Due to the continued and aggressive presence of the Coronavirus, The Midnight Company has rescheduled two of their planned productions.
NOW PLAYING THIRD BASE FOR THE ST. LOUIS CARDINALS…BOND, JAMES BOND, originally scheduled for August 13 – 29, will now run July 8 – 23, 2021 at The Chapel. Midnight had also scheduled IT IS MAGIC by Mickle Maher October 29 – November 14 at The Kranzberg Black Box theatre. That production will now run October 21 – November 16, 2021 at the Kranzberg Black Box. Still on Midnight’s schedule, pending further notice, is “GIVE ‘EM HELL HARRY” September 17 – October 3 at the .ZACK Theatre, and another production to take the place of IT IS MAGIC in late October. That title will be announced shortly. Midnight’s Artistic Director, Joe Hanrahan, said “It was clear we couldn’t move forward with “NOW PLAYING…” at this time, and IT IS MAGIC has a cast of five. The restrictions of the virus have made that size of a production problematic. We’re hoping to possibly move forward with another one-person show in its place. The people at The Chapel and at The Kranzberg Arts Foundation have been wonderful, not only in their hard work and preparation for possible performances at their spaces, but in their understanding of postponements due to the virus.”
The COVID-19 pandemic presents a multitude of obstacles to overcome for organizations of all types, and theater groups are no exception. Sharon Hunter, Artistic Director-Producer of Moonstone Theatre Company, aims to help address some of the virus-related challenges that the St. Louis theatre community faces by forming the St. Louis Theatre Community Task Force.
“As I was thinking about how to proceed with my own company in the wake of the pandemic, I started thinking it would be helpful to get a lot of the theaters to sit down via Zoom and discuss concerns, ideas and solutions for moving forward as we navigate the future of theatre in St. Louis,” Hunter explains.
The Task Force will address concerns including conducting safe auditions, rehearsals and performances, finding new ways to seat audiences, maintaining the visibility of the St. Louis theatre community, new ways to offer theatre experiences and recommendations for the use of personal protective equipment.
Hunter said the Task Force, which is the first of its kind in the St. Louis area, welcomes local theatre groups of all sizes. In addition to these organizations, representatives from the St. Louis County Department of Health and the Center For Disease Control have also been invited to the first online meeting to address questions and concerns.
Theatre companies invited to participate include R-S Theatrics, The Q Collective, The Midnight Company, Slightly Askew Theatre Ensemble, Upstream Theater, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, COCA, Shakespeare Festival STL, Black Rep, Stray Dog Theatre, Stages St. Louis, St. Louis Actors’ Studio, The Muny, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, New Jewish Theatre, Cherokee Street Theatre, The Cabaret Project of St. Louis, Max & Louie Productions, Black Mirror Theatre, Young Liars, West End Players Guild, Tennessee Williams Festival St Louis, New Line Theatre, ERA Theatre Company, STL Fringe Festival, St Louis Shakespeare, Metro Theatre Company, That Uppity Theatre Company and the Tesseract Theatre Company.
The initial meeting of the Task Force is scheduled for Thursday, April 23, at 7 p.m. Theatre groups interested in interested in participating should contact Hunter at [email protected] to get access to the Zoom link. For more info, check their Facebook page for updates: https://www.facebook.com/STLTheatre/.
As a regional surge in COVID-19 cases grips the area, more local arts and entertainment events have either been cancelled or postponed in the St. Louis metropolitan area. The month-long “Hamilton” national tour stop at the Fox is now postponed, the Opera Theatre of St. Louis has cancelled its festival season and people are now moving dates from spring to either later in the year or 2021.
Based on the Centers for Disease Control and World Health Organization’s recommendations on social distancing and against large group gatherings, St. Louis city and county, St. Charles County and Illinois put a public health emergency plan in place. They have shutdown gatherings of 10 or more, encouraged social distancing and ordered everyone to Stay-at-Home. Announced dates: St. Louis quarantine is through April 22; Illinois is through April April 30; Missouri is through April 24; and the nation is recommended until April 30.
Here is a round-up of the latest on community theater, regional professional theater, national touring shows, certain events and venues. If alternate programming has been put into place, it’s mentioned. As everyone knows by now, things change daily, so check with websites to see the latest. I’ll update as groups provide new information.
Kranzberg Arts Foundation
All Kranzberg Arts Foundation venue operations have been temporarily shut down.
This includes theatres, galleries, clubs, restaurants, cafes, and libraries.
These closures will remain in place until at least May 11.
This includes the Kranzberg Arts Center, The Marcelle
Theatre, The .Zack Theatre, The Big Top, The Grandel Theatre, The Dark Room,
Sophie’s Artist Lounge and the High-Low building.
Fox Theatre Performances at the Fabulous Fox have been postponed through April 30 and tours have been cancelled through June 7.
On April 10, the Fox announced that “Hamilton” has been postponed but no date has been set yet. It was scheduled to play at The Fox May 5 – June 7.
“The Fox is in discussion with the HAMILTON producers to reschedule the engagement and hopes to announce that information soon. said spokesman Megan Ketcherside.
Ticket holders should
keep their tickets until new dates are announced. More information will be
available once new dates are secured.
The Fabulous Fox Theatre hopes to bring the show to St. Louis in 2020, but as with all things related to COVID-19 and the social distancing necessary to keep guests and associates safe, theatre management will follow the lead of government and health officials in this matter> Ketcherside said.
The other shows that have been postponed: “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” originally scheduled for March 17-29; Teen Talent Competition originally scheduled for April 4; “Cats,” originally scheduled for April 7-19; Celtic Woman has been rescheduled for April 20, 2021; and Chaka Khan, originally scheduled for April 24.
“Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” will now be Dec. 22 – 27. “Cats” can’t be rescheduled for 2019-2020 but Fox is working on a future date.
Plans to reschedule other postponed shows are currently underway. Ticket holders should hold on to their tickets – they will be honored on the new dates.
Decisions about other future shows will be made as we
follow the evolving situation with the COVID-19 virus and the City of St.
Louis’ determination of the length of this prohibition, public relations
manager Megan Ketcherside said.
Operational hours are subject to change based on the
COVID-19 situation. For now, the Fox Box Office is temporarily closed. The MetroTix
314-534-1111 phone hours are now from Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.,
closed on Saturday and Sunday.
Visit the website, www.fabulousfox.com/coronavirus
As of March 25, the Family Arena and The Family Arena Box
Office is closed to the public until such time as the limit on public
gatherings is lifted in St. Charles County.
Tickets are still available for purchase at
Manager Tom O’Keefe said if you purchased tickets at the
box office for an upcoming rescheduled event that you would like a refund for,
please hold on to your tickets until they re-open and they will refund your
tickets at that time.
They have partnered with Ticketmaster to address all fan
questions regarding the cancellation and rescheduling of live events. Visit the
Ticketmaster Help Center for guidance and check back regularly for additional
information and status updates, www.familyarena.com.
The Stifel Theatre and Enterprise Center Box Offices will
not open until further notice. For guests who purchased tickets to an upcoming
show through the box office that has been cancelled, please hold on to your
tickets until we re-open and are able to assist with your questions.
These events at Stifel Theatre have been postponed. Ticket
holders should hold on to their tickets, as all tickets will be honored on the
Here are rescheduled dates:
Gabriel Iglesias, from March 13 to Oct. 15 and from March 15 to Oct. 14; Franco
Escamilla, from March 14 to Nov. 13; Bob Weir and Wolf Brothers from March 18
to Oct. 14; Nathaniel Rateliff from March 19 to Nov. 14; Ron White from March
20 to Sept. 11; Bert Kreischer from April 5 to July 30; Iliza: The Forever Tour
from April 23 to Sept. 24; and Trolls LIVE! From May 15-17 to Oct. 2-4.
The following events have been cancelled and refunds will
be available at original point of purchase:
“Sesame Street Live,” March 27-29; TD Jakes, April 10; The
Color Purple, April 11; Variety Children’s Charity featuring Steely Dan, April
23; The Spongebob Musical, May 2-3; and Mother’s Day Soul Jam, May 8.
Decisions about other future shows will be made as they continue
to monitor this rapidly evolving situation. Visit www.stifeltheatre.com
The arena is closed until further notice and in an abundance of caution, the
venue will be thoroughly cleaned while closed.
They are currently working to reschedule all impacted
events and will provide updates as quickly as possible. We ask all current
ticket-holders to retain their tickets for these events until such time when a
new date is determined as your current ticket will be valid for the new date. “Please
be patient and hang tight as we work through this unprecedented time,” a
Additionally, they have partnered with Ticketmaster to
address all fan questions regarding the cancellation and rescheduling of live
events. Visit the Ticketmaster Help Center by clicking here for guidance and
check back regularly for additional information and status updates as they
Impacted Events: Festival Of Laughs from March 20 to Sept.
26; Sturgill Simpson from March 21 to TBD; Gateway Blues Festival from March 28
to TBD; AEW Dynamite from April 8 to Oct. 7; NF from April 11 to Aug. 15;
Legends of Hip Hop, from April 17 to Nov. 7; The Millennium Tour, from April 24
to Aug. 8; Three 6 Mafia, from May 23 to Oct. 2; and Lauren Daigle, from May 29
The Playhouse at Westport
All March/April events were cancelled, including “Flanagan’s Wake,” which had
been extended to mid-April.
John Denver Tribute May 7-10 and Rockin’ Chair June 5-6 remain
EVERYONE is encourage to participate–kids, adults, teachers, students, artists, people who don’t yet identify as artists! You read or watch the prompt and then respond immediately in the art form of your choice. We work with amazing collaborators to shape your responses in to a new work and have actors record it. We make a video of our brand new, collaborative work!
New prompts each week, so you can keep generating material while we work on new scripts. We want to hear from you.
Muny administrative offices and box office are closed through late April.
Ticketing services for the 2020 season are available online at any time.Ticketing
related questions can be sent to [email protected]
“We are closely monitoring all developments regarding the
COVID-19 outbreak and will continue to follow the guidance of health and
government officials with the goal of keeping our staff and community as safe
and healthy as possible,” the Muny statement reads on their website.
“With the start of our 2020 season still months away, we
remain optimistic that the season will proceed as planned and hope the
restrictions on gatherings are lifted in early May, as scheduled. If that
changes, we will adjust accordingly. Meanwhile, we continue communicating with
health officials on all levels to stay fully informed and responsive to this
unprecedented situation,” the statement reads.
Given the Stay at Home order for St. Louis City and County,
and for the health and safety of our team, The Muny Offices are currently
closed and some ticketing dates have changed. However, we’re still busy getting
ready for the 2020 summer season, and we can’t wait to meet you at The Muny
Ticketing Update as of March 26 – These dates are subject
Muny Season Tickets will be mailed in early May
Season Ticket Exchanges: May 26 – 29
Single Ticket on Sale: June 1
To purchase new season tickets, or pay a current balance on
existing season tickets, please visit:
To purchase season tickets with a gift card you currently
have in-hand, please email The Muny Box Office at [email protected] and a Muny
Ticketing agent will contact you to process
your request. If you wish to purchase a gift card, it will not be mailed until
the restrictions on gatherings have been lifted.
Also, if you are looking for a way to stay entertained
during these “quiet days,” we encourage you to enjoy a specially curated set of
video clips from our previous productions on our social media channels. You can
follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis
The Repertory Theatre had to cancel the run of “The Cake,”
which began in the Studio Theatre on March 14, but was forced to be shutdown
March 16, and to postpone our Mainstage world premiere of “Dreaming Zenzile” from
March 21, with the goal of mounting it this summer.
An online stream of “The Cake” has been made available to all
Studio Theatre patrons who previously purchased tickets at no additional cost.
There are a limited number of streaming tickets available
for purchase for those who are interested in viewing the final performance of the
Steve Woolf Studio Series this season. That is available through April 24.
Additionally, The Rep is collaborating with a national
group of theatres to commission a series of short plays specifically developed
to spark joy and connection among people who are sheltering in place. These
initiatives are designed to keep the art alive and vital, even in a time of
“Keep an eye out for more entertaining content and
educational resources from The Rep and our local and national partners by
following us on social media,” spokesman Jeremy Goldmeier said.
On March 27, The Rep announced that they have honored the entire contracts of
the guest artists who devoted their talents to “Dreaming Zenzile” and “The
Cake,” despite their runs being delayed or cut short.
“In these uncertain times, The Rep felt it was imperative
that these artists, whose livelihoods depend on their contracts, not bear the
additional burden of lost wages in this pandemic,” a statement said.
“As you know, The Rep has an extraordinarily talented and
dedicated staff that works year-round to support the productions, education,
and community initiatives to serve the greater St. Louis region. We have
continued to pay the full salaries of our full-time, year-round administrative
staff, with no furloughs or other lapses in pay. We have moved our
administrative and box office teams to work remotely to serve you during this
period,” a statement said.
Play at Home
The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis has teamed with
Baltimore Center Stage, Long Wharf Theatre, The Public Theater and Woolly
Mammoth Theatre Company to present Play at Home, a series of micro-commissioned
short plays from some of the American theatre’s most exciting and prominent
These new plays – which all run 10 minutes or less – are
available for the public to download, read and perform at home for free at
In the wake of widespread event cancellations following the
spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), the participating theatres conceived Play
at Home as a way to support artists, connect people to theatre, and to ignite
imagination and joy in these uncertain times.
Each organization commissioned multiple playwrights – most
of whom had plays canceled due to the coronavirus outbreak – to create new
works that were big, joyful and not bound by the constraints of what might be
“possible” on a traditional stage.
The Rep’s commissioned playwrights feature:
Regina Taylor (playwright of The Rep’s 2020-2021 production
Karen Zacarias (playwright of The Rep’s 2020-2021
production of Native Gardens)
Steph Del Rosso (playwright of The Rep’s 2020-2021 world
premiere of The Gradient)
Guadalís Del Carmen (who appeared at The Rep as an actor in
2020’s Mojada: A Medea in Los Angeles)
Tre’von Griffith (a St. Louis performer and playwright,
co-founder of TLT Productions)
These plays are meant to be read at home among family and friends, and we highly encourage readers to share photos or videos of their home performances on social media using the hashtag #playathome.
Max and Louie Productions
Estelle Siteman of Max & Louie Productions said they optimistically look forward to bringing the second play of our 2020 season,”Looking for Normal” by Jane Anderson to the Marcelle. “This beautiful ,moving play full of wit and wisdom opens July 16 through the 26.2020,” she said.
Moonstone Theatre Company Sharon Hunter said Moonstone Theatre Company has postponed their July opening of “The House of Blue Leaves” to July of 2021 at the Wool Studio Theatre at the J. They will announce our season shortly. which will now begin in November 2020 with a Neil Simon comedy.
The Midnight Company Midnight Artistic Director Joe Hanrahan has moved his one-man play from May 28 – June 13 to a June 4 – 20 run. This is the premiere of the full version of “Now Playing Third Base for the St. Louis Cardinals…Bond, James Bond,” which will be at The Chapel, 4238 Alexander Drive, 63105. Performances are Thursdays through Saturdays at 8 p.m., with a matinee on Sunday at 2 p.m.
It was performed in a shortened version at the 2018 St. Louis Fringe Festival, and audiences responded enthusiastically and critics raved. Snoops Theatre Thoughts said “A delightful show that’s part personal memoir, part history lesson, part nostalgia, and all fascinating. A difficult show to describe but what it is is excellent.” Limelight said “Hanrahan jumps from omniscient narrator to 15-year old movie fanatic to baseball and theatre historian, the audience hanging on every word. The Cardinals are the talk of the town again. This show should be the talk of the town, too!” Hanrahan said, “There’s never been a play we’ve done that’s received such enthusiastic, visceral reaction, due, surely, to the St. Louis history of the show. At the Fringe, productions are limited to one-hour playing time, and this new version will allow us to incorporate new material that should make the show ever more entertaining and informative.” “Now Playing Third Base for the St. Louis Cardinals…Bond, James Bond,” concerns a teen-age boy in 1964. JFK’s assassination still casts a pall on the nation. The Beatles’ emergence in February of ’64 starts to lighten the mood of the nation. The Cardinals continue the good times in St. Louis with a mad dash toward the pennant. And when a new movie hero hits the screens that summer, a bunch of boys on a baseball field have their first theatre experience when one of their gang offers a 30-minute one-man show of “From Russia with Love.” Throughout, the playwright draws links between what’s happened and happening – from JFK to James Bond, from segregation in St. Louis to segregation in baseball’s Southern Leagues and Florida stadiums where The Beatles were supposed to play, from WWII to British film production crews and JFK hit squads, from the first cave man who stood up by the fire to the theatre musings of Peter Brook…all of it swirling in front of the eyes of a young boy, and the memory of that time. Shane Signorino will direct the show as he did at The Fringe (Shane just received a Theatre Critics Circle nomination as Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy for Midnight’s POPCORN FALLS), Kevin Bowman will serve as Production Designer, Michael B. Perkins will design video support (as he did for Midnight productions of A MODEL FOR MATISSE, JUDGMENT AT NUREMBERG, and LITTLE THING BIG THING), and Elizabeth Henning will be Stage Manager.
There will also be a concurrent exhibit in The Chapel lobby of memorabilia from 1950’s/60’s baseball and James Bond films, presented by George Venegoni.
New Line Theatre
New Line managed to get two weekends of performances of “Head Over Heels” before the local government mandates of crowd size forced it to close early in mid-March.
Its June production of “Urinetown” has been cancelled.
Stray Dog Theatre
“Annie,” which was to open April 9, has been postponed,
with dates to be announced.
“We will honor all tickets already purchased to any of the
new performance dates once they are announced. To purchase tickets to any other
future productions, please call our box office directly at (314) 865-1995.
“We are currently planning to hold the remainder of the
2019-2020 season as scheduled. Any changes or additional information will be
shared as soon as possible. If you have any questions, please feel free to
contact us,” said Artistic Director Gary F. Bell.
“We would like to thank everyone for the hard work they’ve
already put into the production and we would like to thank you for your
patience as we work to bring you the quality story telling you, our family,
deserve. Annie is that bit of light we all need right now, ‘the sun will come
out tomorrow’ and we will overcome anything,” Bell said.
“We know we are not the only organization dealing with
these difficult decisions and we stand with them, ready to come back stronger.
Your continued support of all arts organizations is always appreciated but
never more than in times like these. We look forward to seeing you soon,” he
said. “Please stay safe and be kind to one another.”
Kenneth Lonergan’s “Lobby Hero” is set to run June 4
– June 20
“However, due to the extreme strain currently being faced
by many organizations we have made the decision to halt online sales of
upcoming productions. We will resume online sales once matters have settled and
the timeline of events moving forward becomes more defined,” Bell said.
“You may continue to purchase tickets for upcoming shows by calling our Box
Office at (314) 856-1995 or emailing us at [email protected] Thank
you for your patience and your continued support as we manage these unfortunate
Neil LaBute’s Ten X Ten Series 2nd Week free Video is now availalbe! Check our Twitter account for the link (http://twitter.com/STLAS1)LaBute’s Ten X Ten Series is offered as free content weekly via @STLAS1. It is a collection of original monologues initially written for AUDIENCE CHANNEL#LaBute10x10
This is in response to the cancellation of LaBute’s new play, “Comfort,” which STLAS was to stage this spring.
New Jewish Theatre
Initially, New Jewish rescheduled “We Are the Levinsons”
from March 19 to May, but now they have pushed it back, along with their
Sondheim musical revue, “Putting It Together.” They would like to reschedule later this
All activities at the JCCA have been suspended during the
public health crisis.
For more information, please contact them by email or by
Opera Theatre of St. Louis
Opera Theatre of Saint Louis has canceled its season. On April 7, Andrew Jorgensen, general director of Opera Theatre, announced the cancellation of the 2020 festival season that was to open May 23 and run through June 28 with this repertory: the world premiere of Tobias Picker and Aryeh Lev Stollman’s Awakenings, Bizet’s gripping opera Carmen, Strauss’ effervescent comedy Die Fledermaus, and the long-awaited company premiere of Carlisle Floyd’s Susannah.
Unfortunately, due to the size of seasonal staff required to produce each opera season, it is not possible for us to assemble the same casts, creative teams, and backstage artisans at any other point in the next several months. Even if we could postpone our season by a month, we simply don’t know when it will be safe for groups to gather again.
At this time, there is no active plan in place to move any of the 2020 productions into the 2021 Festival Season. However, they are still evaluating various options and scenarios — stay tuned for more!
For a complete list of all affected programs and public events, including information on whether an event is canceled or postponed, visit the website and scroll down for a complete list:
This page will be updated frequently in the weeks ahead as new information becomes available regarding the status of events, including possible rescheduling or digital streaming.
“As always, our highest priority is the health of the entire OTSL family — patrons, staff, and artists,” the statement reads.
Shakespeare Festival St. Louis
The 2020 Shakespeare in the Park production of “Much Ado
About Nothing” has been moved to Aug. 12 – Sept. 6. Producing Artistic Director
Tom Ridgely said it was in order to provide the best possible chance of safely
gathering artists and audiences for its 20th anniversary season. It
is to be directed by Bruce Longworth.
“For the past 20 years in St. Louis, the opening of
Shakespeare in the Park has helped to mark the unofficial start of summer,” Ridgely
said. “This year it’s clear that the only way to care for our actors, crew,
volunteers and community is to give as much time as possible for social distancing
measures to take effect and hope to be one of the ways we all bring our summer
2020 to a much happier close.”
The previously announced creative team of Matt Pace &
Brien Seyle (Original Music), Josh Smith (Scenic Design), Dorothy Englis
(Costume Design), John Wylie (Lighting Design) and Kathy Ruvuna (Sound Design)
remains the same.
In response to the widespread cancellation of live events,
the Festival has already shifted to generating a full schedule of new and
original content for the online and social media platforms under the umbrella
These include the previously aired “watch party” of its
canceled regional tour of Cymbeline, a live reading of “Venus and Adonis”
(which Shakespeare wrote during a plague-induced theater closure) and a
five-night reading of Albert Camus’ postwar masterpiece “The Plague.” Together
they’ve already been viewed 10,000 times.
Now through May 29 on ShakespeareTV, which can be accessed
on their Facebook page:
THE ZOOM PLAYS: a weekly series of 20- to 30-minute
original plays written especially to be performed live over the
videoconferencing app Zoom. Created and performed by local playwrights,
directors and actors.
GREEN SHOW MONDAYS: an eclectic variety program featuring
music, comedy and performance from Festival favorites.
SHAKESPEARE AND CHILL: a special selection of
Shakespeare-inspired movies featuring live commentary from artists and
scholars, co-curated by Cinema St. Louis.
Other one-night only events to be announced.
May 29 – June 21 is SHAKE20
A 20th anniversary reboot of the beloved engagement program
SHAKE38 featuring community responses to 20 of Shakespeare’s plays streaming on
Facebook and Instagram Tuesdays through Sundays 8 p.m. during the Festival’s
originally scheduled run, May 29-June 21.
Like the original, SHAKE20 will be a region-wide
collaboration involving artists and organizations including SHAKE38 alumni:
Slightly Askew Theater, Prison Performing Arts: The Alumni Group, RS-Theatrics,
Poor Monsters and Theater Nuevo. More details about the program and how to
apply will be shared soon.
“In the meantime, we
hope that you and yours stay well. We have planned an incredible season of free
Shakespeare, and we cannot wait to share it with you. It’s an interesting time
to be in the business of live theatre and touring productions, but the Festival
is committed to paying our artists and staff throughout this crisis,” Ridgely
So, if you have ever considered becoming a member, know
that we are always grateful for your support—but especially so at this time,” he
“During this crisis, we feel more connected to Shakespeare
and his contemporaries than ever before. Biographer Jonathan Bate wrote, ‘The
Plague was the single most powerful force shaping [Shakespeare’s] life and
those of his contemporaries.’ During times of quarantine, Shakespeare wrote
some of his most important sonnets and plays,” Ridgely said.
“We can’t claim to have his genius, but we will take
inspiration from his dedication and from artists around the world that are
stepping up to create, facilitate, and share stories in new and exciting ways.
Stay tuned for updates on new and existing Festival programs,” he said.
For more information, visit the website sfstl.com and on
social media. Visit https://www.facebook.com/shakesfestSTL
Stages St. Louis
While Stages St. Louis continues to follow guidance from the CDC as well as
mandates from both local and national government, for the time being, they have
made no adjustments to the schedule for our upcoming 2020 Season.
However, here are some changes regarding tickets, activities
Single tickets for the 2020 Season will now go on sale
beginning Monday, April 27.
All in-person activities with the Stages Performing Arts
Academy will be canceled until the start of our Summer Semester on Monday, June
The Stages administrative, production, and academy offices
will remain closed until Thursday, April 23.
In the meantime, the Box Office is still open for questions
or subscription ticket sales online at www.StagesStLouis.org or by phone at
The Stages Performing Arts Academy will continue to offer
digital and streaming content in order to continue performing arts education
for students at home and can answer any and all questions by phone at (636)
Shows are: “A Chorus Line,” May 29 – June 28; Disney’s Alice in Wonderland,” June 16 – June 28, “La Cage Aux Folles,” July 17 – Aug. 16; and “Always…Patsy Cline,” Sept. 4 – Oct. 4.
Tennessee Williams Festival St. Louis
Executive Artistic Director Carrie Houk said after careful deliberation, they find it necessary to push the 5th Annual Tennessee Williams Festival St. Louis to summer due to the outbreak of COVID-19. Our first commitment is to keeping the company and community safe. The dates were May 10-17.
The Tesseract Theatre Company Plans are underway to present the 2020 Festival of New Plays June 11 – 28 at the .Zack Theatre. The four plays are “Last Night” by Rachel Lynett, “All That Remains” by J.M. Chambers, “Feast” by Megan Gogerty and “The Length of a Pop Song” by Taylor Gruenloh.
For more information, contact: [email protected] or visit the website, www.tesseracttheatre.com
That Uppity Theatre Company Joan Lipkin said they we had hoped to do a new devised piece Crossing Borders/Chasing Freedom May 2-3, “but of course that is on hold. We are still planning to do Dance the Vote Sept 26 at the Missouri History Museum,” she said.
Upstream Theater In keeping with the evolving response to the current public health crisis, Upstream Theater is postponing our premiere of IPHIGENIA IN SPLOTT until next season. The play is now scheduled to run from October 9-25.If you have purchased single tickets or a season passport we will be happy to honor your ticket at that time.
West End Players Guild
Steven Dietz’s “Bloomsday” set to open April 17 and run through
April 26 has been cancelled. It was the final production of the group’s 109th
“As our country copes with the growing threat of the
Coronavirus, one of the most important steps we must take to protect ourselves
and each other is the kind of “social distancing” that is impossible at a
theatrical production. Our Board of Directors believes it is highly unlikely
that the need for social distancing will be any less in April than it is today,
and decided that the best course of action for our company and our patrons was
to act now to cancel the show,” a statement reads.
Patrons who have purchased advance tickets through Brown
Paper Tickets will be issued automatic refunds. WEPG will reach out to season
ticket holders in the near future with refund options.
WEPG will begin its 110th season in September.
Alfresco Productions Auditions
for “Hairspray Jr.” will be by video for the Granite City community theater
production. The show is to run July 24-26 and deadline for video submissions is
April 19. The age limit is from 6th grade to 18 years old. For more
information, visit: https://www.alfrescoproductions.org/auditions
Alton Little Theatre
All productions and concert events through May 1 have been
cancelled. Ticket holders for “Holy Laughter” and Todd Oliver and
“Broadway Salutes America” may be refunded or transferred. Call
618-462-3205 for options.
“Brigadoon” has been moved from May to June, with plans for
a June 5 opening, with eight performances through June 14. Season ticket
holders can follow the same schedule but can call the office at 618-462-3205 anytime
“Shrek” auditions have been rescheduled for Saturday, May
10, at 10 a.m. and Sunday, May 3, at 2 p.m. Director Kevin Frakes will be casting
at least 30 characters. The show will run July 31-Aug. 9 for eight
Clayton Community Theatre “The
Philadelphia Story” was to run March 12-22 but was cancelled after opening
They hope to premiere “Broadway Bound” July 9 -14
Curtain’s Up Theater Company
The group based in Edwardsville has postponed its production of “1776” for a
future date in 2020, to be determined, and cancelled March 28 auditions. The musical
was to be performed June 26-28 at The Wildey Theatre in Edwardsville. To keep
informed of updates, visit www.curtainsuptheater.com
Kirkwood Theatre Guild
Kirkwood Theatre Guild cancelled its remaining two shows: “On Golden Pond” and “Shrek:
The Musical,” which were set to run in April and May.
The run of “Picnic,” set for March 27, 28 and April 3-5, was cancelled.
Auditions for “A Chorus Line,” which were scheduled March 29 have been put on
hold. More information will be forthcoming. Please follow or check out website
www.HawthornePlayers.com for any further announcements.
Looking Glass Playhouse
LGP began the March 12-22 run of “It’s Only a Play” but was forced to cancel it
after state and local mandates due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
They have cancelled the rest of the season, including “Rock
of Ages” in May and have moved it to the opening slot in the fall.
“We are reaching out to the publishers to reschedule and are hopeful that we
will be able to still perform the show in September,” he said.
They hope to announce the full season soon and for patrons
who renew their season tickets for next year, they will receive a 10 percent
“Currently, we are still planning our summer youth
production “Alice in Wonderland Jr.” and summer fundraiser “The Rocky Horror
Monroe Actors Stage Company
The current production of “Watch Over the Rhine,” which was to run April 17-19
and 24-26, has been postponed.
Due to the current health crisis in our area, all MASC rehearsals and
activities at the Capitol Theater have been postponed effective Monday, March
“The MASC Board will be discussing the plan of action
moving forward regarding Watch on the Rhine, the current show in production,
and the remainder of the 2019-2020 season, as we monitor the progression of
this crisis. Specific information regarding these two shows will be sent out
accordingly. The health and safety of our membership and patrons is our highest
priority,” a statement read.
O’Fallon Theatre Works
The group cancelled “Man from Earth” in March.
“The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime” is planned for July, and auditions
were recently handled by video.
Over Due Theatre Company
The group in Olivette has postponed “My Fair Lady.” It was
to run April 24-26 and May 1-3.
For the time being, they are still planning on holding auditions for “Bye Bye
Birdie” May 9 and 10. The show is set for July 24-26 and July 31, Aug. 1 and 2.
The Theatre Guild of Webster Groves
They have postponed our May production of “Rehearsal for Murder.”
“We are hopeful and fully intend to mount this production
at a later date,” a statement read.
St. Louis Theater Circle
Often referred to as “Theater Prom,” the eighth annual St. Louis Theater Circle
Awards were to take place on March 30 at the Loretto-Hilton Center on the
campus of Webster University, but the event has been cancelled. Local theater
critics will still honor outstanding regional professional theater, however.
Instead, HEC will provide a streamcast of the awards on
Tuesday, April 7, at 7 p.m. on their Facebook page. So, instead of fancy
outfits and schmoozing, the event will be downscaled reading of the nominations
The theater critic members of the St. Louis Theater Circle
have recorded the nominations, and their voice-overs will run over photos of
the nominees. Then HEC announcer Rod will announce the winner. There are 34
categories to give awards in, which cover dramas, comedies and musicals. A
special award is being given to Ken and Nancy Kranzberg for their tremendous
support and commitment to the arts.
Visit the Theater Circle’s Facebook page for more
If you would like to see who was nominated, here is the
Arts For Life
In community theater, the Arts For Life board of directors
presents two awards events each year, the Best Performance Awards honor musical
theater and youth productions, and the Theatre Mask Awards honor straight
The fifth annual Theatre Mask Awards, which honors both
dramas and comedies, was to take place at a brunch on Saturday, April 4, at The
Atrium Center at Christian Hospital. However, it has been rescheduled for July
The 21st annual Best Performance Awards is scheduled for
Sunday, June 14, at 2 p.m. at the Skip Viragh Center for the Performing Arts at
Chaminade. However, the AFL board of directors will decide shortly on whether
the event will be moved. Stay tuned.
For more information and to see lists of nominations, visit
You can get tickets to both events for the special price of
$40. Visit www.artsforlife.org for more information and to see a complete list
Emcees are Donna Northcott, a theater professor at
Lindenwood University – St. Charles, for the TMAs, and local singer-actress
Karen Fulks for the BPAs.
AFL President Mary McCreight has suspended all public
activities of the AFL organization, effective until at least May 1. This
includes all judging activities of the Theatre Recognition Guild.
“As our world, our nation and our region face a major
health threat, it falls upon us as a community to adopt measures that will both
foster the protection of those who work and ‘play’ in Metro St. Louis community
theatre and ultimately allow AFL to continue our charitable mission of service
and recognition once the threat passes,” she said.
(Full disclosure: I am a founding member of the St. Louis Theater Circle and I am on the Board of Directors of Arts For Life).
ST LOUIS HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL THEATRE AWARDS
In partnership with The Fabulous Fox, The Muny and The Fox Performing Arts Charitable Foundation, the St. Louis High School Musical Theatre Awards announced today the shift from in-person celebrations to virtual for their 2019-2020 season.
The new date for this year’s medallion ceremony, also known as the nomination ceremony, will be April 28, 2020 with the awards ceremony slated for May 24, 2020. Both streamed live online at no charge, these virtual celebrations will honor each of the 42 participating schools in the 2019-2020 season, including the schools who were unable to produce their productions due to the unprecedented circumstances associated with COVID-19. Exact times and streaming information will be released at a later date.
ARTS CENTERS AND CONCERT HALLS
The Hettenhausen Center for the Arts
All events and performances scheduled through June 1 have
been cancelled at “The Hett,” which is located on the campus of McKendree
“TAO Drum” has been
rescheduled from March 24 for 7:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 14; and “Ishmael Beah”
has been rescheduled from April 15 for 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 4, 2021.
The ReMINDers has been cancelled for April 6.
They are offering patrons the possibility of applying their
tickets to a future event at the Hett, donating the ticket value to the
University or contacting them for a full refund, less any original mailing
fees. Please contact the box office during operating hours to discuss ticket
disposition at 618-537-6863. The box office is open from noon to 4 p.m.
Hettenhausen Center for the Arts is located at 701 College Road in Lebanon. For
more information, please contact [email protected].
St. Louis Symphony Orchestra
All performances through April 12 are postponed or
canceled. For information regarding tickets and schedules, visit slso.org.
The Sheldon Concert Hall & Art Galleries
All Sheldon-presented concerts and other events through May
10 have been postponed or canceled. Plans to reschedule are underway, and
ticket buyer should retain their current tickets – they will be honored for the
new dates. Additional information will be provided to ticket buyers as events
are rescheduled. Affected concerts include: Ian Walsh and Kevin Buckley,
“Keepin’ It Reel,” March 17-18; Honoring Our Own, Miz Renee Smith, March 17;
David Halen, violin, April 1; Brothers Lazaroff, April 4. Scheduling changes
for events presented by non-Sheldon promoters will be handled on a case by case
basis. All updates can be found at TheSheldon.org or at MetroTix.com.
The Sheldon is located at 3648 Washington Blvd., St. Louis.
Fair Saint Louis
Fair Saint Louis and America’s
Birthday Parade events have been canceled this year due to concerns about the
Fair Saint Louis was set to run July 2-4 at the Gateway Arch
with concerts, air show, and fireworks each night.
“While we are saddened to cancel two of our region’s most
popular and free Fourth of July celebrations, the safety of our community is of
utmost importance to us,” said David Estes, Chairman, Fair Saint Louis. “Fair
Saint Louis and America’s Birthday Parade embody the prideful spirit of our
city, and over the past few weeks, we’ve seen that spirit shine so brightly
within our community as we face this unthinkable challenge together.”
This year would have marked the 40th Fair Saint Louis and 138th
America’s Birthday Parade.
“We look forward to returning to downtown St. Louis and celebrating
with our community in the future when the time is right,” said David Plufka,
Chairman, America’s Birthday Parade.
By Lynn Venhaus Managing EditorAnother Opening, Another Show! Summertime kicks off with annual traditions inside and outdoors — Shakespeare Festival St. Louis’ “Love’s Labors Lost” opens for its month-long free admission run in Forest Park while Opera Theatre St. Louis has two shows in repertory – Mozart’s “The Marriage of Figaro” and Verdi’s “Rigoletto.” Major musicals make their St. Louis debut this week – the still-running-on-Broadway “Be More Chill” at New Line Theatre and the Peter Allen biopic “The Boy from Oz” kicks off Stages St. Louis’s season.Joe Hanrahan’s Midnight Company presents the St. Louis premiere of the one-man-show “Charlie Johnson Reads All of Proust.”It’s the last chance to see the comedy “I Now Pronounce” at New Jewish Theatre and the musical “Nina Simone: Four Women” at The Black Rep.
Start your summer by going to see a play!
Cast of ‘Be More Chill” — Photo by Jill Ritter Lindberg“Be More Chill” May 30-June 22 Thursday – Sunday, 8 p.m. New Line Theatre The Marcelle Theatre, 3310 Samuel Shepard Drive www.newlinetheatre.org 314-534-1111 What It’s About: “The Breakfast Club” meets “Little Shop of Horrors” in the new sci-fi rock musical, “Be More Chill,” with music and lyrics by Joe Iconis and book by Joe Tracz, based on the bestselling novel by New Vizzini. It’s a look at life in the digital age, exploring teen depression, bullying and other current issues through the comic lens of sci-fi films of the 50s, horror flicks of the 80s and the teen movies of the 90s.
Directors: Scott Miller and Mike Dowdy-Windsor, with music
direction by Nicolas Valdez
Starring: Jayde Mitchell (Jeremy), Dominic Dowdy-Windsor (Squip), Kevin Corpuz
(Michael), Zachary Allen Farmer (Jeremy’s Dad), Melissa Felps (Brooke), Evan
Fornachon (Rich), Isabel Cecilia Garcia (Jenna), Grace Langford (Christine),
Ian McCreary (Jake), and Laura Renfro (Chloe).
Of Note: “Be More Chill” made its world premiere at the Two River Theater in Red Bank, New Jersey in 2015, had a successful off-Broadway run, it’s now being produced across the country, and it just opened on Broadway in March. It has a Tony nomination for Best Original Score (Joe Iconis, music and lyrics).
David Elder in Stages St. Louis debut“The Boy from Oz” May 31 – June 30 Stages St. Louis Robert G. Reim Theatre, Kirkwood Community Center 111 S. Geyer Road, Kirkwoodwww.stagesstlouis.org
What It’s About: Dazzling and hilarious as the legendary
Peter Allen himself, THE BOY FROM OZ follows the Australian singer-songwriter
from his humble beginnings performing in backcountry pubs to his international
stardom beside such Hollywood icons as Judy Garland and her daughter Liza
Director: Michael Hamilton
Starring: David Elder as Peter Allen, Sarah Ellis as Liza Minnelli, Zach
Trimmer as Greg Connell, Corinne Melancon as Marion Woolnough, Michele Ragusa
as Judy Garland, Brad Frenette as George Woolnough, Steve Isom as Dick
Woolnough, Erik Keiser as Chris Bell, Nic Thompson as Mark Herron, Ben Iken and
Simon Desilets as Young Peter, Lydia Ruth Dawson, Bryn Purvis and Madison
Tinder as Trio, Frankie Thams as Trick, Nathanial Burich as Dealer and Ashley
Chasteen as Alice. Ensemble includes Kari Ely and Caleb Dicke.
Of Note: Thrilling news from Stages St. Louis comes in the form of two
celebratory evenings focused around diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in
conjunction with performances of “The Boy From Oz.” The 8 pm performances on
Saturday, June 1 and Friday, June 7 will offer special $30 tickets to
diversity, equity, and inclusion groups at corporations and organizations
throughout the St. Louis region. The tickets will include a special post show champagne
and dessert reception featuring lively conversation with members of the cast.
Joe Hanrahan in “Charlie Johnson Reads All of Proust”“Charlie Johnson Reads All of Proust” May 30 – June 15 The Midnight Company Thursday through Saturday at 8 p.m. Kranzberg Center, 501 N. Grandwww.midnightcompany.com What It’s About: An older man taking a break from Christmas shopping with his family at a Starbucks. Hungry for dinner, he tides himself over with the purchase of a small package of soft, spongy cookies. When he dips one in his coffee, his snooty daughter-in-law asks him if he’s having his “Madeleine moment,” and then proceeds to lecture him about Marcel Proust and “Remembrance of Things Past” – the classic multi-volume novel inspired by the narrator dipping a madeleine cake into tea, with the taste bringing back memories of his boyhood, and leading to a retelling of his time in 19th/20th century aristocratic France. Charlie decides he’s going to read that book (not realizing it is seven books) and be able to talk about it with his daughter-in-law next Christmas. And along the way, he discovers the epic that is his own life.
Director: Sarah Holt
Starring: Joe Hanrahan
“The Dixie Swim Club” May 31 – June 19 Monroe Actors Stage Company Thursday through Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2:30 p.m. Historic Capitol Theatre in Waterloowww.masctheatre.org 618-939-7469 What It’s About: Five Southern women, whose friendships began many years ago on their college swim team, set aside a long weekend every August to recharge those relationships. Free from husbands, kids and jobs, they meet at the same beach cottage on North Carolina’s Outer Banks to catch up, laugh and meddle in each other’s lives. The play focuses on four of those weekends and spans a period of thirty-three years.Director: Tim PaeltzStarring: Stacey Tunnicliff as Sheree Hollinger, Dawn Williamson as Lexi Richards, Terrie Thies as Dinah Grayson, Christine Miller as Vernadette Sims and Kelly Shaw as Jeri Neal McFeeley.
Will Bonfiglio is the Best Man in “I Now Pronounce.” Jon Gitchoff photo.“I Now Pronounce” May – June 2 New Jewish Theatre Marvin and Harlene Wool Studio Theatre Jewish Community Center, 2 Millstone Campus Drive in Creve Coeurwww.newjewishtheatre.org
What It’s About: Most weddings have something that doesn’t
go quite right – maybe several things go awry. Often these mishaps are the
things that make the most endearing memories of the occasion, but Tasha
Gordon-Solomon’s “I Now Pronounce” imagines a wedding that culminates in an
awkwardly timed fatality, and a reception that spins into a strange and
hilarious evening that leaves the bride and groom questioning just what it is
they’re celebrating. The flower girls are running amuck; the bridal party
members are more preoccupied with their own flailing relationships. But there’s
no stopping the festivities! Comedies end in marriage.
Director: Edward Coffield
Starring: Graham Emmons, Will Bonfiglio, Ryan
Lawson-Maeske, Jessica Kadish, Craig Neuman, Delaney Piggins, Frankie Ferrari
“Love’s Labors Lost” May 31 – June 23 Shakespeare Festival St. Louis 8 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday Shakespeare Glen, Forest Park www.shakespearefestivalstlouis.org
What It’s About” Belonging to Shakespeare’s “lyrical”
period, which also included Romeo and Juliet and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the
play tells the story of the Princess of France and her ladies who arrive on a
diplomatic mission to Navarre only to be met by a young king and his lords who
have taken a vow not to see women. Affairs of state give way to affairs of the
heart as Shakespeare reveals with great humor and compassion the way our
culture sometimes doesn’t fully prepare us for the realities of love and
intimacy. A feast of language and theatrical virtuosity, Love’s Labors Lost
shimmers with all the passion and promise of a first kiss.
Director: Tom Ridgely
Starring: Philip Hernandez as Don Adriano de Armado, Bradley James Tejeda (Duc
de Biron), Kea Trevett (Princess of France), Sky Smith (King of Navarre), Patrick
Blindauer (Costard), Katy Keating (Nathaniel), Michael James Reed
(Forester/Marcadé), Jeffery Cummings (Boyet); Carl Howell (Dull), Carine
Montbertrand (Holofernes), Randolph (Moth), Laura Sohn (Rosaline), Molly Meyer
(Jaquenetta), Sam Jones (Longueville), Vivienne Claire Luthin (Maria), Kiah
McKirnan (Catherine), and Riz Moe (DuMaine).
“The Marriage of Figaro” May 25 – June 29 Opera Theatre of St. Louis Loretto-Hilton Center 135 Edgar Road on Webster University campuswww.opera-stl.org 314-961-0644 What It’s About: Mozart’s comedy masterpiece is about complicated life at court and how love should always prevail. The maid Susanna is determined to wed her fiancé, Figaro, while the Count is equally determined to add her to his list of conquests. But Susanna and Figaro won’t allow one self-entitled nobleman to ruin their happy ending! They each hatch their own plots to teach their master a lesson. What follows is a whirlwind day of romantic intrigue, cunning schemes, and uproarious fun. The opera runs three hours and ten minutes with one intermission and is sung in English with English supertitles.
Nina Simone: Four Women. Photo by Philip Hamer“Nina Simone: Four Women” The Black Rep May 15 – June 2 Edison Theatre on Washington University campus www.theblackrep.org
What It’s About: Nina Simone’s velvet voice was unafraid to
sing lyrics that cut right to the truth. Her music and her life were a personal
exploration branded in the kiln of the civil rights movement; so, in the
aftermath of the 1963 bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church and the tragic
loss of the four little girls her powerful anthems, “Mississippi Goddam,” “Sinnerman”
and “Old Jim Crow,” fueled the Civil Rights movement and changed her public
persona from songstress to activist. From the iconic “I Put a Spell on You” to “Four
Women,” Simone’s lyrics weave a story of four women alienated from themselves
and one another due to the color of their skin.
Director: Ron HimesStarring: Leah Stewart as Simone, Denise Thimes as Sarah (aka Auntie), Alex Jay as Sephronia and Camile “Cee” Sharp as Sweet Thing
“Rigoletto” Opera Theatre of St. Louis June 1 – June 30 8 p.m. Loretto-Hilton Center 135 Edgar Roadwww.experienceopera.org 314-961-0644What It’s About: Verdi’s powerful “Rigoletto” is a tale of innocence lost, wrenchingly poignant and all too human, presented in English with English supertitles. Rigoletto is a bitter court jester who serves the Duke of Mantua, a lecherous womanizer. Together, they are despised throughout the city. But alone, Rigoletto is all tenderness when it comes to his innocent young daughter, Gilda. Little does he know that an ominous curse is about to take its toll. When the Duke seduces Gilda, only to then abandon her, the enraged father swears vengeance.
Cover Photo: Vivienne Claire Luthin, Kea Trevett, Laura Sohn and Kiah McKirnan in “Love’s Labors Lost” — Photo by Philip Hamer.
By Lynn Venhaus
Spry actors Joe Hanrahan and Shane Signorino slip into 21 different characters
to play the denizens of “Popcorn Falls,” a daffy mix of vignettes designed to
showcase performers’ strengths while paying tribute to small-town personalities
– and the power of theater.
This average American town, whose residents prefer to be
called ‘kernels,’ has seen better days, and is in danger of bankruptcy because
their waterfall has dried up, no thanks to a new dam. Without their claim to
fame, tourists and commerce has vanished. But a greedy corporation is ready to
pounce, with plans to demolish the town and turn it into a sewage treatment
center. Can the town be saved?
Because of an old arts grant, they can get enough money –
but writing and producing the play must be done in a week — despite the lack
of a theater and experienced thespians. Shades of Blaine, Missouri, the center
of “Waiting for Guffman.” Or Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland practicing in a
barn – “Hey kids! Let’s put on a show!”
Can this absurd solution work?
Sure, if our dynamic duo of intrepid mayor (Hanrahan) and loyal
custodian (Signorino) be the heroes and rally the town with the grant money
dangling before them. But in the bigger picture, can art save the world?
You can clearly figure out playwright James Hindman’s
thought process. While the optimism is unwavering in this 2017 off-Broadway comedy,
the farcical material isn’t as amusing as the portrayals.
I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Popcorn Falls
resembles other quirky fictional settings that evoke warm and humorous memories
– Stars Hollow, Mayberry, Greater Tuna, Bedford Falls – heck, even “Frostbite
Falls” from “The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle.” It provides the basis for
wacky characters and nutty situations, even if it’s derivative.
The pairing of Hanrahan and Signorino is inspired, with their
skills and talent enough to convincingly conjure up a cadre of zany townsfolk.
Hanrahan’s Ted Trundle, the beleaguered new mayor on the
verge of divorce, shares quite an interesting backstory. He is counting on the
neighboring county’s budget committee to bail them out, and enthusiastically
gathers folks at the library to cobble together the plot. Well, this turns into
a free-for-all what-did-I-get-myself-into scenario.
Signorino’s main man is head custodian Joe, who is shown at
work and at home. He frets about supporting his growing family if the town goes
belly-up. He also transforms into the majority of characters – including a
female bartender at The Sudsy Mug (as does Hanrahan), her precocious young
daughter, the dramatic cat-lady librarian who fancies herself an actress, the
snaky corrupt county official, dim but well-meaning sheriff, the one-armed owner
of the lumber yard, and a chain-smoking middle-school teacher with a vivid
imagination. Hanrahan portrays the local mortician who wants to act in the
Both stalwarts of the local theater community, Hanrahan and
Signorino work together in the manner of classic comedy duos, manic improv
pairs and old-timey vaudeville/variety acts. They know how to work a crowd, with
Hanrahan basically the straight man to Signorino’s goofy multitudes, and can easily
switch into various roles.
In an impressive turn, Signorino rises to the demand of
performing all his characters during the original play’s dress rehearsal.
Instead of costume changes, the characters are
distinguished by vocal adjustments, attitudes, posture, and perhaps a hat or
accessory or prop.
This is the kind of show The Midnight Company excels at, usually
one-acts with little frills but ambitious and often unique and interesting
material, realized by a strong but small cast. Director Sarah Whitney has deftly
guided the pair for maximum madcap effect.
If at any time it is confusing, that’s the fault of the thin
script and not the nimble actors. Hanrahan is nearly in view the entire time
while Signorino rushes about to accommodate the others. The pair seemed to be
having fun — but the parts are a challenge because of the fast pace.
The simple staging in the Kranzberg Center’s black box gives
the men a small space to fill with their clever characterizations in the
well-worn “play within a play” format.
Chuck Winning has designed a functional bare-bones set, replicating
a budget-strapped town hall meeting room. Scene changes are announced on a small
blackboard, and it would help to clean the board every night, for the layers of
chalk dust make it difficult to read the later scenes.
Tony Anselmo created a straightforward lighting design that
works well within the small confines.
Even though the material is lightweight, Hanrahan and
Signorino do considerable heavy-lifting, and they muster enough charm to sell
it, along with their sincerity and veteran work ethic. Now, if only the squirrels
wouldn’t chomp on the town hall wires because Popcorn Falls can’t afford traps.
Midnight Company presents “Popcorn Falls” Thursday through Saturday at 8 p.m., March
28 – April 13, in the Kranzberg Arts Center blackbox theater. Tickets are
available through MetroTix.com. For more information, visit www.midnightcompany.com
The play is performed without an intermission and is 85 minutes long.
By Lynn VenhausManaging EditorIt’s opening day for our St. Louis Cardinals, but also new plays are offered this weekend, with a selection of plays currently in rotation and those making their final runs this weekend. Ah, the riches of what’s available- comedy, drama, musical, Shakespeare and new to St. Louis shows!
Go, Cards! And GO SEE A PLAY.
Terry Barber, Jennifer Theby-Quinn in “Daddy Long Legs.” Photo by John Lamb“Daddy Long Legs”Insight Theatre CompanyMarch 28 – April 14Thursday through Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.The Marcelle Theatre in Grand Centerwww.insighttheatrecompany.com314-556-1293
What It’s About: Based on the classic novel, which inspired the 1955 movie starring Fred Astaire, Daddy Long Legs is a beloved tale in the spirit of Jane Austen, The Brontë Sisters and “Downton Abbey. Daddy Long Legs features music and lyrics by Tony Award-nominated composer/lyricist, Paul Gordon (Jane Eyre), and Tony-winning librettist/director, John Caird (Les Misérables), and is a “rags-to-riches” tale of newfound love.
Director: Maggie RyanStarring: Jennier Theby Quinn, Terry Barber
“Dreamgirls”Stray Dog TheatreApril 4 -20, Thursday – Saturday 8 p.m.Tower Grove Abbey2336 Tennesseewww.straydogtheatre.org314-865-1995What It’s About: In the 1960s, the Dreamettes, led by the powerful Effie White, embark on an R&B music career that leads them across the country. Romantic entanglements, Effie’s weight, racism, and the arrival of a fresh new sound in the 1970s are part of this showbiz hit (a fictional nod to The Supremes and Motown).
Director: Justin BeenStarring: Ebony Easter, Eleanor Humphrey, Abraham Shaw, Omega D. Jones, Tateonna Thompson, Don McClendon, Marshall Jennings, Robert Crenshaw, Lawrence J. Haliburton, Tony L. Marr Jr., Chris Moore, Chrissie Watkins, Jazmine Wade, Margery Handy, Chasity Cook, Rahnesha Holmes, Sierra Smith, Laurell Stevenson, Diamon Lester, Kanisha Kellum, Malaika Pedzayl-Ferguson, Ashley Santana
Monroe Actors Stage Company“Is He Dead?”Monroe Actors Stage CompanyApril 5-14Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m.; 2:30 p.m. SundayHistoric Capitol Theatre in downtown Waterloo, Ill.www.masctheatre.com618-939-7469
What It’s About:Director: Zona LudlumStarring:Of Note: Special $5 student performance on Thursday, April 11
“A New Brain”Hawthorne PlayersApril 5-6, 12-147:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 2 p.m. April 14Florissant Civic Centerhttp://www.hawthorneplayers.info/ 314-921-5678
What It’s About: By the Tony Award-winning authors of Falsettos, this musical is an energetic, sardonic, often comical story about a composer during a medical emergency. Gordon collapses into his lunch and awakes in the hospital, surrounded by his maritime-enthusiast lover, his mother, a co-worker, the doctor, and the nurses. Reluctantly, he had been composing a song for a children’s television show that features a frog – Mr. Bungee – and the specter of this large green character and the unfinished work haunts him throughout his medical ordeal. What was thought to be a tumor turns out to be something more operable, and Gordon recovers, grateful for a chance to compose the songs he yearns to produce. Director: Stephen Peirick, with music direction by Colin HealyStarring: Danny Brown, Joel Brown, Stephen Henley, Chadly Konner Jourdyn, Chris Kernan, John Kuehn, Laura Kyro, Kay Love, Stephanie Merritt, Bradley Rohlf, Dawn Schmid
Reginald Pierre as Othello and Bridgette Bassa as Desdemona“Othello”St. Louis ShakespeareApril 5 – 13Tower Grove Church4257 MagnoliaFriday and Saturday at 8 p.m.; Thursday and Sunday, April 7 at 7:30 p.m.www.stlshakespeare.orgWhat It’s About: In Venice, at the start of Othello, the soldier Iago announces his hatred for his commander, Othello, a Moor. Othello has promoted Cassio, not Iago, to be his lieutenant.Iago crudely informs Brabantio, Desdemona’s father, that Othello and Desdemona have eloped. Before the Venetian Senate, Brabantio accuses Othello of bewitching Desdemona. The Senators wish to send Othello to Cyprus, which is under threat from Turkey. They bring Desdemona before them. She tells of her love for Othello, and the marriage stands. The Senate agrees to let her join Othello in Cyprus.
In Cyprus, Iago continues to plot against Othello and Cassio. He lures Cassio into a drunken fight, for which Cassio loses his new rank; Cassio, at Iago’s urging, then begs Desdemona to intervene. Iago uses this and other ploys—misinterpreted conversations, insinuations, and a lost handkerchief—to convince Othello that Desdemona and Cassio are lovers. Othello goes mad with jealousy and later smothers Desdemona on their marriage bed, only to learn of Iago’s treachery. He then kills himself.
Director: Patrice FosterStarring: Reginald Pierre, Bridgette Bassa, Cynthia Pohlson, Phil Leveling, Jesse Munoz, Brad Kinzel, Will Pendergast, Mike Stephens, Hillary Gokenbach, Victor Mendez, Lisa Hinrichs and Cece Day
Of Note: It takes place in modern Venice and Cyprus. Othello is a powerful exploration of the human condition and the disaster that can arise from our emotions. Trust is eroded and innocence is corrupted in this tragic tale of manipulation and jealousy. Featuring live jazz, this exciting, new take on one of Shakespeare’s darkest plays is not one to miss.
“Photograph 51”West End Players GuildApril 5 – 13Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., Sunday at 2 p.m., Thursday April 11 at 8 p.m.Union Avenue Christian Church733 North Union 314-367-0025 www.westendplayersguild.org
What It’s About: Anna Ziegler’s “Photograph 51” is a moving portrait of Rosalind Franklin, one of the great female scientists of the 20th century, and her fervid drive to map the contours of the DNA molecule. A chorus of physicists relives the chase, revealing the largely-unsung achievements of this trail-blazing, fiercely independent woman – largely-unsung because the men usually credited with cracking the DNA code, James Watson and Francis Crick, did so by “borrowing” Franklin’s most important discovery.
Director: Ellie SchwetyeStarring: Nicole Angeli, Ben Ritchie, John Wolbers, Will Bonfiglio, Ryan Lawson-Maeske, Alex Fyles.
Morris Robinson“The Play That Goes Wrong”The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis March 15 – April 7Loretto-Hilton Center, 130 Edgar Roadwww.repstl.orgBox Office: 314-968-4925
What It’s About: Calamity, disaster, fiasco: whichever word you’d like to choose, the opening night performance of “The Murder at Haversham Manor” has gone decidedly wrong. A maelstrom of madcap madness ensues, complete with collapsing scenery, unconscious actors and a stage crew pushed to the brink. Will The Rep survive this train wreck of a play? Come find out!
Director: Melissa Rain Anderson
Cast: Ka-Leung Cheung, Ryan George, Benjamin Curns, Michael Keyloun, Ruth Pferdehirt, Matthew McGloin, John Rapson and Evan Zes.
Of Note: The Rep’s production is the first stand-alone production outside of New York and London. The Broadway run was extended, and now there is a 12-city national tour underway, but this is not a touring show.
Joe Hanrahan and Shane Signorino play 21 different characters in “Popcorn Falls.”“Popcorn Falls”The Midnight CompanyMarch 28 – April 13Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays at 8 p.m.Kranzberg Arts Center black box theatrewww.midnightcompany.comWhat It’s About: Two actors take on 21 characters in a struggling small town. They decided to put on a play!
Director: Sarah WhitneyStarring: Joe Hanrahan, Shane Signorino
Of Note: This one-act by James Hindman is presented without an intermission.
Wendy Greenwood and Ben Nordstrom in “Time Stands Still.” Photo by Eric Woolsey“Time Stands Still”New Jewish TheatreMarch 28 – April 14www.newjewishtheatre.orgBox Office: 314-447-3283
Starring: Wendy Greenwood, Ben Nordstrom, Jerry Vogel, Eileen Engel
What It’s About: In this play, a top photojournalist recovers from a near-fatal roadside bomb blast as her long-term relationship with a reporter undergoes its own test of survival. Donald Margulies, whose widely admired plays, Sight Unseen and Collected Stories uncovered the personal wounds inflicted on the battlefronts of art and fiction writing, now takes as his subject a creative couple who have met, worked and loved amid the all too real, mortal combat of the Middle East.
Jessie Shelton and Jeremy Morris on “Waitress”“Waitress”The Fabulous Fox TheatreMarch 26 – April 7www.fabulousfox.com
What It’s About: The musical tells the story of Jenna – a waitress and expert pie maker, Jenna dreams of a way out of her small town and loveless marriage. A baking contest in a nearby county and the town’s new doctor may offer her a chance at a fresh start, while her fellow waitresses offer their own recipes for happiness. But Jenna must summon the strength and courage to rebuild her own life.
By Lynn Venhaus
So, how does one find inspiration to play Mother Teresa? Rachel Tibbetts thought of a popular TV sitcom.
In “The Last Days of Judas Iscariot” at Mustard Seed Theatre, she plays Mother Teresa and two other characters – St. Thomas and Loretta.
“Mother Teresa is such a blast. I am approaching her as Mother Teresa meets ‘The Golden Girls,’” she said.
“I’ve really enjoyed playing three characters. I love the challenge of playing with physicality and voice to move from character to the next.”
The irreverent dark comedy explores the afterlife of former apostle Judas, wanting to know if sin or grief or grace will prevail, and runs from Oct. 1 to Oct. 28, Wednesday through Sunday, with no Friday performance. It is recommended for mature audiences.
The Last Days of Judas IscariotTibbetts is not the only cast member with multiple roles or who switches genders — 27 diverse characters are woven into a courtroom in downtown Purgatory, part of a jury trial to determine if Judas should remain in Hell. After all, who’s to blame/at fault for his notorious place in history, damned for all-time, his lawyer argues.
The historical and Biblical characters are sinners and saints. The play by Stephen Adly Guirgis was originally staged off-Broadway at The Public Theatre in 2005, directed by Philip Seymour Hoffman. Guirgis went on to win the Pulitzer Prize for drama in 2015, for “Between Riverside and Crazy.”
Her longtime friend and colleague Carl Overly Jr. portrays attorney El-Fayoumy.
“Carl and I get to have so much fun on stage together. It’s also very exciting to be included in an ensemble that beautifully reflects our community,” she said.
Adam Flores, resident artist at Fontbonne University, directed the production. Locally, it is the second time a regional company is tackling the show — HotCity Theatre staged it in 2006.
Besides Tibbetts and Overly, the ensemble includes: Courtney Bailey Parker, Rae Davis, Graham Emmons, FeliceSkye, Carmen Garcia, Chelsea Krenning, Jesse Munoz, Ariella Rovinsky, Chandler Spradling, Chris Ware and Eric Dean White.
Active in regional theater for more than 10 years, Tibbetts has become one of St. Louis’ most versatile artists working today.
Little Thing Big Thing with Joe HanrahanIn the past three years alone, Tibbetts has played a nun on the run, a faux vampire, a German matron trying to make sense of the World War II fallout, Athena goddess of war, a spoiled social climber in hell, Lady Macbeth, an exotic secret agent in a Hitchcock movie parody, a Spanish painter and Harvard star-mapper.
She is a founding member of Slightly Askew Theatre Ensemble, and has been in productions at The Midnight Company, ERA (Equally Represented Arts) Theatre, R-S Theatrics, Tennessee Williams Festival, Young Liars and West End Players Guild.
While she has been able to portray many memorable roles, one of her all-time favorite experiences was this past winter, when she played trailblazing ‘astronomer’ (data entry clerk) Henrietta Swan Leavitt in Laurwn Gunderson’s play “Silent Sky” in the West End Players Guild production.
Silent Sky, with Michelle Hand, Jamie Pitt and Rachel Tibbetts. Photo by John Lamb“I don’t know if a day has gone by since we closed where I haven’t thought about this particular line: ‘Because wonder will always get us there.’ Every aspect of working on ‘Silent Sky’ was truly an experience of wonder – the script, the director, the cast, the production ensemble,” she said.
“My grandmother passed away while working on the show. She was always supportive of me as an artist. My heart hurt, and still does, from her death, but working on the show gifted me healing,” she said.
No Exit. Photo by Joey RumpellShe has dedicated her work this year to “Grams.” And she has kept busy.
Tibbetts doesn’t only act — she directed “Run-On Sentence” for SATE this spring. With Lucy Cashion, she co-directed a new adaptation of “Antigone” at the women’s prison in Vandalia, which was a collaboration between Saint Louis University and Prison Performing Arts.
As a co-producer, she is working on a new translation of “Doctor Faustus, or the Modern Prometheus” for SATE, which opens Oct. 31. She co-produced the second annual Aphra Behn Emerging Artists’ Festival with SATE this spring.
She also filmed a movie based on Anton Chekhov’s “Platonov” with ERA Theatre and Sleepy Kitty.
Theater takes up most of her waking life.
After earning a B.A. in theatre from Oklahoma State University, she found an internship opportunity with the Delaware Theatre Company’s education department.
“I had an interest in education as well,” she said, noting that she has worked with Young Audiences of St. Louis and is a graduate of the Community Arts Training Institute at the Regional Arts Commission in 2006-2007.
This year, she marked 13 years with Prison Performing Arts and is currently their Director of Youth Programs.
“It’s very much an honor to create and collaborate with the adult and youth artists in all of our facilities,” she said.
“I have been lucky enough to have always had a job in the arts since college, and I’m very grateful to make my living doing what I love to do,” she said.
Maggie Conroy and Rachel in ERA’s “Trash Macbeth” 2016She moved to St. Louis in 2003. After getting a divorce in 2006, she discovered SATE through her friend Kim. She accompanied her to a training session and met founder Margeau Baue Steinau, and two years later, she met another kindred spirit, founder Ellie Schwetye.
“I am the artist who I am and have had the opportunities I’ve had because of them,” she said.
She considers working with her SATE family “fun, exhilarating and challenging.”
“Ellie and I focus on creating an environment where people can experiment and have fun. It’s also extremely important to us to create a community where everyone – on stage and off – feel like both themselves and their work matter,” she said.
“And I’m really proud of the magic our coven creates – our coven being Ellie, myself, Bess Moynihan and Liz Henning (resident designers),” she said.
Ellie Schwetye and Rachel Tibbetts accepting award for Best Ensemble – Comedy for “First Impressions” at 2018 St. Louis Theater Circle Awards. Photo by Gerry LoveShe and Ellie are the yin and yang.
“Ellie and I work well because we complement each other. We definitely are two different individuals in many ways, and I love that about us. It creates a relationship, both personal and professional, where we can continually grow from working with — and just knowing –each other,” she said.
Because wonder will always get us there.
Here are Rachel’s answers to our Take Ten Questions:
Why did you choose your profession/pursue the arts?
I was obsessed with the movie “Annie” as a little girl. I had the red dress. We owned the record. I would wander around the house singing, “Amaya, Amaya, I love ya Amaya,” because I couldn’t pronounce the word tomorrow. My mom tells me that there are moments where she wanted to get rid of the record because I just wouldn’t stop, but she didn’t, and I am thankful.
My parents always encouraged me to pursue the arts.
They were always taking me to see plays and musicals, but beyond the doors of our homes (my dad was in the Air Force and we moved a lot), I was pretty shy. I finally started taking theatre classes in middle school. It really helped me find my voice and a community. I was lucky to have an incredible drama teacher in high school and she also encouraged me.
2, How would your friends describe you?
Recently, a very dear friend, described me as a love-magnet. I love this. I think they would also describe me as loopy and they know what they mean.
How do you like to spend your spare time?
“Watching the ‘Real Housewives’ and then gossiping about the Real Housewives with my friends Andrew and Carl, hanging at the Crow’s Nest with Bess.”
What is your current obsession?
“Stranger Things.” I can’t leave Target without purchasing a new t-shirt. I now have a one tee limit anytime I leave there. I love everything about that show because it reminds me of everything I loved about my childhood – “E.T.,” “The Goonies,” “Ghostbusters.”
What would people be surprised to find out about you?
“I’m not afraid of spiders. And maybe that I’m 40.”
St. Louis Theater Circle Awards 2018, SATE winners of Best Ensemble – Comedy and Best New Play for “First Impressions”Can you share one of your most defining moments in life?
“In 2006, I got divorced and I was really searching for something, so a good friend of mine, Kim, invited me to join her for a Monday night training with Slightly Askew Theatre Ensemble. Then, I met Margeau. And two years later, I met Ellie. I am the artist who I am and have had the opportunities I’ve had because of them.”
Who do you admire most?
“My mom and dad, Paul and Judy. They are the kindest people I know. And they make me laugh so much.”
What is at the top of on your bucket list?
“To see Kendrick Lamar in concert.”
What is your favorite thing to do in St. Louis?
“Eat cheese and drink margaritas at Mi Ranchito.”
“The Last Days of Judas Iscariot” with Mustard Seed Theatre – actor; “Doctor Faustus, or the Modern Prometheus” – co-producer; and “First Impressions” – directing a remount performance at the women’s prison in Vandalia, Mo.
Her parents are moving here in December, so she has that to look forward to, too.
The Cherry Sisters Revisited. Rachel is bottom row, middle.MORE ON RACHEL TIBBETTS
Name: Rachel TibbettsAge: 40Birthplace: Rapid City, South DakotaCurrent location: Where St. Louis City and Maplewood meetFamily: Paul and Jude, my parents, and my fur kids: Lyric, Monroe, and RubyEducation: B.A. in Theatre from Oklahoma State UniversityDay job: Director of Youth Programs for Prison Performing ArtsFirst job: Server at Simple Simon’s Pizza in Enid, Okla.First role: Cobweb in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”Favorite roles/plays: Effie/”The Cherry Sisters,” Every role in “R+J: A Telephone Play,” Horatio in “Remember Me,” Henrietta in “Silent Sky”Dream role/play: I don’t have one.Awards/Honors/Achievements: Best Ensemble in a Comedy for “The 39 Steps” (St. Louis Theater Circle) and SATE won “Best Production of a Comedy for “As You Like It” and Best Ensemble in a Comedy/Best New Play for “First Impressions.”
Favorite quote/words to live by: “Because wonder will always get us there…” – from Lauren Gunderson’s “Silent Sky”
A song that makes you happy: “Thriller” by Michael Jackson, and with modern technology we can listen to it whenever we want.
“Judgment at Nuremburg” with Joe Hanrahan. Photo by Joey Rumpell.
By Lynn Venhaus
Managing EditorTHAT VOICE: Are you on Team Kennedy yet? If you haven’t heard Kennedy Holmes, 13, from St. Louis in her blind audition on “The Voice,” be prepared to be wowed and understand why it went viral.
Part of The Muny Kids for five years, Kennedy starred as Little Inez in the 2015 “Hairspray” production, has sung the national anthem for Cardinals’ games and appeared as one of the Cratchit children in “A Christmas Carol” at The Rep in 2016. She is an eighth grader at John Burroughs School.
Her confident delivery of Adele’s “Turning Tables,” which showcased her control and range, impressed all four judges and got a 4-chair turn – and standing ovation.
She auditioned in Indianapolis earlier this year and is the youngest person in the singing competition this season. Producers saved her for the last spot and teased her appearance in a sneak peek last week that set her schoolmates and local folks buzzing. The cliffhanger coach pick was easy to guess.
Kennedy, while remarkably poised singing, got emotional over Jennifer Hudson, and then sang with her idol in an impromptu “I Am Changing” from “Dreamgirls.”
The guys made convincing pitches.
Adam Levine: “Very, very rarely does someone come around that kind of reignites our passion for what we do. And to hear you sing today did that. Just to see that kind of confidence naturally exist in you at such a young age, it’s unheard of. After the 15 seasons, you really could become the absolute biggest thing to ever come from this show.”
Blake Shelton: “Let me be the first to thank you for coming to ‘The Voice,’ ’cause our ratings are going to shoot through the roof this evening. I think you are the best vocalist that has auditioned this year. I want you to pick me as your coach so you can teach me how to sing like that.”
After Kennedy’s pick, Hudson was ecstatic. “I think the game is over because I just won ‘The Voice’ with little Miss Kennedy. Yes, I did.”
Here’s the clip from the Blind Auditions, which started Sept. 24. To date, her audition video has been viewed 3.6 million times on YouTube.com.
This isn’t the last we’ve seen of Kennedy. It will be fun watching her progress on the national stage, next in the Knockout Rounds, then hopefully Battle Rounds and Live Performances. (And the local television and radio stations are all over it.)
***DEVIL MAY CARE: As the calendar turns autumnal, it’s time for sinister, spooky suspense. Five local theater groups have teamed up to present “Faustival: The Devils We Choose” – one in August and the rest through December.
The artistic collaboration is between Equally Represented Arts, The Midnight Company, Theatre Nuevo, SATE, and the Post-Romantics. They are presenting works on the Faust myth from the 16th century – about a scholar who sold his soul to the devil in exchange for perks.
ERA FaustIn August, ERA, along with Kid Scientist, presented “Faust (go down with all the re$t),” an experimental rock-opera-adaptation of Goethe’s most celebrated work.
Currently, The Midnight Company is presenting the one-act “An Apology for the Course and Outcome of Certain Events Delivered by Doctor John Faustus on This His Final Evening,” along with another one-act by Mickle Maher, “The Hunchback Variations.”
For more information, www.midnightcompany.com
In October, Theatre Nuevo will present “whither should I fly” from Oct. 25 – Nov. 10 at the William A. Kerr Foundation, 21 O’Fallon St., St. Louis. For more information, visit www.theatrenuevo.com
Starting on Halloween, “Doctor Faustus, or the Modern Prometheus” by John Wolbers and Kit Marlowe will be performed by Slightly Askew Theatre Ensemble (SATE) Wednesdays through Saturdays through Nov. 17 at The Chapel, 6238 Alexander Drive, St. Louis. For more information, www.slightlyoff.org.
The Post-Romantics will present “Doomsday Faust” Dec. 5 – 8 at the Centene Center for the Arts, 3547 Olive Street, St. Louis.
For more information, please visit faustival.org.
***MOVING ON UP: The aforementioned John Wolbers, who has adapted Faust for SATE, shared some exciting news recently. He is a new Producing Associate at the Metro Theatre Company. He has served as the full-time resident teaching artist at MTC since the 2012-2013 season. He will assist Artistic Director Julia Flood with casting, directing and production administration.
Andrew Kuhlman is Broadway bound! He is currently working in New York as a co-producer on “The Prom,” the Broadway musical comedy that begins previews on Oct. 23. Andrew, an associate producer at Stages St. Louis, made the announcement Sept. 7.
“I am beyond excited to be taking this journey with a show that I could not believe in more. I cannot wait for audiences to fall in love with this hilarious, heartfelt and energetic musical,” he said.
“The Prom” has some prominent local connections – including Jack Lane, at Stages St. Louis, as one of its producers. Lane already has two Tony Awards as part of the group behind “Fun Home” and “The Humans.”
Joe Grandy, Andrew Kuhlman of “The Prom”The show lyricist and book writer is Chad Beguelin, who grew up in Centralia, Ill. He’s a multiple Tony nominee, for book and lyrics to “The Wedding Singer” and lyrics to “Aladdin.”
The cast includes Muny favorite Beth Leavel, Tony winner for “The Drowsy Chaperone,” and Muny veterans, including St. Louis natives Drew Redington and Jack Sippel, and Fairview Heights native Joe Grandy.
***WHO’S WHO: Upstream Theater is hosting renowned director Marianne de Pury who will stage the U.S. premiere of “Chef” by UK/Egyptian playwright and poet Sabrina Mahfouz. The one-woman show, starring Linda Kennedy, opens Sept. 28 and runs through Oct. 14.
Linda Kennedy, Photo by ProPhotoSTL“Chef” is the gripping story of how one woman went from being an haute-cuisine head chef to a convicted inmate running a prison kitchen. Leading us through her world of mouth-watering dishes and heart-breaking memories, Chef questions our attitudes to food, prisoners, violence, love and hope.
Originally from the French part of Switzerland, de Pury is known for her work with the famed Open Theatre, where she composed music for “America Hurrah” and “Viet Rock.” Since those days she has directed all over the world–mostly in Germany, where her most recent work, “The Importance of Being Earnest,” was nominated as one of the year’s best productions.
Playwright Rob Urbanati came to the ‘Lou for Tesseract Theatre Company’s opening of his play, “Mama’s Boy,” which explores the relationship between a controlling mom and her son, who gained infamy as the assassin of President John F. Kennedy.
Here he is with the cast after Friday night’s show. They got our attention opening night at the .Zack, conveying a roller-coaster of emotions played out in historical context.
Urbanati, of New York City, is a playwright, screenwriter, book author, director, and director of new play development at Queens Theatre in the Park. His well-constructed 2015 drama is a fascinating exploration of family dynamics. It’s directed by Brad Schwartz.
From left: Jeremy Goldmeier (Robert Oswald), Brandon Atkins (Lee Harvey Oswald), playwright Rob Urbanati, Donna Parrone (Marguerite Oswald) and Carly Uding (Marina Oswald).
Lynn Venhaus photo***AROUND TOWN: Alas, the Stephen Sondheim appearance in St. Louis Oct. 4 is sold out. He is accepting the 2018 St. Louis Literary Award from the Saint Louis University Library Associates for being one of the most eminent lyricists and composers of the modern era.
He is the first musical lyricist to win the award since its inception in 1967. In a remarkable career spanning 70 years, Sondheim has written the lyrics, music —or both, for some of the most iconic and long running plays in the history of American theater.
The response was overwhelming, and all seats in the Sheldon Concert Hall and the simulcast viewing room have been reserved. During the event, which begins at 7 p.m., Mike Isaacson, executive producer and artistic director – and major Sondheim fan – will interview him on stage.
Three-time Tony Award winner “Avenue Q” has been extended three more weeks for its winter presentation at the Playhouse @ Westport.
Because of overwhelming ticket response, the “furry, funny and feel-good musical” will now run Jan. 25 – March 3. The cast is a combo of local and touring performers.
Another famous St. Louisan, poet, novelist and playwright A.E. Hotchner, an alumnus of Washington University, has endowed an annual Playwriting Festival. Three new works will be presented this weekend (Sept. 28 and 29) – “Tom and Grace” by Scott Greenberg, “Arriving At” by Ike Butler on Saturday at 2 p.m. and “Florida” by Lucas Marschke at 7 p.m. The guest dramaturg is Michele Volansky, chair of the drama department at Washington College in Maryland. The event is sponsored by Newman’s Own Foundation. For more information, visit: pad.artsci.wustl.edu.
The Stage Left Grille is now under Fox Management, so you can stop there for a bite to eat before a show at the Fox Theatre, the Kranzberg Arts Center or The Grandel, or any place in the Grand Arts Center.
“Confessions of a Nightingale,” a production from the Tennessee Williams Festival set for Nov. 1-4, has to be postponed until 2019.
***CHAMPAGNE & MOONSHINE: If you saw “Always, Patsy Cline” at Stages St. Louis in 2014 or at The Playhouse at Westport the following year, you must remember Jacqueline Petroccia as the star. A national sensation in that role, I recall that her velvety voice was “like butter.” She has released a debut solo album, the double EP “Champagne and Moonshine,” Collaborators on the album include musician royalty from Music City, including members of the Nashville Symphony, the award-winning Rascal Flatts, and Broadway Musician Brent Frederick.
Recorded live, with special permission, at the legendary and historic Quonset Hut on Music Row in Nashville, Tenn.,the album is available online through CD Baby (physical copy), Amazon, and iTunes.
The first EP, “Champagne,” features a big band sound appropriate for any ballroom or supper club, including an original arrangement mix “Crazy/Crazy He Calls Me,” and “Mambo Italiano.” The second EP, “Moonshine,” features new country music hits, and her original debut single “Your Name in Lights,” written by Brandon Hood, Hillary Lee Lindsey, and Troy Verges
Her other stage credits include the national tours of :The Producers,” “The Sound of Music” and “Fiddler on the Roof.” She was a featured soloist on the album “Where the Sky Ends” by Michael Mott (Broadway Records) and has appeared on “Prairie Home Companion,” featured with the Williamsburg Swing Orchestra and in her solo cabaret show Sometimes Patsy Cline (productions at 54 Below and Regional Theatres). More information can be found at JacquelinePetroccia.com
***YOU GO GLEN COCO: “Is butter a carb? Whatever, I’m having cheese fries.”
Wednesday, Oct. 3, is unofficially known as National Mean Girls Day, so imaginative Chef Liz of Tenacious Eats has created a fun event for the evening. Tickets are $35 and include a Mean Girls-inspired cocktail, entree and Kalteen Protein Bar for dessert.
Expect some “fetch” prizes if you can answer some Mean Girls trivia and photo ops will be available with a Lindsay Lohan lookalike. Costumes are encouraged, and it is on a Wednesday, so you might want to wear pink!
The Tina Fey movie will be shown at 7 p.m. on the big screen at the West End Grill & Pub, 354 N. Boyle. Doors open at 6 p.m. for pre-show fun, Mean Girls trivia, prizes and photo ops. Tickets are available at: www.BrownPaperTickets.com.
***WORD: Decoding Theatre Reviews – a must-read: http://exeuntmagazine.com/features/theatre-reviews-decoded/
***GO SEE A PLAY POLL: Who are your favorite moms in musicals? Answer our poll and you will be entered in our drawing for two tickets to “One Funny Mother” at the Playhouse @ Westport Plaza on Wednesday, Oct. 3, at 8 p.m.
Dena Blizzard, former Miss New JerseyHilarious Dena Blizzard, best known as “The Target Mom,” is a viral sensation and former Miss New Jersey. Her one-woman show puts the fun in domestic dysfunction.
FAVORITE MOM IN MUSICALS:Mae Peterson in “Bye, Bye Birdie”Margaret Smith in “Carrie”“Big Edie” Edith Ewing Bouvier Beale in “Grey Gardens”Edna Turnblad in “Hairspray”The Witch in “Into the Woods”Lady Thiang in “The King and I”Margaret Johnson in “The Light in the Piazza”
Send your pick to: [email protected] by Monday, Oct. 1, at noon. Winner will be notified soon after, and arrangements will be made for your tickets to be waiting for you at the box office.
Our last winner was Christopher Strawhun for “Oklahoma!” at Stages St. Louis.
***TRIVIA TIME-OUT: Let’s hear it for St. Louis native Chris Redd and longest-ever SNL cast member Kenan Thompson on their Emmy win for Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics for “Come Back, Barack,” a Boyz II Men-style parody from last November’s episode hosted by Chance the Rapper.
Q: Despite multiple nominations, SNL has won only once before, for what song?
Justin Timberlake and Andy Samburg’s collaboration, “D**k in a Box.”
Fun fact: Theme songs also count for the award. “Moonlighting,” “Cheers,” “Chico and the Man,” “Growing Pains” and “Police Woman” have won.
Chris Redd didn’t live in St. Louis long and moved to Chicago as a youth. He is back at “Saturday Night Live” for his second season, which starts this Saturday, with host Adam Driver and musical guest Kanye West.
Tips? Contact: [email protected]
By Lynn Venhaus
Heroes and villains, and every shade of gray in between are featured on local stages this weekend. And some are in desperate need of love – and a hug!
Nicky Collett Photo by Aaron JostMean Girl Day is fast approaching (Oct. 3), and we have the classic big bad green one – the Wicked Witch of the West, who terrorizes munchkins, the land of Oz and Dorothy – and Toto, too in Christ Memorial Production’s “The Wizard of Oz” with a cast of 100.+
We have a deal with the devil, presented Midnight Company-style, with two one-acts including one that’s part of Faustival, a celebration of that evil liaison between the good doctor and Satan.
Did Lee Harvey Oswald assassinate President Kennedy? Tesseract Theatre Company explores Oswald’s relationship with his mother in “Mama’s Boy.”
More wicked this way comes in Mother Nature, when the great floods of 1993 wreak havoc on a small river town in southern Illinois in the musical tale of hope and survival,“The Flood,” presented by folks who lived through it, the Monroe Actors Stage Company.
Dealing with adversity is the poster boy, Job, the one from the Bible. Only Neil Simon has updated it for modern times in “God’s Favorite.” Laughter ensues in a joint venture between the Alton Little Theater and Curtain’s Up Theater.
The once-frightening Phantom of the Opera returns in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s sequel, “Love Never Dies,” now playing at the Fox Theatre on its first North American tour, this time he’s in Coney Island.
That’s in New York, New York – and that’s where you’ll find our plucky newsboys saving their jobs and the world in Disney’s “Newsies” at Looking Glass Playhouse.”
More all-American characters appear in the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic “Oklahoma!” now playing at Stages St. Louis, showing that the farmers and cowmen can be friends.
Friendship is celebrated, along with family and cultural heritage in “Crowns” a gospel musical at The Black Rep, last chance to see it.
And then there are the icons. South American folk hero Eva Peron is immortalized in Webber’s “Evita,” now playing at The Rep. Crooner Bobby Darin is remembered in “Darin” Bobby’s Biggest Hits” at the Playhouse at Westport.
And Robert Dubac provides gales of laughter pointing out the idiocy of modern society in “The Book of Moron,” now playing at The Playhouse at Westport.
Happy Fall, y’all! And Go See a Play!
“An Apology for the Course and Outcome of Certain Events Delivered by Doctor John Faustus” and “The Hunchback Variations” (Two One-Acts by Mickle Maher)
Midnight Theatre Company
Sept. 20 – 29
Thursdays at 7 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m.
The Monocle, 4510 Manchesterwww.midnightcompany.com
What It’s About: “Apology/Faustus” finds Dr. John Faustus (Hanrahan) in some room, at some time, apologizing to a random group of people (the audience) for not standing up against evil in his lifetime, as personified by Mephistopheles (Wassilak.)
“The Hunchback Variations” presents a series of variations on a panel discussion between The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Wassilak) and Ludwig Van Beethoven (Hanrahan) in which the two talk about their attempts to create a mysterious sound — the legendary, elusive sound effect of Anton Chekhov’s, described twice in the original production of “The Cherry Orchard.”
Starring: Joe Hanrahan, David Wassilak
Of Note: These shows are part of FAUSTival, an artistic collaborations among five St. Louis theatre companies – ERA, Theatre Nuevo, SATE, the Post-Romantics and Midnight – from August through December, each company presenting an adaptation of the Faust myth. Festival passes and more info at FAUSTival.org.
“The Book of Moron”
The Playhouse at Westport Plaza
Sept. 13 – 23
What It’s About: Robert Dubac’s newest Off-Broadway hit “The Book of Moron” has been described as one of the most hilarious, intelligent and scorching satirical attacks on idiocracy since Mark Twain. Having been brainwashed by a culture that worships the Kardashians over character, delusion over truth, and selfies over self-effacement, Dubac begins his journey with a simple question: Who am I? What do I believe? What’s the point?
Okay, that’s three questions but suffice to say, he has no answers. Just voices. Inner voices who come to life with precision and wit. One by one they pull him into a hysterical alternative universe of critical thought in search of the bigger picture. It’s a head trip on a banana peel.”
“Crowns: The Gospel Musical”The Black Repertory Theatre of St. Louis
Sept. 5 – 23
Edison Theatre at Washington University
Box Office: (314) 534-3807
What It’s About: Crowns refers to hats worn by black women. Hats become a springboard for an exploration of black history and identity as seen through the eyes of a young black woman who has come down South to stay with her aunt after her brother is killed in Brooklyn.
Hats are everywhere, in exquisite variety, and the characters use the hats to tell tales about everything from the etiquette of hats to their historical and contemporary social functions.
Director: Linda Kennedy
Cast: Anita Jackson leads the cast as Mother Shaw, with Maureen Williams as Wanda, Amber Rose as Velma, Leah Stewart as Mabel, Eleanor Humphrey as Jeannette, Myke Andrews as The Man and Tyler White as Yolanda.
Of Note: Director Linda Kennedy says: “The mothers and grandmothers, women of the church, were the glue that held us all together. They helped to raise us and helped make us accountable for our actions. We feared them then but are so grateful to them now. One of the greatest gifts a child can receive is the opportunity to sit and listen to and learn from an elder.” Rounding out the behind the scenes team will be the stage manager, Tracy D. Holliway-Wiggins, set designer, Dunsi Dai, lighting by Joe Clapper, and costumes by Daryl Harris.
“Darin: Bobby’s Biggest Hits”Sept. 26 – 30
The Playhouse at Westport
Tickets: MetroTix.com or 314-534-1111
What It’s About: Back by popular demand, Artists Lounge Live presents a Bobby Darin tribute starring Christopher Kale Jones.
Jones, a PBS retro-rocker (“Under the Streetlamp”) and “Jersey Boys” star who played Frankie Valli on the first national tour, and in L.A. and San Francisco companies, embodies the dazzling versatility of Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Bobby Darin. Jones tenderly recounts Darin’s story of life lived in the spotlight and lost too soon. Songs featured in the show include “Dream Lover,” “Mack the Knife,” and “Beyond the Sea.”
“Evita”The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis
Sept. 5 – 30
What It’s About: The incandescent Eva Perón’s rise from poverty to power electrified the world – and made her an iconic political celebrity. Winner of seven Tony Awards, Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s tour-de-force musical revels in the glamour, charisma and controversy that defined the First Lady of Argentina. With its unforgettable anthem “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina” and kaleidoscope of sights and sounds, “Evita” dazzles with pure passion.
Director: Rob Ruggiero, with music direction by Charlie Alterman and choreography by Gustavo Zajac.
Cast: Michelle Aravena (Eva Perón), Pepe Nufrio (Che), Sean MacLaughlin (Juan Perón), Nicolas Dávila (Augstín Magaldi/Ensemble), Shea Gomez (Perón’s Mistress/Ensemble).
Ensemble: Maria Bilbao, Nathaniel Burich, Ben Chavez, Samuel Druhora, Carmen Garcia, Esmeralda Garza, Samantha Gershman, Julie Hanson, Keith Hines, Jose Luaces, Ben Nordstrom, Waldemar Quinones-Villanueva, April Strelinger and Tim Wessel.
Eric Woolsey Photo
“The Flood”Monroe Actors Stage Company
September 20 – 23, 27 – 30
Thursday – Saturday at 7:30 p.m., Sunday at 2:30 p.m.
Historic Capitol Theatre
202 South Main Street, Waterloo, IL 62208
Box Office: 618-939-7469
What It’s About: As the Mississippi River waters rise, the small town of Meyerville struggles with preparing for the worst. This creative and dramatic musical was written by Peter Mills and Cara Reichel after they visited the town of Valmeyer, Ill., following the 1993 floods. They interviewed Monroe County citizens and were intrigued by the citizens’ decision to rebuild to higher ground. Their adaptation of the story is based on the fictional town of Meyerville and members of its village.
Director: Amber Dillard, with Musical Director Marcia Braswell
Of Note: MASC and Show Sponsor George Obernagel observe the 25th Anniversary of the Great Mississippi Flood of 1993 with their production of “The Flood.” The show has been named an official event of the Illinois State Bicentennial.
House opens one half hour before curtain; ticket booth opens one hour before curtain. The theatre is only accessible by a staircase.
Alton Little Theater and Curtain’s Up Theater
Sept. 14 – 23
Box Office 618-462-3205www.altonlittletheater.org
What It’s About: Neil Simon’s very funny show is loosely based on the Biblical Book of Job. A (rare) devout multimillionaire whose faith is tested encounters every malady and yet stands firm while real estate collapses around him. This is often called Simon’s most imaginative play.
Cast: Joe Benjamin, Howard Bell; Ben Benjamin, Anthony Tuzzo; Sarah Benjamin, Christy Luster; Rose Benjamin, Carol Hodson; David Benjamin, Brant McCance; Mady, Sarah Chapman-Wiser; Morris, Vince Ojeda; and Sidney Lipton, Aaron Mermelstein.
Of Note: Alton Little Theatre presented this play 20 years ago and this is a return engagement.
“Love Never Dies”
The Fox Theatre, 527 N. Grand
Sept. 18 – 30www.fabulousfox.com
Tickets: www.MetroTix.com or 314-534-1111 or Fox Box Office
What It’s About: Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical is a sequel to the mega-hit “The Phantom of the Opera,” and takes place 10 years after the Phantom’s disappearance from the Paris Opera House. It is 1907 and he has escaped to a new life in New York, running a freak show vaudeville act at Coney Island. His music soars there, but he still yearns for his musical protégé and one true love, Christine Daae. Now a world-class soprano, she arrives in New York for a singing engagement that will hopefully get her now-jerk of a husband, Raoul, out of gambling debt. Lo and behold, the Phantom lures her to sing in his show. She has her young son Gustave, age 10, in tow. Is triumph or tragedy on the horizon?
Director: Simon Phillips
Starring: Bronson Norris Murphy as The Phantom, Meghan Picerno as Christine, Sean Thompson as Raoul, Mary Michael Patterson as Meg, Karen Mason as Madame Giry, and Jake Heston Miller and Christian Harmston alternating as Gustave.
Of Note: The show is the reworked Australia production of 2011, after the inaugural London West End musical opened in 2010 to mostly mixed reviews. It has yet to play Broadway but is now on its first North American tour.
“Mama’s Boy”Tesseract Theatre Company
Sept. 21 – 30
Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., Sunday at 4 p.m.
.Zack, 3224 Locust, St. Louiswww.tesseracttheatre.org
What It’s About: A new play by Rob Urbinati is the riveting story of Lee Harvey Oswald and his complex relationship with his overbearing mother Marguerite. “Mama’s Boy” follows Marguerite’s reckless attempts to reunite her family, from Lee’s return to the U.S. from Russia, through the assassination of Kennedy, to her son’s own murder and her defense of his innocence in the months that follow. A fascinating examination of family dynamics and obsessive maternal devotion played out in the shadow of history.
Director: Bradley Schwartz
Starring: Carly Uding, Jeremy Goldmeier, Brandon Atkins
Of Note: Playwright Rob Urbinati is in town the first weekend to see the show.
“Newsies”Looking Glass Playhouse
Sept. 20 – 23, 27-30
Thursday through Saturday at 7:30 p.m., Sunday at 2 p.m.
Looking Glass Playhouse
What It’s About: Disney’s Newsies tells the rousing tale of Jack Kelly, a charismatic newsboy and leader of a band of teenaged ‘newsies.’ When titans of publishing raise distribution prices at the newsboys’ expense, Jack rallies newsies from across the city to strike against the unfair conditions and fight for what’s right.
Based on the 1992 motion picture and inspired by a true story, “Newsies” features a Tony Award-winning score by Alan Menken (Little Shop of Horrors, Sister Act) and Jack Feldman and a book by Tony Award winner Harvey Fierstein (Kinky Boots). Featuring the now classic songs “Carrying the Banner,” “Seize the Day,” and “Santa Fe,” Newsies is packed with non-stop thrills and a timeless message that is perfect for the whole family.
Director: Jason Johnson
Of Note: Looking Glass Playhouse is celebrating its 45th season.
“Oklahoma!”Stages St. Louis
Sept. 7 – Oct. 7
Robert G. Reim Theatre
Kirkwood Community Center, 111 South Geyer Road
What It’s About: Romance, conflict, comedy and colorful characters set in 1906 in the Oklahoma territory.
Director: Michael Hamilton
Starring: Zoe Vonder Haar as Aunt Eller, John Flack as Andrew Carnes, Leah Berry as Bertie Cummings and
Of Note: “Oh, what a beautiful musical! Rodgers and Hammerstein’s timeless first collaboration was, in many ways, their most innovative. And while OKLAHOMA! completely changed the face of American musical theatre 75 years ago, it remains as fresh and vital today as it was then with its loving celebration of the American spirit. A stunning blend of drama, music, and dance, the exhilarating Rodgers and Hammerstein score contains such classics as “People Will Say We’re In Love,” “The Surrey With The Fringe On Top,” “Kansas City,” “I Cain’t Say No,” and the pulsating title tune, “Oklahoma!” A gold standard that set the bar for all great musicals that came after it.
Peter Wochniak Photo
“The Wizard of Oz”Christ Memorial Productions
Sept. 14 – 23
Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m., Sundays at 2:30 p.m.
Christ Memorial Lutheran Church, 5252 S. Lindberghwww.CMPShows.org
What It’s About: L. Frank Baum’s classic tale, with music and lyrics by Harold Arlen and E.Y. Harburg, background music by Herbert Stothart, dance and vocal arrangements by Peter Howard, orchestration by Larry Wilcox. It is adapted by John Kane for the Royal Shakespeare Company, and based upon the classic MGM motion picture owned by Turner Entertainment Company.
Dorothy Gale of Kansas journeys to the Land of Oz, where she encounters the Scarecrow, Tin Man and the Cowardly Lion, and is besieged by the Wicked Witch of the West, all with her beloved Toto by her side. Will she make it back home to Auntie Em and Uncle Henry with The Wizard’s help?
Cast: Grace Wilkinson – Dorothy, Jennifer Kerner – Aunt Em / Chorus, Kathryn Nestor Klein – Glinda / Chorus, Michael Klein – Uncle Henry / Winkie / Chorus, Ray Martin – Tinman / Hickory, Nathan Gallop – Scarecrow / Hunk, John Jauss – Lion / Zeke, Nicky Collett – Wicked Witch of the West / Miss Gulch, Keith Poppitz – Wizard / Professor / Chorus
Of Note: The cast has more than 100 members. If you are interested in a special Sensory Friendly performance on Thursday, Sept. 20. please email [email protected] for details.
Photo by Aaron Jost
Feature Image of “Crowns” by Phillip Hamer