theater

Anna Skidis
Durrie Bouscaren

St. Louis’s Anna Skidis is an acclaimed actor and singer. She’s also a genius.

Skidis, 28, is obviously smart. But "genius" is what they call employees of Apple’s Genius Bar, who help people figure out how to make their devices work properly.

Olive, played by Kim Furlow, and Florence, played by Colleen Backer, both standing, surrounded by friends, in in Dramatic License's "The Odd Couple"
John Lamb

A great dichotomy surrounds the idea of women and friendship. “I just love her to death,” one might say. “But I hate her for being so pretty/thin/young/talented.”

Dramatic License Productions is putting a new emphasis on the complexity of female friendships and other women-centered issues. The Chesterfield Mall-based theater company has a new mission to present a majority of work by, for and about women, according to founder Kim Furlow. 

rc)Left to right. Drew Battles (Serge), John Pierson (Ma and Larry Dell (Yvan) talk and laugh about "Art" and life
Nancy Fowler

“In the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter,” poet Khalil Gibran wrote. Nowhere is laughter between companions more important than in the Tony Award-winning play, “Art,” presented by the St. Louis Actors’ Studio, beginning tonight.

But wait, shouldn’t a play called “Art” be about art? Well, it is — and isn’t.

Shualee Cook and Sara Burke
Nancy Fowler | St. Louis Public Radio

Since 2002, the Visionary Awards have honored 68 St. Louis-area women for contributions to the arts, but this year's list includes a first.

Shualee Cook, 37, a transgender woman, is honored as an Emerging Artist for her skills as a playwright. Cook’s “An Invitation Out” opens at Mustard Seed Theater Friday, April 17.

Gubernatorial hopful Henry Lee Neale  (Stephen Peirick) and his wife Elizabeth Neale (Maggie Conroy) are all smiles.
Provided by OnSite Theatre

Missouri’s next gubernatorial election is a year and a half away, but a St. Louis play gets a rolling jump-start on the campaign.

The OnSite Theatre comedy, called “Off the Record,” opens this Friday and runs for two weekends. The play by Alec Wild takes place aboard a moving school bus that delivers a fictitious candidate — and the audience — to a handful of local campaign stops.

Artistic director Ann Marie Mohr said that even the ticket-holders have an active part in the show.

'A Midsummer Night's Dream' was the big winner for the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis.
Provided by the Rep

The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis was the biggest winner at Monday night's local Theater Circle Awards.

The Rep won nine awards, overall, more than any other company. Five of them were for “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

From New Line's "Passing Strange," 2011
Jill Ritter

When Scott Miller founded New Line Theatre in 1991 it was a risky proposition, in more ways than one.

The nonprofit would occupy a tight niche: musicals only. It would also ride the first wave of a national trend, producing work about topics avoided by many in polite St. Louis company: politics, violence, race, sexuality and religion.

David Royal recites "Fire and Ice" as Gitana's Cecilia Nadal looks on
Nancy Fowler

The death of Michael Brown and its aftermath have invigorated a core group of protesters. Now, at least one of them is becoming an actor as well an activist.

Je'Caryous Johnson
IMDB

Je’Caryous Johnson may not be a household name, but next to Tyler Perry, he is the most successful African-American playwright going, whose stage productions have grossed more than $100 million.

Working on new chandelier from "Phantom"
Nancy Fowler

A new chandelier, updated special effects and a sense that the main characters have spent some time in a therapist’s chair: these are all changes included in Cameron Mackintosh's new production of Andrew Lloyd Webber's “The Phantom of the Opera.”

Lydia Berry, number 100, in orange leotard
The Muny

Ever thought about trying out for America's oldest, largest outdoor theater?

Each year, the 98-year-old St. Louis Muny holds open auditions; anyone can come. Singers and dancers try out on different weekends.

Jerry, Keith Thompson, left, asks Montel, Marshall Jennings, right, why he's brought Andrea, Christina Rios, to the show.
Jill Ritter Lindberg

Adults with diaper fetishes, dancing Klansmen and blasphemous portrayals of religious figures are all part of “Jerry Springer: The Opera.” So it's fitting, really, that edgy New Line Theatre is the company bringing this irreverent musical to St. Louis.

Lee Patton Chiles, left, and Cecilia Nadal
Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio

When Cecilia Nadal of Gitana Productions heard about Michael Brown's shooting death, she raced right over to Ferguson. She wanted to participate in the protests and try to understand what happened, but she also “knew that I was looking for something."

Nancy Bell, left, is interviewed by Willis Ryder Arnold and Nancy Fowler.
Stephanie Zimmerman

Nancy Bell has enjoyed a thriving soap-opera career and nabbed top TV gigs including “Law and Order" and “Star Trek." So what's she doing in St. Louis, reworking the words of none other than Shakespeare?

It all started five years ago, when Saint Louis University lured Bell away from the big time, with a teaching job. Now, she's a regular player in the local theater scene.

Fox Smith and Ben Nordstrom star in White to Gray.
John Lamb

Forty-eight hours after the ocean liner S.S. Lurline left Honolulu for San Francisco, the sun rose on “a day that will live in infamy.” In a new drama based on this real-life voyage that began two days before the attack on Pearl Harbor, a young couple is caught in the crossfire.

From Left, Frank Schwaiger, Nancy Fowler, Willis Ryder Arnold, Bruno David and Leslie Laskey
Donna Korando | St. Louis Public Radio

This week, St. Louis Public Radio debuts its first arts podcast,"Cut & Paste."

We invite local visual and performing artists to tell stories. Who inspires them? What are their successes? Where have they stumbled along the way? Sometimes, in the conversation, it's us doing the stumbling! But we always have fun. We hope you will, too.

Anderson Matthews, as Matt Drayton, and Richard Prioleau, as John Prentice Jr., perform in The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis' 'Guess Who's Coming to Dinner.'
Jerry Naunheim Jr. / The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis

There are a lot of similarities between “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” the movie and “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” the play.

“The iconic moments are all there,” said Seth Gordon, associate artistic director of The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis.

It’s still an interracial love story. It’s still set in the 1960s. The play, adapted for the stage in 2012 by playwright Todd Kreidler, includes many of the movie’s memorable moments and monologues. But there also are some differences.

Reena Hajat Carroll, executive director of the Diversity Awareness Partnership, says the number of diversity training requests have "been crazy."
Provided by the Diversity Awareness Partnership

Many older Americans were introduced to their first interracial couple in 1967 by the Sidney Poitier classic featuring what was then a shocking pairing, on-screen or off. 

But today, especially when even same-sex interracial couples can marry in St. Louis, we don’t care who’s coming to dinner — right?

HotCity Theatre's 'Reality'
HotCity Theatre

The HotCity Theatre will close with a bit of "Reality."

“Reality” by playwright Lia Romeo is a dark comedy that goes behind the scenes of the reality TV show “Looking for Love.” The play opens with a proposal, then the reality show cast is secreted away for several weeks while the rest of the world catches up with the show, one episode at a time.

Marty Stanberry
Provided by HotCity

When singer Kenny Rogers croons that you’ve got to “know when to fold 'em,” it strikes a chord with the artistic director of St. Louis’ HotCity Theatre, Marty Stanberry.

Stanberry will close the company after the run of its Dec. 5-20 play, called “Reality.” Reality is also something Stanberry’s struggled with during his 17 years on the local theater scene.

“I’m at the point where the daily battles of running a theater company have just outweighed the fun,” Stanberry said.

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