Article originally appeared in Arts For Life’s Feb. 18 newsletter. Article written by Kim Klick and Lynn Venhaus
After working as a professional actor and singer for more than 30 years in Las Vegas, including performing opera at the Venetian Hotel on the Strip, Kimmie decided to move back to her hometown.
To leave her comfort zone and start over at 45 years old was daunting.
“More than a few people thought I must have been crazy!” she said.
But she knew it was time for a change and she did have support.
She was hired to work at Nordstrom Department Stores and found an apartment in Valley Park.
“I thought I’d be satisfied with all of that, but I wasn’t. Frankly, I was quite miserable. I was lonely, broke and terribly homesick! Most of all, I missed performing.”
However, things slowly fell into place. She not only found her way into the St. Louis theatre scene but reconnected with childhood friends, settled down here and married Gregg Booker. They grew up in the same neighborhood, and found each other on Facebook.
She started researching St. Louis theater companies, sending out letters and headshots, hoping to be acknowledged, but no response.
One day in 2012, she came across an audition for an upcoming production of August Wilson’s “Fences” at Hawthorne Players.
“I hadn’t even heard of August Wilson! Can you believe that? Someone like me, who has done theatre her entire life, had not heard of August Wilson?”
She showed up, prepared but “terrified.”
“A little-known fact about me is that I had never done a ‘straight play’ before! I had always done musical theatre. So, to put myself in a position where I had to just ACT, well, it was unchartered territory for me, to say the least!”
She was offered the part of Rose, the long-suffering wife who is married to the lead character, Troy.
“It’s one of the most important, historical, emotional, heartfelt roles to exist in American Theatre. I thought, ‘What the hell did I get myself into?’” she said. She did not need to fret.
“This was one of the best and most fulfilling theater experiences of my career,” she said.
For the record, August Wilson was not only an African American playwright, but also was an amazingly talented award-winning playwright who died too soon at the age of 60, Kidd-Booker explained.
“Fences” is part of Wilson’s celebrated “Pittsburgh Cycle,” sometimes called “The Century Cycle,” in which he wrote 10 plays, each set in a certain decade of the 20th century.
Set in the 1957, it is the sixth play of the cycle, premiered in 1985, and like the others, explores the evolving African American experience and among other themes, examines race relations.
Troy is a Negro Baseball League player who now works as a garbageman – but can’t be a driver (yet). His bitterness is apparent and affects his family – wife Rose and sons Lyons and Cory, and disabled brother Gabriel.
“Fences” won the 1987 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the Tony Award for Best Play. “I am honored and privileged to say I performed in an August Wilson play! Being in an August Wilson play was both thrilling and terrifying. The context is historic and genuine and dramatic. His words are thoughtful and compelling and emotional,” she said.
While “Fences” is her only August Wilson play to date, she said she is optimistic that moving forward, there will be more opportunities to educate, perform, explore and share the African American experience with everyone.
“Black History Month is just a drop in the bucket. But it is certainly a start. My hope moving forward is that we can continue to gain an understanding of each other and continue a dialogue and put fears to rest. We have many differences, but we must continue to be reminded that we are more alike than we’d like to think,” Kimmie said.
Before she debuted in “Fences,” after a year here, she was considering returning to Las Vegas.
But once she started rehearsals with the cast and crew, then bonding with everyone, she decided to stay.
“My love for theatre kept me here in St. Louis. As I began to meet other theatre people and make more and more theatre connections, I knew that this is where I belonged. These are my People!” she said.
Kimmie recently became part of the AFL Board of Directors. She has won two Best Performance Awards for Best Featured Actress as Glinda in “The Wiz” at Hawthorne Players in 2014 and as Estonia Dulworth in “Nice Work If You Can Get It” at the Kirkwood Theatre Guild in 2019.
She was nominated as Best Actress in a Featured Role as Sister Mary Hubert in “Nunsense” at Hawthorne Players in 2015 and as The Witch in “Into the Woods” at Curtain’s Up Theater in 2018.
Among her roles in regional professional theater, she played Tom Robinson’s wife in “To Kill a Mockingbird” at The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, as Lady Bird in Stray Dog Theatre’s “Spellbound: A Musical Fable”and in the ensemble of “Sweeney Todd,” as “Aunt Missy” in The Black Rep’s “Purlie” and as Evangeline Harcourt in “Anything Goes” at New Line Theatre. In January 2020, she starred as brothel owner and philanthropist Eliza Haycraft in the original musical, “Madam.”
About August Wilson
Wilson was born Frederick August Kittel in Pittsburgh, Penn., on April 27, 1945. His mother, Daisy Wilson, was of African American heritage. His father, Frederick Kittel, was a German immigrant.
As a child, Kittel attended St. Richard’s Parochial School. When his parents divorced, he, his mother and his siblings moved from the poor Bedford Avenue area of Pittsburgh to the mostly white neighborhood of Oakland. After facing the relentless bigotry of his classmates at Central Catholic High School, he transferred to Connelly Vocational High School, and later to Gladstone High School.
When he was 15 years old, Wilson pursued an independent education at Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, where he would earn his high school diploma.
Following his father’s death in 1965, a 20-year-old Wilson adopted the pen name “August Wilson” — reportedly an homage to his mother — and declared himself a poet. In 1968, Wilson and a friend, Rob Penny, co-founded the Black Horizon Theater.
Wilson remained primarily focused on making it as a poet — largely to no avail — until moving to St. Paul, Minnesota, in 1978.
Wilson wrote his first notable play in 1979,” Jitney,” for which he earned a fellowship at the Minneapolis Playwright Center.
The following year, his new play, “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” was accepted at the Eugene O’Neill Playwright’s Conference. The year 1982 was particularly fruitful for Wilson, as it marked his introduction to Lloyd Richards, who went on to direct Wilson’s first six Broadway plays.
“Joe Turner,” the second part of the cycle, opened on Broadway in 1988.He took home another Pulitzer Prize in 1990, this time for The Piano Lesson, following its Broadway premiere.
Wilson died of liver cancer on Oct. 2, 2005, in Seattle. His new play, “Radio Golf,” had opened in Los Angeles just a few months earlier.
By Lynn Venhaus Christ Memorial Productions’ presentation of the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic “Oklahoma!” won eight Best Performance Awards for choreography, music direction, lighting, costumes, acting and Best Featured Dancer while Kirkwood Theatre Guild’s production of the George and Ira Gershwin 1920s musical-screwball comedy “Nice Work If You Can Get It” won seven, including Best Large Ensemble Musical Production, Best Director and five acting awards, from Arts For Life Sunday.
It was KTG’s sixth win for musical production since 2000. Both
shows had been nominated for 17 awards apiece. “A New Brain,” which was a local
community theater premiere for Hawthorne Players, won Best Small Ensemble
Arts For Life is a nonprofit organization that encompasses
140 communities and 8,460 square miles in St. Louis city, county and St.
Charles County in Missouri and Madison, Monroe and St. Clair counties in
Founded in 1994 by Lucinda Gyurci as a group dedicated to
the healing power of the arts, AFL has honored community theater musicals for
performances and achievements since 1999 (BPAs), plays since 2015 (Theatre Mask
Awards) and expanded awards in youth musical theater in 2013.
But this is the first time AFL did not host a live gala.
Because of the COVID-19 global pandemic, the ceremony was re-imagined as a
pre-recorded virtual celebration. The 21st annual BPAs took place
June 14, which was the original date, but transitioned to a streaming format broadcast
on Facebook and YouTube.
AFL President Mary McCreight said the coronavirus safety
measures in place and restrictions on gatherings in St. Louis County were
factors in the decision to cancel the live show but still have some sort of
“We wanted to provide an opportunity for our local arts
community to come together online and celebrate the many outstanding
achievements of the previous year,” McCreight said.
There were 15 community theaters and 10 youth-only groups
who participated last year. More than 60 judges in the Theatre Recognition
Guild scored 46 shows — 19 large ensembles, 3 small and 24 youth, featuring
939 roles. For 2019, there were 154 individual nominations from 22 groups, with
36 percent first-time nominees and 65 percent first-time winners.
Goshen Theatre Project, which led all groups with 18
nominations, won five youth awards overall for “Les Miserables School Edition,”
including Best Youth Musical Production, Supporting Actress Natalie Cochran as
Eponine, costume design (Terry Pattison), lighting design (Halli Pattison and
Blake Churchill) and Bennett English as Best Youth Musical Performance as Jean
Other multiple winners in the youth categories were Riverbend
Theatre, which won three for “The Drowsy Chaperone” — director (Kristi
Doering), music direction (Michael Frazier/Alison Neace) and lead actor (Jayson
Heil as the Man in Chair), and Young People’s Theatre, which won two for
“Newsies” – best supporting actor (Will Dery as Les) and set design (Brisby
Andrews and Gary Rackers).
Thirty-three awards honoring excellence during 2019 were
announced by past winners and members of the AFL board of directors, with two
special guest presenters — Norbert Leo Butz, two-time Tony Award winner who
grew up in St. Louis, and Hana S. Sharif, the Augustin Family Artistic Director
of The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis.
Butz, who also announced the youth musical production
winner, told the audience to believe in themselves, even when it’s hard, and follow
their dreams, noting he had supportive parents and “great” teachers.
“Believe in yourself and keep on being grateful. Stick to
it,” he said from his home in New Jersey. “(Performing arts) feeds our soul,
our minds, our hearts.”
AFL donated to Butz’s charity, The Angel Band Project,
which uses music therapy to help victims of sexual abuse and domestic violence
and advocates for rights of survivors. For more information, visit www.angelbandproject.org
Four special honors were given out to Jennifer Kerner for
her inclusion efforts, Bennett English for Best Youth Musical Performance as
Jean Valjean in Goshen Theatre Project’s “Les Miserables: School Edition,”
Kayla Dressman for Best Featured Dancer as Dream Laurie in CMP’s “Oklahoma!” and Diane Hanisch, the BPA
musical director/conductor for the past 20 years, who won a national Spotlight
Award from the American Association of Community Theatres, presented by Quiana
Clark-Roland. A Lifetime Achievement Award was not designated this year.
Kerner’s recognition was for her advocacy on inclusion and
helping to make the live theater experience accessible to all individuals.
Kerner, a local singer and actress, works to help place people with
developmental disabilities in jobs. She has guided local theater companies in
providing sensory-friendly performances and has worked to create comfortable
environments for those on the autism spectrum and those with sensory processing
McCreight was thrilled about Hanisch’s national award.
“This award is designed to help pay tribute to an
individual for long or special service. It recognizes outstanding dedication,
service and contribution to your organization. It is for someone who has made a
significant impact on the quality of your organization. Diane has done just
that with per professionalism and charm. She is a gem! Not only can she calm
the nerves of a 12-year-old singing a solo, but others who are singing in front
of 700 people for the first time. She arranges and writes the music, gathers
her professional band, and conducts the show with aplomb. Diane cares as much
about our legacy as anyone involved on the Arts for Life Board. No one is more
deserving,” she said.
The annual Youth Scholarships, which are awarded to two students
pursuing a degree in the arts, were announced, with Alaina Bozarth, a graduate
of Metro East Lutheran High School, and Josiah Haan, a graduate of Fort Zumwalt
High School, each given $500. Bozarth plans to major in musical theatre at
Belmont University in Louisville, Ky., and Haan plans to major in technical
theatre and design at Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Mo.
Other ensemble nominees include “Hello, Dolly!” from
Wentzville Christian Church, “Oklahoma!” from Monroe Actors Stage Company and
“The Bridges of Madison County” from Alpha Players of Florissant for Best Large
Ensemble and “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” from O’Fallon
TheatreWorks for Best Small Ensemble.
For Best Youth Production, in addition to “Les Miserables,”
nominees include “The Drowsy Chaperone” from Riverbend Theatre, “Matilda” from
Gateway Center for the Performing Arts, “Newsies” from Young People’s Theatre
and “Spring Awakening” from Gateway Center for the Performing Arts.
For the record books, Kimberly Klick won her sixth BPA for
choreography for CMP’s “Oklahoma!”. She had previously won for CMP’s “Mary
Poppins” and “The King and I,” plus “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels,” “Big the
Musical” and “Fiddler on the Roof” for other companies. It was her 10th
overall, including wins for Best Featured Dancer in “Brigadoon” in 2000, Lead
Actress for Millie in “Thoroughly Modern Millie” 2006 and Jo in “Little Women”
in 2008, and Cameo Actress in “Titanic” 2003.
It was three in a row for Jonathan Hartley, who won for
lighting design of “Oklahoma!” and had won last year for “Joseph and the
Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” at DaySpring Center for the Arts; he won for set
design for DSA’s “Little Shop of Horrors” in 2017. Stephanie Fox won her third
in four years for choreography in Gateway Center for the Performing Arts shows –
“Spring Awakening” 2019, “Carrie the Musical” 2017 and “Thoroughly Modern
Millie” 2016. Terry Pattison also won her third for costume design since 2017:
“Peter Pan,” “The Lion King Jr.” and “Les Miz,” all for Goshen Theatre Project,
and won set design for “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” in 2018.
Joe Paule Sr. won his third for musical direction, for
CMP’s “Oklahoma!”, following CMP’s “The King and I” in 2014 and Hawthorne
Players’ “The Producers” in 2010. He received the Lifetime Achievement Award
last year. It was the second award for Michael Frazier and Alison Neace for
musical direction, this year for Riverbend Theatre’s “The Drowsy Chaperone” and
for Alton Little Theatre’s “The Spitfire Grill” in 2011.
Other multiple winners included two for Alpha Players of
Florissant’s “The Bridges of Madison County” for Lead Actor (Cole Guttmann) and
Cameo Actress (Chelsie Johnston) and Take a Bow Showcase for “Annie” – juvenile
performer (Leontine Rickert) and duo/group (Matthew Joost and Carole Ann Miller).
In the acting categories, Mike Huelsmann’s award for Best
Featured Actor as Jud Fry was his third, after Lead Actor as Javert in Take Two
Productions’ “Les Miz” (2013) and as part of Best Duo/Group in Looking Glass
Playhouse’s “Young Frankenstein” 2015. Kimmie Kidd-Booker’s award for Best
Featured Actress as Estonia Dulworth in “Nice Work If You Can Get It” was her second
win, after Best Featured Actress in “The Wiz” in 2014. George Doerr IV won his
second, as Igor in Alfresco’s “Young Frankenstein,” after winning Best Actor in
2017 for Alfresco’s “The Rocky Horror Show.”
The virtual program included the following production team:
directors Mary McCreight and David Wicks Jr., video supervisor Kim Klick,
visual designers Colin Dowd and Bethany Hamilton, voice-over announcer Ken
Clark and host Karen Fulks.
A list of winners is included here, below.
AFL’s Theatre Mask Awards was originally set for April 4,
then moved to July 18, but now will also be a virtual celebration. The 2020
TMAs will honor excellence in community theater productions of dramas and
comedies during 2019 in a live interactive viewing event at 11 a.m. Saturday,
July 18, on the AFL Facebook page and YouTube Channel. The awards show will be recorded
beforehand and the content will remain on social media.
On March 16, McCreight suspended all public activities of the AFL organization
because of the public health crisis. The extension has been extended until
further notice. Both TRG and TMA branch judges and participating groups will receive
announcements on future developments. As the region re-opens, social distancing
and wearing face coverings continues. At this time, all AFL performance venues
“I am incredibly grateful to all of our constituencies –
the board, judges, participating groups, audience members and donors – for
their commitment to AFL and their engagement and unwavering support of our
local theatre community during these uncertain times,” McCreight said.
Any company that won can have a representative pick up
their trophies on July 19 from 1 to 3 p.m. in the parking lot of Clayton
Community Theatre, which is located at the Washington University South Campus
Theatre, 6501 Clayton Road, St. Louis, MO 63117.
As a regional surge in COVID-19 cases grips the area, more local arts and entertainment events have either been cancelled or postponed in the St. Louis metropolitan area. The month-long “Hamilton” national tour stop at the Fox is now postponed, the Opera Theatre of St. Louis has cancelled its festival season and people are now moving dates from spring to either later in the year or 2021.
Based on the Centers for Disease Control and World Health Organization’s recommendations on social distancing and against large group gatherings, St. Louis city and county, St. Charles County and Illinois put a public health emergency plan in place. They have shutdown gatherings of 10 or more, encouraged social distancing and ordered everyone to Stay-at-Home. Announced dates: St. Louis quarantine is through April 22; Illinois is through April April 30; Missouri is through April 24; and the nation is recommended until April 30.
Here is a round-up of the latest on community theater, regional professional theater, national touring shows, certain events and venues. If alternate programming has been put into place, it’s mentioned. As everyone knows by now, things change daily, so check with websites to see the latest. I’ll update as groups provide new information.
Kranzberg Arts Foundation
All Kranzberg Arts Foundation venue operations have been temporarily shut down.
This includes theatres, galleries, clubs, restaurants, cafes, and libraries.
These closures will remain in place until at least May 11.
This includes the Kranzberg Arts Center, The Marcelle
Theatre, The .Zack Theatre, The Big Top, The Grandel Theatre, The Dark Room,
Sophie’s Artist Lounge and the High-Low building.
Fox Theatre Performances at the Fabulous Fox have been postponed through April 30 and tours have been cancelled through June 7.
On April 10, the Fox announced that “Hamilton” has been postponed but no date has been set yet. It was scheduled to play at The Fox May 5 – June 7.
“The Fox is in discussion with the HAMILTON producers to reschedule the engagement and hopes to announce that information soon. said spokesman Megan Ketcherside.
Ticket holders should
keep their tickets until new dates are announced. More information will be
available once new dates are secured.
The Fabulous Fox Theatre hopes to bring the show to St. Louis in 2020, but as with all things related to COVID-19 and the social distancing necessary to keep guests and associates safe, theatre management will follow the lead of government and health officials in this matter> Ketcherside said.
The other shows that have been postponed: “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” originally scheduled for March 17-29; Teen Talent Competition originally scheduled for April 4; “Cats,” originally scheduled for April 7-19; Celtic Woman has been rescheduled for April 20, 2021; and Chaka Khan, originally scheduled for April 24.
“Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” will now be Dec. 22 – 27. “Cats” can’t be rescheduled for 2019-2020 but Fox is working on a future date.
Plans to reschedule other postponed shows are currently underway. Ticket holders should hold on to their tickets – they will be honored on the new dates.
Decisions about other future shows will be made as we
follow the evolving situation with the COVID-19 virus and the City of St.
Louis’ determination of the length of this prohibition, public relations
manager Megan Ketcherside said.
Operational hours are subject to change based on the
COVID-19 situation. For now, the Fox Box Office is temporarily closed. The MetroTix
314-534-1111 phone hours are now from Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.,
closed on Saturday and Sunday.
Visit the website, www.fabulousfox.com/coronavirus
As of March 25, the Family Arena and The Family Arena Box
Office is closed to the public until such time as the limit on public
gatherings is lifted in St. Charles County.
Tickets are still available for purchase at
Manager Tom O’Keefe said if you purchased tickets at the
box office for an upcoming rescheduled event that you would like a refund for,
please hold on to your tickets until they re-open and they will refund your
tickets at that time.
They have partnered with Ticketmaster to address all fan
questions regarding the cancellation and rescheduling of live events. Visit the
Ticketmaster Help Center for guidance and check back regularly for additional
information and status updates, www.familyarena.com.
The Stifel Theatre and Enterprise Center Box Offices will
not open until further notice. For guests who purchased tickets to an upcoming
show through the box office that has been cancelled, please hold on to your
tickets until we re-open and are able to assist with your questions.
These events at Stifel Theatre have been postponed. Ticket
holders should hold on to their tickets, as all tickets will be honored on the
Here are rescheduled dates:
Gabriel Iglesias, from March 13 to Oct. 15 and from March 15 to Oct. 14; Franco
Escamilla, from March 14 to Nov. 13; Bob Weir and Wolf Brothers from March 18
to Oct. 14; Nathaniel Rateliff from March 19 to Nov. 14; Ron White from March
20 to Sept. 11; Bert Kreischer from April 5 to July 30; Iliza: The Forever Tour
from April 23 to Sept. 24; and Trolls LIVE! From May 15-17 to Oct. 2-4.
The following events have been cancelled and refunds will
be available at original point of purchase:
“Sesame Street Live,” March 27-29; TD Jakes, April 10; The
Color Purple, April 11; Variety Children’s Charity featuring Steely Dan, April
23; The Spongebob Musical, May 2-3; and Mother’s Day Soul Jam, May 8.
Decisions about other future shows will be made as they continue
to monitor this rapidly evolving situation. Visit www.stifeltheatre.com
The arena is closed until further notice and in an abundance of caution, the
venue will be thoroughly cleaned while closed.
They are currently working to reschedule all impacted
events and will provide updates as quickly as possible. We ask all current
ticket-holders to retain their tickets for these events until such time when a
new date is determined as your current ticket will be valid for the new date. “Please
be patient and hang tight as we work through this unprecedented time,” a
Additionally, they have partnered with Ticketmaster to
address all fan questions regarding the cancellation and rescheduling of live
events. Visit the Ticketmaster Help Center by clicking here for guidance and
check back regularly for additional information and status updates as they
Impacted Events: Festival Of Laughs from March 20 to Sept.
26; Sturgill Simpson from March 21 to TBD; Gateway Blues Festival from March 28
to TBD; AEW Dynamite from April 8 to Oct. 7; NF from April 11 to Aug. 15;
Legends of Hip Hop, from April 17 to Nov. 7; The Millennium Tour, from April 24
to Aug. 8; Three 6 Mafia, from May 23 to Oct. 2; and Lauren Daigle, from May 29
The Playhouse at Westport
All March/April events were cancelled, including “Flanagan’s Wake,” which had
been extended to mid-April.
John Denver Tribute May 7-10 and Rockin’ Chair June 5-6 remain
EVERYONE is encourage to participate–kids, adults, teachers, students, artists, people who don’t yet identify as artists! You read or watch the prompt and then respond immediately in the art form of your choice. We work with amazing collaborators to shape your responses in to a new work and have actors record it. We make a video of our brand new, collaborative work!
New prompts each week, so you can keep generating material while we work on new scripts. We want to hear from you.
Muny administrative offices and box office are closed through late April.
Ticketing services for the 2020 season are available online at any time.Ticketing
related questions can be sent to [email protected]
“We are closely monitoring all developments regarding the
COVID-19 outbreak and will continue to follow the guidance of health and
government officials with the goal of keeping our staff and community as safe
and healthy as possible,” the Muny statement reads on their website.
“With the start of our 2020 season still months away, we
remain optimistic that the season will proceed as planned and hope the
restrictions on gatherings are lifted in early May, as scheduled. If that
changes, we will adjust accordingly. Meanwhile, we continue communicating with
health officials on all levels to stay fully informed and responsive to this
unprecedented situation,” the statement reads.
Given the Stay at Home order for St. Louis City and County,
and for the health and safety of our team, The Muny Offices are currently
closed and some ticketing dates have changed. However, we’re still busy getting
ready for the 2020 summer season, and we can’t wait to meet you at The Muny
Ticketing Update as of March 26 – These dates are subject
Muny Season Tickets will be mailed in early May
Season Ticket Exchanges: May 26 – 29
Single Ticket on Sale: June 1
To purchase new season tickets, or pay a current balance on
existing season tickets, please visit:
To purchase season tickets with a gift card you currently
have in-hand, please email The Muny Box Office at [email protected] and a Muny
Ticketing agent will contact you to process
your request. If you wish to purchase a gift card, it will not be mailed until
the restrictions on gatherings have been lifted.
Also, if you are looking for a way to stay entertained
during these “quiet days,” we encourage you to enjoy a specially curated set of
video clips from our previous productions on our social media channels. You can
follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis
The Repertory Theatre had to cancel the run of “The Cake,”
which began in the Studio Theatre on March 14, but was forced to be shutdown
March 16, and to postpone our Mainstage world premiere of “Dreaming Zenzile” from
March 21, with the goal of mounting it this summer.
An online stream of “The Cake” has been made available to all
Studio Theatre patrons who previously purchased tickets at no additional cost.
There are a limited number of streaming tickets available
for purchase for those who are interested in viewing the final performance of the
Steve Woolf Studio Series this season. That is available through April 24.
Additionally, The Rep is collaborating with a national
group of theatres to commission a series of short plays specifically developed
to spark joy and connection among people who are sheltering in place. These
initiatives are designed to keep the art alive and vital, even in a time of
“Keep an eye out for more entertaining content and
educational resources from The Rep and our local and national partners by
following us on social media,” spokesman Jeremy Goldmeier said.
On March 27, The Rep announced that they have honored the entire contracts of
the guest artists who devoted their talents to “Dreaming Zenzile” and “The
Cake,” despite their runs being delayed or cut short.
“In these uncertain times, The Rep felt it was imperative
that these artists, whose livelihoods depend on their contracts, not bear the
additional burden of lost wages in this pandemic,” a statement said.
“As you know, The Rep has an extraordinarily talented and
dedicated staff that works year-round to support the productions, education,
and community initiatives to serve the greater St. Louis region. We have
continued to pay the full salaries of our full-time, year-round administrative
staff, with no furloughs or other lapses in pay. We have moved our
administrative and box office teams to work remotely to serve you during this
period,” a statement said.
Play at Home
The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis has teamed with
Baltimore Center Stage, Long Wharf Theatre, The Public Theater and Woolly
Mammoth Theatre Company to present Play at Home, a series of micro-commissioned
short plays from some of the American theatre’s most exciting and prominent
These new plays – which all run 10 minutes or less – are
available for the public to download, read and perform at home for free at
In the wake of widespread event cancellations following the
spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), the participating theatres conceived Play
at Home as a way to support artists, connect people to theatre, and to ignite
imagination and joy in these uncertain times.
Each organization commissioned multiple playwrights – most
of whom had plays canceled due to the coronavirus outbreak – to create new
works that were big, joyful and not bound by the constraints of what might be
“possible” on a traditional stage.
The Rep’s commissioned playwrights feature:
Regina Taylor (playwright of The Rep’s 2020-2021 production
Karen Zacarias (playwright of The Rep’s 2020-2021
production of Native Gardens)
Steph Del Rosso (playwright of The Rep’s 2020-2021 world
premiere of The Gradient)
Guadalís Del Carmen (who appeared at The Rep as an actor in
2020’s Mojada: A Medea in Los Angeles)
Tre’von Griffith (a St. Louis performer and playwright,
co-founder of TLT Productions)
These plays are meant to be read at home among family and friends, and we highly encourage readers to share photos or videos of their home performances on social media using the hashtag #playathome.
Max and Louie Productions
Estelle Siteman of Max & Louie Productions said they optimistically look forward to bringing the second play of our 2020 season,”Looking for Normal” by Jane Anderson to the Marcelle. “This beautiful ,moving play full of wit and wisdom opens July 16 through the 26.2020,” she said.
Moonstone Theatre Company Sharon Hunter said Moonstone Theatre Company has postponed their July opening of “The House of Blue Leaves” to July of 2021 at the Wool Studio Theatre at the J. They will announce our season shortly. which will now begin in November 2020 with a Neil Simon comedy.
The Midnight Company Midnight Artistic Director Joe Hanrahan has moved his one-man play from May 28 – June 13 to a June 4 – 20 run. This is the premiere of the full version of “Now Playing Third Base for the St. Louis Cardinals…Bond, James Bond,” which will be at The Chapel, 4238 Alexander Drive, 63105. Performances are Thursdays through Saturdays at 8 p.m., with a matinee on Sunday at 2 p.m.
It was performed in a shortened version at the 2018 St. Louis Fringe Festival, and audiences responded enthusiastically and critics raved. Snoops Theatre Thoughts said “A delightful show that’s part personal memoir, part history lesson, part nostalgia, and all fascinating. A difficult show to describe but what it is is excellent.” Limelight said “Hanrahan jumps from omniscient narrator to 15-year old movie fanatic to baseball and theatre historian, the audience hanging on every word. The Cardinals are the talk of the town again. This show should be the talk of the town, too!” Hanrahan said, “There’s never been a play we’ve done that’s received such enthusiastic, visceral reaction, due, surely, to the St. Louis history of the show. At the Fringe, productions are limited to one-hour playing time, and this new version will allow us to incorporate new material that should make the show ever more entertaining and informative.” “Now Playing Third Base for the St. Louis Cardinals…Bond, James Bond,” concerns a teen-age boy in 1964. JFK’s assassination still casts a pall on the nation. The Beatles’ emergence in February of ’64 starts to lighten the mood of the nation. The Cardinals continue the good times in St. Louis with a mad dash toward the pennant. And when a new movie hero hits the screens that summer, a bunch of boys on a baseball field have their first theatre experience when one of their gang offers a 30-minute one-man show of “From Russia with Love.” Throughout, the playwright draws links between what’s happened and happening – from JFK to James Bond, from segregation in St. Louis to segregation in baseball’s Southern Leagues and Florida stadiums where The Beatles were supposed to play, from WWII to British film production crews and JFK hit squads, from the first cave man who stood up by the fire to the theatre musings of Peter Brook…all of it swirling in front of the eyes of a young boy, and the memory of that time. Shane Signorino will direct the show as he did at The Fringe (Shane just received a Theatre Critics Circle nomination as Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy for Midnight’s POPCORN FALLS), Kevin Bowman will serve as Production Designer, Michael B. Perkins will design video support (as he did for Midnight productions of A MODEL FOR MATISSE, JUDGMENT AT NUREMBERG, and LITTLE THING BIG THING), and Elizabeth Henning will be Stage Manager.
There will also be a concurrent exhibit in The Chapel lobby of memorabilia from 1950’s/60’s baseball and James Bond films, presented by George Venegoni.
New Line Theatre
New Line managed to get two weekends of performances of “Head Over Heels” before the local government mandates of crowd size forced it to close early in mid-March.
Its June production of “Urinetown” has been cancelled.
Stray Dog Theatre
“Annie,” which was to open April 9, has been postponed,
with dates to be announced.
“We will honor all tickets already purchased to any of the
new performance dates once they are announced. To purchase tickets to any other
future productions, please call our box office directly at (314) 865-1995.
“We are currently planning to hold the remainder of the
2019-2020 season as scheduled. Any changes or additional information will be
shared as soon as possible. If you have any questions, please feel free to
contact us,” said Artistic Director Gary F. Bell.
“We would like to thank everyone for the hard work they’ve
already put into the production and we would like to thank you for your
patience as we work to bring you the quality story telling you, our family,
deserve. Annie is that bit of light we all need right now, ‘the sun will come
out tomorrow’ and we will overcome anything,” Bell said.
“We know we are not the only organization dealing with
these difficult decisions and we stand with them, ready to come back stronger.
Your continued support of all arts organizations is always appreciated but
never more than in times like these. We look forward to seeing you soon,” he
said. “Please stay safe and be kind to one another.”
Kenneth Lonergan’s “Lobby Hero” is set to run June 4
– June 20
“However, due to the extreme strain currently being faced
by many organizations we have made the decision to halt online sales of
upcoming productions. We will resume online sales once matters have settled and
the timeline of events moving forward becomes more defined,” Bell said.
“You may continue to purchase tickets for upcoming shows by calling our Box
Office at (314) 856-1995 or emailing us at [email protected] Thank
you for your patience and your continued support as we manage these unfortunate
Neil LaBute’s Ten X Ten Series 2nd Week free Video is now availalbe! Check our Twitter account for the link (http://twitter.com/STLAS1)LaBute’s Ten X Ten Series is offered as free content weekly via @STLAS1. It is a collection of original monologues initially written for AUDIENCE CHANNEL#LaBute10x10
This is in response to the cancellation of LaBute’s new play, “Comfort,” which STLAS was to stage this spring.
New Jewish Theatre
Initially, New Jewish rescheduled “We Are the Levinsons”
from March 19 to May, but now they have pushed it back, along with their
Sondheim musical revue, “Putting It Together.” They would like to reschedule later this
All activities at the JCCA have been suspended during the
public health crisis.
For more information, please contact them by email or by
Opera Theatre of St. Louis
Opera Theatre of Saint Louis has canceled its season. On April 7, Andrew Jorgensen, general director of Opera Theatre, announced the cancellation of the 2020 festival season that was to open May 23 and run through June 28 with this repertory: the world premiere of Tobias Picker and Aryeh Lev Stollman’s Awakenings, Bizet’s gripping opera Carmen, Strauss’ effervescent comedy Die Fledermaus, and the long-awaited company premiere of Carlisle Floyd’s Susannah.
Unfortunately, due to the size of seasonal staff required to produce each opera season, it is not possible for us to assemble the same casts, creative teams, and backstage artisans at any other point in the next several months. Even if we could postpone our season by a month, we simply don’t know when it will be safe for groups to gather again.
At this time, there is no active plan in place to move any of the 2020 productions into the 2021 Festival Season. However, they are still evaluating various options and scenarios — stay tuned for more!
For a complete list of all affected programs and public events, including information on whether an event is canceled or postponed, visit the website and scroll down for a complete list:
This page will be updated frequently in the weeks ahead as new information becomes available regarding the status of events, including possible rescheduling or digital streaming.
“As always, our highest priority is the health of the entire OTSL family — patrons, staff, and artists,” the statement reads.
Shakespeare Festival St. Louis
The 2020 Shakespeare in the Park production of “Much Ado
About Nothing” has been moved to Aug. 12 – Sept. 6. Producing Artistic Director
Tom Ridgely said it was in order to provide the best possible chance of safely
gathering artists and audiences for its 20th anniversary season. It
is to be directed by Bruce Longworth.
“For the past 20 years in St. Louis, the opening of
Shakespeare in the Park has helped to mark the unofficial start of summer,” Ridgely
said. “This year it’s clear that the only way to care for our actors, crew,
volunteers and community is to give as much time as possible for social distancing
measures to take effect and hope to be one of the ways we all bring our summer
2020 to a much happier close.”
The previously announced creative team of Matt Pace &
Brien Seyle (Original Music), Josh Smith (Scenic Design), Dorothy Englis
(Costume Design), John Wylie (Lighting Design) and Kathy Ruvuna (Sound Design)
remains the same.
In response to the widespread cancellation of live events,
the Festival has already shifted to generating a full schedule of new and
original content for the online and social media platforms under the umbrella
These include the previously aired “watch party” of its
canceled regional tour of Cymbeline, a live reading of “Venus and Adonis”
(which Shakespeare wrote during a plague-induced theater closure) and a
five-night reading of Albert Camus’ postwar masterpiece “The Plague.” Together
they’ve already been viewed 10,000 times.
Now through May 29 on ShakespeareTV, which can be accessed
on their Facebook page:
THE ZOOM PLAYS: a weekly series of 20- to 30-minute
original plays written especially to be performed live over the
videoconferencing app Zoom. Created and performed by local playwrights,
directors and actors.
GREEN SHOW MONDAYS: an eclectic variety program featuring
music, comedy and performance from Festival favorites.
SHAKESPEARE AND CHILL: a special selection of
Shakespeare-inspired movies featuring live commentary from artists and
scholars, co-curated by Cinema St. Louis.
Other one-night only events to be announced.
May 29 – June 21 is SHAKE20
A 20th anniversary reboot of the beloved engagement program
SHAKE38 featuring community responses to 20 of Shakespeare’s plays streaming on
Facebook and Instagram Tuesdays through Sundays 8 p.m. during the Festival’s
originally scheduled run, May 29-June 21.
Like the original, SHAKE20 will be a region-wide
collaboration involving artists and organizations including SHAKE38 alumni:
Slightly Askew Theater, Prison Performing Arts: The Alumni Group, RS-Theatrics,
Poor Monsters and Theater Nuevo. More details about the program and how to
apply will be shared soon.
“In the meantime, we
hope that you and yours stay well. We have planned an incredible season of free
Shakespeare, and we cannot wait to share it with you. It’s an interesting time
to be in the business of live theatre and touring productions, but the Festival
is committed to paying our artists and staff throughout this crisis,” Ridgely
So, if you have ever considered becoming a member, know
that we are always grateful for your support—but especially so at this time,” he
“During this crisis, we feel more connected to Shakespeare
and his contemporaries than ever before. Biographer Jonathan Bate wrote, ‘The
Plague was the single most powerful force shaping [Shakespeare’s] life and
those of his contemporaries.’ During times of quarantine, Shakespeare wrote
some of his most important sonnets and plays,” Ridgely said.
“We can’t claim to have his genius, but we will take
inspiration from his dedication and from artists around the world that are
stepping up to create, facilitate, and share stories in new and exciting ways.
Stay tuned for updates on new and existing Festival programs,” he said.
For more information, visit the website sfstl.com and on
social media. Visit https://www.facebook.com/shakesfestSTL
Stages St. Louis
While Stages St. Louis continues to follow guidance from the CDC as well as
mandates from both local and national government, for the time being, they have
made no adjustments to the schedule for our upcoming 2020 Season.
However, here are some changes regarding tickets, activities
Single tickets for the 2020 Season will now go on sale
beginning Monday, April 27.
All in-person activities with the Stages Performing Arts
Academy will be canceled until the start of our Summer Semester on Monday, June
The Stages administrative, production, and academy offices
will remain closed until Thursday, April 23.
In the meantime, the Box Office is still open for questions
or subscription ticket sales online at www.StagesStLouis.org or by phone at
The Stages Performing Arts Academy will continue to offer
digital and streaming content in order to continue performing arts education
for students at home and can answer any and all questions by phone at (636)
Shows are: “A Chorus Line,” May 29 – June 28; Disney’s Alice in Wonderland,” June 16 – June 28, “La Cage Aux Folles,” July 17 – Aug. 16; and “Always…Patsy Cline,” Sept. 4 – Oct. 4.
Tennessee Williams Festival St. Louis
Executive Artistic Director Carrie Houk said after careful deliberation, they find it necessary to push the 5th Annual Tennessee Williams Festival St. Louis to summer due to the outbreak of COVID-19. Our first commitment is to keeping the company and community safe. The dates were May 10-17.
The Tesseract Theatre Company Plans are underway to present the 2020 Festival of New Plays June 11 – 28 at the .Zack Theatre. The four plays are “Last Night” by Rachel Lynett, “All That Remains” by J.M. Chambers, “Feast” by Megan Gogerty and “The Length of a Pop Song” by Taylor Gruenloh.
For more information, contact: [email protected] or visit the website, www.tesseracttheatre.com
That Uppity Theatre Company Joan Lipkin said they we had hoped to do a new devised piece Crossing Borders/Chasing Freedom May 2-3, “but of course that is on hold. We are still planning to do Dance the Vote Sept 26 at the Missouri History Museum,” she said.
Upstream Theater In keeping with the evolving response to the current public health crisis, Upstream Theater is postponing our premiere of IPHIGENIA IN SPLOTT until next season. The play is now scheduled to run from October 9-25.If you have purchased single tickets or a season passport we will be happy to honor your ticket at that time.
West End Players Guild
Steven Dietz’s “Bloomsday” set to open April 17 and run through
April 26 has been cancelled. It was the final production of the group’s 109th
“As our country copes with the growing threat of the
Coronavirus, one of the most important steps we must take to protect ourselves
and each other is the kind of “social distancing” that is impossible at a
theatrical production. Our Board of Directors believes it is highly unlikely
that the need for social distancing will be any less in April than it is today,
and decided that the best course of action for our company and our patrons was
to act now to cancel the show,” a statement reads.
Patrons who have purchased advance tickets through Brown
Paper Tickets will be issued automatic refunds. WEPG will reach out to season
ticket holders in the near future with refund options.
WEPG will begin its 110th season in September.
Alfresco Productions Auditions
for “Hairspray Jr.” will be by video for the Granite City community theater
production. The show is to run July 24-26 and deadline for video submissions is
April 19. The age limit is from 6th grade to 18 years old. For more
information, visit: https://www.alfrescoproductions.org/auditions
Alton Little Theatre
All productions and concert events through May 1 have been
cancelled. Ticket holders for “Holy Laughter” and Todd Oliver and
“Broadway Salutes America” may be refunded or transferred. Call
618-462-3205 for options.
“Brigadoon” has been moved from May to June, with plans for
a June 5 opening, with eight performances through June 14. Season ticket
holders can follow the same schedule but can call the office at 618-462-3205 anytime
“Shrek” auditions have been rescheduled for Saturday, May
10, at 10 a.m. and Sunday, May 3, at 2 p.m. Director Kevin Frakes will be casting
at least 30 characters. The show will run July 31-Aug. 9 for eight
Clayton Community Theatre “The
Philadelphia Story” was to run March 12-22 but was cancelled after opening
They hope to premiere “Broadway Bound” July 9 -14
Curtain’s Up Theater Company
The group based in Edwardsville has postponed its production of “1776” for a
future date in 2020, to be determined, and cancelled March 28 auditions. The musical
was to be performed June 26-28 at The Wildey Theatre in Edwardsville. To keep
informed of updates, visit www.curtainsuptheater.com
Kirkwood Theatre Guild
Kirkwood Theatre Guild cancelled its remaining two shows: “On Golden Pond” and “Shrek:
The Musical,” which were set to run in April and May.
The run of “Picnic,” set for March 27, 28 and April 3-5, was cancelled.
Auditions for “A Chorus Line,” which were scheduled March 29 have been put on
hold. More information will be forthcoming. Please follow or check out website
www.HawthornePlayers.com for any further announcements.
Looking Glass Playhouse
LGP began the March 12-22 run of “It’s Only a Play” but was forced to cancel it
after state and local mandates due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
They have cancelled the rest of the season, including “Rock
of Ages” in May and have moved it to the opening slot in the fall.
“We are reaching out to the publishers to reschedule and are hopeful that we
will be able to still perform the show in September,” he said.
They hope to announce the full season soon and for patrons
who renew their season tickets for next year, they will receive a 10 percent
“Currently, we are still planning our summer youth
production “Alice in Wonderland Jr.” and summer fundraiser “The Rocky Horror
Monroe Actors Stage Company
The current production of “Watch Over the Rhine,” which was to run April 17-19
and 24-26, has been postponed.
Due to the current health crisis in our area, all MASC rehearsals and
activities at the Capitol Theater have been postponed effective Monday, March
“The MASC Board will be discussing the plan of action
moving forward regarding Watch on the Rhine, the current show in production,
and the remainder of the 2019-2020 season, as we monitor the progression of
this crisis. Specific information regarding these two shows will be sent out
accordingly. The health and safety of our membership and patrons is our highest
priority,” a statement read.
O’Fallon Theatre Works
The group cancelled “Man from Earth” in March.
“The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime” is planned for July, and auditions
were recently handled by video.
Over Due Theatre Company
The group in Olivette has postponed “My Fair Lady.” It was
to run April 24-26 and May 1-3.
For the time being, they are still planning on holding auditions for “Bye Bye
Birdie” May 9 and 10. The show is set for July 24-26 and July 31, Aug. 1 and 2.
The Theatre Guild of Webster Groves
They have postponed our May production of “Rehearsal for Murder.”
“We are hopeful and fully intend to mount this production
at a later date,” a statement read.
St. Louis Theater Circle
Often referred to as “Theater Prom,” the eighth annual St. Louis Theater Circle
Awards were to take place on March 30 at the Loretto-Hilton Center on the
campus of Webster University, but the event has been cancelled. Local theater
critics will still honor outstanding regional professional theater, however.
Instead, HEC will provide a streamcast of the awards on
Tuesday, April 7, at 7 p.m. on their Facebook page. So, instead of fancy
outfits and schmoozing, the event will be downscaled reading of the nominations
The theater critic members of the St. Louis Theater Circle
have recorded the nominations, and their voice-overs will run over photos of
the nominees. Then HEC announcer Rod will announce the winner. There are 34
categories to give awards in, which cover dramas, comedies and musicals. A
special award is being given to Ken and Nancy Kranzberg for their tremendous
support and commitment to the arts.
Visit the Theater Circle’s Facebook page for more
If you would like to see who was nominated, here is the
Arts For Life
In community theater, the Arts For Life board of directors
presents two awards events each year, the Best Performance Awards honor musical
theater and youth productions, and the Theatre Mask Awards honor straight
The fifth annual Theatre Mask Awards, which honors both
dramas and comedies, was to take place at a brunch on Saturday, April 4, at The
Atrium Center at Christian Hospital. However, it has been rescheduled for July
The 21st annual Best Performance Awards is scheduled for
Sunday, June 14, at 2 p.m. at the Skip Viragh Center for the Performing Arts at
Chaminade. However, the AFL board of directors will decide shortly on whether
the event will be moved. Stay tuned.
For more information and to see lists of nominations, visit
You can get tickets to both events for the special price of
$40. Visit www.artsforlife.org for more information and to see a complete list
Emcees are Donna Northcott, a theater professor at
Lindenwood University – St. Charles, for the TMAs, and local singer-actress
Karen Fulks for the BPAs.
AFL President Mary McCreight has suspended all public
activities of the AFL organization, effective until at least May 1. This
includes all judging activities of the Theatre Recognition Guild.
“As our world, our nation and our region face a major
health threat, it falls upon us as a community to adopt measures that will both
foster the protection of those who work and ‘play’ in Metro St. Louis community
theatre and ultimately allow AFL to continue our charitable mission of service
and recognition once the threat passes,” she said.
(Full disclosure: I am a founding member of the St. Louis Theater Circle and I am on the Board of Directors of Arts For Life).
ST LOUIS HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL THEATRE AWARDS
In partnership with The Fabulous Fox, The Muny and The Fox Performing Arts Charitable Foundation, the St. Louis High School Musical Theatre Awards announced today the shift from in-person celebrations to virtual for their 2019-2020 season.
The new date for this year’s medallion ceremony, also known as the nomination ceremony, will be April 28, 2020 with the awards ceremony slated for May 24, 2020. Both streamed live online at no charge, these virtual celebrations will honor each of the 42 participating schools in the 2019-2020 season, including the schools who were unable to produce their productions due to the unprecedented circumstances associated with COVID-19. Exact times and streaming information will be released at a later date.
ARTS CENTERS AND CONCERT HALLS
The Hettenhausen Center for the Arts
All events and performances scheduled through June 1 have
been cancelled at “The Hett,” which is located on the campus of McKendree
“TAO Drum” has been
rescheduled from March 24 for 7:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 14; and “Ishmael Beah”
has been rescheduled from April 15 for 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 4, 2021.
The ReMINDers has been cancelled for April 6.
They are offering patrons the possibility of applying their
tickets to a future event at the Hett, donating the ticket value to the
University or contacting them for a full refund, less any original mailing
fees. Please contact the box office during operating hours to discuss ticket
disposition at 618-537-6863. The box office is open from noon to 4 p.m.
Hettenhausen Center for the Arts is located at 701 College Road in Lebanon. For
more information, please contact [email protected].
St. Louis Symphony Orchestra
All performances through April 12 are postponed or
canceled. For information regarding tickets and schedules, visit slso.org.
The Sheldon Concert Hall & Art Galleries
All Sheldon-presented concerts and other events through May
10 have been postponed or canceled. Plans to reschedule are underway, and
ticket buyer should retain their current tickets – they will be honored for the
new dates. Additional information will be provided to ticket buyers as events
are rescheduled. Affected concerts include: Ian Walsh and Kevin Buckley,
“Keepin’ It Reel,” March 17-18; Honoring Our Own, Miz Renee Smith, March 17;
David Halen, violin, April 1; Brothers Lazaroff, April 4. Scheduling changes
for events presented by non-Sheldon promoters will be handled on a case by case
basis. All updates can be found at TheSheldon.org or at MetroTix.com.
The Sheldon is located at 3648 Washington Blvd., St. Louis.
Fair Saint Louis
Fair Saint Louis and America’s
Birthday Parade events have been canceled this year due to concerns about the
Fair Saint Louis was set to run July 2-4 at the Gateway Arch
with concerts, air show, and fireworks each night.
“While we are saddened to cancel two of our region’s most
popular and free Fourth of July celebrations, the safety of our community is of
utmost importance to us,” said David Estes, Chairman, Fair Saint Louis. “Fair
Saint Louis and America’s Birthday Parade embody the prideful spirit of our
city, and over the past few weeks, we’ve seen that spirit shine so brightly
within our community as we face this unthinkable challenge together.”
This year would have marked the 40th Fair Saint Louis and 138th
America’s Birthday Parade.
“We look forward to returning to downtown St. Louis and celebrating
with our community in the future when the time is right,” said David Plufka,
Chairman, America’s Birthday Parade.
As concerns for public health grows as the Coronavirus spreads in the U.S.,
many arts and entertainment events have been cancelled in the metropolitan St.
Louis area. Some will be rescheduled. While others, in smaller venues,
St. Louis City banned events with crowds bigger than 1,000
Thursday and St. Louis County announced Friday it is preventing crowds bigger
than 250, effective immediately, until further notice.
Slowing the spread of COVID-19 is the utmost importance in
making these decisions. Governors of Missouri and Illinois have declared states
of emergency, as had the U.S. President on Friday.
Nationally, Broadway went dark and its 31 theatres
announced they would be closed through Easter, which is April 12.
Dramatists Play Service, which holds the rights to many shows, has announced
refunds to companies who have to cancel and also information regarding possibly
live-streaming shows. For further information, visit https://www.dramatists.com/text/covid19cancellationpolicy.asp
Here is a list of what’s the latest news from local
companies and venues, with the most up-to-date information as possible. It is
best to check with a group before heading out as news can change fast.
Most companies released statements about how they have
stepped up cleaning efforts and encouraging those feeling sick to stay home.
They have also offered refund information. Check their social media and
websites for current information.
On Thursday, the Fox Theatre announced postponement of all
performances and tours through March 31.
“The Bachelor Live on Stage, scheduled for Friday, March 13
and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory scheduled for March 17-29 will both be
postponed. Plans to reschedule are
currently underway. Ticket holders should hold on to their tickets – they will
be honored on the new dates,” statement said.
Decisions about other future shows will be made as they
follow the evolving situation with the COVID-19 Virus and the City of St.
Louis’ determination of the length of this prohibition, a spokesman said.
The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, on the campus of
Webster University, is opening “The Cake” in the Studio Theatre March 13, and Friday
evening announced that they would suspend all performances beginning Monday,
March 16. They are postponing the opening of “Dreaming Zenzile,” set to open
March 20, with hopes of rescheduling this summer.
This is a reversal of their announcement Wednesday that all
their performances would continue. Here is the new statement:
“Following the declaration of a state of emergency in St. Louis County
surrounding the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), The Repertory Theatre of St.
Louis must place the safety of its patrons, staff and artists above all other
Based on the Centers for Disease Control and World Health
Organization’s recommendations against large group gatherings, The Rep has
decided to cancel all performances and events beginning Monday, March 16
through the end of the season. We plan to postpone our Mainstage world premiere
of Dreaming Zenzile, with the goal of mounting it this summer.
“We do not take this decision lightly, knowing that the
communal connections made at public arts events are some of the strongest tools
against the fears and anxieties of this moment. As we ride out this turbulent
time together, we remain resolutely committed to the power of storytelling to
change lives and uplift our shared humanity. Thank you for your understanding
and for being a part of our Rep family. We look forward to welcoming you home
again this summer.
We will be reaching out to ticketholders shortly via email,
phone and/or text with more details regarding ticket options. For additional
updates, stay tuned to repstl.org and our Facebook and Twitter feeds,” the
The Playhouse at Westport continues “Flanagan’s Wake”
performances as planned. However, the company that owns the venue released a
statement explaining their efforts.
“Our efforts in cleaning the venue have been stepped up and
we will be disinfecting each seat, handrail and surface within the theatre
prior to opening doors for each performance. Our bartenders will be wearing
gloves, which will be changed frequently through the evening.
“In addition, Cushman & Wakefield, the property
management for Westport Plaza has increased their efforts to assist in
providing a safe environment for those that visit the Plaza. All public
surfaces, from elevator buttons to escalator rails, to door handles and
bathrooms are all being heavily sanitized multiple times throughout each day.
We, along with, many of you, are closely following and
monitoring all reports issued from the CDC as well as our local and state
governmental agencies and will adjust any and all protocol accordingly. At this
time, all shows are playing as scheduled,” explained Sue Silverstein, vice president
/ general manager, Playhouse @ Westport Plaza
The Moolah Shrine have announced plans to reschedule the
annual circus March 19-22 at Family Arena. Here is their statement:
For more than 78 years, the Moolah® Shriners have provided family entertainment
to St Charles and St Louis region. As always, our focus has been the safety and
well-being of families. After consulting with government health professionals
and the Family Arena, We have decided to take strong but necessary actions to
protect the health and well-being of all who plan on attending our circus.
As Shriners, we are about compassion and love; we help heal
the sick, care for those in need. Our plans, for now, are to reschedule our
78th Moolah Shrine Circus for later this year. Thank you for your support, and
we look forward to seeing you all later this year.
For further information, please refer to Moolah.org on
Monday, March 16,” they noted.
William Roth, founder and artistic director of St. Louis
Actors’ Studio, said they would offer their black box theater, The Gaslight
Theatre, to performers in need of space during this pandemic.
“Many performers and band members have lost their incomes.
The 100- seat Gaslight Theatre, based on availability, is offering itself up to
bands whose gigs have been canceled. This offer is, of course, based on
availability and the daily health regulations posted by the CDC and the local
governments. As long as it’s legal we are an available venue,”
Roth said. He can be reached by email at [email protected]
THE SHOW MUST GO ON “Clybourne Park” at Alpha Players at the Florissant Civic Center Theatre this Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. The audience is limited to 200.
Note: “We are constantly disinfecting common surfaces as
much as we can. We ask that high risk individuals (as defined by the CDC) or
those that are exhibiting symptoms to refrain from entering the premises.”
“It’s Only a Play” at Looking Glass Playhouse in Lebanon,
Ill. this Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.
Note: “As of 12 March 2020 we have no intention to cancel
any performances for It’s Only a Play. If we do, every effort will be made to
give a minimum notice of 24 hours.”
Also, cleaning efforts stepped up and ticket refunds
“Flanagan’s Wake” at The Playhouse at Westport continue
performances as planned, extended through April 11, with a special St.
Patrick’s Day performance Tuesday.
Note: “Please be aware of your own health. If you are sick,
or even questioning you are sick, please stay home. We will be happy to
exchange your tickets for another performance. The top priority at the
Playhouse @ Westport is the safety and the well-being of our guests, casts and
“Love Sex and the IRS” at Theatre Guild of Webster Groves
this Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. at their theatre,
Newport and Summit.
“On Golden Pond” at Kirkwood Theatre Guild this Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m.
and Sunday at 2 p.m. at the Robert G. Reim Theatre, 111 S. Geyer Road.
“The Philadelphia Story” at Clayton Community Center
cancelled their opening night, March 12, but continue performances March 13 and
14 and at 2 p.m. March 15 in the Washington University South Campus Theatre.
“Return to Forbidden Planet” at KTK Productions in the St. John the Baptist
gymnasium, 4200 Delor, this weekend and next (Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
and Sunday at 2 p.m.)
“Head Over Heels” at New Line Productions at The Marcelle Theatre this Friday
and Saturday at 8 p.m., sold out, and continuing Thursday through Saturday
until March 28.
Note: “We hope to run as scheduled through March 28, but
we’ll continue to monitor the news and re-assess as the situation evolves. If
anyone has purchased tickets but is not feeling well, please stay home, rest
up, and contact MetroTix for a refund. The usual “no refund” rule
will not apply.”
POSTPONED “The Bachelor Live on Stage” tour at The Fox Theatre March 13. Plans to be rescheduled.
“Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” tour at The Fox Theatre March 17 – 29. To be rescheduled.
10th Annual St. Louis Teen Talent Competition
April 4 at The Fox Theatre. To be rescheduled.
CANCELLED The Black Rep “Spell #7” at the A.E. Hotchner Studio Theatre. They had extended the run through this weekend, but cancelled it in light of the COVID-19 developments.
The Hettenhausen Center for the Arts at McKendree University All events and performances (internal, hosted or rented) scheduled through June 1. This includes: Shakespeare Festival St. Louis “Cymbeline” (March 16), Young People’s Concert (March 19), TAO DRUM (March 24), The ReMINDers (April 6), and speaker, Ishmael Beah (April 15).
Patrons are offered the possibility of applying their
tickets to a future event at the Hett, donating the ticket value to the
University or contacting them for a full refund, less any original mailing
Please contact the box office, during operating hours, to
discuss your ticket disposition. The box office is open Monday – Friday from noon
to 4 p.m.
College Performances Cancelled
“Cabaret” at Lindenwood University – St. Charles.
Representatives will contact ticket holders on refunds.
“A Doll’s House” at Missouri Baptist University. Will transition to streaming.
More information to follow.
By Lynn VenhausManaging EditorThree metro-east community theater groups and a veteran youth program won multiple awards at the 20th annual Best Performance Awards sponsored by Arts For Life on June 9.
The awards recognize excellence in community and youth
musical theater, with 27 groups participating from St. Charles County to
Madison, Monroe and St. Clair counties in Illinois as part of the St Louis
Metropolitan area. It is the oldest and longest continually running theater
awards in St. Louis.
“Into the Woods” Curtain’s Up Theater CompanyCurtain’s Up Theater Company won six awards for its production of Stephen Sondheim’s “Into the Woods,” including Best Large Ensemble Musical, Directors Glenn Saltamachia and Jeffrey Yapp-Ellis, Music Director Liz Murphy White, Costume Design Donna Saltamachia, Comedic Actress Miranda Mobley as Little Red and Supporting Actor Dennis Folwarczny as Cinderella’s Prince. It had received 16 nominations, the most for any show. The 1986 musical is a twist on Brothers Grimm fairy tales, exploring the consequences of wishes and quests.
“Dames at Sea” Alfresco Productions“Dames at Sea” at Alfresco Productions won four,
for Best Small Ensemble Musical, Best Leading Actress Morgan Ladyman,
Supporting Actress Elizabeth Semko and Best Choreography Ashley Pavlige. It had
received 12 nominations. The 1966 musical romantic comedy is an homage to
nostalgic 1930s movie musicals.
Bryce Miller won Best Youth Actor for “Big Fish” from Shooting Star Productions“Big Fish” at Shooting Star Productions won six
awards in the youth categories: Best Youth Production, Best Choreography Ellen
Isom, Best Music Director Ross Bell, Best Actor Bryce Miller as Edward Bloom,
Best Supporting Actress Carolyn Karutz as The Witch and Best Set Design Marty
Strohmeyer and Christopher Phillips. It had received 14 nominations. Based on
the 2003 movie by Tim Burton, adapted from David Wallace’s 1998 book, “Big
Fish” tells the larger-than-life tale of traveling salesman Edward Bloom, a man
who leads an extraordinary life according to the stories he shares.
Mia Williams won Best Youth Actress as Rafiki in “The Lion King Jr.” from Goshen Theatre ProjectThe Goshen Theatre Project in Madison County won three
awards — for leading actress, Mia Williams, as Rafiki, and costume design
Terry Pattison, for “The Lion King Jr.” (the crowd gasped when the
walking giraffe came out and the kids came down the aisles in their animal
costumes), and another one for Terry Pattison for set design for “Chitty
Chitty Bang Bang.”
Glenn Guillermo in “Bells Are Ringing”
Winning two awards were Alpha Players of Florissant’s “Bells Are Ringing” for Cameo and Non-Singing Actor, while Christ Memorial Productions’ “The Wizard of Oz” won for Juvenile Performance and Non-Singing Actress, and Looking Glass Playhouse won lighting design for “Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson” and best actor for “Newsies.”.
Another first occurred – both the youth supporting actor
and adult featured actor won for playing Nicely-Nicely Johnson in “Guys and
Dolls” at Riverbend Theatre and Kirkwood Theatre Guild respectively, Spencer
Domer and Christopher Strawhun.
“Guys and Dolls” Riverbend TheatreThis year, 48 shows – 21 large, 7 small and 20 youth —
were eligible for BPA awards consideration, with 1,302 artists judged for
nominations. Trophies were awarded in 33 categories.
“Theater is alive
and kicking in 2019 and local theaters in metro St. Louis and Illinois are to
be commended for a job well done,” McCreight said. “The awards are a wonderful way
for all actors and tech crews to celebrate and enjoy each other’s successes and
be recognized and rewarded.”
Since it began in 1998, AFL’s goal has been “Making a
Dramatic Difference” and is proud to salute, support and serve the theater
groups in the metropolitan St. Louis area. The non-profit organization
continues to be passionate about the healing power of the performing arts.
Morgan Ladyman, Best Actress as Ruby in “Dames at Sea”AFL President Mary McCreight said the group is dedicated to
promoting public awareness of local community theater, encouraging excellence
in the arts and acknowledging the incredible people who take part.
“St. Louis is an amazing city, especially for the arts.
There are over sixty theatre companies at home here, a third of which are
community theatre. As we watch music education and theatre programs rapidly die
in our schools, the need to keep community theatre alive is more important now
than ever,” McCreight said.
The best musical award was the first for Curtain’s Up
Theater Company, and with his win, director Glenn Saltamachia made AFL history.
He is the first person to win both Best Director Awards at the Best Performance
Awards and at the Theatre Mask Awards in April, which honors dramas and
comedies. He won the TMA for directing “Frost/Nixon” at Looking Glass Playhouse,
and that drama was tied with Actors’ Attic, for “The Curious Incident of the
Dog in the Night-time,” as Best Play – Drama.
He shared the director’s award with Jeffrey Yapp-Ellis, who
started as assistant director but made such an impact on set design, staging
and concept that he was billed as a co-director.
“It has been an incredible year! To win the TMA and BPA for
Directing in the same year is an honor I could never have dreamed of. I have worked with two outstanding companies-
– LGP and CUTC, and I have been blessed and extremely lucky to have had
outstanding, talented, wonderful casts, production crews, technicians, and
musicians to work with,” Saltamachia said.
“The honor is more a
reflection of their talent, hard work and determination than anything I have
brought to the table. I have always said my greatest talent as a director is
that I surround myself with extremely talented, capable people who share my
passion for good theatre. The fact that both my shows also won for Best
Ensemble in their respective categories proves my point,” he said.
Saltamachia said he was bit by the theater bug when as a
brand new second lieutenant in the Air Force, he auditioned for the Kessler Air
Force Base Little Theatre production of “Charley’s Aunt.”
“Throughout my Air Force career, I would participate in productions wherever we
were stationed when I had the time and circumstances allowed,” he said. “After
retiring from the Air Force in 1997 in Belleville, I began to hear of all the
great local community theaters, and in 1999, I got up the nerve to audition for
the Looking Glass Playhouse production of “Oliver!” and I’ve never stopped.”
Saltamachia has directed 10 shows for LGP since 2001, his
first being “The Odd Couple.” Then, he worked with some Edwardsville people who
were starting a theater company, Curtain’s Up. He appeared in “The Curious
Savage” and has directed six shows for them, the first was “Fiddler on the
Roof” in 2008.
Over the years, he has directed shows for Clinton County
Showcase in Breese, Hard Road Productions in Highland, and in Belleville, Brass
Rail Players, Downtown Players and Cathedral Players.
“The thing I love most about directing is the process. I
love everything about it! From script
analysis, planning conferences for concept development, set design and staging
months before production. Then the fun starts with auditions and rehearsals,”
he said. “But the absolute best part is watching as a group of diverse people;
who may not have known each other before, come together, work hard and share
their talents to produce something we are all are proud of. And on the way we
become a family who love each other and develop friendships for life.”
“Thanks to AFL. I am honored and humbled, but I am smart
enough to know I didn’t win these awards by myself,” Saltamachia said.
“Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” Goshen Theatre ProjectTerry Pattison, who won awards for costume design and set
design for Goshen Theatre Project, said the group is in its fifth season.
“The Lion King had 46 kids in it, all under the age of 15.
There were well over 160 costumes, all hand-created. Most of the masks and
animals were constructed from a high-density foam so they stayed light weight,”
The animal costumes included: Lions, lioness, hornbills,
ostrich, zebra, gazelle, egrets, giraffes, wildebeasts, rhino, meerkat, warthog
and various birds.
“I am honored to
have received two BPA’s this year, one for costuming and the other for scenic
design. I am always creating something in one way or another and it is a
humbling experience to have been recognized against all the other talent in the
St. Louis community theater circuit,” Pattison said.
Lucinda Gyurci, who founded Arts for Life in 1998, said she
continues to be inspired by community theater productions.
“Big Fish” Shooting Star Productions“I feel fortunate to have watched many young people, who
grew up in community theatre, become wonderfully talented adults; some making
their way to Broadway; some establishing their art in local professional
theatre; and some bringing up their next generation in their own footsteps on
the stage,” she said.
Joe Paule Sr. received the Lifetime Achievement Award for
his work as a musician in numerous pit bands, orchestras and as a music
director. Kim Klick and Glenn Guillermo were honored with two special awards,
“TRG Recognition 20th Anniversary Exceptional Volunteer Award,” citing
extraordinary above and beyond service.
Sean Harvey “Crazy for You”
Two special youth awards were given to Caroline Santiago
Turner, who received Best Youth Musical Performance for “Violet,” and
Sean Harvey, named Best Youth Featured Dancer, as Bobby in “Crazy for
You,” both produced by the Gateway Center for the Performing Arts.
Allison McDonald of Timberland High School and Kira Averett
of Mascoutah received the 2019 AFL Youth Scholarships.
The ceremony was directed by Ken Clark, with music
direction by Diane Hanisch. Ryan Cooper served as master of ceremonies for the
The complete list of awards is as follows:
Best Large Ensemble Musical: “Into the Woods,” Curtain’s Up Theater Company
Best Small Ensemble Musical: “Dames at Sea,” Alfresco Productions
Best Youth Musical: “Big Fish,” Shooting Star Productions
Best Direction: Glenn Saltamachia and Jeffrey Yapp-Ellis, “Into the Woods,”
Curtain’s Up Theater Company
Best Direction- Youth Production: Paul Pagano, “Violet,”
Gateway Center for the Performing Arts
Best Music Direction: Liz Murphy White, “Into the Woods,” Curtain’s Up Theater
Best Music Direction – Youth Production: Ross Bell, ‘Big
Fish,” Shooting Star Productions
Best Choreography: Ashley Pavlige, “Dames at Sea,” Alfresco Productions
Best Choreography – Youth Production: Ellen Isom, “Big
Fish,” Shooting Star Productions
Best Actor in a Leading Role: Austin Turnbull, Jack Kelly,
“Newsies,” Looking Glass Playhouse
Best Leading Actor – Youth Production: Bryce Miller, Edward
Bloom, “Big Fish,” Shooting Star Productions
Best Actress in a Leading Role: Morgan Ladyman, Ruby,
“Dames at Sea,” Alfresco Producifion
Best Leading Actress – Youth Production: Mia Williams,
Rafiki, “The Lion King Jr.,” Goshen Theatre Project
Best Actor in a Featured Role: Christopher Strawhun,
Nicely-Nicely Johnson, “Guys and Dolls,” Kirkwood Theatre Guild
Best Actress in a Featured Role: Elizabeth Breed Penny, Paulette, “Legally
Blonde,” Hawthorne Players
Best Actor in a Supporting Role: Dennis Folwarczny,
Cinderella’s Prince, “Into the Woods,” Curtain’s Up Theater Company
Best Supporting Actor – Youth Production: Spencer Domer,
Nicely-Nicely Johnson, “Guys and Dolls,” Riverbend Theatre
Best Actress in a Supporting Role: Elizabeth Semko, Joan,
“Dames at Sea,” Alfresco Productions
Best Supporting Actress – Youth Production: Carolyn Karutz, The Witch, “Big
Fish,” Shooting Star Productions
Best Actor in a Comedic Role: Matthew Hansen, Franz, “Rock
of Ages,” Take Two Productions
Best Actress in a Comedic Role: Miranda Mobley, Little Red Riding Hood, “Into
the Woods,” Curtain’s Up Theatre Company
Best Actor in a Non-Singing Role: Kevin Michael Hester, Dr.
Kitchell, “Bells Are Ringing,” Alpha Players of Florissant
Best Actress in a Non-Singing Role: Nicky Collett, Wicked Witch/Miss Gulch,
“The Wizard of Oz,” Christ Memorial Productions
Best Duo or Group Performance: Abby Cockerham, Laura Megan
Deveney and Theresa Peters Nigus as Donna, Linolium and Betty in “The Great
American Trailer Park Musical,” Act Two Theatre
Best Actor in a Cameo Role: Glenn Guillermo, Carl, “Bells Are Ringing,” Alpha
Players of Florissant
Best Actress in a Cameo Role: Julia Gilbert, Babette, Disney’s “Beauty and the
Beast,” Alfresco Productions
Best Youth Performer: Victor Landon, Munchkin Mayor, “The
Wizard of Oz,” Christ Memorial Productions
Best Costume Design: Donna Saltamachia, “Into the Woods,”
Curtain’s Up Theater Company
Best Youth Costume Design: Terry Pattison, “The Lion King
Jr.,” Goshen Theatre Project
Best Set Design: Terry Pattison, “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang,”
Goshen Theatre Project
Best Set Design – Youth Production: Marty Strohmeyer and
Christopher Phillips, ‘Big Fish,” Shooting Star Productions
Best Lighting Design: Jason Koonce, “Bloody Bloody Andrew
Jackson,” Looking Glass Playhouse
Best Lighting Design – Youth Production: Jonathan Hartley, “Disney’s Beauty and
the Beast,” DaySpring School of Arts
For more information, visit www.artsforlife.org
“Dames at Sea” Alfresco ProductionsFor a PDF of the BPA nominations for 2018, here is the
By Lynn Venhaus
Treat Mom to a play or musical this weekend? Or next weekend! Any time is the
right time to Go See a Play! Here’s what is happening now. And make time for the Tennessee Williams
Festival! Only once a year, and the time is now!
“Biloxi Blues” Clayton Community Theatre May 2-12 Thursday through Saturday at 8 p.m.; Sunday at 2 p.m. but no performance May 10 Washington University South Campus Theatre 314-721-9228www.placeseveryone.org
What It’s About: The second in “The Eugene Trilogy,” Neil
Simon’s semi-autobiographical comedy centers on the contest of wills between a
drill sergeant and an intellectual recruit at an Army base in Biloxi, Miss., in
1943. Along the way, he loses his innocence in many ways.
“Death Tax” Mustard Seed Theatre May 9 – 19 Thursdays through Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. Fontbonne Fine Arts Theatre What It’s About: by Lucas Hnath “As Maxine nears the end of her life she is certain of three things: Death, Taxes and the Greed of her daughter who wants her to die quickly. A desperate nurse vows to keep her alive, but at what cost? Darkly comic, the play explores morality and forgiveness.” Performances take place at the Fontbonne Fine Arts Theatre, 6800 Wydown Blvd. For more information, call (314) 719-8060 or visit the web site at www.mustardseedtheatre.com.
“Dear Mr. Williams” The Tennessee Williams Festival Friday at 8:30 p.m. and Saturday at 3:30 and 8:30 p.m., May 10 and 11 Curtain Call Lounge www.twstl.org What It’s About: The blue devils of sex, alcohol, and mendacity take center stage in this tender and funny coming-of-age story of a young gay artist. With the great American playwright as his compass, writer and performer Batt takes us on a thrilling and very personal journey out of the shadows into a bright light of self-discovery. The tumultuous-and sometimes treacherous-journey from adolescence to adulthood is one we all must take, but Batt’s one-man tour de force proves that it’s oh so much more fascinating and fun with Tennessee Williams as your guide. “Freaky Friday” Curtain’s Up Theater Company May 10-12 Thursday and Friday at 7:30 p.m., Saturday at 2 and 7:30 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m. Dunham Theatre, SIUEwww.curtainsuptheater.com
What It’s About: Based on the Disney movie, “Freaky Friday” is a musical about a mother and daughter changing places to comical effect.
“A Lovely Sunday for Creve Coeur” The Tennessee Williams Festival May 11- 19 Saturdays and Sundays at 1 and 5 p.m. www.twfstl.org
What It’s About: Four eccentric and unforgettable women fry
chicken, plan a picnic to Creve Coeur Lake, and cope with loneliness and lost
dreams in an efficiency apartment on Enright Avenue in the Central West End
circa the mid-1930s. Williams gives us more laughs than usual, but no less
poetry or poignancy. Williams believed that growing up in St. Louis was
essential to the shape of his work. A Lovely Sunday for Creve Coeur is one of
his few plays set here, and was the inspiration behind TV’s “The Golden
Director: Kari Ely
Starring: Kelly Weber, Ellie Schwetye,
Madea’s Farewell Play Tour May 10 – 12 Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 3 and 8 p.m., and Sunday at 3 and 7:30 p.m. The Fabulous Fox Theatre www.fabulousfox.com What It’s About: Tyler Perry’s 21st stage play Starring: Tyler Perry, Tamela Mann, David Mann and Cassi Davis Patton
“Mamma Mia!” Alton Little Theater May 10-19 Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. 2450 N. Henry in Alton 6180462-6562www.altonlittletheater.org What It’s About: Love, mishaps, and music by ABBA will have audiences dancing in the aisles again as they feel transported to the Greek Island of Kalokairi on the eve of a wedding.
“Mamma Mia!” Looking Glass Playhouse May 2 – 12 Thursday through Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. 301 W. St. Louis St., Lebanon, Ill.www.lookingglassplayhouse.com 618-537-4962
What It’s About: Through ABBA’s hits, a romantic comedy
tell the hilarious story of a young woman’s search for her birth father. This
sunny and funny tale unfolds on a Greek island paradise. On the eve of her
wedding, a daughter’s quest to discover the identity of her father brings three
men from her mother’s past back to the island they last visited 20 years ago. A
mother. A daughter. Three possible dads.
“Nice Work If You Can Get It” Kirkwood Theatre Guild May 3-5, 9-12 Evenings at 8 p.m., Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. Robert G. Reim Theatre Website: https://www.ktg-onstage.org/ 314-821-9956
What It’s About: A screwball comedy set in the Prohibition
era with songs by George and Ira Gershwin. Elegant socialists and boorish
bootleggers clash, when playboy Jimmy Winter meets a female bootlegger, Billie
Bendix, on the weekend of his third or fourth wedding.
“The Night of the Iguana” Tennessee Williams Festival May 9 – 19 The Grandel Theatre What It’s About: based on Williams’ 1948 short story, which was then developed into three acts for Broadway production in 1961. A Tony nominee for Best Play, it was adapted into a 1964 movie, directed by John Huston, that starred Richard Burton, Ava Gardner and Deborah Kerr. The play focuses on a former minister, barred from his church for defaming God, who works as a tour guide. He is accused of statutory rape of a 16-year-old girl in his tour group. Director: Tim Ocel Starring: James Andrew Butz, Lavonne Byers, Hannah Sturgis, Harry Weber, Spencer Sickmann, Greg Johnson, Victor Mendes, Luis Aguilar.“Over the Tavern” The Theatre Guild of Webster Groves May 3 – 11 Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m.www.theatreguildwg.org 314-962-0876 What It’s About: In that most idealized period of 20th-century America, the Eisenhower years of the 1950s, the Pazinski family has a lot going on in their cramped Buffalo apartment. The youngest of the bunch, 12-year-old Rudy, is a smart, wise-cracking kid who’s starting to question family values and the Roman Catholic Church. When Rudy goes up against the ruler-wielding Sister Clarissa and announces that instead of being confirmed he’d rather shop around for a more “fun” religion, all hell breaks loose.” Parental discretion is advised.
Director: Warren Frank Starring: Henry Alverson, Jimmy Hall, Andrea Jacobson, Tracy Murphy, Pepi Parshall, Declan Ryan, Patrick Ryan “Salt, Root and Roe” Upstream Theatre April 26 – May 12 Shows at 8 p.m. except Sundays at 7 p.m. but May 12 at 2 p.m. Kranzberg Arts Centerwww.upstreamtheater.org What It’s About: Tim Price’s play is about the nature of change, the comfort of home and the eternal bond of love, set against the mythical backdrop of the Pembrokeshire coast in western Wales. Identical twins Iola and Anest, who are devoted to age other and aging fast. Anest’s daughter, Menna, rushes to her long-abandoned childhood home where her own ideas of love and compromise are tested to the limit. Director: Kenn McLaughlin Cast: Donna Weinsting, Sally Edmundson, Eric Dean White, Amy Loui
Of Note: A U.S. premiere in co-production with Stages
Repertory Theatre of Houston.
By Lynn VenhausManaging EditorWe Are Family — that’s the running theme of several productions opening or continuing their runs: “August: Osage County” at Kirkwood Theatre Guild, “La Cage Aux Folles” at New Line Theatre, “Farce of Habit” at KTK Productions and “Well” at Mustard Seed Theatre.And also the family that you make — “Company” at Over Due, “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” at Theatre Guild of Webster Groves, “Avenue Q” at the Playhouse at Westport and “The Glitter Girls” at Webster Groves.The Carole King musical “Beautiful” comes to the Fox for a limited run and “Nonsense and Beauty” opens at The Rep’s Studio Theatre.Whether it’s deep-diving drama or lighthearted comedy, or catchy musicals that you are in the mood for, GO SEE A PLAY!
Photo by Lori Biehl“The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee”O’Fallon Theatre WorksMarch 1-3 and 8-10Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m.O’Fallon City HallTickets: www.ofallon.mo.usTickets are on sale now at the Renaud Spirit Center and at the box office, which opens one hour before each show.What It’s About: Winner of the Tony and the Drama Desk Awards for Best Book, “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” is a musical comedy with a funny book by Rachel Sheinkin and a vibrant musical score by William Finn.
An eclectic group of six adolescents vies for the spelling championship of a lifetime. While candidly disclosing hilarious and touching stories from their home lives, the tweens spell their way through a series of (potentially made-up) words, hoping never to hear the soul-crushing, pout-inducing, life un-affirming “ding” of the bell that signals a spelling mistake. Six spellers enter; one speller leaves! At least the losers get juice boxes.
A riotous ride complete with audience participation, “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” is a fast-paced crowd-pleasing comedy.
Director: Melissa Boyer, with music director Wendi Dicken and choreographer Cameron Bopp.Starring: Ann Hier Brown, Mark Killmer, Benni Jillette, James McKinzie, Ben Ketcherside, Josh Towers, Hayden Hays, Mia Porcelli and Stefanie Kluba.
“August: Osage County”Kirkwood Theatre GuildMarch 8 – 17Roger G. Reim Theatre111 S. Geyer Roadwww.ktg-onstage.org314-821-9956What It’s About: Winner of the 2008 Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award for Best New Play, “August: Osage County” centers around the Weston family, brought together after their patriarch, world-class poet and alcoholic, Beverly Weston, disappears. The matriarch, Violet, depressed and addicted to pills and “truth-telling,” is joined by her three daughters who harbor their own deep secrets. More family arrives, equally well-trained in the Weston family art of cruelty. Bursting with humor, vivacity and intelligence.
“Avenue Q” The Playhouse at Westport PlazaJan. 25 – March 17www.playhouseatwestport.com
What It’s About: Part flesh, part felt and packed with heart, “Avenue Q” is a laugh-out-loud musical telling the story of Princeton, a college grad who moves into the city with big dreams and a tiny bank account. He and his Avenue Q neighbors struggle to find jobs, dates and their life’s purpose.
Director: Lee Anne Mathews, with Music Director Charlie Mueller
Starring: Andrew Keeler, Brent Ambler, Jennifer Theby-Quinn, Kevin O’Brien, Grace Langford, Illeana Kirven, April Strelinger
Of Note: For mature audiences. “Avenue Q” won three Tony Awards, including Best Musical.
Sarah Bockel as Carole King.“Beautiful – The Carole King Musical”Fox TheatreMarch 12-17Performances are Tuesday through Saturday at 7:30 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m., and Sunday at 1 p.m. Matinee March 14 at 1 p.m.What It’s About: The life of composer Carole King.
“Company”Over Due TheatreMarch 1-3, 8-108 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2 p.m. SundayOlivette Community Center9723 Grandview314-210-2959www.overduetheatrecompany.com
What It’s About: First produced in 1970, Company was nominated for a record-setting fourteen Tony Awards and won six, including Best Musical. Company takes an unvarnished look at marriage through the eyes of Bobby who, unmarried on his thirty-fifth birthday, finds himself lost in the company of his married friends. With his trademark wit and sophistication, Stephen Sondheim examines the flawed nature of human relationships as Bobby journeys towards the realization that, in spite of all of his friends’ failings, there is no point in “Being Alive” unless he has someone with whom to share it.
“Farce of Habit”KTK ProductionsMarch 8 – 17Thursdays through Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. St. John the Baptist Church 4200 Delorwww.kurtainkall.org314-351-8984 What It’s About: This absurdly funny Southern-fried romp takes us back to the Reel ‘Em Inn fishing lodge where this bizarre family guides you through a new series of preposterous events in “Farce of Habit.” Add to the original characters a gaggle of nuns on retreat, a nationally known relationship guru, a shy retiree and a couple of women who may (or may not be) who they claim to be. Throw in an approaching “storm of the century” and the fact that there is an axe murderer on the loose and you will be laughing your way through the lunacy of another Jones, Hope and Wooten comedy.
“The Glitter Girls”Alton Little TheaterMarch 1- 10Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.2450 North Henry in Alto618.462.6562www.altonlittletheater.org.
What It’s About: A brand new play economically described as “Steel Magnolias” meets “Survivor,” with a big dose of quirky humor thrown in for good measure. A strong ensemble play, which questions the wisdom of sudden wealth and the bonds of friendship.
Of Note: Sunday, March 10 is sold out.
Robert Doyle and Zak Farmer. Photo by Jill Ritter Lindberg.“La Cage Aux Folles”New Line TheatreFeb. 28 – March 23Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m.Marcelle Theater, 3310 Samuel Shepard Drivewww.newlinetheatre.com
What It’s About: What happens when the son of a middle-aged gay couple brings home the daughter of an arch-conservative politician — and her parents — for dinner? Musical comedy ensues.
“La Cage Aux Folles” takes place on the French Riviera for a night of love, laughs, illusions and truths, and the triumph of family over bullies and bigots.
Based on the 1973 French play and its 1978 film adaptation, “La Cage Aux Folles” tells the story of a middle-aged show business couple, grappling with aging, fidelity, kids, and holding on to their dignity when the world around them would rather strip it away. At the center is Georges, a St. Tropez nightclub owner, and his husband Albin, who is also the club’s erratic headliner Zaza. When Georges’ son gets engaged to the daughter of a right-wing politician, we see the politics and culture wars of 2019, at their most ridiculous and most fevered, onstage right in front of us.
Director: Scott Miller and Mike Dowdy-Windsor, with music direction by Nicolas Valdez and choreography by Michelle Sauer and Sara Rae Womack.Starring: Zachary Allen Farmer (Albin/Zaza), Robert Doyle (Georges), Kevin Corpuz (Jean-Michel), Tielere Cheatem (Jacob), Zora Vredeveld (Anne), Kent Coffel (M. Dindon), Mara Bollini (Mme. Dindon), Lindsey Jones (Jacqueline), Joel Hackbarth (Francis), and as the notorious Cagelles – Jake Blonstein, Dominic Dowdy-Windsor, Evan Fornachon, Tim Kaniecki, Clayton Humburg, and Ian McCreary..
Of Note: In its original 1983 production, the show was a safely old-fashioned musical comedy. But in its 2008 London revival and 2010 Broadway revival, the show was transformed from a lightweight comedy into a more serious story with a lot of laughs.
The original 1983 Broadway production ran four years and 1,761 performances. The show received nine Tony nominations and won six, including Best Musical, Best Score and Best Book — beating out Sondheim’s Sunday in the Park with George. It’s been revived on Broadway and in London multiple times.
“One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”The Theatre Guild of Webster GrovesMarch 1-3, 7-10Shows at 8 p.m., except Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. 517 Theatre Lane, Webster GrovesTickets are available only at the door (cash or check). Sorry, we do not take advanced reservationswww.theatreguildwg.org 314-962-0876
What It’s About: Ken Kesey’s iconic counter-culture novel is set in a psychiatric hospital, where convicted criminal McMurphy winds up. He challenges authority and changes patients’ lives. This is the play adaptation, which was turned into an Oscar-winning film.
Director: Jessica Johns-Kelly.
Starring: Jerry Crump, Matthew Linhardt, Betsy Gasoske, Greg Savel, Tyler Crandall, Hal Morgan, Jason Blackburn, David Eiben, Christian Davis, Sherre Ward, Scott Ewers, Russ Leonard, Donald Kidd, Aaron Mermelstein, Noreen Ann G. Rhodes and Amie Bossi.
Of Note: This show contains content not suitable for children.
The Theatre Guild of Webster Groves is very old historic building with many steps and is not handicapped or wheelchair accessible.
“Twelfth Night”St. Charles Community CollegeMarch 6 – 10Wednesday through Saturday at 7:30 p.m., Thursday at 10 a.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m.SCC Center Stage Theater in the Donald D. Shook Fine Arts Building on the campus at 4601 Mid Rivers Mall Drive in Cottlevillewww.stchas.edu636-922-8050 What It’s About: Stranded on the coast of Illyria, the quick-witted Viola assumes the disguise of a pageboy for Duke Orsino and finds herself at the center of an explosive love triangle in which identity, passion and gender all threaten to come undone. Bursting with vitality and romance, this delightful abbreviated version of “Twelfth Night” gives us one of Shakespeare’s most remarkable heroines matching wits with a host of captivating characters–from the love-struck Olivia to the puritanical Malvolio.
“Two Degrees”Tesseract Theatre CompanyMarch 8 – 17Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m.The .ZACK, 3224 Locust in Midtownwww.tesseracttheatre.org
What It’s About: In a new play by Tira Palmquist, , Emma Phelps is a paleoclimatologist, focusing on ice in Greenland. In drilling and studying ice core samples, she sees first hand the symptoms of our changing planet, which makes the need to act all the more crucial and urgent. In addition to her growing sense of urgency for the planet, Emma, as a recent widow, experiences grief that compounds itself with each passing month. Now she’s been asked to come to Washington D.C. to testify in a Senate Committee regarding climate change legislation, and in this intersection of science and politics, of politics and the personal, she finds more than just a little is breaking up under the strain of change.
“Well”Mustard Seed TheatreFontbonne Fine Arts Theatre314-719-8060www.mustardseedtheatre.com
What It’s About: Lisa Kron’s experimental play intends to explore racial and religious integration and cultural concepts of health. She does not want to talk about her Mother, who unexpectedly joins her on stage. What could possibly go wrong?
Director: Deanna Jent
Starring: Lori Adams, Katy Keating, Alicia Reve Like, Carl Overly Jr., Robert Thibault and Leslie Wobbe.
By Ken Brostow
Do nice guys always finish last?
Not in Jeffrey M. Wright’s case. The cliché doesn’t apply to him. A very popular entertainer here in St. Louis, his stellar reputation as an actor, singer, cabaret performer and emcee has spread to other cities as well.
By day, Jeff works as a physical therapist and in business development. But when dusk falls, he’s singing or acting, or both.
Jason Graae, an LA-based singer/actor, hears in Jeff “…the voice of an Angel.” But adds that Jeff also has “the smile of a Devil.”
On the other coast, NYC-based singer-songwriter Lina Koutrakos described Jeff as “music’s contemporary ‘matinee idol,’ …He is heart, voice, looks and very much his own man…”
Jeff as Nathan Detroit in KTG’s “Guys and Dolls.”For the past 20 years, Jeff has worked with Stray Dog Theatre, New Line Theatre, Kirkwood Theatre Guild and others in St. Louis. His musical roles have included the famous gamblers Nathan Detroit and Nicky Arnstein, and run the gamut between comical, from Elijah Whitney in “Anything Goes,” to dramatic, as Tateh, the Jewish immigrant father, in “Ragtime.”
He’s amassed more than 50 theatrical credits, and about 30 cabaret appearances.
His cabaret performances have branched out to New York City.
“My New York debut was in May of 2015 at 54 Below in ‘The Music of Alex Rybeck.’ Since then, I’ve been fortunate to return several times to appear in concerts at other venues including The Metropolitan Room, the Iridium on Broadway and the Laurie Beechman Theatre,” he said.
A recent autobiographical cabaret, “The 40s – Theirs and Mine,” included anecdotes about turning the big 40 milestone and songs from the 1940s, reflecting his broad musical interests.
In September, he is headed back to be featured in The Concert Across America to End Gun Violence at a well-known jazz/cabaret club called Don’t Tell Mama.
“I’ve attended shows there, but it will be a new performance venue for me, so I’m especially excited about that,” he said.
Tina Farmer of KDHX noted that his voice “wavers between silky smooth and slightly gritty.” That’s why he can cover both American Songbook standards and rock ‘n roll anthems – moving effortlessly between “Sentimental Journey” and “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.”
As the quintessential “people person,” his art, his job, his recreational time—all revolve around people. He works to heal people through physical therapy, and then entertains them socially through his devotion to theater.
This summer, he has been playing a colorful character in the musical comedy “The Robber Bridegroom,” which is ending its three-week run at Stray Dog Theatre. The play has been a joyful homecoming for Jeff.
“This is a hilarious, rowdy, Southern farce. It’s full of fantastic bluegrass music, and Stray Dog’s production is a rare opportunity to see this lesser-known, but very fun show. The cast and production team are awesome, and I really think the audience is going to have a great time!” he said.
“Since I grew up in the South and I love country/bluegrass music — my first album, besides Sesame Street and other kids’ stuff, was Kenny Rogers’s ‘The Gambler.’ I’m having lots of fun with it!” he said.
For more information, visit his website, www.jeffreymwright.com
Kimi Short, Jeffrey M. Wright and Ryan Scott Foizey in “Next to Normal” at New Line Theatre
Here are Jeff’s answers to our Take Ten Q&A:
1. Why did you choose your profession/pursue the arts?“I was always fascinated with the idea of being an actor/entertainer, even from a very young age, but there were not a lot of opportunities to explore this in my schools or hometown (Little Rock, Ark.).In high school, I remember attending the annual school play as a freshman and thinking I would like to do that as an upperclassman. I volunteered for stage crew of ‘The Sting’ as a sophomore, with the idea that I would get to know some of the theatre crowd better, as preparation to audition the following year. Unfortunately, after that show, the drama department folded for my junior and senior year because the volunteer director for the program retired, so I did not get that chance.”
“I was heavily involved in athletics throughout grade school and high school, and many different organizations in college, so my plate was pretty full of extra-curricular activities that did not include performing. Once I graduated from college and got into the work force, I decided I really did want to pursue the arts in my spare time.
“I didn’t know the first thing about how to do this, but a friend took me under his wing in 1998 and encouraged me to audition for a summer musical with Studio J Productions. He told me that ‘they always need guys’ and if I could sing, there was a good chance I would be cast. I had never attended an audition before, or ever sung in front of people, outside of occasional karaoke, so I had no idea what or how to prepare. I sang ‘Edelweiss’ acapella from “The Sound of Music,” which was a horrible choice for the raucous comedy I was auditioning for, but somehow I was cast in a small ensemble role. I was instantly hooked after that first experience, and I’ve never looked back!”
2. How would your friends describe you?
“I believe most people think of me as a nice guy, which hopefully is true. I’d like to think that people would also describe me as fun, caring, loyal, driven, and a good listener.”
3. How do you like to spend your spare time?
“Much of my spare time is spent around performing in some way. For big chunks of the last 20 years, I have spent many evenings either rehearsing or performing, thanks to the many opportunities I’ve been fortunate enough to receive. When I do find myself with free time, I enjoy seeing friends perform, spending time with my dog, sleeping in, traveling to visit friends and family, and going to the movies.”
4. What is your current obsession?
“I’ve recently discovered the world of podcasts and have subscribed to several. I really enjoy having them on in the background if I’m doing office work, driving, etc. I think my favorite thus far is “Awards Chatter,”in which the Hollywood Reporter interviews various celebrities. Many are actors, who frequently describe how they got into show business, which I find fascinating.”
5, What would people be surprised to find out about you?
“Probably that I have a moderate case of ‘road rage,’ and I love to honk my car horn. It’s unexpected because I am usually fairly low-key in most aspects of my life, but that’s not always the case when I’m driving.”
6. Can you share one of your most defining moments in life?
“Becoming an uncle has been incredibly rewarding and special for me. I don’t have children of my own, but in the past five years, I’ve been blessed with two adorable nephews and one beautiful niece.
“In the performance world, I think discovering cabaret has been very defining for me. The people that I’ve met and learned from have certainly shaped me as a singer and actor, and several of those relationships have led to performance opportunities in New York that I never would have imagined.”
7. Who do you admire most?
“I have a great deal of admiration for my parents. They’ve been married for almost 45 years and are extremely caring and kind-hearted people. I also think a great deal of many people I know who quietly do amazing things for people and never expect anything in return. Selflessness is such a rare and special attribute.”
8. What is at the top of your bucket list?
“There are a lot of international destinations that I’d like to see. I’ve been to parts of Italy and France, but otherwise I have not traveled outside of the US. I’d love to see Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand for sure.”
9. What is your favorite thing to do in St. Louis?
“Outside of seeing all of the amazing performances that we have available, I love exploring our awesome restaurant and bar scene with good friends.”
10. What’s next?
“After ‘The Robber Bridegroom’ is over, on Sept. 23, I’ll be in NYC to perform in a concert at Don’t Tell Mama. Soon after that, I’ll begin rehearsals for my fourth run of “All Is Calm” with Mustard Seed Theatre, which will run from Nov. 15 to Dec. 16.”
Jeff as Tateh in “Ragtime” at Stray Dog TheatreMORE ON JEFFREY M. WRIGHTBirthplace: North Little Rock, ArkansasCurrent location: Southampton neighborhood of south St. LouisFamily: Both parents, two brothers, two nephews, one niece. Single with no children and one dog.Education: Bachelor of Science in Physical Therapy from Saint Louis UniversityDay job: Outreach Services Executive with SSM Health Saint Louis University Hospital. This is a business development role in which I visit other hospitals and physicians to teach them about our services, ensure that patient transfers to our facility go smoothly, etc.First role: Mayor Dan’l Dawgmeat and other small roles – “Lil Abner” with Studio J Productions, 1998.Favorite roles/dream roles: I have been extremely fortunate to play several dream roles already – including Pippin in “Pippin” with Stray Dog Theatre, Jamie in “The Last Five Years” with New Jewish Theatre, and Dan in “Next to Normal” with New Line Theatre. Other favorite roles include Rob Gordon in “High Fidelity,” Bobby in “Company,” Jimmy in “Thoroughly Modern Millie” (twice), Finch in “How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying,” Nathan Detroit in “Guys and Dolls” and more.
The one dream role that I’ve yet to play is Billy Flynn in “Chicago,” and I’m truly hopeful to perhaps someday get that chance.Awards/honors: I share St. Louis Theater Circle Awards for Best Ensemble in a Musical with the cast of Stray Dog Theatre’s “Ragtime,” and the original company of “All is Calm” with Mustard Seed Theatre.
I also received Arts for Life’s Best Performance Awards for Best Actor in a Musical (Finch in “How to Succeed” with Kirkwood Theatre Guild) and Best Actor in a Non-Singing Role (Harry the Horse in “Guys and Dolls” with Alpha Players)Favorite words to live by: Work hard, play hard.A song that makes you happy: From popular music, “Uptown Funk” by Bruno Mars. From musical theatre, many come to mind, but in recent years I’d choose “Alexander Hamilton” from “Hamilton.”
Todd Schaefer and Jeffrey M. Wright in “Hands on a Hardbody” at New Line Theatre.
Photos by Gerry Love, Jill Ritter Lindbergh, Peter Wochniak