Deep dive into drama this week. Timelier than ever “Judgment at Nuremberg,” acting tour-de-forces in “The Dresser” and “A Tree, Falling,” Deanna Jent’s very personal story about a family coping with autism, “Falling,” complicated romance and friendships in “Stop Kiss,” and Nikkole Salter’s gut-wrenching first-person accounts of slavery in “Torn Asunder.” Or go for the funny in Ken Ludwig’s “Leading Ladies” and the warm-hearted “Over the River and Through the Woods.” Music can soothe your soul too – sing it, Patsy Cline! Jesus and Judas wail in Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s rock opera “Jesus Christ Superstar.” Read on, but Go See a Play!
“The Case of the Missing Bellhop”
April 19 – May 13
What It’s About: The world-famous Balding Hotel has long been an exclusive getaway for dignitaries and nobility from around the world. A place where the staff and crew have unusual skills and where people can go about their business without many questions asked – making the hotel famous for luxury and impeccable service. But when a beloved bellhop goes missing, the Balding begins to attract attention. Secrets proliferate and questions abound! What happened to the bellhop, and who knew about it?
Of Note: Circus Flora has a new home, 3401 Washington Blvd., St. Louis.
“A Closer Walk with Patsy Cline”
The Playhouse @ Westport
April 17 – May 6
635 West Port Plaza, St. Louis 63146
What It’s About: A happy, loving tribute to one of country music’s most enduring superstars traces the legendary singer’s rise from her hometown in Winchester, Va., to the Grand Ole Opry, Las Vegas and Carnegie Hall. Patsy Cline defined the term “crossover hit” by dominating country, blues, pop and gospel charts simultaneously in the 1950s and early ‘60s. Featuring 21 of Patsy’s hits, including “Walkin’ After Midnight,” “Sweet Dreams,” “I Fall to Pieces,” “Crazy,” “She’s Got You,” “Seven Lonely Days” and the title song, “A Closer Walk with Thee.”
Starring: Julie Johnsoon
St. Louis Actors’ Studio
Thursday through Saturday at 8 p.m.; Sunday at 3 p.m.
The Gaslight Theatre
358 N. Boyle St., St. Louis (CWE)
Ticketmaster for tickets or 1 hour at box office before showtime.
What It’s About: Based on the author Ronald Harwood’s own experiences as dresser to Sir Donald Wolfit, this bracing, heartbreaking drama is an elegy to a bygone era. As World War II rages, backstage in a provincial English theatre, an aging, once-famous classical actor is troubled. Sir, the last in a dying breed of great Shakespearean actors, is unwilling to take to the stage and it falls to his faithful dresser Norman to rouse another great performance.
Director: Bobby Miller
Starring: John Contini, David Wassilak, Missy Heinemann, Emily Baker, Bridget Bassa, Richard Lewis, Chuck Brinkley, Anthony Heinemann and Jeremy Goldmeier.
Of Note: With respect to the CWE neighborhood please do not park on the residential streets (Maryland, McPherson, Olive and Westminster). For your convenience, there is plenty of well-lit parking along Boyle Ave. from Maryland north to Delmar, on both sides of the street. Valet Parking Every Friday and Saturday nights.
The Bankside Repertory Theatre Company
April 19-21 and 26-28 at 7:30 p.m.
Jacoby Arts Center
627 E. Broadway, Alton
What It’s About What constitutes a “normal” family? St. Louis educator Deanna Jent’s remarkable play presents the joys and challenges of real life family dynamics when one member is autistic.
Director: Sue Ellen Coughtry
Starring: Bankside Repertory Theatre Company members Chrissy Calkins Steele and Geoff Callaway, along with Jack Janssen, Tommy Nolan and Hannah LePoidevi
“Jesus Christ Superstar”
Stray Dog Theatre
April 12 – 28
Thursday through Saturday at 8 p.m.
Special performances at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, April 25.
Tower Grove Abbey, 2336 Tennessee, St. Louis
What It’s About: Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s 1970 rock opera follows the last week of Jesus’ life, exploring his personal relationships and struggles with Judas Iscariot, Mary Magdalene, his disciples, and the Roman Empire.
Director: Justin Been
Starring: Omega Jones, Phil Leveling, Heather Matthews, Lavonne Byers, Jon Hey, Riley Dunn, Kevin Corpuz, Mike Hodges, Gerry Love, Michael Baird, Maria Bartolotta, Tristan Davis, Ebony Easter, Corey Fraine, Stephen Henley, William Humphrey, Lindsey Jones, Tim Kaniecki, Kevin O’Brien, Belinda Quimby, Dawn Schmid, and Chrissie Watkins.
Of Note: Friday performances April 27 will be interpreted for the deaf and hard of hearing by students from the Sign Language Studies program at Southwestern Illinois College. The
Community Outreach: In keeping with its mission of community outreach, non-perishable food is collected at each performance and donated to Food Outreach Inc.
“Judgment at Nuremberg”
The Midnight Company
7:30 p.m. through Saturday, 2 p.m. matinees Saturday and Sunday
Missouri History Museum in Forest Park
What It’s About: The dramatic recreation of the final World War II Military Tribunal in 1947. German judges, who serve under the Nazis, are tried for their crimes against humanity in the midst of mounting pressure of the new Cold War.
Starring: Mark Abels, Chuck Winning, Jaz Tucker, Joe Hanrahan, Jack Corey, Charles Heuvelman, Terry TenBroek, Hal Morgan, Steve Callahan, Cassidy Flynn, Steve Garrett, Charlotte Dougherty, Rachel Tibbetts, Michael B. Perkins, Francesca Ferrari and Alex Fyles.
Director: Ellie Schwetye
Of Note: Abbey Mann wrote a script that was produced for television in 1957, then adapted for the big screen in 1961, earning nine Oscar nominations, and winning Best Actor (Maximilian Schell) and Best Screenplay. It became a play, and had its Broadway premiere in 2001.
Act Two Theatre
April 26-May 6
Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m., Sundays at 2 p.m.
St. Peters Cultural Arts Centre at 1 St. Peters Centre Blvd., St. Peters
What It’s About: In this hilarious comedy, two English Shakespearean actors, Jack and Leo, find their careers in a rut. They are currently performing “Scenes from Shakespeare.” on the Moose Lodge circuit in the Amish country of Pennsylvania. When they hear that an old lady in York, Pa., is about to die and leave her fortune to her two long lost English nephews, the traveling actors resolve to pass themselves off as her beloved relatives and get the cash. Hilarity ensues when it turns out the relatives are actually nieces and not nephews. Things get even more complicated when Leo falls madly in love with the old lady’s vivacious niece, Meg, who’s engaged to the local minister.
Starring: Hannah Warntjes, Michael Bouchard, Zach Venturella, Jordyn Wofford, Mark Killmer, Linda Daly, Jessi Russell and Joshua Towers.
“Over the River and Through the Woods”
April 26 – May 6
Thursday through Saturday at 8 p.m., Sundays at 2 p.m.
Southampton Presbyterian Church, 4716 Macklind.
www. kurtainkall.org or call 314-351-8984.
What It’s About: Nick is a single, Italian-American guy from New Jersey. His parents retired and moved to Florida. That doesn’t mean his family isn’t still in Jersey. In fact, he sees both sets of his grandparents every Sunday for dinner. This is routine until he must tell them that he’s been offered a dream job. The job he’s been waiting for-marketing executive-would take him away from his beloved, but annoying, grandparents. He tells them. The news doesn’t sit so well. Thus begins a series of schemes to keep Nick around. How could he betray his family’s love to move to Seattle, for a job, wonder his grandparents? Well, Frank, Aida, Nunzio and Emma do their level best, and that includes bringing to dinner the lovely-and single-Caitlin O’Hare as bait.
Starring: Jim Kistner, Diane Burkard, Brad Kinzel, Dean Schmitt, Betsy Blankenship and Amie Bossi.
The Rogue Theatre Company
April 27 – May 6
Friday – Sunday at 7:30 p.m.
1320 Milton Road, Alton, Ill.
What It’s About: After Callie and Sara unexpectedly fall in love, a violent attack changes everything. Though you never see the actual assault, our journey takes the audience back and forth through time to highlight its impact on the players and their intertwined connections with each other.
Starring: Halley Robertson, Ryan Engelman, Oliver Bacus, Valerie Sprague, Jenevieve Lafferty and Andy Vieluf.
Director: Chris Kernan
Of Note: “A poignant and funny play about the ways, both sudden and slow, that lives can change irrevocably,” says Variety.
Diane Son’s play premiered off-Broadway in 1998.
“There’s so much that is vital and exciting about “Stop Kiss”…you want to embrace this young author and cheer her on to other works…the writing on display here is funny and credible…you also will be charmed by its heartfelt characters and up-to-the-minute humor.” —NY Daily News. “…irresistibly exciting…a sweet, sad, and enchantingly sincere play.” —NY Times.
The Black Rep
April 13 – 29
Edison Theatre on Washington University campus
What It’s About: “Torn Asunder” by Nikkole Salter is set in Prince George’s County, Maryland, 1859. Hannah, a relatively contented enslaved woman, has her world rocked when her master dies and she, for the first time, is separated from her family, new husband, and baby. But, just as she begins to lose all hope to ever see her husband and child again, the seceded south falls to the Union, slavery is abolished with the 13th Amendment, and Hannah has the opportunity to put her family back together — if she can find them.
Director: Ron Himes
Starring: LaShunda Gardner, Myke Andrews, Brandi Threatt, Carl Overly Jr., Alan Knoll and Graham Emmons.
Of Note: World premiere. “Torn Asunder” dramatizes true stories of newly emancipated African Americans trying to overcome the ever-present vestiges of chattel slavery to reconnect with their families. Based on the research of Prof. Heather Andrea Williams in her book, “Help Me to Find My People,” Nikkole Salter was commissioned by her and Kathy A. Perkins to write the script.
“A Tree, Falling”
April 13 – 29
Friday and Saturdays at 8 p.m., with Sundays at 7 p.m., except April 29, which is at 2 p.m.
Kranzberg Arts Center, 501 N. Grand in Grand Center
What It’s About: Octogenarian Lenny was once a busy physician at the epicenter of a vibrant family who now has no recollection whatever of his earlier life. These days his chief adventure is the daily tracking down of the remote control — at least until a friendly social worker named Lola shows up. Try as she might to help Lenny recover his memory, though, he continues to live within the moment, and the poignancy of his plight forces Lola to question the meaning of her own past as well as her future.
Starring: Jerry Vogel, Kari Ely