Go See a Play: What’s Happening May 24 – 30

Summer officially kicks off this holiday weekend, and a couple of new shows make their debut — a contemporary take on “Uncle Vanya,” an opera adapted from Lillian Hellmann’s “The Little Foxes” and a new work on carnival life. The national tour of “The Book of Mormon” comes to town for only its third time. Go see a play!

“The Book of Mormon”

Photo Credit: Julieta Cervantes

Fox Theatre
May 29 – June 3

MetroTix: 314-534-1111

What It’s About: The musical comedy “The Book of Mormon” follows two Mormon missionaries who are assigned to go to Uganda by The Church of the Latter Day Saints. They are challenged as they attempt to share scriptures with a remote Ugandan village because they have more pressing troubles, such as oppression from a local warlord, famine and AIDS.]

Director: Trey Parker and Casey Nicholaw, who also did the choreography

Of Note: “The Book of Mormon” features book, music and lyrics by Trey Parker, Robert Lopez and Matt Stone. Parker and Stone are the four-time Emmy Award-winning creators of the landmark animated series, “South Park.” Lopez is co-creator of the long-running hit musical comedy, “Avenue Q.”

It won nine Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Best Score, Best Book, Best Direction, Best Featured Actress (Nikki M. James), Best Scenic Design, Best Lighting Design, Best Sound Design and Best Orchestrations. It also won the 2011 Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album.

It has grossed more than $500 million. This is its third stop in St. Louis.

“Life Sucks”

Photo Credit: Eric Woolsey

New Jewish Theatre
May 23 – June 10
Wool Studio Theater
Jewish Community Center, 2 Millstone Campus Drive

What It’s About: A group of yearning, frustrated, heartbroken, questioning, and in many ways privileged souls who are, in their varied and deeply flawed ways, trying to cope with all the essential conundrums of existence. It is essentially a play about love, loss and longing – with a healthy dose of Jewish philosophizing thrown in.

Director: Edward Coffield

Starring: Michelle Hand, Greg Johnston, Christopher Harris, Jan Meyer, Jeff Cummings. Seated: Katy Keating, Julie Layton

Of Note: An irreverent adaptation of Anton Chekhov’s “Uncle Vanya,” Aaron Posner’s contemporary riff on the work is profoundly humane, hilarious, quirky, endearing and, in countless clever ways, brilliantly faithful to its source.

“La Traviata”

Photo Credit: Ken Howard

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

Starring: Sydney Mancasola, Geoffrey Agpalo, Briana Hunter

Of Note: All performances are sung in English with projected English text.


Opera Theatre of St. Louis
May 26 – June 24
Loretto-Hilton Center, 130 Edgar Road

What It’s About: Theft. Blackmail. Murder. Is there nothing that Regina Giddens won’t do to satisfy her ambition? Based on Lillian Hellman’s play “The Little Foxes,” and set against a Southern backdrop of spirituals, jazz and ragtime, this deliciously twisted opera pits siblings and spouses against each other in a battle for the family business.

Director: James Robinson

Starring: Susan Graham, James Morris, Ron Raines, Melody Wilson, Susanna Phillips

Of Note: All performances are sung in English with projected English text.

“Spinning Jenny”

Tesseract Theatre Company
May 25 – June 3
Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., Sunday at 4 p.m.
3224 Locust, St. Louis
Box Office: MetroTix 314-534-1111 or metrotix.com

What It’s About: A new play by Kevin Ferguson, “Spinning Jenny” is about a family traveling carnival and how Jenny discovers a world outside, that there’s more to life than a quick con job. Will she defy her family for a new way of life or will she be another lost soul on the midway?”

Starring: Rhiannon Skye Creighton, Kevin Corpus, Darrious Varner, Maurice Walters II, Helen Pancella,

“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: 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




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