By Lynn Venhaus
“Tra la, it’s May, the lusty month of May — that lovely month when everyone goes blissfully astray,” Julie Andrews sang in Lerner and Loewe’s “Camelot.” We’re ready for a gorgeous holiday too, Guinevere. We’ve got a spring fever, and the only prescription is live theater.
On both sides of the Mississippi, love is in bloom – in Rogue Theatre’s “Stop Kiss,” Act Two’s “Leading Ladies,” Kirkwood Theatre Guild’s “Guys and Dolls,” Wentzville Christian Church’s “Footloose,” and that grand scale romantic spectacle “The Phantom of the Opera,” which returns to the Fox in a new production.
Here are the offerings this first week of May. 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 Johnson
Wentzville Christian Church
Friday at 7 p.m., Saturday at 2 and 7 pm. and May 6 at 2 p.m.
1507 Highway Z, one mile south of I-70.
Admission is Free.
What It’s About: This 1998 musical is based on the 1984 film of the same name, about a small-town where dancing has been outlawed after a tragic post-prom accident. But when Ren moves into town, a new spirit takes hold among the young people. The score includes the Top 40 hits, and the music was both Oscar-and-Tony nominated..
Of Note: The annual community theater production is free, seating is general admission, and doors open 30 minutes prior to showtime.
Thirty-two performers are in the production, with an 8-piece band playing the musical score.
They are collecting new and gently used shoes for shoemanwater.org. Gather up your shoes, rubber band pairs together and bring them to the show.
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.
“Guys and Dolls”
Kirkwood Theatre Guild
May 4-6, 11-13
Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., Sunday at 2 p.m.
What It’s About: Considered by many to be the perfect musical, this Damon Runyon tale chronicles gambler Nathan Detroit and his effort to make gamblers happy while his nightclub singer girlfriend is miserable. Miss Adelaide loves him a bushel and a peck, but laments about their 14-year engagement. His pal Sky Masterson is enlisted to make the game happen, and kaboom, falls hard for missionary doll Sarah Brown. Frank Loesser wrote the memorable tunes.
Director: Adam Grun
Starring: Jeffrey Wright as Nathan Detroit, Kelvin Urday as Sky Masterson, Jacqueline Roush as Sarah Brown, Rebecca Porwall as Miss Adelaide, Christopher Strawhun as Nicely Nicely Johnson.
“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. He sees both sets of his beloved but annoying grandparents every Sunday for dinner. This is routine until he must tell them that he’s been offered a dream job far from Jersey – in Seattle. Thus begins a series of schemes to keep Nick around.
Starring: Jim Kistner, Diane Burkard, Brad Kinzel, Dean Schmitt, Betsy Blankenship and Amie Bossi.
“The Phantom of the Opera”
The Fox Theatre
May 9 – 20
Tickets: (314) 534-1111
What It’s About: Andrew Lloyd Webber’s lavish musical is based on the classic novel “Le Fantôme de L’Opéra” by Gaston Leroux. It tells the story of a masked figure who lurks beneath the catacombs of the Paris Opera House, exercising a reign of terror over all who inhabit it. He falls madly in love with an innocent young soprano, Christine, and devotes himself to creating a new star by nurturing her extraordinary talents and by employing all of the devious methods at his command.
Of Note: Cameron Mackintosh’s spectacular new production returns with reinvented staging and stunning scenic design. This version has a cast and orchestra of 52, making it one of the largest productions on tour in North America.
The Broadway production just celebrated 30 years at the Majestic Theatre, and is still the reigning champion as the longest running musical of all-time.
For more information on the production and a video sneak peek, please visit www.ThePhantomOfTheOpera.com/ustour/
Director: Laurence Connor
Starring: Quentin Oliver Lee is The Phantom, Eva Tavares is Christine, Jordan Craig is Raoul, Trista Moldovan is Carlotta, David Benoit is Monsieur Firmin and Kristie Dale Sanders is Madame Giry.
“Run for Your Wife”
Theatre Guild of Webster Groves
May 4-6, 10-12
What It’s About: The story concerns London cab driver John Smith, with two wives, two lives and a very precise schedule for juggling them both, with one wife at home in Streatham and another at home in Wimbledon.
Director: Rob Corbett
Starring: Jeff Lovell as John Smith, Tracy Agnes Murphy as Mary Smith, Annie Valuska as Barbara Smith, Robert Jones as Stanley Gardner, Richard A. Hunsaker as Bobby Franklin, Jessica Johns-Kelly as Det. Sgt. Troughton, Gwynneth Rausch as Det. Sgt. Porterhouse and Jennifer Hodson as a newspaper reporter.
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.
Director: Chris Kernan
Starring: Halley Robertson, Ryan Engelman, Oliver Bacus, Valerie Sprague, Jenevieve Lafferty and Andy Vieluf.
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.
Stray Dog Silver Stage Senior Theatre
May 5 – 6 for three performances
Saturday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m.
Tower Grove Abbey
2336 Tennessee Ave., St. Louis
What It’s About: By William Shakespeare, Prospero, sorcerer and rightful Duke of Milan, along with his daughter Miranda, has lived on an island for many years since his position was usurped by his brother Antonio. Then, as Antonio’s ship passes near the island one day, Prospero conjures up a terrible storm.
Of Note: This thrilling tale of forgiveness, passion, and vengeance was Shakespeare’s final play and his farewell to the stage before his retirement.
“The Wizard of Oz”
Looking Glass Playhouse
May 3 – 5, May 10 – 13
Thursday through Saturday at 7:30 p.m., Sunday at 2 p.m.
What It’s About: Dorothy Gale, a young girl living on a Kansas farm with her Aunt Em and Uncle Henry, dreams of escaping her mundane life (“Over The Rainbow“). The family’s mean neighbor, Miss Gulch, threatens to impound Dorothy’s cherished dog, Toto, so Dorothy and Toto run away. They meet up with kindly Professor Marvel, who subtly convinces Dorothy to return home. Suddenly a cyclone hits, and Dorothy and Toto, seeking shelter in the house, are transported to the Land of Oz.
Director: Glenn Netemeyer
Starring: Emma Breckel as Dorothy, Leigh Reidelberger as Aunt Em/ Glinda , Brad Sanker as Henry/ Emerald City guard, Russ Reidelberger as Zeke/Cowardly Lion, Caleb Cook as Hickory/ Tin Man, Ray Gill as Hunk/Scarecrow, Chris Wilson as Almira Gulch/Wicked Witch of the West and Mike Russell asProfessor Marvel/ Wizard of Oz.
Of Note: The two-week run is completely sold-out.