New Line Theatre | St. Louis Public Radio

New Line Theatre

Kent Coffel as Zorba and Dominic Dowdy-Windsor as Nikos in New Line Theatre's production of "Zorba"
Jill Ritter Lindberg

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New Line Theatre

Note: Due to an actor's injury, the June 10 and June 11 performances of "Atomic" have been canceled.

The creators of “Atomic,” a new rock musical currently on stage at New Line Theatre, remember living through the fear of nuclear war.

Songs from "The Wild Party," "Bat Boy" and "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee" will be part of New Line's 25th anniversary concert.
New Line Theatre

St. Louis’ New Line musical theater company has something to sing about this week: its silver anniversary.

On Tuesday and Wednesday nights (Jan. 5 and 6), New Line will present a concert called “25 Years to Life!” featuring songs from shows dating back to its 1991 debut. The event showcases 16 New Line veterans including Ryan Foizy, Taylor Pietz, Anna Skidis and Zachary Allen Farmer.

Larissa White, Sicily Mathenia and Cameisha Cotton as the Heathers in New Line Theatre's "Heathers"
Jill Ritter Lindberg / Provided by New Line Theatre

When Scott Miller founded St. Louis’ New Line Theatre in 1991, his mission was to present edgy musicals. Problem was, hardly any were available.

“So in the early years, we did some shows that I wrote and we did some re-imagined shows, like ‘Camelot’ with a really small cast, that kind of thing,” Miller said.

Twenty-five years later, it’s a very different story.

Aine O'Connor, St. Louis Public Radio

Next week, New Line Theatre will celebrate its 25th anniversary by opening the regional premiere of “Heathers” in its brand-new digs: The Marcelle Theater, a new 150-seat black box theatre space in Grand Center built by Ken and Nancy Kranzberg.

It’s a move back to a black box for Artistic Director Scott Miller, which he says he has been hoping to do for years. In addition to changing up the set design, a challenge Scenic and Lighting Designer Rob Lippert is eager to meet, the move also heralds a change in show lineup: The theatre company will now do four shows per season.

Sara Sapp as Child B, Sarah McKenney as Child A and Steven Castelli as Clown in Theatre Nuevo's "This Is Not Funny"
Theatre Nuevo

A clown, a poet, two children and two newscasters walk … onto a stage.

It’s not a joke (although it has jokes). It’s a play called “This Is Not Funny,” by a new company named Theatre Nuevo, opening tonight at the Chapel off Skinker near Forest Park. But the name’s a contradiction, said founder and director Anna Skidis.

Anna Skidis
Durrie Bouscaren

St. Louis’s Anna Skidis is an acclaimed actor and singer. She’s also a genius.

Skidis, 28, is obviously smart. But "genius" is what they call employees of Apple’s Genius Bar, who help people figure out how to make their devices work properly.

From New Line's "Passing Strange," 2011
Jill Ritter

When Scott Miller founded New Line Theatre in 1991 it was a risky proposition, in more ways than one.

The nonprofit would occupy a tight niche: musicals only. It would also ride the first wave of a national trend, producing work about topics avoided by many in polite St. Louis company: politics, violence, race, sexuality and religion.

Jerry Springer opera bleeps its way to St. Louis

Feb 27, 2015
Security man Steve Wilkos, played by Matt Hill, holds back the Springer studio audience in New Line Theatre's "Jerry Springer: The Opera."
Jill Ritter Lindberg / New Line Theater

"Jerry Springer: The Opera" is promoted as "very adult." It's so adult that we can't find a clip suitable for radio. 

"Jerry Springer: The Opera" opened in 2003 in London. The first U.S. performance was in Las Vegas in 2007. Now the New Line Theatre is bringing the opera to St. Louis in March.

Jerry, Keith Thompson, left, asks Montel, Marshall Jennings, right, why he's brought Andrea, Christina Rios, to the show.
Jill Ritter Lindberg

Adults with diaper fetishes, dancing Klansmen and blasphemous portrayals of religious figures are all part of “Jerry Springer: The Opera.” So it's fitting, really, that edgy New Line Theatre is the company bringing this irreverent musical to St. Louis.

St. Louis Theater Circle Announces 2015 Nominees

Jan 30, 2015
Provided by the Actors Studio

The St. Louis Theater Circle, a group of local theater critics, released its 2015 award nominees on Friday. 

“It was, I think, a terrific year,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch theater critic Judith Newmark told “Cityscape” host Steve Potter on Friday. “It was a year in which we lost one theater — that’s always going to happen. There also are some new people on the horizon. And it was a year in which, I think Shakespeare Festival St. Louis, which is a free event that draws huge crowds, really came into its own with a double production of ‘Henry IV’ and ‘Henry V.’”

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Oct. 1, 2012 - Listen up, kids. New Line Theatre’s going to teach you a history lesson unlike any you learned in school.

The Gist: The satirical “Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson,” directed by artistic director Scott Miller, lives up to its name with a stage awash with the “blood” of so-called “Indians,” Spaniards and Jackson himself. The history books want to know: Was our seventh president a great leader who doubled our country’s land mass or a mass murderer, an “American Hitler?”

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Dec. 2, 2011 - After two decades as the self-proclaimed "bad boy of musical theater," New Line has staged enough sex, drugs, and rock and roll to fill a book. So, founder and artistic director Scott Miller has done just that.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, June 11, 2011 - Remember those carefree, fun-filled teenage years?

Me neither.

Adolescence can be a torturous time of insecurity, unrequited love and shuffling through various social masks to find out who you really are. Discovering one's place in the world while also battling acne, bad hair and bullying is the theme of "bare," presented by New Line Theatre June 2-25.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, July 5, 2010 - Sex, power and rock ‘n roll are the essential elements of New Line Theatre’s production of “Evita,” scheduled for July 8-31. Unlike the 1979 Broadway rendition, this presentation loses the violins and oversize chorus, and adds a focus on the love story between Eva Perón and the working people of Argentina.

According to New Line, Perón’s rise from small-town roots to international prominence has a parallel in modern life, with the careers of a diverse group including Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin and Barack Obama — all beloved by fans and despised by opponents.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 26, 2010 - If you like your tragicomedies with a dash of self-analysis and a heaping helping of sex, you'll want to RSVP in the affirmative to "The Wild Party," produced by New Line Theatre.

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Set in 1920s Manhattan, Andrew Lippa's play takes place mostly over the course of one night. Former vaudevillians and bored lovers Queenie (Margeau Baue Steinau) and Burrs (Jeffrey Pruett) decide to throw the bash after Queenie envisions getting even with the violent and abusive Burrs by embarrassing him in front of their friends and acquaintances.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, March 25, 2010 - On Wednesday, one day after the Beacon posted an article questioning the use of a song about rape in the musical "The Fantasticks," the St. Louis Repertory Theatre switched to a new version of "It Depends on What You Pay." Neither the lyrics nor the set-up to the song now include the word "rape." Rep marketing assistant Katie Puglisi wrote in an e-mail that the Rep is not using the substitute song, "Abductions," but an alternate version of "It Depends on What You Pay" supplied by author Tom Jones.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Jan. 10, 2010 - New Line Theatre Company's Scott Miller recently came thisclose to homelessness after moving in and out of eight different venues in 16 years. But the artistic director got an early holiday present when Washington University unexpectedly agreed to another one-year contract for the theater inside its Clayton Road building, the former Christian Brothers College High School. The decision came after several months of worry.

"I have no idea where we would have gone," Miller said.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Sept. 22, 2009 - While some local theater companies barely hung on through the recession-hit 2008-09 performance season, New Line Theatre had its best year ever. At the close of the season in August, New Line tallied up a record 6,646 patrons and $119,045 in income — the highest in its 18 years of operation.

New production is outrageous, even for New Line

Apr 27, 2009

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 27, 2009 - "Catalog musicals" (or "jukebox musicals," as they're sometimes called), the shows that build a new (often creaky) story around existing pop songs, have gotten a bad name. That's largely because most of them are really awful, like Leader of the Pack, The Boy from Oz, Good Vibrations, and the current Rock of Ages. Luckily the Tony-winning Jersey Boys redeemed this subgenre to some extent, proving that these shows can be intelligent and well written, but the stigma remains.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Dec. 17, 2008  - It all started back in 2000. New Line Theatre had been working at the St. Marcus Theatre for six seasons, and - without any warning - the theater was shut down, leaving us homeless.

That fall, still unsure where the company would land, the New Liners decided to present a two-night concert at the acoustically kick-ass Sheldon Concert Hall. It was such a success and it was so much fun that we did it again in 2003, and somehow a tradition of returning to the Sheldon every three years was established. So on Jan. 5 and 6, for two nights only, New Line will return for our fourth outing, A New Line Cabaret IV: Night of the Living Show Tunes.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: September 8, 2008 - Once upon a time, musicals were about all-American boys and girls falling in all-American love. Boy gets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl. Right?

Well, no, that's not really true. Even as far back as the 1920s and '30s, there were lots of other musicals about American materialism, the growth of unions, war, politics, sex, race, class and much more. And that's where New Line Theatre, "the bad boy of musical theater," comes in, now in our 18th season of making intelligent, provocative, adult musical theater.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: August 12, 2008 - When I turned 21, my mother wrote to theater and film stars asking them to send me birthday greetings. One letter in particular changed my life, from Lucie Arnaz (daughter to Desi and Luu-ceeee!) and her husband, actor Laurence Luckinbill. Lucie wrote the letter, but it was Larry's P.S. that hit me like a shot of Red Bull after a long night of altered consciousness.