theater

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.

The Black Rep is presenting For Colored Girls ... at the Missouri History Museum.
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.

(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.

Talley’s Folly takes place in a decaying Victorian boathouse on the night of July 4, 1944 in Lebanon, Missouri. Matt Friedman (played by Shaun Sheley) a Jewish accountant from St Louis, comes to propose to Sally Talley, a free-spirited "southern" girl chafing under conservative home rule, whom he had fallen in love with a year earlier. It is a play about releasing secrets and allowing yourself to be vulnerable enough to chose love.

Newly engaged artist Arthur should be walking on air. But as a fetishist who's missing his favorite footwear, he's in a quandary.

So begins "Psychopathia Sexualis," a comedy revolving around an anxious soon-to-be groom, his wealthy socialite fiancee and his father's argyle socks.

Only within proximity to the socks is Arthur able to make love. However, in an unorthodox therapeutic move, his psychiatrist snares the potent pair.

Waiters whizzing by on skates was exactly what a scene from “Footloose” needed in the Stages St. Louis 2005 production, thought choreographer Dana Lewis.

In rehearsal after rehearsal, the performers rocked and literally rolled all over the stage without a hitch.

But during a technical rehearsal just prior to opening night, a bad fall left actor Zoe Vonder Haar with a broken arm, and put the kibosh on the skating idea. Theater-goers never knew what they’d missed.

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