theater

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.

Actress Susie Wall plays Dr. Ruth Westheimer in the New Jewish Theatre's one-woman play.
New Jewish Theatre

Actress Susie Wall is talking about sex. On stage. As Dr. Ruth. But she’s not impersonating Dr. Ruth Westheimer.

“The issue is for it not to be an impersonation,” said Jerry McAdams, who is directing Mark St. Germain’s one-woman play “Becoming Dr. Ruth” at the New Jewish Theatre. “The most important thing is she is so well known that if you try to be Dr. Ruth in kind of a cartoonish sense, you’ll lose the audience. This is a terrific actress who’s doing a really good script.”

The Black Rep

The Black Rep is bringing the iconic 1950s drama “A Raisin in the Sun” back to St. Louis.

This is the first time the company will stage “A Raisin in the Sun,” although 10 years ago it presented “Raisin,” a musical adaptation of Lorraine Hansberry’s drama about a black family’s experiences in Chicago.

“It is an American story. It is definitely about dreams and living life on the American landscape for the African-American and the quest for the piece of pie,” said actress Andrea Frye, who plays “Mama” Lena Younger.

Mustard Seed Theatre

When you think of World War I heroes, you likely picture generals and fighter pilots. But a playwright who penned Mustard Seed Theatre’s upcoming production wanted to salute a group of men in the trenches.

Provided by Repertory Theatre of St. Louis

When playwright Daniel Pearle was a preschooler in the late 1980s, he was fascinated by a classic fairy-tale character dressed in pink.

“I did have a fondness for all things Cinderella,” Pearle said.

Pearle brings his childhood experiences to his play “A Kid Like Jake,” now on stage at The St. Louis Repertory Theatre.“Jake” is the story of two New York City parents, worried about their 4-year-old son’s dress-up play and whether he can get into the “right” kindergarten.

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