COVID-19 Pandemic Results in Production Streamcast by HEC Media

New Jewish Theatre led the way with six awards at the eighth annual St. Louis Theater Circle Awards ceremony on Tuesday, April 7, 2020. Max & Louie Productions’ performance of Indecent garnered five awards, followed by four awards to The Tennessee Williams Festival St. Louis for its production of A Lovely Sunday for Creve Coeur.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Circle’s gala event for this year’s award ceremony, originally scheduled for March 30, 2020 at the Loretto-Hilton Center, was canceled. Instead, HEC Media produced a version of the ceremonies that was streamcast on HEC Media’s Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/hectv/live/) as well as telecast on Spectrum channel 989 and AT&T U-verse channel 99. Here is the YouTube link: https://www.youtube.com/embed/tCo0AFHbChE

Awards were given in 31 categories covering comedies, dramas and musicals as well as two categories for opera. In addition, Ken and Nancy Kranzberg received a special award for their philanthropic contributions to the arts and theater in the St. Louis area, including many developments in Grand Center. The awards honored outstanding achievement in locally produced professional theater for the calendar year 2019.

A total of 21 productions and 14 companies were recognized by the awards, including eight individuals who have received honors in previous years. Will Bonfiglio, honored as Outstanding Actor in a Comedy for his performance in New Jewish Theatre’s production of Fully Committed, received an award for the third time in the last four years.

The 2020 presentation featured nominees from two companies, Black Mirror Theatre and The Q Collective, which were represented for the first time in consideration of St. Louis Theater Circle Awards.  Each company received an award for outstanding achievement.

In all, 25 local companies received nominations in 33 categories for comedy, drama, musical and opera, as well as 125 individuals up for awards. Honorees who have previously received St. Louis Theater Circle Awards include Will Bonfiglio, J. Samuel Davis, Kari Ely, Michael Hamilton, Patrick Huber, Sean M. Savoie, Margery and Peter Spack, and Maggie Wininger.

The mission of the St. Louis Theater Circle is simple: To honor 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 were divided into categories for musicals, dramas, comedies and operas.  More than 120 local professional theatrical productions were staged in the St. Louis area in 2019.

Honorees of the eighth annual St. Louis Theater Circle Awards are:

Outstanding Ensemble in a Comedy

A Lovely Sunday for Creve Coeur, Tennessee Williams Festival St. Louis

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy

Kelley Weber, A Lovely Sunday for Creve Coeur, Tennessee Williams Festival St. Louis

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy

Patrick Blindauer, Love’s Labors Lost, Shakespeare Festival St. Louis

Outstanding Actress in a Comedy (tie)

Katie Kleiger, Pride and Prejudice, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis

Maggie Wininger, A Lovely Sunday for Creve Coeur, Tennessee Williams Festival St. Louis

Outstanding Actor in a Comedy

Will Bonfiglio, Fully Committed, New Jewish Theatre

Outstanding Director of a Comedy

Kari Ely, A Lovely Sunday for Creve Coeur, Tennessee Williams Festival St. Louis

Outstanding Production of a Comedy

Brighton Beach Memoirs, New Jewish Theatre

Indecent

Outstanding Ensemble in a Drama

Indecent, Max & Louie Productions

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama

Carly Uding, Translations, Black Mirror Theatre

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama

J. Samuel Davis, District Merchants, New Jewish Theatre

Outstanding Actress in a Drama

Donna Weinsting, Salt, Root and Roe, Upstream Theater

Outstanding Actor in a Drama

Gary Wayne Barker, District Merchants, New Jewish Theatre

Outstanding Director of a Drama

Joanne Gordon, Indecent, Max & Louie Productions

Outstanding Production of a Drama

Indecent, Max & Louie Productions

Outstanding Set Design in a Play

Margery and Peter Spack, Brighton Beach Memoirs, New Jewish Theatre

Outstanding Costume Design in a Play

Felia Davenport, District Merchants, New Jewish Theatre

Outstanding Lighting Design in a Play

Patrick Huber, Indecent, Max & Louie Productions

Outstanding Sound Design

Phillip Evans, Indecent, Max & Louie Productions

Outstanding Set Design in a Musical

Mary Engelbreit and Paige Hathaway, Matilda, The Muny

Outstanding Costume Design in a Musical

Sarah Porter, La Cage aux Folles, New Line Theatre

Outstanding Lighting Design in a Musical

Sean M. Savoie, Man of La Mancha, Stages St. Louis

Outstanding Musical Director

Charles Creath, Don’t Bother Me, I Can’t Cope, The Black Rep

Outstanding Choreographer

Dexandro Montalvo, Such Sweet Thunder, Shakespeare Festival St. Louis,

Big Muddy Dance Company, Jazz St. Louis, Nine Network of Public Media

Outstanding Ensemble in a Musical

Matilda, The Muny

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Musical

Taylor Louderman, Kinky Boots, The Muny

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Musical

Tielere Cheatem, La Cage aux Folles, New Line Theatre

Outstanding Actress in a Musical

Kendra Kassebaum, Guys and Dolls, The Muny

Outstanding Actor in a Musical

Luke Steingruby, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, The Q Collective

Outstanding Director of a Musical

Michael Hamilton, Man of La Mancha, Stages St. Louis

Outstanding Production of a Musical

Such Sweet Thunder, Shakespeare Festival St. Louis,

Big Muddy Dance Company, Jazz St. Louis, Nine Network of Public Media

Outstanding New Play

Nonsense and Beauty, by Scott C. Sickles, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis

La Boheme

Outstanding Achievement in Opera (tie)

Terence Blanchard and Kasi Lemmons, Fire Shut Up in My Bones, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis

Roland Wood, Rigoletto, Opera Theatre of St. Louis

Outstanding Production of an Opera

La Boheme, Union Avenue Opera

Special Award

Ken and Nancy Kranzberg

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; Michelle Kenyon, snoopstheatrethoughts.com; Gerry Kowarsky, Two on the Aisle (HEC Media); Chuck Lavazzi, KDHX; Sarah Bryan Miller, St.Louis Post-Dispatch; Judith Newmark, judyacttwo.com; Ann Lemons Pollack, stlouiseats.typepadcom; Tanya Seale, Broadwayworld.com; Lynn Venhaus, PopLifeSTL.com; Bob Wilcox, Two on the Aisle (HEC Media); and Calvin Wilson, St. Louis Post-Dispatch.Eleanor Mullin, local actress and arts supporter, is the group’s administrator. 

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

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By Lynn VenhausManaging EditorSpring has sprung, with many to-dos on your list. So, what play are you going to see this weekend/week?

From college theater productions to intimate dramas to touring musicals, you have a variety of offerings. Celebrate art in any season! Go See a Play!“Are U R?” Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville April 24-28 Metcalf Theatrewww.siue.edu 618- 650-2774 What It’s About: Based on the 1920 Czech play, “R.U.R.” by Karel Cepak, this original SIUE adaptation is an irreverent and provocative mash-up of humor and horror, philosophy and presents From Metropolis to The Matrix, from Brave New World to Westworld, humans are obsessed with the possibility of intelligent machines and the all the questions that they inspire – What is the mind? What is consciousness? And what will it look like when smart technology turns against its creators? and science/fiction, pop culture and faith that explores the nature of artificial intelligence and human consciousness.

“From Jimmy, to America: An Ode to James Baldwin” University of Missouri at St. Louis April 27 and 28 Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Touhill Performing Arts Center www.touhill.org

What It’s About: Through the words of James Baldwin, this
production explores race, identity, and America. In collaboration with Nu-World
Contemporary Danse Theatre, actors and dancers explore our racial identity
through the works, words, and musicality of James Baldwin.

“Godspell” University Theatre at Saint Louis University April 25-28 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday The Grandel Theatre, 3610 Grandel Square MetroTix: 314-534-1111 Tickets available at the door

What It’s About: This is the 2012 retelling of the Stephen Schwartz musical, which is based on the gospel of St. Matthew, that features new arrangements and contemporary references as it takes us on a rousing journey through the parables of Jesus. Director: Stephanie Tennill

‘The Laramie Project’ at St. Charles Community College“The Laramie Project” St. Charles Community College April 24-28 SCC Center Stage Theatre in the Donald D. Shook Fine Arts Building 4601 Mid Rivers Mall Drive in Cottleville, Mo.www.stchas.edu 636-922-8050

What It’s About: This gripping play concerns Americans’
reaction to the hate-crime murder of a young gay man, Matthew Shepard. In
October of 1998, Shepard was kidnapped, severely beaten, and left to die in
Laramie, Wyoming. Moisés Kaufman and the Tectonic Theater went to Laramie and
conducted more than 200 interviews about the event, from which they wrote this
play.

Director: Samantha Stavely

Cast: David Amrhein, Rachel Bohn, Jim Dishian, Jordan
Dennis, Johnny Dishian, Andrew Edmonston, Dane Harris, Jasminn Jones, Jacob
Krznar, Kat Leffler, Amanda May, Travis McIntyre, Angela McNeil, Mia Millican,
Joshua David Neighbors, Mia Politte, Gabby Rivera, Braden Stille, Graham
Woodward and Peggy Woodward.

“A Midsummer Night’s Dream” April 26-28 R-S Theatrics and Three Blind Pigs Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 5 p.m. William Kerr Foundation 21 O’Fallon Street, North St. Louis www.r-stheatrics.com

What It’s About: One of Shakespeare’s most beloved
comedies, you’ll see lovers’ spats, clueless actors, and a fairy queen.

Of Note: Shake38 may be gone, but Blind Pigs’ partnership
with R-S Theatrics lives on

“Miss Saigon” Fox Theatre April 23-May 5 www.fabulousfox.com

What It’s About: National tour of acclaimed revival, from the creators of “Les Miserables.”  Based on the Puccini opera “Madame Butterfly,” this is the story of a young Vietnamese woman named Kim who is orphaned by war and forced to work in a bar run by a notorious character known as the Engineer. There she meets and falls in love with an American G.I. named Chris, but they are torn apart by the fall of Saigon. For 3 years, Kim goes on an epic journey of survival to find her way back to Chris, who has no idea he’s fathered a son. Featuring stunning spectacle and a sensational cast of 42 performing the soaring score, including Broadway hits like “The Heat is On in Saigon,” “The Movie in My Mind,” “Last Night of the World” and “American Dream.”

“Never Let Go: A One-Woman TitanicERA TheatreApril 18-20 at The Monocle, Emerald Room, 8 p.m.April 26-27 at The Improv Shop, 3960 Chouteau, 10 p.m.www.eratheatre.org

What It’s About: Twenty-four years ago, Rose ‘Dawson’ miraculously survived the sinking of the Titanic. But her lover, Jack Dawson, did not, and she is not over it. Despite her grief, she’s pursuing her dream of becoming an Academy Award nominated actress. In this production, Rose pitches the idea of turning her story into a work of theatre, or even a motion picture, to an audience of potential producers and investors. She shifts seamlessly from past and present, often without warning, and artistically, and maybe somewhat insanely, blurs the distinction between reality and imagination. Join us for the maiden voyage of your life and never let go!

Starring: Rachel Tibbetts

Playwrights: Will Bonfiglio and Lucy Cashion

Stage Manager and Dramaturg: Miranda Jagels-Felix

Designers: Morgan Fisher and Bess Moynihan

Eric Dean White and Amy Loui i “Salt, Root and Roe”“Salt, Root and Roe” Upstream Theatre April 26 – May 12 Shows at 8 p.m. except Sundays at 7 p.m. but May 12 at 2 p.m. Kranzberg Arts Centerwww.upstreamtheater.org What It’s About: Tim Price’s play is about the nature of change, the comfort of home and the eternal bond of love, set against the mythical backdrop of the Pembrokeshire coast in western Wales. Identical twins Iola and Anest, who are devoted to age other and aging fast. Anest’s daughter, Menna, rushes to her long-abandoned childhood home where her own ideas of love and compromise are tested to the limit. Director: Kenn McLaughlin Cast: Donna Weinsting, Sally Edmundson, Eric Dean White, Amy Loui

Of Note: A U.S. premiere in co-production with Stages Repertory Theatre of Houston. New at Upstream is “Bohemian Thursday” – all tickets $10 May 2 only.

“Spamalot” Clinton County Showcase April 26-28 & May 3-5 Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. Avon Theater, 525 N. Second St., Breese, Ill.www.ccshowcase.com What It’s About: Adaptation of classic comedy film, “Monty Python and the Holy Grail,” the Tony-Award winning musical retells the legend of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table.

“Translations” The Black Mirror Theatre April 25 – May 4 Thursday – Saturday at 7:30 p.m., Sunday at 2 p.m. .Zack, 3224 Locust www.blackmirrortheatre.com What It’s About: Brien Friel’s “Translations” is an intimate look into a world at odds with itself. It could have been set in one of any number of eras and lands – anywhere in which an alien force imposes its culture on a conquered people through the suppression of all that which gave and gives that culture cohesion, especially its language. One needs to look no farther than America, where indigenous peoples still struggle to maintain and transmit their values, beliefs, their souls thru their native tongues.

Paul James and Rich Loughbridge. Photo by Lori Biehl“Tuesdays with Morrie” April 24-May 5 Act Two Theatre St. Peters Cultural Arts Centre www.act2theatre.com What It’s About:  The autobiographical story of Mitch Albom, an accomplished journalist driven solely by his career, and Morrie Schwartz, his former college professor. Sixteen years after graduation, Mitch happens to catch Morrie’s appearance on a television news program and learns that his old professor is battling Lou Gehrig’s Disease. Mitch is reunited with Morrie, and what starts as a simple visit turns into a weekly pilgrimage and a last class in the meaning of life.

Director: Nancy Crouse
Cast: Paul James as Morrie Schwartz, Rich Loughridge as Mitch Albom

William Humphrey, William Roth in “True West.” Photo by Patrick Huber.“True West” April 4 – 28 St. Louis Actors’ Studio Thursdays through Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m. The Gaslight Theatre, 358 N. Boyle 314-458-2978 www.stlas.org

What It’s About: This American classic by Sam Shepard explores
alternatives that might spring from the demented terrain of the California
landscape. Sons of a desert-dwelling alcoholic and a suburban wanderer clash
over a film script. Austin, the achiever, is working on a script he has sold to
producer Sal Kimmer when Lee, a demented petty thief, drops in. He pitches his
own idea for a movie to Kimmer, who then wants Austin to junk his bleak, modern
love story and write Lee’s trashy Western tale.
Director: William Whitaker
Cast: Isaiah Di Lorenzo, William Humphrey, William Roth, Susan Kopp