By Lynn Venhaus
Having a “staycation” in the ‘Lou? Well you can journey to Dublin, London, ancient Greece, New York City – either the Plaza or a fantastical ‘50s Broadway, small town Bomont, Texas; Naples, Fla.; on the road in “Gypsy” or Rydell High School in wherever you want it to be.
Classic dramas, comedies and musicals are on stages this week, and a few debuts – Lynn Flaherty and Stephen Ahrens’ “A Man of No Importance” is a St. Louis premiere from R-S Theatrics while “Matilda” the musical is a regional premiere at the Muny.
Whatever you are in the mood for, Go See a Play!
SATE and ERA
Aug. 14 – 31 (Wednesday – Saturday) at 8 p.m.
6238 Alexander Drive, St Louis
Tickets: Brown Paper or box office
What It’s About: For the third production of its Season of Ritual, SATE is collaborating with ERA to co-produce Antigone: requiem per Patriarchus; a fresh perspective on the Sophocles classic workshopped in a collaboration between Saint Louis University Theatre and Prison Performing Arts. Antigone explores themes of fidelity, citizenship, civil disobedience, and the struggles and consequences the characters within the world of the play encounter as a result of their choices
Director: Lucy Cashion
Starring: Alicen Moser, Ellie Schwetye, Laura Hulsey, Miranda Jagels Félix, Natasha Toro, Taleesha Caturah and Victoria Thomas, with Marcy Ann Wiegert providing live percussion accompaniment.
Of Note: In 2017, Prison Performing Arts began a collaboration with St. Louis University Department of Fine and Performing Arts. Lucy Cashion, Assistant Professor of Theatre and ERA Artistic Director, and PPA Director of Youth Programs and SATE Artistic Director Rachel Tibbetts, taught weekly poetry, playwriting, and development workshops with PPA participants at Women’s Eastern Reception, Diagnostic, and Correctional Center in Vandalia, Mo.
The group studied, explored, and wrote about the Ancient Greek Princess Antigone. Antigone’s story of fighting civic law to obey divine law became famous in the Classical Greek tragedy “Antigone,” which premiered in Athens in 441 B.C. Since then, scholars, poets, and playwrights have written their own translations, adaptations, and critiques of the Antigone story, each from a different point of view. The continuation of this tradition resulted in a new version of “Antigone,” which was performed in October 2017 by SLU theatre majors in St. Louis and then with a performance by PPA participants at WERDCC in March 2018. The collaboration now continues with this ERA/SATE co-production in St. Louis.
photography by Joey Rumpell.
“Assisted Living: The Musical”
The Playhouse at Westport
Performances are Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at 2 p.m., Friday at 7:30 p.m., Saturdays at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., and Sundays at 2 p.m.
Tickets may be purchased through MetroTix at www.metrotix.com or by calling 314-534-1111. Tickets are also available at the Playhouse box office one hour prior to show time. Groups of 10 or more should call 314-402-2430 for special rates. For more information, visit www.playhouseatwestport.com
What It’s About: Betsy Bennett and Rick Compton, who wrote it, play 18 different characters who live in a senior living community, Pelican Roost, in Naples, Fla.
The Hawthorne Players
Aug. 2-3, 9-11
Florissant Civic Center Theatre
What It’s About: The musical is based on the 1984 movie, “Footloose,” and features some of those songs: “Let’s Hear It for the Boy,” “Almost Paradise,” “Holding Out for a Hero” and the title song. The dance-heavy show is about a new kid in town who clashes with the town minister after he learns dancing and rock music is not allowed.
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.
“Guys and Dolls”
Stray Dog Theatre
Aug. 8 – 24
Thursday through Saturday at 8 p.m., with additional performances at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 18, and 8 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 24.
Tower Grove Abbey, 2336 Tennessee
What It’s About: “Guys & Dolls” takes us from the heart of Depression-era Times Square, to the cafés of Havana, and into the sewers of New York City to give us what some have called the perfect musical comedy. This timeless tale follows ruthless gamblers, sexy nightclub performers, and the hot-tempered law enforcers who keep them all in line.
Director: Gary F. Bell, with Jennifer Buchheit music director and Mike Hodges choreographer
Starring: Jayde Mitchell, Kevin O’Brien, Sarah Rae Womack, Angela Bubash, Mike Wells
Summerstage and Holland St. James Entertainment
Aug. 9 – 11
Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m., Sunday at 2 p.m.
Granite City High School
What It’s About: Loosely based on Gypsy Rose Lee’s memoirs, a controlling ‘stage mom’ pushes her daughters into a show business life on the road.
Director: Amy Holland Pennell
Starring: Beverley Scroggins, Amy Holland Pennell, Mark Lull, Mark Moore, Margaret London Kimble
“A Man of No Importance”
Aug. 9 – 25
Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., Sunday at 7 p.m.
3310 Samuel Shepard Drive in Grand Center
What It’s About: The show has music by Stephen Flaherty, lyrics by Lynn Ahrens and a book by Terrence McNally, based on the 1994 Albert Finney film, of the same title. It tells the story of an amateur theatre group in Dublin and their leader, who is determined to stage a version of Salome at his church, despite the objections of church authorities.
Aug. 5 – 11
Nightly at 8:15 p.m.
Forest Park outdoor stage
What It’s About: Adapted from the 1988 Roald Dahl
children’s book, “Matilda” champions the kindhearted. The heroine is a
precocious and intelligent 5-year-old who discovers her surprising powers,
finds an adult ally when she is surrounded by evil ones, and triumphs over the greedy
and wicked in a boarding school setting.
Director: John Tartaglia
Starring: Beth Malone (Miss Trunchbull), Conforti (Matilda), Laura Michelle Kelly (Miss Honey), Ann Harada (Mrs. Wormwood), Josh Grisetti (Mr. Wormwood) and Darlesia Cearcy (Mrs. Phelps). The ensemble features Maya Bowles, Colby Dezelick, Sean Ewing, Ryan Fitzgerald, Berklea Going, Trevor Michael Schmidt, Gabi Stapula and Sharrod Williams, as well as The Muny Kid and Teen youth ensemble.
Act Two Theatre
July 31 – Aug. 11
St. Peters Cultural Arts Centre at 1 St Peters Centre Blvd.
What It’s About: Neil Simon wrote three one-acts that all take place at The Plaza Hotel in NYC.
Karen Nash – Amanda McMichael
Sam Nash – Lance Begnaud
Jean McCormack – Gabby Rivera
Jesse Kiplinger – Jake Decker
Muriel Tate – Laura Gibbons
Norma Hubley – Nancy Lubowitz
Roy Hubley – Bill Blanke
Bordon Eisler – Travis McIntyre
Mimsey Hubley – Janelle Klos
Waiter – Sage Russell
Bellhop – Ryan Elizondo
Hotel Staff – Luke Anderson and Mabel McGuire