Go See a Play: What’s Happening June 21 – 27

Summertime, and the theater is busy, indoors and out!

Last chance to see “Romeo and Juliet” for free in Shakespeare Glen, the Opera Theatre of St. Louis’s festival season’s four major productions, Act Inc.’s “Blithe Spirit,” New Line Theatre’s “Yeast Nation” and Stray Dog Theatre’s “Hedda Gabler.”

For a quick run-through of Shakespeare, there is the “Abridged Works” by Bankside Rep in Alton that opens this weekend, and another parody by Magic Smoking Monkey Theatre takes on “Game of Thrones.”

Stages is fielding two shows – their theater for young audiences show, “Madagascar” and the two-cast two-person musical ‘I Do! I Do!” The Muny has a brand-new “The Wiz,” with “Singin’ in the Rain” in the wings. Judy Garland gets the dramatic treatment in “End of the Rainbow” and hard-hitting “26 Pebbles” is here for a few performances that are free.

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 collaborating with the University of Central Oklahoma and the deeply committed work of director Emily Heugatter to bring “26 Pebbles” to St. Louis for five free performances.

The play is based on more than 60 interviews with Newtown community residents after the massacre of 20 first graders and six educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Of Note: 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.

Donations will be accepted.

In addition to each post-show conversation, Moms Demand Action will be onsite to provide more information.

The production is suitable for ages 12+ because of the subject matter.

Dates and Locations:

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.

“The Complete Works of William Shakespeare, Abridged (Revised)”

The Bankside Repertory Theatre Company
June 21 – 30
Thursday – Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
The Jacoby Arts Center, 627 E. Broadway in Alton
618-462-5222
www.banksiderep.com

What It’s About: A comedy crash-course on the Bard’s canon, an iambic pentametric delight.

Of Note: For adult audiences.

“End of the Rainbow”

Max and Louie Productions
The Grandel Theatre,
June 21 – July 1
www.maxandlouie.com

What It’s About: One-woman show is set in 1968. Judy Garland is about to make her comeback – again. In a London hotel room, with both her new young fiancé and her adoring accompanist, Garland struggles to get “beyond the rainbow” with her signature cocktail of talent, tenacity and razor-sharp wit.

Featuring some of Garland’s most memorable songs, this savagely funny play-with-music offers unique insight into the inner conflict that inspired and consumed one of the most beloved figures of our time.

Director: David New, with music direction by Thomas Conroy

Starring: Angela Ingersoll as Judy Garland, Kyle Hatley as Mickey Deans, Thomas Conroy as Anthony and Paul Cereghino, playing multiple roles.

Of Note: This is a dramatic play, not a tribute or jukebox musical. Ingersoll is the recipient of numerous awards and nominations, recently earning Chicago’s Jeff Award, a Broadway World Award and “Top Performances” honors from both the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times for her star turn as Judy Garland in “End of the Rainbow” at Porchlight Music Theatre.

“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!

In the ultimate binge-watch, three seasons (sorta) in one hour (give or take). There will be dragons…

Join America’s … or at least St. Louis’ … favorite … or at least, “only” … late-night parody theatre, for their usual short-attention-span shenanigans.

“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.

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: Michael Hamilton

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.

“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.

“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.

“Singin’ in the Rain”
The Muny
June 27 – July 3
Nightly at 8:15 p.m., Forest Park
www.muny.org

What It’s About: Musical adaptation of the classic 1952 movie about ‘talkies’ coming in to the movie business. Songs include the famous title number, “Good Morning,” “Make ‘Em Laugh” and “All I Do Is Dream of You.”

Director: Marc Bruni
Starring: Corbin Bleu, Jeffrey Schecter, Berklea Going

“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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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