Go See a Play! What’s Happening Sept. 20 – 25

By Lynn Venhaus
Managing Editor
The calendar says Fall is here but the temperature is holding on to summer. As much as there is to do outdoors, there is an explosion of art, love, beauty and conversation on local stages.

Must-see “Angels in America, Parts 1 and 2” are alternating in repertory or paired in a marathon day. Classic musicals are packing fans in — “Man of La Mancha” and not one, but two “Oklahoma!” shows.

It’s the final weekend for the lively and robust “Don’t Bother Me, I Can’t Cope,” which features glorious singing and dancing; “Long Days Journey into Night, which is part of Slaying Dragons’ mission-based work; and the two-person tale “A Model for Matisse.”

“Fifty Words” opened St. Louis Actors’ Studio’s 13th season, this week.

Whatever you do, GO SEE A PLAY.

Ben Cherry and Barrett Foa. Photo by Peter Wochniak

“Angels in America, Part I: Millennium Approaches”
The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis
Sept. 4 – Oct. 4
Loretto-Hilton Center on Webster University campus
314-968-4925
www.repstl.org

What It’s About: A towering epic that unveils new depths with each passing year, Tony Kushner’s Tony- and Pulitzer Prize-winning masterpiece arrives on The Rep’s stage for the first time. The AIDS epidemic is the flashpoint in Kushner’s swirling tapestry of American culture, myths and spirituality. Navigating this maelstrom are Prior Walter, whose prophetic visions lead him toward an uncertain destiny, Joe Pitt, a devout and painfully closeted Mormon, and Roy Cohn, a lawyer whose AIDS diagnosis forces him to face a lifetime of misdeeds. These twin plays’ vision of a wounded and chaotic nation struggling toward redemption is more urgent than ever,

Director: Tony Speciale

Starring: Barrett Foa, Ben Cherry, Peter Frechette, Meredith Baxter,

Of Note: In alternating repertory with “Angels in America, Part II: Perestroika”

Ben Cherry and Barrett Foa. Photo by Jon Gitchoff

“Angels in America, Part Two: Perestroika”
The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis
Sept. 13 – Oct. 4
Loretto-Hilton Center on Webster University campus
314-968-4925
www.repstl.org

What It’s About: A towering epic that unveils new depths with each passing year, Tony Kushner’s Tony- and Pulitzer Prize-winning masterpiece arrives on The Rep’s stage for the first time. The AIDS epidemic is the flashpoint in Kushner’s swirling tapestry of American culture, myths and spirituality. Navigating this maelstrom are Prior Walter, whose prophetic visions lead him toward an uncertain destiny, Joe Pitt, a devout and painfully closeted Mormon, and Roy Cohn, a lawyer whose AIDS diagnosis forces him to face a lifetime of misdeeds. These twin plays’ vision of a wounded and chaotic nation struggling toward redemption is more urgent than ever.


“Don’t Bother Me, I Can’t Cope”

The Black Rep
Sept. 4 – 22
The Edison Theatre on the Washington University campus
www.theblackrep.org

What It’s About: Garnering a Grammy and Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Musical, “Don’t Bother Me, I Can’t Cope” was the first musical revue in the history of Broadway to be written and directed by African American women, namely Micki Grant and Vinette Caroll which ran over 1,000 performances. With little dialogue between performances, its poignant social commentary is woven into an unbroken cycle of high-energy, feel-good song and dance numbers.

Julie Layton, Isaiah DiLorenzo

“Fifty Words”
St. Louis Actors’ Studio
Sept. 20 – Oct. 6
Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m.
Thursdays, Sept. 26 and Oct. 3 at 8 p.m.
The Gaslight Theatre
www.stlas.org
314-458-2078
What It’s About: While their nine-year-old son is away for the night on his first sleepover, Adam and Jan have an evening alone together, their first in years. Adam’s attempt to seduce his wife before he leaves on business the next day begins a suspenseful nightlong roller-coaster ride of revelation, rancor, passion and humor that explores a modern-day marriage on the verge of either a breakup or deepening love and understanding.

Director: John Pearson

Starring: Julie Layton and Isaiah Di Lorenzo

Of Note: This play opens the St. Louis Actors’ Studio 13th Season, themed “Two to Tango.” With the sort of clarity and theatrical density that only the two-hander can achieve, the season of exclusively two-character plays will journey through our most closely complex relationships : Mentor and Apprentice; Husband and wife; Mothers and Child.

“We are very excited about the offering for our 13th season, making the intimate Gaslight stage that much more intimate with these diverse, two-character stories” says William Roth, Founder and Artistic Director.

“Long Day’s Journey into Night”
Slaying Dragons
Sept. 13 – 21, 7 p.m.
The Chapel, 6238 Alexander Drive
www.eventbrite.com

What It’s About: Slaying Dragons focuses its fall performance this year on opioid and alcohol addiction. There is no greater play that expresses the heartbreak and devastation of these mental illnesses on a family than this play originally written by Eugene O’Neil. The setting of the play is the early 20th Century. Unfortunately, these addictions have become a greater tragedy as they take the lives of even more of our youth today. We have chosen to broaden the time period as well as other aspects of the play through our production to reach as many populations as possible. The story of the Tyrone family remains unchanged while its impact is more dramatic than ever. Following the show, there will be a panel of experts, along with the cast member, for group discussion

Photo by ProPhotoSTL


“Man of La Mancha”
 Stages St. Louis
Sept. 6 – Oct. 6
Robert G. Reim Theatre at the Kirkwood Community Center
111 South Geyer Road
314-821-2407
www.stagesstlouis.org

What It’s About: A romantic and inspiring musical adventure, “Man of La Mancha” tells the epic story of seventeenth-century author Miguel de Cervantes and his immortal literary creation Don Quixote. Dream the impossible dream on a romantic musical adventure, “Man of La Mancha” tells the story of the title chivalrous knight and his epic misadventures that take him into battles with imaginary adversaries of the mind and into romance with the beautiful Dulcinea. A poignant combination of drama, comedy and imagination, features a lush melodic score that includes the rousing title tune, the rapturous Dulcinea, the classic The Impossible Dream, and more.

Director: Michael Hamilton

Starring: James Patterson, Patrick John Moran, Amanda Robles, Ryan Cooper, Kari Ely, Steve Isom


“Matilda the Musical”
Sept. 19 – 22, 26 – 29
Thursday – Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.
Looking Glass Playhouse, Lebanon, Ill.
618 -537-4962
www.lookingglassplayhouse.com

What It’s About: “Matilda” is adapted from Roald Dahl’s dark comic tale about a young girl with astonishing wit, intelligence and psychokinetic powers. She’s unloved by her cruel parents but impresses her schoolteacher, the highly loveable Miss Honey. Over the course of her first term at school, Matilda and Miss Honey have a profound effect on each other’s lives, as Miss Honey begins not only to recognize but also appreciate Matilda’s extraordinary personality. Matilda’s school life isn’t completely smooth sailing, however – the school’s mean headmistress, Miss Trunchbull, hates children.

Director: Jason Johnson, with music direction by Kim Johnson and choreography by Erin Morton

Starring: Wini James as Matilda, Charlie James and Heather Holland as her parents, Steve Shininger as Agatha  Trunchbull, Melanie Kozak as Miss Honey, Braden Neighbors as Michael, Dominic Montes as Bogtrotter, Gigi Dowling Urban as Mrs. Phelps, Kasey Kopp as Sergei, Tristan Burgmann as Rudolpho

Rachel Hanks, Joe Hanrahan. Photo by Joey Rumpell

“A Model for Matisse”
The Midnight Company
Sept. 12-21
Thursday through Saturday at 8 p.m.
The .Zack, 3224 Locust
www.midnightcompany.com
 
What It’s About: The play presents the relatively little known and tender relationship between one of the 20th century’s greatest artists, Henri Matisse, and Sister Jacques-Marie, who inspired him to create what he considered the masterpiece of his life’s work – the revolutionary Chapel of the Rosary in the perched Mediterranean village of Vence in France.

Director: Ellie Schwetye

Starring: Joe Hanrahan and Rachel Hanks

“Oklahoma!”
Monroe Actors Stage Company
Sept. 13-15, 20-22
Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2:30 p.m.
the Historic Capitol Theatre in downtown Waterloo, Ill.
www.masctheatre.org
618-939-7469
What It’s About by visiting www.masctheatre.org.

Director: Maria Wilken, with music direction by Marcia Braswell, choreography by Julie Petraborg and Libby Ceradsky,

Starring: Kevin Hester as Curly, Paige Allen as Laurey, Gabi Maul as Aunt Eller, Jeff Clinebell as Ali Hakim, Savannah Fernelius as Ado Annie and Austin Brouk as Will Parker, Daniel Johnson as Andrew Carnes, Solomon Wilken as Jud Fry, and Reagan Posey as Gertie Cummings.

Of Note: “Oklahoma!” was Rodgers and Hammerstein’s first full length Broadway musical and is celebrating its 75th year of performances. This production also will mark the 100th production produced by MASC since its beginning (19 seasons ago).

“Oklahoma!”
Christ Memorial Productions
Sept. 20 – 29
Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2:30 p.m.
Christ Memorial Lutheran Church, 5252 South Lindbergh
www.CMPShows.org
314-631-0304

What It’s About: Rodgers and Hammerstein’s first collaboration remains, in many ways, their most innovative, having set the standards and established the rules of musical theatre still being followed today. Set in a Western Indian territory just after the turn of the century, the high-spirited rivalry between the local farmers and cowboys provides the colorful background against which Curly, a handsome cowboy, and Laurey, a winsome farm girl, play out their love story. Although the road to true love never runs smooth, with these two headstrong romantics holding the reins, love’s journey is as bumpy as a surrey ride down a country road. That they will succeed in making a new life together we have no doubt, and that this new life will begin in a brand-new state provides the ultimate climax to the triumphant “Oklahoma!”

Of Note: We are also presenting a special sensory friendly and sign language interpreted performance at 7:30 on Sept 26.

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