By Lynn Venhaus Managing EditorAnother Opening, Another Show! Summertime kicks off with annual traditions inside and outdoors — Shakespeare Festival St. Louis’ “Love’s Labors Lost” opens for its month-long free admission run in Forest Park while Opera Theatre St. Louis has two shows in repertory – Mozart’s “The Marriage of Figaro” and Verdi’s “Rigoletto.” Major musicals make their St. Louis debut this week – the still-running-on-Broadway “Be More Chill” at New Line Theatre and the Peter Allen biopic “The Boy from Oz” kicks off Stages St. Louis’s season.Joe Hanrahan’s Midnight Company presents the St. Louis premiere of the one-man-show “Charlie Johnson Reads All of Proust.”It’s the last chance to see the comedy “I Now Pronounce” at New Jewish Theatre and the musical “Nina Simone: Four Women” at The Black Rep.

Start your summer by going to see a play!

Cast of ‘Be More Chill” — Photo by Jill Ritter Lindberg“Be More Chill” May 30-June 22 Thursday – Sunday, 8 p.m. New Line Theatre The Marcelle Theatre, 3310 Samuel Shepard Drive www.newlinetheatre.org 314-534-1111 What It’s About: “The Breakfast Club” meets “Little Shop of Horrors” in the new sci-fi rock musical, “Be More Chill,” with music and lyrics by Joe Iconis and book by Joe Tracz, based on the bestselling novel by New Vizzini. It’s a look at life in the digital age, exploring teen depression, bullying and other current issues through the comic lens of sci-fi films of the 50s, horror flicks of the 80s and the teen movies of the 90s.

Directors: Scott Miller and Mike Dowdy-Windsor, with music
direction by Nicolas Valdez
Starring: Jayde Mitchell (Jeremy), Dominic Dowdy-Windsor (Squip), Kevin Corpuz
(Michael), Zachary Allen Farmer (Jeremy’s Dad), Melissa Felps (Brooke), Evan
Fornachon (Rich), Isabel Cecilia Garcia (Jenna), Grace Langford (Christine),
Ian McCreary (Jake), and Laura Renfro (Chloe).

Of Note: “Be More Chill” made its world premiere at the Two River Theater in Red Bank, New Jersey in 2015, had a successful off-Broadway run, it’s now being produced across the country, and it just opened on Broadway in March. It has a Tony nomination for Best Original Score (Joe Iconis, music and lyrics).

David Elder in Stages St. Louis debut“The Boy from Oz” May 31 – June 30 Stages St. Louis Robert G. Reim Theatre, Kirkwood Community Center 111 S. Geyer Road, Kirkwoodwww.stagesstlouis.org

What It’s About: Dazzling and hilarious as the legendary
Peter Allen himself, THE BOY FROM OZ follows the Australian singer-songwriter
from his humble beginnings performing in backcountry pubs to his international
stardom beside such Hollywood icons as Judy Garland and her daughter Liza
Minnelli.

Director: Michael Hamilton
Starring: David Elder as Peter Allen, Sarah Ellis as Liza Minnelli, Zach
Trimmer as Greg Connell, Corinne Melancon as Marion Woolnough, Michele Ragusa
as Judy Garland, Brad Frenette as George Woolnough, Steve Isom as Dick
Woolnough, Erik Keiser as Chris Bell, Nic Thompson as Mark Herron, Ben Iken and
Simon Desilets as Young Peter, Lydia Ruth Dawson, Bryn Purvis and Madison
Tinder as Trio, Frankie Thams as Trick, Nathanial Burich as Dealer and Ashley
Chasteen as Alice. Ensemble includes Kari Ely and Caleb Dicke.
Of Note: Thrilling news from Stages St. Louis comes in the form of two
celebratory evenings focused around diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in
conjunction with performances of “The Boy From Oz.” The 8 pm performances on
Saturday, June 1 and Friday, June 7 will offer special $30 tickets to
diversity, equity, and inclusion groups at corporations and organizations
throughout the St. Louis region. The tickets will include a special post show champagne
and dessert reception featuring lively conversation with members of the cast.

Joe Hanrahan in “Charlie Johnson Reads All of Proust”“Charlie Johnson Reads All of Proust” May 30 – June 15 The Midnight Company Thursday through Saturday at 8 p.m. Kranzberg Center, 501 N. Grandwww.midnightcompany.com What It’s About: An older man taking a break from Christmas shopping with his family at a Starbucks. Hungry for dinner, he tides himself over with the purchase of a small package of soft, spongy cookies. When he dips one in his coffee, his snooty daughter-in-law asks him if he’s having his “Madeleine moment,” and then proceeds to lecture him about Marcel Proust and “Remembrance of Things Past” – the classic multi-volume novel inspired by the narrator dipping a madeleine cake into tea, with the taste bringing back memories of his boyhood, and leading to a retelling of his time in 19th/20th century aristocratic France. Charlie decides he’s going to read that book (not realizing it is seven books) and be able to talk about it with his daughter-in-law next Christmas. And along the way, he discovers the epic that is his own life.

Director: Sarah Holt

Starring: Joe Hanrahan

“The Dixie Swim Club” May 31 – June 19 Monroe Actors Stage Company Thursday through Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2:30 p.m. Historic Capitol Theatre in Waterloowww.masctheatre.org 618-939-7469 What It’s About: Five Southern women, whose friendships began many years ago on their college swim team, set aside a long weekend every August to recharge those relationships. Free from husbands, kids and jobs, they meet at the same beach cottage on North Carolina’s Outer Banks to catch up, laugh and meddle in each other’s lives. The play focuses on four of those weekends and spans a period of thirty-three years.Director: Tim PaeltzStarring: Stacey Tunnicliff as Sheree Hollinger, Dawn Williamson as Lexi Richards, Terrie Thies as Dinah Grayson, Christine Miller as Vernadette Sims and Kelly Shaw as Jeri Neal McFeeley.

Will Bonfiglio is the Best Man in “I Now Pronounce.” Jon Gitchoff photo.“I Now Pronounce” May – June 2 New Jewish Theatre Marvin and Harlene Wool Studio Theatre Jewish Community Center, 2 Millstone Campus Drive in Creve Coeurwww.newjewishtheatre.org

What It’s About: Most weddings have something that doesn’t
go quite right – maybe several things go awry. Often these mishaps are the
things that make the most endearing memories of the occasion, but Tasha
Gordon-Solomon’s “I Now Pronounce” imagines a wedding that culminates in an
awkwardly timed fatality, and a reception that spins into a strange and
hilarious evening that leaves the bride and groom questioning just what it is
they’re celebrating. The flower girls are running amuck; the bridal party
members are more preoccupied with their own flailing relationships. But there’s
no stopping the festivities! Comedies end in marriage.

Director: Edward Coffield

Starring: Graham Emmons, Will Bonfiglio, Ryan
Lawson-Maeske, Jessica Kadish, Craig Neuman, Delaney Piggins, Frankie Ferrari

“Love’s Labors Lost” May 31 – June 23 Shakespeare Festival St. Louis 8 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday Shakespeare Glen, Forest Park www.shakespearefestivalstlouis.org

What It’s About” Belonging to Shakespeare’s “lyrical”
period, which also included Romeo and Juliet and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the
play tells the story of the Princess of France and her ladies who arrive on a
diplomatic mission to Navarre only to be met by a young king and his lords who
have taken a vow not to see women. Affairs of state give way to affairs of the
heart as Shakespeare reveals with great humor and compassion the way our
culture sometimes doesn’t fully prepare us for the realities of love and
intimacy. A feast of language and theatrical virtuosity, Love’s Labors Lost
shimmers with all the passion and promise of a first kiss.

Director: Tom Ridgely
Starring: Philip Hernandez as Don Adriano de Armado, Bradley James Tejeda (Duc
de Biron), Kea Trevett (Princess of France), Sky Smith (King of Navarre), Patrick
Blindauer (Costard), Katy Keating (Nathaniel), Michael James Reed
(Forester/Marcadé), Jeffery Cummings (Boyet); Carl Howell (Dull), Carine
Montbertrand (Holofernes), Randolph (Moth), Laura Sohn (Rosaline), Molly Meyer
(Jaquenetta), Sam Jones (Longueville), Vivienne Claire Luthin (Maria), Kiah
McKirnan (Catherine), and Riz Moe (DuMaine).

“The Marriage of Figaro” May 25 – June 29 Opera Theatre of St. Louis Loretto-Hilton Center 135 Edgar Road on Webster University campuswww.opera-stl.org 314-961-0644 What It’s About: Mozart’s comedy masterpiece is about complicated life at court and how love should always prevail. The maid Susanna is determined to wed her fiancé, Figaro, while the Count is equally determined to add her to his list of conquests. But Susanna and Figaro won’t allow one self-entitled nobleman to ruin their happy ending! They each hatch their own plots to teach their master a lesson. What follows is a whirlwind day of romantic intrigue, cunning schemes, and uproarious fun. The opera runs three hours and ten minutes with one intermission and is sung in English with English supertitles.

Nina Simone: Four Women. Photo by Philip Hamer“Nina Simone: Four Women” The Black Rep May 15 – June 2 Edison Theatre on Washington University campus www.theblackrep.org

What It’s About: Nina Simone’s velvet voice was unafraid to
sing lyrics that cut right to the truth. Her music and her life were a personal
exploration branded in the kiln of the civil rights movement; so, in the
aftermath of the 1963 bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church and the tragic
loss of the four little girls her powerful anthems, “Mississippi Goddam,” “Sinnerman”
and “Old Jim Crow,” fueled the Civil Rights movement and changed her public
persona from songstress to activist. From the iconic “I Put a Spell on You” to “Four
Women,” Simone’s lyrics weave a story of four women alienated from themselves
and one another due to the color of their skin.

Director: Ron HimesStarring: Leah Stewart as Simone, Denise Thimes as Sarah (aka Auntie), Alex Jay as Sephronia and Camile “Cee” Sharp as Sweet Thing

“Rigoletto” Opera Theatre of St. Louis June 1 – June 30 8 p.m. Loretto-Hilton Center 135 Edgar Roadwww.experienceopera.org 314-961-0644What It’s About: Verdi’s powerful “Rigoletto” is a tale of innocence lost, wrenchingly poignant and all too human, presented in English with English supertitles. Rigoletto is a bitter court jester who serves the Duke of Mantua, a lecherous womanizer. Together, they are despised throughout the city. But alone, Rigoletto is all tenderness when it comes to his innocent young daughter, Gilda. Little does he know that an ominous curse is about to take its toll. When the Duke seduces Gilda, only to then abandon her, the enraged father swears vengeance.

Cover Photo: Vivienne Claire Luthin, Kea Trevett, Laura Sohn and Kiah McKirnan in “Love’s Labors Lost” — Photo by Philip Hamer.

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

Opera Theatre’s Artists-in-Training Program continues with the partnership of Bayer Fund

Opera Theatre of Saint Louis’ Monsanto Artists-in-Training Program, recognized as a flagship arts education program in the U.S. for more than 29 years, will be renamed the Bayer Fund Artists-in-Training Program in recognition of the company’s generous investment.

Since its inception in 1990, Monsanto Fund has provided support for the Artists-in-Training Program, with more than $500,000 in scholarships awarded to over 240 students. It has helped launch the careers of celebrated singers, including Julia Bullock, Jermaine Smith, and Derrell Acon.

Opera Theatre gratefully acknowledges Monsanto Fund for its visionary and steadfast investment in the Artists-in-Training Program and is honored to now partner with Bayer Fund, which has provided leadership support to continue this important work.

“Bayer Fund is honored to continue the many years of ongoing support for the Artists-inTraining Program,” said Al Mitchell, Bayer’s Vice President of Community Engagement. “This program has positively impacted the lives of a large number of St. Louis students, and we look forward to seeing this success continue.”

“We are so grateful for the support Monsanto Fund has provided over the past 29 years,” said Opera Theatre of Saint Louis General Director Andrew Jorgensen. “I look forward to continuing the work of identifying and nurturing rising artists in the St. Louis community in partnership with Bayer Fund.”

The Annual Spring Recital for Bayer Fund Artists-in-Training will be held on Sunday, April 14 at 3 p.m. at the Sheldon Concert Hall, 3648 Washington Boulevard. This event is the culmination program of a year’s study for these talented young singers, and approximately $12,000 in scholarships will be awarded based on their performances.

The 2019 Bayer Fund Artists-in-Training Program provides year-long college-level vocal training to 24 high school students from across the St. Louis region, as well as week-long master classes with major artists from across the country.

In the week leading up to the recital, these students will train with internationally renowned bass Morris Robinson. Morris Robinson is considered one of the most interesting and sought-after basses performing today. Mr. Robinson regularly appears at the Metropolitan Opera, where he is a graduate of the Lindemann Young Artist Program. He made his debut there in a production of Fidelio and has since appeared as Sarastro in Die Zauberflöte, Ferrando in Il Trovatore, the King in Aida, and in roles in Nabucco, Tannhäuser, Les Troyens, and Salome. He has also appeared at such prestigious venues as the San Francisco Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, and Teatro alla Scala, among others.

Established in 1990, Opera Theatre’s Bayer Fund Artists-in-Training Program sets out to identify, coach, and encourage talented students from high schools across the St. Louis area with weekly voice lessons by opera professionals at one of the four area universities.

The year-long program also offers master classes with visiting artists, awards more than $25,000 annually in scholarships, provides college tours of vocal programs from select universities and conservatories, and offers college guidance to high school graduates.

The Bayer Fund Artists-inTraining Program has been recognized by the President’s Committee for the Arts and the Humanities as one of ten model U.S. programs for at-risk youth. About Opera Theatre of Saint Louis Opera Theatre of Saint Louis is a spring festival featuring casts of the opera world’s most exciting singers accompanied by the acclaimed St. Louis Symphony Orchestra.

Each season, OTSL presents four inventive new productions in English during the months of May and June. In addition to presenting innovative interpretation of classics, OTSL is also committed to premiering new and relevant operas by prominent composers; since its inaugural season in 1976, 27 operas have premiered at Opera Theatre. Andrew Jorgensen began his tenure as general director in 2018, and James Robinson serves as artistic director.

Opera Theatre’s competitive young artist programs foster the next generation of emerging American singers; these programs have been a springboard for an exceptional number of extraordinary artists in launching international careers.

Opera Theatre of Saint Louis is funded in part by the Regional Arts Commission, Arts and Education Council, National Endowment for the Arts, and the Missouri Arts Council, with audience-building programs supported by The Wallace Foundation. Opera Theatre gratefully acknowledges Webster University for its sustaining partnership.

About Bayer Fund Bayer Fund is a nonprofit organization dedicated to strengthening the communities where Bayer customers and employees live and work by providing funding for food and nutrition, education and community development projects.

Opera Theatre of Saint Louis announces the repertory and full casting for the 2019 Festival Season. The 44 th season will feature the company’s 28 th world premiere with Terence Blanchard and Kasi Lemmons’s Fire Shut Up in My Bones, based on the best-selling memoir by New York Times columnist Charles Blow. New productions of Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro, Verdi’s Rigoletto, and Monteverdi’s The Coronation of Poppea will be presented. The season will also include the fifth annual Center Stage concert, conducted by Music Director Emeritus Stephen Lord, showcasing the talents of OTSL’s Gaddes Festival Artists and Gerdine Young Artists.

Opera Theatre’s 2019 Festival Season begins on Saturday, May 25 and continues through Sunday, June 30. Subscriptions and single tickets can be purchased online, in person at the Loretto-Hilton Box Office, or by calling (314) 961-0644. Full cast and creative teams for the 2019 Festival Season continues on the following pages.

THE 2019 REPERTORY *Debut artist ○Former Young Artist ♦Richard Gaddes Festival Artist +Gerdine Young Artist

The Marriage of Figaro Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1786)

Translation: Andrew Porter Conductor: Christopher Allen Stage Director: Mark Lamos Eight Performances: May 25, 31, June 6, 8 (m), 12, 16, 19 (m), 29 Count Almaviva: Theo Hoffman○ Countess Almaviva: Susannah Biller Figaro: Aubrey Allicock○ Susanna: Monica Dewey○ Cherubino: Samantha Gossard○ Dr. Bartolo: Nathan Stark Marcellina: MaryAnn McCormick○ Don Basilio: John McVeigh○ Antonio: Philip Lopez○♦ Barbarina: Elena Villalón*+ Don Curzio: Calvet Young*+ Set Designer: Paul Steinberg Costume Designer: Constance Hoffman Lighting Designer: Christopher Akerlind Wig & Makeup Designer: Tom Watson Choreographer: Séan Curran Chorus Master: Cary John Franklin

Life at court is about to get complicated. The maid Susanna is determined to wed her fiancé, Figaro, while the Count is equally determined to add her to his list of conquests. But Susanna and Figaro won’t allow one self-entitled nobleman to ruin their happy ending! They each hatch their own plots to teach their master a lesson. What follows is a whirlwind day of romantic intrigue, cunning schemes, and uproarious fun. One of Mozart’s most beloved masterpieces, The Marriage of Figaro reminds us all that love will always prevail, and forgiveness is always within reach. Made possible with a leadership gift from Lelia & David Farr and with production underwriting from Mabel L. Purkerson, M.D.

Rigoletto Giuseppe Verdi (1851) Translation: James Fenton Conductor: Roberto Kalb Stage Director: Bruno Ravella Seven Performances: June 1, 5, 14, 20, 22 (m), 26 (m), 30 Duke: Joshua Wheeker○ Rigoletto: Roland Wood Gilda: So Young Park○ Monterone: Nicholas Newton* Sparafucile: Christian Zaremba* Maddalena: Lindsay Ammann○ Set Designer: Alex Eales Costume Designer: Mark Bouman Lighting Designer: Christopher Akerlind Wig & Makeup Designer: Tom Watson Choreographer: Séan Curran Chorus Master: Cary John Franklin There is no purer love than that of a father for his daughter — and no more impossible task than protecting her from the world. Rigoletto is a bitter court jester who serves the Duke, a lecherous womanizer. Together, they are despised throughout the city. But alone, Rigoletto is all tenderness when it comes to his innocent young daughter, Gilda. Little does he know that an ominous curse is about to take its toll. When the Duke seduces Gilda, only to then abandon her, the enraged father swears vengeance.

Set to some of Verdi’s most powerful music, this tale of innocence lost is wrenchingly poignant and all too human. Rigoletto is made possible with leadership gifts from Phyllis Brissenden and Sally S. Levy Family.

The Coronation of Poppea Claudio Monteverdi (1624)

Translation: Tim Albery & Laurence Cummings Conductor: Nicholas Kok* Stage Director: Tim Albery* Six Performances: June 9, 13, 15 (m), 22, 26, 28 Poppea: Emily Fons Nerone: Brenton Ryan Ottone: Tom Scott-Cowell* Ottavia: Sarah Mesko* Seneca: David Pittsinger Arnalta: Patricia Schuman Drusilla: Devon Guthrie Virtù: Jennifer Aylmer Theorbo: Daniel Swenberg, Andrew Maginley Viola da Gamba & Lirone: Joshua Keller Baroque Harp: Christa Patton Set/Costume Designer: Hannah Clark* Lighting Designer: Christopher Akerlind Wig & Makeup Designer: Tom Watson Choreographer: Séan Curran Chorus Master: Cary John Franklin The fight for the throne is never dignified. Poppea will stop at nothing to become Empress, no matter who she has to blackmail, betray, or kill. And Emperor Nerone, who is infatuated with Poppea, is not thinking with his head. Separately, they’re bad enough. Together, they will turn Rome upside down. Sexy, bloodthirsty, and unapologetic, this opera is the best kind of political thriller. Fire Shut Up in My Bones World Premiere Terence Blanchard and Kasi Lemmons (2018) Co-Comissioned with Jazz St. Louis Conductor: William Long Stage Director: James Robinson Six Performances: June 15, 19, 21, 23, 27, 29 (m) Destiny/Loneliness/Greta: Julia Bullock* Mother: Karen Slack* Charles Blow: Davóne Tines* Spinner: Chaz’men Williams-Ali○ Ruby: Rehanna Thelwell+ Verna: Katerina Burton+ Bertha: Tesia Kwarteng+ Foreman/Pastor: Leroy Y. Davis+ Set Designer: Allen Moyer Costume Designer: James Schutte Video Projection Designer: Greg Emetaz Lighting Designer: Christopher Akerlind Wig & Makeup Designer: Tom Watson Choreographer: Séan Curran Chorus Master: Cary John Franklin

One moment can change everything. When Charles discovers that his cousin has returned to his Louisiana hometown, he races home from college to confront his past. Memories and shadows surround Charles as he strives to move beyond a cycle of violence and forge a brave new path. Terence Blanchard, composer of OTSL’s hit Champion, teams up with screenwriter Kasi Lemmons (Eve’s Bayou) for a haunting, powerful, and tender coming-of-age story inspired by a memoir celebrated as “stunning” (Essence), “riveting” (Chicago Tribune), and “exquisite” (The New York Times). Casting of several additional roles in Fire Shut Up in My Bones will be finalized by April 2019. Made possible in part by the Fred M. Saigh Endowment at Opera Theatre and by the Sally S. Levy Family Fund for New Works, which provides support for contemporary opera and related community engagement activities. Leadership support comes from the Whitaker Foundation, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Centene Charitable Foundation, Noémi & Michael Neidorff, and the Berges Family Foundation. This production is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts and made possible by an OPERA America Innovation Grant, supported by the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation. Major production support

All main season productions at Opera Theatre are accompanied by members of the St. Louis
Symphony Orchestra and are performed in English, with projected supertitles. Concerts and
special events, such as Center Stage, feature music sung in its original language. Performances
are presented in the Virginia Jackson Browning Theatre of the Loretto-Hilton Center for the
Performing Arts on the campus of Webster University. Productions are performed in rotating
repertory, making it easy for audiences to enjoy all four productions of the festival in a single
weekend.
###
About Opera Theatre of Saint Louis
Opera Theatre of Saint Louis is a spring festival featuring casts of the opera world’s most
exciting singers accompanied by the acclaimed St. Louis Symphony Orchestra. Each season,
OTSL presents four inventive new productions in English during the months of May and June. In
addition to presenting innovative interpretation of classics, OTSL is also committed to
premiering new and relevant operas by prominent composers; since its inaugural season in 1976,
27 operas have premiered at Opera Theatre.
Opera Theatre’s competitive young artist programs foster the next generation of emerging
American singers; these programs have been a springboard for an exceptional number of
extraordinary artists in launching international careers.
Opera Theatre of Saint Louis is funded in part by the Regional Arts Commission, Arts and
Education Council, National Endowment for the Arts, and the Missouri Arts Council, with
audience building programs supported by The Wallace Foundation. Opera Theatre gratefully
acknowledges Webster University for its sustaining partnership

ST. LOUIS, January 25, 2019 
— The musical Evita, which opened the 51st season of
The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis last September, and the Tennessee Williams
Festival’s production of A Streetcar Named Desire each has garnered 11
nominations to lead the list of contenders for the seventh annual St. Louis
Theater Circle Awards.

Winners in more than 30 different categories covering comedies,
dramas and musicals will be announced at the awards ceremony on Monday, March
25 at the Loretto-Hilton Center on the campus of Webster University, home of
The Rep.  In addition, nominations also
have been announced for two categories in opera.

Tickets once again will be $15 apiece and can be obtained
through Brown Paper Tickets at www.brownpapertickets.com
or at the Loretto-Hilton Center box office on the night of the event.
Llywelyn’s Catering will offer a selection of snack boxes, desserts and drinks
available on a pay-as-you-go basis at the event.

The Rep leads the way with a total of 21 nominations,
followed by 18 for The Muny and Stray Dog Theatre’s 15 nominees.  Some 23 local professional companies received
nominations for 54 different shows.  A
total of 120 artists have been nominated, including 10 who received two
nominations apiece. The awards honor outstanding achievement in locally
produced professional theater for the calendar year 2018.

In addition, three special awards have been announced:  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 following the conclusion of her company’s
2017-18 season, while Woolf will be retiring at the conclusion of The Rep’s
2018-19 season this spring.

The mission of the St. Louis Theater Circle is simple: To
honor outstanding achievement in St. Louis professional theater. Other cities
around the country, such as Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, San
Diego, San Francisco and Washington D.C., pay tribute to their own local
theatrical productions with similar awards programs.

Nominations for the St. Louis Theater Circle Awards are
divided into categories for musicals, dramas, comedies and opera.  Nearly 130 locally produced professional
theatrical productions were presented in the St. Louis area in 2018.

The nominees for the seventh annual St. Louis Theater Circle
Awards are:

Outstanding
Ensemble in a Comedy

Into the Breeches!, Shakespeare Festival St. Louis

Life Sucks, New Jewish Theatre

The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told, Stray Dog Theatre

The Realistic Joneses, Rebel and Misfits Productions

Red Scare on Sunset, Stray Dog Theatre

Outstanding
Supporting Actress in a Comedy

Kari Ely, Into the Breeches!, Shakespeare Festival
St. Louis

Carmen Garcia, Luchadora!, Mustard Seed Theatre with
Theatre Nuevo

Jennelle Gilreath, The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told,
Stray Dog Theatre

Katy Keating, Life Sucks, New Jewish Theatre

Shannon Nara, Red Scare on Sunset, Stray Dog Theatre

Outstanding
Supporting Actor in a Comedy

Gary Wayne Barker, Into the Breeches!, Shakespeare
Festival St. Louis

Isaiah Di Lorenzo, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead,
St. Louis Shakespeare

Brad Fraizer, A Christmas Story, Repertory Theatre of
St. Louis

Stephen Henley, Red Scare on Sunset, Stray Dog
Theatre

Carl Overly Jr., Luchadora!, Mustard Seed Theatre
with Theatre Nuevo

Outstanding
Actress in a Comedy

Sarajane Alverson, Raging Skillet, New Jewish Theatre

Michelle Hand, Into the Breeches!, Shakespeare Festival
St. Louis

Nancy Nigh, Every Brilliant Thing, R-S Theatrics

Ruth Pferdehirt, Born Yesterday, Repertory Theatre of
St. Louis

Heather Sartin, The Great Seduction, West End Players
Guild

Outstanding Actor
in a Comedy

Will Bonfiglio, Red Scare on Sunset, Stray Dog
Theatre

Alan Knoll, An Act of God, New Jewish Theatre

Luke Steingruby, The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told,
Stray Dog Theatre

Robert Thibaut, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead,
St. Louis Shakespeare

Pete Winfrey, The Importance of Being Earnest,
Insight Theatre Company

Outstanding
Director of a Comedy

Gary F. Bell, Red Scare on Sunset, Stray Dog Theatre

Nancy Bell, Into the Breeches!, Shakespeare Festival
St. Louis

Edward Coffield, Life Sucks, New Jewish Theatre

Pamela Hunt, Born Yesterday, Repertory Theatre of St.
Louis

Anna Skidis Vargas, Luchadora!, Mustard Seed Theatre
with Theatre Nuevo

Outstanding
Production of a Comedy

Born Yesterday, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis

Into the Breeches!, Shakespeare Festival St. Louis

Life Sucks, New Jewish Theatre

Luchadora!, Mustard Seed Theatre with Theatre Nuevo

Red Scare on Sunset, Stray Dog Theatre

Outstanding
Ensemble in a Drama

As It Is in Heaven, Mustard Seed Theatre

The Last Days of Judas Iscariot, Mustard Seed Theatre

The Little Foxes, St. Louis Actors’ Studio

Macbeth: Come Like Shadows, Rebel and Misfits
Productions

A Streetcar Named Desire, Tennessee Williams Festival
St. Louis

Outstanding
Supporting Actress in a Drama

Nicole Angeli, Doctor Faustus, or the Modern Prometheus,
SATE

Lana Dvorak, A Streetcar Named Desire, Tennessee
Williams Festival St. Louis

Laurie McConnell, The Little Foxes, St. Louis Actors’
Studio

Jennifer Theby-Quinn, Silent Sky, Insight Theatre
Company

Brandi Threatt, Torn Asunder, The Black Rep

Outstanding
Supporting Actor in a Drama

Chuck Brinkley, The Little Foxes, St. Louis Actors’
Studio

Ryan Lawson-Maeske, Tribes, St. Louis Actors’ Studio

Thom Niemann, Admissions, Repertory Theatre of St.
Louis

Spencer Sickmann, A Streetcar Named Desire, Tennessee
Williams Festival St. Louis

Eric Dean White, The Last Days of Judas Iscariot,
Mustard Seed Theatre

Outstanding
Actress in a Drama

Elizabeth Birkenmeier, Blackbird, St.
Louis Actors’ Studio

Sophia Brown, A Streetcar Named Desire,
Tennessee Williams Festival St. Louis

Kari Ely, The Little Foxes, St. Louis
Actors’ Studio

LaShunda Gardner, Torn Asunder, The
Black Rep

Angela Ingersoll, End of the Rainbow,
Max & Louie Productions

Outstanding Actor
in a Drama

Ron Himes, Fences, The Black Rep

Nick Narcisi, A Streetcar Named Desire, Tennessee
Williams Festival St. Louis

John Pierson, Blackbird, St. Louis Actors’ Studio

Rob Riordan, New Jerusalem, New Jewish Theatre

David Wassilak, The Dresser, St. Louis Actors’ Studio

Outstanding
Director of a Drama

Lorna Littleway, Fences, The Black Rep

Bobby Miller, The Dresser, St. Louis Actors’ Studio

Tim Ocel, New Jerusalem, New Jewish Theatre

Tim Ocel, A Streetcar Named Desire, Tennessee
Williams Festival St. Louis

Annamaria Pileggi, Blackbird, St. Louis Actors’
Studio

Outstanding
Production of a Drama

Blackbird, St. Louis Actors’ Studio

End of the Rainbow, Max & Louie Productions

Fences, The Black Rep

New Jerusalem, New Jewish Theatre

A Streetcar Named Desire, Tennessee Williams Festival
St. Louis

Outstanding Set
Design in a Play

Dunsi
Dai, End of the Rainbow, Max & Louie Productions

Gianni
Downs, The Humans, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis

Peter
and Margery Spack, Blow, Winds, Shakespeare Festival St. Louis

Peter
and Margery Spack, Life Sucks, New Jewish Theatre

James
Wolk, A Streetcar Named Desire, Tennessee Williams Festival St. Louis

Outstanding
Costume Design in a Play

Lou Bird, Born Yesterday, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis

Megan Harshaw, The Little Foxes, St. Louis Actors’ Studio

Amy Hopkins, Red Scare on Sunset, Stray Dog Theatre

Michele Friedman Siler, Into the Breeches!, Shakespeare Festival
St. Louis

Michele Friedman Siler, A Streetcar Named Desire, Tennessee
Williams Festival

Outstanding
Lighting Design in a Play

Rob
Lippert, Silent Sky, Insight Theatre Company

Jon
Ontiveros, Macbeth: Come Like Shadows, Rebel and Misfit Productions

Peter
E. Sargent, A Christmas Story, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis

Sean
M. Savoie, A Streetcar Named Desire, Tennessee Williams Festival St.
Louis

Nathan
Schroeder, Silent Sky, West End Players Guild

Outstanding Sound
Design in a Play

James
Blanton, Silent Sky, Insight Theatre Company

Rusty
Wandall, A Christmas Story, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis

Rusty
Wandall, The Humans, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis

Amanda
Werre, Life Sucks, New Jewish Theatre

Amanda
Werre, A Streetcar Named Desire, Tennessee Williams Festival St. Louis

Outstanding Set
Design in a Musical

Luke
Cantarella, Evita, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis

Dunsi
Dai, Crowns: A Gospel Musical, The Black Rep

Paul
Tate dePoo III, Singin’ in the Rain, The Muny

Michael
Schweikardt, Meet Me in St. Louis, The Muny

James
Wolk, Mamma Mia!, Stages St. Louis

Outstanding
Costume Design in a Musical

Leon
Dobkowski, The Wiz, The Muny

Colene
Fornachon, Anything Goes, New Line Theatre

Daryl
Harris, Crowns: A Gospel Musical, The Black Rep

Robin
L. McGee, Jerome Robbins’ Broadway, The Muny

Alejo
Vietti, Evita, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis

Outstanding
Lighting Design in a Musical

Rob
Denton, Jersey Boys, The Muny

Rob
Denton, Meet Me in St. Louis, The Muny

Tyler
Duenow, Jesus Christ Superstar, Stray Dog Theatre

John
Lasiter, Evita, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis

Sean
M. Savoie, Mamma Mia!, Stages St. Louis

Outstanding
Musical Director

Charlie Alterman, Evita, Repertory Theatre of St.
Louis

Rick Bertone, Jersey Boys, The Muny

Jennifer Buchheit, The Robber Bridegroom, Stray Dog
Theatre

Charles Creath, Crowns: A Gospel Musical, The Black
Rep

Nicolas Valdez, Anything Goes, New Line Theatre

Outstanding
Choreographer

Camille A. Brown, The Wiz, The Muny

Tony Gonzalez, Mamma Mia!, Stages St. Louis

Dana Lewis, Oklahoma!, Stages St. Louis

Rommy Sandhu, Singin’ in the Rain, The Muny

Gustavo Zajac and Mariana Parma, Evita, Repertory
Theatre of St. Louis

Outstanding
Ensemble in a Musical

Anything Goes, New Line Theatre

Evita, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis

Jerome Robbins’ Broadway, The Muny

The Robber Bridegroom, Stray Dog Theatre

The Zombies of Penzance, New Line Theatre

Outstanding
Supporting Actress in a Musical

Joy Boland, Disney’s The Little Mermaid, Variety
Theatre

E. Faye Butler, The Wiz, The Muny

Julia Knitel, Gypsy, The Muny

Macia Noorman, The Light in the Piazza, R-S Theatrics

Megan Sikora, Singin’ in the Rain, The Muny

Outstanding
Supporting Actor in a Musical

Kent Coffel, The Light in the Piazza, R-S Theatrics

Matthew Curiano, Oklahoma!, Stages St. Louis

Zachary Allen Farmer, The Zombies of Penzance, New
Line Theatre

Nathan Lee Graham, The Wiz, The Muny

Sean MacLaughlin, Evita, Repertory Theatre of St.
Louis

Outstanding
Actress in a Musical

Michele Aravena, Evita, Repertory Theatre of St.
Louis

Sarah Ellis, Oklahoma!, Stages St. Louis

Beth Leavel, Gypsy, The Muny

Kay Love, The Light in the Piazza, R-S Theatrics

Sarah Porter, Anything Goes, New Line Theatre

Outstanding Actor
in a Musical

Corbin Bleu, Singin’ in the Rain, The Muny

Tielere Cheatem, The Light in the Piazza, R-S
Theatrics

Phil Leveling, The Robber Bridegroom, Stray Dog
Theatre

Pepe Nufrio, Evita, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis

Blake Price, Oklahoma!, Stages St. Louis

Outstanding
Director of a Musical

Justin Been, The Robber Bridegroom, Stray Dog Theatre

Linda Kennedy, Crowns: A Gospel Musical, The Black
Rep

Scott Miller and Mike Dowdy-Windsor, Anything Goes,
New Line Theatre

Josh Rhodes, Jersey Boys, The Muny

Rob Ruggiero, Evita, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis

Outstanding
Production of a Musical

Anything Goes, New Line Theatre

Crowns:  A Gospel
Musical, The Black Rep

Evita, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis

Jersey Boys, The Muny

The Light in the Piazza, R-S Theatrics

Outstanding New
Play

Stacie Lents, Run-On Sentence, SATE

Scott Miller, The Zombies of Penzance, New Line
Theatre

Nikkole Salter, Torn Asunder, The Black Rep

John Wolbers, Doctor Faustus, or the Modern Prometheus,
SATE

Vladimir Zelevinsky, The Great Seduction, West End
Players Guild

Outstanding
Achievement in Opera

Susan Graham, Regina, Opera Theatre of
Saint Louis

Kenneth Overton, Lost in the Stars,
Union Avenue Opera

Susanna Phillips, Regina, Opera
Theatre of Saint Louis

Patricia Racette, La Traviata, Opera
Theatre of Saint Louis

Shaun Patrick Tubbs, Lost in the Stars,
Union Avenue Opera

Outstanding
Production of an Opera

An American Soldier, Opera Theatre of
Saint Louis

L’elisir d’amore, Winter Opera Saint
Louis

La Traviata, Opera Theatre of Saint
Louis

Lost in the Stars, Union Avenue Opera

Regina, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis

Members of the St. Louis Theater Circle include Steve Allen,
stagedoorstl.com; Mark Bretz, Ladue News;
Bob Cohn, St. Louis Jewish Light;
Tina Farmer, KDHX; Chris Gibson, Broadwayworld.com; Michelle Kenyon,
snoopstheatrethoughts.com; Gerry Kowarsky, Two
on the Aisle (HEC-TV); Chuck Lavazzi, KDHX; Sarah Bryan Miller (opera
only), St. Louis Post-Dispatch; Judith Newmark, judyacttwo.com; Ann
Lemons Pollack, stlouiseats.typepad.com;
Lynn Venhaus, St. Louis Limelight
Magazine; Bob Wilcox, Two on the Aisle (HEC-TV); and Calvin Wilson, St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Eleanor
Mullin, local actress and arts supporter, is group administrator. 

For more information, contact [email protected]
or ‘like’ The St. Louis Theater Circle on Facebook.

                                                            ###

Representation & Responsibility: Racial and Gender Equity in Film and TelevisionThe second installment of Opera Theatre’s 2019 Representation & Responsibility series will take Sunday, Jan. 20, at 1 p.m. at the Regional Arts Commission. This community conversation will focus on the topic of racial and gender equity in film and television.The panel discussion will be followed by a light wine and cheese reception. It is free to attend, but RSVPs are encouraged at opera-stl.org.Kasi LemmonsA native of St. Louis, Kasi Lemmons has been acting, writing, and directing for 40 years. She has written and directed films including “Eve’s Bayou” (1997), starring Samuel L. Jackson, and “Talk to Me” (2007), starring Don Cheadle, and her film, “Harriet,: about the life of Harriet Tubman is set to be released in 2019. Some of the stars of Harriet include Cynthia Erivo, Janelle Monáe, and Leslie Odom Jr.She wrote the libretto for Opera Theatre’s 2019 world premiere Fire Shut Up in My Bones.Colleen McGuinness Colleen McGuinness has written for numerous television shows, including NBC’s Emmy-winning “30 Rock,” for which she also received Emmy, WGA, and PGA award nominations. She most recently served as a consulting producer on Amazon’s “Forever,” starring Maya Rudolph and Fred Armisen, and is now a co-executive producer on Stargirl, an upcoming series for the DC Comics streaming service. She has developed pilots with Tina Fey, Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, HBO, and F/X, and is currently creating a show with Reese Witherspoon producing, based on the Curtis Sittenfeld book “You Think It, I’ll Say It.” McGuinness graduated cum laude in English from Harvard University and lives in Los Angeles with her husband Blake, son James, and dog Elaine. Cat NevilleCatherine Neville is the producer of St. Louis’s own nationally syndicated television series “TasteMAKERS” and host of “Feast TV? on KETC. She co-created Sauce Magazine in the early 2000s and launched Feast Magazine in 2010.This event is presented by Opera Theatre of St. Louis. For more information, visit www.opera-stl.org.

Opera Theatre of Saint Louis announced preliminary results of the 2018 fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30. Thanks to a vibrant audience and donor base, the company celebrated another successful year, exceeding revenue goals and once again reporting strong growth of the endowment. A comprehensive audit will be completed and published in February of 2019.
OTSL reported a total of $6.4 million in contributed operating support for FY18, achieving 107% of goal for the year. Corporate sponsorship increased by 20% over 2017; OTSL continued to receive competitive grants from major national funders, including The Wallace Foundation, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts, among other organizations.
1,083 households contributed in 2018 to operating support, the highest number in company history. Opera Theatre has achieved consistent growth in donor households and contributed revenue over the last three years thanks to a generous challenge gift of $300,000 from Alison and John Ferring during this same time period. The Ferrings challenged OTSL to raise $300,000 in new and increased support from 2016-2018; in total, Opera Theatre achieved 283% of this goal with $848,022 from 1,400 gifts ranging from $1 to $25,000.

“La Traviata”Opera Theatre hosted its most successful gala to date in 2018, grossing more than $1.4 million with the leadership of event co-chairs Marsha & Bill Rusnack and Cathy & Jim Berges.  These contributions were motivated by a challenge gift from the Berges Family Foundation and Noémi & Michael Neidorff, who created the $250,000 Berges-Neidorff Challenge to match all new and increased 2018 gala gifts. Fundraising from the gala helped establish the Next Generation Fund, which celebrates Timothy O’Leary’s tenure as general director and will sustain OTSL’s role as an artistic innovator.
These successes, together with Opera Theatre’s invested endowment portfolio totaling more than $35 million as of September 30, 2018, help secure OTSL’s ongoing commitment to fiscal responsibility. With an annual budget of $10.95 million, ticket sales and contributions well outweigh spending.
FY18 also marked another successful box office year with 104% of ticket revenue achieved for a total growth of 6.3% in ticket sales since FY17. Opera Theatre also maintained its national and international reach, with opera-goers from 49 states, 6 Canadian provinces, and 17 countries during the 2018 season; OPERA America’s Opera Conference was also held in St. Louis from June 20-23, welcoming over 700 international opera professionals during the final week of the season. Of ticket buyers, 26% were new to Opera Theatre in 2018. Thanks in large part to innovative programming, community engagement, and OTSL’s Young Friends program, 53% of new ticket buyers were Millennial and Gen X, and over 21% were from racially diverse backgrounds.
World premiere-commissioned opera “An American Soldier” at OTSL.Opera Theatre once again received local, national, and international acclaim for the 2018 season, with journalists from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Financial Times of London, and Europe’s Opera Magazine traveling to St. Louis to cover the festival. Scott Cantrell of The Dallas Morning News stated, “There’s no opera company quite like Opera Theatre of Saint Louis,” and The New York Times lauded the world-premiere performance of Huang Ruo and David Henry Hwang’s two-act opera An American Soldier, praising its “arresting music…subtle colorings, and pummeling intensity.”
“I have such gratitude for the work of my predecessor Timothy O’Leary, Chairman Noémi Neidorff, and the rest of the Opera Theatre board for their extraordinary efforts to build this company. I feel fortunate to join OTSL amid continued financial strength and community support, and I look forward to more great things for Opera Theatre and its work in St. Louis,” said General Director Andrew Jorgensen.
Susan Graham in “Regina”“Opera Theatre’s 2018 season clearly reflected what we’re all about. Opera superstar Susan Graham, who began her illustrious career at OTSL, returned in a riveting performance of Marc Blitzstein’s Regina, and shared her rise to fame with several of our young artists,” said Noémi Neidorff, Chairman of the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis Board. “Our production of An American Soldier was yet another powerful example of the numerous world premieres we commission as we continue to attract opera fans and critics from all parts of the globe.”
Opera Theatre continued to promote artistic excellence with another year of highly competitive auditions for the young artist programs. Out of 1,062 applications, 31 young artists were chosen for the 2019 season. With an acceptance rate of 3%, the program remains one of the most competitive in the US. In addition, many former young artists continue to develop successful international careers, winning top prizes at the Glyndebourne Opera Cup, the Metropolitan Opera National Council Grand Finals, the Richard Tucker Foundation, and Placido Domingo’s Operalia.
“Orfeo and Euridice”Opera Theatre of Saint Louis’s 2019 Festival Season features the world premiere of composer Terence Blanchard and librettist Kasi Lemmons’s Fire Shut Up in My Bones, based on the memoir of New York Times columnist Charles Blow. It also will feature classics from the operatic canon, including Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro, Verdi’s Rigoletto, and Monteverdi’s The Coronation of Poppea, as well as OTSL’s annual Center Stage Concert, led by Music Director Emeritus Stephen Lord. The season opens on Saturday, May 25, 2019. Subscriptions and single tickets can be purchased online, in person at the Loretto-Hilton Box Office, or by calling (314) 961-0644.

Opera Theatre of Saint Louis announces a series of four community conversations to be presented with partners across the St. Louis community, examining representation and equity in the arts, entertainment, and media. Each panel event will address a different topic, including casting in the performing arts, leadership in film and television, opportunities within the music industry, and the voice of the media.
The panels will feature Opera Theatre artists, prominent St. Louis arts and media professionals, and leading figures with a national perspective on these questions. The series strives to further dialogue in the St. Louis community about equity, making art, and the responsibility to reflect the rich diversity of our community.The first event in the series is presented in partnership with John Burroughs School.
Representation and Responsibility: Perspectives on Equity, Casting, and the Performing Arts
in the 21st Century, will be held on Friday, October 26 at 7 p.m. at the Haertter Performing
Arts Center at John Burroughs School, at 755 S Price Road, St. Louis MO 63124.

The community conversation will be moderated by Adrienne Davis, Vice Provost and William M.
Van Cleve Professor of Law at Washington University, and will include an audience Q&A and a reception with the four panelists:
• Soprano Julia BullockBullock returns to St. Louis in OTSL’s 2019 Festival Season as one of the stars
of the world premiere Fire Shut Up in My Bones. A former member of
OTSL’s Monsanto Artists-in-Training Program, which is now in its 29th year of
providing college level voice lessons to high school students, Ms. Bullock has now
given critically acclaimed performances at Carnegie Hall, the San Francisco Opera,
The Santa Fe Opera, the English National Opera, the Berlin Philharmoniker, and The
Bolshoi.
• Actor and educator Duane Foster
Foster made his Broadway debut in the original cast of Ragtime in 1998 and
enjoyed an extensive national career before returning to St. Louis and his alma mater in
the Normandy School District to revive their drama program and chair the district’s
fine arts program.
• Christina Rios, Artistic Director of R-S Theatrics
Rios’s St. Louis-based theatre company is now in its tenth year of producing St.
Louis premieres of thought-provoking works that demand conversation, offering new
productions of work by such important contemporary voices as Lin-Manuel Miranda,
Rajiv Joseph, and Stephen Adly Guirgis. She serves as casting director for R-S. As a
performer, she has appeared in numerous St. Louis productions, including The
Threepenny Opera, Jerry Springer: The Opera, First Lady Suite, and Into the Woods.
• Opera Theatre General Director Andrew Jorgensen
Mr. Jorgensen assumed leadership of OTSL in July 2018 after most recently serving as
Director of Artistic Operations and acting as Interim Executive Director at the
Washington National Opera at the Kennedy Center. Highlights of his collaborations
with WNO Artistic Director Francesca Zambello include the revised world premiere of
Appomattox, the East Coast premiere of Champion, and the commissioning of six new
chamber-length operas as part of the American Opera Initiative Program.
The discussion will be held at John Burroughs School, 755 S Price Road. The panel will last
approximately 75 minutes, with a casual reception immediately following. Tickets can be
reserved online at www.ExperienceOpera.org, or by calling the Box Office at (314) 961-0644.
During Julia Bullock’s visit to participate in this event, she will also lead masterclasses for
students at Southeastern University Illinois Edwardsville and John Burroughs School, her alma
mater. She also appears in recital at The Sheldon Concert Hall on Wednesday, Oct. 24 at 8
p.m. Tickets to the Sheldon concert are available at www.thesheldon.org.
Subsequent panels in the series will continue through June, 2019, featuring filmmaker and
producer Kasi Lemmons, composer and Grammy Award-winning jazz trumpeter Terence
Blanchard, and New York Times columnist Charles Blow – all members of the creative team
behind “Fire Shut Up in My Bones,” which opens Saturday June 15, 2019 as part of OTSL’s 2019
Festival Season. More information regarding later Representation and Responsibility
discussions will be announced later this fall.
Representation and Responsibility is made possible in part by the Fred M. Saigh Endowment at
Opera Theatre and by the Sally S. Levy Family Fund for New Works, which provides support
for contemporary opera and related community engagement activities. Leadership support comes
from the Whitaker Foundation and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Fire Shut Up in My
Bones is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts and made
possible by an OPERA America Innovation Grant, supported by the Ann and Gordon Getty
Foundation. Major production support is provided by OPERA America’s Opera Fund.
Audience development programming is made possible by PNC Arts Alive.
About Opera Theatre of Saint Louis
Opera Theatre of Saint Louis is a spring festival featuring casts of the opera world’s most
exciting singers accompanied by the acclaimed St. Louis Symphony Orchestra. Each season,
OTSL presents four inventive new productions in English during the months of May and June. In
addition to presenting innovative interpretation of classics, OTSL is also committed to
premiering new and relevant operas by prominent composers; since its inaugural season in 1976,
27 operas have premiered Opera Theatre.
Opera Theatre’s competitive young artist programs foster the next generation of emerging
American singers; these programs have been a springboard for countless artists to launch
international careers.
Opera Theatre of Saint Louis is funded in part by the Regional Arts Commission, Arts and
Education Council, National Endowment for the Arts, and the Missouri Arts Council, with
audience building programs supported by The Wallace Foundation.
Generous leadership support for the services of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra is provided
by the Taylor family and the late Jack C. Taylor.