That Uppity Theatre Company will present The Vagina Monologues on Feb. 16-17 at the .ZACK Performing Arts Incubator.Produced as part of VDAY 2019, the production benefits NARAL Pro-Choice Missouri, which will receive 90 percent of the proceeds from ticket sales. The remaining 10 percent goes to Eve Ensler’s VDAY organization Spotlight, which focuses on women in prisons, jails, and detention centers, and formerly incarcerated women.

This production of The Vagina Monologues is in honor of the 50th anniversary of NARAL Pro-Choice Missouri, the state’s largest grassroots pro-choice organization.

Itfeatures an all-female cast of more than 20 women–including professional theatre artists, community members, drag performers, and even an alderwoman–all volunteering their time to benefit VDAY and NARAL.

Performances are at the .ZACK at 3224 Locust St., St. Louis, MO 63103 in Grand Center on Saturday, Feb, 16 at 7:30 PM and Sunday, Feb. 17 at 2 PM.

Tickets are available through Metrotix. For convenience, tickets can be purchased online 24/7 at https://www.metrotix.com/events/detail/naral-the-vagina-monologues, or at any Metrotix outlet for a fee, or during regular hours at the Fox Theatre Box Office with no fee.

The event will feature one of the largest and most diverse casts of women seen on stage in St. Louis and will include cisgender, transgender, non-binary, African American, Asian American, Latina, white, immigrant, and refugee women, spanning several decades in age. The play explores consensual and nonconsensual sexual experiences, body image, genital mutilation, direct and indirect encounters with reproduction, sex work, love, rape, menstruation, birth, orgasm, and many other topics.

“I believe access to reproductive healthcare is a human right and a fundamental freedom,” said Joan Lipkin, Producing Artistic Director of That Uppity Theatre Company, who selected NARAL Pro-Choice Missouri as the chief beneficiary of the production.

“With the Trump administration and anti-choice lawmakers dominating both Congress and the statehouse, it is essential that we lend support in every way, including monetarily. Ninety percent of the proceeds from the show will benefit NARAL Pro-Choice Missouri. Everyone is volunteering their time to support NARAL Missouri. It is tremendous how many artists in the community have come forward to share their skills to oppose this violence against women.”

“We are honored that That Uppity Theatre Company selected us as the main beneficiary of this production of The Vagina Monologues,” said Leah Boersig, NARAL Pro-Choice Missouri Board President. “The anti-choice supermajority in Missouri’s General Assembly is constantly working to chip away at reproductive freedom, but we’re fighting back every day to protect individuals who are facing issues like those featured in this production. The support of That Uppity Theatre Company, the patrons, and everyone else involved in this show is what allows us to keep fighting for improved access to reproductive healthcare in Missouri for all.”

This production is part of the international V-Day movement started by Ensler, which this year will run from February 1-March 8 and encompass over 1,000 productions around the globe. The Vagina Monologues is the cornerstone of the V-Day movement, whose participants stage benefit performances of the show and/or host other related events in their communities. The remaining 10% of the proceeds, not only from this production but from every V-Day production worldwide, will go to Ensler’s Spotlight campaign.

“We are deliberately offering tickets at a wide range of pricing to both raise money for this worthy organization as well as to ensure that as many people as possible can participate. We want them to have a powerful theatre experience and to feel connected to what is at stake,” said Lipkin. The show is directed by Rhonda Cropp, Joan Lipkin, Suki Peters, and Pam Reckamp. Technical direction by Michael Perkins.

Performers include Galina Angheluta, Anna Blair, Teresa Doggett, Paige Russell Elias, Carmen Garcia, Pam Reckamp, Gail Smith, Margeau Steinau, Sara Lin, Alderwoman Annie Rice, Christa Lou Cunningham, India Reid, Judi Mann, Talichia Noah, Jeanitta Perkins, Mariah Richardson, Grace Wilder, Miss Leon (aka Dieta Pepsi), and others. Featuring live drumming by Lisa Frumhoff, Debbie Blackwell, Rithia Brown, and Natalie Turner Jones.

For more information, see prochoicemissouri.org.

ABOUT V-DAY 2019: V-Day is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that distributes funds to national and international grassroots organizations and programs that work to stop violence against girls and women. V-Day’s 2018-2019 Spotlight will focus on women in prisons and jails, detention centers, and formerly incarcerated women.

ABOUT THE VAGINA MONOLOGUES: The episodic play was once called “probably the most important piece of political theater of the last decade,” by Charles Isherwood of the New York Times, and was included in the Times’s list of the most influential American plays since Angels In America last year.

Ensler based the piece on 200 interviews. Since originally performing the piece in 1996, she has continued to edit and expand the text to include transgender perspectives, writing the monologue They Beat the Girl Out of My Boy… after interviewing a group of women whose gender identity differed from their assigned gender identity at birth. She also included a piece about the rape of women in Bosnia, based on interviews.

Each year, the script released for V-Day is slightly different.

ABOUT NARAL PRO-CHOICE MISSOURI: NARAL Pro-Choice Missouri is the leading grassroots pro-choice advocacy organization in Missouri, and we believe that every woman should be able to make personal decisions about the full range of reproductive health options. NARAL Pro-Choice Missouri works to protect every woman’s right to access the full range of reproductive health options.

The St. Louis arts community has teamed up to promote voter awareness and registration through the “Dance the Vote” campaign. The event will take place on Saturday, Oct. 6, from 2 to 5 p.m. at the Missouri History Museum’s MacDermott Grand Hall in Forest Park, with a free Michael Jackson community dance piece to be taught at 1 p.m. on the outdoor steps
This project brings together local artists who seek to make a difference during this election season by getting people registered to vote before the Oct. 10 Missouri voter registration deadline for the upcoming Nov. 6 General Election, and committed to voting on election day.
The “Dance to Vote” campaign raises public awareness on the themes of voting and civic
engagement featuring local choreographers and dancers from Ashleyliane Dance Company,
Karlovsky and Company Dance, Beyond Measure Dance Theater, SkyStone Contemporary Ballet,
Washington University Dance Theatre, Imagine Dance Project, Las Rumberas, Madco 2, KYPEKuumba Youth Performance Ensemble, Better Family Life and more.

Joining the lineup of various dance companies will be spoken word artists, poets and singers
including Pam Garvey, Susan Spit-Fire Lively, Roseann Weiss, John Blair, MK Stallings, Ana
Jennings, Sahara “Sista Sols” Scott, and Kim Furlow, among others. Voter registration will be
provided at the event in partnership with St. Louis Voter Registration Group.
The formal program in the Missouri History Museum’s MacDermott Grand Hall at 2 p.m. will be
preceded by a free community dance piece to music by Michael Jackson to be taught at 1 p.m. on
the steps of the Museum.
“The Missouri History Museum is thrilled to be a part of this effort to raise citizen awareness
and get people to the polls. The history of our region and country is made up of choices that
were made at the polls, as well as the struggle to be included in those choices,” said Emily
Underwood director of community programs for the Missouri Historical Society. “Regardless of which candidates you support, voting is an important way to play a part in the continuing story
of our community.”
The event will also offer free ice cream and an all ages selfie station where attendees can take
photos with signage that documents their commitment to voting.
The project is spearheaded by theatre artist and social activist Joan Lipkin, Artistic Director of
That Uppity Theatre Company and Ashley Tate, Artistic Director of Ashleyliane Dance Company.
The choreography will be based on various themes of the voting experience, including the
experience of African Americans, women, Latinx and people with disabilities around voting,
voting rights, voter suppression, voting in other countries, among other themes.
“As this is arguably one of the most important elections of our lifetime, we have to come
together as artists to offer our talents, vision, and passion to actively participate in promoting
voting and voter registration. The range of participating artists reflects much of the diversity in
the St Louis community and offers creative and exciting perspectives on why voting is crucial
and a precious right,” said Joan Lipkin, Artistic Director of That Uppity Theatre Company.
Only 36.4 percent of the voting-eligible population turned up for the 2014 midterm elections,
according to numbers from the United States Election Project, run by Dr. Michael McDonald at
the University of Florida, which marks the 2014 midterms as having the lowest turnout since
WWII. In 2016, eligible voter turnout was just over 58 percent. In both instances, a low number
of voters have been determining the fate of the nation. We are now in the lead-up to the 2018
midterms, and communities face a number of obstacles to increased voter turnout.
Previous performances of “Dance the Vote” include outside Vintage Vinyl in the Delmar Loop,
St. Louis Black Pride and Left Bank Books.
The first midterm election edition “Dance the Vote” performance will take place on Saturday,
Oct. 6 from 2-5 p.m. at the Missouri History Museum in Forest Park. Non-partisan voter
registration opportunities will be available on location to interested voters. Performances will be
held within a three-hour time slot and each piece will be performed more than once.
“Dance the Vote provides an opportunity to showcase the skills of St. Louis choreographers and
dancers in service of community involvement. We are excited to create pieces tied to the history
of voting to remind the community how important it is to exercise this fundamental right,” said
Ashley Tate, Artistic Director of Ashleyliane Dance Company who is co-chairing Dance the Vote.
Featured image is photo of Ashley Tate.