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.

(Courtesy of Jeff Hirsch)

New Jewish Theatre opens their 17th season with Neil Simon’s The Good Doctor. More of a sketch comedy piece than a true play, the small vignettes of Anton Chekov’s short stories, represent slices of Russian life at the turn of the last century and are quilted together by a narrator, a writer who is auditioning some of his characters for us. David Wassilak plays the narrator and involves himself in several of the stories (either as the narrator character or as a specific character, it’s a bit unclear.)

(Courtesy of Peter Wochniak)

I know everyone is probably making the same pun, but Stages St Louis’ closing show of their season, My Fair Lady is, without any doubts, absolutely “loverly.” The moment you enter the theater James Wolk’s set draws you in and sets you down in a London market street circa 1910. Costumes by Dorothy Marshall Englis are exquisite thorough-out, but the opening sets the tone so you are holding your breath to see what Eliza wears at her transformation.

(Courtesy of Jerry Naunheim)

I’m a big fan of opening nights and when it is the Repertory Theatre opening their 47th season with Cabaret, expectations are enormous. There is much to like in this lavish production. As is always true at the Rep, the technical aspects are gorgeous. Michael Schweikardt’s Kit Kat Club is more than just the stage upon which the story sets, it becomes, as he had hoped, another character in the play. Angela Wendt’s costumes, with the exception of the Kit Kat girls opening jazzercise outfits, are eccentric and opulent when appropriate, and tacky and tawdry when needed.

Jerry Naunheim, Jr. / (Courtesy Repertory Theatre of St. Louis)

The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis opens tonight with a revival of  the musical "Cabaret." First performed on Broadway in 1966, the musical is set in 1930s Berlin.

Because it captures the shift and change in power during pre-Nazi Germany, the show gives you more than entertainment. It also gives you something to think about, said Steve Wolff. He is the artistic director for the Repertory Theatre.

(Courtesy of Stewart Goldstein)

Last year, Ron Conner led Black Rep casts in four out of five productions, and from the first, became one of my favorite actors to watch. This year he leads the Black Rep away from its twenty-six year home at the Grandel Theater to the A.E. Hotchner Studio Theater on the campus of Washington University and opens the new season with a sizzling one man show, Emergency. (The Black Rep was recently unceremoniously dumped from their long-time home. Hotchner will not be a permanent space for them, but was the perfect space for this particular show.)

(Courtesy of Todd Studio)

If you like your comedy dark and twisted, irreverent and absolutely “for adults only,” you’ve probably been a fan of HotCity Theatre for ages; and their latest offering, Entertaining Mr. Sloane by Joe Orton, shouldn’t be missed. First, it’s a rare chance to see Orton’s first play, written in 1964. While no longer scandalous, it’s a great touchstone to see how far we have evolved. Second, it has some of the strongest technical elements I’ve seen to date in the Kranzberg Art Center’s black box theater. Third, the pre-eminent comic actor in town, Lavonne Byers, leads the able cast.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Actor Ryan Foizey’s career plan is two years and two cities behind schedule but his dreams are right on time.

St. Louis was only supposed to be a starting point. The 25-year-old Cedar Rapids native planned to first relocate near family in the Gateway City, then move to Chicago, then Minneapolis, then Seattle, then who-knows-where, at the clip of one city a year. But Foizey ran into something unexpected in St. Louis: opportunity and support. Now his Theatre Lab idea could end up supporting numerous other theater artists.

Neil LaBute
Provided by Mr. LaBute | 2013

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: It’s not Neil LaBute’s fault that men and women (and men and men and women and women) fight to the emotional death as they claw their way through dating, marriage and breakups.

The prolific playwright and screenwriter just writes it as he sees it, calling himself a realist.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Parents, can you even imagine being accused of kidnapping your own children? It happened to Shari LeKane-Yentumi of University City.

The reason was race. She’s white, her husband's black. Their three children are both; and in our society, "both" often reads: black.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: When Adam Rosen was growing up in St. Louis, he spent a lot of time in support groups. Not for Asperger’s but as a gay teenager. The Asperger’s identity came much later, providing clarity about his other difference: an obsession with composing music.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: How do you write a riveting play about laundry and sleep? If you’re Elizabeth Birkenmeier, you fold in strangers, secrets and a gun, or at least the possibility of a gun.

“There’s a Gun in My Goodbye Bag” opens Friday, June 14, not in a theater but at Classic Coin Laundry in University City. St. Louis’ OnSite Theatre company performs all its work in real-life settings, which have included a bowling alley, a youth hostel and a building reportedly inhabited by ghosts.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: If you want to get kids’ attention when it comes to bullying -- or anything at all -- it helps to understand the lingo.

Seventeen-year-old Dasia Vence, who plays popular, mean girl Gwyneth in “Winning Juliet,” Shakespeare Festival St. Louis’ upcoming educational play about cyber-bullying, has the 4-1-1 on popular terminology.

“Sneak-dissing,” Vence begins. “Like if you got a new haircut and I put on Twitter, ‘That haircut is gross,’ then you know it’s about you but I didn’t say that.

(via Flickr/ Tim Green)

In 2012, approximately 100 local professional theatrical productions were presented in the St. Louis area.

A new organization called the St. Louis Theater Circle, a group of area theater reviewers, seeks to recognize local professional theater with the inaugural Louie Awards.

The first Louie Awards presentation coincides with the suspension of the Kevin Kline Awards.  Earlier this year the Professional Theater Council of St. Louis decided not to hold a ceremony honoring 2012 theatrical productions, citing financial issues.