Go See a Play: What’s Happening This Weekend March 16

Whether you’re wearing the green or excited that spring is near, you can select from fresh new offerings and time-honored classics to fit your mood. Need to laugh? Check. Want to go back to the 1930s or even a century earlier? Check – at least four. Want to see a new local play that hits home? Check. Go see a show!

Opening

“As It Is in Heaven”

March 16 – 31
Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., Sunday at 2 p.m.
Mustard Seed Theatre
Fontbonne Fine Arts Theatre, 6800 Wydown Blvd.
314-719-8060
www.mustardseedtheatre.com

What It’s About: The tranquility of women living in an 1830’s Shaker community in Kentucky is threatened by the arrival of newcomers claiming to see angels.

Director: Deanna Jent
Starring: Amy Loui, Jennelle Gilreath, Patrice Foster, Alicia Reve Like, Laurie McConnell,Mary Schnitzler, Christina Sittser, Amanda Wales and Leslie Wobbe

Photo John Lamb
“Born Yesterday”

©Photo by Jerry Naunheim Jr.

March 16 – April 8
The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis
Loretto-Hilton Center on Webster University campus
www.repstl.org

What It’s About: Junkyard tycoon Harry Brock swaggers into Washington, D.C., determined to buy a senator or two. The monkey wrench in his schemes is Billie Dawn, his seemingly dim-witted ex-showgirl girlfriend. But when Brock hires a reporter to tutor Billie, she rapidly comes into her own as a force to be reckoned with. This sharp and snappy comedy hilariously skewers Beltway corruption.”

Director: Pamela Hunt
Starring: Ruth Pferdehirt, Andy Prosky, Aaron Bartz, Maison Kelly, Michael Cassidy Flynn, Randy Donaldson,

“The Color Purple”

March 20 – April 1
Fox Theatre
www.fabulousfox.com
MetroTix: 314-534-1111

What It’s About: Based on Alice Walker’s Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award winning 1982 novel and the 1985 film that garnered 11 Oscar nominations, the Broadway musical tells the story of African-American women’s struggles during the 1930s in Georgia.

The musical adaptation opened on Broadway in 2005, produced by Quincy Jones, Oprah Winfrey and Harvey Weinstein, and ran for 910 performances, closing in 2008. An acclaimed Tony-winning revival in 2015, which closed in 2017, is now on national tour.

The book is by Marsha Norman, the Tony-nominated and Grammy-winning score by Brenda Russell, Allee Wilson and Stephen Bray.

Director: John Doyle (Tony-winning revival of “Company”)Starring: Adrianna Hicks, Carla R. Stewart, Carrie Compere, Gavin Gregory, J. Daughtry and N’Jameh Camara.

Of Note: Cast members from the 2016 Broadway revival lead the touring company – Hicks, Stewart and Compere.

The score’s composers are connected to some of the biggest pop hits ever. Brenda Russell wrote “Get Here,” Allee Willis wrote “I’ll Be There for You” (the ‘Friends’ theme) plus songs for Earth, Wind and Fire (“September,” “Boogie Wonderland”) and Stephen Bray was a longtime collaborator with Madonna, co-wrote “Like a Prayer.”

The leading actresses of both the original Broadway production and the revival won Tony Awards for Best Actress – LaChanze and Cynthia Erivo.

“Exit Laughing”

March 16 – 25
Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m., Sunday at 2 p.m.
Alton Little Theatre, 2450 North Henry, Alton, Ill.
618-462-6562
www.altonlittletheater.org.

What It’s About: “Exit Laughing” by Paul Elliott has been likened to be part “Golden Girls” and part “Designing Women” in that it relies on characters who are well – ‘characters’. And yes, the play’s initial premise is that we lose good friends and things can get difficult in the later years of life – but wait – the play is not at all about death but about living life to the fullest. When the biggest highlight of your life for the past thirty years has been your weekly card night out with the girls, what do you do when one of your foursome inconveniently dies? If you’re Connie, Leona and Millie, three southern ladies from Birmingham, Ala., you do the most daring thing you’ve ever done. You “borrow” the ashes from the funeral home for one last card game and the wildest, most exciting night of their life begins with a police raid, a stripper, mega-laughs and a whole new way of looking at all the fun you can have when you’re truly living. And it turns out that the departed Mary has a lot to say through messages and gifts she has arranged to arrive after her death—she sets in motion a new beginning for her friends and even a recalcitrant daughter comes to understand the difference between living and just existing.

“The Great Gatsby”

March 16 – 25
Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., Sunday at 2 p.m.
O’Fallon Theatre Works
O’Fallon Municipal Centre, 100 N. Main St., O’Fallon, Mo.
www.ofallon.mo
636-379-5606

What It’s About: Based on the classic American novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald, the breathtaking glamour and decadent excess of the Jazz Age come to life in this brilliant adaptation by Simon Levy, approved by the Fitzgerald Estate. Self-made millionaire Jay Gatsby passionately pursues the elusive Daisy Buchanan, and Nick Carraway, a young newcomer to Long Island, is drawn into their world of obsession, greed and danger.

Director: Katy Fry
Starring: Colin Dowd, Rebecca Loughridge, Andrew Woodard, Kellen Green, Tori Stukins, Mark Killmer, Stefanie Kluba, Andrew Woodard, Kathy Fugate, Dave Rush, Danielle Sherman, Ryan Elizondo

Of Note: This production has an original soundtrack by Jeremy Melton.
“The Man Who Came to Dinner”
The Catholic Youth Apostolate’s Fr. William Scheid Players
March 16 – 18
Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m., Sunday at 2 p.m.
Heagney Theatre, Nerinx Hall High School, 530 E. Lockwood Ave., Webster Groves
Tickets: www.stlouisreview.com/jmq
(314) 605-7520

What It’s About: Moss and Hart’s classic comedy about a snooty critic who injures himself visiting a family in Ohio, and must stay with them until he’s healed. He’s insufferable, and wackiness ensues.

Starring:  The cast features two priests of the archdiocese, Msgr. Norb Ernst, pastor of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque Parish, and Father Bill Wigand, along with other performers from the archdiocese.

Of Note: All proceeds benefit the ministries of the Catholic Youth Apostolate.

“The Odd Couple”
March 16-18, 23-25
Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m., Sunday at 2 p.m.
The Alpha Players of Florissant
Florissant Civic Center, 1 James J. Eagan Drive, Florissant, Mo 63033
Tickets: Box-office 314-921-5678 or visit https://florissantmo.thunertix.com
www.alphaplayers.org

What It’s About: What do you get when you put an opera-loving, wine-drinking neat freak and a beer-guzzling slovenly sportswriter together as roommates in a small New York apartment?
Neil Simon’s smash hit comedy has been turned into a popular movie, TV show and a reboot. This is where it all began.

Director: Thomas Stone
Starring: Patrick Brueggen, Todd Micali, Vic Porcelli, Anthony Norton, Bill Miller, George Lewandowski, Payton Gilliam, Nori Rhodes

“Purple Heart City”


March 16 -25
Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., Sunday at 4 p.m.
Tesseract Theater Company
The .ZACK, 3224 Locust
www.tesseracttheatre.orgz
MetroTix: 314-534-1111

What It’s About: Taylor Gruenloh’s new play is based on true events happening in North Country St. Louis with Cold Water Creek.

Nobody has seen Daniel in eighteen months. When he suddenly returns home, hoping to pick life up where he left it, he finds a family hesitant to forgive him and a community that is tired and haunted by a past of having nuclear waste contaminating its creeks and backyards.

Director: Brittanie Gunn
Starring: Kelvin Urday, Darrious Varner, Ashley Netzhammer

“The Ruby Sunrise”

March 16 – 25
Kirkwood Theatre Guild
Robert G. Reim Theatre, Kirkwood Community Center, 111 S. Geyer Road.
314-821-9956
www.ktg-onstage.org.

What It’s About: Illuminating two fascinating moments in America’s cultural and political history, the play sets off from a farm in Indiana in 1937, as a young girl named Ruby struggles to turn her dream of the first all-electrical television system into a reality. Move to 1957, to a McCarthy-era New York TV studio as Lulu, Ruby’s daughter, attempts to get her mother’s story told through the medium of television. Rinne Groff’s script is filled with humor and irony as the story charts the course of the phenomenon of television: from early idealism and sparks of genius, to promises fulfilled and compromises brokered, and beyond.”

Director: Sarah Holt
Starring: Stephanie Voteau, Isaac Weaver, Mara Bollini, Tanya Badgley, Jeff Kargus, Scott De Broux and Denise Chappell.

CONTINUING
 “Almost, Maine”

March 8 – 18, Thursday through Saturday at 7:30 p.m., Sunday at 2 p.m.
Looking Glass Playhouse, Lebanon, Ill.
www.lookinglassplayhouse.com

What It’s About: A series of loosely connected tales about love, each with a compelling couple at its center, each with its own touch of sorcery. On a deeply cold and magical midwinter night, the citizens of Almost experience the life-altering poer of the human heart. Relationships end, begin or change beyond recognition, as strangers become friends, friends become lovers, and lovers turn into strangers.

Director: Anne Ecker

“Anything Goes”

Through March 24 (sold out March 16-17)
Thursdays through Saturdays at 8 p.m.
New Line Theatre
Marcelle Theatre, 3310 Shepard Drive
www.newlinetheatre.org
Box Office: MetroTix.com, 314-534-1111

What It’s About: It’s 1934 and we’re going on a wild transatlantic cruise full of sex, booze, God, and gangsters. Welcome to the S.S. American, where anything can happen, and it usually does in this mashup of musical comedy, gangster movie, screwball comedy, and social satire, because even in terms of form, anything goes!

Director: Scott Miller and Mike Dowdy-Windsor

Starring: Sarah Porter, Evan Fornachon, Eileen Engel, Kimmie Kidd-Booker, Aaron Allen, Sarah Gene Dowling, Zachary Allen Farmer, Jeffrey Wright, Dominic Dowdy-Windsor, Will Pendergast, Clayton Humburg, Jason Blackburn, Michelle Sauer, Larissa White, Alyssa Wolf and Sara Rae Womack.

Of Note: New Line returns Cole Porter’s rowdy, naughty, subversive masterpiece of musical comedy to its wild, wacky roots, and its stinging satire of Americans’ habit of turning religion into show business and criminals into celebrities, along the way skewering Wall Street, Prohibition, the Brits, class, and several other ripe targets.

Photo Jill Ritter Lindberg

“Caught”

March 9 – 25
The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis
Emerson Studio
www.repstl.org

What It’s About: In the era of “fake news,” “Caught” creates a bracingly unique experience that will keep you wondering what’s real and what’s theatre. An art exhibition by a Chinese dissident is the first phase of a multi-layered puzzle, which presents the audience with an ever-changing set of rules. Christopher Chen’s piece deftly examines the blurred lines between truth and artifice, both in the theatre and in life

Director: Seth Gordon
Starring: Kenneth Lee, Rachel Lin, Jeffrey Cummings, Rachel Fenton

Photo: Peter Wochiak

 “Godspell”

March 9, 10, 16 and 17 at 8 p.m.
March 11 and 18 at 2 p.m.
Overdue Theatre Company
Olivette Community Center
Tickets: www.brownpapertickets.com/event/3321527

What It’s About: Stephen Schwartz’ musical based on the Gospel of St. Matthew, featuring an eclectic mix of songs and parables teaching kindness, tolerance and love.

Co-Directors: Bekah Harbison and Wayne Mackenberg

Starring: Benjamin Sevilla as Jesus, Dennis Folwarczny as Judas/John the Baptist, with Laura Deveney, Shane Rudolph, Christopher Strawhun, MacLean Blanner, Brittany Kohl Hester, Jennifer Kerner, Sarah Polizzi and Eleanor Humphrey.

Of Note: This production is the 2012 revised version.

“Laughter on the 23rd Floor”

March 16-18
Theatre Guild of Webster Groves
Tickets: Available at the door (cash or check). No reservations in advance.
www.theatreguildwg.com or 314-962-0876

What It’s About: Inspired by playwright Neil Simon’s youthful experience as a staff writer on Sid Caesar’s “Your Show of Shows,” with all the attendant comic drama as the harried writing staff frantically scrambles to top each other with gags while competing for the attention of star madman “Max Prince.”

Starring: Jesse Paul, Zach Murphy, Larry Zerega, Peter Wiant, Brandon Atkins, Sarah Hirshfield, Danny Brown, Ivey March and Bill Smith.

Director: Tom Kopp

Of Note: This show includes harsh language and themes, is not suitable for kids.

The Guild is a very old building, historic in fact, but because of this we are not wheelchair or handicap accessible. The Guild has a total of 31 steps.

 “The Last Romance”

Through March 18
Thursdays through Saturdays at 8 p.m., Sundays at 2 p.m.
Insight Theatre Company
Kranzberg Arts Center, 501 N. Grand
www.insighttheatrecompany.com
Box Office: MetroTix.com, 314-534-1111

What It’s About: “The Last Romance” is about an opera-loving American in his 70s who once auditioned for the Met.  Currently widowed, he meets an attractive woman named Carol while living with his sister Rose.

Director: Alan Knoll

Starring: Joneal Joplin, Maggie Ryan, Tommy Nolan, Craig Sturdevant

Of Note: Insight opens their 11th season with this comedy/drama that is written by Joe DiPietro, who wrote “Over the River and Through the Woods,” and the book for ‘I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change.”

Talkbacks take place after the Sunday matinees.

Photo John Lamb

“Menopause the Musical”
Through March 31
The Playhouse at Westport Plaza
635 West Port Plaza
www.playhouseatwestport.com

What It’s About: Four women meet while shopping for a black lace bra at a lingerie sale. After noticing unmistakable similarities among one another, the cast jokes about their woeful hot flashes, mood swings, wrinkles, weight gain and much more.

Starring: Laura Ackerman, Marty K. Casey, Lee Ann Matthews and Rosemary Watts

Director: Seth Greenleaf

Of Note: There are 1.7 million menopausal women worldwide. Nearly 11 million people in 13 countries (more than 350 cities) have attended the performance.  It’s the longest running scripted musical in Las Vegas history. Internationally, the show has performed in Australia, Canada, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Philippines, United Kingdom, South Africa

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