St. Louis Public Radio
The St. Louis Art Museum is one of several St. Louis sites that attract tourists. Hotel occupancy rates in St. Louis decreased slightly from 67.1 percent in 2017 to 66.3 percent this year.
David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

Tourism officials across Missouri hope for more money from Parson

Promoters of Missouri tourism, stung when then-Gov. Eric Greitens cut the state tourism budget in half, are encouraged that his successor wants to restore the funding. Gov. Mike Parson made it known early in his administration that he wants to promote tourism.

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The Webster Groves Arts Commission is honoring longtime actor Joneal Joplin with an award for lifetime achievement.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Joneal “Jop” Joplin has lost count of exactly how many roles he’s performed on St. Louis-area stages during his long acting career based in the region.

“I know that I’ve done something like 215, 220 shows in St. Louis – 101 at the Rep, 66 at the Muny,” he estimated Friday while talking with host Don Marsh on St. Louis on the Air.

Joplin, who will be honored Friday evening with the Webster Groves Arts Commission’s 2018 Lifetime Achievement in the Arts Award, got his start as an actor in New York. But after traveling to St. Louis with his young family in 1972 to participate in just one show – a production of “Mice and Men” – he was asked to stay in town for another show.

Sandra Moore (left) and Joan Lipkin (right) helped organize various voter registration drives in St. Louis to boost voting participation.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Midterm elections are important. But Sandra Moore, managing director and chief impact officer at Advantage Capital, said what’s more important is “mobilizing folks to register and vote.”

“The vote is the most powerful individual thing we have to engage as citizens,” Moore explained. The former president of Urban Strategies joined St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh on Thursday to talk about a voter education and registration drive that seeks to energize women in north St. Louis and north St. Louis County for the Nov. 6 election.

Harley Race poses for a portrait after responding to letters at his Harley Race Wrestling Academy office in Troy.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Harley Race, the pro-wrestler from Missouri once considered among the toughest in the world, has come full circle.

Or as they might say in the pro wrestling biz, full squared circle.

'Handsome Harley,’ as he’s known, has spent the past few years back in his home state guiding the next generation of pro wrestlers. He’s shifted from world champion grappler to wizened coach by running a training academy about an hour west of St. Louis in Troy.

Building boom and workforce shortage combine to create a crisis in construction industry
Melody Walker | St. Louis Public Radio

The workforce shortage in the construction industry is not going away.

A survey by the Associated General Contractors of America found that 80 percent of Midwest contractors report difficulty finding skilled workers. And, nearly half of the companies surveyed expect hiring is going to get harder over the next year.

 A photo of Oregon Avenue in Gravois Park neighborhood. The Regional Health Commission has identified the south St. Louis neighborhood as having a significant need for low-cost primary care.
Paul Sableman | Flickr

Low-cost health care centers are lacking in parts of the St. Louis region with the greatest medical need, according to a report from the St. Louis Regional Health Commission.

The growing need reflects the changing demographics of the region, Robert Fruend, the commission’s CEO said. North St. Louis was long considered the neediest part of the city. As a result, majority of the region’s low-cost health clinics are there. But “over time, over the last 20 to 30 years, that node of this concentrated circle of poverty and need that we had in our region has migrated outwards,” Fruend said.

Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated Friday with a response from the attorney general’s office – A non-profit group set up to promote the agenda of then-Gov. Eric Greitens is asking a Cole County judge to dismiss a lawsuit that seeks records of its activities.

St. Louis-based attorney Elad Gross filed suit in June against A New Missouri. He said he took action after the Missouri House committee that had been investigating the former governor halted its probe after Greitens’ resignation from office. The committee was also seeking records from A New Missouri, including its financing.

RhonniRose Mantilla, wearing a red dress, rehearses Thursday night for an upcoming community production of West Side Story in July.
Monica Mileur | COCA

Famed Broadway lyricist and composer Stephen Sondheim dismissed complaints that white actors should not be cast to portray people of color.

He made his remarks as a guest on Thursday’s episode of St. Louis on the Air.

The issue is freshly in the news with the cancellation last month of a student production of the 1957 musical “West Side Story” after Latino cast members complained that the director cast white actors to portray key Puerto Rican characters.

Hours before being honored with the 2018 St. Louis Literary Award, Stephen Sondheim spoke at length with "St. Louis on the Air" host Don Marsh.
Provided by Saint Louis University

Stephen Sondheim hesitates to settle on a single beginning point from which his now 70-year-long career in musical theater took off. There were the piano lessons he began taking as a young child, something he acknowledges may have “infiltrated” him early on. Then there’s the show he wrote at age 15, a script family friend Oscar Hammerstein gave an unsparing critique. He also credits his enjoyment of films growing up.

“The music that most influenced me at first was movie music,” the renowned composer and lyricist said Thursday on St. Louis on the Air. “I was a big movie buff, so it was the scores of people like Franz Waxman and Max Steiner and Bernard Herrmann that got me going.”

Illinois 12th District Green Party candidate Randy Auxier Oct. 4, 2018
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

Randy Auxier, the Green Party nominee in Illinois’ 12th Congressional District, is the latest guest on the Politically Speaking podcast.

Auxier is running against incumbent Republican Congressman Mike Bost and Democratic nominee Brendan Kelly. Both Kelly and Bost recorded episodes of Politically Speaking previously.

Gemma New was the first woman and the first resident conductor to lead St. Louis Symphony Orchestra's opening night concert. 10/11/18
St. Louis Symphony Orchestra

Opening night at the symphony has a special buzz and a once-a-year chance for the orchestra's artistic leader to welcome back the musicians and the audience. If an orchestra happens to be between leaders, the occasion also offers a plum spot on the calendar to invite a guest-star conductor with a pedigree.

St. Louis Symphony Orchestra took a different route this year. With the seat of music director technically unfilled — French conductor Stéphane Denève takes over that job next season — the orchestra’s leadership turned to the rising star in its ranks.

Gemma New, 31, led the orchestra’s annual kickoff concert in Forest Park and then held onto the baton for opening night at Powell Hall. She made history on two fronts: as the first woman to lead SLSO’s opening night concert, and as the first resident conductor to do so.

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St. Louis on the Air

Behind the Headlines: Second chance for Major League Soccer in St. Louis

Host Don Marsh will go behind the headlines to discuss the mounting effort to bring a Major League Soccer team to St. Louis.