By CB Adams

It’s been a bit of a “Sondheim Summer” here in St. Louis, bookended by Far North Theatricals’ “Assassins,” The Muny’s “Sweeney Todd” and Union Avenue Opera’s festival-ending “A Little Night Music,” with performances remaining Aug. 26-27. Extending that bookend will be Stray Dog Theatre’s production of  “A Little Night Music” this October.

There seems to be more Sondheim in the air since his death last November, and these local stagings have provided an interesting juxtaposition considering that “Sweeney Todd” is generally considered the more operatic and “Night Music” as more operatta-ish.

No matter. As soon as the off-stage chorus, the Quintet, projected their voices onto the sumptuous Union Avenue Act I set, such nomenclatures were rendered unnecessary…and perhaps irrelevant. Afterall, the first three revivals of “Night Music” in New York were all operatic rather than theatrical, so this production is a good fit for Union Avenue’s strengths and direction.

James Stevens, Leann Scheuring, Eric J. McConnell, Jordan Wolk, Teresa Doggett. Photo by Dan Donovan

Isn’t It Bliss?

If there are still tickets left for the final performances of “A Little Night Music,” reserve your seats. That’s the quick review of this production. Don’t miss it. It is indeed bliss.

Hal Prince, producer of this musical’s debut in 1973, called it “whipped cream with knives.” If Prince meant knives as in sharp knives out, then Annamaria Pileggi’s direction has softened it to butter knives out.  It’s a pleasure and perhaps a much-needed respite to engage so fully into this nuanced romantic farce based on Ingmar Bergman’s 1955 film “Smiles of a Summer Night.”

Debby Lennon as Desiree. Photo by Dan Donovan

Isn’t It Rich?

Of Union Avenue’s three productions in this year’s festival, the sets of “Night Music” by C. Otis Sweezey are the best, especially in Act I. The back set consisted of three columnar structures that conveyed the frets of a stringed instrument entwined with swan-like figures and backed with the richest of burgundies.

These elements avoid flaunting their presence and instead provide the right sense of place and privilege of the genteel characters.

During the intermission, as Act II’s back set of trees were moved onto the stage, their colors seemed out of place for the “Weekend In the Country,” presaged by that song at the end of Act I.

But those colors were transformed by the lighting choices of Patrick Huber. Thanks to lighting, fluorescent outlines became comfortable, dusky accents for the rest of the musical.

Peter Kendall Clark and Brooklyn Snow. Photo by Dan Donovan.

Are We A Pair?

 At the risk of being unfair to a overall strong cast from the leads to the Quintet, the center of this rueful, bittersweet, Ibsenish tale from Sondheim and playwright Hugh Wheeler is the pair of Fredrik Egerman, sung powerfully by Peter Kendall Clark and Desirée Armfeldt, sung by Debby Lennon. There are multiple, circuitous story lines, but they all dodge and weave around and toward the ultimate (re)union of Fredrik and Desirée.

And at the center of their relationship is (a now-standard) “Send in the Clowns.” As a hit song by Judy Collins back in the day and as rendered into near-Muzak ubiquity, “Send in the Clowns” needs the context of the surrounding story in the musical itself to reach its fullest, layered, exquisitely painful sense of yearning. It also needs the skills and talents of Lennon to ensure it is the show-stopper it was composed to be. Lennon gave the song its due – and more. You couldn’t hear a pin drop during her performance – to use a cliché.

The other extra-noteworthy “pair” in Union Avenue’s production was Count Carl-Magnus Malcolm and grande dame Madame Armfeldt. Both are broad characters that require a careful interpretation to avoid becoming cartoonish foils. Teresa Doggett performed the wheelchair-bound Madame with a delicious – and sometimes hilarious – imperiousness that evolves into a touching sagacity. As sung by Eric J. McConnell, the peacocky Count Carl-Magus fared less well and often crossed into buffoonery.

James Stevens, Arielle Pedersen. Photo by Dan Donovan.

But Where Are the Clowns?

To borrow a line attributed to the showman’s showman P. T. Barnum, Union Avenue’s choice of “Night Music” to conclude their 2022 festival, was the perfect choice to “always leave ‘em wanting more.” Given the rich experience provided by this production, “Night Music” will leave us wanting more…well, maybe next year? The only clowns therefore are those who didn’t reserve a ticket this year.

Union Avenue Opera Union presents “A Little Night Music” August 19, 20, 26, 27 at 8 p.m. at Union Avenue Christian Church. For more information, visit www.unionavenueopera.org

Leann Scheuring, Kay Love, Eric J. McConnell. Photo by Dan Donovan.
Joel Rogier, Sarah Price, Phil Touchette, Gracy Yukiko Fisher and Gina Malone. Photo by Dan Donovan

By CB Adams

There’s a moment in the “classic” 1989 movie “Fletch Lives” when Chevy Chase as Fletch says it takes a big man to admit when he is wrong. To which he adds, “I am NOT a big man.” It takes the comedic instincts and delivery of Chase to get laughs from that line, and it takes baritone Robert Mellon as the title character in Union Avenue Opera’s production of Giuseppe Verdi’s “Falstaff” to elicit that reaction for 2 ½ hours of witty, plus-sized, boozy merriment.

Mellon has big shoes to fill as Falstaff, a beloved barfly who appears in four plays by William Shakespeare (if you count the one in which he is eulogized). Plumped up in a hunchbacked fat suit, Mellon fills his Falstaff as a big man (literally) who gets big laughs while working his wiles with the merry wives of Windsor and their various and sundry significant others. As one of the “holy trinity” of comic operas, “Falstaff” may reside with the likes of “The Marriage of Figaro” and “The Master-Singers of Nuremberg,” but it’s Mellon and the rest of the cast who make this production flat-out fun.

Union Avenue Opera’s production of Falstaff on July 27, 2022.

This may be Falstaff’s show, but he, like Mellon, needs comedic foils who provide equal helpings of wit and charm, and this production has them. “Falstaff” is a concentrated opera without long arias, but with melodies that practically fly by. That’s well-suited to the talents of Marc Schapman and Mark Freiman as Falstaff’s scheming henchmen, Bardolfo and Pistola, respectively, who bounce off each other amusingly. As does Anthony Heinemann as Dr. Caius and Jacob Lassetter as Ford.

Also up to Falstaff’s formidable foibles is the trifecta of Karen Kanakis, who sings Mrs. Alice Ford, Melody Wilson as Mrs. Meg Page and Janara Kellerman as Dame Mistress Quickly. This triumvirate were delightful – individually and collectively – as they work to counter Falstaff’s schemes with a refreshing equality of the sexes. A subplot involves the young lovers, Nannetta and Fenton, and their best scene concludes Act I. As sung by soprano Brooklyn Snow and tenor Jesse Darden, it’s one of the opera’s best moments.   

Under the baton of conductor Stephen Hargreaves, the music of Verdi’s final opera and only second comedy is frothy, splendid and connects deeply with the performers. Teresa Doggett’s costumes were not only tailored for the overall period of the opera, they also elevated the visual presence of each character.

The stage at Union Avenue Christian Church poses certain creative challenges, but its modest size is well-suited to this opera. Scenic designer Lex Van Blommestein makes maximum use of the stage by going “old school” and using cloth panels to set the scenes, including Falstaff’s favorite haunt, the Garter Inn. Under the direction of stage manager Megan-Marie Cahill, the crew openly raise and lower the panels, replete with squeaky pulleys. As the crew elevated the panels for the final act (during the July 30th  performance), set in a forest, they created the impressive spread of a massive oak tree. It’s not often that a scene change elicits ooo’s, ahh’s and applause.  

Union Avenue Opera’s production of Falstaff on July 27, 2022.

So, loosen your belt – or sash or waistline – and prepare to be served an effervescent treat ala Verdi, Shakespeare and Union Avenue Opera.

Union Avenue Opera Union presents “Falstaff” July 29 and 30 and August 5, 6 at 8 p.m. at Union Avenue Christian Church. For more information, visit www.unionavenueopera.org

Union Avenue Opera’s production of Falstaff on July 27, 2022.

By C. B. Adams
“Eugene Onegin,” the opera based on Alexander Pushkin’s verse novel of the same name, inspired another great writer, Anton Chekhov, to write a short story-cum-homage to the opera, “After the Theatre.” In it, Chekhov observed, “There was something beautiful,
touching and romantic about A loving B when B wasn’t interested in A. Onegin was attractive in not loving at all, while Tatyana was enchanting because she loved greatly. Had they loved equally and been happy they might have seemed boring.”

Good point. And, as we all know from yet another member of the Russian literati, Leo Tolstoy, “All happy families are alike, but every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”

This is a review of Union Avenue Opera’s production of “Eugene Onegin,” not a Russian Lit course. But, as the opera builds to its final act, one must decide whether the lead characters’ unhappiness resonates in a fulfilling way. Do we cheer Tatyana as she finally
spurns Onegin after he ungraciously spurned her two acts earlier?

Do we feel Onegin’s misery and despair at his impending loneliness? Do we cheer his comeuppance? Or do we embrace that tragic ambiguity?

It’s the players more than the libretto that help shape any (or none) of those answers. This year has been an interesting St. Louis opera season for strong women. Opera Theater of St. Louis put forth a tough-gal “Carmen,” sung by Sarah Mesko, and Union Avenue
offered a resilient Tatyana sung by the Russian-born-and-trained Zoya Gramagin, making her Union Avenue debut.

Dress rehearsal for Union Avenue Opera’s production of Eugene Onegin on July 5, 2022.

Even in Act I, when Tatyana is a young and naïve country woman writing a gushy love letter to Onegin, Gramagin used her clear soprano to imbue Tatyana with innocence and undercurrent of strength. This Tatyana was no Cinderella, and this was most evident by Act III when she is now married to a prince. Onegin finally becomes smitten and she spurns him. Of all the characters in this “Onegin,” Gramagin’s Tatyana was the only one who seemed to have truly changed, placing her at the emotional core of this production.

Balancing the youthfulness of Tatyana was baritone Robert Garner as Eugene Onegin. Garner’s voice was rich, emotive and a pleasure to experience, though it was a challenge to identify with his narcissism and dismissiveness. Some “bad guys” you learn to like
(think Walter White in “Breaking Bad”), others you just have to endure. Garner’s Onegin was handsome, rakish and self-centered – qualities that he neither shed nor eschewed.

The only reward for his inability to change seemed to be the lonely life that awaits him. Onegin may have been the last character on stage, but Tatyana had the best last word as she operatically and metaphorically dropped the mic. This being a Russian opera, with libretto by Pytor Ilyich Tchaikovsky no less, it’s appropriate to liken it to a matryoshka doll, with production elements nestled inside production elements.

Tatyana and Onegin may be the protagonists in the story, but they also require equally strong performances from the ensemble, which they certainly had in Union Avenue’s production. In fact, other than Garner’s Tatyana, tenor William Davenport as Lensky provided the
most engaging and relatable performance. His superb voice, especially during the “friendship” aria in Act II, was a highlight, and his ability to reveal Lensky’s character was well matched to Onegin’s shallowness.

Rounding out the solid cast was Melody Wilson as a Tatyana’s younger sister/bestie, Olga, and basso Isaiah Musik-Ayala as Tatyana’s princely husband, Prince Gremin, who delivered a powerful area about her. Also nestled inside this matryoshka was a solid supporting cast and chorus and the always-fine orchestra under the direction of Scott Schoonover.

Dress rehearsal for Union Avenue Opera’s production of Eugene Onegin on July 5, 2022.

Union Avenue’s modestly sized stage provides challenges for large casts – a challenge that stage director Octavio Cardenas successfully surmounted. When the stage was full to the gills, it never felt constricted or distracting, not even during a peasant dance or polonaise, choreographed by Jennifer Medina.

One of the weakest elements of this matryoshka was Patrick Huber’s scenic design that included a series of tall, birch-like trees that worked well in Act II, but less so in later acts. The costumes by Teresa Doggett were superb, but some of the props appeared a bit
tired.

“Eugene Onegin” was a fine way for Union Avenue to return to its home stage after two years in the pandemic hinterlands. And at the conclusion of the performance, with Gramagin’s Tatyana still pleasantly in mind, one might remember of something from
Boris Pasternak in another tragic Russian love story, “Doctor Zhivago,” “If it’s so painful to love and absorb electricity, how much more painful it is to be a woman, to be the electricity, to inspire love.”

Union Avenue Opera presents “Eugene Onegin” July 8, 9, 15, 16 at 8 p.m. at Union Avenue Christian Church. For more information,
visit www.unionavenueopera.org

Dress rehearsal for Union Avenue Opera’s production of Eugene Onegin on July 5, 2022.

.Union Avenue Opera announces three new garden concerts taking place this spring.

This summer, Union Avenue Opera will make its highly anticipated return to its home stage within the historic Union Avenue Christian Church at 733 N. Union Blvd, just north of the intersection of Union and Delmar Boulevards.

Known for its commitment to presenting operas in their original language, Union Avenue Opera will offer a three opera festival season opening with Tchaikovsky’s masterpiece, Eugene Onegin (July 8, 9, 15, 16) which last appeared on the UAO stage in 2003 to great critical acclaim. The season will also see the return of Verdi’s riotous Italian romp Falstaff (July 29, 30, August 5, 6) which the company last produced in 2005. Rounding out the 2022 season will be the UAO debut of Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler’s charming A Little Night Music (August 19, 20, 26, 27).

“Moving back to our home stage after these harrowing two years away is a joyful outcome to the uncertainty we have faced during this pandemic” said UAO Founder and Artistic Director Scott Schoonover. “Our first two productions are personal and audience favorites from our 28 years of producing opera – Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin and Verdi’s Falstaff. These new, vivacious productions welcome back to our stage many returning artists and several debut singers. Director Octavio Cardenas will make his UAO debut with Eugene Onegin bringing his own special brand of visceral, physical directing to the UAO stage. Jon Truitt returns to direct Falstaff (Jon’s favorite
opera) with his proven comedic style, and Maestro Stephen Hargreaves will return to the UAO pit.”

“Our third production is a company and composer debut with Stephen Sondheim’s A Little Night Music. I’ve wanted to bring this show to UAO for many years and am so thrilled it is finally happening!” said Schoonover. “Annamaria Pileggi will return to direct this stellar cast headlined by St. Louis’ own Debby Lennon as Desirée. It is a wonderful story with so much memorable music which finishes up a season that certainly offers something for everyone! I know we say often, but this one is truly a season not to be missed – it is chock-full of amazing voices, actors, orchestra and stage technicians eager to get back to great storytelling on the intimate UAO stage.”
Single tickets range from $35 to $55 and are available at unionavenueopera.org or by calling 314-361-2881. Discounts are available for Seniors (65+), Military/Educator, and Young Audiences (under 18). All performances start at 8:00PM and free parking is available in the lots behind the venue and overflow parking is available on the street. 

Pytor Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s: EUGENE ONEGIN

July 8, 9, 15, 16 at 8:00PM
Presented in Russian with projected English supertitles
Conducted by Scott Schoonover
Directed by Octavio Cardenas
Libretto by Konstantin Shilovsky and Pytor Ilyich Tchaikovsky


A cautionary tale of what was, what was not, and what could have been.
Tatyana, a lovesick girl from the countryside, declares her love for Onegin and finds herself spurned by the disenchanted aristocrat. Onegin, indifferent to the feelings of others, disregards Tatyana’s advances to pursue Olga, his friend Lensky’s betrothed. A duel commences and Onegin finds himself victorious albeit deeply tormented. He returns years later to find Tatyana happily married to Prince Gremin. Struck by her beauty, Onegin declares his love
for her only to find himself face to face with the folly of his naïveté. Eugene Onegin is a sophisticated and melancholy masterpiece by one of classical music’s most universally beloved composers. Tchaikovsky’s lush melodies are enhanced by the opera’s unique folk tunes, infectious waltzes, and passion-soaked arias bringing to
life Alexander Pushkin’s verse novel like never before.

Under the baton of Artistic Director Scott Schoonover, Robert Garner (Nabucco, Nabucco) and William Davenport (Hoffmann, Les contes d’Hoffmann) will return to UAO in their role debuts as Onegin and Lensky respectively. No stranger to the role of Tatyana, Zoya Gramagin will make her UAO debut alongside Andrew W. Potter as Prince Gremin. Melody Wilson (Fenena, Nabucco and Mrs. Miller, Doubt) will return as Olga along with local artists Debbie Stinson as Madama Larina, Victoria Carmichael as Filippyevna, Marc Schapman as Triquet, and Benjamin Worley as Zaretsky. This will be acclaimed stage director Octavio Carendas’ UAO directorial debut. Patrick Huber will provide scenic and lighting design with costume design by Teresa Doggett.

Eugene Onegin – Robert Garner
Tatyana – Zoya Gramagin*
Lensky – William Davenport
Olga – Melody Wilson
Filippyevna – Victoria Carmichael
Madame Larina – Debbie Stinson
Prince Gremin – Andrew W. Potter*
Monsieur Triquet – Marc Schapman
Zaretsky – Benjamin Worley

Giuseppe Verdi’s: FALSTAFF

July 29, 30, August 5, 6 at 8:00PM
Presented in Italian with projected English supertitles
Conducted by Stephen Hargreaves
Directed by Jon Truitt
Libretto by Arrigo Boito


Drink. Cheat. Scheme. Repeat. Just don’t get caught unaware
Old, lecherous, and down on his luck, Sir John Falstaff can’t resist the ladies. The fool hatches a plan to reverse his ill-fortune and sets his sights on not one, but two married women. Sharper than they look, Alice and Meg discover the odious Falstaff’s plan to unceremoniously seduce them and trick them out of their fortunes. The women band together and with the help of Nannetta and Dame Quickly, they concoct a scheme to teach him a lesson he’ll never forget and to put him in his place once and for all. Add in a jealous husband, a pair of young lovers, and a touch of the supernatural and what ensues is a sophisticated comedy filled with failed plans and botched disguises. Verdi’s riotous romp Falstaff bubbles with irrepressible wit and charm in this adaptation of Shakespeare’s The Merry Wives of Windsor.

On the heels of last summer’s company debut, Robert Mellon (Figaro, Il barbiere di Siviglia) will lead the cast of returning artists as Sir John Falstaff. No stranger to the UAO stage Brooklyn Snow (the Heroines, Les contes d’Hoffmann, and Cunegonde, Candide) will be reunited with her Candide co-star, Jesse Darden (Candide) as the two young lovers, Nannetta and Fenton. St. Louis-based husband and wife duo Jacob Lassetter and Karen Kanakis will portray Ford and his wife Alice for the production as Janara Kellerman (Rosina, Il barbiere di Siviglia) returns as Dame Quickly, and Melody Wilson will again be seen on the UAO stage, this time in her role debut as Meg Page. A trio of St. Louis based artists round out the cast with Clark Sturdevant as Bardolfo, Mark Freiman as Pistola, and Anthony Heinemann as Dr. Caius. Stephen Hargreaves conducts while Jon Truitt directs. Lex Van Bloomestein’s set designs and Teresa Doggett’s costume designs will be enhanced by Patrick Huber’s lighting design.

Sir John Falstaff – Robert Mellon
Alice Ford – Karen Kanakis
Ford – Jacob Lassetter
Nanetta – Brooklyn Snow
Fenton – Jesse Darden
Dame Quickly – Janara Kellerman
Meg Page – Melody Wilson
Bardolfo – Clark Sturdevant
Pistola – Mark Freiman
Dr. Caius – Anthony Heinemann

Stephen Sondheim’s: A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC

August 19, 20, 26, 27 at 8:00PM
Presented in English with projected English supertitles
Conducted by Scott Schoonover
Directed by Annamaria Pileggi
Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
Book by Hugh Wheeler
Orchestrations by Jonathan Tunick
Suggested by a Film by Ingmar Bergman
Originally Produced and Directed on Broadway by Harold Prince


Lovers reunite, passions reignite, and new romance blossoms in the magic of music on a mid-summer’s night.


A Little Night Music explores the tangled web of affairs centered around the glamorous actress Desirée Armfeldt and the two married men who love her: a lawyer by the name of Frederik Egerman and Count Carl-Magnus Malcom.

Both men—as well as their jealous wives—agree to join Desirée at her family’s estate for a scandalous “Weekend in the Country” under the watchful eyes of the wry family matriarch and harmonizing Greek chorus. With music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by Hugh Wheeler, it is no wonder A Little Night Music won the Tony Award for Best Musical. From the romance of the night waltzes to the hauntingly beautiful “Send in the Clowns,” Sondheim’s sweeping score is infused with humor and warmth weaving together musical theatre and operetta seamlessly in this tantalizing tale.

Debby Lennon (Mrs. Mullin, Carousel) returns to the UAO stage to lead this stunning cast as Desirée Armfeldt under the direction of Annamaria Pileggi, and Scott Schoonover conducts. Also returning to the UAO stage are Peter Kendall Clark (Older Thompson, Glory Denied) and Brooklyn Snow, who makes her second appearances of the season, as the newly married Frederick and Anne Egerman. Eric J. McConnell makes his UAO stage debut as Count Carl-Magnus Malcolm and Leann Schuering (Josephine, H.M.S. Pinafore) as his wife Charlotte. Local actor Teresa Doggett, best known for her work as UAO’s costume designer for the past fifteen seasons, makes her UAO stage debut as the matriarch Madame Armfeldt alongside Amy Maude Helfer as the restless maid Petra and Arielle Pedersen as the young Fredrika. A bevy of St. Louis talent round out the cast including James Stevens as Henrik Egerman, Jordan Wolk as the butler Frid, and Grace Yukiko Fisher, Gina Malone, Sarah Price, Joel Rogier, and Philip Touchette as the “Liebeslieders”. C. Otis Sweezey will provide scenic design for A Little Night Music along with costume design by Teresa Doggett and lighting design by Patrick Huber.

Desirée Armfeldt – Debby Lennon
Frederick Egerman – Peter Kendall Clark
Count Carl-Magnus Malcolm – Eric J. McConnell*
Charlotte Malcolm – Leann Schuering
Madame Armfeldt – Teresa Doggett*
Anne Egerman – Brooklyn Snow
Henrik Egerman – James Stevens
Petra – Amy Maude Helfer*
Fredrika – Arielle Pedersen*
Mrs. Nordstrom – Gina Malone
Mrs. Anderssen – Grace Yukiko Fisher
Mrs. Segstrom – Sarah Price*
Mr. Erlanson – Philip Touchette
Mr. Lindquist – Joel Rogier
Frid – Jordan Wolk

A Little Night Music is presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre International (MTI). All authorized
performance materials are also supplied by MTI. www.mtishows.com
*UAO stage debut

Opera in the Garden
In anticipation of the season, UAO will bring classic opera front and center in its 2022 Opera in the Garden – Garden Concert Series Fundraiser this spring. Launched in 2018, as a House Concert Series, UAO moved the concerts outdoor in the fall of 2020 for the safety of its artists and patrons and were some of the first, live, operatic performances held in St. Louis during the pandemic. Each concert will feature two UAO artists from the upcoming season performing an eclectic and entertaining selection of arias, art songs and musical theatre favorites, and will showcase a scholarship winner from UAO’s 2022 CRESCENDO! program along with a guest instrumentalist from UAO’s talented opera orchestra.

Sunday, May 8 at 5:00PM
Our opening concert will take place on Mother’s Day and headlined by two singing moms – Gina Malone and Danielle Yilmaz – celebrating the day with us with some wonderful music and fun. Guest artists Raven Brooks, soprano, from Blackburn College and UAO principal flutist, Ann Dolan will join pianist Sandra Geary for this perfect Mother’s Day afternoon. The backdrop for our first concert is the beautiful lawn of the 1959 home of CK Siu and Shannon Hart which sits on what used to be the Krause farm in Ladue.

Sunday, May 22 at 5:00PM
Our second concert takes us to the grounds of the former Rand Mansion, now the home of University City mayor, Terry Crow. Artists Sarah Price, Mark Freiman and Nancy Mayo will lead this concert, along with guest soprano, Erica Ancell from Webster University and UAO principal horn player, Nancy Schick, who will team up with Ms. Price and Ms. Mayo for a not-to-be-missed special performance of Schubert’s Auf dem Strom D. 943.

Sunday, June 5 at 5:00PM
The 2022 Garden Concert Series concludes with a return to the beautiful flower-filled garden of the University City home of Richard and Mary Ann Shaw. Grace Yukiko Fisher, Philip Touchette and Nancy Mayo will entertain us with opera and musical theatre fun, and guest artists Madalyn Tomkins, soprano, from Webster University, and Carolina Neves, violinist will round out this beautiful afternoon.

Fundraiser tickets are $50 for individuals or $100 for Patron Seating which includes the best reserved seats and a $50 tax-deductible donation to UAO. Tickets are on sale now at www.unionavenueopera.org and must be ordered in advance (no door sales).

About Union Avenue Opera

UAO was founded in 1994 to bring affordable, professional, original-language opera t St. Louis, a mission the company continues to pursue to this day. UAO is committed to hiring the most talented artists, directors, designers and technicians both locally and from across the United States. UAO provides promising singers the first steppingstone of their professional career. The company celebrated its 25th Anniversary Season in 2019 and offers vibrant and affordable opera experiences in original languages to audiences who reflect the breadth and diversity of the St. Louis region. UAO is a publicly supported 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization registered in
Missouri.

Financial assistance for the 2022 Festival Season has been provided by the Missouri Arts Council, a state agency, and with support from the Regional Arts Commission

This July, Union Avenue Opera (UAO) will make its return to presenting live, in-person opera following a summer of cancellations due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. For the 2021Season, UAO will move its performances to The Big Top, in St Louis’ Grand Center district, for three exciting, socially distanced performances of both Offenbach’s Les contes d’Hoffmann and Rossini’s Il barbiere di Siviglia.

“I am beyond thrilled that we have found a way to safely bring opera back to the city of St. Louis this summer. It is an incredible opportunity for us to be creative and offer audiences something different for this one unique season,” said UAO founding Artistic Director and conductor Scott Schoonover.

This summer, audiences will have the opportunity to see two classic, beloved operas in one week – even on the same day, as UAO will offer two matinee performances for the first time in eight years.

“The operas will unfold, acted in front of our wonderful orchestra on The Big Top stage with costumes and lights, to delight socially distanced crowds in the large open-air tent. I can’t wait to see our patrons again and hope that new audience members will come out as well, in support of this effort to put St. Louis artists, orchestra members and technicians back to work after this difficult year,” said Schoonover.

Operated by the Kranzberg Arts Foundation, The Big Top is Missouri ArtSafe Certified and will employ rigorous COVID-19 mitigation policies for the benefit of all guests, staff, and artists in its 1,200-person tent which will have reduced capacity for 2021. The Big Top will also employ a contact-less ticketing and concession experience for opera goers and masks will be required.

“I know those who attend will be moved in a special way by hearing live singing and orchestra again, and by seeing wonderful portrayals of these complex and sometimes hilarious characters in person. It certainly gives us all something which we can look forward to in the upcoming months. Finally, I would like to assure our loyal supporters that UAO fully intends to be back in its home venue next season with a full, 3-opera lineup.”

Single tickets range from $25 to $55 and will be available exclusively through MetroTix beginning June 1, for members of the public. All tickets must be purchased in advance either online at www.metrotix.com or by calling 314-534-1111 or 800-293-5949. UAO will utilize tiered on-sale dates for past subscribers and donors prior to the public on-sale date – more information regarding tiered ticket on-sale dates can be found online at www.unionavenueopera.org.

Brooklyn Snow

Offenbach’s: LES CONTES D’HOFFMANN
Three Performances: July 21 and 24 at 7:30PM and July 23 at 2:00PM
Presented in French with projected English supertitles
Conducted by Scott Schoonover
Staging by Mark Freiman

Offenbach’s grand French opera follows the poet Hoffmann as he searches for true love in a magical tale
of thwarted love, art, and revenge! Best known for the Barcarolle “Belle nuit, ô nuit d’amour,” “Chanson
de Kleinzach,” and the ultimate showcase of coloratura soprano singing, Olympia’s “Doll aria.” Les
contes d’Hoffmann is a haunting tale of one man’s desire for the perfect woman. Hounded by his other-worldly nemesis and accompanied by Nicklausse, his ever-faithful friend, Hoffmann seems forever unlucky in love. Darkly playful and set against fantastical backdrops and stirring chorus formations, the opera renders the story of Hoffmann’s descent into madness and intoxication in faithful detail

Under the baton of Artistic Director Scott Schoonover, lyric tenor William Davenport will make his UAO debut in the title role. Soprano Brooklyn Snow, who received high praise for her portrayal of Cunegonde in 2019’s Candide returns to sing the three heroines as Jeremiah Sanders makes his UAO debut as the opera’s four villains. Anthony Webb (Enoch Snow, Carousel) returns to sing the roles of the four servants and Emma Sorenson (Hänsel, Hänsel und Gretel) as Hoffmann’s faithful companion, Nicklausse.

Hoffmann – William Davenport*
Lindorf / Coppélius / Dappertutto / Dr. Miracle – Jeremiah Sanders*
Andrès / Spalanzani / Pittichinaccio / Frantz – Anthony Webb
Olympia / Giulietta / Antonia – Brooklyn Snow
Nicklausse – Emma Sorenson
Luther / Crespel – Joel Rogier
Hermann / Schlemil – Randell McGee
Nathanael / Cochenille – Anthony Heinemann
Voice of Antonia’s Mother – Liya Khaimova


Rossini’s: IL BARBIERE DI SIVIGLIA
Three Performances: July 22 and 23 at 7:30PM and July 24 at 2:00PM
Presented in Italian with projected English supertitles
Conducted by Stephen Hargreaves
Staged by Jon Truitt

Figaro! Figaro! Figaro! Only the clever barber Figaro can help the fair Rosina outwit her guardian, the aging Dr. Bartolo and live out her days in the arms of her true love, Count Almaviva. A grand plan is hatched, full of mischievous escapades and inventive antics sure to delight audiences of all ages. This Rossini Italian classic features one of the most well-known pieces of music in history, Figaro’s “Largo al factotum” along with Rosina’s dazzling “Una voce poco fa.” Full of laughter and beautiful music, see why Il barbiere di Siviglia has been an audience favorite for more than two centuries.

No stranger to his role, Pedro Barbosa will make his UAO debut as Conte d’ Almaviva as Robert Mellon makes his UAO and role debut as the barber Figaro, and Janara Kellerman (Mrs. Herring, Albert Herring) makes her role debut as Rosina. Also returning are Andy Papas (Ko-Ko, H.M.S. Pinafore) as Dr. Bartolo, Erin Haupt (Hebe, H.M.S. Pinafore) as Berta, Isaiah Musik-Ayala (Colline, La bohème) as Basilio, as Stephen Hargreaves (Nabucco) conducts.

Conte d’ Almaviva – Pedro Barbosa*
Figaro – Robert Mellon*
Rosina – Janara Kellerman
Dr. Bartolo – Andy Papas
Basilio – Isaiah Musik-Ayala
Berta – Erin Haupt
Fiorello – Ben Worley

In anticipation of its season, UAO will bring classic opera front and center in its 2021 Opera in the Garden – Garden Concert Series this spring featuring thrilling operatic performances. Launched in 2018, as a House Concert Series, UAO moved the concerts outdoor last fall for the safety of its artists and patrons and were some of the first, live, operatic performances held in St. Louis during the pandemic.

Sunday, May 16 at 6:00PM
Our series starts in the Ladue garden of Margaret Gilleo and Charles Guenther with performances by UAO artists Leann Schuering, Anthony Heinemann, and Randell McGee with Nancy Mayo on piano. The concert will feature operatic favorites including “Je veux vivre” Roméo et Juliette, “Kuda, kuda” Eugene Onegin, “Caro nome” Rigoletto, “Cosa sento!” Trio from Le nozze di Figaro, “Refrain, audacious tar” – Duet from H.M.S. Pinafore.

Saturday, June 5 at 7:00PM
Join us as we return to the Compton Heights garden of Dr. Kenneth and Marjorie Smith and welcome back Metropolitan Opera soprano Mary Dunleavy for a special Saturday night concert. Ms. Dunleavy will present a selection of arias from opera’s favorite courtesans (such as Violetta, Manon, Madama Butterfly) as well as art songs by American composer Amy Beach with pianist Gail Hintz.

Sunday, June 27 at 6:00PM
We conclude our series in the in Webster Groves garden of Jack and Mary LaBarge as we introduce our very own Figaro, Robert Mellon alongside 2021 season artists Erin Haupt and Liya Khaimova with Nancy Mayo on piano. Concert highlights include “Largo al factotum” Il barbiere di Siviglia, “Elle a fui, la tourterelle” Les Contes d’Hoffmann, “Che faro senza Euridice” Orfeo, “Evening Prayer” duet from Hansel
and Gretel, and “Soave il vento” trio from Così fan tutte.

Tickets are $50 for individuals or $100 for Patron Seating which includes the best reserved seats and a $50 tax-deductible donation to UAO. Tickets are on sale now at www.unionavenueopera.org and must be ordered in advance (no door sales)

About Union Avenue Opera – UAO was founded in 1994 to bring affordable, professional, originallanguage opera to St. Louis, a mission the company continues to pursue to this day. UAO is committed to hiring the most talented artists, directors, designers and technicians both locally and from across the United States. UAO provides promising singers the first steppingstone of their professional career. The
company celebrated its 25th Anniversary Season in 2019 and offers vibrant and affordable opera experiences in original languages to audiences who reflect the breadth and diversity of the St. Louis region. UAO is a publicly supported 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization registered in Missouri. In 2018 UAO became an OPERA American Professional Company Member. OPERA America is the national
membership organization for artists, administrators and audiences, dedicated to support the creation, presentation and enjoyment of opera.

Financial assistance has been provided by the Missouri Arts Council, a state agency, and with support
from the Regional Arts Commission, and funded in part by the Arts and Education Council.

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

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

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

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

Director:
Lucy Cashion

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

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

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

 photography by Joey Rumpell

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Director: Gary F. Bell

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

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

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

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

Director: Sydnie Grosberg-Ronga

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

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

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

Director: Christina Rios

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

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

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

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

By CB AdamsContributing WriterThere’s no easy way to say this: Union Avenue Opera’s season-ender production of Tom Cipullo’s true story Glory Denied is not easy to recommend because it is “not” many things.

It’s not a familiar, time-tested story arc (dare we say, post-modern?). Like most operas, it doesn’t examine a happy subject (war, torture, dissolution, hatred substance abuse, suicide, etc.), but unlike most operas, it ends despairingly rather than tragically, hopefully or even poetically.

Because it is not an opera that takes fictional specifics and reaches out for the universal — it’s an adaptation of the eponymous book by Tom Philpott, Glory Denied presents the very real specifics of a very real man (husband, father, Army colonel, America’s longest-held prisoner of war, alcoholic, etc.) and turns those specifics deeply inward – into gut shots rather than navel gazing. Nor is it filled with likeable characters; it’s especially hard to identify with or have much true empathy for either version of the wife, Alyce, despite Cipullo’s best efforts to present her side of the story.

And it’s not about America at its best – no rose-colored, rah-rah,
flag-waving, patriotic boosterism in this story. This is an opera about an ugly
war, an ugly time in America and the ugly way that both the government and our
fellow citizens dealt with its ugly details and aftereffects. On stage, the
horrific details keep adding up like those nightly body counts on the evening
news during the Vietnam War.

The first act deals primarily with the eight-year
imprisonment and physical abuse that Floyd James “Jim” Thompson endured,
followed by the second act examining how his post-war life was just as
tortuous, albeit in very different ways. (For plot details, do a quick internet
search – it debuted in 2007 and has had more than 20 productions since then.)

And yet, it is precisely because of all of the things that Glory Denied is not that makes it precisely
why UAO’s production deserves an audience – and certainly one better attended
than the August 17 performance (c’mon, St. Louis theater goers in general and
opera goers in particular!). Not everything worthwhile is easy and not
everything can be sugarcoated to help the bitterness go down. Glory Denied (in its St. Louis debut), should
be seen for exactly what it is: a cautionary tale. It serves the same purpose
as the uncomfortable “aversion therapy” scene in A Clockwork Orange – the one where the lead character, Alex, is
forced to watch violent images while his eyes are clamped open.

Union Avenue Opera’s Glory Denied dress rehearsal on August 13, 2019.Kudos and a tip of the hat to UAO for taking a chance, pushing the boundaries of our local audiences and supporting the work of a modern composer. The company showed extraordinary commitment to this production. As part of a PNC Arts Alive Grant, UAO presented a free panel discussion about Glory Denied and the Vietnam War on August 13 at Soldier’s Memorial.

Tom Cipullo attended the opening weekend of the opera and led talk-back presentations after the performances. Veterans were eligible for free general admission tickets and active military could see the production for $15. There was even a special room reserved for those who might have an anxious reaction during each performance.

Befitting the intimate nature of the story, Glory Denied relies on a cast of just four portraying two versions of the same character under the direction of St. Louis native Dean Anthony, making his UAO debut. David Walton portrays Younger Thompson and Peter Kendall Clark (making his UAO debut, though he has sung the role previously) plays the central character, Older Thompson.

Thompson’s wife is portrayed by Karina Brazas as the Younger Alyce and Gina Galati as Older Alyce. Brazas and Galati deserve some sort of operatic hazard pay for meeting the challenges of portraying such unlikeable characters so well – it makes their accomplishment that much more appreciated. That same appreciation applies to the entire ensemble as they work with a script consisting entirely of lines from actual interviews, correspondence and other research materials.

The music – sometimes jarring, discordant, atonal – was energetic and robust as conducted by UAO artistic director Scott Schoonover. The minimalist set design by Roger Speidel, while spare, provided appropriate details to convey time and indicate place. He made especially good use of foot lockers and many forms of paper, such as letters, government memoranda, newspapers and magazines as they were thrown, dropped and flung throughout the stage.  

The peak performance of the evening was Clark’s bellicose
rendition of “Welcome Home,” which has some of the tightest, strongest and
angriest writing in the opera – even though it  borrows the same ironic, rapid-fire structure
created by Bob Dylan’s “Subterranean Homesick Blues,” Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t
Start the Fire,” and REM’s “It’s the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel
Fine).”

Yes, Glory Denied is a tough sell, especially if all you seek is passive escapism (there’s a new Lion King for that) rather than a production that asks you to actively, intellectually consider one of the true costs of war – and not just the Vietnam War.

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

It’s a bit like being required to read William Faulkner’s Absalom, Absalom! orHerman Mehlville’s Moby Dick. Sure, they look dense and imposing sitting unopened – and maybe you won’t love every single sentence – but there’s a satisfaction when you make it to the end. Glory Denied deserves that much respect and deserves a fuller audience than last Saturday’s – even if it is a bitter pill.

Union Avenue Opera presents “Glory Denied” August 16, 17,
23 and 24 at 8 p.m. at Union Avenue Christian Church. For more information,
visit www.unionavenueopera.org.

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

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

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

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

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

Director: Lucy Cashion

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Director: Gary F. Bell

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

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

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

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

Director: Sydnie Grosberg-Ronga

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What genre is it?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Premiere of Tom Cipullo’s Glory Denied

UAO receives PNC Foundation grant to fund outreach and veteran/military discounts in conjunction with Glory DeniedComposer Tom Cipullo to attend opening night performance and participate in Talk-Back session following the opera Union Avenue Opera closes its 25th Anniversary Season with the St. Louis premiere of Tom Cipullo’s poignant and powerful 2007 opera, Glory Denied, Aug. 16-17 and 23-24.

The opera is based on a book with the same title by Tom Philpott that chronicles the true and harrowing story of America’s longest held prisoner of war, Colonel James “Jim” Thompson, who was held in Vietnam for almost nine years. The tale is communicated from the perspective of Jim and his wife Alyce and gives voice, often in a heart-rending fashion, to the much-overlooked struggles of American families during the Vietnam War and in the aftermath of the conflict.

St. Louis native, Dean Anthony makes his UAO directorial debut as Founding Artistic Director Scott Schoonover conducts. The opera employs only four singers in a unique concept wherein the character of Younger Jim Thompson (tenor, David Walton) – the prisoner of war, is often onstage and singing with the Older Thompson (baritone, Peter Kendall Clark in his UAO debut) – the eventually freed veteran. The two iterations of the same person nearly a decade a part which espouse differing perspectives and deal with separate issues. Similarly, Younger Alyce (soprano, Karina Brazas) and Older Alyce (soprano, Gina Galati) express what they experienced during Jim’s captivity and after his return home. It is a powerful juxtaposition that makes for a compelling evening of theater.

“Glory Denied is an emotional rollercoaster,” said UAO director, Dean Anthony. “People need to see Glory Denied, as it is the cause and effect on all sides. So often, the lives of POW’s have been forgotten and become a part of our past. The sacrifice and commitment of these women and men should never be forgotten, nor should the families who were back at home.”

In conjunction with its production of Glory Denied, UAO will engage veterans and the community through a series of outreach events thanks to a grant from the PNC Foundation through PNC Arts Alive, a multi-year initiative dedicated to supporting visual and performing arts. UAO will present a panel discussion, a free preview concert for veterans and active military at Soldiers Memorial War Museum, talk-back sessions following the performance, as well as its Know Before You Go Friday night lecture series.

Additionally, UAO has partnered with music therapist Sarah Michaelis to create a FREE program that incorporates creative music making and relaxation tailored to promote healing among veterans that will be taken into local veteran communities.

Glory Denied composer Tom Cipullo will be in the audience for the opening weekend of the opera and will participate in the opening night talk-back presentation after the performance.

About PNC Foundation – The PNC Foundation, which receives its principal funding from The PNC Financial Services Group (www.pnc.com), actively supports organizations that provide services for the benefit of communities in which it has a significant presence. The foundation focuses its philanthropic mission on early childhood education and community and economic development, which includes the arts and culture. Through Grow Up Great, its signature cause that began in 2004, PNC has created a bilingual $500 million, multi-year initiative to help prepare children from birth to age 5 for success in school and life.

About Union Avenue Opera – UAO was founded in 1994 to bring affordable, professional, original-language opera to St. Louis, a mission the company continues to pursue to this day. UAO is committed to hiring the most talented artists, directors, designers and technicians both locally and from across the United States. UAO provides promising young singers the first steppingstone of their professional career. UAO is a publicly supported 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization registered in Missouri. In 2018 UAO became an OPERA American Professional Company Member. OPERA America is the national membership organization for artists, administrators and audiences, dedicated to support the creation, presentation and enjoyment of opera. 

UAO offers vibrant and affordable opera experiences in original languages to audiences who reflect the breadth and diversity of the St. Louis region from the acoustically superb sanctuary of an historic church located in the urban Visitation Park neighborhood in St. Louis’ Central West End.

Financial assistance has been provided by the Missouri Arts Council, a state agency, and with support from the Regional Arts Commission and PNC Foundation.

[PERFORMANCE INFORMATION FOLLOWS]

Tom Cipullo’s GLORY DENIED Four Performances: August 16, 17, 23, 24 at 8:00 PM Based on the novel “Glory Denied” by Tom Philpott Presented in English with English supertitles America’s longest-held prisoner of war dreams of coming home. But home is a place he will not recognize. Follow the gut-wrenching saga of Colonel Jim Thompson as he transitions from the jungles of Southeast Asia to the tree-lined streets of suburban America. Glory Denied speaks to the plight of so many of our veterans who nobly fought for their country but face huge challenges when it comes to re-assimilating into society—and their longed-for normal lives—after service. This true story explores the unimaginable bravery asked of soldiers and the nature of hope itself. It is a story of a nation divided and a country that changed significantly in the decade of his imprisonment. Tom Cipullo’s Glory Denied made waves in opera circles when it premiered a decade ago and continues to do so today. Single tickets range from $55 to $32 SPECIAL DISCOUNTS: FREE General Admission tickets for veterans. $15 General Admission ticket for active military. Online: www.unionavenueopera.org Phone: (314) 361-2881 ** Union Avenue Opera recognizes that the content of Glory Denied is of a sensitive nature to many people. Our board certified music therapist will be available during all performances of Glory Denied at Union Avenue Opera **

Don’t miss the following FREE/DISCOUNTED events for Veterans and Active Military thanks to a grant from the PNC Foundation:

Glory Denied Preview Concert on August 9 at 3:00pm Soldiers Memorial Military Museum | 1315 Chestnut Street | 63103 FREE for Veterans and Active Military

Enjoy a special concert presentation of Glory Denied, Tom Cipullo’s acclaimed opera based on the true story of America’s Longest-Held Prisoner of war in the JCT Assembly Hall at Soldiers Memorial Military Museum on August 9 at 3:00pm. Tickets are FREE for veterans and active military. All other tickets are $10 per person and $5 for MHS Members. Advance reservations encouraged. Order online at www.mohistory.org

Glory Denied Panel Discussion on August 13 from 6:00pm to 7:00pm Soldiers Memorial Military Museum | 1315 Chestnut Street | 63103 FREE and open to the public

Host Ruth Ezell moderates an intimate panel discussion with insights on the opera Glory Denied, the Vietnam War and the POW Experiences in the JCT Assembly Hall at Soldiers Memorial Military Museum. Panelists include United States Marine Corps Sergeant Rodney “Rocky” Sickmann (POW, Iranian Hostage Crisis) and Glory Denied director Dean Anthony. This is a free event and open to the public. No reservations needed.

Glory Denied Talk Back Sessions on August 16, 17, 23, 24 following the opera Union Avenue Opera | 733 N. Union Blvd. | 63108

Join us each night following the performance of Glory Denied for an intimate talk-back session with members of the artistic team and cast, including special guest, Tom Cipullo the composer of Glory Denied and director Dean Anthony on opening night (August 16).

Know Before You Go – Friday Night Lecture Series on August 16 and 24 at 7:00pm Gretchen Brigham Gallery at Union Avenue Opera | 733 N. Union Blvd. | 63108

Join Union Avenue Opera and Glen Bauer, Ph. D. for our Friday Night lecture series. Dr. Bauer will discuss the opera’s historical importance, guide you through the plot line, and offer a sneak peak of the music to come. This is a free event.

Free Music Therapy Workshop for veterans

Music is known to be an excellent tool for enhancing communication, community, and healing. Recognizing that veterans face unique challenges after their formal service ends, we have partnered with local Board Certified Music Therapist Sarah Michaelis to create a free program that incorporates creative music making and relaxation tailored to promote healing among veterans. Michaelis will guide participants through a variety of music therapy activities that are tailored to veterans to support increased relaxation, self-expression, and positive regard for self and others. This program seeks to build a sense of community and purpose through creative musical experiences. Programs will be tailored to the needs of each individual group. The program is completely free, and sessions may be arranged for July and August 2019 and can be scheduled by contacting Union Avenue Opera at 314-361-2881 or emailing UAO’s Administrative Director Emily Stolarski at [email protected]

By Lynn Venhaus
Managing Editor
A variety of classics old and new are currently on local stages. Opening this
weekend are “Paint Your Wagon” at The Muny and “La Boheme” at Union Avenue
Opera, with community theater productions of “Joseph and the Amazing
Technicolor Dreamcoat,” “The Wizard of Oz,” and “Mamma Mia!”, a college production
of “Catch Me If You Can” and youth productions of “Carrie,” “Frozen Jr.,” “Seussical”
and “Into the Woods.”

An annual tradition, “The Rocky Horror Show,” is performed
twice each evening on Friday and Saturday at the Looking Glass Playhouse in
Lebanon.

Continuing on regional stages are “Grease,” “Jaws the
Parody: Live” and the second leg of the LaBute New Theater Festival.

“Carrie” at Debut TheatreWhatever your plans on this last weekend in July, go see a play!“Carrie” Debut Theatre Company July 26-28 Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m., Sunday at 2 p.m. The Olive Tree, 1211 S. Newstead Ave., St. Louis https://debuttheatreco.weebly.com/ What It’s About: Based on the Stephen King novel and Brian DePalma movie, Carrie White is bullied in high school and her religious fundamentalist mother doesn’t want her going to the prom. Carrie has telekinesis and all hell will break loose.

Starring: Carrie White-MacLean Blanner, Margaret White-Isabel Cecilia Garcia, Sue Snell-Jessica Watts, Tommy Ross-Charlie Wehde, Chris Hargensen-Gabby Anderson, Billy Nolan-Sam Guillemette, Ms. Gardner-Ally Wukitsch, Norma-Emma Gulovsen, Helen-Gabby DeRennaux, Frieda-Allison Crandall, Claudia-Savannah Lamb, -Thomas Molen, Freddy-Nathan Hakenworth and Stokes-Santino Bono. Also Featuring Ginger Cox-Young Carrie, Children’s Ensemble- Tatum Douglas, Chloe Grieshaber, and Riley Kummer.“Catch Me If You Can” July 24-28 St. Charles Community College FAB Theater in the Donald D. Shook Fine Arts Building 4601 Mid Rivers Mall Drive in Cottleville, Mo 636-922-8050 www.stchas.edu/events

What It’s About: Based on the hit film and the incredible true story, “Catch Me If You Can” is a musical comedy about chasing your dreams without getting caught. Seeking fame and fortune, precocious teenager, Frank Abignale Jr., runs away from home to begin an unforgettable adventure. With nothing more than his boyish charm, a big imagination and millions of dollars in forged checks, Frank successfully poses as a pilot, a doctor and a lawyer – living the high life and winning the girl of his dreams. When Frank’s lies catch the attention of FBI agent, Carl Hanratty, though, Carl pursues Frank across the country to make him pay for his crimes“Frozen Jr.” Rock Show Productions Thursday, July 25 at 7 p.m., Friday, July 26 at 7 p.m., Saturday, July 27 at 7 p.m. The Grandel Theatre, 3610 Grandel Square, St. Louis, MO 63103www.rockshowproductions.org What It’s About: Hans Christian Anderson’s fairy tale, “The Snow Queen,” based on the Disney animated musical adaptation.

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

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

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

“Into the Woods” COCA July 26-27 Friday at 7 p.m. and Saturday at 1 and 5 p.m. Edison Theatre on the Washington University campus www.cocastl.org

What It’s About: An epic fairytale about wishes, family and
the choices we make. James Lapine and Stephen Sondheim take everyone’s favorite
storybook characters and bring them together for a timeless, and relevant,
piece.
Director: Jim Butz, with music direction by Colin Healy and choreography by
Christopher Page-Sanders

Of Note: Ages 9 and up.

Great White Shark scares“Jaws The Parody: Live!” St. Louis Shakespeare’s Magic Smoking Monkey Theatre July 19 – July 27 Wednesday and Thursday, July 24 and 25, 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, July 26 and 27, at 8 p.m. and 10:30 p.m.  Regional Arts Commission in University Citywww.stlshakespeare.org What It’s About: A spoof of the 1975 movie about the killer shark that terrorized a New England beach community, Amity Island, based on Peter Benchley’s 1974 bestseller.

Director: Donna Northcott
Starring: Ryan Glosemeyer as Chief Brody, James Enstall as Matt
Hooper, Rob McLemore as Quint, Shannon Nara as Ellen Brody, Dylan Comer as
Mayor Vaughn and playing multiple roles are CeCe Day, Jack Janssen, Maya Kelch,
Deanna Massie, Bethany Miscannon, and others.

“Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” July 26 – Aug. 4 Over Due Theatre Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Olivette Community Center 9723 Grandview Drive, Olivette, MO 314-210-2959 www.overduetheatrecompany.com

What It’s About: Celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2019, “Joseph”
is one of the most enduring shows of all time and reimagines the biblical story
of Joseph, his father Jacob, eleven brothers and the coat of many colors.

“La Boheme”“La Boheme” Union Avenue Opera July 26 – Aug. 2 Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. Union Avenue Christian Church 733 Union at Enright 314-361-2881www.unionavenueopera.org What It’s About: Puccini’s opera about a group of poor artists and their search for love and happiness.

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

LaBute New Theater Festival July 19-28 Thursday through Saturday at 8 p.m., Sunday at 3 p.m. The Gaslight Theatre 358 N. Boyle, St. Louiswww.stlas.org 314-458-2978 Box Office: www.ticketmaster.com, 800-982-2787; will also be available at the theater box office one hour prior to performances

What It’s About: New previously unproduced one-act play
submissions of 45 minutes or less are juried and selected. They must not have
more than four characters and be able to

 Six plays were
chosen: One group was performed in the first two weeks of July, the final group
in the second two weeks. “Great Negro Works of Art,” a Midwest Premiere from
Mr. LaBute, will be performed every night for the run of the festival.

Set 2 includes:

 “Great Negro Works
of Art” by Neil LaBute, Directed by John Pierson, starring Carly Rosenbaum and
Jaz Tucker

“Predilections” by Richard Curtis, directed by Wendy Renee
Greenwood, starring Kim Furlow and Tielere Cheatem
 “Henrietta” by Joseph Krawczyk,
directed by Wendy Renee Greenwood, starring Carly Rosenbaum and Chuck Brinkley

“Sisyphus and Icarus a Love story” by William
Ivor Fowkes, directed by Wendy Renee Greenwood, starring Colleen Backer, Shane
Signorino and Tielere Cheatem

“Mamma Mia!” July 26 – Aug. 4 Hard Road Theatre Productions Fridays and Saturdays at 7 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. Highland Elementary School auditorium in Highland, Ill. www.hardroad.org

What It’s About: ABBA songs on a Greek isle. Three possible
dads, a wedding, and Donna and the Dynamos.

 “Overdone” by David
Hamley and “Screaming at Optimum Pitch” by Peg Flach
First Run Theatre
July 19 – 28
Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.
Theatre Guild of Webster Groves, 517 Theatre Lane in Webster Groves, Mo. www.firstruntheatre.com.

“Paint Your Wagon” The Muny July 27 – Aug. 2 Nightly at 8:15 p.m. Forest Park outdoor stagewww.muny.org What It’s About: A reimagined version of a 1951 Lerner and Loewe musical set in the California gold rush. It’s a moving tale of ambition, love and home that features such songs as “They Call the Wind Mariah,” “I Talk to the Trees” and “Wand’rin’ Star.” This adaptation has a revised book by Jon Marans. It’sproduced in association with On the Wagon Productions and Garmar Ventures.

Director: Josh Rhodes, also choreographer, with Starring: Bogart (Ben Rumson), Mamie Parris (Cayla Woodling), Omar Lopez-Cepero (Armando), Mark Evans (William), Maya Keleher (Jennifer Rumson), Allan K. Washington (Wesley), Andrew Kober (Jake), Austin Ku (Ming-Li), Raymond J. Lee (Guang-Li), Rodney Hicks (H. Ford) and Michael James Reed (Craig Woodling). A golden ensemble completes this cast, including Akilah Ayanna, Juan Caballer, Matthew Davies, Richard Gatta, Sally Glaze, Michael Milkanin, Trina Mills, Pascal Pastrana, Michael Seltzer and Cooper Stanton. The company will also be joined by the Muny Teen youth ensemble.

Russ Reidelberger as Dr. Frank N. Furter“The Rocky Horror Show” Looking Glass Playhouse Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. and 10 p.m., July 26 and 27 301 W. St. Louis St. in Lebanon, Ill.www.lookingglassplayhouse.com What It’s About: In this cult classic, sweethearts Brad and Janet, stuck with a flat tire during a storm, discover the eerie mansion of Dr. Frank-N-Furter, a transvestite scientist. As their innocence is lost, Brad and Janet meet a houseful of wild characters, including a rocking biker and a creepy butler. Through elaborate dances and rock songs, Frank-N-Furter unveils his latest creation: a muscular man named “Rocky.“Seussical the Musical” DaySpring Arts July 26-27 at 7 p.m.; July 28 at 3 p.m. DeSmet High School, 222 N. Ballas Road, St. Louis dayspringarts.org

What It’s About: The musical by Stephen Flaherty and Lynn
Ahrens brings Dr. Seuss’ beloved characters to life, including Cat in the Hat, Gertrude
McFuzz and Horton the Elephant.

“The Wizard of Oz” Alton Little Theater July 25 – Aug. 4. Thursdays through Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. 2450 North Henry in Alton, Ill. 618-462-6562www.altonlittletheater.org

What It’s About: Based on the books by L. Frank Baum, Dorothy
needs to find her way home after following the yellow brick road and making her
way to the Emerald City.