Improvisers Phoebe Richards and Chris Clark in an improv scene
Larry Vorpmi

When you think of improv comedy, you’re more likely to think of Chicago than St. Louis.


Chicago has well known theaters like The Second City and iO, which have given many famous actors and actresses their start. But St. Louis has a theater of its own, and while it may be under the radar, it’s attracting a growing number of students and audiences.


The Improv Shop opened its doors in early 2014, but it existed years before that. Its founder, Kevin McKernan, moved back to his hometown of St. Louis in 2009 after studying and performing improv in Chicago.

Courtesy Circus Flora

On May 29, Circus Flora returns to “The Big Top” in Grand Center to open its 29th season with “One Summer on Second Street.” This season features new talent, including an act performed by domestic house cats, as well as familiar acts such as the Flying Wallendas and the St. Louis Arches from Circus Harmony.

Alex Heuer

Independent filmmaker Bill Streeter joined “Cityscape” guest host Don Marsh to discuss “Lo-Fi Cherokee,” an outgrowth of his award winning music and culture web video series, “Lo-Fi Saint Louis.”

“Lo-Fi Cherokee” is a yearly celebration of the St. Louis music scene featuring 18 live performance videos all produced in a single day in 18 different locations on Cherokee Street. The bands range from veteran national acts to up-and-coming local musical groups.

he Chinese Lantern Festival opens at the Missouri Botanical Garden on May 23.
Stephanie Lecci / St. Louis Public Radio

A popular attraction that debuted in St. Louis a few years ago has returned. 


On Saturday night, the Missouri Botanical Garden will present the grand opening of Lantern Festival: Magic Reimagined, a display of 22 sets of Chinese lanterns constructed out of steel and silk and illuminated from the inside. 



Jessica Hentoff

Circus Harmony, St. Louis’ only social circus and circus school, created Peace Through Pyramids, a performance arts initiative teaching youth of all races that cooperation, communication and standing on the shoulders of each other are keys to the path of peace.

Alex Heuer

In what is often a competitive playing field, some local restaurateurs are teaming up to make sure local food stays local and businesses prosper.

Ligaya Figueras, executive editor of Sauce Magazine, said that in the St. Louis area, food and drink restaurant collaborations began around 2010 between local craft breweries such as Schlafly Bottleworks and 4 Hands Brewing Co. Now, the newest collaborating restaurants, Kitchen Kulture and Sump Coffee, hope to keep the trend going.

Rhonda Ely

Soprano Sylvia McNair has sung in concert halls and opera houses all over the world. But she has a soft spot for St. Louis, where she got her start in opera with Opera Theatre of Saint Louis in 1983.

“Certainly in the 1980s, [Opera Theatre] was and still is a premier training ground for young American singers where you learn your craft from great directors and conductors,” she told “Cityscape” host Steve Potter. “I feel like Opera Theatre of Saint Louis is where I figured out how to walk in the opera business.”

Katy Peace, right in striped top, at an earlier pickup event
Provided by Community Supported Art

Katy Peace, founder and lead organizer of Community Supported Art - Saint Louis, joined “Cityscape” host Steve Potter along with artists Ruth Reese and Brandon Daniels to discuss the organization’s second season.

Community Supported Art provides aspiring artists with an opportunity and financial support to complete their projects. The CSA operates as a subscription service and helps artists sell their work.

Alex Heuer

New Jewish Theatre closes its 2014-15 with “My Mother’s Lesbian Jewish Wiccan Wedding.” Based on a true story, the musical chronicles the life of writer David Hein’s mother while addressing the topic of marriage equality through song and dance. New Jewish Theatre artistic director Kathleen Sitzer and actors Ben Nordstrom and Laura Ackermann joined “Cityscape” host Steve Potter to discuss the production.

Nordstrom, who portrays David Hein, accompanied himself on guitar to perform the song that opens the production.

Brazilian dance troupe Compagnie Käfig
Agathe Poupeney / (Provided by Dance St. Louis)

Fans of dance in St. Louis are in for a treat this weekend, with National Dance Week - St. Louis taking over Grand Center and an exciting dance performance at the Touhill Performing Arts Center.  

Dance St. Louis presents Compagnie Käfig, a male Brazilian dance troupe that has been selling out performances on their U.S. tour and will perform at the Touhill this weekend.

Janna Linae Schmid is a finalist in the Teen Talent Competition.
(Photo provided)

The Fox Performing Arts Charitable Foundation is putting on its fifth St. Louis Teen Talent Competition on Friday, April 24 at the Fox Theatre.

Of the 39 acts that competed in the semi-final round, 12 will compete in the finals on the Fox Theatre stage for more than $30,000 in scholarships, prizes and awards.

One of those competing is Janna Linae Schmid, a senior at Eukeka High School. Schmid is a singer and dancer and will perform “I Can’t Do It Alone,” from the musical, “Chicago.”

Eric Christensen, host of STL Up Late
Alex Heuer / St. Louis Public Radio

If you haven't heard of St. Louis' only late night talk show, you're not alone.

Even though STL Up Late begins its fourth season Saturday night, the interactive show’s reach is limited because it’s a live stage event without a means of distribution. But that could soon change.

“We’ve been doing it for a while and we’re hoping we can get a bigger audience by getting this online or on TV,” said Eric Christensen, the host of STL Up Late. A pilot of the show was recently filmed.

The City & The City: Cotton Belt Freight Depot, 2015
(Courtesy of the artist and RYAN LEE, New York ©Mariam Ghani)

Mariam Ghani came to St. Louis with the idea of an already divided city.

“There’s a lot of long and complicated history that goes into making St. Louis what it is today,” Ghani said.

photo of David Robertson, Stephanie Berg and Jeanne Sinquefield
Courtesy of the St. Louis Symphony

How old do you have to be to compose music? A University of Missouri–Columbia program is proving that students of any age can do it.

The Creating Original Music Project, now in its 10th year, is a statewide composition festival that recognizes work from students, kindergarteners to high school seniors. This year, 70 students applied. Of the 18 winners, eight are from the St. Louis area.

It's a little early for baseball at Busch Stadium, but this weekend you can catch a game of beepball just outside the stadium.

Beepball is a version of softball, adapted for people who are blind or visually impaired. Along with some slight modifications of the rules, it features a beeping ball and two buzzing bases. Players wear blindfolds, except for the pitcher and catcher, who are actually on the same team, and two spotters.

Evan Sult and Paige Brubeck of Sleepy Kitty will perform in Upstream Theater's 'Rime of the Ancient Mariner.'
Sleepy Kitty

For its latest production, Upstream Theater has enlisted the help of local indie rock band Sleepy Kitty.

"Rime of the Ancient Mariner" has been adapted for the stage, and will include live music composed and performed by Sleepy Kitty. The play is based on a poem by Samuel Taylor Coleridge about a fantastical sea voyage and a sailor's search for redemption.

It’s unlike anything the band has done before.

Soprano Sydney Mancasola, left, and conductor Ryan McAdams talk to 'Cityscape' host Steve Potter about the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis' Opera Tastings program on March 27, 2015, at St. Louis Public Radio in St. Louis.
Alex Heuer / St. Louis Public Radio

Interested in having a little food and wine with your opera? No problem.

The Opera Theatre of Saint Louis’ Opera Tastings pair music with food and wine samples.

“It’s an opportunity for people who maybe haven’t been in direct contact with opera singers to experience it for the first time in a very intimate and very sort of delicious setting,” conductor Ryan McAdams told “Cityscape” host Steve Potter on Friday. “I’m still glowing from the indecent amount of fun we had last night.”

John Lithgow
Craig Schwatz / C Major Marketing & PR

Actor John Lithgow loves stories.

“Storytelling was a big part of my growing up. I’m sure that’s why I’m an actor,” Lithgow told “Cityscape” producer Alex Heuer. “Shakespeare had great stories, but all of us have great stories. If you sit down with anyone and ask them about their lives, they can bring you to tears or cripple you with laughter — we all have stories.”

That’s the secret to Lithgow’s one-man show “Stories by Heart,” which he brings to St. Louis on Saturday. In it, Lithgow tells stories about his life and shares stories by others.

Paula Poundstone

Comedian Paula Poundstone is just trying to figure things out.

Poundstone described her improv style as “accidental — same as almost everything about me.” Her comedy career started with an open mic night in 1979 in Boston. She spent time preparing for 5-minute sets, only to forget that preparation once she was on stage. Out of nervousness, she started talking to audience members and commenting on things in the room until she said she realized that was the real fun. That’s exactly what the audience can expect when Poundstone performs Saturday in St. Louis, she said.

A painting by disability rights activist Max Starkloff.
Starkloff Disability Institute

Max Starkloff was known for his work as a disability rights activist. But he also was a painter.

Later this month, several of Starkloff's paintings will be displayed at the Bruno David Gallery. Starkloff died in 2010.