By Lynn Venhaus
As the month winds down and students are back at school, local theater is offering several shows that you can learn from, no matter what your interest.
The only new show this weekend is “Wit” by Alpha Players of Florissant, and there are only three performances.
The classic American musical “Guys and Dolls” wraps up its run at Stray Dog Theatre, so does the little-known “A Man of No Importance” by R-S Theatrics and the local premiere of ‘Glory Denied” at Union Avenue Opera, concluding their 25th season. The original musical “Madam” by Colin Healy has two more performances in Hannibal, Mo., and then will be presented in St. Louis in January.
The new all-female spin on the ancient Greek tragedy “Antigone: Requiem per Patriachus” continues at The Chapel, so if you like seeing something different, check it out.
Whatever you do during summer’s swan song, go see a play!
“Antigone: Requiem per Patriarchus”
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.
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
Please call (314) 827-5760, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Union Avenue Opera
Aug. 16-17 and Aug. 23-24 at 8 p.m.
Union Avenue Christian Church
733 Union at Enright
What It’s About: America’s longest-held prisoner of war dreams of coming home. But home is a place he will not recognize. Follow the gut-wrenching saga of Col. Jim Thompson as he transitions from the jungles of Southeast Asia to the tree-lined streets of suburban America. This true story explores the unimaginable bravery asked of soldiers and the nature of home itself. It is a story of a nation divided and a country that changed significantly in the decade of his imprisonment.
Of Note: The opera is sung in English with projected English text.
Each night following the performance, UAO will host an intimate talk-back session with members of the artistic team and cast, including special guest, Tom Cipullo, the composer and director Dean Anthony following the opening night performance (Aug. 16).
“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
Starring: Jayde Mitchell, Kevin O’Brien, Sarah Rae Womack, Angela Bubash, Mike Wells
Bluff City Theatre
Aug. 15 – 24
Bluff City Theater, 212 Broadway, Hannibal, Mo
What It’s About: Eliza Haycraft is dying and hates men. She is owner of five brothels and the richest woman in the city of St. Louis who once empowered her employees by giving them the right to refuse service to anyone, but while the passage of The Social Evils Act of 1870 made her business legitimate, it also took away her right to say “no.”
“Madam!” is a new musical based loosely on real events that tells the story of her search for an heir to her sex empire while also taking a romp through first-wave feminism and sexism in America during Reconstruction told through the lens of Eliza’s courtesans. The music, lyrics and book are by Colin Healy.
Director: Sydnie Grosberg-Ronga
Starring: Rosemary Watts, Kimmie Kidd, Eileen Engel, Larissa White, Gracie Sartin, Camerone Pille and Brett Ambler.
“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.
Director: Christina Rios
Starring: Mark Kelley, Kellen Green, Kent Coffel, Stephanie Merritt, Marshall Jennings, Jennifer Theby-Quinn, Jodi Stockton, Dustin Allison, Michael B. Perkins, Lindy Elliott, Nancy Nigh, Kay Love and Curtis Moeller
Alpha Players of Florissant
Aug. 23-24, Friday at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Florissant Civic Center
Box Office: 314-921-5678
What It’s About: Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, “Wit” is a play that simply needs to be experienced. The journey taken in Wit is one of beauty, pain, humor, poetry, and above all, what it is to be human. Vivian Bearing is a genius level intellect who has gotten very far using only her search for knowledge and her sheer force of will. She is a wonderfully complex and beautifully stubborn character. When Vivian is diagnosed with ovarian cancer she must learn the value of kindness and compassion, that sometimes knowledge is not enough, and that there are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in her philosophy. “Wit” is a show that will stay with you long after the final curtain.”
Director: Danny Brown
Starring: Susan Volkan, Gabriel Beckerle, Tim Callahan, Kathy Fugate, Joel Brown, Kate Weber, Lisa Hinrichs, Kyliah Thompson.
Of Note: Donations will be accepted for St. Louis Ovarian Cancer Awareness