being a mother.
Back at it locally, she has discovered that challenges are good, particularly with an eager local theater community.
“I have learned that this community has a real hunger for a good challenge, which is something I was wary of when I started out, especially given how popular the more established companies like the Muny and Stages are,” she said.
“The audiences here are very smart and very capable of accepting and interacting with change. They have become comfortable with being uncomfortable, which surprised me, and is something that delights me to no end.”
She returns to Shakespeare for her next project this fall. She won’t say what play, only that it is an Immersive Theatre Project.
“I don’t think I am ever going to tell the audience what play it is until after they buy their tickets and finally walk through the door. I’m not even revealing the final location.  Even the actors have to sign a waiver saying that they will not reveal what piece we are doing,” she said.
“It’s a famous play, but my collaborators and I are mining it and devising it to give more credence to the themes we feel have been overlooked in the piece thus far. I want to challenge the expectations people have for this particular play, and the themes I am exploring are more interesting to me than what is written on the page,” she said.
“We are connecting these people in very intricate, deeply-woven ways. It would be a shame to say what it is because it would set up an expectation that I don’t plan on meeting,” she said.
“I am transcending the expectations and exploring a bolder way to tell this story so that the things I feel have been passed over in other productions are very much on display here,” she said.
“I can tell you it will be very sexy, very high-octane, very violent, and deeply moving.  Some of the local actors attached besides myself and my Associate Artistic Director, Jordan Woods, are Spencer Sickmann, Reggie Pierre, Sophia Brown, Paul Cereghino and Aarya Locker. That’s just to name a few.”
Their lips are sealed, and the casting is not complete yet.
“I am very much in the honeymoon phase of creating it. I am bringing in Sean Patrick Higgins to perform the lead role, and we are co-directing and conceiving the piece together, along with Jordan.”
“I loved ‘Hamlet: See What I See,’ and I am very proud of it, but it really does pale in comparison to this one. The scope and the scale are crazy!” she said.
She is pleased that some top-shelf talent wants to be involved in Rebel and Misfits Productions.
“I’m proud that I have built a certain amount of trust with some really talented people, and that people can rely on the fact that if I am doing something, I am firing on all cylinders in order to create something new and interesting,” she said.
“I think that building trust and reliability is very important in this industry, and I want to be able to add something to the collective that is different and unique.”
Being involved in various aspects of the production is something she thrives on as well..
“Honestly, at a certain point, acting wasn’t enough for me. I wanted to be calling the shots and really planting my flag as a producer and a director,” she said. “Acting is such a small part of what goes into a show. You only have a small amount of control over what you can add to the process.”
Producing and directing means you have total control of the vision.
“It matters immensely that the work I present is my vision and not someone else’s. It’s why I am for-profit. I don’t want a board of people telling me what I should or should not do,” she said.
“Controlling my own narrative is the best way for me to operate as an artist. I don’t have any constraints. My ideas are very specific and unique to me, and that drives the way I direct my company.”
Kelly wants her contributions to matter..
“Everyone who produces theatre should feel that what they, specifically, are doing is important.  Otherwise, what are we doing?  As far as attracting talent, I feel that ‘like’ attracts ‘like.’ I can create opportunities here that would be impossible in New York, so I have this city to thank for that, and I am completely grateful.”
Why did you choose your profession/pursue the arts?
“From a young age, I knew that I felt emotions more deeply than my young age should have been able to comprehend. I found my true home in the arts.  It was only there, on a stage, where I felt I could reveal my true self, and bare my soul.  Telling stories can change lives, and that is what I want to do in this lifetime.  Change lives.”
How would your friends describe you?
“Highly ambitious, fearless, creative, generous, thoughtful, compassionate, intelligent.  A survivor. A fighter.”
How do you like to spend your spare time?“
Most of my spare time is caught between entertaining and being entertained by my 4 year-old. She is the greatest joy in my life. Also, my husband and I are crazy world-travelers.  I love exploring new places and meeting new people.”
What is your current obsession?
“On TV. it’s ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ and ‘Westworld.’ In regular life, it’s my daughter. Everything about her fascinates me. I feel like she will outsmart me within two years. She is so brave and kind and fearless.”
What would people be surprised to find out about you?
“Probably that I am a good businesswoman. I actually ran a private club in New York City for five years while I was also performing onstage and learned how to run a business from some of the top businessmen in the world. I can work a room like it’s an art-form.”
Can you share one of your most defining moments in life?
“It’s actually quite sad, but I lost my boyfriend/soulmate when we were both 28. He was a very incredible actor and artist, better than anyone I’ve ever known. His loss defined me in a lot of ways. It taught me how to be resilient, how to appreciate every small moment, how to see beauty in absolutely everything. I learned that life is short. I learned how to forgive and how to move forward, even when it seems impossible. He taught me what kind of sacrifices you have to make for your art, and from his mistakes I learned how to remove toxic people from that process. Every piece I do, every show, every role, I dedicate to him. He is an angel watching over me, and I try to continue to honor his legacy. I try to do that anytime I pick up a project. I also keep that in mind when I am offered a project I know in my heart I don’t want to do. I only choose to work on things that will challenge me and catapult me forward. Always forward. Against all odds.”
Who do you admire most?
“I deeply admire Brit Marling. She is such an intelligent woman and a force to be reckoned with as a producer and as an actor. Her philosophy is that if you don’t see the kind of stories you love being made, make your own. Create something new and better.”
What is at the top of on your bucket list?
“At the very top? It would have to be producing my own shows not just across the country, but across the world. Bringing my art to the world in a huge way.”
What is your favorite thing to do in St. Louis?
“I love the Art Museum. I love taking my daughter to our amazing Zoo. A good Cardinals game is always in order as well.”
What’s next?
“I am producing and acting in my pal Will Eno’s ‘The Realistic Joneses,’ directed by my friend Edward Coffield.  We opened at the JCC New Jewish Theatre Blackbox on July 25 and continue through Aug. 12, and this play is a dream. My dear friend Isaiah Di Lorenzo plays my husband. Alan Knoll and Laurie McConnell are playing a married couple onstage for the first time. It will be something very intimate and special.
Simultaneously, I am creating a new immersive Shakespeare piece which will run in October/November.  It is the boldest, most high-octane show I have ever conceived, and I am obsessed with it. I have some insane actors already attached to this project. The play itself will remain a secret until you walk in the door. We are mixing a lot of media – video, music, lights, etc. to create a completely immersive and original story.  No one person will walk away untouched and unseen and unmoved. That is my guarantee.”
Name: Kelly HummertBirthplace: Breese, Ill.Current location: St. LouisFamily: Husband: Amit Dhawan. Daughter: Lila Evangeline Dhawan. Dog: KiddoEducation: BFA in Acting at Webster Conservatory for the Theatre ArtsDay job: Same as my always job — Producer/Director. Also, Mommy.First job: I filed patient’s records at a doctor’s office.  So, I’m pretty good with the alphabet.First role: I think it was a witch in “The Wizard of Oz”?Favorite roles/plays: Viola in “Twelfth Night.” Maggie in “After the Fall.”  Hermione in “The Winter’s Tale.” Medea. This sounds weird, but, also Jack in an all-female version of “Lord Of The Flies.” Mrs. Walker in Tommy.”Dream role/play: If Lars Von Triers ever wants to make a stage version of “Dogville,” I dream of playing Grace. Lady Macbeth. Queen Margaret. Basically, anything Richard Crawford asks me to do for Sacred Secret Theatre in London, Hong Kong, and Singapore.Awards/Honors/Achievements: Invitation to join the LAByrinth Theatre Company from none other than Philip Seymour Hoffman and John Patrick Shanley.  I got to go to JPS’s house for Thanksgiving every year.  That was better than any award!Favorite quote/words to live by: My company was named after my favorite quote from Steve Jobs.  “Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes… the ones who see things differently — they’re not fond of rules… You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things… they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.”A song that makes you happy: “Rather Be” by Clean Bandit
Photos of wedding in Ladue News, St. Louis MagazinePhoto of Kelly Hummert and Chris Tipp in “Sex with Strangers”