Celebrate St. Louis institutions and artists this week, for it’s time for fireworks and attaboys!
The Muny kicks off its Centennial Anniversary with the Gala “An Evening of Stars” Friday and a free 100th Birthday Bash Open House from 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday.
The great American playwright Tennessee Williams grew up here, went to school and worked in a shoe factory, before departing for New Orleans a year after college graduation. There he would write his masterpiece, “A Streetcar Named Desire.” See why Blanche DuBois has always depended on the kindness of strangers in the Tennessee Williams Festival St. Louis’ masterful production.
Another 20th Century literary giant, C.S. Lewis, is the subject of a one-man show.
The Opera Theatre of St. Louis opens its 43rd season with Verdi’s romantic classic, “La Traviata.”
Then, there are musical classics like “Camelot,” “The Phantom of the Opera” and “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.” Go see a play, musical, opera, festival one-acts or celebrate the milestone of our crowning jewel in Forest Park, the oldest and largest outdoor theater in the country.
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.
“An Evening with C.S. Lewis”
May 17 – 20
The Playhouse at Westport Plaza
Tickets: MetroTix.com or 314-534-1134
What It’s About: The year is 1963 and the famous British author C.S. Lewis 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 and in front of a warm fire he recalls the people and events that inspired his thought 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.
“An Evening of Stars: 100 Years of Muny Magic in 100 Minutes”
Friday, May 18, at 9:15 p.m.
The Muny at Forest Park
Tickets still available
What It’s About: The Muny kicks off its centennial anniversary with a festive musical celebration involving 100 stars, singers, dancers, Muny Kids and Muny Teens.
Co-hosted by Tony and Grammy Award- winning artist Heather Headley and Tony, Emmy and Golden Globe Award-nominated artist Matthew Morrison, “An Evening with The Stars” is uniquely created for this historic birthday and will celebrate the rich and diverse history of musical theatre at The Muny over the past century.
This one-night-only production will have a sensational cast of 100, with special performances by show business legends Chita Rivera and Tommy Tune, along with Broadway and Muny stars Patrick Cassidy, Ken Page, Jenny Powers, Lara Teeter and Graham Rowat. It also will include an ensemble of 32 singers and dancers, the beloved Muny Kids and Muny Teens troupes, and the Muny Orchestra.
Tennessee Williams Festival
Saturday, May 19, at 11 a.m.
The Grandel Theatre
What It’s About: An early one-act version of what became “A Streetcar Named Desire,” Williams experimented with various approaches in style, setting and characterization. Blanche, Stanley and Stella have different names but similar relationships.
In this short version, Williams focuses on Blanche Shannon’s mental state: hearing voices, imagining dangers, fabricating reality. He seems to be expressing his sister Rose’s psychic deterioration.
Director: Tom Mitchell, associate head of the Department of Theatre at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. He has been a presenter at TWF in St. Louis, Provincetown and New Orleans.
Starring: Nisi Sturgis, Lindsey Gates-Markel, Mathew Green, Tom Mitchell, Jordan Coughtry, Joi Hoffsommer.
Of Note: It will be performed with scripts in hand on the set of “Streetcar.”
Opera Theatre of St. Louis
Loretto-Hilton Center, 135 Edgar Road, on the Webster University campus
May 19 – June 23
What It’s About: In Verdi’s romantic opera, Violetta has one important rule: never fall in love. As a Parisian courtesan, her life is full of parties, admirers and, most importantly, freedom. Then she meets Alfredo. His naive sincerity sweeps her off her feet. But just when Violetta thinks she has escaped her past, she is asked to make an unthinkable sacrifice. Will pride, love or honor prevail?
Director: Debut of star soprano Patricia Racette
Of Note: All performances are sung in English with projected English text.
Embrace the romance of this Verdi masterpiece, featuring the directing debut of star soprano Patricia Racette” Performances take place at the Loretto-Hilton Center at 135 Edgar Road on the Webster University campus. All performances are sung in English with projected English text. For more information: experienceopera.org call 314-961-0644
“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.
Saturday, May 19, 8 p.m.
2712 Cherokee, St. Louis
What It’s About: PRIME will debut their much anticipated second season with Reverie, a 24-hour new play festival exploring dreams and prophecies. Six original plays are written, rehearsed and performed within a 24-hour period. Each team consists of an ensemble of local writers, performers and directors. Visual artists and theatrical technicians will apply the final touches of each unique play.
Of Note: PRIME has recruited a range of artisans to create a pop-up theater. The team will transform a vacant storefront into a surreal dreamworld.
“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.
“You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown”
The Alpha Players of Florissant
May 18-20, 25-26, 7:30 p.m., and May 27, 2 p.m.
The Florissant Civic Center Theater
Parker Road at Waterford Drive in Florissant, Mo.
What It’s About: Based on the comic strip “Peanuts” by Charles M. Schultz, the musical is about centers around an average day in the life of Charlie Brown – a day made up of little moments from Valentine’s Day to baseball season, from wild optimism to utter despair, all mixed with the lives of his friends (human and non-human) and strung together on the string of a single day. It is a sweet reminder of the simpler things in life.
The book, music and lyrics are by Clark Gesner, with additional dialogue by Michael Mayer and additional music and lyrics by Andrew Lippa.
Director: Ken Clark
Starring: Joel Brown as Charlie Brown, Bethany Hamilton as Lucy, Ann Hier-Brown as Sally, Danny Brown as Schroeder and James Quiggins as Snoopy.
Of Note: As a tie-in with the show, the Alpha Players have invited the St. Louis Chapter of Project Linus to set up an information booth in the lobby and have graciously donated two beautiful hand-made quilts to be raffled off, with proceeds benefiting Project Linus! One quilt will be raffled each weekend. Project Linus provides blankets to children who are seriously ill and traumatized. For more information, visit their website. http://stlprojectlinus.wixsite.com/stlprojectlinus