New Line Theatre, “the bad boy of musical theatre,” has announced its 31st season of adult, alternative musical theatre, including the wild musical comedy SOMETHING ROTTEN, running Sept. 22-Oct. 15, 2022; followed by the electrifying concept musical, NINE, based on Federico Fellini’s iconic film 8 1/2, running March 2-25, 2023; and the season closes with one of the great Stephen Sondheim’s earliest works, the hilarious farce, A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM, based on the Roman comedies of Plautus, running June 1-24, 2023.
BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE… New Line will present a free, public reading of the new musical A REEFER MADNESS CHRISTMAS for one night only in January 2023 (exact date TBA), at the Marcelle Theater. The new musical has book, music, and lyrics by New Line artistic director Scott Miller. The reading is not part of the season subscription.
Season tickets are on sale now, and single tickets will go on sale in September. New Line’s mainstage shows will be in the company’s home, the Marcelle Theater, in Grand Center, St. Louis’ arts district.
To order season tickets for the three mainstage shows, Something Rotten, Nine, and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, go to http://www.newlinetheatre.com/purchase/index.php.
There are three kinds of subscriptions. The First Look Subscription contains tickets for only the Thursday preview for each show. These tickets cannot be exchanged for other dates. Each Regular Subscription includes one ticket for each show in the season. You can use each ticket for any performance date during the run of that show. Each Flex Subscription includes three Flex tickets that you can use at any time for any show during the entire season — use all three tickets for one show or spread them out over the season, however you want! The deadline for ordering season tickets is August 31, 2022.
THE 2022-2023 SEASON
Sept. 22-Oct. 15, 2022
It’s Shakespeare’s London. Or it’s Steven Spielberg’s Hollywood.
Or is it BOTH?
This smart, subversive musical comedy mashes up the crass commercialism of today’s Hollywood with the people and plays of Shakespeare’s London, to ask fascinating, funny questions about commercial success, popular success, artistic success, and personal success. And beneath the rapid-fire Shakespeare jokes, the show comically deconstructs itself and musical theatre as an art form, exploring what makes musicals tick and why we love them. The show was nominated for ten Tonys, nine Drama Desk Awards, and twelve Outer Critics Circle Awards.
Set in the 1590s, brothers Nick and Nigel Bottom are desperate to write a hit play but they’re stuck in the shadow of the Renaissance rock star Will Shakespeare. When a local soothsayer foretells that the future of theatre involves singing, dancing and acting, all at the same time, Nick and Nigel set out to write the world’s very first musical.
The New Line production will be directed by Scott Miller, with costume design by Sarah Porter, scenic design by Rob Lippert, and sound design by Ryan Day.
Produced by arrangement with Music Theatre International, New York.
A REEFER MADNESS CHRISTMAS
A Free Public Reading
January 2023 (TBA)
What happens when a family’s secrets are all revealed on one outrageous, pot-fueled Christmas Eve in 1959?
Poor Harry Goodson is about to find out, as he’s visited overnight by his dead brother, Jesus Christ, Sandra Dee, and Johnny Appleweed, and he finally learns what his family already knows, that the answer to all his problems is marijuana!
Not really a sequel to the unintentionally hilarious 1936 “scare film,” this new musical is more like a wacky companion piece, a tongue-in-cheek response, a comic look at what a little pot and a little truth can do to a normal, average, Midwestern, American family at mid-century, just as America plunges into the 1960s.
The New Line reading will be directed by Scott Miller, featuring Zachary Allen Farmer as Harry, Nellie Mitchell as Bess, Isabel Garcia as Tammy, Chris Moore as Uncle Hugh, along with Colin Dowd, Sarah Gene Dowling, Brittany Hester, and Chris Kernan as the carolers.
New Line will present a full production of A Reefer Madness Christmas in fall 2023. More details to come….
March 2-25, 2023
Genius filmmaker Guido Contini is having a very messy nervous breakdown. And you’re invited!
Based on filmmaking legend Federico Fellini’s legendary (semi-)autobiographical film 8 1/2, this is a psychoanalytical roller coaster ride through the brain of a troubled, self-doubting genius. Underneath, it’s a story about creation and creators, the sacrifices and compromises and demons, and the mysterious, delicate process of making great art.
Nine follows Fellini avatar Guido Contini who suffers a monumental breakdown, just as he turns forty and cameras are ready to roll on his next film, which Guido hasn’t even written yet. The entire show unfolds inside Guido’s frantic, chaotic mind as the many women in his life begin to rebel against his casual use and abuse of them, and as he examines the many relationships in his life. Finally, Guido has to learn the hardest lesson of all for an artist – he has to grow up.
In fact, Fellini gave his film its title as a joke: his lead character was so blocked artistically that his story didn’t even get a real title (its original title was La Bella Confusione), just a number. Fellini had already directed six full-length films and one short film, and he had co-directed two films, so this was film number eight-and-a-half. But beacuse the stage musical was no longer artistic autobiography, the new title Nine refers to the age that Guido wishes he could return to, a simpler time free of responsibility.
Frank Rich wrote in The New York Times, “In Nine, his most ambitious show, director Tommy Tune provides the strongest evidence yet that he is one of or theater’s most inventive directors – a man who could create rainbows in a desert. Songwriter Maury Yeston, a newcomer to Broadway, has an imagination that, at its best, is almost Mr. Tune’s match. His score, giddily orchestrated by Jonathan Tunick, is a literate mixture of showbiz and operatic musical genres that contains some of the season’s most novel and beautiful songs. Together, Mr. Yeston and Mr. Tune give Nine more than a few sequences that are at once hallucinatory and entertaining – dreams that play like showstoppers.” Rich went on to say, “There’s so much rich icing on Nine that anyone who cares about the progress of the Broadway musical will have to see it.”
The New Line production will be directed by Scott Miller, with choreography by Chris Kernan, costume design by Sarah Porter, scenic design by Rob Lippert, and sound design by Ryan Day.
Open auditions will be held in June.
Produced by arrangement with Concord Theatricals, New York.
A FUNNY THINGS HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM
June 1-24, 2023
You think we’re confused by sex, gender, and love today?
Get a load of the Romans!
Master songwriter Stephen Sondheim and comic playwright and screenwriter Burt Shevelove took the classical Roman comedies of Plautus, mashed them together with American vaudeville, and came up with one of the great musical farces of all time, every bit as smart and subversive as Sondheim’s later shows. In 1962, this show satirized America’s hang-ups about sex; today, the show asks lots of complicated questions we’ve all been asking lately, about sex, gender, and more.
Sondheim was an honorary member of the New Line board for almost thirty years, and he was a regular New Line donor before his recent death. New Line has produced seven other Sondheim shows over the years.
The music critic for The New York Times, Anthony Tommasini, wrote about the show, “For all the talk of Forum harking back to the days of good, clean farce, theatrically it is an experimental work. It completely subverts the heritage of what is called the book show, handed down by Rodgers and Hammerstein, where the songs emerge from the plot. In Forum, the songs purposely interrupt the farcical plot, giving the audience a needed break from the madcap hysterics.” The show was nominated for eight Tony Awards and won six, including Best Musical, Best Producer, Best Book, and Best Director. There have been multiple Broadway revivals, in 1972 with Phil Silvers, and 1996 with Nathan Lane, and later in the run, Whoopi Goldberg. All three actors who have opened in the role of Pseudolus on Broadway have won Best Actor Tony Awards. On top of that, Jason Alexander played the role in Jerome Robbins’ Broadway, and he also won a Tony for Best Actor in a Musical.
The New Line production will be directed by Scott Miller and Chris Kernan, with choreography by Kernan, costume design by Sarah Porter, scenic design by Rob Lippert, and sound design by Ryan Day.
Produced by arrangement with Music Theatre International, New York.
THE 2022-2023 NEW LINE SEASON AT A GLANCE
Sept. 22-Oct. 15, 2022 – Something Rotten
January 2023 (TBA) – Free Public Reading of Reefer Madness Christmas
Mar. 2-25, 2023 – Nine
June 1-24, 2023 – A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum
June 12, 2023 – Auditions for 32nd Season
June 19, 2023 – Auditions for 32nd Season
ABOUT NEW LINE THEATRE
New Line Theatre is a professional company dedicated to involving the people of the St. Louis region in the exploration and creation of daring, provocative, socially and politically relevant works of musical theatre. New Line was created back in 1991 at the vanguard of a new wave of nonprofit musical theatre just starting to take hold across the country. New Line has given birth to several world premiere musicals over the years and has brought back to life several shows that were not well served by their original New York productions. Altogether, New Line has produced 92 musicals since 1991, and the company has been given its own entry in the Cambridge Guide to American Theatre and the annual Theater World. New Line receives support from the Regional Arts Commission, the Missouri Arts Council, a state agency, the Kranzberg Arts Foundation, and the Grand Center Arts District.
New Line also continues its partnership with the Webster University Department of Music and their Bachelor of Music in Music Direction for Musical Theatre degree program.
New Line’s current season closes with the outrageous musical comedy URINETOWN, running June 2-25, 2022. For more information, visit www.newlinetheatre.com.
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Lynn Venhaus has had a continuous byline in St. Louis metro region publications since 1978. She is a Rotten Tomatoes-approved film critic, currently reviews films for Webster-Kirkwood Times and KTRS Radio, covers entertainment for PopLifeSTL.com and co-hosts podcast PopLifeSTL.com…Presents, and writes features and news for Belleville News-Democrat and contributes to other publications. She is a member of CCA, AWFJ and St. Louis Film Critics Association. She is a founding member of the St. Louis Theater Circle.