Theater | St. Louis Public Radio

Theater

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.

Repertory Theatre Sets The Table For ‘Dinner’

Jan 9, 2015
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 Embraces The Bite Of 'Reality'

Dec 5, 2014
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.

New Jewish Theatre Explores Dr. Ruth’s Life

Nov 26, 2014
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.”

Black Rep Stages 'A Raisin In The Sun'

Nov 21, 2014
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.

David Bazemore

Click through slideshow to view Edison offerings through the years.

Where’s a not-quite-ready-for-The-Fox performer supposed to break a leg in St. Louis? For four decades, it’s often been the Edison Theatre at Washington University.

The Muny

The St. Louis Muny has announced its 2015 season, which includes three shows that are new to its stage.

Upstream Theater presents Antigone 2014
Peter Wochniak

The themes of Sophocles' "Antigone" are timeless. They're also timely, resonating with issues around a Ferguson police officer shooting and killing unarmed teenager Michael Brown this past August.

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.

Dark Comedy Takes On Sex, Morality And Art

Jul 25, 2014
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.

Peter Wochniak

St. Louis native Shepherd Mead used his own experiences to write his satirical best-seller “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.” His work was then turned into a musical, and Stages St. Louis is bringing it back to St. Louis.

Cast members Heather Ayers, Betsy Dilellio and Ben Nordstrom talked about the musical comedy, in which window washer J. Pierrepont Finch (played by Nordstrom) moves up to vice president of advertising at the World Wide Wicket Co.

Nancy Fowler | St. Louis Public Radio

Coming away with a new favorite song is part of the Muny tradition for thousands of St. Louis families. But some families are taking home more than a catchy tune — they’re also leaving with paychecks.

Five members of the Heet family have worked at the Muny as ushers. Two are still on the job. Alex Heet, 21, is a college student in her fifth summer at the Muny. Her sister, Sarah, 18, is ushering for a third year.

Zoe Vonder Haar and Jacqueline Petroccia as Louise Seger and Patsy Cline in Stages' presentation of “Always…Patsy Cline.”
Peter Wochniak | Pro Photo STL

From the minute Patsy Cline’s biggest fan demands “How y’all doin’?” you just know it’s just a matter of time before she’s side-by-side with the singer, doing the swim to “Stupid Cupid.” Watch out, front row and bald-headed men, the spotlight's headed your way too.

Kelsey Proud

Originally published Monday, April 14. Updated Friday, April 18 after Cityscape to include audio from the show and the Name the Dog quiz.

Does your dog enjoy the spotlight? Can he or she endure a few flying monkeys and a simulated tornado?

Congratulations – you may be the proud pet parent of not only a special pup but the next Toto, too. Southern Illinois University Edwardsville is seeking a dog to play Dorothy’s canine sidekick in its summer production of “The Wizard of Oz.”

The Fabulous Fox

Ever dreamed of appearing onstage at St. Louis’ Fox Theatre, basking in the lights, beaming at the audience – even once?

Thank you, Fox and the musical “Once” for helping me cross that off my bucket list. Through April 20, you, too, can stand in the very space where giants – including Nat “King” Cole, Mae West and Elizabeth Taylor – have planted their feet since 1929.

scene from the play of oddly costumed actors
Provided by Metro Theatre

Can girls have short hair that isn’t a hairstyle? Can boys try on tutus? In ways both overt and subtle, society often says they can’t, or at least, they shouldn’t.

Wesley Middleton
Provided by Metro Theatre

As Metro Theater’s “Unsorted” debuts for public audiences this weekend, the playwright reflects on the personal difficulties that contributed to her exploration of gender.

When Wesley Middleton was growing up in Macon, Ga., she was shocked to learn that boys and girls had to play by different rules. She chafed under the pink-or-blue scenario.

“I always felt more like a person than a girl,” Middleton told St. Louis Public Radio.

Metro Theater Company

Since the 1970s, Metro Theater Company has been performing thought-provoking, and often original, works for young audiences in St. Louis and beyond.

Currently the company is touring area schools and stages performing “Unsorted” by Wesley Middleton. The forty-minute drama explores themes of identity and belonging through characters that personify pieces of clothing.

Metro Theater Company Artistic Director Julia Flood and Old Bonhomme Elementary School teacher Lori Humphrey joined Cityscape host Steve Potter in studio to discuss the play.

Mustard Seed Theatre

Mustard Seed Theatre Company was the big winner at the second annual St. Louis Theater Circle Awards, held Monday night. But everyone there seemed to find reason to celebrate.

The COCA theater in University City drew a full house for local theater's special event, an evening of hearty applause, warm camaraderie and good-natured ribbing.

courtesy Peter and the Starcatcher

After a Tony-winning run on Broadway, “Peter and the Starcatcher” is currently on tour, with a stop in St. Louis next weekend.  The musical play is a prequel to Peter Pan that tells the story of how Peter Pan became “the boy who never grew up.”

Playwright Rick Elice adapted the play from the book “Peter and the Starcatchers,” which was co-written by Ridley Pearson and Dave Barry.

St. Louisan Ridley Pearson joined host Steve Potter in studio to talk about the play. Rick Elice and Dave Barry contributed to the conversation via phone, Elice from New York and Barry from Miami.

Mustard Seed Theater

Alicia Reve' Like plays Nella, a bright patch in an Alabama family whose quilts tell stories of segregation and the civil rights movement.

Last February, Alicia Reve' Like portrayed a motel maid who whooped up on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in the Black Rep’s “The Mountaintop,” the story of King’s last hours.

A scene from "For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf," presented by the Black Rep in 2014
Provided by the Black Rep

There are many reasons you might want to see the Black Rep’s current production of Ntozake Shange’s poem series “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf” at the Missouri History Museum.

Of course, you get that deep, hard look into the lives of black women in the 1970s as seven characters wearing seven different colors leap, lament and laugh their way through Shange’s classic language.

(via Flickr/ Tim Green)

Updated 12:20 p.m.

The St. Louis Theatre Circle, a group of area theater reviewers, seeks to recognize local professional theater with their second-annual St. Louis Theatre Circle Awards.

Today on Cityscape, we're talking with two of the 15 members of the St. Louis Theatre Circle to discuss the nominations for the 2014 awards (Full list included below).

Award recipients will be announced on March 17 at COCA.

In studio we have:

photo of Em Piro
Courtesy of Em Piro

If you or your group is seeking a spot in St. Louis' 2014 Fringe Festival of performing arts, you’d better have your fingers on the keyboard Wednesday evening at 6 p.m. sharp.

Last year, available slots for online submissions filled up in less than two seconds, according to Fringe founder Em Piro.

Regional Arts Commission

Whether they were on stage, leaning into the kiln or creatively advocating for justice, it was a banner year for many local artists.

The Regional Arts Commission this year began an unprecedented awarding of money
to St. Louis-area artists through its Artists Count program. Dozens of visual, performing and literary artists were given grants of between $500 and $3,000 for specific projects.

slso image for a gospel messiah
St. Louis Symphony Orchestra

Only 11 more shlepping days ‘til Christmas. But if you need to take a break from the season’s ritualistic mass consumption, upcoming local holiday arts offerings range from ho ho ho to Handel.

“Too Hot to Handel: A Gospel Messiah,” presented by the St. Louis Symphony: 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 13, Powell Hall, 718 North Grand Blvd., 63103. $30-$65.

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