Go See a Play: June 14 – 20

Gotta Dance! It’s a hot time in the city, with the Muny opening its centennial season with the big-deal premiere of “Jerome Robbins’ Broadway,” and other Shake-It-Up sizzling outdoor shows — the return of original Shakespeare in the Streets this weekend in front of the downtown library, the free “Blow, Winds” community event, while “Romeo and Juliet” continues in Shakespeare Glen for another week.

Inside summer traditions include Stages St. Louis’ first show, “I Do! I Do!” and Magic Smoking Monkey’s back with a “Game of Thrones” parody.

SATE, Stray Dog, Mustard Seed, New Line, Theatre Nuevo, Act Inc., The Playhouse @ Westport, MASC and Opera Theatre of St. Louis are in full swing, too.

That Uppity Theatre Company brings in “26 Pebbles,” about the Sandy Hook shootings, and “Madagascar” opens for young audiences at Stages

Here’s what’s happening all around the ‘Lou. Go See a Play!

“26 Pebbles”

That Uppity Theatre Company
June 19 – 23

What It’s About: That Uppity Theatre Company is honored to be collaborating with the University of Central Oklahoma and the deeply committed work of director Emily Heugatter to bring “26 Pebbles” by Eric Ulloa to St. Louis. We feel so strongly about this issue that all five of our performances are free.

The play is based on more than 60 interviews with Newtown community residents after the massacre of 20 first graders and 6 educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School. In the tradition of “The Laramie Project,” “26 Pebbles” offers opportunities to remember these stories and to prompt dialogue.

Presented in partnership with the Missouri Chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America and “Painting for Peace in Ferguson”, the play combines live music, singing, and interviews from Newtown residents as they recount the ripples in their community in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School

shooting. The play isn’t merely about trauma; it is also about how a community banded together to heal and reshape their community in the wake of what is both a local and national tragedy.

Of Note: All performances are free. Donations will be accepted. The Tuesday performance will include a short panel with Carol Swartout Klein, Joan Lipkin and others (TBA) on the role of art to help heal a community. In addition to each

post-show conversation, Moms Demand Action will be onsite to provide more information. NOTE: the production is suitable for ages 12+ due to subject matter.

Dates and Locations:
Tuesday, June 19, 7 p.m.
First Congregational Church of St. Louis (UCC)
6501 Wydown Blvd

St. Louis, MO 63105

Wednesday, June 20, 7 p.m.
St. Paul United Church of Christ
3510 Giles Avenue
St. Louis, Missouri 63116

Thursday, June 21, 7 p.m.
Christ Church Maplewood UCC
2200 Bellevue Ave
Maplewood, MO 63143

Friday, June 22, 7 p.m.
Lafayette Park United Methodist Church
2300 Lafayette Ave 63104

Saturday June 23, 2 p.m.
Daniel Boone Branch, St. Louis County Library
300 Clarkson Rd.,
Ellisville, MO 63011

“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.

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.

“Blithe Spirit”


Act Inc.
June 8-24
Emerson Black Box
Schadeigger Center for the Arts
Lindenwood University, St. Charles
June 8, 15 and 22 at 8 p.m.
June 9, 10, 16, 17, 23 and 24 at 2 p.m.
Tickets: LUboxoffice.com or 636-949-4433
www.actincstl.com

What It’s About: Noel Coward’s classic comedy “Blithe Spirit” concerns the socialite and novelist Charles Condomine, who invites the eccentric medium and clairvoyant, Madame Arcati, to his house to conduct a séance, hoping to gather material for his next book. The scheme backfires when he is haunted by the ghost of his annoying and temperamental first wife, Elvira, after the séance. Elvira makes continual attempts to disrupt Charles’s marriage to his second wife, Ruth, who cannot see or hear the ghost. As the (worldly and un-) personalities clash, Charles’ current wife, Ruth, is accidentally killed, “passes over,” joins Elvira, and the two “blithe spirits” haunt the hapless Charles into perpetuity.

Director: Jane Sullivan

Cast: Amanda Brasher, Edith; Sarajane Alverson, Ruth; Joe Cella, Charles; Annalise Webb, Elvira; Tim Naigelin, Dr. Bradman; Liz Mischel, Mrs. Bradman; and Kathy Rush, Madame Arcati.

“Blow, Winds”

Shakespeare in the Streets (part of Shakespeare Festival St. Louis)
June 15-16, 8:30 p.m.
Free admission
St. Louis Public Library, Central Branch, 1301 Olive St.
www.sfsl.org

What It’s About: A play artfully adapted from William Shakespeare’s “King Lear,” which is a tragedy about a king who bequeaths his land to his daughters to prevent problems after his death.

In this version, King Louis, a cruel and foolish old king, forces his righteous daughter Cordelia out of the kingdom and divides his lands between his two ungrateful daughters. He intends to live out his days shuttling back and forth between the two, but becomes homeless when they shut their doors to him. His exiled daughter returns with an army to unite the kingdom under her rule, but it’s too late for him to save himself. The young and the poor and the oppressed of the kingdom must pick up the pieces and build a new world.

Playwright Nancy Bell and creative team members met with residents and community leaders from each of the previous five Shakespeare in the Streets neighborhoods, among others.

Co-Directors: Tom Martin and Jacqueline Thompson, with music director Lamar Harris.

Cast: Featured as part of the production are local step company, The Gentlemen of Vision; a 60-person choir whose members represent area churches and high schools; and 15 cast members, including five previous Shakespeare in the Streets performers, along with residents and students.

Returning are Adam Flores and Minerva Lopez (2012, Cherokee Street); Karla Boresi (2013, The Grove); Reginald Pierre and Jeanitta Perkins (2016, Maplewood).

Joneal Joplin is King Louis. Rounding out the cast are Katy Keating (Regan), Elvedin Arnautovic (Kansas), Michelle Hand (Kent), Isaiah Di Lorenzo (poor Tom); Jaz Tucker (Illinois); and chorus members Emily Korte, Elias Dernlan, and Erika Flowers-Roberts.

Of Note: Pre-show activities will kick off at 7 p.m. and will include a half dozen food trucks, live music and a family craft area.

The event is presented in partnership with The St. Louis Public Library, and community partners including The Urban League and Gentlemen of Vision.

Olive Street between 13th and 14th will be closed to traffic. Patrons are encouraged to bring lawn chairs to watch the show.

The Festival’s streets initiative has gained international recognition for engaging communities through storytelling and creating vibrant new plays; “Blow, Winds” will be the first citywide Shakespeare in the Streets event.

The original performances, scheduled for September 2017, coincided with the announcement of the Jason Stockley verdict and were cancelled. The show is being resurrected in its entirety.

“Game of Thrones Seasons 2 – 4: Four Weddings and a S#!t-ton of Funerals”
Magic Smoking Monkey Theatre
June 15-23, Fridays and Saturdays 8 p.m. and 10:30 p.m.
The Regional Arts Commission
6128 Delmar Blvd., across from The Pageant in the Delmar Loop
Tickets available on BrownPaperTicket.com https://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/3454123
info@stlshakespeare.org
314-361-5664

Director: Donna Northcott, First of Her Name

What It’s About: Join us for a wacky evening of sex (sorta), violence (ouch!), nudity (kinda), cussing ($#!%), dragons, shadow demons, White Walkers, kings, queens, weddings, and deaths. Lots and lots of deaths!

“Hedda Gabler”

Stray Dog Theatre
June 7 – 23
Thursday – Saturday at 8 p.m.; 2 p.m. Sunday, June 17
Tower Grove Abbey
2336 Tennessee
www.straydogtheatre.org
314 – 865-1995

What It’s About: A masterpiece of modern theatre, “Hedda Gabler” exposes a powerful and reckless heroine who finds herself stranded in the seemingly ordinary but dangerously imbalanced Victorian Era. Employing methods that define the modern psychological drama, the plot stealthily reveals the bitter conflicts and thwarted longings that lie just below the civilized interactions of daily life and unflinchingly leads us to a shocking but inevitable conclusion.

Director:

Cast: Ben Ritchie, Nicole Angeli, Stephen Peirick, Rachel Hanks, John Reidy

“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.

Director:

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.

“Jerome Robbins’ Broadway”

The Muny
June 11 – 17, 8:15 p.m. each evening
www.muny.org

What It’s About: A 1989 anthology of musical numbers from shows that were either directed or choreographed by Jerome Robbins. The shows represented are “Billion Dollar Baby,” “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum,” “Gypsy,” “High Button Shoes,” “The King and I,” “Fiddler on the Roof,” “On the Town,” “Peter Pan,” and “West Side Story.”

Director: Cynthia Onrubia, with production supervision by Chris Bailey and music direction by Michael Horsley.

Cast: Rob McClure (The Setter/Emcee/Pa/Tevye/Floy), Sarah Bowden (Claire/Tuptim/Fruma Sarah/Mama Crook), Peter Chursin (King Simon), Gabriel Cytron (Michael), Alexa De Barr (Maria/Monotony Soloist), Jess Fry (Angel/George), Leeds Hill (Ozzie), Sarah Marie Jenkins (Peter Pan), Cole Joyce (John), Maggie Lakis (Ma/Golde), Jenny Powers (Hildy/Monotony Singer), Drew Redington (Chip), Sean Rozanski (Bernardo/Monotony Soloist Trombone), Garen Scribner (Gaby/Tony/Monotony Clarinet), Elizabeth Teeter (Wendy), Tanairi Vazquez (Anita), Davis Wayne (Riff) and Erica Wong (Eliza).

Of Note: The Muny opens its centennial season with this Tony-winning show, its first production ever in the world since its original Broadway and national tour productions.

There are 50 people in the cast.

“Late Night Catechism”

The Playhouse @Westport
June 7 – 17
Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m.
Wednesday and Sunday at 2 p.m., Saturday at 4 p.m.

Ticket: www.metrotix.com or 314-534-1111
www.playhouseatwestport.com.

What It’s About: “Late Nite Catechism” is an uproarious piece of theater that takes audience members back – sometimes nostalgically, sometimes fearfully – to the children they once were.  The irrepressible Sister teaches an adult catechism class to a roomful of “students” (the audience). Over the course of the play, Sister goes from benevolent instructor, rewarding the “students” for correct answers with glow-in-the-dark rosaries and laminated saint cards, to authoritative drill sergeant.  These abrupt mood swings are bound to strike a resonant chord with everyone who survived the ups and downs of going to school, with an omniscient authoritarian at the helm.

Cast: Mary F. Zentmyer

“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. He will be present at the 6 p.m. performance June 16 and participate in a talkback afterwards.

On June 7 and 14, admission is Pay with a Can – non-perishable food items or cash donation.

“Madagascar: A Musical Adventure”
Stages St. Louis – Theatre for Young Audiences
June 19 – July 1
Robert G. Reim Theatre, Kirkwood Community Center
111 S. Geyer Road, Kirkwood
www.stagesstlouis.org
(314) 821 – 2407
What It’s About: Take a journey out of the Central Park Zoo and onto an enchanted desert isle with your favorite crack-a-lackin’ friends from the DreamWorks blockbuster film, “Madagascar.” Join Alex the Lion, Marty the Zebra, Melman the Giraffe, Gloria the hip-hip Hippo, and, of course, mad King Julien for a musical adventure of a lifetime.

Filled with gut-busting laughs galore, rockin’ dance moves, and an upbeat up-to-the-minute score that includes “Move It, Move It,” exploring a brave new world was never so much ridiculous fun!

“Orfeo & Euridice”


Opera Theatre of St. Louis
June 9 – 21
Loretto-Hilton Center, 130 Edgar Road
Tickets: 314-961-0644
www.experienceopera.org

What It’s About: What would you do if you lost your soulmate? For Orfeo, the answer is simple: Get her back – even if it means traveling to the underworld. He braves every challenge, armed with nothing more than his music and his devotion. Little does he realize that his greatest obstacle will ultimately be his own passion. As a myth, it’s a celebration of love and of music’s transcendent power.

Director: Ron Daniels

Cast: Jennifer Johnson Cano, Andriana Chuchman, Maria Valdes

Of Note: Special collaboration with The Big Muddy Dance Company

All performances are sung in English with projected English text.

“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, Melody Wilson

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

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.

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.

“Rumours”
Monroe Actors Stage Company
June 8, 9, 14, 15, 16 at 7:30 p.m., and June 17 at 2 p.m.
Capitol Theatre, Waterloo, Ill.
Tickets: 618-939-7469

What It’s About: Neil Simon’s comedy is about an anniversary party that goes horribly awry. Charlie Brock, deputy mayor of New York City, and his wife, Myra, are hosting a dinner party for their friends, but Charlie has shot himself in the ear, and his wife isn’t anywhere to be found, so discovers the first guests to arrive, Chris and Ken Gorman. As other couples arrive, a cover-up begins.

Director: Warren Frank

Cast: Gary Baum, Stacey Tunnicliff, Krista Wheatley, Lauren Keck, Zachary Thompson, Ray Shea, Monica Lemay, Shawn Kyle, Arron Martel, Heather Hemmer

“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.

“The Wiz”

The Muny
June 19 – 25
Nightly at 8:15 p.m., Forest Park
www.muny.org

What It’s About: This is a new version of the Tony-winning 1975 musical. Based on L. Frank Baum’s 1900 nostalgic classic, “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz,” this re-imagined winner of seven Tony Awards sparkles has a mix of soul, gospel and rock rhythms.

Director: Denis Jones

Starring: Nathan Lee Graham (The Wiz), Jared Grimes (Scarecrow) and James T. Lane (Tinman), are Danyel Fulton (Dorothy), Darius de Haas (Lion), E. Faye Butler (Addaperle/Evillene), Demetria McKinney (Glinda) and Nessa (Toto).

Of Note: “The Wiz” has only been at The Muny one other time, in 1982.

New book by Amber Ruffin, who has been an Emmy-nominated writer and performer on “Late Night with Seth Meyers” since 2014. She has been working with “The Wiz” original book writer, William F. Brown, on The Muny production, with the full support of Charles Michael Smalls, son of Charlie Smalls, who wrote the music and lyrics for most of the songs.

Camille A. Brown is the choreographer, and Darryl Archibalt the music director.

“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, Kimi Short 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.

Kotis will attend the Friday, June 15 performance.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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