Go See a Play! What’s Happening July 18-24

By Lynn Venhaus
Managing Editor
Kick off your Sunday shoes and dance up a storm! “Grease” opens at Stages St. Louis and “Footloose the Musical” is at The Muny, with the actor who originated the role of Ren on Broadway as Rev. Shaw Moore. Two productions of “Mamma Mia!” are performing their final leg at SIUE and Take Two Productions.

“Amelie: A New Musical” opens at the Actors’ Attic in Columbia, Ill., while the Riverbend Youth Group put up “The Drowsy Chaperone” at Alton High School.

The second set of new plays in the LaBute New Theater Festival opens, Joel PE King produces his one-man show, “A Deeper Shade of Blues” and First Run Theater offers two plays. Encore has a double feature of “A Raisin in the Sun” and “Clybourne Park.”

The Magic Smoking Monkey Theatre wing of St. Louis Shakespeare spoofs the spooky “Jaws” the next two weekends.

So, cut loose with a show. Go See a Play!

“Amelie: A New Musical”
Actors’ Attic
July 18-21
Thursday – Saturday at 7 p.m., Sunday at 2 p.m.
Columbia Middle School

“A Deeper Shade of Blues”
July 19-20
JPEK CreativeWorks Theatre
Friday at 8 p.m. and Saturday at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m.
3224 Locust St.
Tickets: MetroTix.com or 314-534-1111 or .Zack box office opens 1 hour before showtime

What It’s About: “A Deeper Shade of Blues” is a two-act, one-man show interwoven through music, dance, and monologue presentations.  Depicting a historical journey of trials and triumph while “Being Black in America.”

Director/Writer/Star: Joel PE King

A Dream Deferred Double Feature: Lorraine Hansberry’s drama “A Raisin in the Sun” and the Bruce Norris comedy “Clybourne Park”
Saturday, July 20
“A Raisin in the Sun” at 2:30 p.m. and “Clybourne Park” at 7:30 p.m.
 The Fellowship, 3453 S. Jefferson.
Tickets: www.eventbrite.com

What It’s About: “A Raisin in the Sun” tells the story of the Youngers, a burdened but strong family consisting of a widowed Mother, a bright and lively college student daughter and a less than satisfied with life son who houses his wife and child in his mother’s cramped one bedroom apartment in 1959 South Chicago. A seemingly perfect opportunity for the family members to advance on each of their dreams comes in the form of a $10,000 life insurance check for the life of the late Mr. Younger. Each has their own plans for the money’s best use but it is ultimately up to Momma (Lena Younger) to decide how the money will be used. Will their dreams flourish with this new seed of hope? Or will the plight of poverty and hopelessness continue to crush and dry them up like a raisin in the sun?

“Clybourne Park” is the 2009 response to the question, ‘What happened to the Youngers after leaving Chicago’s south side?’ Clybourne Park is a political satire that lends the perspective of the White family who sold the Youngers their house in a less than welcoming neighborhood. In the second act, the audience will witness a fast-forward in time to a modern-day conversation between the current homeowners (Younger descendants) and new hopeful White purchasers.

Of Note: Contains adult language and situations.

“The Drowsy Chaperone”
Riverbend Theatre
Alton High School
July 19-21

Mason Reeves as Ren and Eli Mayer as Willard in “Footloose”

“Footloose the Musical”
The Muny
July 18 – 24, evenings at 8:15 p.m.
Forest Park outdoor stage

What It’s About: Based on the 1984 Academy Award-nominated hit movie, “Footloose” is the 1998 Broadway  musical that shows how a little teenage rebellion and a love of music can open hearts and transform a town. Bomont has outlawed dancing and rock music due to a tragedy. But when big city kid Ren McCormack moves there, things start changing. Featuring chart-topping hits “Let’s Hear It for the Boy,” “Holding Out for a Hero,” “Almost Paradise” and the Grammy-nominated title track “Footloose,” this four-time Tony Award-nominated dancing-sensation will have the entire family ready to cut loose.

Director: Christian Borle

Starring: Jeremy Kushnier (Rev. Shaw Moore), Mason Reeves (Ren McCormack), McKenzie Kurtz (Ariel Moore), Heather Ayers (Vi Moore), Darlesia Cearcy (Ethel McCormack), NaTasha Yvette Williams (Lulu Warnicker), Aaron Kaburick (Wes Warnicker), Khailah Johnson (Rusty), Maggie Kuntz (Urleen), Katja Rivera Yanko (Wendy Jo), Andrew Alstat (Chuck Cranston), Eli Mayer (Willard Hewitt), Florrie Bagel (Betty Blast), Rebecca Young (Eleanor Dunbar), Patrick Blindauer (Coach Dunbar), Ben Nordstrom (Cowboy Bob) and Jerry Vogel (Principal Clark)

Sam Harvey as Danny Zuko. Photo by Peter Wochniak

Stages St. Louis
July 19 – Aug 18
Robert G. Reim Theatre at the Kirkwood Community Center, 111 South Geyer Road in Kirkwood

What It’s About: Welcome to Rydell High where Danny Zuko and his gang of Burger Palace Boys and Pink Ladies rule the school! Bursting with explosive energy and 1950’s nostalgia, GREASE blends an irresistible mix of adolescent angst and All-American teen spirit to create a high-octane, pop-culture phenomenon.

Director: Michael Hamilton

Starring: Sam Harvey, Summerisa Bell Stevens, Morgan Cowling, Jessie Corbin, Patrick Mobley, Collin O’Connor, Frankie Thams, Julia Knitel, Lucy Moon and Brooke Shapiro.

“Jaws The Parody: Live!”
St. Louis Shakespeare’s Magic Smoking Monkey Theatre
July 19 – July 27
Friday and Saturday, July 19-20, 8 p.m.
Sunday, July 21, 2 p.m.
Wednesday and Thursday, July 24 and 25, 8 p.m.
Friday and Saturday, July 26 and 27, at 8 p.m. and 10:30 p.m.
 Regional Arts Commission in University City

What It’s About: A spoof of the 1975 movie about the killer shark that terrorized a New England beach community, Amity Island, based on Peter Benchley’s 1974 bestseller.

Director: Donna Northcott

Starring: Ryan Glosemeyer as Chief Brody, James Enstall as Matt Hooper, Rob McLemore as Quint, Shannon Nara as Ellen Brody, Dylan Comer as Mayor Vaughn and playing multiple roles are CeCe Day, Jack Janssen, Maya Kelch, Deanna Massie, Bethany Miscannon, and others.

LaBute New Theater Festival
July 19-28
Thursday through Saturday at 8 p.m., Sunday at 3 p.m.
The Gaslight Theatre
358 N. Boyle, St. Louis
Box Office: www.ticketmaster.com, 800-982-2787; will also be available at the theater box office one hour prior to performances

What It’s About: New previously unproduced one-act play submissions of 45 minutes or less are juried and selected. They must not have more than four characters and be able to

 Six plays were chosen: One group to be performed in the first two weeks of July, the final group in the second two weeks. “Great Negro Works of Art,” a Midwest Premiere from Mr. LaBute, will be performed every night for the run of the festival.

Set 2 includes:

 “Great Negro Works of Art” by Neil LaBute, Directed by John Pierson, starring Carly Rosenbaum and Jaz Tucker

“Predilections” by Richard Curtis, directed by Wendy Renee Greenwood, starring Kim Furlow and Tielere Cheatem

 “Henrietta” by Joseph Krawczyk, directed by Wendy Renee Greenwood, starring Carly Rosenbaum and Chuck Brinkley

“Sisyphus and Icarus a Love story” by William Ivor Fowkes, directed by Wendy Renee Greenwood, starring Colleen Backer, Shane Signorino and Tielere Cheatem

“Mamma Mia!”
Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville
July 12 – 21
Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m.
Dunham Hall Theater, Edwardsville

What It’s About: This smash Broadway hit is a hilarious and touching story of marriage, family and finding where you belong. Set on an idyllic Greek island on the eve of a wedding, the musical follows a mother, her daughter, and three possible dads on an unforgettable trip down the aisle. Mamma Mia! features the greatest hits of supergroup ABBA, including “Super Trouper,” “Lay All Your Love on Me,” “Dancing Queen,” “Waterloo” and more! Come see why more than 54 million people worldwide have laughed and danced to this unforgettable jukebox musical.

Heather Matthews as Donna Sheridan in “Mamma Mia!”

“Mamma Mia”
Take Two Productions
July 12, 13, 18-20 at 7:30 p.m.
Tower Grove Baptist Church
4257 Magnolia

What It’s About: ABBA’s hits tell the hilarious story of a young woman’s search for her birth father. This sunny and funny tale unfolds on a Greek island paradise. On the eve of her wedding, a daughter’s quest to discover the identity of her father brings three men from her mother’s past back to the island they last visited 20 years ago.

Director: Gary Long, with music direction by Nate Jackson and choreography by Jenn Koehne.

Starring: Heather Matthews, Jon Hey, Sarah Polizzi, Mara Bollini, Halle Jackson, Scott Degitz-Fries, Mike Huelsmann, Jack Ryan Petee.

“Overdone” by David Hamley and “Screaming at Optimum Pitch” by Peg Flach
First Run Theatre
July 19 – 28
Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.
Theatre Guild of Webster Groves, 517 Theatre Lane in Webster Groves, Mo.

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