Go See a Play! What’s Happening June 27 – July 3

By Lynn Venhaus
Managing Editor
As June winds down, several shows end their runs, so this is the final weekend for the Opera Theatre of St. Louis repertoire, Stages St. Louis’ opening show “The Boy from Oz” and their theater for young audiences 101 Dalmatians” and Circus Flora.

The Q Collective, Max and Louie Productions, SIUE, O’Fallon Theatre Works and Ozark Actors Theatre offer their second weekend of a summer shows. So, it’s the last chance.

This weekend is also the seventh annual Grand Center Theatre Crawl, with 24 theater companies presenting short works Friday night and Saturday afternoon and evening.

It’s also the opening of only two regional shows, “The Revolutionists,” with its all-female cast, presented by Insight Theatre Company at The Marcelle, and a youth production of “The Addams Family” by Gateway Center for the Performing Arts.

The Muny offers “1776” for only the fourth time since 1972, and not since 1999, perfect for the week leading up to Independence Day.

Then, theater, like many Americans, will be taking a holiday break. Until then, Go See a Play!

Here’s the line-up:

“101 Dalmatians”
Stages St. Louis
Theatre for Young Audiences
June 18 – 30
Robert Reim Theatre, 111 S. Geyer Road

What It’s About: Condensed from the Disney animated film, “101 Dalmatians” is about the evil Cruella DeVil and her two klutzy henchmen as they trey to steal a litter of the cutest puppies ever to hit jolly old London Town. But not to worry – thus fur-raising adventure ends happily with plenty of puppy power to spare!

Director/Choreographer: Peggy Taphorn

Starring: Tyler Jent, Eric Michael Parker, Larissa White, Drew Humphrey, Dena DiGiacinto, Laura Ernst, Ryan Cooper, Joshua Roach

The Muny
June 27 – July 3, 8:15 p.m.
Forest Park stage

What It’s About: With the American Revolution underway, a nation’s independence is ready to be claimed. The three-time Tony Award-winning “1776 “sets ablaze the historic signing of the Declaration of Independence and illuminates the personalities, passions and compromises that created a nation.

Director: Rob Ruggiero, with music direction by James Moore and choreography by Enrique Brown

Starring: Robert Petkoff (John Adams), Adam Heller (Benjamin Franklin) Keith Hines (Thomas Jefferson), Jenny Powers (Abigail Adams) and Ali Ewoldt (Martha Jefferson).

Additional members of the Continental Congress include George Abud (James Wilson), Ryan Andes (Richard Henry Lee), Reed Armstrong (Dr. Lyman Hall), Patrick Blindauer (Samuel Chase), Harry Bouvy (Andrew McNair), Dean Christopher (Joseph Hewes), Bobby Conte Thornton (Edward Rutledge), Ben Davis (John Dickinson), J.D. Daw (Robert Livingston), Gary Glasgow (Charles Thomson), Philip Hoffman (Caesar Rodney), Michael Thomas Holmes (George Read), Joneal Joplin (Stephen Hopkins), Brian Keane (Col. Thomas McKean), Benjamin Love (A Leather Apron), Larry Mabrey (Lewis Morris), Ben Nordstrom (Dr. Josiah Bartlett), Rich Pisarkiewicz (Painter), Alex Prakken (Courier), Michael James Reed (John Hancock), Greg Roderick (Roger Sherman) and Jerry Vogel (Rev. John Witherspoon).

“The Addams Family”
Gateway Center for the Performing Arts
June 28-30
Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m., Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m.
Emerson Theatre, Harris-Stowe University

Rachel Tibbetts

 “As You Like It”
Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville
June 21 – 30
Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m., Sunday at 2 p.m.
Metcalf Theatre

What It’s About: The theatrical and enchanting Shakespeare that you have come to expect from SIUE Summer Theater continues; this beloved romantic comedy moves from the magical Forest of Arden to the mysterious 1920’s Ozark forests, complete with original, Old-Time Tunes. Our hero Rosalind, finding herself on the run from the evils of the city with her best friend Celia and her philosophical fool Touchstone, disguises herself as a young man and begins a journey of self-discovery. Falling in love and learning who you are by “acting the part” are the heart of this classic tale of romance and reconciliation.

Director: Ellie Schwetye

“The Boy from Oz”
May 31 – June 30
Stages St. Louis
Robert G. Reim Theatre, Kirkwood Community Center
111 S. Geyer Road, Kirkwood

What It’s About: Dazzling and hilarious as the legendary Peter Allen himself, THE BOY FROM OZ follows the Australian singer-songwriter from his humble beginnings performing in backcountry pubs to his international stardom beside such Hollywood icons as Judy Garland and her daughter Liza Minnelli.

Director: Michael Hamilton

Starring: David Elder as Peter Allen, Sarah Ellis as Liza Minnelli, Zach Trimmer as Greg Connell, Corinne Melancon as Marion Woolnough, Michele Ragusa as Judy Garland, Brad Frenette as George Woolnough, Steve Isom as Dick Woolnough, Erik Keiser as Chris Bell, Nic Thompson as Mark Herron, Ben Iken and Simon Desilets as Young Peter, Lydia Ruth Dawson, Bryn Purvis and Madison Tinder as Trio, Frankie Thams as Trick, Nathanial Burich as Dealer and Ashley Chasteen as Alice. Ensemble includes Kari Ely and Caleb Dicke.

The Caper on Aisle 6”
Circus Flora
June 7 – June 30
Big Top Tent in Grand Center (air-conditioned)

What It’s About: A trip to the grocery store is a place of intrigue and excitement when an ancient and powerful substance, long thought to be gone from the Earth, is found in the unlikeliest of places: aisle six of the local grocery store. What secrets does aisle six hold, and what adventures will it set in motion?

“The Coronation of Poppea”
Opera Theatre of St. Louis
June 9 – 28
Loretto-Hilton Center, 135 Edgar Road

What It’s About: The fight for the throne is never dignified. Poppea will stop at nothing to become Empress, no matter who she has to blackmail, betray, or kill. And Emperor Nero, who is infatuated with Poppea, is not thinking with his head. Separately, they’re bad enough. Together, they will turn Rome upside down. Sexy, bloodthirsty, and unapologetic, this opera is the best kind of political thriller.

Of Note: The opera runs 2 hours and 50 minutes with one intermission and is performed in English with English supertitles.

 “Fire Shut Up My Bones”
Opera Theatre of St. Louis
June 15 – June 29
Loretto-Hilton Center

What It’s About: When Charles discovers that his cousin has returned to his Louisiana hometown, he races home from college to confront his past. Memories and shadows surround Charles as he strives to move beyond a cycle of violence and forge a brave new path.

Of Note: Writers are Terence Blanchard, composer of OTSL’s sold-out hit “Champion,” teams up with screenwriter Kasi Lemmons (“Eve’s Bayou”) for a haunting, powerful, and tender coming-of age story inspired by a memoir celebrated as “stunning” (Essence), “riveting” (Chicago Tribune), and “exquisite” (The New York Times).

The opera runs approximately two hours and 25 minutes with one intermission and is performed in English with English supertitles.

“Grand Center Theater Crawl”
St. Louis Public Radio
June 28 and 29
Friday from 7 to 10 p.m., Saturday from 2 to 5 p.m. and 7-10 p.m.
Grand Center Arts District

What It’s About: The seventh annual Theatre Crawl offers free access to performances in and around Grand Center by 24 local theatre companies during a two-day pop-up experience. It’s a chance to get to know the groups shaping St. Louis’ arts scene.

Performances are 15 minutes long, starting every hour and half hour. Audience members will rotate through 19 different venues and each session will include family-friendly performances.

There’s sure to be something for everyone with a mix of musical numbers, select scene performances and improv. Transportation between venues is provided by Paraquad. A program also grants participants access to food specials at certain restaurants located around Grand Center.

Of Note: In 2018, the Theatre Crawl drew a variety of people representing 112 zip codes and 13 states.

Featured theatre companies Equally Represented Arts, Insight Theatre Company, Slightly Askew Theatre Ensemble, Prison Performing Arts, R-S Theatrics, The Midnight Company, and West End Players Guild.

Sarah Gene Dowling and Luke Steingruby

“Hedwig and the Angry Inch”
The Q Collective
June 20-22 and 27-29; June 30 encore presentation at 8 p.m.
8 p.m. evenings Thursday – Saturday, with additional 10:30 p.m. performance Saturdays
The Monocle, 4510 Manchester in The Grove

What It’s About:  John Cameron Mitchell and Stephen Trask’s groundbreaking, Obie-winning Off-Broadway musical has the internationally ignored song stylist Hedwig Schmidt, herself, tells us her wild life story, as a fourth-wall smashing East German rock ‘n’ roll goddess who also happens to be the victim of a botched sex-change operation. This outrageous and unexpectedly powerful story is dazzlingly performed by Hedwig (née Hansel) in the form of a rock gig/stand-up comedy backed by the hard-rocking band The Angry Inch. It’s a rocking ride, funny, touching, and ultimately inspiring to anyone who has felt life gave them an inch when they deserved a mile.

Director:  Jordan Woods with assistance by Camille Fensterman, music direction by Holly Barber

Starring: Luke Steingruby, Sarah Gene Dowling

Of Note: Thursday through Saturday 8 p.m. shows are sold out.

Max and Louie Productions
June 20-23, June 27-30
Thursdays at 7:30 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., Sundays at 3 p.m.
The Grandel Theatre, 3610 Grandel Square in Grand Center

What It’s About: Winner of numerous awards including an acclaimed Tony-winning run on Broadway, “Indecent” by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Paula Vogel, is the true story of a groundbreaking scandalous play and the courageous artists who risked their careers and lives to perform it. 

Director: Joanne Gordon

Starring: Paul Cereghino – Actor, Zoe Farmingdale – Actor, John Flack – Actor, Katie Karel – Actor, TJ Lancaster – Lemml, the Stage Manager, Judi Mann – Actor, Tim Schall – Actor; ;Musicians Alyssa Avery, Kris Pineda, Jack Thieling

Of Note: Special student discount for tickets. Students can show up at the box office with a Student ID and get $20 tickets June 27-30. $1 facility fee. Cash/check/credit/debit.

“The Marriage of Figaro”
May 25 – June 29
Opera Theatre of St. Louis
Loretto-Hilton Center
135 Edgar Road on Webster University campus
What It’s About: Mozart’s comedy masterpiece is about complicated life at court and how love should always prevail. The maid Susanna is determined to wed her fiancé, Figaro, while the Count is equally determined to add her to his list of conquests. But Susanna and Figaro won’t allow one self-entitled nobleman to ruin their happy ending! They each hatch their own plots to teach their master a lesson. What follows is a whirlwind day of romantic intrigue, cunning schemes, and uproarious fun. The opera runs three hours and ten minutes with one intermission and is sung in English with English supertitles.

“Mary Poppins”
Ozark Actors Theatre
June 13 – June 30
Thursday at 7:30, Friday at 2 and 7:30, Saturday at 7:30, and Sunday at 2 p.m.
701 N. Cedar St., Rolla, MO 65401

What It’s About: She’s practically perfect in every way! Join the world’s most famous nanny as she raises up the Banks children in this musical adaptation of the classic film. Featuring such musical favorites as Chim Chim Cheree, Let’s Go Fly a Kite, Feed the Birds, Spoonful of Sugar, and Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, this show is sure to delight the whole family.

Director: Lee Anne Mathews, with music direction by Titus Kautz and choreography by Illeana Kirven

Starring: Mary Poppins – Pauline Parkhurst; Bert – Quinn Cason; Mr. Banks – Brett Ambler; Mrs. Banks – Mary Baron; Jane Banks – Jersy Stinson;Michael Banks – Charlie Mathis; Admiral Boom/etc – John Contini; and Robertson Ay/Neleus – Colin Stansky.

Ensemble – Jamey Pellegrini, Craig Phillips, Susan Holmes, Carrie Klofach, Illeana Kirven, Amanda Ambler, Hannah Geisz, Jackson Buhr, Nathan Haltiwanger, Christian Boyd, Anna Benoit, Brianna Justine

Of Note: They just completed massive renovations to the beautiful theater, including new floors, walls, bathrooms, stage, concession stand and seats, thanks to a grant. This is the opening show in the new space.

“The Miracle Worker”

O’Fallon Theatre Works
June 21-23 and 28-30
Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m.; Sunday at 2 p.m.
O’Fallon Municipal Centre, 100 Main St., O’Fallon, Mo.

What It’s About: The story of teacher Annie Sullivan’s affect on Helen Keller, blind and deaf after a fever as a baby, which has left her unable to communicate, frustrated and angry. Sullivan is able to get through to her pupil and they form a bond.

“The Revolutionists”
Insight Theatre Company
June 27 – July 14
Thursday through Saturday at 8 p.m., Sunday at 2 p.m.
The Marcelle Theatre in Grand Center

What It’s About: Written by Lauren Gunderson, four beautiful, badass women lose their heads in this irreverent, girl-powered comedy set during the French Revolution’s Reign of Terror. Playwright Olympe de Gouges, assassin Charlotte Corday, former queen (and fan of ribbons) Marie Antoinette, and Haitian rebel Marianne Angelle hang out, murder Marat, and try to beat back the extremist insanity in 1793 Paris. This grand and dream-tweaked comedy is about violence and legacy, art and activism, feminism and terrorism, compatriots and chosen sisters, and how we actually go about changing the world. It’s a true story. Or total fiction. Or a play about a play. Or a raucous resurrection…that ends in a song and a scaffold.

Director: Trish Brown

Starring: Sam Auch, Kimmie Kidd, Laurie McConnell, Jenni Ryan

Opera Theatre of St. Louis
June 1 – June 30
8 p.m.
Loretto-Hilton Center
135 Edgar Road

What It’s About: Verdi’s powerful “Rigoletto” is a tale of innocence lost, wrenchingly poignant and all too human, presented in English with English supertitles. Rigoletto is a bitter court jester who serves the Duke of Mantua, a lecherous womanizer. Together, they are despised throughout the city. But alone, Rigoletto is all tenderness when it comes to his innocent young daughter, Gilda. Little does he know that an ominous curse is about to take its toll. When the Duke seduces Gilda, only to then abandon her, the enraged father swears vengeance.

“The Selfish Giant”
Christ Memorial Productions
June 28 – 30
Friday and Saturday at 7:30 pm and Sunday at 2:30 pm

What It’s About: This narrated retelling of the endearing story will feature physical arts including mime, dance, gymnastics and other circus arts, and it is set to powerful orchestration by composer Dan Goeller.

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