Actors | St. Louis Public Radio

Actors

 Joe Hanrahan (left) and Shane Signorino co-star in Midnight Company's "Popcorn Falls," opening Thursday night and running through April 13.
Midnight Company

Even after 40 years on stage, St. Louis actor Joe Hanrahan still relishes the nervous anticipation of opening a show. Each time he prepares to step into the spotlight, he asks himself, “Can we pull this off?”

Hanrahan, who co-founded the Midnight Company theater ensemble in 1997, has spent much of his career starring in one-person shows or playing multiple roles in shows with small casts. He thoroughly enjoys the prospect of rapidly switching between different characters onstage, say, from a 12-year-old girl to a misogynist older man.

It’s thrilling and also terrifying, especially just before the curtain goes up, like taking that first step onto a tightrope.

The Webster Groves Arts Commission is honoring longtime actor Joneal Joplin with an award for lifetime achievement.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Joneal “Jop” Joplin has lost count of exactly how many roles he’s performed on St. Louis-area stages during his long acting career based in the region.

“I know that I’ve done something like 215, 220 shows in St. Louis – 101 at the Rep, 66 at the Muny,” he estimated Friday while talking with host Don Marsh on St. Louis on the Air.

Joplin, who will be honored Friday evening with the Webster Groves Arts Commission’s 2018 Lifetime Achievement in the Arts Award, got his start as an actor in New York. But after traveling to St. Louis with his young family in 1972 to participate in just one show – a production of “Mice and Men” – he was asked to stay in town for another show.

A scene from Shakespeare Festival St. Louis' "The Winter's Tale," which opens on June 2.
Shakespeare Festival St. Louis

"Life can turn on a dime,” said Bruce Longworth, the director of this year’s Shakespeare Festival St. Louis production of “The Winter’s Tale,” which opens on June 2 and runs through June 25.

Considered one of William Shakespeare’s “problem plays,” because the subject matter falls neither neatly into the category of comedy or tragedy, Longworth, who is also associate artistic director of the festival, believes this play best emulates the reality of life.

St. Louis native Sean Gunn as Kirk in the "Gilmore Girls." The pig is named Petal.
Netflix

If actor Sean Gunn isn’t out promoting the Netflix reboot of the “Gilmore Girls,’’ which premieres on Friday, you might find him at a comic book convention meeting fans of the film “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” which will be released in May.

The two projects meant months of commuting between the West and East coasts for the 42-year-old St. Louis native who follows Cardinals baseball wherever he is and admits to liking both Imo’s and Pi pizza. And, yes, he went to high school here — St. Louis University High.

Two immigrant men hang suspended in the air as window washers in the play "Spended"
Provided by ProPhotoSTL.com

As the St. Louis metro area continues to take note of the region's growing status as a magnet for newcomers from other countries, Upstream Theater will launch "Suspended," a play that aims to break down assumptions about immigrants.

Director Linda Kennedy said stories about the relationship between immigrants and longtime residents can strengthen both communities.

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.

Michael Lindner
Courtesy of Michael Lindner

For more than 70 years, the National Society of Arts and Letters has sponsored local and national competitions for young artists. This year, the national competition will be in St. Louis.

“(The) organization fosters young people in the arts, bringing them together in their field and providing opportunities for them to compete,” said Peggy Liggett, chairwoman of the competition committee of the St. Louis chapter. “We have some prizes that are very significant.”