Max & Louie Productions

Debby Lennon and Donna Weinsting in "Grey Gardens - The Musical."
Dunsai Dai

It is said that when “Little” Edith Bouvier Beale first saw a cut of “Grey Gardens,” the 1976 documentary by Albert and David Maysles about her life with her mother in a derelict mansion in East Hampton, NY, she said “Well, I like it, but I wish there was more singing and dancing.”

The composer of “Grey Gardens -The Musical,” Scott Frankel, said he took that as a posthumous blessing to transform the documentary about Jackie Kennedy’s most eccentric relatives into a musical.

Taylor Steward, Antonio Rodriguez, Em Piro and Pete Winfrey in "Bad Jews"
Eric Woolsey

‘Tis the season for blue-light specials and blow-up Santas. But if you want to get away from December’s traditional trimmings, three plays open this week that have nothing to do with the holidays.

Except for one thing. Like the season, the productions are all about relational angst. Cue the piercing release of pent-up resentment and painful regret. At least it won’t be tied up with a big shiny bow.

Max and Louie Productions

Renowned singer, actor, playwright and St. Louisan Ken Page describes it like this: “There’s a point in the play where one of the characters says ‘It’s like that captain of the football team that you fell in love with or that boy whose green eyes you still see when you close yours…you know the one.’ It’s that thing, that’s what it’s based on.”

The ‘it’ in that description is “Sublime Intimacy,” the name of Page’s new play for Max and Louie Productions, which will have its world premiere on Friday, Dec. 4 at the Kranzberg Arts Center.

Max & Louie Productions presents "The Killing of Sister George." Left, Shannon Nara; Right, Lavonne Byers
ProPhotoSTL.com

Max and Louie Productions will kick off its 5th season with the dark comedy “The Killing of Sister George.” Written by Frank Marcus, the play was named Best Play of the 1965-66 Season by The Theatre Critics Variety Poll.

“The Killing of Sister George” is viewed as a groundbreaking production. Highlighting a lesbian relationship, the initial 1965 production shocked audiences in Britain and it received an “X” rating because of its content.  

Provided by the Actors Studio

The St. Louis Theater Circle, a group of local theater critics, released its 2015 award nominees on Friday. 

“It was, I think, a terrific year,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch theater critic Judith Newmark told “Cityscape” host Steve Potter on Friday. “It was a year in which we lost one theater — that’s always going to happen. There also are some new people on the horizon. And it was a year in which, I think Shakespeare Festival St. Louis, which is a free event that draws huge crowds, really came into its own with a double production of ‘Henry IV’ and ‘Henry V.’”

John Lamb

A dark comedy, "Quills" imagines the final days of French aristocrat and writer Marquis de Sade “somewhat fictionalized to my own nefarious purposes,” said playwright Doug Wright.

“It is a play that tackles provocative literature and sexuality and a host of other taboo topics in, I hope, a way that audiences find fiendishly entertaining.”

The marquis was confined to an asylum in Charenton, France.

(Courtesy Max and Louie Productions)

Most dramas centered on death and dying are tragedies. But not Nicky Silver's "The Lyons." Instead, it is a dark comedy that finds humor in the death of a family's patriarch. 

"A death in the family doesn't automatically bring out the best in people, but it brings out the best in Nicky Silver's writing," said Stellie Siteman, actress and artistic director of Max and Louie Productions.

The theater company opens a staging of "The Lyons" next Friday at COCA's Black Box. The play contains obscenities and is best for an adult audience.

John Lamb

In the late 1960’s while playwright Jeffrey Hatcher was growing up in Steubenville, Ohio, he took a manners class.  Decades later, it served as the inspiration for his comedy, “Mrs. Mannerly.”  He even used his own name for one of the two main characters.  The other character is Mrs. Mannerly, the teacher of an etiquette class.

Set in Hatcher’s hometown in 1967, the plot of “Mrs. Mannerly” revolves around student Jeffrey Hatcher’s goals of being the first to achieve a perfect score in the etiquette class while also uncovering the mystery surrounding his teacher.