By Lynn Venhaus
As an ever-busy presence in the St. Louis theater community, Ellie Schwetye has created a diverse body of work — acting, directing, producing and sound design for a myriad of companies. While she has been recognized for her individual achievements with multiple St. Louis Theater Circle Awards, she thrives on collaboration.

But her name associated with a project means that there will be a high bar for quality and a sharp attention to detail, from selecting a soundtrack to a Jane Austen homage, “First Impressions,” for SATE; to guiding Will Bonfiglio to a third Circle Award for Best Actor in a Comedy in “Fully Committed” at the New Jewish Theatre; to bringing haughty Mrs. White to life in SATE’s “Classic Mystery Game” play; and portraying Emily Post, one of the hostesses in ERA’s “Trash MacBeth.”

She is the co-producer of SATE and has directed and/or worked with Equally Represented Arts (ERA), YoungLiars, West End Players Guild, New Jewish Theatre, Prison Performing Arts, The Tennesee Williams Festival St. Louis, St. Louis Shakespeare Festival, The Black Rep, R-S Theatrics, St. Louis Actors’ Studio, The Midnight Company, Stray Dog Theatre, Mustard Seed Theatre and others.

Joe Hanrahan in “Here Lies Henry”

Like many other artists, Ellie was eager to return to live theater when it was safe to do so — either on stage or behind the scenes. And now, it’s happening — she’s directing the one-man show “Here Lies Henry” starring frequent collaborator Joe Hanrahan, whose Midnight Company is producing.

It runs Thursday through Saturdays at 8 p.m. June 10 – 27, with a Sunday matinee at 2 p.m. June 27, at the Kranzberg Arts Center’s black box theatre.

Most COVID restrictions have now lifted, so with larger capacity audiences allowed, tickets are now available at the door. Midnight was deemed MissouriArtSafe by the Missouri Arts Council, received permission from the City of St. Louis for the production, and followed strict safety protocols. 

Written by Daniel MacIvor, Henry is a man on a mission to tell you something you don’t already know. It is an idyllic — sort of — miserable — sort of — storybook — sort of — nightmarish — sort of — remarkable — sort of — regular show.

Ellie said she was immediately drawn to the material.

“Initially, what I liked about “Here Lies Henry” was the opportunity to collaborate with Joe Hanrahan again. I’ve joked that Joe could hand me the phone book and I’d direct it, if it meant working with him,” she said.. 

“But, of course, the material of the play itself is a draw. The character of Henry is so quirky, he’s such an innocent — but trying desperately not to appear so. It’s a lovely, weird, off-beat meditation on love, life, and death. There’s a Virginia Woolf-like stream-of-consciousness quality to the text, as well as moments that have me thinking about David Lynch and Andrew Wyeth,” she said.

Ellie and Joe have collaborated multiple times.

Rachel Tibbetts and Ellie Schwetye in “Cuddles,” directed by Joe Hanrahan

“Working with Joe is always a treat. ‘Henry’ is, I think, the sixth project on which we have worked together. Joe finds and writes amazing scripts – all of which are real studies in personality,” she said.

” As both an actor-producer and a director Joe is very laid back. He comes into every project with really clear ideas, and a great sense of play and collaboration. We experiment and laugh a lot during rehearsals. Joe has a great affinity for incorporating rock and pop music into his shows, as I do. I appreciate that he lets me sound design the shows I direct, which he knows I love doing.”

Since the pandemic forced live theater to shut down in March 2020, she said she kept her theater itch scratched with some outdoor theater, video projects and “a few, now ubiquitous, Zoom plays.”

How does it feel to be ‘back in the saddle’ again?

“It’s fantastic! This is my first in-person indoor production since March 2020. It’s pretty cool to be doing this play. Directing a one-man show was the best choice to ease back into the process. The first rehearsal was both terrifying and exhilarating,” she said.

Now she is returning to produce and sound design the play “Top Girls” with SATE — Slightly Askew Theatre Ensemble,

“It’s a play we had programmed and cast since before the pandemic. Both my producing partner, Rachel Tibbetts, who is directing the play, and I really love the story, the script, and non-linear storytelling of Caryl Churchill’s text and are thrilled we finally get to bring it back to St. Louis,” she said.

And while filling up her plate after such an absence is tempting, she has reflected upon the next steps after the quarantine break.

“As for easing back into commitments, I think the pandemic taught me that being busy isn’t a virtue. I love the many facets of my work in the theatre, but I don’t need to do eleven projects a year anymore. Having said that, I am quite excited for some projects this fall including “Top Girls” with SATE, directing “The Miracle Worker” at Clayton High School, and another project with Midnight later in December,” she said.

Ellie as Emily Post in ERA’s “Trash MacBeth” with Rachel Tibbetts

Schwetye, 39, was born and raised in St. Louis.

During the down time, she explored activities that she had an interest in, but hadn’t given herself the time to dive in — and the opportunity was much appreciated.

“Unsurprisingly, much of it has been outdoors, since that’s been the safest way to socialize. I’ve been gardening a bit. The brilliant Nicole Angeli has been my hiking guru, and it’s been lovely to explore gorgeous conservation areas in eastern Missouri and central Illinois. Last summer, I supported my sister as her ground crew while she paddled the Missouri river — 340 miles! — from Kansas City to St. Charles. Now that was the ultimate stage management gig. Being on the river for four days and the fact that our team was representing the Missouri Confluence Waterkeeper organization opened my eyes to how precious and critical the Missouri river system is to our region,” she said. 

“I’ve also gotten to spend a lot of time at my family’s property in Labadie, Mo., which we affectionately and unoriginally call the Farm. We completed building a house that was inspired by a one-room schoolhouse that once sat on the property. I’ve been working with my dad for the past year on much of the finish carpentry in the house, including framing and hanging doors and cutting and installing window trim and baseboards from hemlock,” she said.

“The Comeback Special” as part of the LaBute New Play Festival at St. Louis Actors’ Studio

Q &A WITH ELLIE SCHWETYE

1. Why did you choose your profession/pursue the arts?

“I’ve always been drawn to storytelling. Theatrical storytelling is a kind of magic. I’m also a bit of a show-off, so performing was a great outlet for that energy. As I developed though, I learned that I love directing and producing so much more. I find the process of bringing artists together in collaboration so much more rewarding than a curtain call.”

2. How would your friends describe you?

“Classic Aries: attention-seeking, passionate, optimistic, ambitious, independent, competitive, a bit selfish, impatient and impulsive.”

3. How do you like to spend your spare time?

“Recently. it’s been out at the Farm with my nieces and nephews, hiking with buddies, and reading my dad’s first edition “Foxfire” books.”

4. What is your current obsession?

“My meadow is my current obsession. It’s one little corner of the Farm. I’m keeping a path cleared through it to better observe the variety of grasses and native plants growing there. I have been trying to learn a lot more about our native species. Since I’m out at the Farm almost every week, it’s been amazing watching the changes from season to season.”

5. What would people be surprised to find out about you?

“I used to be a pretty fast runner. I won a state track meet in the 800m event.”

6. Can you share one of your most defining moments in life?

“My college theatre experience was a defining time. I went to a women’s college, which is certainly where my feminist theatre aesthetic was solidified. Knowing that my mentors were a fashion designer who got her start on London’s Carnaby Street in the 60s, a former Breck girl-turned radical feminist bass player, and an East German dramaturg with the Berliner Ensemble probably makes a lot of sense for the theatre I like to make and watch now.”

“A Lovely Sunday in Creve Coeur” as part of an ensemble at The Tennessee Williams Festival in 2019

7. Who do you admire most?

“This is the hardest question of the ten! So many people. My parents, certainly – especially my mom; my sisters. I’ve been learning more about my grandparents and ancestors, and there are a lot of hard-working, gritty folks in my family tree to admire.”

“Artistically, I admire the folks I have the privilege of collaborating with – and there are so many amazing and inspiring artists in this group! I admire my teachers, like Kelley Weber, who encouraged me to be a theatre artist. And I admire the producers who took a chance on me, like Edie Avioli and Scott Sears, and Ron Himes and Linda Kennedy.”

“And I always admire the real women from history whose stories I often get to tell – like Henriatta Leavit, Annie Jump Cannon, Williamina Fleming, Rosalind Franklin, Sr. Jacque-Marie, or Helen Keller. Theatricalized stories of real women will always be the most fascinating to me.”

8. What is at the top of your bucket list?

I keep a Google doc of plays I’d love to direct or scripts I’d love to develop. Rachel Hanks and I started musing a while back about a play based on the Stevens Sisters (Virginia Woolf and Vanessa Bell). Writing something original is certainly on the bucket-list. And as a some-time performer, I’m ready for the challenge of a one-woman show.

9. What is your favorite thing to do in St. Louis?

“Discovering and exploring unexpected nature and conservation areas in the region.”

10. What’s next?

“I’m looking forward to the YoungLiars Summer Training Festival in July, then “Top Girls” with SATE in September. I’ll be directing “The Miracle Worker” at Clayton High School in the fall, then in December I’ll be performing opposite Joe Hanrahan in his new trio of short plays “Tinsel Town” about artists in LA, directed by Rachel Tibbetts. It completes a trifecta of work the three of us have collaborated on, which has included “Cuddles” and “Little Thing, Big Thing.”

Ellie with John Wolbers in “First Impressions”

More on Ellie:

Family: my parents, sisters, brothers-in-law, 5 nieces and nephews, and cousins (who are like sisters).
Education: The St. Louis answer: Clayton High School; the real answer: Mount Holyoke College.
Day job: Production Manager with my family’s business serving the Architecture, Engineering, and Construction industry.
First job: My first post-college job was as a professional Intern at the Black Rep. 
First role: Abigail Adams in the 5th grade musical “Dear Abby” (I still remember my big number!)
Favorite roles/plays: My Ozark adaptation of “As You Like It”, Rachel’s and my adaptation, “First Impressions” based on “Pride and Prejudice” (and getting to play Elizabeth Bennet in it!), ERA’s “The Residents of Craigslist”. I’m also really proud of co-founding and producing SATE’s Aphra Behn Festival, celebrating women writers and directors.
Dream role/play: There are two weirdo comedies I’d love to produce, direct, or perform in: “All Our Happy Days are Stupid” by Shiela Heti and “Freshwater” by Virginia Woolf, which she wrote for her sister Vanessa’s birthday party.
Awards/Honors/Achievements: St. Louis Theater Circle Awards for Production, Sound Design, Directing, Script Adaptation, and Performance in an Ensemble; PopLifeSTL’s 2019 Artist of the Year 🙂
Favorite quote/words to live by: “have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves”
A song that makes you happy: “Call Your Girlfriend” by Robyn

“Silent Sky,” which Ellie directed, at West End Players Guild in 2018
“Oedipus Apparatus” at West End Players Guild in 2017

The Midnight Company will present four plays in 2021, including two St. Louis Premieres and one World Premiere.  The Company, which presented the only live theatre in town during the pandemic with Eric Bogosian’s SEX, DRUGS, ROCK & ROLL in November 2020, and mindful of the fears and realities of the ongoing virus war, will open the season with two one-man plays in June and July.

Midnight’s Artistic Director Joe Hanrahan said, “Last November, we worked with the State’s MissouriArtSafe program, the City of St. Louis and the Kranzberg organization to make sure all safety guidelines were in place and being followed.  We’ll be doing the same going forward, hoping that vaccine efforts will continue to positively affect quality of life, enabling us to provide  quality theatrical experiences for our audiences.”

Hanrahan also said, “If there’s a theme to this season, with theatre coming back it’s appropriate that these shows deal with the theatre and show business.  While HERE LIES HENRY focuses on the Art and Science of Lying (particularly relevant to this age of political and societal falsehoods), Marlon Brando did say ‘Acting is lying for a living.’  Our second show, NOW PLAYING THIRD BASE… specifically occurs during a young man’s introduction to live theatre, of a sort.  IT IS MAGIC, our third show, actually takes place during auditions in the basement of a theatre, and TINSEL TOWN, the season closer, tells three stories set in the Los Angeles entertainment world.”
  
The Company opens with HERE LIES HENRY by Daniel MacIvor, June 10-27 at the Kranzberg Black Box.  It will be directed by Ellie Schwetye, with Joe Hanrahan as Henry, a man in a room with a mission to tell you something you don’t already know.  He’s also a liar.  Midnight has presented two plays by MacIvor (a celebrated Canadian writer/performer) including CUL-DE-SAC, and then HOUSE at the 2015 St. Louis Fringe.  Hanrahan performed both one-man shows, and critics said “ CUL-DE-SAC takes you places you may not want to go.  But Hanrahan makes a spellbinding guide.” (Calvin Wilson, St. Louis Post-Dispatch) and “HOUSE is a perfect combination of virtuoso acting and compelling storytelling.” (Chuck Lavazzi, KDHX.)

Tickets for HERE LIES HENRY, a St. Louis Premiere, will go on sale May 10 at MetroTix.com, and prices, performances, capacity and safety procedures will be announced at that time.


Midnight will then present the rescheduled (from 2020) NOW PLAYING THIRD BASE FOR THE ST. LOUIS CARDINALS…BOND, JAMES BOND, written and performed by Joe Hanrahan, directed by Shane Signorino, with video design by Michael B. Perkins. It will run July 8-23 at The Chapel.  First presented at the St. Louis Fringe in 2018, the script has been expanded, and Hanrahan said, “The Fringe version of this show had to come in under an hour.  This version, with additional material, should be deeper, hopefully richer.”  NOW PLAYING… is a memory show, of when a teen was introduced, in an unusual way, to live theatre, while the rest of life, including baseball, James Bond, racism, The Beatles, the assassination of John F. Kennedy and more swirled around him.  Michelle Kenyon in Snoop’s Theatre Thoughts called the play “…entertaining, educational, thought-provoking…” and also said it was “…difficult to describe, but what it is is excellent.”

In October, Hanrahan’s short play PATIENT #47 will be presented as part of True Community Theatre’s TRUTH, LIES, and CONFESSIONS October 1-3 at The Chapel.  PATIENT #47 was originally presented at the 2019 Theatre Crawl And later in the month, Midnight will begin to add additional performers to their cast lists. 

Midnight will present Mickle Maher’s IT IS MAGIC, also rescheduled from 2020, directed by Suki Peters, October 21-November 6 at the Kranzberg Black Box.  IT IS MAGIC takes place in the basement of a community theatre.  Two sisters, tireless long-term theatre volunteers but ignored in the artistic process, have finally received their chance to write and act for the group.  While opening night of the company’s Scottish Play goes on in the MainStage above them, they’re holding auditions for the role of the Big Bad Wolf for their new script, an adult version of THREE LITTLE PIGS.  But an inebriated, jaded artistic director and an unexpected, wild Third Sister intrude, delivering dire changes, dangerous chaos and, eventually, magic.  

The cast for the production includes Nicole Angeli, Michelle Hand, Joe Hanrahan, Britteny Henry and Carl Overly.  Chicago’s Third Coast Review called IT IS MAGIC “…one of those love letters to theatre…delightfully wacky,” and New City Stage in Chicago said “Any show that juggles loving critics with tearing their throats out is good in my book.”  

Midnight has previously presented Maher’s THE HUNCHBACK VARIATIONS and AN APOLOGY FOR THE COURSE OF CERTAIN EVENTS AS DELIVERED BY DOCTOR JOHN FAUSTUS ON THIS HIS FINAL EVENING (twice each), and IT IS MAGIC will be a St. Louis Premiere.
And rounding out the year (and rounding out a cycle of plays from three St. Louis theatre artists) is the World Premiere of TINSEL TOWN 3 Short Plays – 24 Hours In L.A. by Joe Hanrahan.  It will run December 2-18 at Avatar Studios, a television production studio on the edge of Downtown St. Louis, near Market and Jefferson, and will be directed by Rachel Tibbetts.   (Midnight has previously presented TITLE AND DEED and LITTLE THING BIG THING at Avatar.)

Joe Hanrahan

 In TINSEL TOWN, Ellie Schwetye and Hanrahan each play characters in the three plays set in the Los Angeles entertainment world.  In LATE LUNCH ON MELROSE, Hanrahan is a talent agent trying to convince his movie star client, Schwetye, to accept the new normal.  In JUST OFF SUNSET, Schwetye is a rock singer/songwriter who’s just finished a frustrating gig at a club, and Hanrahan is a grizzled backup musician who’s seen it all in the industry.  And in SHOOT IN SANTA MONICA, Hanrahan is a British actor brought to Hollywood for a role in a science fiction film, and Schwetye is the director trying to get her first film under her belt.

Hanrahan first worked with Tibbetts when he recruited her to direct an earlier Midnight run of SEX DRUGS ROCK & ROLL, after seeing her direction of BACHELORETTE for her home company, SATE.  Thus began an association between their two companies, with Hanrahan acting in ONE FLEA SPARE, OF MICE AND MEN, DOCTOR FAUSTUS and 2020’s APHRA BEHN FESTIVAL for SATE; and Schwetye directing JUDGMENT AT NUREMBERG(with Tibbetts in the cast) and A MODEL FOR MATISSE for Midnight.

But it was during the winter of 2016/2017 that these three did two plays together that demanded a third, sometime in the future, to complete a triptych.  At that time, Hanrahan directed Schwetye and Tibbetts in the vampire drama, CUDDLES, for SATE, followed by Schwetye directing Tibbetts and Hanrahan in Midnight’s Irish thriller, LITTLE THING BIG THING.  So a third show was needed, with (as TINSEL TOWN provides) roles for Schwetye and Hanrahan, and Tibbetts directing.  And thus, the cycle will be complete, and TINSEL TOWN will bring Midnight’s 2021 season to  a close.

SATE presents Project Verse: Creativity in the Time of Quarantine  
in collaboration with COCA and Prison Performing Arts,  Featuring two new plays —  Quatrains in Quarantine by e.k. doolin and Dream On, Black Girl: Reflections in Quarantine by Maxine du Maine  Premiering online Aug. 28, 2020 at 7 p.m.(CST) Presented free of charge on SATE’s website (slightlyoff.org), Facebook page (facebook.com/satestl), Instagram @satestl. 

Maxine du Maine

 SATE presents the culminating week of Project Verse, a three-week collaboration with COCA and Prison Performing Arts (PPA) as education and engagement partners. COCA presented the artist talks on their Facebook page to celebrate the creativity of those who are caregivers and artists.

Artist talks included poetry with jessica Care moore and King Thomas Moore on August 12 and visual arts with Maxine du Maine on August 19. The final week’s offering on August 26 was dance and poetry with Delaney Piggins and Norah Brozio.  Quatrains in Quarantine was written by e.k. doolin in response to a call for scripts based in the Zoom platform. The call was issued by COCA (Center of Creative Arts).

The COCAwrites program seeks to produce works that are intended for a multi-generational audience. Cara is a young poet, trying to process the unprecedented time she is living through in the best way she knows how – her verse. Nicole is her mother, trying to survive another day of uncertainty and working/parenting simultaneously from home. Mimi is her friend, seemingly winning at all things. JJ is her brother, absent in more ways than one. 

Quatrains in Quarantine is directed by Ellie Schwetye and features Rachel Tibbetts and Clayton High School students Claudia Taylor, Anna Lawrence, and Tommy Karandjeff.  Dream On, Black Girl: Reflections in Quarantine, written and directed by Maxine du Maine, focuses on a writing teacher guiding two young ladies through a poetry class on Zoom.

Both students share poems that reflect on the tragedies that continue to plague their community during the quarantine. The poems in the play are inspired by the young black children that were quarantined before COVID-19. They spent their time in a juvenile detention center reflecting on their lives, experiences and emotions through powerful art and writing.  Young black youth are tomorrow’s leaders and deserve a platform to represent themselves accurately in the media and have their voice heard. 

Dream On, Black Girl: Reflections in Quarantine is their platform. The performing ensemble includes Maxine du Maine, Gabby Eubanks, and Alana Wilson. 


 Please call (314) 827-5760, email [email protected], or visit the SATE website at slightlyoff.org for more information.  Project Verse is made possible by funding from COCA, Prison Performing Arts, Regional Arts Commission, and SATE.

Beginning May 29 at 8 p.m., the St Louis Shakespeare Festival kicks off the virtual companion to the beloved SHAKE38 program created in 2012. For five years, SHAKE38 brought professional and amateur artists together to reshape Shakespeare’s stories using their own voice and perspective.

Recent national events are stark reminders there is still an exceptional need for stories about the full range of human experience–often joyous and kind but sometimes painful and unjust. The Festival is honored to bring this program back in a new form and hand the reigns of our online platforms off to the talented and diverse group of performers for each of these 20 nights

With the recent announcement that we are postponing this summer’s production of Much Ado About Nothing, we will be approaching the first June in twenty years without Shakespeare in Forest Park. Instead of going dark – we are resurrecting Shake38 as SHAKE20. 

20 nights of virtual Shakespeare plays for each night we would have been in Shakespeare Glen. You are invited to join!

Performances will take place every night but Monday, May 29 – June 20, 2020.

Go the Festival’s Facebook page (every night but Monday) at 8 p.m. and watch live. If you miss a night, each performance will be archived here and available for viewing at any time. 

Parameter: Create a 20-30 minute adaptation of one of Shakespeare’s 38 plays crafted for a live streaming experience.

Or, Theater interrupted by life…or something like that. Awards and reflections on the year.

By Lynn Venhaus
Often times, the wise words of others are in a loop playing in my head.

“I want life to imitate art,” Carrie Fisher wrote in “Postcards from the Edge,” and I often share that same sentiment. Particularly in 2019, which will always be labeled an “annus horribilis” for personal reasons.

Although John Lennon is attributed to have said “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans,” he really just quoted it in one of his songs on “Double Fantasy.” That one I put in regular rotation.

When times were really rough last year, I thought of Courtney Love’s band Hole and their album cover “Live Through This,” which was made after Kurt Cobain died. I kept repeating that phrase over and over.

Now 65, I know all too well the ebbs and flows of life, but last year seemed unusually mired in the deep end. You see, without going into lengthy details, I lost my cherished oldest son in December 2018 and my only surviving brother, who was terminally ill, Labor Day weekend on his 57th birthday; my two sisters and I lost our other brother years ago. Life is filled with loss, and I made it through all the ‘firsts’ with a lot of help from my friends and family. But pain, anguish and sorrow were/are unfathomable and the tsunami of grief is as unpredictable as anything in life.

My brother honored as a Legacy Coach at his alma mater, Belleville West, in January, eight months before his death. You can’t see his walker. He was a coach and junior high science teacher for 35 years.

As Matt went steadily downhill last summer, I decided I would spend more time with him, and I was already cooking his meals. So that meant missing some theater, and I have no regrets on that decision.

We all must prioritize what’s important in our lives. Theater has always brought me great joy and illuminated life in an exhilarating way, and last year, sometimes it was a lifeline.

I am grateful for the opportunities to see so much worthwhile theater, and I appreciate the theater community for being so understanding and patient last year on my circumstances and my crazy work schedule.

The upside to tragedy is the outpouring of kindness and concern from people – it was a comforting blanket I wrapped myself in, and was able to get up and get going because I knew I wasn’t alone, and that there were so many others to lean on and raise me up.

I can’t thank people enough and I am forever grateful – it means so much. Now, back to work. Words matter – I’m a writer, after all. A few years ago, as I was dropping Tim off at Union Station to visit some out-of-town friends after a break-up blindsided him, I mentioned ye olde chestnut about using what you learn at a later time, and he replied: “Like you say, Mom, everything’s copy.” I learned that from Nora Ephron. And it’s true.

Tim

Well maybe some day. Right now, I prefer to immerse myself in other’s words. Seeing how people take fresh pages of a script, how eloquent it can be, how well it can be interpreted – that is the task of the creative souls. And it’s so fun to see what can be crafted on a stage in town, whether it’s a small black box or the immense Muny stage.

Sitting in the dark, sharing a moment – that’s what it’s all about, and we sure shared some  outstanding moments in 2019. The eternal optimist, I am looking forward to another exciting year.

And as we all know, there will be more times we’re knocked down. And being helped up is one of the best things in life. And when you open yourself up — be it in conversation, writing or on stage, you feel human and whole.

How art enriches us is truly inspiring. 2019 was a good year for theater, particularly dramas, which were often inspired. It was important to have somewhere to go and something else to think about, as I continue to marvel at the accomplishments – passionate people behind their visions, strong talent and a desire to do good work, that it is about the work.

I like when people take risks, when they present new ways of doing things, and don’t rely on the same-old casting. My biggest pet peeves are miscasting and lack of character development/prep work/vision. If you are going to invest the time and want people to give up their time and money, then do the work, go above and beyond, and not just slide by. Hire who is right for the part, not just because they are a friend.

OK, off my soapbox.

I have now launched my longtime-coming website, and we should be full speed ahead in 2020, www.PopLifeSTL.com. I haven’t launched its daily and weekly features yet, but reviews and news releases are up. All in due time.

So, my awards this year are based on the 79 regional professional plays I did see, and not the touring shows nor community theater. That would add about 16 more shows. There is no way to see everything.

This is the year I gave up reviewing opera and let another reviewer go in my place. I needed to make some changes, and sadly, that had to be dropped. Maybe another work. I have been in awe of what Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Union Avenue Opera and Winter Opera achieve year after year.

My brother’s memorial service was the weekend of Shakespeare in the Streets, so I had to cancel, and he died the weekend I had RSVP’d for “The 39 Steps.” I saw “The Night of the Iguana” but left the next day to spend Mother’s Day with my youngest son in New York City, so missed “A Lovely Sunday Afternoon for Creve Coeur” and the other programming. I was on my way to the final matinee of “Death Tax” when an accident closed three lanes of I-64. Life…


I also traveled quite a bit this year, some for work, some for play. Tim was working on his MFA in screenwriting at DePaul University at the time of his death. He was home on holiday break. His professors named an award for him at their annual film festival, so I went up to Chicago the first weekend in June to see it happen.

However, I was fortunate to spend Mother’s Day watching Jeff Daniels as Atticus Finch in “To Kill a Mockingbird” in the sold-out acclaimed Bartlett Sher-Aaron Sorkin production in the Shubert Theatre. You could have heard a pin drop and the standing ovation was immediate, loud and long. Meeting the star afterwards was an unexpected thrill.

“To Kill a Mockingbird” brilliant production at the Shubert. Photo Credit: Julieta Cervantes

The week I was in NYC I also saw the  fabulous and fun “The Prom,” which was produced by local folks and had a book and lyrics by Centralia’s own Chad Beguelin, who I had the good fortune to meet in 2010 and have been writing about his triumphs ever since.

I did something new, too — I revised my late son’s last script, a comedy short that his DePaul professor raved about, A for the trimester. And we had a team shoot it in late September over a weekend, a real challenge and labor of love. As Eleanor Roosevelt said: “You must do the thing you think that you cannot do.”

Unfortunate, but sadly not considered in voting here: “The Revolutionists” and “Shakespeare in Love” at Insight; “Equivocation,” “Exit, Pursued by a Bear” and “Cricket on a Hearth” at West End Players Guild; “Such Sweet Thunder,” Shakespeare Festival St. Louis; “Nina Simone: Four Women” and “Milk Like Sugar,” The Black Rep; Black Mirror Theatre’s “Translations”; ERA’s “Never Let Go”; “Salt, Root and Roe,” Upstream Theatre; “Karmatic” TLT Productions; “The Merchant of Venice” and “The 39 Steps” at St. Louis Shakespeare; “Leaving Iowa” and “Travels with My Aunt” at Act Inc.; “The Hundred Dresses” at Metro Theatre Company; “Disenchanted” at Stray Dog, the parodies of “Jaws” and ‘Gremlins,” and the second leg of the LaBute New Play Festival at St. Louis Actors’ Studio.

Without further ado, I present my annual “LOTTIES,” which is Lynn’s Love of Theatre Awards, for 2019. These are my opinions alone. As in previous years, I usually name 10 my lists, but this year because of missing what I did, it’s either 8 or 9. Eventually, I will post my other ones, since 2014, in archives. And I intend to archive all the Circle Awards/Nominations for reference.

If you are wondering about the St. Louis Theater Circle Awards nominations, they will be announced on KWMU around noon on Friday, Feb. 7, with the press releases embargoed until 1 p.m. You can see the nominations here on PopLifeSTL.com in the afternoon.

I did not want my awards to coincide with the Circle, but it was not to be this year. However, these are my traditional annual awards, reflect my personal take on the year that was.

I am a Circle founding member; we began in 2012. The awards will be presented on Monday, March 30, at the Loretto Hilton Center on the campus of Webster University, (the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis’ home). More information will be forthcoming.

The 2019 LOTTIES* (LYNN’S LOVE OF THEATER AWARDS)

Barrett Foa and Meredith Baxter in “Angels in America, Part 2: Perestroika”

PRODUCTION OF THE YEAR: “Angels in America, Parts I and 2.”

Talk about ambitious. But oh, so worthwhile. The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis’ first show under new artistic director Hana Sharif was an absolute stunning visceral and artistic work and raised the bar. Not only did it take risks but its heavyweight cast delivered on its promise.

“Part I: Millennium Approaches” and Part 2: Perestroika” required a commitment of time but the investment was worth it. How interesting, too that a 30 year old play could be so relevant today.

“Brighton Beach Memoirs” became New Jewish Theatre’s biggest hit of all-time

COMPANY OF THE YEAR: New Jewish Theatre.

From start to finish, 2019 was a banner year for NJT under new artistic director Edward Coffield. “District Merchants,” “Time Stands Still,” “I Now Pronounce,” “Brighton Beach Memoirs” and “Fully Committed” were extremely well done with outstanding casts and production values.

Ellie in “Antigone: Requiem for Patriarchus”

ARTIST OF THE YEAR: Ellie Schwetye.

Ellie in “A Lovely Sunday for Creve Coeur”

One of the most versatile and accomplished women in town, she’s been honored and nominated by the St. Louis Theater Circle year in and year out. But this year might be her finest – and perhaps busiest – on record. She directed “Photograph 51” at West End Players Guild, “A Model for Matisse” for the Midnight Company and “Fully Committed” at New Jewish Theatre. She acted in “Classic Mystery Game” and “Antigone: Requiem for Patriarchus” at SATE. She did sound for “The Night of the Iguana” at the Tennessee Williams Festival and “The Women of Lockerbie” at SATE. She was involved in SIUE’s Summer Play Festival, with “As You Like It.” Her choices of music for any show are impeccable.
I’m likely missing a few things too.
She’s always excelled at being a collaborator but she deserves an award all it’s own.

The national tour of “Dear Evan Hansen” came to the Fox.

BEST TOURING SHOWS: “Come from Away” and “Dear Evan Hansen,” both at the Fox.

Repertory Theatre of St. Louis’ production of “Nonsense and Beauty” as the Loretto-Hilton Center. ©Photo by Jerry Naunheim Jr.

BEST NEW PLAYS:
1. “Nonsense and Beauty,” Scott C. Sickles, The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis
2. “Canfield Drive,” Kristen Adele Calhoun and Michael Thomas Walker, The Black Rep
3. “It’s a Wonderful Life,” John Wolbers, Metro Theatre Company
4. “Feeding Beatrice,” Kristen Greenidge, The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis
5. (tie) “Kim Jong Rosemary,” Carter Lewis, LaBute New Play Festival, St. Louis Actors’ Studio
5. (tie) “A Model for Matisse,” Barbara F. Freed and Joe Hanrahan, The Midnight Company

Caleb Miofsky in “Cry-Baby” at New Line

FIVE TO WATCH:
Summer Baer
Tristan Davis
Caleb Miofsky
Tateonna Thompson
Jordan Wolk

Alicen Moser in “District Merchants”
Alicen Moser in “Antigone”

12 ACTING MVPS
(For their noteworthy range of work in 2019, and not only St. Louis professional in some cases)
Nicole Angeli
Will Bonfiglio
Kevin Corpuz
Eileen Engel
Wendy Greenwood
Stephen Henley
Keating
Ryan Lawson-Maeske
Stephanie Merritt
Alicen Moser
Spencer Sickmann
Jennifer Theby-Quinn

DYNAMIC DUOS

J. Samuel Davis and Gary Wayne Barker in “District Merchants”
Will Bonfiglio and John Wolbers
  1. Gary Wayne Barker and J. Samuel Davis, “District Merchants,” New Jewish Theatre
  2. Jacob Flekier and Spencer Kruse, “Brighton Beach Memoirs,” New Jewish Theatre
  3. Will Bonfiglio and John Wolbers, “Photograph 51”
  4. Eli Mayer and Khailah Johnson, “Footloose,” The Muny
  5. Kevin O’Brien and Sara Rae Womack, “Guys and Dolls,” Stray Dog Theatre
  6.  Ryan Lawson-Maeske and William Roth, “A Life in the Theatre”
  7. Joe Hanrahan and Shane Signorino, “Popcorn Falls,” Midnight Company
  8. Erin Kelley and J. Samuel Davis, “The Agitators,” Upstream Theatre
  9. Jeffrey Heyenga and Robbie Simpson, “Nonsense and Beauty,” The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis
  10. Joe Hanrahan and Rachel Hanks, “A Model for Matisse,” Midnight Company

JUVENILE PERFORMANCE AWARDS

Flower girls in “I Now Pronounce” at New Jewish Theatre
  1. Millie Edelman, Abby Goldstein and Lydia Mae Foss as the flower girls, “I Now Pronounce,” New Jewish Theatre
  2. Leo Taghert as 10 year old Tommy in “The Who’s Tommy,” Stray Dog Theatre

 SPECIAL TECHNICAL ACHIEVEMENT: Michael B. Perkins for his exquisite video projection design in “Love, Linda” and “A Model for Matisse.”

Jane Paradise in “Brighton Beach Memoirs”

COMEDY AWARDS
Best Actress in a Comedy

  1. Jane Paradise, “Brighton Beach Memoirs,” New Jewish Theatre
  2. Laura Sohn, “Love’s Labors Lost,” Shakespeare Festival St. Louis
  3. Kea Trevett, “Love’s Labors Lost,” Shakespeare Festival St. Louis
  4. Susie Lawrence, “Sylvia,” Stray Dog Theatre
  5. Keating, “Well,” Mustard Seed Theatre
  6. Sofia Lidia, “The MotherF**cker with the Hat,” R-S Theatrics
  7. Perri Gaffney, “The Lifespan of a Fact,” The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis
  8. Colleen Backer, “Color Timer,” LaBute New Play Festival, St. Louis Actors’ Studio
Frankie Ferrari and Delaney Piggins in ‘I Now Pronounce”

Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy

  1. Laurie McConnell, “Brighton Beach Memoirs.” New Jewish Theatre
  2. Melissa Harlow, “Sylvia,” Stray Dog
  3. Frankie Ferrari, “I Now Pronounce,” New Jewish Theatre
  4. Delaney Piggins, “I Now Pronounce,” New Jewish Theatre
  5. Lori Adams, “Well,” Mustard Seed Theatre
  6. Ka-Ling Cheung, “The Play That Goes Wrong,” The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis
  7. Michelle Hand, “Pride and Prejudice,” The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis
  8. Taleesha Caturah, “The MotherF**with the Hat,” R-S Theatrics
  9. Caitlin Mickey, “Wittenberg,” Upstream Theatre
Will Bonfiglio in “Fully COmmitted” at New Jewish

Best Actor in a Comedy

  1. Will Bonfiglio, “Fully Committed,” New Jewish Theatre
  2. Isaiah DiLorenzo, “True West,” St. Louis Actors’ Studio
  3. Jacob Flekier, “Brighton Beach Memoirs,” New Jewish Theatre
  4. Steve Isom, “Wittenberg,” Upstream Theatre
  5. Michael Cassidy Flynn, “Classic Mystery Game,” SATE
  6. Adam Flores, “The MotherF**ker with the Hat,” R-S Theatrics
  7. Griffin Osborne, “The Lifespan of a Fact,” The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis
  8. Alan Knoll, “Wittenberg,” Upstream Theatre
  9. Joe Hanrahan, “Charlie Johnson Reads All of Proust,” Midnight Company
Spencer Kruse and Jacob Flekier in “Brighton Beach Memoirs”

Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy

1. Spencer Kruse, “Brighton Beach Memoirs,” New Jewish Theatre
2. Patrick Blindauer, “Love’s Labors Lost,” Shakespeare Festival St. Louis
3. Shane Signorino, “Popcorn Falls,” Midnight Company
4. Aaron Dodd, “The Motherf**ker with the Hat,” R-S Theatrics
5. Jesse Munoz, The Motherf**ker with the Hat, R-S Theatrics
6. Michael McGloin, “The Play That Goes Wrong,” The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis
7. Chuck Brinkley, “Brighton Beach Memoirs,’ New Jewish Theatre
8. Michael James Reed, “Pride and Prejudice,” The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis

“The Play That Goes Wrong” at The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis

Best Director of a Comedy

  1. Alan Knoll, “Brighton Beach Memoirs,” New Jewish Theatre
  2. Tom Ridgely, “Love’s Labors Lost,” Shakespeare Festival St. Louis
  3. Melissa Rain Anderson, “The Play That Goes Wrong,” The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis
  4. Ellie Schwetye, “Fully Committed,” New Jewish Theatre
  5. William Whitaker, “True West,” St. Louis Actors Studio
  6. Meredith McDonough, “The Lifespan of a Fact,” The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis
  7. Philip Boehm, “Wittenberg,” Upstream Theatre
“It’s a Wonderful Life” at Metro Theatre Company

Best Ensemble in a Comedy

  1. The Play That Goes Wrong, The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis
  2. Brighton Beach Memoirs, New Jewish Theatre
  3. Love’s Labors Lost, Shakespeare Festival St. Louis
  4. It’s a Wonderful Life, Metro Theatre Company
  5. (tie) The MotherF**ker with the Hat, R-S Theatrics

(tie) Well, Mustard Seed Theatre

BEST COMEDY PRODUCTION

“True West” at St. Louis Actors’ Studio
  1. Brighton Beach Memoirs, New Jewish Theatre
  2. Love’s Labors Lost, Shakespeare Festival St. Louis
  3. The Play That Goes Wrong, The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis
  4. True West, St. Louis Actors’ Studio
  5. Wittenberg,  Upstream Theatre
    6. Fully Committed, New Jewish Theatre

DRAMA AWARDS

Ben Ritchie and Nicole Angeli in “Photograph 51”

Best Actress in a Drama

  1. Nicole Angeli, “Photograph 51,” West End Players Guild
  2. Wendy Greenwood, “Time Stands Still,” New Jewish Theatre
  3. Jeanne Paulsen, “Alabama Story,” The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis
  4. Kristen Adele Calhoun, “Canfield Drive,” The Black Rep
  5. Zoe Farmingdale, “Indecent,” Max and Louie Productions
  6. Julie Layton, “Fifty Words,” St. Louis Actors’ Studio
Nisi Sturgis in “The Night of the Iguana”

Best Supporting Actress in a Drama

1. Nisi Sturgis, “The Night of the Iguana,” Tennessee Williams Festival St. Louis
2. Eileen Engel, “Time Stands Still,” New Jewish Theatre
3. Rae Davis, “District Merchants,” New Jewish Theatre
4. Donna Weinsting, “Nonsense and Beauty,” The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis
5. Rachel Hanks, “A Model for Matisse,” Midnight Company
6. Sophia Brown, “Fefu and Her Friends,” Theatre Nuevo
7. Miranda Jagels-Felix, “Antigone: Requiem for Patriarchus,” SATE

Jim Butz in “The Night of the Iguana”

Best Actor in a Drama
1. James Andrew Butz, “The Night of the Iguana,” Tennessee Williams Festival St. Louis
2. Barrett Foa, “Angels in America,” The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis
3. Gary Wayne Barker, “District Merchants,” New Jewish Theatre
4. Graham Emmons, “The Crucible,” Stray Dog Theatre.
5. Spencer Sickmann, “Farragut North,” St. Louis Actors’ Studio
6. Jim Poulos, “Oslo,” The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis

David Ryan Smith and Peter Fre

Best Supporting Actor in a Drama

  1. J. Samuel Davis, “District Merchants,” New Jewish Theatre
  2. Carl Howell, “Alabama Story,” The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis
  3. David Wassilak, “Farragut North,” St. Louis Actors’ Studio
  4. Karl Hawkins, “District Merchants,” New Jewish Theatre
  5. David Ryan Smith, “Angels in America,” The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis
  6. Ryan Lawson-Maeske, “Photograph 51,” West End Players Guild
  7. John Feltch, “Nonsense and Beauty,” The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis
  8. Gerry Love, “The Crucible,” Stray Dog Theatre
  9. Ben Ritchie, “The Crucible,” Stray Dog Theatre
  10. Ben Cherry, “Angels in America,” The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis
    (tie) Peter Freschette, “Angels in America,” The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis
    (tie) Taylor Gruenloh, “Two Degrees,” Tesseract Theatre
Angels in America

Best Director of a Drama

1. Joanne Gordon, “Indecent,” Max and Louie Productions
2. Anthony Speciale, “Angels in America,” The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis
3. Jacqueline Thompson, “District Merchants,” New Jewish Theatre
4. Gary F. Bell, “The Crucible,” Stray Dog Theatre
5. Ellie Schwetye, “Photograph 51,” West End Players Guild
6. Lucy Cashion, “Antigone: Requiem for Patriarchus,” ERA/SATE
7. Steve Woolf, “Oslo,” The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis
8. Seth Gordon, “Nonsense and Beauty,” The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis

Best Ensemble in a Drama Production

“Antigone: Reqiuem for Patriarchus” at SATE
  1. Angels in America, Parts 1 and 2, The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis
  2. District Merchants, New Jewish Theatre
  3. Photograph 51, West End Players Guild
  4. Indecent, Max and Louie Productions
  5. Antigone: Requiem for Patriarchus, ERA and SATE
  6. The Crucible, Stray Dog Theatre
  7. The Women of Lockerbie, SATE
  8. Nonsense and Beauty, The Rep
  9. Time Stands Still, New Jewish
  10. Oslo, The Rep

Best Dramatic Production

The Crucible at Stray Dog Theatre
  1. Angels in America, The Rep
  2. District Merchants, New Jewish
  3. The Crucible, Stray Dog
  4. Photograph 51, West End Players Guild
  5. Indecent, Max and Louie Productions
  6. Nonsense and Beauty, The Rep
  7. The Night of the Iguana, Tennessee Williams Festival St. Louis
  8. Oslo, The Rep
  9. Time Stands Still, New Jewish
  10. Farragut North, St. Louis Actors’ Studio

MUSICAL AWARDS

Casr of Cry-Baby at New Line

Best Musical Director
1. Ryan Fielding Garrett, “Kinky Boots,” The Muny
2. Jennifer Buchheit, “The Who’s Tommy,” Stray Dog Theatre
3. Nicolas Valdez, “Cry-Baby,” New Line Theatre
4. Charles Creath, “Don’t Both Me I Can’t Cope,” The Black Rep
5. Nicolas Valdez, “Be More Chill,” New Line Theatre
6. Scott Schoonover, “Daddy Long Legs,” Insight Theatre
7. Holly Barber, “Hedwig and the Angry Inch,” The Q Collective

Don’t Bother Me I Can’t Cope at The Black Rep

Best Choreographer (and not just in musicals)

1. Kirven Douthit-Boyd, “Don’t Bother Me I Can’t Cope,” The Black Rep
2. Mike Hodges, “Guys and Dolls,” Stray Dog Theatre
3. Rusty Mowery, “Kinky Boots,” The Muny
4. Ellen Isom, “Indecent,” Max and Louie Productions
5. Tony Gonzalez, “Grease,” Stages St. Louis
6. Heather Beal, “Feeding Beatrice,” The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis

Best Supporting Actress in a Musical

Taylor Louderman in “Kinky Boots”
  1. Taylor Louderman, “Kinky Boots,” The Muny
  2. Michelle Ragusa, “The Boy from Oz,” Stages St. Louis
  3. Sarah Gene Dowling, “Hedwig and the Angry Inch,” The Q Collective
  4. Kendra Lynn Lucas, “Grease,” Stages St. Louis
  5. Khalia Johnson, “Footloose,” The Muny
  6. Eleanor Humphrey, “Dreamgirls,” Stray Dog Theatre
  7. Laura Michelle Kelley, “Matilda,” The Muny
  8. Grace Langford, “Avenue Q,” The Playhouse at Westport
  9. Jenny Powers, “1776,” The Muny
    10. Tateonna Thompson, “Dreamgirls,” Stray Dog
    10. Denise Thimes, “Don’t Bother Me, I Can’t Cope,” The Black Rep

Best Actress in a Musical

Ebony Easter as Effie in “Dreamgirls” (center)
  1. Ebony Easter, “Dreamgirls,” Stray Dog Theatre
  2. Jennifer Theby-Quinn, “Daddy Long Legs,” Insight Theatre
  3. Mattea Conforti, “Matilda,” The Muny
  4. Kendra Kassebaum, “Guys and Dolls,” The Muny
  5. Mamie Parris, “Paint Your Wagon,” The Muny
  6. Sarah Rae Womack, “Guys and Dolls,” Stray Dog Theatre
  7. Brittany Bradford, “Guys and Dolls,” The Muny
Zak Farmer in “La Cage Aux Folles” at New line

Best Actor in a Musical
1. Zachary Allen Farmer, “La Cage Aux Folles,” New Line Theatre
2. J. Harrison Ghee, “Kinky Boots,” The Muny
3. David Elder, “The Boy from Oz,” Stages St. Louis
4. Luke Steingruby, “Hedwig and the Angry Inch,” The Q Collective
5. Caleb Miofsky, “Cry-Baby,” New Line Theatre
6. James Patterson, “Man of La Mancha,” Stages St. Louis
7. Mark Kelley, “A Man of No Importance,” R-S Theatrics

Best Supporting Actor in a Musical

Kevin Corpuz, right in “Be More Chill” at New Line
  1. Omega Jones, “Dreamgirls,” Stray Dog Theatre
  2. Kevin Corpuz, “Be More Chill,” New Line Theatre
  3. Omar Lopez-Cepero, “Paint Your Wagon,” The Muny
  4. Tristan Davis, “The Who’s Tommy,” Stray Dog Theatre
  5. Eli Mayer, “Footloose,” The Muny
  6. Ryan Cooper, “Man of La Mancha,” Stages St. Louis
  7. Ken Page, “Guys and Dolls,” Stages St. Louis
  8. Mike Wells, “Guys and Dolls,” Stray Dog Theatre
  9. Patrick John Moran, “Man of La Mancha,” Stages St. Louis
  10. Zach Stefaniak, “Guys and Dolls,” Stray Dog Theatre
    (tie) Ben Davis, “1776,” The Muny
Avenue Q at the Playhouse at Westport

Best Director of a Musical

1. Mike Dowdy-Windsor and Scott Miller, “Be More Chill,” New Line Theatre
2. DB Bonds, “Kinky Boots,” The Muny
3. Justin Been, “Dreamgirls,” Stray Dog Theatre
4. Lee Anne Mathews, “Avenue Q,” The Playhouse at Westport
5. Jordan Woods, “Hedwig and the Angry Inch,” The Q Collective
6. Ron Himes, “Don’t Bother Me, I Can’t Cope,” The Black Rep

A Man of No Importance


Best Ensemble in a Musical
1. “Kinky Boots,” The Muny
2
. “Dreamgirls.” Stray Dog Theatre
3. “Avenue Q,” The Playhouse at Westport
4. “Be More Chill,” New Line Theatre
5. “A Man of No Importance,” R-S Theatrics
6. . Don’t Bother Me I Can’t Cope,” The Black Rep
7. “Man of La Mancha,” Stages St. Louis
8. “Cry-Baby,” New Line Theatre

“Kinky Boots” at the Muny

Best Musical Production

1.“Kinky Boots,” The Muny
2. “Dreamgirls.” Stray Dog Theatre
3. “Be More Chill,” New Line Theatre
4. “Avenue Q,” The Playhouse at Westport
5. “Don’t Bother Me I Can’t Cope,” The Black Rep

?Dreamgirls”

Best Costume Design of a Musical

1. Sarah Porter, “La Cage Aux Folles,” New Line Theatre
2. Julian King, “Dreamgirls,” Stray Dog Theatre”
3. Mary Engelbreit and Leon Dobkowski, “Matilda,” The Muny
4. Brad Musgrove, “101 Dalmatians,” Stages St. Louis
5. Brad Musgrove, “Grease,” Stages St. Louis
6. Eileen Engel, “The Who’s Tommy,” Stray Dog Theatre
7. Gregg Barnes and Lindsay McWilliams, “Kinky Boots,’ The Muny

“The Who’s Tommy”

Best Lighting Design in a Musical

1. Tyler Duenow, “The Who’s Tommy,” Stray Dog
2. Joe Clapper, “Don’t Bother Me I Can’t Cope,” The Black Rep
3. Rob Lippert, “Be More Chill,” New Line Theatre
4. John Lasiter, “Paint Your Wagon,” The Muny
5. Tyler Duenow, “Dreamgirls,” Stray Dog Theatre
6. Sean M. Savoie, “The Boy from Oz,” Stages St. Louis

“Matilda” at the Muny

Best Set Design in a Musical

1. Mary Engelbreit and Paige Hathaway, “Matilda,” The Muny
2. James Wolk, “Man of La Mancha,” Stages St. Louis
3. Josh Smith, “The Who’s Tommy,” Stages St. Louis
4. Michael Schweikardt, “Paint Your Wagon,” The Muny
5. Peter and Margery Spack, “Don’t Bother Me I Can’t Cope,” The Black Rep

Feeding Beatrice

Best Sound Design of a Play

  1. Broken Chord, Angels in America, The Rep
  2. Ellie Schwetye, The Night of the Iguana, Tennessee Williams Festival
  3. David Samba, Feeding Beatrice, The Rep
  4. Kareem Deanes, Fully Committed, New Jewish Theatre
  5. Philip Evans, Indecent, Max and Louie Productions
    6. Justin Been, The Crucible, Stray Dog Productions
“Love’s Labors Lost”

Best Costume Design in a Play

  1. Michele Friedman Siler, Brighton Beach Memoirs, New Jewish
  2. Melissa Trn, Love’s Labors Lost, Shakespeare Festival St. Louis
  3. Felia Davenport, District Merchants, New Jewish
  4. Andrea Robb, A Life in the Theater, St. Louis Actors’ Studio
  5. Laura Hanson, Wittenberg, Upstream Theatre

Best Set Design in a Play

The Night of the Iguana
  1. Peter and Margery Spack, The Play That Goes Wrong, The Rep
  2. Dunsi Dai, The Night of the Iguana, Tennessee Williams Festival St. Louis
  3. Peter and Margery Spack, Brighton Beach Memoirs, New Jewish
  4. Kristin Cassidy, “Photograph 51,” West End Players Guild
  5. William Bloodgood, ‘Alabama Story,’ The Rep
  6. David Blake, “District Merchants,” New Jewish
  7. Lawrence E. Moten III, +Feeding Beatrice,” The Rep
    8. Patrick Huber, “True West,” St. Louis Actors’ Studio

Best Lighting Design in a Play

“Indecent”
  1. Jon Ontiveros, “The Night of the Iguana,” Tennessee Williams Festival St. Louis
  2. Xavier Pierce, “Angels in America,” The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis
  3. Patrick Huber, “Indecent,” Max and Louie Productions
  4. Jason Lynch, “Feeding Beatrice,” The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis
  5. Sean Savoie, “District Merchants,” New Jewish Theatre

Photo Credits: Phillip Hamer, Jon Gitchoff, JPatrick Huber, Joey Rumpell, Peter Wochniak and Jerry Naunheim Jr.

By Lynn Venhaus
Managing Editor
As the month winds down and students are back at school, local theater is
offering several shows that you can learn from, no matter what your interest.
The only new show this weekend is “Wit” by Alpha Players of Florissant, and
there are only three performances.
The classic American musical “Guys and Dolls” wraps up its run at Stray Dog
Theatre, so does the little-known “A Man of No Importance” by R-S Theatrics and
the local premiere of ‘Glory Denied” at Union Avenue Opera, concluding their 25th
season. The original musical “Madam” by Colin Healy has two more performances
in Hannibal, Mo., and then will be presented in St. Louis in January.
The new all-female spin on the ancient Greek tragedy “Antigone: Requiem per
Patriachus” continues at The Chapel, so if you like seeing something different,
check it out.

Whatever you do during summer’s swan song, go see a play!

“Antigone: Requiem per Patriarchus” SATE and ERA Aug. 14 – 31 (Wednesday – Saturday) at 8 p.m. The Chapel 6238 Alexander Drive, St Louis Tickets: Brown Paper or box office www.slightlyoff.org

What
It’s About: For the third production of its Season of Ritual, SATE is
collaborating with ERA to co-produce Antigone: requiem per Patriarchus; a fresh
perspective on the Sophocles classic workshopped in a collaboration between
Saint Louis University Theatre and Prison Performing Arts. Antigone explores
themes of fidelity, citizenship, civil disobedience, and the struggles and
consequences the characters within the world of the play encounter as a result
of their choices

Director:
Lucy Cashion

Starring:
Alicen Moser, Ellie Schwetye, Laura Hulsey, Miranda Jagels Félix, Natasha Toro,
Taleesha Caturah and Victoria Thomas, with Marcy Ann Wiegert providing live
percussion accompaniment.

In
2017, Prison Performing Arts began a collaboration with St. Louis University
Department of Fine and Performing Arts. Lucy Cashion, Assistant Professor of
Theatre and ERA Artistic Director, and PPA Director of Youth Programs and SATE
Artistic Director Rachel Tibbetts, taught weekly poetry, playwriting, and
development workshops with PPA participants at Women’s Eastern Reception,
Diagnostic, and Correctional Center in Vandalia, Mo.

The
group studied, explored, and wrote about the Ancient Greek Princess Antigone.
Antigone’s story of fighting civic law to obey divine law became famous in the
Classical Greek tragedy “Antigone,” which premiered in Athens in 441 B.C. Since
then, scholars, poets, and playwrights have written their own translations,
adaptations, and critiques of the Antigone story, each from a different point
of view. The continuation of this tradition resulted in a new version of
“Antigone,” which was performed in October 2017 by SLU theatre majors in St.
Louis and then with a performance by PPA participants at WERDCC in March 2018.
The collaboration now continues with this ERA/SATE co-production in St. Louis.

 photography by Joey Rumpell

Please
call (314) 827-5760, email [email protected]

Union Avenue Opera’s Glory Denied dress rehearsal on August 13, 2019.

“Glory Denied” Union Avenue Opera Aug. 16-17 and Aug. 23-24 at 8 p.m. Union Avenue Christian Church 733 Union at Enright 314-361-2881 www.unionavenueopera.org

What It’s About: America’s longest-held prisoner of war
dreams of coming home. But home is a place he will not recognize. Follow the
gut-wrenching saga of Col. Jim Thompson as he transitions from the jungles of
Southeast Asia to the tree-lined streets of suburban America. This true story
explores the unimaginable bravery asked of soldiers and the nature of home
itself. It is a story of a nation divided and a country that changed
significantly in the decade of his imprisonment.

Of Note: The opera is sung in English with projected
English text.

Each night following the performance, UAO will host an
intimate talk-back session with members of the artistic team and cast,
including special guest, Tom Cipullo, the composer and director Dean Anthony
following the opening night performance (Aug. 16).

Photo by John Lamb “Guys and Dolls” Stray Dog Theatre Aug. 8 – 24 Thursday through Saturday at 8 p.m., with additional performances at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 18, and 8 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 24. Tower Grove Abbey, 2336 Tennesseewww.straydogtheatre.org 314-865-1995

What It’s About: “Guys & Dolls” takes us from the heart
of Depression-era Times Square, to the cafés of Havana, and into the sewers of
New York City to give us what some have called the perfect musical comedy. This
timeless tale follows ruthless gamblers, sexy nightclub performers, and the
hot-tempered law enforcers who keep them all in line.

Director: Gary F. Bell

Starring: Jayde Mitchell, Kevin O’Brien, Sarah Rae Womack,
Angela Bubash, Mike Wells

“Madam!” Bluff City Theatre Aug. 15 – 24 Bluff City Theater, 212 Broadway, Hannibal, Mo www.eventshannibal.com

What It’s About: Eliza Haycraft is dying and hates men. She
is owner of five brothels and the richest woman in the city of St. Louis who
once empowered her employees by giving them the right to refuse service to
anyone, but while the passage of The Social Evils Act of 1870 made her business
legitimate, it also took away her right to say “no.”

“Madam!” is a new musical based loosely on real events that
tells the story of her search for an heir to her sex empire while also taking a
romp through first-wave feminism and sexism in America during Reconstruction
told through the lens of Eliza’s courtesans. The music, lyrics and book are by
Colin Healy.

Director: Sydnie Grosberg-Ronga

Starring: Rosemary Watts, Kimmie Kidd, Eileen Engel,
Larissa White, Gracie Sartin, Camerone Pille and Brett Ambler.

Jodi Stockton “A Man of No Importance” R-S Theatrics Aug. 9 – 25 Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., Sunday at 7 p.m. The Marcelle 3310 Samuel Shepard Drive in Grand Center www.r-stheatrics.com

What It’s About: The show has music by Stephen Flaherty, lyrics
by Lynn Ahrens and a book by Terrence McNally, based on the 1994 Albert Finney
film, of the same title. It tells the story of an amateur theatre group in
Dublin and their leader, who is determined to stage a version of “Salome” at
his church, despite the objections of church authorities.

Director: Christina Rios

Starring: Mark Kelley, Kellen Green, Kent Coffel, Stephanie
Merritt, Marshall Jennings, Jennifer Theby-Quinn, Jodi Stockton, Dustin
Allison, Michael B. Perkins, Lindy Elliott, Nancy Nigh, Kay Love and Curtis
Moeller

Photo by Danny Brown“Wit” Alpha Players of Florissant Aug. 23-24, Friday at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Florissant Civic Center Box Office: 314-921-5678 https://florissantmo.thundertx.com

What It’s About: Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, “Wit”
is a play that simply needs to be experienced. 
The journey taken in Wit is one of beauty, pain, humor, poetry, and
above all, what it is to be human. Vivian Bearing is a genius level intellect
who has gotten very far using only her search for knowledge and her sheer force
of will.  She is a wonderfully complex
and beautifully stubborn character.  When
Vivian is diagnosed with ovarian cancer she must learn the value of kindness
and compassion, that sometimes knowledge is not enough, and that there are more
things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in her philosophy. “Wit” is a
show that will stay with you long after the final curtain.”

Director: Danny Brown
Starring: Susan Volkan, Gabriel Beckerle, Tim Callahan, Kathy Fugate, Joel
Brown, Kate Weber, Lisa Hinrichs, Kyliah Thompson.
Of Note: Donations will be accepted for St. Louis Ovarian Cancer Awareness

By Lynn Venhaus Managing EditorFor something really different, check out the St. Louis Fringe Festival, which is taking over Grand Center the next four days. Check out what’s happening with a list of shows here.More collaborations are on stage through the ‘Lou and up the river. SATE and ERA have joined forces, along with Prison Performing Arts and Saint Louis University, for a fresh take on “Antigone.”Union Avenue Opera is premiering “Glory Denied,” and author Tom Cipullo will be here opening night for a talk-balk.In Hannibal, Bluff City Theatre will open the world premiere of Colin Healy’s musical, “Madam!” (Fly North Theatricals will stage it here in January at the .Zack.)

Shows continuing include “A Man of No Importance,” “Grease” and “Guys and Dolls.”

It may be the dog days of August, but you can cool off at a local theater — GO SEE A PLAY.

The seven “Antigones” Photo by Joey Rumpell“Antigone: Requiem per Patriarchus” SATE and ERA Aug. 14 – 31 (Wednesday – Saturday) at 8 p.m. The Chapel 6238 Alexander Drive, St Louis Tickets: Brown Paper or box office www.slightlyoff.org

What It’s About: For the third production of its Season of
Ritual, SATE is collaborating with ERA to co-produce Antigone: requiem per
Patriarchus; a fresh perspective on the Sophocles classic workshopped in a
collaboration between Saint Louis University Theatre and Prison Performing
Arts. Antigone explores themes of fidelity, citizenship, civil disobedience,
and the struggles and consequences the characters within the world of the play
encounter as a result of their choices

Director: Lucy Cashion

Starring: Alicen Moser, Ellie Schwetye, Laura Hulsey,
Miranda Jagels Félix, Natasha Toro, Taleesha Caturah and Victoria Thomas, with
Marcy Ann Wiegert providing live percussion accompaniment.

In 2017, Prison Performing Arts began a collaboration with
St. Louis University Department of Fine and Performing Arts. Lucy Cashion,
Assistant Professor of Theatre and ERA Artistic Director, and PPA Director of
Youth Programs and SATE Artistic Director Rachel Tibbetts, taught weekly
poetry, playwriting, and development workshops with PPA participants at Women’s
Eastern Reception, Diagnostic, and Correctional Center in Vandalia, Mo.

The group studied, explored, and wrote about the Ancient
Greek Princess Antigone. Antigone’s story of fighting civic law to obey divine
law became famous in the Classical Greek tragedy “Antigone,” which premiered in
Athens in 441 B.C. Since then, scholars, poets, and playwrights have written
their own translations, adaptations, and critiques of the Antigone story, each
from a different point of view. The continuation of this tradition resulted in
a new version of “Antigone,” which was performed in October 2017 by SLU theatre
majors in St. Louis and then with a performance by PPA participants at WERDCC
in March 2018. The collaboration now continues with this ERA/SATE co-production
in St. Louis.

 photography by Joey
Rumpell
Please call (314) 827-5760, email [email protected]

Public relations photo shot on August 6, 2019 for the upcoming Union Avenue Opera production of Glory Denied.

“Glory Denied” Union Avenue Opera Aug. 16-17 and Aug. 23-24 at 8 p.m. Union Avenue Christian Church 733 Union at Enright 314-361-2881 www.unionavenueopera.org What It’s About: America’s longest-held prisoner of war dreams of coming home. But home is a place he will not recognize. Follow the gut-wrenching saga of Col. Jim Thompson as he transitions from the jungles of Southeast Asia to the tree-lined streets of suburban America. This true story explores the unimaginable bravery asked of soldiers and the nature of home itself. It is a story of a nation divided and a country that changed significantly in the decade of his imprisonment. Of Note: The opera is sung in English with projected English text.

Each night following the performance, UAO will host an
intimate talk-back session with members of the artistic team and cast,
including special guest, Tom Cipullo, the composer and director Dean Anthony following
the opening night performance (Aug. 16).

Photo by ProPhotoSTL “Grease” Stages St. Louis July 19 – Aug 18 Robert G. Reim Theatre at the Kirkwood Community Center 111 South Geyer Road in Kirkwood www.stagesstlouis.org

What It’s About: Welcome to Rydell High where Danny Zuko
and his gang of Burger Palace Boys and Pink Ladies rule the school! Bursting
with explosive energy and 1950’s nostalgia, “Grease” blends an irresistible mix
of adolescent angst and All-American teen spirit to create a high-octane,
pop-culture phenomenon.

Director: Michael Hamilton
Starring: Sam Harvey, Summerisa Bell Stevens, Morgan Cowling, Jessie Corbin,
Patrick Mobley, Collin O’Connor, Frankie Thams, Julia Johanos, Lucy Moon and
Brooke Shapiro.

Photo by John Lamb“Guys and Dolls” Stray Dog Theatre Aug. 8 – 24 Thursday through Saturday at 8 p.m., with additional performances at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 18, and 8 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 24. Tower Grove Abbey, 2336 Tennesseewww.straydogtheatre.org 314-865-1995

What It’s About: “Guys & Dolls” takes us from the heart
of Depression-era Times Square, to the cafés of Havana, and into the sewers of
New York City to give us what some have called the perfect musical comedy. This
timeless tale follows ruthless gamblers, sexy nightclub performers, and the
hot-tempered law enforcers who keep them all in line.

Director: Gary F. Bell

Starring: Jayde Mitchell, Kevin O’Brien, Sarah Rae Womack, Angela Bubash, Mike Wells

“Madam!” Bluff City Theatre Aug. 15 – 24 Bluff City Theater, 212 Broadway, Hannibal, Mo www.eventshannibal.com

What It’s About: Eliza Haycraft is dying and hates men. She
is owner of five brothels and the richest woman in the city of St. Louis who
once empowered her employees by giving them the right to refuse service to
anyone, but while the passage of The Social Evils Act of 1870 made her business
legitimate, it also took away her right to say “no.”

“Madam!” is a new musical based loosely on real events that
tells the story of her search for an heir to her sex empire while also taking a
romp through first-wave feminism and sexism in America during Reconstruction
told through the lens of Eliza’s courtesans. The music, lyrics and book are by
Colin Healy.

Director: Sydnie Grosberg-Ronga

Starring: Eileen Engel, Kimmie Kidd, Larissa White, Rosemary Watts,

 “A Man of No Importance” R-S Theatrics Aug. 9 – 25 Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., Sunday at 7 p.m. The Marcelle 3310 Samuel Shepard Drive in Grand Center www.r-stheatrics.com

What It’s About: The show has music by Stephen Flaherty, lyrics
by Lynn Ahrens and a book by Terrence McNally, based on the 1994 Albert Finney
film, of the same title. It tells the story of an amateur theatre group in
Dublin and their leader, who is determined to stage a version of “Salome” at
his church, despite the objections of church authorities.
Director: Christina Rios
Starring: Mark Kelley, Kellen Green, Kent Coffel, Stephanie Merritt, Marshall
Jennings, Jennifer Theby-Quinn, Jodi Stockton, Dustin Allison, Michael B.
Perkins, Lindy Elliott, Nancy Nigh, Kay Love and Curtis Moeller

St. Louis Fringe Festival Aug. 13 – 18 Venues in Grand Centerwww.stlouisfringe.com Grid Schedule PDF: https://docs.wixstatic.com/ugd/03b713_0374464860b54fb7bb2daff290494e83.pdf “Adios Aliens” By LightsUp Productions Kranzberg Black Box Theatre Aug. 16 at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 17 at 4 p.m. Aug. 18 at 6 p.m.

What It’s About: “Adios Aliens” is a work of fiction based
on non-fiction. While the names and characters are fictitious creations of the
author, the play is inspired by the real events pertaining to anti-immigrant
legislation and court judgment that occurred across small town America in the
years 2006-2007. They had real consequences for real people. Over the past 12
years the anti-immigrant sentiment has gained momentum, raising the threats
against the immigrant population.
“Adventures on the Horizon”
presented by Aspire Youth Performing Arts
.ZACK Theatre
Aug. 16 at 6 p.m.
Aug. 17 at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m.

​What It’s About: This performance will
showcase the dramatic and musical talents of youth in a scripted play, and in
musical /dance numbers.

Headline Act:
“Check In” by because why not? Theatre company
.Zack Theatre, 3224 S. Locust
Aug. 15 at 6 p.m.
Aug. 16 at 7:30 p.m.
Aug. 17 at 6 p.m.
Aug. 18 at 1:30 p.m.
What It’s About: Allie and Danielle have been together 4 years, living a happy,
All America life with their son and Allie’s mother. But Allie’s a Dreamer, and
in the current political climate, her monthly government “Check In”
may be far less simple and safe than her family has come to expect. A new play
by Shannon Geier.

“Crawling with Monsters
presented by Latino Theater Initiatives
Kranzberg Black Box Theatre
Aug. 15 at 9 p.m.
Aug. 17 at 1 p.m.
Aug. 18 at 7:30 p.m.

What It’s About: This is a multimedia stage documentary
that reveals what life is like inside the war-torn communities along the
US-Mexico border.

“Creatively Seeking”
presented by Sunday Jones, Mo, and Becky
The Olive Tree in the Grove
Aug. 15 at 8 p.m.
Aug. 16 at 8 p.m.
Aug. 17 at 2 p.m.
What It’s About: “Creatively Seeking” is an investigation of how varied artists
access work and expression through examining their inner truths. Spend an hour
onstage with a painter, life coach, aerialist and photographer and participate
in creation. Firmly based in the concept that “we are the art”, these women
walk the walk and talk the talk to bring out the humanity in artistic
connection.
Debut Cabaret Favorites
presented by Debut Theatre Company
Kranzberg Arts Center Black Box Theatre
Aug. 15 at 6 p.m.
Aug. 17 at noon
Aug. 18 at noon

What It’s About: This all-kid company is coming back to the
fringe and will feature the talents of St Louis’ brightest up and coming stars
in a musical theatre cabaret.

“Hark!”
Hark!
An Improvised Musical Fairy Tale
303 Pop Up @ The .ZACK
Aug. 16 at 7:30 p.m.
Aug. 17 at 9 p.m.
Aug. 18 at 6 p.m. 8/16/2019 @ 7:30pm

What It’s About: We get the audience’s favorite fairytale
or fable and improvise one, or two “Fragmented Fables” with our
musical accompaniment.
“I k(NO)w”
presented by Showgirl Awakening
Kranzberg Arts Center Studio Theater
Aug. 15 at 7: 30 p.m.
Aug. 17 at 1 p.m.
Aug. 18 at 6 p.m.
What It’s About: How do we know when we can’t “no”? Knocked flat
repeatedly by ulcerative colitis, veteran showgirl Kellita comes to know
herself through burlesque, and “NO’s” herself into autoimmune recovery. She
leaves her clothes on and lays her heart bare in this warm telling of her
unsettling partnership with her own powerful, eloquent, recalcitrant body.
Finding unexpected revelations in an airplane potty, a New Orleans nightclub,
and in a spacious room at SF General – sipping coconut water – Kellita begs the
question of her audience: in what ways do we force ourselves to digest the
indigestible?  And what happens when we
stop? With two decades of international burlesque performance under her shimmy
belt, this is Kellita’s first full-length autobiographical-storytelling show.
“I K(noW” focuses on mental, emotional and physical health in a way that’s not
just a storytelling device but also an interactive learning platform.

* “I K(no)W” is not a burlesque show *

What genre is it?

Think intimate-chat-with-a-friend meets TED Talk meets
secure attachment and autoimmume recovery lab.

What they’re saying about “I K(no)W” in San
Francisco: “There are shows that are engaging or entertaining. There are
shows that you talk about right after you see them but don’t ever think about
again. And then there are shows that start you thinking of everyone you can
send to see the show. Kellita engaged my heart, soul, gut and brain.  I K(no)W is a soul baring show.”
“InHERitance: the stories we carry”
presented by Byrd’s World – Heather “Byrd” Roberts
Kranzberg Arts Center Gallery
Aug. 16 at 9 p.m.
Aug. 17 at 4 p.m.
Aug. 18 at 7:30 p.m.8/16/2019 @ 9:00pm

What It’s About: inHERitance is a response to the
historical, environmental, and familial influences along with a demonstration
in the quest for freedom.

“Lady Warrior”
presented by Good People Theater Company
Kranzberg Arts Center Gallery
Aug. 15 at 7:30 p.m.
Aug. 17 at 6 p.m.
Aug. 18 at 3 p.m.

What It’s About: Lady Warrior is a one-woman show about a
woman on a journey she creates with her own step system to find her voice and
identity.
Matthew Marcum Hymns & Oscillations
National Headline Act
Kranzberg Black Box Theatre
Aug. 16 at 9 p.m.
Aug. 17 at 6 p.m.
Aug. 18 at 3 p.m.

“The closest thing to a breakout star that the American
performance sect has seen in decades.”  
-The New York Journal
“The Medicine Show”
presented by Ken Haller
Kranzberg Arts Center Studio Theater
Aug. 15 at 6 p.m.
Aug. 17 at 9 p.m.
Aug. 18 at 4:30 p.m.

What It’s About: In this 60-minute show of stories and
songs, cabaret singer and pediatrician looks at what captivated him about
medicine and the realization that being a doctor is not the same thing as being
a healer.
“My Infinite Sadness”
presented by Darrious Varner
Kranzberg Arts Center Studio Theater
Aug. 16 at 7:30 p.m.
Aug. 17 at 4 p.m.
Aug 18 at 1:30 p.m.

What It’s About: When left alone in one’s own mind, who is
it that you are really talking to? Step into the subconscious of a person
suffering with Depression. See the ups and downs, the twists and turns, the
aches and pains that are living with mental illness. Playwright Darrious Varner
introduces you to a whole new view of Depression with My Infinite Sadness.
“Nora’s Numbers”
presented by Two Are We
Kranzberg Arts Center Studio Theater
Aug. 16 at 9 p.m.
Aug. 17 at 7:30 p.m.
Aug. 18 at 3 p.m.
What It’s About: This one-woman show tells the tale of Nora Petrowski, a recent
widow hobbled by a bunion. Ever the cheapskate, she keeps her husband’s ashes
in an old coffee pot. With her meager budget running out and in jeopardy of
losing her home, Nora starts raising money the only way she knows how—by
running an illegal BINGO den in her living room.  Written and directed by Analicia Kocher and
2015 St. Louis Fringe Meister, Panagiotis Papavlasopoulos.

“Rhythm, Rhyme & Reason”
presented by Poetic Storyteller Oba William King
303 Pop Up @ The .Zack
Aug. 16 at 9 p.m. Adults Only
Aug. 17 at 2:30 p.m.
Aug. 18 at 3 p.m.

What It’s About: Interactive Storytelling. The fusion of
Spoken Word, Theatre, Poetry and the Traditional Art Form. It’s Storytelling
Time!

“Screaming at Optimum Pitch”
First Run Theatre
By Peg Flach
Directed by David Houghton
Cast: Kaitlyn Chotrow, Melanie Klug, Gwynneth Rausch, Nicole Gonnerman, Joshua
Teoli.
Kranzberg Black Box Theatre
Aug. 15 at 7:30 p.m.
Aug. 17 at 2:30 p.m.
Aug. 18 at 4:30 p.m.

What It’s About: Optimum pitch. A tool that speech-language
pathologists use to determine a person’s natural voice is to speak as if in
polite agreement, “mm hmm.” Three generations tell their story.
“Secrets of the Bower House”
Chapter 1
.Zack Theatre
Aug. 15 at 9 p.m.
Aug. 17 at 2:30 p.m.
Aug. 18 at 6 p.m.

What It’s About: “Secrets of Bower House” is a
collaborative production inspired by the concept of “home.” The work
challenges traditional forms of performance and invites you on an immersive
adventure through time, memory, fantasy, and absurdity.

And join us on Saturday, Aug. 17 at 1 p.m. for a free
InterPlay workshop before our show. InterPlay is an active, creative way to
unlock the wisdom of the body. Located at Artica’s outdoor installation space
across from .ZACK Theatre, 3225 Locust.
“Revival: A Southern Gothic Gospel Cabaret”
presented by The Q Collective
Kranzberg Black Box Theatre
Aug. 16 at 6 p.m.
Aug. 17 at 7:30 p.m.
Aug. 18 at 1:30 p.m.

What It’s About: REVIVAL: A SOUTHERN GOTHIC GOSPEL CABARET
is a storytelling adventure that blends candid storytelling with dynamic music.
Revival is the theatrical unpacking of writer Bobby Britton Jr’s Texas
upbringing, experience with the Southern Evangelical Church, and his time in
conversion therapy. Revival began in late 2017, after Bobby’s first show,
“Closed for Repairs,” returned from the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland.
Since that time, Revival has featured the talents of many of Bobby’s friends
and classmates from the Theatre Education Masters Program at Emerson College.
Revival does not seek to preach or convert. Our only goal is to be honest.
“When Women Were Birds: An Integration of Female Voice and Gravity Defying
Movement”
Inspired by a novel authored by Terry Tempest Williams
presented by St Louis Aerial Artistry
.Zack Theatre
Aug. 15 at 10:30 p.m.
Aug. 16 at 10:30 p.m.
Aug. 17 at 10:30 p.m.
Aug. 18 at noon

“A Wild and Weird Sky in the Lou”
presented by SKY
303 Pop Up @ The .ZACK
Aug. 16 at 6 p.m.
Aug. 17 at 4 p.m.
Aug. 18 at 7:30 p.m.
What It’s About: Sky will be presenting three nights of some of her most
ambitiously weird and honest pieces to date at 2019’s St. Lou Fringe Festival,
located in the Grand Center Arts District. There will be her scarf, roses, some
water spillage, projections, and a chance to hear Sky talk about her work. It
will be an intimate, inclusive environment open to questions and lively
discussions about the challenges of creating art. Also, don’t forget to support
all your local artists and check out the impressive line-up of local talent at
this year’s one and only St Lou Fringe Festival!
“Politely Angry: An Hour of Socially Conscious Comedy”
presented by Krish Mohan
Kranzberg Arts Center Gallery
Aug. 16 at 6 p.m.
Aug. 17 at 7:30 p.m.
Aug. 18 at 4:30 p.m.

What It’s About: Krish Mohan uses his quirky attitude and
charming personality to address some of our toughest issues using his unique
brand of comedy.

By Lynn VenhausManaging EditorAnother opening, another show, and another, and another…We have an abundance of riches in the St. Louis region this weekend — many solid offerings from St. Peters, Mo. to Waterloo, Ill.

Whether it’s established playwrights like Arthur Miller, Sarah Ruhl or Laura Gunderson or emerging writers, we encourage you to take a fresh look at a classic or dive in to something new.

Speaking of playwrights, homegrown Beau Willimon will be in town Thursday night to attend the preview performance of his drama, “Farragut North.”

Willimon, who adapted the British TV series “House of Cards” for the American version on Netflix, is a graduate of John Burroughs High School, where he was a student of director Wayne Salomon.It’s the final week for several shows — “District Merchants” at New Jewish Theatre, “Wittenberg” at Upstream Theatre and “The Motherf**ker with the Hat” at R-S Theatrics. “Fiddler on the Roof” tour ends its St. Louis stop on Sunday.

Openings include “The Crucible” at Stray Dog Theatre, “Farragut North” at St. Louis Actors’ Studio, “Oslo” at the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, and “Exit, Pursued by a Bear” at West End Players Guild.Four shows open in Community Theatre — “Don’t Dress for Dinner” at Act Two, ” “First Date” at Clinton County Showcase, “Little Shop of Horrors” at MASC and “Eurydice” at Clayton Community Theatre.

Metro Theatre continues with “The Hundred Dresses,” “Avenue Q” goes through March 3 at The Playhouse at Westport, “Deenie Nast Is Back” is just on Fridays, and SATE’s “Classic Mystery Game” has two more weekends.Whatever you are in the mood for, you can find it in the ‘Lou, or by crossing one of the bridges. Wherever you go, GO SEE A PLAY! “Avenue Q” The Playhouse at Westport Plaza Jan. 25 – March 3 www.playhouseatwestport.com

What It’s About: Part flesh, part felt and packed with
heart, “Avenue Q” is a laugh-out-loud musical telling the story of Princeton, a
college grad who moves into the city with big dreams and a tiny bank account.
He and his Avenue Q neighbors struggle to find jobs, dates and their life’s
purpose.

Director: Lee Anne Mathews, with Music Director Charlie
Mueller

Starring: Andrew Keeler, Brent Ambler, Jennifer
Theby-Quinn, Kevin O’Brien, Grace Langford, Illeana Kirven, April Strelinger

Of Note: For mature audiences. “Avenue Q” won three Tony Awards, including Best Musical. “Black Theatre Workshop” Metcalf Theatre Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville Friday, Feb. 8 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Feb. 10 at 5 p.m. 618-650-2774www.siue.edu

Of Note: In honor for the 20th anniversary celebration of Black
Theater Workshop, SIUE Theater and Dance welcomes the return of alumnus Greg
Fenner who directed this year’s edition of BTW “Black in My Day.”
Fenner has worked in professional theater in both St. Louis and Chicago, and is
the recipient of Best Actor in a Comedy for “Fully Committed” from the St.
Louis Theater Circle.

Photo by Joey Rumpell“Classic Mystery Game” Slightly Askew Theatre Ensemble (SATE) Wednesdays – Saturdays at 8 p.m. Jan. 30 – Feb. 16 The Chapel, 6238 Alexander Drive, [email protected] 314-827-5760

What It’s About: SATE opens its Season of Ritual with a parody of the cult classic 1985 movie, “Clue,” written by Katy Keating. She has written about the failure of capitalism in a climate-changing world.

The film was written by Jonathan Lynn, and that was based
on the game, “Cluedo,” which was created by Anthony E. Pratt.

Director: Katy Keating

Starring: Will Bonfiglio. Maggie Conroy, Michael Cassidy
Flynn, Carl Overly Jr., Reginald Pierre, Ellie Schwetye, Rachel Tibbetts, Kristen
Strom, Marcy Wiegert and Bess Moynihan

Of Note: Wednesdays, Feb. 13, are “Pay What You Can”

Photo by Justin Been“The Crucible” Stray Dog Theatre Feb. 7 – 23 Thursdays through Saturdays at 8 p.m.; special 2 p.m. matinee Sunday, Feb. 17. Tower Grove Abbey 2336 Tennessee www.straydogtheatre.org 314-865-1995

What It’s About: Lies. Betrayal. Lust. In 1690s
Salem, a young girl leads a Puritanical purge of witchcraft against a local
farmer and his wife. As fear and excitement grow in the town, the accusations
grow more ferocious and terrifying, until no one is safe, and the truth is
obscured completely. Written by Arthur Miller and winner of the 1953 Tony Award
for Best Play.

Director:
Starring: John Proctor: Graham Emmons, Elizabeth Proctor: Cynthia Pohlson, Abigail
Williams: Alison Linderer, Mercy Lewis: Sienna DeSuza, Rebecca Nurse: Suzanne
Greenwald, John Danforth: Joe Hanrahan, Ezekiel Cheever: Charles Heuvelman, John
Hathorne: Jonathan Hey, Ann Putnam: Laura Kyro, Francis Nurse: Chuck Lavazzi, Susanna
Walcott: Zoe Liu, Giles Corey: Gerry Love, Hopkins : Michael Maskus, Sarah
Good: Liz Mischel, Thomas Putnam: Tom Moore, John Willard: Stephen Peirick, Rev.
Samuel Parris: Ben Ritchie, Betty Parris: Avery Smith, John Hale: Abraham Shaw,
Mary Warren: Chrissie Watkins and Tituba: Kelli Wright.

“Deenie Nast is Back” Ten Directions and the St. Lou Fringe Fridays at 8 p.m. Feb. 1, 8 and 15 Emerald Room at The Monocle www.deenienast.com

What It’s About: One-woman show by Audrey Crabtree features
international performance superstar Deenie Nast, who delivers a no holds
barred, song-filled tribute to her lonely fans. Nast presents a hilarious and
heartbreaking exploration of relationships, loneliness, and true connections.
Nast sings the hits from her past, revealing very personal stories. Songs,
physical comedy and audience interaction are involved.

Photo by Eric Woolsey “District Merchants” New Jewish Theatre Jan. 24 – Feb. 10 Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7:30 p.m., Saturdays at 2 and 8 p.m., and Sundays at 2 p.m. Wool Studio Theater Jewish Community Center, 2 Millstone Campus Drivewww.newjewishtheatre.org 314-442-3283

What It’s About: Love, litigation, deep passions and
predatory lending are taken to a new level. The play wades fearlessly into the
complexities of life in America. It is set among Black and Jewish populations
in an imagined time and place, simultaneously Shakespearean and post- Civil War
Washington, D.C.

Directed by Jacqueline Thompson

Cast: Gary Wayne Barker, J. Samuel Davis, Courtney Bailey
Parker, Alicen Moser, Erika Flowers, Karl Hawkins, Ron White, Rae Davis

Of Note: In Aaron Posner’s re-imagining, the play becomes
less about the quality of mercy and more about how flexible a supposedly
egalitarian society can be to the varied tribes struggling to find partners in
America. Aaron Posner expertly blends humor, emotional truths and topics that
make people think. He is able to create characters who are deeply flawed, like
we are. In his “uneasy” comedy, he wants us to look at a snapshot in time, the
Reconstruction Era, but what he has written is relevant to audiences today.

Trish Nelke, John Emery, Laura Deveney and Becky Loughridge. Photo by Lori Biehl“Don’t Dress for Dinner” Act Two Theatre Feb. 8 – 17 Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m.; Sundays at 2 p.m. St. Peters Cultural Arts Centrewww.acttwotheatre.com What It’s About: Bernard and Jacqueline are a not-so-happily married couple, both of whom are having extramarital affairs. As Jacqueline prepares to go out of town to visit her mother, Bernard invites his mistress and Robert, his best friend (and also Jacqueline’s lover, unbeknownst to Bernard), over for the weekend. He’s even hired a Cordon Bleu chef to cater the evening. Jacqueline discovers Robert is coming to town and cancels her trip, causing Bernard to panic. When Robert arrives, Bernard asks him to pretend Suzanne is Robert’s mistress. Robert mistakes the chef, for Bernard’s mistress, producing a highly complicated dinner of hilarious hijinks, secret trysts and slapstick comedy.” Performances take place in the St. Peters Cultural Arts Centre at 1 St Peters Centre Blvd, St. Peters, MO 63376. For more information: act2theater.com.

Director: Paul James Starring: Trish Nelke, John Emery, Laura Deveney, Becky Loughridge, Travis Wiggins, Justin Spurgeon

“Eurydice” Clayton Community Theatre Feb. 7 – 17 Thursday – Saturday at 8 p.m.; Sunday at 2 p.m. Washington University South Campus Theatre  6501 Clayton Road Tickets by email at [email protected] 314-721-9228 www.placeseveryone.org. What It’s About: This “weird and wonderful” (New York Times) retelling of the Greek myth about the musician Orpheus and his wife Eurydice ruminates on love, loss, and the power of memory. “Eurydice” by Sarah Ruhl is one of the few retellings of the classic myth told from the heroine’s perspective. It considers her untimely death and descent to the Underworld, what she finds there, and her difficult decision of whether or not to return to Earth with Orpheus. “Eurydice” was nominated for Drama League and Drama Desk awards in 2008. Director – Jessa Knust

Starring: Eurydice – Mary Tomlinson, Orpheus – Wil Spaeth, Eurydice’s Father – Jeff Lovell, Nasty Interesting Man / Lord of the Underworld – Britteny Henry, Big Stone – Jack Janssen, Little Stone – Amie Bossi, Loud Stone – Ann Egenriether

Photo by John Lamb“Exit, Pursued by a Bear” West End Players Guild Feb. 8 – 17 Showtimes are 2 p.m. Sundays and 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, with Thursday the second week. Union Avenue Christian Church 733 Union Boulevard in the Central West End www.westendplayersguild.com

What It’s About: Nan Carter has had it.  She’s had it with her husband Kyle’s
“good ole boy” ways – the coming home drunk, the passing out on the
couch, but not before he gives her a good shot or two.  More importantly, she’s had it with a life
contained within the four walls of their dreary North Georgia cabin.  She knows there’s a more exciting world out
there, and she’s decided to leave Kyle’s world behind and go find her own.

But first, she’s going to have some fun.

With the help of her stripper pal Sweetheart and her best
bud theatre pal Simon, Nan is going to duct tape Kyle to his favorite chair,
put on a little show to teach Kyle the error of his ways and then feed him to a
bear.

Director: Teresa Doggett
Starring: Lexa Wroniak as Nan Carter, Alex Fyles as Kyle Carter, Tara Ernst as
Sweetheart and Ethan Isaac as Simon.

Of Note: The play marks a return for playwright Lauren
Gunderson, recognized last year by American Theatre magazine as America’s
most-produced playwright. Gunderson’s Silent Sky was the big hit of WEPG’s
2018-19 season.

Please note that the Thursday show is on Valentine’s Day.  For this show only, all ladies in attendance will receive a flower and chocolate. Gentlemen will receive a red duct tape bracelet.

Photo by Patrick Huber“Farragut North” St. Louis Actors’ Studio Feb. 8 – 24 Thursdays through Saturdays at 8 p.m.; Sunday at 3 p.m. Gaslight Theatre 358 North Boyle Metrotix.com 314-458-2978www.stlas.org

What It’s About: Stephen Bellamy is a wunderkind press secretary who has built a career that men twice his age would envy. During a tight presidential primary race, Stephen’s meteoric rise falls prey to the backroom politics of more seasoned operatives. “Farragut North” is a timely story about the lust for power and the costs one will endure to achieve it. Director: Wayne Salomon Starring: Spencer Sickmann, Peter Mayer, David Wassilak, Luis Aguilar, Hollyn Gayle, Shannon Nara and Joshua Parrack. Of Note: Playwright Beau Willimon, who grew up in St. Louis and was a student of the director at John Burroughs School, will be in attendance for a special preview on Thursday, Feb. 7, at 8 p.m. The West End Grill and Pub will be open before and after the performances for drinks.

Fiddler on the Roof“Fiddler on the Roof” Jan. 29 – Feb. 10 The Fabulous Fox Theatre 529 N. Grand www.fabulousfox.com

What It’s About: Tony-winning director Bartlett Sher and
the team behind South Pacific, The King and I and 2017 Tony-winning Best Play
Oslo, bring a fresh and authentic vision to this beloved theatrical masterpiece
from Tony winner Joseph Stein and Pulitzer Prize winners Jerry Bock and Sheldon
Harnick.

The original production won ten Tony Awards, including a special Tony for becoming the longest-running Broadway musical of all time. You’ll be there when the sun rises on this new production, with stunning movement and dance from acclaimed Israeli choreographer Hofesh Shechter, based on the original staging by Jerome Robbins. A wonderful cast and a lavish orchestra tell this heartwarming story of fathers and daughters, husbands and wives, and the timeless traditions that define faith and family. “First Date” Clinton County Showcase Feb. 8 – 17 Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., Sundays at 2 p.m. Avon Theatre, 525 N. Second St., Breese, Ill. www.ccshowcase.com What It’s About: Aaron is a “blind date virgin,” while Casey has been on more than her fair share. When the two are set up by a mutual friend, sparks fly-or do they? The night unfolds over the course of this couple’s hilarious first date, and it’s not without its share of surprises in the form of imaginary visits from Aaron’s ex-girlfriend, Casey’s uptight sister, the pair’s protective parents and even their future son.

“The Hundred Dresses” Metro Theatre Company Feb. 3 – Feb. 25 The Grandel Theatre Metrotix.com www.metroplays.org

What It’s About: Wanda Petronski, the new girl in Room 13,
is a Polish immigrant who lives in a shabby house and doesn’t have any friends.
Every day she wears the same faded blue dress, but tells her new class-mates
that she has a hundred dresses at home. Her classmates tease Wanda about her
hundred dresses until one day she disappears from school. As guilt overtakes
the children, they decide to find out what happened to Wanda and to make
amends. But is it too late? Bullying, friendship and forgiveness are at the
center of this play adapted from the beloved Newbery Honor Book by Eleanor
Estes.

Cast: Sophie Murk as Wanda, Alicia Revé Like as Maddie, Hailey Medrano as Peggy, Philip C. Dixon as Mr. Mason, and Jacob Cange as Tommy/Mr. Svenson

Of Note: Eleanor Estes wrote down her childhood memories while recovering from tuberculosis and became a children’s author. Her many published works are widely read; but “The Hundred Dresses” continues to be the most popular, remaining in print since its publication in 1944. It was awarded the Newbery Honor in 1945. Speaking about “The Hundred Dresses” Eleanor Estes said, “I am holding up a mirror, and the scene reflected in the mirror is a true image of childhood, and the mirror, besides reflecting, also speaks and echoes the clear, profound, unpremeditated utterances, thoughts, and imageries of these children. I like to make children laugh or cry, to be moved in some way by my writing.

“Little Shop of Horrors” Monroe Actors Stage Company Feb. 8 – 10, 15 – 17 Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m.; Sunday at 2:30 p.m. Historic Capitol Theatre Waterloo, Ill. 618-939-7469www.masctheatre.org What It’s About: Science fiction mixes with romantic comedy for the musical based on the Roger Corman B-movie, “Little Shop of Horrors,” with book and lyrics by Howard Ashman and music by Alan Menken. Seymour Krelbourn works for a florist on skid row and purchases a strange plant that appears during an eclipse, which he names Audrey Two. He has a crush on his co-worker Audrey, who dates a sado-masochistic dentist. The plant is a big hit, and things get weird. Director: Matt Dossett, with music direction by Marcia Braswell Starring: George Doerr IV as Seymour, John Jauss as Mr. Mushnik, Julie Petraborg as Audrey, Seth Acock as Orin, Tim McWhirter as Audrey Two, and Sarah Polizzi, Kara Grossmann and Hannah Lindsey as the street urchin chorus, with Jeff Clinebell, Valleri Dillard, Jennifer Kerner, Reagan Posey, Rachel Mackenzie, Mark Sochowski and Austin Brouk.

Of Note: A sensory-friendly performance is set for Sunday,
Feb. 10.

Jesse Munoz, Adam Flores, Aaron Dodd. Photo by Jill Ritter Lindberg“The Motherf**ker with The Hat” R-S Theatrics Jan. 25 – Feb. 3 Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 7 p.m. .Zack, 3224 Locust www.r-stheatrics.com

What It’s About: How do you know where you’re going…if you
don’t know who has been in your home? The serio-comedy explores how five people
in New York navigate loyalty, trust, and duty through friendship, love and the
challenges of adulthood. And how no one should ever underestimate the
importance of cleaning up their accessories.

Director: Carl Overly Jr.

Starring: Adam Flores, Sofia Lidia, Jesse Munoz, Aaron
Dodd, Taleesha Caturah.

Of Note: Adult themes and language, recommended for mature
audiences.

Photo by Peter Wochniak“Oslo” Feb. 8 – March 3 The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis 130 Edgar Road, St. Louiswww.repstl.org 314-968-4925 What It’s About: The winner of the 2017 Tony Award for Best Play, this play by J.T. Rogers is set in 1993, when two bitter enemies shocked the world by shaking hands and agreeing to work towards peace. “Oslo” finds the unlikely story behind the historic event. The drama explores the secretive and precarious negotiations that made that moment possible and focuses on the Norwegian couple who brokered talks between the Israelis and Palestinians. Director: Steven Woolf Starring: Jim Poulos, Kathleen Wise, Rajesh Bose, Ben Graney, Jerry Vogel, Michael James Reed, Amro Salama, John Rensenhouse, Michelle Hand, Jonathan Gillard Daly, Jeff Cummings, Jim Shankman, Chaunery Kingsford Tanguay, Jack Theiling and Tom Wethington. Of Note: “Oslo” is recommended for adult audiences. The show contains strong adult language and weighty discussions about global politics and diplomatic relations.

Photo by ProPhotoSTL“Wittenberg” Upstream Theater Jan. 25 – Feb. 10 Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m.; Sunday at 7 p.m. except Feb. 10 at 2 p.m. Kranzberg Arts Center www.upstreamtheater.org

What It’s About: It’s October 1517, and the new fall
semester at the University of Wittenberg finds certain members of the faculty
and student body at personal and professional crossroads. Hamlet (senior, class
of 1518) is returning from a summer in Poland spent studying astronomy, where
he has learned of a revolutionary scientific theory that threatens the very
order of the universe, resulting in psychic trauma and a crisis of faith for
him. His teacher and mentor John Faustus has decided at long last to make an
honest woman of his paramour, Helen, a former nun who is now one of the
Continent’s most sought-after courtesans. And Faustus’ colleague and Hamlet’s
instructor and priest, Martin Luther, is dealing with the spiritual and medical
consequences of his long-simmering outrage at certain abusive practices of the
Church.

Director: Philip Boehm

Starring: Casey Boland, Steve Isom, Alan Knoll and Caitlin
Mickey.

Of Note: St. Louis premiere.

By Lynn VenhausManaging EditorWhat a weekend to Go See a Play! Lots o’ fresh offerings mixed with classics. Whether you want to laugh or have the heartstrings tugged, get out and see a show!

Jennfer Theby-Quinn and Andrew Keeler “Avenue Q” The Playhouse at Westport Plaza Jan. 25 – March 3 www.playhouseatwestport.com

What It’s About: Part flesh, part felt and packed with heart, “Avenue Q” is a laugh-out-loud musical telling the story of Princeton, a college grad who moves into the city with big dreams and a tiny bank account. He and his Avenue Q neighbors struggle to find jobs, dates and their life’s purpose.

Director: Lee Anne Mathews, with Music Director Charlie MuellerStarring: Andrew Keeler, Brent Ambler, Jennifer Theby-Quinn, Kevin O’Brien, Grace Langford, Illeana Kirven, April Strelinger

Of Note: For mature audiences. “Avenue Q” won three Tony Awards, including Best Musical.“

Heather Beal, choreographer for “Black AF”“Black AF”TLT ProductionsFeb. 1 and 28 p.m. Friday and 3 p.m. and 8 pm. SaturdayMarcelle Theatre3310 Sam Shepard DriveMetrotix: metrotix.com or [email protected]

What It’s About: The exploration of blackness, love, culture and the African-American experience brought to life through original works of dance.

Curated and conceived by Heather Beal, this modern dance concert is a joint undertaking by Heather Beal, Tre’von Griffith, Lauron Thompson and costume designer Marissa Perry.

“Classic Mystery Game”Slightly Askew Theatre Ensemble (SATE)Wednesdays – Saturdays at 8 p.m.Jan. 30 – Feb. 16The Chapel, 6238 Alexander Drive, [email protected] What It’s About: SATE opens its Season of Ritual with a parody of the cult classic 1985 movie, “Clue,” written by Katy Keating.She has written about the failure of capitalism in a climate-changing world.

The film was written by Jonathan Lynn, and that was based on the game, “Cluedo,” which was created by Anthony E. Pratt.

Director:Starring: Will Bonfiglio. Maggie Conroy, Michael Cassidy Flynn, Carl Overly Jr., Reginald Pierre, Ellie Schwetye, Rachel Tibbetts, Marcy Wiegert

Of Note: Wednesdays, Feb. 6 and 13, are “Pay What You Can”

“Deenie Nast is Back”Ten Directions and the St. Lou FringeFridays at 8 p.m.Feb. 1, 8 and 15Emerald Room at The Monoclewww.deenienast.comWhat It’s About: One-woman show by Audrey Crabtree features international performance superstar Deenie Nast, who delivers a no holds barred, song-filled tribute to her lonely fans. Nast presents a hilarious and heartbreaking exploration of relationships, loneliness, and true connections. Nast sings the hits from her past, revealing very personal stories. Songs, physical comedy and audience interaction are involved.

Photo by Eric Woolsey“District Merchants: An Uneasy Comedy”New Jewish TheatreJan. 24 – Feb. 10Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7:30 p.m., Saturdays at 2 and 8 p.m., and Sundays at 2 p.m.Wool Studio TheaterJewish Community Center, 2 Millstone Campus Drivewww.newjewishtheatre.org314-442-3283

What It’s About: Love, litigation, deep passions and predatory lending are taken to a new level. The play wades fearlessly into the complexities of life in America. It is set among Black and Jewish populations in an imagined time and place, simultaneously Shakespearean and post- Civil War Washington, D.C. Directed by Jacqueline ThompsonCast: Gary Wayne Barker, J. Samuel Davis, Courtney Bailey Parker, Alicen Moser, Erika Flowers, Karl Hawkins, Ron White, Rae DavisOf Note: In Aaron Posner’s re-imagining, the play becomes less about the quality of mercy and more about how flexible a supposedly egalitarian society can be to the varied tribes struggling to find partners in America. Aaron Posner expertly blends humor, emotional truths and topics that make people think. He is able to create characters who are deeply flawed, like we are. In his “uneasy” comedy, he wants us to look at a snapshot in time, the Reconstruction Era, but what he has written is relevant to audiences today.

Fiddler on the Roof

“Fiddler on the Roof”The Fabulous Fox Theatre Jan. 29-Feb. 10What It’s About: Tony®-winning director Bartlett Sher and the team behind South Pacific, The King and I and 2017 Tony-winning Best Play Oslo, bring a fresh and authentic vision to this beloved theatrical masterpiece from Tony winner Joseph Stein and Pulitzer Prize winners Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick.

The original production won ten Tony Awards, including a special Tony for becoming the longest-running Broadway musical of all time. You’ll be there when the sun rises on this new production, with stunning movement and dance from acclaimed Israeli choreographer Hofesh Shechter, based on the original staging by Jerome Robbins. A wonderful cast and a lavish orchestra tell this heartwarming story of fathers and daughters, husbands and wives, and the timeless traditions that define faith and family.

“The Hundred Dresses”Metro Theatre CompanyFeb. 3 – Feb. 25The Grandel TheatreMetrotix.comwww.metroplays.orgWhat It’s About: Wanda Petronski, the new girl in Room 13, is a Polish immigrant who lives in a shabby house and doesn’t have any friends. Every day she wears the same faded blue dress, but tells her new class-mates that she has a hundred dresses at home. Her classmates tease Wanda about her hundred dresses until one day she disappears from school. As guilt overtakes the children, they decide to find out what happened to Wanda and to make amends. But is it too late? Bullying, friendship and forgiveness are at the center of this play adapted from the beloved Newbery Honor Book by Eleanor Estes.Cast:

Of Note: Eleanor Estes wrote down her childhood memories while recovering from tuberculosis, and became a children’s author. Her many published works are widely read; but “The Hundred Dresses” continues to be the most popular, remaining in print since its publication in 1944. It was awarded the Newbery Honor in 1945. Speaking about “The Hundred Dresses” Eleanor Estes said, “I am holding up a mirror, and the scene reflected in the mirror is a true image of childhood, and the mirror, besides reflecting, also speaks and echoes the clear, profound, unpremeditated utterances, thoughts, and imageries of these children. I like to make children laugh or cry, to be moved in some way by my writing.

“Jekyll and Hyde”

Next Generation Theatre Company Jan. 26 – Feb. 2 Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m., Sunday at 2 p.m.

What It’s About: An evocative tale of two men – one, a passionate doctor; the other, a terrifying madman – and two women, both in love with the same man and both unaware of his dark secret. Murder and chaos is pitted against love and virtue.

Starring: Keith Boyer as Dr. Henry Jekyll

Of Note: Rated PG-13 for violence.

“Jesus Christ Superstar”Looking Glass PlayhouseJan. 24 – Feb. 3Thursdays through Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m.301 West St Louis Street in Lebanon, Ill.www.lookingglassplayhouse.comWhat It’s About: The Andrew Lloyd Webber-Tim Rice musical is a timeless work set against the backdrop of a Biblical series of events but seen through the eyes of Judas Iscariot.

“Maybe This Time”Alton Little TheatreFriday and Saturday, Feb. 1 and 2 at 7:30 p.m.; Sunday, Feb. 3 at 2 p.m. 618-462-3205www.altonlittletheater.org. What It’s About: Four dating vignettes.

Directed By: Lee Cox, Kevin Frakes, Gail Drillinger and Brant McCance, who all act in the show, too.

Starring: Lee Cox, Kevin Frakes, Gail Drillinger and Brant McCance The “she” brain is played by Tiffani Bowen; “he” brain by Sawyer Burton. The barista in the coffee shop is portrayed by Nick Trapp.

Of Note: St. Louis native Michael Madden is the playwright. He will be on hand for Q&A after the show Friday, followed by an opening night celebration at Applebee’s in Alton.

As homage to the coffee shop in the play, ALT’s coffee and wine bar will offer patrons a free beverage as part of the ticket price.

Photo by Jill Ritter Lindberg“The Motherf*cker with The Hat”R-S TheatricsJan. 25 – Feb. 3Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 7 p.m..Zack, 3224 Locustwww.r-stheatrics.com

What It’s About: How do you know where you’re going…if you don’t know who has been in your home? The seriocomedy explores how 5 people in New York navigate loyalty, trust, and duty through friendship, love and the challenges of adulthood. And how no one should ever underestimate the importance of cleaning up their accessories.

Directed by:

Starring: Adam Flores, Sofia Lidia, Jesse Munoz, Aaron Dodd, Taleesha Caturah.

Alan Knoll and Steve Isom“Wittenberg”Upstream TheaterJan. 25 – Feb. 10Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m.; Sunday at 7 p.m. except Feb. 10 at 2 p.m.Kranzberg Arts Centerwww.upstreamtheater.org

What It’s About: It’s October 1517, and the new fall semester at the University of Wittenberg finds certain members of the faculty and student body at personal and professional crossroads. Hamlet (senior, class of 1518) is returning from a summer in Poland spent studying astronomy, where he has learned of a revolutionary scientific theory that threatens the very order of the universe, resulting in psychic trauma and a crisis of faith for him. His teacher and mentor John Faustus has decided at long last to make an honest woman of his paramour, Helen, a former nun who is now one of the Continent’s most sought-after courtesans. And Faustus’ colleague and Hamlet’s instructor and priest, Martin Luther, is dealing with the spiritual and medical consequences of his long-simmering outrage at certain abusive practices of the Church.

Directed by: Philip BoehmStarring: Casey Boland, Steve Isom, Alan Knoll and Caitlin Mickey.

Of Note: St. Louis premiere.

Photo by Jon Gitchoff“The Wolves”The Repertory Theatre of St. LouisJan. 18 – Feb. 3 Studio TheatreLoretto-Hilton Center on the Webster University campuswww.repstl.orgWhat It’s About: Nine teenage girls prepare for battle on a soccer field. As they stretch and warm up together, the teammates’ nonstop banter reveals how a collection of disparate personalities bonds to form a team.

Directed by Melissa Rain AndersonStarring: Cassandra Lopez, Cecily Dowd, Colleen Dougherty, Cece Hill, Maya J. Christian, Mary Katharine Harris, Esmeralda Garza, Rachael Logue, Keaton Whittaker, Nancy Bell,

Of Note: St. Louis premiere

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.

                                                            ###