How about a mother and child reunion at live theater this weekend? Treat mom to a show! Or if mom’s unavailable, treat yourself! It’s time for the local Tennessee Williams Festival, one of the best things in St. Louis! (Soak up everything there is to offer in the Grand Center). It’s the final weekend for Circus Flora, so get to the big top before it’s gone. And there are bona fide American classics and comedy comforts. Go see a play!
Alton Little Theater
May 11 – 20
Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m., Sunday at 2 p.m.
2450 N. Henry, Alton
What It’s About: The 1960 musical by Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Lowe takes us back to the Knights of the Roundtable and the love triangle between King Arthur, his wife Guinevere and Lancelot.
Director: Lee Cox
Starring: Kevin Frakes as King Arthur, Jessica McCawley as Guinevere, Kurtis Leible as Lancelot and Brant McCance as Merlyn.
The ensemble includes Zac Coffman as Mordred, Kathy Brendenkoetter as Morgan Le Fey, Lorian Wardford as Tom of Warwick, Addie Gramelspacher as Nimue , Launa Crank as Mistress Eliana, and Sawyer Burton as Sir Dinandan. Tristan Ferendzo, Kelly Hougland, Kayla Robinson, Brittany McCrady, Cheri Hawkins, Dennis Franz, Mary, Jeremy, Daniel Crank, and Nadja and Jen Kapetanovich.
Of note: This musical concludes Alton’s 84th season. A special raffle of gifts for all women in attendance on Mother’s Day, May 13, will take place.
“15 Minute Mozarts”
Friday and Saturday, May 11 and 12, at 7 p.m.
The Chapel, 6238 Alexander Drive, Clayton
What It’s About: Gateway Opera is taking the humor and beauty of Mozart’s three Da Ponte operas and pushing them to their absolute, ridiculous limit. Condensing each opera to just 15 minutes each, this is ‘Le Nozze di Figaro’, ‘Don Giovanni’, ‘and Così fan Tutte’ like you’ve never seen them before, filled with witty absurdity, frantic plot exposition, and – of course – a glorious aria or two.”
“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.
“An Evening with C.S. Lewis”
The Playhouse @Westport
Performances: Thursday at 8 p.m., Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 4 p.m. & 8 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m. & 6 p.m.
Tickets: MetroTix: 314-534-1111 or metrotix.com
What It’s About: The year is 1963 and C.S. Lewis, the famous British author, is hosting a group of American writers at his home near Oxford. They are about to experience a captivating evening with a man whose engaging conversation and spontaneous humor made him one of the great raconteurs of his day. Seated in his living room, he recalls the people and events that inspired his thoughts and shaped his life; of his friendship with J.R.R. Tolkien, why he nearly abandoned the Narnia Chronicles, how he came to embrace Christianity and of the American woman who turned his life upside down.
Written and acted by David Payne
Of Note: London born actor/playwright David Payne’s first encounter with C.S. Lewis was when, as a teenager, he was given a copy of Lewis’ best-selling book Screwtape Letters. Little did he realize that some 40 years later he would be gaining a reputation for his portrayals of its famous author. He has played Lewis in a number of productions of Shadowlands, in his self-penned Weep for Joy, in more than 500 presentations of An Evening with C.S. Lewis (My Life’s Journey) and St. Jack & The Dragon a touching yet sometimes hilarious account about the relationship between Lewis and his adopted mother, Janie Moore. Payne’s latest self-penned Lewis based show is Wardrobes & Rings, which focuses on the very last meeting between Lewis and his great friend, J.R.R. Tolkien. To learn more about David Payne, visit www.aneveningwithcslewis.com.
“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.
“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.
“A Streetcar Named Desire”
Tennessee Williams Festival St. Louis
May 10 – 19
3610 Grandel Square
What It’s About: One of the most critically acclaimed and beloved plays in the history of American theater, is the story of a troubled former schoolteacher, Blanche DuBois, after she leaves a small town in Mississippi and moves in with her sister Stella and her sister’s husband Stanley in New Orleans. With her flirtatious Southern-belle attitude, Blanche upends the precarious relationship between her sister and brother-in-law, leading to even greater conflict during her brief stay.
Director: Tim Ocel
Starring: Sophia Brown, Nick Narcisi, Lana Dvorak, Spencer Sickmann, Jesse Munoz, Isaiah DiLorenzo, Amy Loui, Jacob Flekier, David Wassilak, Maggie Wininger and Isabel Pastrana.
Of Note: The Dark Room at the Grandel will feature late night jazz following each evening performance.
Photo: Ride Hamilton
Photo: A Young Tennessee Williams
Tennessee Williams Festival St. Louis
May 11 at 8 p.m., May 12 at 2 p.m. and May 13 at 1 p.m.
3224 Locust, St. Louis
What It’s About: To the masses he is a legend in the pantheon of the American stage and screen who seemingly appeared out of nowhere, fully formed in 1945. But just how did this young poet, Thomas Lanier Williams III, born in Columbus Miss., raised in St. Louis, go on to become the playwright who created Amanda and Laura, Stanley Kowalski and Blanche DuBois, Maggie The Cat, Big Daddy and his greatest, most unexplored role, Tennessee Williams? This is what “Tennessee Rising” sheds light upon.
Starring: Jacob Storms in one-man show
“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.
Cover Photo/Featured Image: Sophia Brown and Lana Dvorak in “A Streetcar Named Desire” at the Tennessee Williams Festival. Photo by Ride Hamilton.