Metro Theater Company (MTC), St. Louis’s premiere professional theater for youth and families, continues to expand its artistic footprint into the living rooms of families in St. Louis and across the world with the presentation of two more digital streaming productions this summer, including Early Days — Stories of the Pandemic Digital Archive: A St. Louis COVID-19 Digital Play (live streamed July 29 at 6:30 p.m.) and the virtual premiere of A Kids Play About Racism (available August 1-2).
Both productions are collaborations on the local and national level, and are part of Metro Theater Company’s ongoing efforts and mission to create productions that respect young people’s intelligence, tell compelling stories, stimulate curiosity and provoke thoughtful reflection, even as the St. Louis community adapts to the pandemic.

Early Days — Stories of the Pandemic Digital Archive: A St. Louis COVID-19 Digital PlayWednesday, July 29 at 6:30 p.m.FreeLive-streamed at https://www.metroplays.orghttps://mohistory.org/online-resources or MTC’s Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/MetroPlays
This short play, written by MTC Producing Associate John Wolbers, is part of Metro Theater Company’s partnership with the Missouri Historical Society to document our region’s experiences with the historic COVID-19 pandemic from the unique perspectives of submissions from people of all backgrounds. Together, the two organizations have created an original 15-minute play set against the backdrop of a teen’s now-Zoom call birthday celebration, as a fictional St. Louis family navigates the changes, perspectives, emotions, and hopes we all shared in March as our lives began to change. MTC Artistic Director Julia Flood directs. The cast for this live-streamed story of courage and resilience features actors, Jacqueline ThompsonNicholas Kryah, and Teens Make History Apprentice Madeline Emke. A Q&A follows the performance.
Teens Make History is a work-based learning program for local high school students. Through long-term, paid apprenticeships in exhibitions and museum theatre, the program aims to build key professional skills and give students the confidence they need to succeed. For more information or to learn how you can support this program, please visit mohistory.org/TMH.
The COVID-19 Memory Project was launched by Metro Theater Company in March 2020 to further connect the St. Louis community through storytelling during this time of social distancing. As COVID-19 has changed how we live, work, play, learn, and connect, MTC encouraged community members to share their experiences, emotions, and hopes. This repository of experiences from young people and families are being adapted into a series of virtual performances, with an ultimate goal of translating these stories into a live performance when such performances can resume. Stories from the Memory Project were incorporated in the Arts United STL virtual fundraiser. This Zoom play is the next installment of new work created through the Memory Project. To submit a story, please visit metroplays.org/MemoryProject.


A Kids Play About RacismSaturday & Sunday, August 1 & 2
Free Streaming at Broadway on Demand, https://www.broadwayondemand.com
Metro Theater Company joins a groundbreaking collaboration among 37 Theatres for Young Audiences across the United States, led by the lead producing team of Bay Area Children’s Theatre, Seattle Children’s Theatre, and Alliance Theatre in Atlanta, to present the virtual premiere of A Kids Play About Racism, a theatrical adaptation of Jelani Memory’s A Kids Book About Racism. Premiering August 1 and 2 on the streaming platform Broadway On Demand, the new work is adapted and directed by award-winning director and TYA artist Khalia Davis and will be brought to life by an entirely Black and BIPOC (Black, indigenous, people of color) cast and creative team from across the United States. A Kids Play About Racism utilizes theatre to offer young children and families a way to engage in meaningful conversation about race. As part of the production, educational materials developed by Seattle Children’s Theatre in collaboration with the Northwest African American Museum will extend the experience and enhance age-appropriate engagement. All 37 partnering theatres are members of Theatre for Young Audiences USA (TYA/USA), the national organization representing the field of theatre for children and family audiences. The streaming of A Kids Play About Racism is accompanied by interviews and educational videos.
The scale and breadth of this co-production has been made possible in part through the network cultivated by TYA/USA, which connects organizations and artists across the country focused on theatre for young people and families. Through the last few months, TYA/USA has offered a range of programming to provide deep connections and resource sharing in response to COVID-19. Through this network, TYA theatres across the country have been able to come together to find ways to support each other and their audiences through new and innovative collaboration models.
A Kids Play About Racism is adapted and directed by Khalia Davis, with music composed by Justin Ellington and Costume Design by Ron McCann (California). It will be performed by Davied Morales (California), Angel Adedokun (California), Moses Goods (Hawaii), Rapheal Hamilton (Arizona), Isaiah Harris (Texas), Jessenia Ingram (Georgia), and Regan Sims (New York).
The work is produced by Bay Area Children’s Theatre, Seattle Children’s Theatre, and Alliance Theatre, in partnership with Adventure Theatre MTC, Arts on the Horizon, Children’s Theatre of Charlotte, Chicago Children’s Theatre, Children’s Theater of Madison, Children’s Theatre Company, Childsplay, Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati, Coterie Theatre, Dallas Children’s Theater, Dare to Dream Theatre, Des Moines Performing Arts, Filament Theatre, First Stage, Honolulu Theatre for Youth, Imagination Stage, The Kennedy Center, Magik Theatre, Metro Theater Company, Nashville Children’s Theatre, New York City Children’s Theater, Oregon Children’s Theatre, Orlando Repertory Theatre, Pink Umbrella Theater Company, ReNew Productions, Rose Theater, Seattle Children’s Theatre, The Growing Stage – The Children’s Theatre of New Jersey, The Gottabees, The Open Eye Theater, TheatreWorksUSA, Trike Theatre, Trusty Sidekick Theater Company, Wheelock Family Theatre at Boston University, and Orpheum Theatre Group.

The favorable response to the inaugural production of “Your Immigration Stories, Mine and Ours,” means that more will be planned, said Joan Lipkin of That Uppity Theatre Company.

“W had a wonderful response to the We Immigrants project,” Lipkin said. It took place April 28 at the Missouri History Museum.Lipkin, who is the producing artistic director, said Playback NOW! St. Louis, a project of That Uppity Theatre Company, shared facts about immigration and profiles of famous immigrants, and re-enacted the stories of several immigrants living in St. Louis to a sold out and diverse crowd.

Lipkin said they were excited about what audience members and storytellers said:

“Thanks so much for the wonderful experience! It was amazing!” –Shreya Ahuja, storyteller

“Joan, I had a good time, and enjoyed the show so much. You and the actors are doing a fantastic job! I love that they’re so approachable and friendly.”–Margarita Sanchez, storyteller

“Honestly, the best part is seeing the actors and how they seamlessly flow between the different parts! Too too cool!!! :-)” — Junior Lara, storyteller

“I laughed, I cried, I thought– it was memorable. Loved the cast, the songs, the topic, and especially the stories from the immigrants. I learned a lot and you opened more of my heart. Thank you!!!” — Lori Schmoll, audience

“So glad I made it today. It was an excellent event with such talented people. The story from the young student from China brought me to tears. The strength, fortitude and sacrifice these immigrants make to seek freedom and make a better life was astonishing to hear.” –Jan Brodsky, audience

“Wonderful show. Bringing to life, with humor, stories about the immigrant experience. Next time there’s a showing ….go….” –Peter Barg, audience

“That Uppity Theatre [Company] presented an inspiring storytelling Playback Theatre production, with St. Louisans from India, China, Mexico and the Dominican Republic sharing their personal immigration stories. Now, more than ever before, each immigrant’s story of searching for freedom and striving for opportunity keeps us grounded in what makes us a great nation. Thanks to Joan Lipkin, for her vision and creative voice!” — Anne Taussig, volunteerSt. Louis Public Radio also featured a very nice story about the event: https://news.stlpublicradio.org/post/st-louis-theater-troupe-uses-improv-bring-immigration-stories-life#stream/0

“We want to continue to uplift and support the voices and presence of our immigrant sisters and brothers with We Immigrants and productions like “Your Immigration Stories, Mine and Ours,” she said.

The Sunday audience at production.

Missouri History Museum Kicks Off Closing Month of Muny Memories Exhibit with a World Record AttemptSt. Louis — The Missouri History Museum’s current special exhibit Muny Memories: 100 Seasons Onstage closes on Sunday, June 2, 2019 and to commemorate the occasion, the Museum is inviting the public to participate in an attempt to set the record for the World’s Largest Modern Jazz Dance Class.On Saturday, May 4, 2019, more than 600 people will gather to shimmy, shake, and chasse their way into history during a dance lesson taught by Muny Artistic Associate and choreographer, Michael Baxter.“For the past 9 months our Muny Memories exhibit has taken visitors “backstage” to discover the history of the nation’s largest outdoor musical theatre,” said Tami Goldman, tourism and special projects manager for the Missouri Historical Society. “This is an exhibit closing like never before. We wanted to do something big to kick off the last month of the exhibit run and before the start of The Muny’s 101st season. What could be bigger than the World’s Largest Dance Class?”Dancers of all ages and abilities are invited to register for the class, which will be about 45 minutes in length and take place, rain or shine, on the lawn in front of the Missouri History Museum. Tickets are $7 per person and include a commemorative T-shirt. Participants must register in advance. Interested parties are encouraged to “bust a move” as the event is expected to sell out quickly.Event check-in begins at 7:30 am that day with the lesson starting at 9 am. Between check-in and the start of class, participants will have exclusive access to the Muny Memories exhibit.The World-Record Attempt at the Largest Dance Class is being held in partnership with The Muny. For more information or for event registration visit: mohistory.org/world-record.Muny Memories: 100 Seasons Onstage is open June 9, 2018, through June 2, 2019, at the Missouri History Museum. Admission is free.The Muny’s 101st season begins June 10, 2019. For more information visit muny.org.

The Muny Memories: 100 Seasons Onstage Exhibit now through June 2About Muny Memories: 100 Seasons Onstage: The Muny celebrated its centennial season in 2018. To commemorate this milestone, another Forest Park Landmark is recreating 100 seasons of Muny magic. The Missouri History Museum shines a spotlight on the oldest and largest continuously operating outdoor-theatre in the United States in Muny Memories: 100 Seasons Onstage. This 6,000-square-foot exhibit examines the history of The Muny through approximately 130 artifacts, including 10 costumes and 87 props from favorite Muny shows. Muny memories come to life through interactive media, oral histories from Muny stars and staff, and opportunities to learn a dance step or two

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

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