By Lynn Venhaus
Spring has sprung, with many to-dos on your list. So, what play are you going to see this weekend/week?
From college theater productions to intimate dramas to touring musicals, you have a variety of offerings. Celebrate art in any season! Go See a Play!
“Are U R?”
Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville
What It’s About: Based on the 1920 Czech play, “R.U.R.” by Karel Cepak, this original SIUE adaptation is an irreverent and provocative mash-up of humor and horror, philosophy and presents From Metropolis to The Matrix, from Brave New World to Westworld, humans are obsessed with the possibility of intelligent machines and the all the questions that they inspire – What is the mind? What is consciousness? And what will it look like when smart technology turns against its creators? and science/fiction, pop culture and faith that explores the nature of artificial intelligence and human consciousness.
“From Jimmy, to America: An Ode to James Baldwin”
University of Missouri at St. Louis
April 27 and 28
Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.
Touhill Performing Arts Center
What It’s About: Through the words of James Baldwin, this production explores race, identity, and America. In collaboration with Nu-World Contemporary Danse Theatre, actors and dancers explore our racial identity through the works, words, and musicality of James Baldwin.
University Theatre at Saint Louis University
8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday
The Grandel Theatre, 3610 Grandel Square
Tickets available at the door
What It’s About: This is the 2012 retelling of the Stephen Schwartz musical, which is based on the gospel of St. Matthew, that features new arrangements and contemporary references as it takes us on a rousing journey through the parables of Jesus.
Director: Stephanie Tennill
“The Laramie Project”
St. Charles Community College
SCC Center Stage Theatre in the Donald D. Shook Fine Arts Building
4601 Mid Rivers Mall Drive in Cottleville, Mo.
What It’s About: This gripping play concerns Americans’ reaction to the hate-crime murder of a young gay man, Matthew Shepard. In October of 1998, Shepard was kidnapped, severely beaten, and left to die in Laramie, Wyoming. Moisés Kaufman and the Tectonic Theater went to Laramie and conducted more than 200 interviews about the event, from which they wrote this play.
Director: Samantha Stavely
Cast: David Amrhein, Rachel Bohn, Jim Dishian, Jordan Dennis, Johnny Dishian, Andrew Edmonston, Dane Harris, Jasminn Jones, Jacob Krznar, Kat Leffler, Amanda May, Travis McIntyre, Angela McNeil, Mia Millican, Joshua David Neighbors, Mia Politte, Gabby Rivera, Braden Stille, Graham Woodward and Peggy Woodward.
“A Midsummer Night’s Dream”
R-S Theatrics and Three Blind Pigs
Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 5 p.m.
William Kerr Foundation
21 O’Fallon Street, North St. Louis
What It’s About: One of Shakespeare’s most beloved comedies, you’ll see lovers’ spats, clueless actors, and a fairy queen.
Of Note: Shake38 may be gone, but Blind Pigs’ partnership with R-S Theatrics lives on
April 23-May 5
What It’s About: National tour of acclaimed revival, from the creators of “Les Miserables.” Based on the Puccini opera “Madame Butterfly,” this is the story of a young Vietnamese woman named Kim who is orphaned by war and forced to work in a bar run by a notorious character known as the Engineer. There she meets and falls in love with an American G.I. named Chris, but they are torn apart by the fall of Saigon. For 3 years, Kim goes on an epic journey of survival to find her way back to Chris, who has no idea he’s fathered a son. Featuring stunning spectacle and a sensational cast of 42 performing the soaring score, including Broadway hits like “The Heat is On in Saigon,” “The Movie in My Mind,” “Last Night of the World” and “American Dream.”
“Never Let Go: A One-Woman Titanic
April 18-20 at The Monocle, Emerald Room, 8 p.m.
April 26-27 at The Improv Shop, 3960 Chouteau, 10 p.m.
What It’s About: Twenty-four years ago, Rose ‘Dawson’ miraculously survived the sinking of the Titanic. But her lover, Jack Dawson, did not, and she is not over it. Despite her grief, she’s pursuing her dream of becoming an Academy Award nominated actress. In this production, Rose pitches the idea of turning her story into a work of theatre, or even a motion picture, to an audience of potential producers and investors. She shifts seamlessly from past and present, often without warning, and artistically, and maybe somewhat insanely, blurs the distinction between reality and imagination. Join us for the maiden voyage of your life and never let go!
Starring: Rachel Tibbetts
Playwrights: Will Bonfiglio and Lucy Cashion
Stage Manager and Dramaturg: Miranda Jagels-Felix
Designers: Morgan Fisher and Bess Moynihan
“Salt, Root and Roe”
April 26 – May 12
Shows at 8 p.m. except Sundays at 7 p.m. but May 12 at 2 p.m.
Kranzberg Arts Center
What It’s About: Tim Price’s play is about the nature of change, the comfort of home and the eternal bond of love, set against the mythical backdrop of the Pembrokeshire coast in western Wales. Identical twins Iola and Anest, who are devoted to age other and aging fast. Anest’s daughter, Menna, rushes to her long-abandoned childhood home where her own ideas of love and compromise are tested to the limit.
Director: Kenn McLaughlin
Cast: Donna Weinsting, Sally Edmundson, Eric Dean White, Amy Loui
Of Note: A U.S. premiere in co-production with Stages Repertory Theatre of Houston. New at Upstream is “Bohemian Thursday” – all tickets $10 May 2 only.
Clinton County Showcase
April 26-28 & May 3-5
Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m.
Avon Theater, 525 N. Second St., Breese, Ill.
What It’s About: Adaptation of classic comedy film, “Monty Python and the Holy Grail,” the Tony-Award winning musical retells the legend of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table.
The Black Mirror Theatre
April 25 – May 4
Thursday – Saturday at 7:30 p.m., Sunday at 2 p.m.
.Zack, 3224 Locust
What It’s About: Brien Friel’s “Translations” is an intimate look into a world at odds with itself. It could have been set in one of any number of eras and lands – anywhere in which an alien force imposes its culture on a conquered people through the suppression of all that which gave and gives that culture cohesion, especially its language. One needs to look no farther than America, where indigenous peoples still struggle to maintain and transmit their values, beliefs, their souls thru their native tongues.
“Tuesdays with Morrie”
April 24-May 5
Act Two Theatre
St. Peters Cultural Arts Centre
What It’s About: The autobiographical story of Mitch Albom, an accomplished journalist driven solely by his career, and Morrie Schwartz, his former college professor. Sixteen years after graduation, Mitch happens to catch Morrie’s appearance on a television news program and learns that his old professor is battling Lou Gehrig’s Disease. Mitch is reunited with Morrie, and what starts as a simple visit turns into a weekly pilgrimage and a last class in the meaning of life.
Director: Nancy Crouse
Cast: Paul James as Morrie Schwartz, Rich Loughridge as Mitch Albom
April 4 – 28
St. Louis Actors’ Studio
Thursdays through Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m.
The Gaslight Theatre, 358 N. Boyle
What It’s About: This American classic by Sam Shepard explores
alternatives that might spring from the demented terrain of the California
landscape. Sons of a desert-dwelling alcoholic and a suburban wanderer clash
over a film script. Austin, the achiever, is working on a script he has sold to
producer Sal Kimmer when Lee, a demented petty thief, drops in. He pitches his
own idea for a movie to Kimmer, who then wants Austin to junk his bleak, modern
love story and write Lee’s trashy Western tale.
Director: William Whitaker
Cast: Isaiah Di Lorenzo, William Humphrey, William Roth, Susan Kopp