Go See a Play! What’s Happening May 31 – June 6

New and classic plays are busting out all over in June, with regional premieres and favorite sons coming home. Those infamous star-crossed lovers Romeo and Juliet are the main attraction this month in Shakespeare Glen. Playwright David Henry Hwang has his new opera “An American Soldier” premiere at OTSL, while his musical “Tarzan” is produced by O’Fallon Theatre Works. New Line Theatre presentsTony-winning Fairview Heights native Mark Hollmann’s show “Yeast Nation” New works by SATE and partnership of Theatre Nuevo with Mustard Seed Theatre. Favorites from Neil Simon, Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt are in the works, and you can’t miss “Spooky Mormon Hell Dream.”

Mark your calendars, and go see a play, musical or opera, or two, or three this week.

“An American Soldier”

Opera Theatre of St. Louis
June 3 – June 22
Loretto-Hilton Center, 130 Edgar Road
www.experienceopera.org
314-961-0644

What It’s About: Danny Chen is the son of Chinese immigrants, and a proud American. He enlists in the U.S. Army in 2011, eager to serve his country. In boot camp, Danny is welcomed by his band of brothers. But in Afghanistan, his own base becomes enemy territory as military hazing turns deadly. Based on a true story, this opera asks powerful questions about what it means to be an American.

Director: Matthew Ozawa
Cast: Andrew Stenson, Mika Shigematsu, Kathleen Kim, Wayne Tigges, Babatunde Akinboboye, Nathan Stark

Of Note: World premiere of opera by Huang Ro and David Henry Hwang. This is the latest addition to OTSL’s New Works, Bold Voices series of contemporary works for American audiences.

All performances are sung in English with projected English text.

“The Book of Mormon”

Photo Credit: Julieta Cervantes

Fox Theatre
May 29 – June 3
www.fabulousfox.com
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. Zach Erhardt of St. Louis plays Elder Smith in the ensemble.

“Brighton Beach Memoirs”

Photo Credit: John Lamb

Clayton Community Theatre
May 31 – June 10
Thursday through Saturday at 8 p.m.; Sunday at 2 p.m.
Washington University South Campus Theater, 6501 Clayton Road
www. Placeseveryone.org
Tickets: Box office opens 1 hr. before showtime; visit Brown Paper Tickets, e-mail tickets@placeseveryone.org, or call 314-721-9228 to reserve tickets.

What It’s About: The first of Neil Simon’s semi-autobiographical “Eugene” trilogy comedies, “Brighton Beach Memoirs” is set in Brooklyn in 1937. This affectionate coming-of-age story is an entertaining lesson in overcoming hard times with warmth, and humor.

​Director: Sam Hack

Cast: Aaron Mermelstein, Jack; Erin Struckhoff, Blanche; Patrick Blanner, Eugene; Drew Rydberg, Stanley; Kate, Gabi Maul; Valerie Grant, Nora; and Sabrina Kronemer as Laurie.

Of Note: CCT presents “Brighton Beach Memoirs? in memory of Joe O’Connor. Joe was a longtime CCT board member, actor, and director, and was set to direct the play before he suddenly passed away in February 2018.

CCT plans to present the entire trilogy over the next three seasons.

“I Do! I Do!”

Stages St. Louis
June 1 – July 1
Robert G. Reim Theatre, Kirkwood Community Center, 111 S. Geyer Road
www.stagestlouis.org

What It’s About: This two-character musical version of the comedy-drama “The Fourposter” takes place in a bedroom, telling the poignant story of 50 years in the married lives of Michael and Agnes. It’s a frank look at marriage as the couple experiences childbirth, parenthood and eventually settling down to face the future and their advancing years together, starting in 1895.

Cast: David Schmittou and Kari Ely are the Red Cast, while Steve Isom and Corinne Melancon are the Purple Cast

Of Note: From the creators of “The Fantasticks!,” the Tom Jones – Harvey Schmidt musical will be performed by two rotating casts at Stages. It was originally written for Broadway stars Mary Martin and Robert Preston.

Couples married 50 or more years receive complimentary tickets. Contact the box office for select dates.

“Life Sucks”

Photo Credit: Eric Woolsey

New Jewish Theatre
May 23 – June 10
Wool Studio Theater
Jewish Community Center, 2 Millstone Campus Drive
www.newjewishtheatre.org
314-442-3283

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, 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”

Opera Theatre of St. Louis
Loretto-Hilton Center, 135 Edgar Road, on the Webster University campus
May 19 – June 23
www.experienceopera.org
314-961-0644

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, Joo Won Kang

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

“Luchadora!”

Mustard Seed Theatre and Theatre Nuevo
June 1 – 17
Thursday and Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday performances are at 2 p.m. and 6 pm., Sunday at 2 p.m.
Fontbonne Fine Arts Theatre
6800 Wydown Blvd.
314-719-8060
www.mustardseedtheatre.org
Tickets: Metrotix.com or 314-534-1111.

What It’s About: A story of a young girl’s journey to save the honor of her family. Lupita becomes immersed in the world of Lucha Libre wrestling in the 1960s, gaining profound insight into her Mexican-American culture and family.

Director: Anna Skidis Vargas

Cast: Isabel Garcia, Carmen Garcia, Thalia Cruz, Rahamses Galvan, Cassandra Lopez, Cassidy Flynn, Ashley Skaggs, Carl Overly Jr., Hannah Pauluhn and Ryan Lawson-Maeske.

Of Note: St. Louis premiere of play by Alvaro Saar Rios. On June 7 and 14, admission is Pay with a Can – non-perishable food items or cash donation.

“Regina”

Opera Theatre of St. Louis
May 26 – June 24
Loretto-Hilton Center, 130 Edgar Road
www.experienceopera.org
314-961-0644

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, Susanna Phillips

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

“Romeo and Juliet”

Shakespeare Festival St. Louis
June 1 – 24
Nightly at 8 p.m. except for Tuesdays
Shakespeare Glen, Forest Park (next to Art Museum)
www.shakespearefestivalstlouis.org
Open lawn seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis.  Premium seating, priced at $10 and $20, can be reserved online at www.sfstl.com, until noon the day of the show, or purchased after 5:30 p.m. in the Glen. Visit www.sfstl.com for details.

What It’s About: Star-crossed lovers Romeo and Juliet in Shakespeare’s tragedy.

Director: Elena Araoz

Cast: Reynaldo Piniella, Romeo; Sigrid Wise, Juliet; Gary Glasgow, Friar Laurence; Michael James Reed, Lord Capulet; Cherie Corinne Rice, Lady Capulet; Antonio Rodriguez, Benvolio, Pete Winfrey Paris/Prince), Patrick Blindauer, Chorus/Peter/Sampson/Apothecary; Patrice Foster, Lady Montague; Dakota Granados, Tybalt; Karl Hawkins, Balthazar; David Heron, Lord Montague; Jane Paradise, Nurse; Chris Ware, Friar John; and Terrell Wheeler, Mercutio; along with Webster Conservatory students Harrison Farmer and Esmeralda Garza.

Of Note: The production will feature Dust Ensemble, a garage band trio from Omaha, hanging lanterns and streamers in the trees, an ultra-modern and uniquely lit set, and the infamous balcony and a colorful moon for the two teenaged characters.

The set, designed by Peter and Margery Spack, is described as “omniperiod,” meaning that it has a mix of both contemporary and Shakespearean elements, such as neon lights and a garage door coupled with a “Verona” style brick tower and Italian sign, for example. The set will consist of three layers: “Old Verona” designated by painted brick structures and a faded Italian welcome sign; scaffolding structures that show an attempt for the present community to restore Verona to its glory days; and a layer of unexpected explosions of light and color that represent the love, hope and power the young characters bring to the crumbling and divided community. Costumes worn by the cast will have a classic contemporary look, with Renaissance features, including brocade patterns, floral prints, and doublets.

Beginning at 6:30 p.m., the Green Show presents pre-play entertainment, with a variety of local performers on multiple stages.

A new concession tent will enhance the guest service experience in the park lobby. The new, larger tent will house the gift shop, Will Call, and some concessions. Its location will be moved to the center of the upper lobby area. In addition, the portable restrooms will be scattered throughout the Glen for easier access and convenience.

The four Thursday performances during the production run will be signed for the deaf and hard of hearing.

“Run-On Sentence”


SATE
June 6 – 17
Wednesday-Saturday, June 6 – 9 at 8 p.m.
Wednesday – Sunday, June 13, 14, 16, and 17 at 8 p.m.
The Chapel, 6238 Alexander Drive
www.slightlyoff.org
Tickets: Brownpapertickets.com or 314-827-5760 or email info@slightlyoff.org.

What It’s About: “Run-On Sentence” by Stacie Lents is based on the experiences of female prison inmates. It tells the story of cellmates whose lives are turned upside down by the arrival of a new inmate.

Director: Rachel Tibbetts

Cast: Margeau Steinau, Jamie McKittrick, Bess Moynihan, Taleesha Cuturah, Wendy Renée Greenwood and Kristen Strom.

Of Note: Commissioned by Prison Performing Arts as part of its New Plays Initiative in 2016, it was initially performed by inmates at Women’s Eastern Reception, Diagnostic, and Correctional Center in Vandalia, Mo., and students at Fairleigh Dickinson University. SATE produces the professional premiere.

“Spinning Jenny”


Tesseract Theatre Company
May 25 – June 3
Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., Sunday at 4 p.m.
The .ZACK
3224 Locust, St. Louis
tesseracttheatre.org
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?”

Director: Taylor Gruenloh

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

“Tarzan the Musical”


O’Fallon Theatre Works
June 1 – 9
Performances are: 7 p.m., June 1, June 5 and June 6; 4 p.m., June 8, and 2 p.m. June 9.
O’Fallon Municipal Centre auditorium (City Hall), 100 N. Main St.
www.ofallon.mo.us
636-379-5606

What It’s About: The musical “Tarzan” is based on the Walt Disney Animation Studios 1999 film, with songs written by Phil Collins with a book by David Henry Hwang. Tarzan is raised by gorillas, meets Jane and falls in love. When Jane’s entourage plans to kill the gorillas, Tarzan’s loyalties are tested. The original Broadway production opened in 2006.

“Yeast Nation”


New Line Theatre
May 31 – June 23
Thursday through Saturday at 8 p.m.
The Marcelle Theatre
3310 Samuel Shepard Drive
www.newlinetheatre.com
Tickets: 314-534-1111

What It’s About: It is the year 3,000,458,000 BC. The Earth’s surface is a molten mass of volcanic islands and undulating waves. The atmosphere is a choking fog lit by a dim red sun. And the mighty waters of the world are inhabited only by rocks, sand, salt, more rocks, a little silt, and the great society of salt-eating yeasts – yes, yeasts! – the world’s very first life form! These single-cell salt-eaters are the only living creatures on earth, and they’re struggling against a food shortage, a strange new emotion called Love, and the oppression of a tyrannical yeast king. But when the king’s son ventures out of the known yeastiverse, the yeasts’ epic story – and ours – is changed forever.

Co-Directors: Scott Miller and Mike Dowdy-Windsor.

Cast: Sarah Dowling (Jan-the-Unnamed), Zachary Allen Farmer (Jan-the-Elder), Larissa White (Jan-the-Sweet), Dominic Dowdy-Windsor (Jan-the Second-Oldest), Sarah Porter (Jan-the-Sly), Michael Lowe (Jan-the-Wise), Keith Thompson (Jan-the-Wretched), Jennelle Gilreath (Jan-the-Famished), Lex Ronan (The New One), Colin Dowd (Jan-the-Youngest), Brittany Kohl Hester, Clayton Humburg, Eleanor Humphrey and Bradley Rohlf.

Of Note: The St. Louis premiere of “Yeast Nation,” the world’s first bio-historical musical comedy, is from the composing duo of “Urinetown,” which includes Fairview Heights, Ill., native Mark Hollmann and Greg Kotis.

 

 

 

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