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Stages St. Louis has frank conversations on marriage in ‘I Do! I Do!’ musical

(L-R) Corinne Melançon, Steve Isom and Andrew Kuhlman talk about Stages St. Louis' “I Do! I Do!” production now showing through July 1, 2018.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio
(L-R) Corinne Melançon, Steve Isom and Andrew Kuhlman talk about Stages St. Louis' “I Do! I Do!” production now showing through July 1, 2018. ";s:3

New York meets St. Louis in the cast for Stages St. Louis’I Do! I Do!” production now showing at the Robert G. Reim Theatre in Kirkwood. The play delves into the ups and downs of the universal proclamation of union – marriage. The two-character musical consists of a rotating cast of actors from New York and St. Louis.

Set in the years 1895 to 1945, the play follows the relationship of Michael and Agnes as they go through the motions of falling in love, marriage, childbirth, parenthood and settling down. They depict tough moments in long-term relationships such as the end of the honeymoon phase and having frank conversations on divorce.

On Tuesday’s program, Corinne Melançon, who plays the role of Agnes, and Steve Isom, who plays the role of Michael, joined St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh alongside Andrew Kuhlman, Stages St. Louis associate producer, to talk about the season opening production. David Schmittou and Kari Ely play the second pairing. 

Despite the show being set in a different time period, the nature of a long-term relationship is still relevant today. Kuhlman said “I Do! I Do!” is a “hidden gem musical” that many couples and friends can still relate to.

“I keep finding things that I say, ‘oh my goodness, yes I went through that, that happened to me,’” said Isom, who’s been married for 24 years.

Melançon has performed in venues big and small, including Broadway. She said small venues like Stages’ creates a more intimate experience for both the actors and audience members and that she appreciates the close-knit community in St. Louis.

“So much of the St. Louis community is so involved with the theater company,” Melançon said. “People really are so interested to know it works and they love getting to know the actors and you just don’t get that in a Broadway show.”

Stages is offering complimentary tickets to married couples of 50 years or more for select performances. Couples can claim their tickets at Stages’ Chesterfield or Kirkwood box offices.

This week’s special showings are on:

  • 2 p.m. Thursday June 7
  • 8 p.m. Friday June 8
  • 7:30 p.m. Sunday June 10

Big move for Stages St. Louis

Kuhlman said Stages is preparing to move to a new performing arts center in downtown Kirkwood. As part of a $24 million project, a larger theater will be created which broadens the shows the company can put on, such as Kuhlman’s favorite musical, “West Side Story.”

“The choreography in [‘West Side Story’] requires movement across a large stage and so this new building can make things like that possible,” he added.

Another initiative of the theater company is the Jump Start Theater program, done in partnership with the Educational Theater Association. The program introduces “sustainable” theater programs in middle schools to expose young people to the performance art.

“We’re equipping non-theater teachers with the ability and the skills to take a theater program, introduce it to students, and after three years of partnering with Stages, they can continue that program on for generations and generations to come,” Kuhlman said.

Related Event:

What: Stages St. Louis presents “I Do! I Do!”
When: Through July 1, 2018
Where: Robert G. Reim Theatre in the Kirkwood Civic Center, 111 South Geyer Rd., Kirkwood, MO 63122

St. Louis on the Air brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh and producers Mary Edwards, Alex Heuer and Lara Hamdan give you the information you need to make informed decisions and stay in touch with our diverse and vibrant St. Louis region.

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Lara is a producer for "St. Louis on the Air" at St. Louis Public Radio.

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