Prism Theatre Company announces the playwrights, directors, and cast of Prism’s first annual Spotlight On festival of new works, sharing the stories of women playwrights throughout the bi-state area. Each night of staged readings will be followed by a talkback with the actors, playwrights, and Prism creative team. 

ACADEME.compassion by Dr. Laura Perkins

Friday, August 13th, 2021

Directed by Wendy Greenwood

A whimsical romp inside the final test of graduate school:  an oral defense of the written exams.  The premise of this academic tradition seems simple enough. Yet, three faculty with wildly different motivations complicate what should be a pro-forma ritual.  In comps, an epic battle ensues; passions flare, emotions erupt, and manipulative moves threaten the student’s chances for success.  

Starring: 

Kelly Howe as Dr. Stepoloni

Eleanor Humphrey as Student

Phil Leveling as Dr. Trout

Kay Love as Dr. Fenmore

See the Dove by Laurie McConnell

Friday, August 13th, 2021

Directed by Rayme Cornell

When a friendless white woman encounters a homeless Black man in a city park, their contentious first meeting morphs into mutually satisfying verbal skirmishes as they battle prejudice, loneliness, Sarin, and Spanx to find friendship and love among pigeons and doves.

Starring:
Eleanor Humphrey as Ava/Pidge

Don McClendon as Jay

Kelly Schnider as Evelyn

Stay Awhile by Dana Hall

Saturday, August 14th, 2021

Directed by Wendy Greenwood

Samantha has been concerned about her mother, Janice, since her father’s passing. This play deals with complex grief and how it impacts the entire family.  It illustrates the changing landscape of mother/daughter relationships.  It’s a window into the world most families do not talk about.

Starring: 

Carmen Garcia as Janice

Kelly Howe as Samantha 

Bandera, Texas by Lisa Dellagiarino Feriend

Saturday, August 14th, 2021

Directed by Trish Brown

A dramedy about marriage, motherhood, and the women who came before us and paved our way, “Bandera, Texas” follows Liz, a native New Yorker forced to relocate to the Texas Hill Country for her husband’s job. She is visited by her long-dead grandmothers, who help her adapt to her new life and remind her that an uprooted woman can grow wherever she is replanted when she knows who she is and carries the people and places she loves inside her. 

Starring: 

Carmen Garcia as Genevieve

Sam Hayes as Liz

Kay Love as Mary

Jeffrey David Thomas as Dave & 11 others

Tickets are $10 minimum donation and can be pre-purchased through the Prism website.  

The mission of St. Louis’ newest professional performing arts organization, Prism Theatre Company, is to promote the work of women and emerging artists, on stage and off, through the lens of theatre for the new world.  We produce both new and classic works in an atmosphere of inclusivity, where artists from all walks of life can come together to explore our common humanity. Prism is creative collaboration, without the cliques.

Prism Theatre Company is the brainchild of Trish Brown and Joy Addler, St. Louis-based theatre-makers and longtime collaborators.   

Trish Brown, a professional director, actress, and theatre educator, has directed regionally, as well as in Canada.  She is a proud associate member of SDC, the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society.  She holds an MFA in Directing from the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University and worked professionally in Chicago for a number of years before returning to the St. Louis area.   A process-based, ensemble director, Trish is trained in and utilizes a number of acting methods in her work while specializing in the Michael Chekhov technique.  She is a founding member of The Moving Dock Theatre Company, a Chicago-based company dedicated to the actor’s creative process through the use of the Chekhov technique.  Theatre education is also a passion of Trish’s and she has taught in regional arts programs such as COCA in St. Louis and Hinsdale Center for the Arts in Chicago.  She is now a Professor of Theatre at Principia College.  Her educational productions have won numerous recognitions, including two Best Production for the  State of Illinois awards from the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival.  Trish also loves directing film and coaching actors for stage and screen.  

Joy Addler is a St. Louis area stage manager, company manager, and nonprofit professional. A proud graduate of The Conservatory of Theatre Arts at Webster University, Joy has a BFA in Stage Management and is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in Nonprofit Management. She is also a member of the Actor’s Equity Association. Currently, Joy works as the Performing Arts Manager for Variety the Children’s Charity, overseeing their inclusive chorus and dance programs throughout the year, as well as serving as the Company Manager and Production Stage Manager for their annual Variety Theatre production. In addition to her work at Variety, Joy works as a freelance AEA stage manager throughout the St. Louis area.  

Addler and Brown began work on Prism Theatre Company over 18 months ago in a pre-pandemic world.  The company was a long-time dream of these partners who wanted to provide a home for artists from all walks of life to shine, especially women.  “As members of the St. Louis theatre community, and in talking to our friends in the community, we noticed a gap in the opportunities for women to really be at the forefront,” says Joy Addler, Prism’s Managing Director. “We want to provide a safe space for the voices of women to really shine and take center stage.” Though the company’s mission puts women at the forefront, men are also an important part of Prism’s work.  “We love all artists and welcome men into Prism, as actors, technicians, directors, designers, and Board members.  Nothing at Prism is exclusionary,” says Trish Brown, Prism’s Artistic Director.      

Prism is also designed as a home for new and emerging artists.  “Because I’m passionate about theatre education, fostering new and emerging artists was an important aspect of Prism,” says Brown.  “I remember graduating from college with my BA in Theatre and wondering, ‘OK, what now’?  It was difficult to break into the theatre scene in a meaningful way.  Few companies were open to mentoring young artists at that time.  We want Prism Theatre Company to be a place where emerging artists can work with kind, collaborative, seasoned professionals so they can learn, grow, build their resumes, and make connections.”    

Theatre artists who are interested in joining Prism’s Board of Directors or Company may contact Prism at [email protected]. Prism invites actors to like us on Facebook for access to audition details for future productions. 

ABOUT PRISM THEATRE COMPANY

Prism Theatre Company seeks to champion the voices and stories of women from all walks of life, giving emerging artists a platform to showcase their work with seasoned professionals. We produce both new and classic works in an atmosphere of inclusivity, where artists from all walks of life can come together to explore our common humanity. Prism is creative collaboration, without the cliques.

Learn more about Prism on our website, Instagram, and Facebook.

Prism seeks submissions from women playwrights for “Spotlight on… Women Writing: Prism’s Festival of New Works”

The mission of St. Louis’ newest professional performing arts organization, Prism Theatre Company, is to promote the work of women and emerging artists, on stage and off, through the lens of theatre for the new world.  We produce both new and classic works in an atmosphere of inclusivity, where artists from all walks of life can come together to explore our common humanity. Prism is creative collaboration, without the cliques. 

To that end, Prism is currently seeking submissions for new plays by women playwrights based in Missouri or Illinois for “Spotlight on… Women Writing: Prism’s Festival of New Works.” Prism is accepting non-musical plays of any length that feature 2 – 15 characters. All submissions must be received by 11:59 p.m. CST on Tuesday, June 1, 2021. Visit prismtheatrecompany.org for full submission guidelines.

Prism’s search for the most talented playwrights in our region will culminate with the inaugural season of a series of staged readings this summer (dates TBA), featuring some of St. Louis’ favorite actors and exciting, emerging artists. COVID safety guidelines will be strictly followed for in-person readings, and a virtual option will also be offered. Details on the festival are available on Prism’s website, Instagram, and Facebook page.

Prism Theatre Company is the brainchild of Trish Brown and Joy Addler, St. Louis-based theatre-makers and longtime collaborators.   

Trish Brown, a professional director, actress, and theatre educator, has directed regionally, as well as in Canada.  She is a proud associate member of SDC, the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society. 

She holds an MFA in Directing from the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University and worked professionally in Chicago for a number of years before returning to the St. Louis area.  

A process-based, ensemble director, Trish is trained in and utilizes a number of acting methods in her work while specializing in the Michael Chekhov technique. 

She is a founding member of The Moving Dock Theatre Company, a Chicago-based company dedicated to the actor’s creative process through the use of the Chekhov technique.  Theatre education is also a passion of Trish’s and she has taught in regional arts programs such as COCA in St. Louis and Hinsdale Center for the Arts in Chicago.  She is now a Professor of Theatre at Principia College.  Her educational productions have won numerous recognitions, including two Best Production for the  State of Illinois awards from the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival.  Trish also loves directing film and coaching actors for stage and screen.  

Joy Addler

Joy Addler is a St. Louis area stage manager, company manager, and nonprofit professional. A proud graduate of The Conservatory of Theatre Arts at Webster University, Joy has a BFA in Stage Management and is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in Nonprofit Management. She is also a member of the Actor’s Equity Association. Currently, Joy works as the Performing Arts Manager for Variety the Children’s Charity, overseeing their inclusive chorus and dance programs throughout the year, as well as serving as the Company Manager and Production Stage Manager for their annual Variety Theatre production. In addition to her work at Variety, Joy works as a freelance AEA stage manager throughout the St. Louis area.  

Addler and Brown began work on Prism Theatre Company over 18 months ago in a pre-pandemic world.  The company was a long-time dream of these partners who wanted to provide a home for artists from all walks of life to shine, especially women.  “As members of the St. Louis theatre community, and in talking to our friends in the community, we noticed a gap in the opportunities for women to really be at the forefront,” says Joy Addler, Prism’s Managing Director. “We want to provide a safe space for the voices of women to really shine and take center stage.” Though the company’s mission puts women at the forefront, men are also an important part of Prism’s work.  “We love all artists and welcome men into Prism, as actors, technicians, directors, designers, and Board members.  Nothing at Prism is exclusionary,” says Trish Brown, Prism’s Artistic Director.      

Trish Brown

Prism is also designed as a home for new and emerging artists.  “Because I’m passionate about theatre education, fostering new and emerging artists was an important aspect of Prism,” says Brown.  “I remember graduating from college with my BA in Theatre and wondering, ‘OK, what now’?  It was difficult to break into the theatre scene in a meaningful way.  Few companies were open to mentoring young artists at that time.  We want Prism Theatre Company to be a place where emerging artists can work with kind, collaborative, seasoned professionals so they can learn, grow, build their resumes, and make connections.”    

Theatre artists who are interested in joining Prism’s Board of Directors or Company may contact Prism at [email protected]. Prism invites actors to like us on Facebook for access to audition details for the festival and for future productions.  Women playwrights interested in submitting their unproduced scripts for consideration to “Spotlight on… Women Writing: Prism’s Festival of New Works” can find full details on Prism’s website.  

ABOUT PRISM THEATRE COMPANY

Prism Theatre Company seeks to champion the voices and stories of women from all walks of life, giving emerging artists a platform to showcase their work with seasoned professionals. We produce both new and classic works in an atmosphere of inclusivity, where artists from all walks of life can come together to explore our common humanity. Prism is creative collaboration, without the cliques.
Learn more about Prism on our website, Instagram, and Facebook.

Keep Live Alive Saint Louis is a free 90-minute entertainment video special produced in St. Louis for the people who miss being able to attend concert events due to the pandemic.

More importantly, Keep Live Alive Saint Louis is about all the people behind the scenes who bring you concerts everyday – ushers, ticket takers, bartenders, wait staff, sound & lighting technicians, stagehands, backstage crews, the list goes on and on.

KEEP LIVE ALIVE SAINT LOUIS, the streaming video, will premiere the weekend of Friday, March 12 on both YouTube and Facebook Live. Links to the special will be on the participating Hubbard radio station websites and at KeepLiveAliveSTL.org. You can stream it any time on demand after the event.

Media partner of the project is Hubbard Broadcasting (KSHE-95, 106.5 The Arch, 92.3 WIL, and 105.7 The Point). Not only have Hubbard’s four music stations committed promotional support, but their key on-air personalities will co-host the video special.

By making a donation, you will be helping some of those people most affected by being laid off, waiting and wanting to come back to work producing your favorite concerts and live entertainment events.

When the pandemic hit, the live entertainment business was the first to close down and will be one of the last to reopen. Key venues in the St. Louis region went dark overnight, including The Fabulous Fox Theatre, The MUNY, The Pageant, Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre, Enterprise Center, The Sheldon Concert Hall — the list goes on and on, all the way to the countless small local clubs and theaters.

Please contribute via the Donate tab as any amount large or small will help!

Kevin Cronin of REO Speedwagon is featured in the special

So, come join us along with Sammy Hagar, Kevin Cronin (REO Speedwagon), Pat & Danny Liston (Mama’s Pride), Michael ‘Supe’ Granda (Ozark Mountain Daredevils), Stan Kipper (Gypsy, Minnie Riperton), as well as local musicians Lady J Huston, Bell Darris and Roland Johnson, comedians Paula Poundstone, Greg Warren, and Joe Marlotti, and country recording artists Lindsay Ell, and Alexandra Kay – plus special guests Mark Klose, ‘Lern’ Ewell, and Favazz from KSHE-95. Joining them will be Rizzuto and Lux from 105.7 The Point, Mason & Remy and Kasey from 92.3 WIL with Courtney Landrum and Donny Fandango from 106.5 The Arch – plus many other special guests and performances!

Podcast partners Carl Middleman and Lynn Venhaus of Reel Times Trio are included. Carl is a longtime radio veteran and Lynn is a founding member of the St. Louis Theater Circle and longtime movies/theater reviewer.

St Louis Classic Rock Preservation Society is a producer. They are dedicated to “preserve, promote and honor St. Louis’ unique classic rock heritage and its place in music and pop culture history.”

“I’ve never witnessed such enthusiasm and dedication from so many talented people to deliver a great show for St. Louis. Their
passion is what will make this 90-minute video special a very memorable event for all of us,” said Ron Stevens, Co-Executive Producer and Director of the special.

Helming the videographer duties is Co-Executive Producer Jack Twesten, who teamed up with Ron Stevens to produce the highly successful documentary, “Never Say Goodbye: The KSHE Documentary.”



“One of the nice things about having Weber Chevrolet as an underwriter of the special is that we have been able to hire a lot of the people that have been most affected by layoffs for our location and studio filming,” Twesten said.

Co-Executive Producer Greg Hagglund, who has spent the last 35 years producing and promoting live events across the globe, said he has enjoyed working on the project.

“Knowing a lot of the people personally that have been affected by the pandemic has left a marked impression on me. It’s a reminder of how many people work behind the scenes to produce a successful live concert or special event,” he said.

Follow us on Facebook: https://facebook.com/groups/keeplivealivestlouis

KEEP LIVE ALIVE SAINT LOUIS welcomes any inquiries from local businesses that would like to participate in the underwriting of the video special program.

By Joe GfallerContributing WriterWho lives, who dies, who tells your story. It’s the refrain that ends Hamilton. Even though the revolution is different, the sentiment carries beautifully into Paris in 1793 in Lauren Gunderson’s sparkling tragi-comedy The Revolutionists.

The play, presented by Insight Theatre Company, is at the Marcelle Theater through July 14.

Four bold, gutsy women of the French revolution meet in an imagined sequence of events in The Revolutionists. Three are real figures: Charlotte Corday (the assassin of Jean-Paul Marat), Olympe de Gouges (a feminist playwright), and Marie Antoinette (the deposed queen of France). One, Marianne Anglle, is a constructed amalgam of several free women of color who fought to end slavery in the French Caribbean.

That all four could ever have met – let alone built the relationships of trust, sympathy, and friendship constructed in the play – is impossible. The play acknowledges this directly before it ends. However, once you willingly suspend that disbelief and accept you are watching “a revolutionary dream fugue, as the play calls itself, you are quickly in for a treat.

Lauren Gunderson’s play is filled with a modern wit that captures the spirit of these women without ever trying to recreate the language of the period. “Chutzpah,” “high five,” and “work life balance” were probably never spoken in 18th century France – let alone some of the saltier 21st century language that these characters invoke. However, by pulling these women out of stilted period turns of phrase, the play makes them feel as vital and contemporary to audiences today as they would have felt to the people of France in their own day.

Where the play is at its best, The Revolutionists threads the playful and the profound. That is no better personified than in Laurie McConnell’s portrayal of Marie Antionette, who becomes at turns endearing and loveable, batty and self-absorbed. She can bring the house down by announcing “Gasp!” and then commenting “Sometimes I say it instead of doing it.” But, despite all the caricature, in the end, she finds her nobility in her humanity – knowing that, like most of our heroines, she is to face the guillotine and her own death. Her promise to deliver a message to the husband of another woman in the afterlife becomes one of the play’s most touching moments.

As Charlotte Corday, Samantha Auch gives the most
emotionally compelling performance in the production. She first bursts into de
Gouges’ parlor in search of a writer who can help her write her inevitable last
words at the guillotine. Full of self-righteous conviction, she can both
channel the innocence to believably call her plan to murder Marat “stabby stab
stab” and the icy certainty to comment on the sexual assault she eventually
receives in prison to confirm if she “is a virgin.” The beautiful clarion voice
with which she delivers the first of a few unexpected lines of music upon her
death filled the theater with hope in the play’s first great moment of despair.

Kimmie Kidd gives a solid portrayal of Marianne Angelle as a
dignified voice of reason, attempting to motivate her friend de Gouges to
harness her talents for the cause of abolition and women’s equality. In the one
scene of substantial dramatic stakes for these two, she and de Gouges abandon
their early witty banter and intellectual arguments for a fight that is grounded
in what feels to be true betrayal. As one who has lived the fight, Angelle’s
wounds are deep. “You can’t write it if you’re not in it,” Angelle bristles at
de Gouges, ultimately leaving the playwright on the floor, clutching the very
pages she was prepared to burn in order to save her own skin.

It is Olympe de Gouges’ journey that theoretically serves as
the arc of the play. Sadly, there are times in which the construct – of her as
writer that the other three women come to – feels like the engine of a plot
that is less about her and more about the others. In the spirit of Caryl
Churchill’s Top Girls, it’s as if we find ourselves at a prolonged
dinner party full of entertaining incident and careful, thoughtful character
studies. But the host herself feels hollow. We never learn how she and Angelle
have come to be as close as we’re told they are, so when their relationship
frays, it’s not one that we have found a way to invest in deeply. Their
struggle matters to them more than it matters to us.

In Jenni Ryan’s portrayal of de Gouges, some of the character’s artifice – constantly hiding behind arguments about the aesthetic value of theater and art – seem to bury the heart of this woman, who often can come across as a less-than-capable dilletante. (The real de Gouges seems to have been anything but.) Her struggle seems to be an intellectual one for three-quarters of the play – and when it finally becomes a real one, it seems to surprise the character as much as it does the audience.

Ultimately, in de Gouges’ final moments, Ryan transforms her into someone who is deeply sympathetic. One only wishes that transformation could have happened earlier in the evening.

Staging The Revolutionists in the round, Trish Brown does an elegant job of consistently using the space well and maintaining a level of energy and momentum that can make a somewhat heady play that relies more on great dialogue than plot continue to feel fresh, fun, and visceral. The simple impact of red flower petals as blood in the moment when Corday kills Marat was one of many beautiful grace notes she successfully incorporated into the staging.

The limited set design — a few pieces of furniture — by Leah McFall was complemented quite effectively by the periodic soundscapes of sound designers Trish Brown and Bob Schmit, and the strong lighting from designer Morgan Brennan. Julian King’s costume design also gave each of the four women signature looks for the entire evening. With a larger budget, one imagines that an occasional costume change would have given us a chance to see more of variety.

I could have lived without the periodic meta-theatrical comparisons to Les Miserables that peppered the script — particularly since the student revolution in that musical was an entirely different revolution than the one playing out in Paris in the 1790s.

But, that aside, the wit and humor of the piece was frequently deeply satisfying and consistently surprising. Bringing back to life these four women in such a novel and engaging setting makes the production well worth a visit.

It’s no wonder that playwright Lauren Gunderson was recently among the most-produced playwrights in America and that her plays have so frequently graced St. Louis stages. She is a rare talent that, in this play, marries heart, humor, and history in a way that will make any audience member clamor to cry “Vive la revolution!”

Insight Theatre Company presents “The Revolutionists’ June 27 – July 14 at the Marcelle Theatre in the Grand Arts District, 3310 Samuel Shepard Drive. Performances are Thursday through Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. For more information, visit www.insighttheatrecompany.com or call 314-556-1293.

By Lynn Venhaus
Managing Editor
Plays with substantial women roles were spotlighted at the seventh annual St.
Louis Theater Circle Awards March 25, with The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis’
musical production of “Evita” and a homegrown “A Streetcar Named Desire” from
the third annual Tennessee Williams Festival each receiving seven awards.

Both iconic female-lead shows had received the most
nominations, 11 apiece, when the Circle announced them in January. The awards
recognized outstanding work locally produced by regional professional companies
during the calendar year 2018.

Nominees Kari Ely and Michelle Hand in “Into the Breeches!”The comedy “Into the Breeches!”, the first play in Shakespeare
Festival St. Louis’ new program, “In the Works,” won four awards. The world
premiere was in January 2018, with its first St. Louis performances in
September. The comedy from Chicago playwright George Brant is about a
fictitious theater group in 1942, and with the men away at war, the director’s
wife sets out to produce an all-female version of “Henry V.” It had roles for
six women and two men. In addition to awards for ensemble, director Nancy Bell
and best production, Michelle Hand won best actress.

The Circle, which includes veteran area theater critics, annually recognizes outstanding work in comedies, dramas and musicals, and with two opera categories.

Each of the 33 categories featured five nominees, with 23 local companies cited for 54 shows, and 120 artists receiving nods, including 10 with two apiece.

This year, there were three ties: sound design in a play, costume design in a musical and musical ensemble.

Evita won seven awards from the Circle“Evita,” the vibrant Tony Award-winning Andrew Lloyd Webber-Tim Rice musical, earned awards for musical direction (Charlie Alterman), choreography (Gustavo Zajac and Mariana Parma), set design (Luke Canterella), lighting (John Lasiter), director (Rob Ruggiero, his third), ensemble and production of a musical.

The landmark “A Streetcar Named Desire,” written in 1947 by the great American playwright Tennessee Williams, who spent his formative years in St. Louis, earned honors for Sophia Brown as Outstanding Actress – for her heart-wrenching portrayal of the emotionally needy and mental fragile faded beauty Blanche Dubois, sound design (original music by Henry Palkes and sound by Amanda Werre), lighting design (Sean M. Savoie), set design (James Wolk), direction (Tim Ocel), ensemble and production of a drama.

The 18 other awards went to separate shows, with both The
Black Rep and The Muny winning three apiece, and The Rep adding two more for earning
the most, nine.

Jeff Cummings and Katy Keating in “Life Sucks.” Photo by ProPhotoSTLIn comedy, Katy Keating won for Supporting Actress as feisty but unrequited lovesick Sonia in New Jewish Theatre’s “Life Sucks,” a ‘sort of’ adaptation of Chekhov’s “Uncle Vanya” by Aaron Posner. She was also part of the award-winning ensemble of “Into the Breeches!”.

Isaiah Di Lorenzo in “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead.” Photo by Ron James.Isaiah Di Lorenzo won Supporting Actor as The Player, the leader of the Tragedians, in St. Louis Shakespeare’s production of Tom Stoppard’s “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead.” He also was in the award-winning ensemble of “A Streetcar Named Desire.”

Will Bonfiglio as Mary Dale in “Red Scare on Sunset.” Photo by Justin Been. Will Bonfiglio won his second Outstanding Actor Award, as film star Mary Dale in Stray Dog Theatre’s “Red Scare on Sunset.” He was honored in 2017 for the one-man show, “Buyer & Cellar,” also at Stray Dog.

For costume designs, Lou Bird won for The Rep’s “Born Yesterday” vintage wardrobe in the play category and there was a tie in the musical category between Leon Dobkowski, who won for The Muny’s colorful “The Wiz,” and Darryl Harris for the elegant “Crowns: A Gospel Musical” at The Black Rep.

There was another tie in sound design in a play – besides “Streetcar,” Rusty Wandall won for Lucas Hnath’s contemporary “The Humans” at The Rep.

Laurie McConnell, left, as Birdie Hubbard in “The Little Foxes.” Photo by Patrick HuberIn drama, Laurie McConnell won Supporting Actress as forlorn
Birdie Hubbard in St. Louis Actors’ Studio’s production of Lillian Hellman’s “The
Little Foxes.” She won in 2017 for Supporting Actress in a Musical, for her portrayal
of Joanne in “Company” at Insight Theatre Company.

Eric Dean White as Satan and Chris Ware as Judas. Photo by Ann AuerbachEric Dean White, a previous nominee, won Supporting Actor for playing the slick, smooth, haughty and conniving Satan in “The Last Days of Judas Iscariot” at Mustard Seed Theatre.

Ron Himes in “Fences”

Another previous nominee and winner, Ron Himes won Outstanding Actor as bitter garbage collector Troy in August Wilson’s “Fences at The Black Rep last winter. In 2014, The Black Rep won best ensemble and production for “The Whipping Man.”

The Black Rep’s “Torn Asunder” best new playThe Black Rep also won Best New Play for Nikkole Salter’s “Torn
Asunder,” which dramatized true stories of newly emancipated African Americans
trying to overcome the vestiges of slavery so they could reconnect with their
families.

Joy Boland won Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Musical for her portrayal of the imposing villainess sea witch in Variety Theater’s “Disney’s The Little Mermaid.”

Beth Leavel as Mama Rose in “Gypsy.” Photo by Philip Hamer.For their powerhouse musical performances, Corbin Bleu won Outstanding Actor as the fleet-footed matinee idol Don Lockwood in “Singin’ in the Rain” and Beth Leavel was honored as the controlling stage parent Mama Rose in “Gypsy,” both at The Muny.

Corbin Bleu in “Singin’ in the Rain” at The Muny. Photo by Phil Hamer.Leavel had been nominated three times before (“Hello Dolly!” “Oklahoma!” and “Thoroughly Modern Millie,” all at the Muny. She is currently performing on Broadway in a St. Louis-produced original musical, “The Prom.”

Stephanie Merritt and Kent Coffel in “The Light in the Piazza” Kent Coffel won Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Musical for his performance as well-meaning haberdasher Signor Naccarelli, Fabrizio’s father, in “The Light in the Piazza,” presented by R-S Theatrics in its St. Louis regional premiere.

Anything Goes at New Line Theatre. Photo by Jill Ritter LindbergTying with “Evita” for musical ensemble was New Line Theatre’s vivacious “Anything Goes.”

It was a three-peat for Ruggiero, who won for directing “Evita,” and had previously been honored for The Rep’s productions of “Follies” and “Sunday in the Park with George.”

“Regina” at OTSL was Outstanding Opera ProductionIn the opera categories, Opera Theatre of St. Louis was honored
for both Outstanding Achievement in Opera, which was given to director Patricia
Racette for “La Traviata,” and the Mark Blitzstein adaptation of “The Little Foxes”
— “Regina,” as Outstanding Production of an Opera.
Three special awards were bestowed:  To the
Muny for a century of performances celebrated during its centennial season of
2018; to Kathleen Sitzer, founder and long-time artistic director of the New
Jewish Theatre, for lifetime achievement; and to Steven Woolf, Augustin
artistic director of The Rep for more than 30 years, also for lifetime
achievement.

Sitzer retired after New Jewish Theatre’s 2017-18 season, while Woolf will retire after The Rep’s 2018-19 season this spring. Organized in 2012, the St. Louis Theater Circle includes founding members Steve Allen of stagedoorstl.com, Mark Bretz of the Ladue News, Robert A. Cohn of the St. Louis Jewish Light, Chris Gibson of Broadway World, Gerry Kowarsky of HEC-TV’s “Two on the Aisle,” Chuck Lavazzi of KDHX, Judith Newmark, now of judyacttwo.com, Ann Pollack of stlouiseats.typepad.com, Lynn Venhaus, now of St. Louis Limelight magazine, Bob Wilcox of HEC-TV’s Two on the Aisle, and Calvin Wilson of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Tina Farmer of KDHX and Michelle Kenyon of snoopstheatrethoughts.com. Eleanor Mullin is the administrator.

Those who helped produce the show at the Loretto-Hilton Center on the campus of Webster University included Andrea Torrence and Peggy Holly, who put together the slide show; awards assistance Hannah Daines, stage manager Alycia Martin and assistant stage manager Delaney Dunster, voice-over announcer Colin Nichols and box office assistants Kimberly Sansone and Harry Ginsburg.

Renowned local musician Joe Dreyer was the accompanist and Deborah Sharn performed an opening number.

Special thanks to Volunteer Lawyers and Accountants for the Arts, Price Waterhouse Cooper LLC, who tabulate the Circle ballots, and to the awards certificate calligrapher Susan Zenner.

Contact the Circle by email: [email protected] and like us on Facebook.

Evita at The RepInto the Breeches! at Shakespeare Festival St. Louis

“La Traviata” at Opera Theatre of St. Louis