Gaslight Square

Kara Campbell, Kirsten Wylder, and husband James, Scott De Broux, look on at son Thomas, Robin Stricklin as he learns to feel the music.
Provided by Gaslight Theatre

Parents face many twists and turns as they forge through the mystery of their child’s autism. An updated local play about autism also involves unraveling a thorny thriller.

Unknown / Courtesy of the Charlie Menees Collection, UMKC

On Sunday, August 3, Jazz Unlimited will present Part Five of the Jazz History of St. Louis: The Gaslight Square Era.  Gaslight Square is one of the cultural events never to be forgotten by St. Louisans.  Jazz music of all styles was heard there.  We will hear Sammy Gardner, Singleton Palmer, Muggsy Sprecher, the St. Louis Ragtimers, Ceil Clayton, Clea Bradford, Jeanne Trevor and the Quartet Tres Bien, among many others, along with the voices of people like Jeter Thompson, Norman Menne, Jean Kittrell and Joe Buerger, who made the history.

Courtesy of the Charlie Menees Collection, UMKC.

It spanned less than three blocks at the intersection of Olive and Boyle. And it only lasted about ten years.

But the arts and entertainment district known as Gaslight Square flourished in the 1950s and '60s, making St. Louis a national destination for music and culture.

In honor of St. Louis' 250th birthday, I took a little detour off my usual science beat to explore this extraordinary time and place in our city's history.

Courtesy St. Louis Ragtimers

Ragtime pianist and scholar Trebor Tichenor passed away last month after a stroke. He was 74. Longtime St. Louis Public Radio listeners may remember his weekly program “Ragophile” that aired on the station in the 1970s and ‘80s.

We dedicated the entire hour of Cityscape today to remembering Tichenor with his son Andy Tichenor and fellow band members Don Franz and Al Stricker.

Marissa Mulder
Gaslight Cabaret Festival

The nine-week Gaslight Cabaret series includes Marissa Mulder’s “The Songs of Tom Waits,” lauded by the New York Times as “the best of the season.”

St. Louisans who like to gorge themselves on entertainment may already indulge in movie marathons and TV binge-watching. Beginning Thursday, Feb. 20, they can also get their fill of cabaret performances.

Ken Page
Gaslight Cabaret Festival

The Gaslight Cabaret Festival,  two months of cabaret performances at the Gaslight Theater, opens next week with a show by Broadway veteran and St. Louis native Ken Page.

Page got his start at the MUNY more than 40 years ago. After two summers performing at the MUNY, he moved to New York City, where he performed on Broadway in the original casts of “Cats,” “Ain't Misbehavin',” “The Wiz”,” Ain't Nothin' But The Blues,” and “Guys & Dolls.” Fans of “The Nightmare Before Christmas” may recognize him as the voice of Mr. Oogie Boogie.

Dennis C. Owsley / Copyright Dennis C. Owsley

The March 10, Jazz Unlimited will be devoted to an examination of tunes about money.  Money is what fuels St. Louis Public Radio.  Some of the srtists to be heard to night include Muggsy Sprecher recorded live at the Silver Dollar Club on Gaslight Square, Ahmad Jamal, J.J. Johnson, Count Basie with Buddy DeFranco, Art Tatum, Phil Woods, Cannonball Adderley, Dizzy Gillespie, Stan Getz, Jay McShann and the World Saxophone Quartet.

Check out my photos of some of the artists heard on the show.